Blake Golin
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Sunrise
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I'll be breaking this game out with my group for the first time later tonight and I was wondering if anyone could give me insight into what expansions you feel are essential. We are all pretty seasoned gamers so it's not a matter of learning the game or anything.
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Paul Schroeder

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Honestly, I'd probably have everyone read through the Viking age expansion before you play, but still play with just the base game first. Playing with just the base game will keep the game shorter and give you a flavor of how the game actually works and flows. Some of the nuances of the game aren't readily apparent earlier in the first play, so adding in all the other stuff might make some of the basic lessons learned get lost in all the noise of the things in the expansions.

With experienced board gamers, you should be able to get through a base game within 2 hours, probably way less than that. Then, after the that game, I would add in any of the expansions you think sound good. My favorite so far is adding in the churches/forts.
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Bill Koff
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Agreed - play the basic game first. Then for the next game, I'd recommend using everything but 'Kings' - it's fiddly and anti-thematic for the Viking player. But all the rest are fun, and do-able together.
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uwe eickert
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I agree that you should play the base game first. It is fun and adding the expansions changes the strategy of how you win, so you may as well play the basic way first. After your first game, I always suggest playing with War for Land and Gods as it adds both game play strategies and a new way to win.
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Barry Miller
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Have been gaming for many years, and my group's standard rule is always, the first play of any game is ALWAYS with the basic rules only.

Then after the game, if there are advanced rules, variants, or expansions, we make ourselves aware of them and then decide what to incorporate for the next session. If the game is good, there will be many more opportunities to play the game with all the advanced stuff.

Just like football, it's important to master (or at least become familiar with) the fundamentals and the basics before adding additional layers.

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Bill Buchanan
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I've played (and own) every game in the Birth of America series, and I've always played them with the same guy in 2p games where we each control all factions of one side. That being said ...

First game we're definitely playing with:

Expansion 1: War For Land and Gods - Churches, Forts and Settlements.

Expansion 7: Epic Battle Events - Special cards added to Fyrd deck.

Expansion 8: Viking Ships - tokens placed in shires the viking leaders lands. There are then special rules regarding these tokens.

Expansion 9: Legendary Leaders - Ragnar and Lagertha leaders for Vikings.


We'll probably add the others into games in this order:

Expansion 4: Runes and Prayer - special dice rolled during combat that provide different effects for viking and english players.

Expansion 2: Kingdoms - Gives viking or english player special ablities if they control different kingdoms on the map

Expansion 6: Legends - secret objectives that allow english and viking players to remove and add control tokens when fulfilled

Expansion 5: Relics and Holy Sites - Gives English 2 holy sites, and vikings relics that leaders carry around. They provide different effects.

Expansion 3: Kings - A King card is dealt to each faction at start of game. Held and played like events. Put this one last not because of complexity ... just not sure it adds something I find desirable. We'll see.
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Steven Townshend
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In teaching the game today I included only:

- Ragnar and Lagertha
- Kings

I figured these were pretty light add-ons. Kings simply adds a one-time event card to each faction and Ragnar/Lagertha are just alternate leaders. No trouble in the teaching game.

 
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Barry Miller
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WBuchanan wrote:
First game we're definitely playing with:

Expansion 1: War For Land and Gods - Churches, Forts and Settlements.

Expansion 7: Epic Battle Events - Special cards added to Fyrd deck.

Expansion 8: Viking Ships - tokens placed in shires the viking leaders lands. There are then special rules regarding these tokens.

Expansion 9: Legendary Leaders - Ragnar and Lagertha leaders for Vikings.

It's great to hear how other experienced gamers approach their first games. Everybody's different, of course.

So you have me respectfully curious... given what Uwe said above - that, "the expansions changes the strategy of how you win" - or IOW, changes the way that the game is designed to be played... then why wouldn't you want to play your first game without the expansions, just to see how the designer intended the game to be played? Then after that, add the expansions to see for yourself how they change the game?

The reasoning behind my question is exactly why my group always plays the basic game first. So I really am curious why you guys have a desire to blow past the basic game. (And it's not only you... there are several players in my MeetUp group that refuse to play the basic version of any game).

Thx!
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Bill Buchanan
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bgm1961 wrote:
WBuchanan wrote:
First game we're definitely playing with:

Expansion 1: War For Land and Gods - Churches, Forts and Settlements.

Expansion 7: Epic Battle Events - Special cards added to Fyrd deck.

Expansion 8: Viking Ships - tokens placed in shires the viking leaders lands. There are then special rules regarding these tokens.

Expansion 9: Legendary Leaders - Ragnar and Lagertha leaders for Vikings.

It's great to hear how other experienced gamers approach their first games. Everybody's different, of course.

So you have me respectfully curious... given what Uwe said above - that, "the expansions changes the strategy of how you win" - or IOW, changes the way that the game is designed to be played... then why wouldn't you want to play your first game without the expansions, just to see how the designer intended the game to be played? Then after that, add the expansions to see for yourself how they change the game?

The reasoning behind my question is exactly why my group always plays the basic game first. So I really am curious why you guys have a desire to blow past the basic game. (And it's not only you... there are several players in my MeetUp group that refuse to play the basic version of any game).

Thx!


I thinks it's a pretty simple reason -- It's more interesting. I think the fact you call it the "basic game" speaks volumes. Part of the strong appeal to 878 is the fact that it is so different from the games in the Birth of America series. Most of the "difference" comes from the "expansion" content. If I wanted to play a "basic" game of 878, I'd just play 1775 or 1754 ...

I also don't believe "the basic game is how the designer intended the game to be played". I believe that's the beginner game, and they made it that way to ease people in who have never played the system before.

A secondary reason is my friend, who I usually play these types of games with, and I, don't get together regularly to play games. We live a couple of hours apart and when we have the opportunity to play I consider it a special occasion. For this reason there is a bit more incentive to jump right into the more "interesting" game right away.
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Barry Miller
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Thanks for your replies!

WBuchanan wrote:
I thinks it's a pretty simple reason -- It's more interesting.

Given your history with the series, I can understand how you come to this conclusion. But...

WBuchanan wrote:
I think the fact you call it the "basic game" speaks volumes. Most of the "difference" comes from the "expansion" content. If I wanted to play a "basic" game of 878, I'd just play 1775 or 1754 ...

This sounds like you don't agree with the notion that the "basic" game of 878 is already very different from its predecessors due to various rules changes ('Command' action, for one), and the addition of Leaders with their attached armies and separate movement/battle timing. To my mind, these changes alone make '878' a very different game from the rest of the series - enough at least to make a first play very interesting in its own right!

WBuchanan wrote:
I also don't believe "the basic game is how the designer intended the game to be played". I believe that's the beginner game, and they made it that way to ease people in who have never played the system before.

So where do all the players who don't own the expansion fall into this line of thinking?

It almost sounds like here - at least the way I'm reading it - that the claim is that Academy Games' intention is akin to saying:
"Hey, if you want to play the game that the designer really designed, then you must also purchase the expansion. What comes inside the box is a stripped down version for you beginners."

I doubt that's what you're saying, but is the way it's coming across.

Anyway, I apologize for taking on an argumentative tone. Not my intention when I began to respond. But upon responding to your 2nd paragraph, I wondered if you're saying that the game that comes in the box is less than the full version of the game and the expansion is necessary. Whereas my thought is that the game which comes in the box is the full game, with the expansion simply being additional content that's not necessary to enjoy the core game.

Two different opinions, is all.

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Bill Buchanan
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bgm1961 wrote:

This sounds like you don't agree with the notion that the "basic" game of 878 is already very different from its predecessors due to various rules changes ('Command' action, for one), and the addition of Leaders with their attached armies and separate movement/battle timing. To my mind, these changes alone make '878' a very different game from the rest of the series - enough at least to make a first play very interesting in its own right!


The "base" game is somewhat different. I'd personally stop way short of it's "very different" from the other games using the system. This is of course subjective, and other people may have very different feelings on the subject (and I'm ok with that).

bgm1961 wrote:

It almost sounds like here - at least the way I'm reading it - that the claim is that Academy Games' intention is akin to saying:
"Hey, if you want to play the game that the designer really designed, then you must also purchase the expansion. What comes inside the box is a stripped down version for you beginners."


As far as I'm aware, the same designer(s) made all the content for the game, not just the stuff in "base game".

It seems pretty clear to me that they stripped away all the extra stuff from the base game, and put that into the Age of Vikings expansion. When an "expansion" is released at the same time as the "base game", I don't think you can come to any other conclusion really.

bgm1961 wrote:

Anyway, I apologize for taking on an argumentative tone. Not my intention when I began to respond. But upon responding to your 2nd paragraph, I wondered if you're saying that the game that comes in the box is less than the full version of the game and the expansion is necessary. Whereas my thought is that the game which comes in the box is the full game, with the expansion simply being additional content that's not necessary to enjoy the core game.

Two different opinions, is all.


That's fine. Everyone is different, I'm only offering my own personal opinion not gospel.
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Kevin Duke
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I would greatly disagree that "they stripped away all the extra stuff from the base game," since I played a prototype of the base game before the Kickstarter ended. We played lots of games and were not bored at all. (I completely agree with bgm. There are extreme differences between this and Birth of America and plenty of new concepts to digest and master.)

You are also incorrect about "same designer."

Comparing with the other games in the family, the "base game" is fully developed and quite capable of standing alone and being a great game without any if the expansions. This is nothing like "training wheel version" compared to "actual game." Indeed, some of the expansions look like add-on chrome and may not make the game "better," but I don't know for sure because I haven't tried them all. I'm having fun with a couple add one--the extra Fyrd cards are certainly interesting.

Folks not familiar with the basic engine should definitely start with the base game and zero extras. They might play a dozen games and have very different results. And then add carefully, when they have some ideas of what the additions will change. For folks not familiar with the regular mechanics, I think the chances of not liking/not getting Vikings are much higher with the adds than they are with the base game alone.

For BoA Grognards, I would still recommend sticking with the original game (is that less prejorative than "base?") and enjoying the many new ways of playing out the challenges to both sides before adding more bits.
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Christopher Wood
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Nothing pejorative about "base" unless somebody wants to take it so.
 
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Kevin Duke
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No, someone stated it very directly--

Quote:
I thinks it's a pretty simple reason -- It's more interesting. I think the fact you call it the "basic game" speaks volumes.


While that is certainly simple thinking, I wonder if they will ever find out whether lots more stuff is really "more interesting." As I read through the expansions and think about using ALL of them, first time out, I see a lot of fits and starts and re-rolls and rules checking, not to mention what happens when the contradictions come (and there are some.)
 
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Bill Buchanan
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After receiving the game and looking at all the different modules, I've revised my list slightly ...

First game we're definitely playing with:

Expansion 1: War For Land and Gods - Churches, Forts and Settlements.

Expansion 6: Legends - secret objectives that allow English and Viking players to remove and add control tokens when fulfilled

Expansion 7: Epic Battle Events - Special cards added to Fyrd deck.

Expansion 8: Viking Ships - tokens placed in shires the viking leaders lands. There are then special rules regarding these tokens.



Add into future games:

Expansion 4: Runes and Prayer - special dice rolled during combat that provide different effects for viking and english players.

Expansion 5: Relics and Holy Sites - Gives English 2 holy sites, and vikings relics that leaders carry around. They provide different effects.

Expansion 2: Kingdoms - Gives viking or english player special ablities if they control different kingdoms on the map

Expansion 9: Legendary Leaders - Ragnar and Lagertha leaders for Vikings.

Expansion 3: Kings - A King card is dealt to each faction at start of game. Held and played like events. Put this one last not because of complexity ... just not sure it adds something I find desirable. We'll see.



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Barry Miller
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Bill,

I also fall into this crowd:
kduke wrote:
...lot of fits and starts and re-rolls and rules checking, not to mention what happens when the contradictions come (and there are some.)

So more power to you, for wanting to chew on all those expansions for your very first game! I wish I could just dive into the "deep end" like that.
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Bill Buchanan
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bgm1961 wrote:


So more power to you, for wanting to chew on all those expansions for your very first game! I wish I could just dive into the "deep end" like that.
thumbsup



Honestly, I don't think it's "jumping into the deep end". I think I'm adding just the right amount, and the right ones, to the base. The "deep end" will be when we add in all the other stuff!

I can understand why people wouldn't want to do this. But in case somebody is reading this and does, I'm going to provide my thoughts on the subject.


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Bill Wallace
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Well, we look forward to that, including who thinks they don't like the game.

Because there is so much game in the base game, and 1/4 the expansions you list will change that game play tremendously. Just adding Expansion 1 makes the game very different.

There are some interesting things in the expansions but there is a lot of junk too.

One example, the 'relic' that lets the Vikings pick turn order for the entire game. Anyone familiar with the system-- as you say you are-- will spot how badly this breaks the game. And I normally hate it when people say "this breaks the game." But that does.

The first 8 games we've played-- both 2 and 4 player-- have seen exactly 2 victories by more than 2 points. Until we plugged in some expansions, when the Vikings came up just a little short of running the table and ending the game without treaties.

"More interesting?" Only if you actually hate the basic engine in the series.
 
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Bill Buchanan
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BillW wrote:
Well, we look forward to that, including who thinks they don't like the game.

Because there is so much game in the base game, and 1/4 the expansions you list will change that game play tremendously. Just adding Expansion 1 makes the game very different.

There are some interesting things in the expansions but there is a lot of junk too.

One example, the 'relic' that lets the Vikings pick turn order for the entire game. Anyone familiar with the system-- as you say you are-- will spot how badly this breaks the game. And I normally hate it when people say "this breaks the game." But that does.

The first 8 games we've played-- both 2 and 4 player-- have seen exactly 2 victories by more than 2 points. Until we plugged in some expansions, when the Vikings came up just a little short of running the table and ending the game without treaties.

"More interesting?" Only if you actually hate the basic engine in the series.


That's great, everyone should play how they will have the most fun. No where am I saying people should play like this or they are wrong. Regarding the "more interesting" comment, I was asked my personal reasons why I would choose to play with expansions immediately, and I answered. No need to get mad about.

I also didn't included Holy sites or Relics in my list of expansions I'd play with right away, so I'm not sure what your point is regarding that ...
 
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