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Subject: 2+ hour game time and very little player engagement? rss

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Nicholas Leeman
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Question for experienced Vast players. My group is two games in with 5 players. Both games took 3+ hours (game 1 was 3.5, and game 2 was solidly 3 hours), and felt almost completely player non-interactive. My problem is that I don't mind a long game as long as turns are quick, but we were looking at 10-15 minutes per round. And the Thief in game two played his turns in less than a minute each, and then went back to playing Hearthstone on his phone because the rounds were painfully long.
I'll answer any questions about what we were doing to take that long, but is that the norm? It seems like there are roles (Goblins, Cave) that can't pre-plan their turns at all, so they have no reason to stay engaged in the game through very, very long turns.

Help?
 
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Jacob Casper
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TheMadjai wrote:
Question for experienced Vast players. My group is two games in with 5 players. Both games took 3+ hours (game 1 was 3.5, and game 2 was solidly 3 hours), and felt almost completely player non-interactive. My problem is that I don't mind a long game as long as turns are quick, but we were looking at 10-15 minutes per round. And the Thief in game two played his turns in less than a minute each, and then went back to playing Hearthstone on his phone because the rounds were painfully long.
I'll answer any questions about what we were doing to take that long, but is that the norm? It seems like there are roles (Goblins, Cave) that can't pre-plan their turns at all, so they have no reason to stay engaged in the game through very, very long turns.

Help?



We can get through a game in about 90 minutes these days. Player interaction should come in the form of the cave player harassing literally everyone at all times.

Always have a cave player.
 
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Jeff Wood
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My own experience is that interaction grows as the game goes on, as it becomes necessary to stall whoever is the leader.
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Alex Martinez
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Are you playing on Easy difficulty? It's something I really recommend, especially when learning the game and playing with many players.

The game is fairly straightforward, but the learning curve can be tricky, especially with certain types of players.

As for player interaction, I don't know how you classify it. I've found a lot of interaction, even if it isn't always direct. Everyone has to consider how they hinder and help other players, though it's not always obvious.
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Patrick Leder
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When new players are stumbling I recommend the Cave player spend about half their Omens on harassment. I think a lot of new players fail to do that instead focusing on Treasures (for income) and Hatred (obvious growth).

For what it is worth my group got games down to 60 to 75 minutes in the end.
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Ethan Furman
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A person should be able to take their turn inside of three minutes, tops, and usually one minute -- assuming players are staying engaged when not their turn. An average round with five players should be about seven to eight minutes. This assumes that each player knows their role and how to play it, of course -- otherwise it can easily drag on for far too long.
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Elias Helfer
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I've played with a lot of new people, and it can be a bit slow as people get used to the game. I do think it speeds up as people get to know the game.

On the other hand, I really don't understand how you can say it's not interactive. Sure, you often don't do much on other players' turns, but what they do affect you majorly. Everybody is changing the map around you, taking or depositing treasures and gems, attacking you, eating you - I find it to be a very interactive game. That's part of why it can take a while - you barely understand what you can do, let alone all your competitors.
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Nicholas Leeman
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eliashelfer wrote:

On the other hand, I really don't understand how you can say it's not interactive. Sure, you often don't do much on other players' turns, but what they do affect you majorly. Everybody is changing the map around you, taking or depositing treasures and gems, attacking you, eating you - I find it to be a very interactive game. That's part of why it can take a while - you barely understand what you can do, let alone all your competitors.


Allow me to clarify. What I meant was, there's not much for other players to do when it's not their turn. Absolutely things that players do affect others, but for the most part, they don't need to react or respond to those things until it's their turn again, so once my turn is over (again, for the most part), there's not much for me to "do" or pay attention to until my next turn. At that point, I can analyze the board and determine my next move.
 
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B C Z
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TheMadjai wrote:
there's not much for me to "do" or pay attention to until my next turn. At that point, I can analyze the board and determine my next move.


How do you judge game state when your turn starts again?
Why aren't you doing that during other player's turns?

Honest question:

Is Vast taking a long time and that's strange because normally your group moves quickly?

Or

Is Vast taking a long time and that's par for the course because your group often has people taking a long time for their turn regardless of the game?
 
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Nicholas Leeman
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byronczimmer wrote:

How do you judge game state when your turn starts again?
Why aren't you doing that during other player's turns?


Specifically for the goblins and cave, their turn is dependent on blind draws, so they can get an idea for what they want to do, but can't actually do anything without knowing their tiles (cave) or war card (goblins). Additionally, since to goblin objective is to kill the Knight, and they act immediately after the knight, they don't have much time to pre-plan their turn. They respond to what just happened, and if the Knight did something weird they didn't expect, then they have to take some time to think about how to adjust.

byronczimmer wrote:

Honest question:

Is Vast taking a long time and that's strange because normally your group moves quickly?

Or

Is Vast taking a long time and that's par for the course because your group often has people taking a long time for their turn regardless of the game?


More B than A, but my question is less about the length and more about what happens during that time. I don't mind a 3-hour game. My issue is that during that three hours, the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn, and almost won (Vast, not Hearthstone). There felt like too much downtime for players to sit around and do nothing. And the box says 60-90, so we're wondering what we're doing wrong to be off on the box time by nearly double.
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Yoki Erdtman
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TheMadjai wrote:
More B than A, but my question is less about the length and more about what happens during that time. I don't mind a 3-hour game. My issue is that during that three hours, the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn, and almost won (Vast, not Hearthstone). There felt like too much downtime for players to sit around and do nothing. And the box says 60-90, so we're wondering what we're doing wrong to be off on the box time by nearly double.
We played our first five-player game just last week, with three brand new players, and two of us having played once. We found it a very engaging game as it's quite political, you have to make sure that everyone is aware of who is closest to winning. You cannot hit your main target too hard if that allows its target in turn to steal the win. We frequently used the reference sheet listing how each role can directly influence each other role.
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Jacob Casper
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TheMadjai wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:

How do you judge game state when your turn starts again?
Why aren't you doing that during other player's turns?


Specifically for the goblins and cave, their turn is dependent on blind draws, so they can get an idea for what they want to do, but can't actually do anything without knowing their tiles (cave) or war card (goblins). Additionally, since to goblin objective is to kill the Knight, and they act immediately after the knight, they don't have much time to pre-plan their turn. They respond to what just happened, and if the Knight did something weird they didn't expect, then they have to take some time to think about how to adjust.

byronczimmer wrote:

Honest question:

Is Vast taking a long time and that's strange because normally your group moves quickly?

Or

Is Vast taking a long time and that's par for the course because your group often has people taking a long time for their turn regardless of the game?


More B than A, but my question is less about the length and more about what happens during that time. I don't mind a 3-hour game. My issue is that during that three hours, the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn, and almost won (Vast, not Hearthstone). There felt like too much downtime for players to sit around and do nothing. And the box says 60-90, so we're wondering what we're doing wrong to be off on the box time by nearly double.


Cave always has a hand of three tiles at all times.
 
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Nicholas Leeman
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Omen tiles.
 
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C&H Schmidt
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I have to say that with 5 players, I found the game too long as well, although I definitely don't find it uninteractive. With three players, that complaint completely disappears.
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Nicholas Leeman
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Gswp wrote:
I have to say that with 5 players, I found the game too long as well, although I definitely don't find it uninteractive. With three players, that complaint completely disappears.


Good to know. Can you let me know what interaction looks like in your group? I'd be curious to know what we're not doing.
 
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TheMadjai wrote:
the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn


That player wouldn't be invited back to play with me for starters. In fact, if they started up their first game before their first turn, it would've very quickly turned into a 4p game, which would have sped things up considerably.
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Nicholas Leeman
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byronczimmer wrote:
TheMadjai wrote:
the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn


That player wouldn't be invited back to play with me for starters. In fact, if they started up their first game before their first turn, it would've very quickly turned into a 4p game, which would have sped things up considerably.


He didn't. He was there to play the game, and was engaged outside of his turn for at least an hour. After that, when his turns were taking literally 15-30 seconds, and he was waiting 10-20 minutes for his next turn, he took out his phone. I didn't blame him.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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My two cents, with much echoing of what’s already been said...

The game has a fierce learning curve, exacerbated by each player having their own set of rules. In most games, players can help and learn from each other. Not so much here, especially if everyone is new. Once everyone understands what’s going on, though, the game is pretty zippy.

How players affect each other is not obvious. So once everyone has learned the rules for their role, they then have to learn how to effectively effect the others. And sometimes that means, instead of directly hurting player A, helping player B instead who can then hurt A.

It’s true this game has nothing for a (non-Cave) player to do off-turn. I like to encourage kibitzing in this case. You can’t let player B let player A get ahead, especially if B is the only one who can directly hinder A. Off-turn, you should be very invested in making sure no one is throwing the game to anyone else.

Unless they are throwing it to you.
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Jeff Wood
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TheMadjai wrote:
Gswp wrote:
I have to say that with 5 players, I found the game too long as well, although I definitely don't find it uninteractive. With three players, that complaint completely disappears.


Good to know. Can you let me know what interaction looks like in your group? I'd be curious to know what we're not doing.


One example is me as the Goblins. The knight pushed to get the Grit to power-up, while the Dragon was very slowly advancing on their Sloth track and mainly ignoring the other two. I had beat up several times on the Knight before she got her Grit assigned to Strength rather than movement.

Then suddenly, I started moving my Goblins and revealing them next to the Dragon. The Knight wanted to know why I was helping the Dragon. I pointed out the Knight had knocked three points off the dragon in so many turns, the Dragon was too weak and I wasn't going to lose when feeding the Dragon would fend off the Knight with stronger Armor.

At the end game, the Goblins and the Knight joined together to stall and manipulate the Collapsing Cave to set up the Dragon for multiple beatings when he Surfaced. The Knight by that point had healed two health points and it would take me multiple turns solely on beating up the Knight to whittle her down again...I needed time to prepare an ambush. In the meantime, I needed to support the Knight to be a threat still to the Dragon anyway she could.

Politics.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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TheMadjai wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
TheMadjai wrote:
the thief played 3 games of Hearthstone while waiting for his turn


That player wouldn't be invited back to play with me for starters. In fact, if they started up their first game before their first turn, it would've very quickly turned into a 4p game, which would have sped things up considerably.


He didn't. He was there to play the game, and was engaged outside of his turn for at least an hour. After that, when his turns were taking literally 15-30 seconds, and he was waiting 10-20 minutes for his next turn, he took out his phone. I didn't blame him.
If those times aren't exaggerated, I don't blame him either.

Personally I've only played VAST with 3 players and found that I was always very much engaged trying to strategize between my turns (I've mostly played cave, which is almost a bit Dungeon Mastery in how you have to balance/delay all the other players), but even in our learning games, 10 minutes per turn was unheard of.
 
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Nicholas Leeman
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Flamin_Jesus wrote:
TheMadjai wrote:
when his turns were taking literally 15-30 seconds, and he was waiting 10-20 minutes for his next turn, he took out his phone. I didn't blame him.
If those times aren't exaggerated, I don't blame him either.


They're not. My group has officially waved off of Vast due to not seeing the benefit to the time. It's a huge bummer for me, 'cause I love the game. And now, I don't have anyone to play it with. Maybe I'll let them cool off for a while. cry
 
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Nicholas Bamber
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TheMadjai wrote:
Maybe I'll let them cool off for a while. cry


I'd also suggest starting with just 2-player and studying the rules to make sure you have know them backwards.
 
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