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Subject: Would it work to just play 3 Years rather than 4? rss

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Gregory Mucklow
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I really like this game, but have trouble getting it played because it just feels like it overstays its welcome since each age/year is effectively the same.

Has anyone tried reducing the game to 3 rounds? Any suggestions for how to do this without ruining the game balance? (And I don't mean just playing more cards per age - the point is to achieve a shorter game!)

Thanks!
 
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Connor Cranston
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PuzzlingEnigma wrote:
I really like this game, but have trouble getting it played because it just feels like it overstays its welcome since each age/year is effectively the same.

Has anyone tried reducing the game to 3 rounds? Any suggestions for how to do this without ruining the game balance? (And I don't mean just playing more cards per age - the point is to achieve a shorter game!)

Thanks!


Play a different game.

You will need 4 years/rounds, as there are a lot of cards that depend on other cards/copies of the same one.

If you play less rounds/years, these will not show up and ruins a strategy. It would be very luck-based.

We play this game within 40 minutes, so I'm not sure how short you'd like this to be. Maybe play it a couple of times during a short period with the same players. If you get familiar with the cards and combinations, play might get faster.


As I said, otherwise I would just suggest playing a different game.
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Gregory Mucklow
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Khonnor wrote:

Play a different game.

You will need 4 years/rounds, as there are a lot of cards that depend on other cards/copies of the same one.


Hmm, not sure that's the most helpful suggestion! Drafting cards and building the spaceship is fun. Doing this for 3 rounds is good - skipping the extra round doesn't mean it's no longer Among The Stars!

And, I'm not suggesting that one simply bins whatever cards would have been picked for the 4th round: the point is you still use all the cards you've chosen for the card pool, but over fewer rounds. (So there would still be 4 Turrets over the 3 rounds.)
 
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David Jones
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I'm not really seeing why this wouldn't work. I don't feel like doing the math on this, but you could select 11 or 12 locations for a 3/4 player game (instead of the standard 15) and then just add in enough specials to get however many cards you need. (This eliminates the "not seeing cards" objection that Khonnor is raising.) There are a few problems you could run into such as....

Racetrace requires you to build a 4x4 grid of cards which could become quite difficult with only 18 rounds. I would not play with these in the game. Similarly, there are some goals (I think from the expansion) that require you to build a certain number of special buildings or a certain number of standard buildings. These goals would be impossible (or nearly) to complete so I would remove them from the game. Other cards that rely on location count (i.e. one point for every blue location in your station) are going to be less powerful but not wholly useless. I think War Monument might be too easy to score with less buildings in the game, so that would be one I would probably throw out. I'm sure there are others that I can't think of off the top of my head. The point is you may have to use some common sense the first few plays to figure out which cards are not viable with this setup, but I don't expect it would be very many.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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This would definitely work, just the end point values would be smaller.

That said, I'm stunned that a game that takes 1 hour AT MOST, feels like it's overstaying its welcome.
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Connor Cranston
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If you insist, just choose fewer basic locations. It's 18 with 4 players, so choose 12. Which is 48 cards and add 24 special locations, this would be enough cards for three years.

I would indeed remove cards that are dependant on more rounds.
 
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Gregory Mucklow
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Thanks everyone! Yes, I see that it would make sense to remove some cards like the ones you've suggested.

I know this is a relatively short game, but I play with big 7W fans and the constant stopping to score, and then the 4th age just feels like too much of the same thing...!
 
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Michal Starek
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You might want to look into Fields of Green, which was made on the same mechanism by the same guy, but removing some factors like lengthy setup or each-turn scoring.

For me, it is the less prefered game of the two, as I prefer sci-fi and I also prefer the slight randomness brought by special locations, even if they prolong the setup / teardown time. That said, I welcomed the absence of each-turn scoring and I definitely know people telling me FoG is THEIR preference of the two.

Also, +1 for the surprise how can Among the Stars overstay its welcome. It always feels understayed for me.
 
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Gregory Mucklow
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myyysha wrote:

Also, +1 for the surprise how can Among the Stars overstay its welcome. It always feels understayed for me.


Thanks for the suggestion to check out Fields of Green!

haha, I know it should be a quick game, but I've played with non-gamers who literally read every card in their hand and ask me how each one works (then get asked the same questions by the next player who received that hand). I'm literally wanting to smash my head through the table by the end of the third age
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Greg Wilson
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rattkin wrote:
This would definitely work, just the end point values would be smaller.

That said, I'm stunned that a game that takes 1 hour AT MOST, feels like it's overstaying its welcome.


AtS certainly never played in under two hours with our group. If nothing else, doing a scoring round for four-to-six players every single turn just made the game take far too long. We're not the fastest-playing group, mind, but we can certainly knock out a game of all-expansions 7 Wonders, Tyrants of the Underdark or Race For The Galaxy in under an hour.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Scoring round? When we play, each person just pushes his own marker forward, as he plays the card. No delay there whatsoever.

While we're at it, every non-party game with 6 players will take long.
 
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Greg Wilson
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rattkin wrote:
Scoring round? When we play, each person just pushes his own marker forward, as he plays the card. No delay there whatsoever.


You have a table that's big enough for five or six to play AtS but small enough that everyone can easily reach the scoring track?

rattkin wrote:
While we're at it, every non-party game with 6 players will take long.


This is, like, provably not true. Some games have simultaneous play so they don't take significantly longer with more players, others may have fewer actions or rounds with more players. We can play six-player Waterdeep, Evolution, 7 Wonders or Bohnanza easily enough. I'm sure AtS would have gotten quicker with more play, any game does.

AtS does have mostly-simultaneous play, but scoring slows it down, plus there are cards that need other players to act or react. Ambassadors is absolutely a non-starter with the higher player counts.
 
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Michal Starek
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rattkin wrote:
While we're at it, every non-party game with 6 players will take long.


Seven Wonders and Samurai Spirit send their regards.
 
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Gregory Mucklow
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BlackSheep wrote:


AtS certainly never played in under two hours with our group. If nothing else, doing a scoring round for four-to-six players every single turn just made the game take far too long. We're not the fastest-playing group, mind, but we can certainly knock out a game of all-expansions 7 Wonders, Tyrants of the Underdark or Race For The Galaxy in under an hour.


Glad it's not just me. It's the constant scoring and having to ask everyone if they've got x or y that makes AtS crawl. We race through 7W and the app makes scoring speedy
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Wim van Gruisen
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Try three years of eight cards.
 
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M. B. Downey
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Whymme wrote:
Try three years of eight cards.


This was already addressed in the original post:

PuzzlingEnigma wrote:
And I don't mean just playing more cards per age - the point is to achieve a shorter game!
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