Patrick Zoch
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This is our third Friday Game Lunch event at the office where I work. Today I brought in The Grizzled.

My usual trio of players are Vince, Corietha, and Pat. Vince had wanted something a little deeper than the other games we have been playing in our short lunch break. Unfortunately, Corietha took the day off. However, Tammy joined the group today.

I first explained a little history about the game, explaining the characters in the game and the fate of one of the artist. I explained each component of the game and the flow of the game. Despite the simple design of the game, there is a lot to keep track of. The players had never played a cooperative game before, so everything was new to them. I followed the advice of the rules and did not include traps in our game.

I originally set the game up for four players. Pat played as Lazare Bonticelli; Tammy played as Felix Moreau; Vince chose Gustave Bidau; and I played as Gaston Fayard. I was the first leader in the game due to my beard (the group thought it was funny that the rules state that the hairiest player was the first Mission Leader). Just as I dealt out the minimum number to cards, Vince got called away from the game to work on a task and attend a meeting. This caused a hiccup in the game as I took speech tokens out of the pile instead of adding them, and two of us had double left or right tiles in our support chits.

While we adhered to the rule about not talking about the cards in our own hands, we all shared the description of the battlefield to ensure we all knew what card would be a bad card to play (making three threats).

We played our hands slowly and deliberately. Pat was shocked to have the wild card with all six threats on it and he played it on his first play, since only a snow card had been played earlier. One his second play, Pat wisely used his lucky charm to remove the “Triple Death” card (as he called it). Eventually, we reached a point where we all had to withdraw or fail the mission. I won the most support, so I was able to remove the trauma from my character. Unfortunately, I had not played my “Wounded” card, which counts as two hard knocks. That would have been a nice card to discard with my support.

By the third mission, we had all used our lucky charms. Pat had been lucky that he had been able to play all his cards in the past three missions. I, on the other hand, was not so lucky. My hand had been growing each round. Tammy was not doing much better as she had a trauma for snow and a phobia of bullets that kept working against us in no man’s land.

As the missions wore on, Pat kept accumulating support. Both Tammy and Pat eventually recovered their lucky charm to use in a mission. But not me.

We discovered that it was good for Tammy to withdraw when another snow or bullet was in play as it freed up room in no man’s land as her hard knocks no longer counted against us. We had used all our speech tokens, but it did not seem to be enough to turn the tide.

By mission six, I had eight cards in my hand and it was clear I was never going to get rid of them. I had finally placed my “Wounded” card, but it was putting my ability to deal with hard knocks as a serious disadvantage.

We knew we were on our final mission when we saw one last card in the moral pile. Pat was able to play the Merry Christmas card to give us some hope, but it was too little too late. Pat was able to empty his hand and had collected all but one support in the game. Both Tammy and I both had three hard knock cards in our hand each and two hard knock cards on our character. There was no way we could win at this point and we lost the war.

We made a couple of rules mistakes during our first play. First, and only mistake to our advantage, we forgot to move morale cards to the mission deck after the first two missions. (But we still lost). Second, I removed speech tokens instead of adding them. Third, we did not use the speech tokens correctly. Our speeches removed a hard knock from one player instead of allowing the other players to remove a threat. That was a big mistake. Fourth, we improperly considered three hard knocks a failed mission, so that worked against us heavily. Fifth, we always took three cards for a mission (we misunderstood the initial minimum as the minimum period.)

The way the events unfolded led to Pat holding most of the support tokens but he rarely had any hard knocks to remove. As the support tokens rotated around, it seemed that neither Tammy nor I received enough support to manage our hard knocks.

It was unclear if Pat was allowed to withdraw if he had played all his card (which he did several times). It did not work to our disadvantage for him to “stay in play”, but he did not play a support token because he did not withdraw, and that probably led to him gathering all the support tokens.

It was a new game for everyone, and even though I watched the “how to play” video, I was still a new player, too. Our learning the game took longer than the thirty minutes we were allocated to play (it was closer to 40 minutes).

Overall, everyone still enjoyed the game. It was a new experience, with beautiful cards, and an engaging theme. Everyone wants to play it a few more times to get the hang of the game.

For my other session reports on our Game Lunch Fridays at the Office, see my Game Lunch Fridays at the Office GeekList.
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David Goldfarb
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pdzoch wrote:
Fifth, we always took three cards for a mission (we misunderstood the initial minimum as the minimum period.)

Ouch! That would make the game pretty much unwinnable, right there.

pdzoch wrote:
The way the events unfolded led to Pat holding most of the support tokens but he rarely had any hard knocks to remove. As the support tokens rotated around, it seemed that neither Tammy nor I received enough support to manage our hard knocks.

It sounds like you might have been playing that one wrong, too: were you playing that the person who is holding the most tokens gets support? It's meant to be, the person who receives the most that round, regardless of how the others are distributed around the table.

pdzoch wrote:
It was unclear if Pat was allowed to withdraw if he had played all his card (which he did several times). It did not work to our disadvantage for him to “stay in play”, but he did not play a support token because he did not withdraw, and that probably led to him gathering all the support tokens


A player with no cards in hand can always withdraw.

If you had someone never withdrawing, how did you ever succeed in any missions? A mission succeeds when all players withdraw.
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Patrick Zoch
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David Goldfarb wrote:
pdzoch wrote:
Fifth, we always took three cards for a mission (we misunderstood the initial minimum as the minimum period.)

Ouch! That would make the game pretty much unwinnable, right there.

Yeah. It was brutal.

David Goldfarb wrote:
pdzoch wrote:
The way the events unfolded led to Pat holding most of the support tokens but he rarely had any hard knocks to remove. As the support tokens rotated around, it seemed that neither Tammy nor I received enough support to manage our hard knocks.

It sounds like you might have been playing that one wrong, too: were you playing that the person who is holding the most tokens gets support? It's meant to be, the person who receives the most that round, regardless of how the others are distributed around the table.


This came to the luck of the tokens. Whenever one person received the most support, it tended to be Pat. When it wasn't Pat, it tended to be a tie. When Tammy and I came down to one token each, all we could do was play it. But Pat was not making any conscience decision about his token. I think he was simply grabbing on at random.

David Goldfarb wrote:
pdzoch wrote:
It was unclear if Pat was allowed to withdraw if he had played all his card (which he did several times). It did not work to our disadvantage for him to “stay in play”, but he did not play a support token because he did not withdraw, and that probably led to him gathering all the support tokens


A player with no cards in hand can always withdraw.

If you had someone never withdrawing, how did you ever succeed in any missions? A mission succeeds when all players withdraw.


We understand it now, but it was unclear at first. The goal was to play through the cards in our hands. Withdrawing suggested that we could not and would be left with cards in our hands, which worked against us when the moral dropped. Pat played all three cards in his first hand and had no hard knocks, so it did not seem to make sense for him to withdraw. If he had a speech or a good luck charm, he could still contribute to the game. During one mission, Tammy and I both withdrew and Pat played out his last cards. The mission ended because there were no more turns to make, not because he withdrew. But that should be his last action. The rules did not seem to be clear on that to us. At least not thematically.


When we play the game again, we will NOT make the same mistakes and will hopefully have a better session to report!


 
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