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A Feast for Odin» Forums » General

Subject: Why is this game Medium Heavy rated? rss

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Tom
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Hello, please help to let me understand why it is medium heavy voted and maybe a comparison to other games of medium and heavy scale?


For myself (after around 8 games now) I don't think it as that heavy. Medium, yes, and only medium-heavy for someone who would not be into such games but compared to other games, this one here is open but not that complex.

Ok normally, I define a complex game, if I have a lots of free choices I can make and the game will not tell me if thats good or bad (like a 4X game. I could get Zero Points in Twilight Imperium if I wanted, but that would be boring....) or if it is a maze of logical impacts for later where a I have to plan ahead 2-3 Rounds/Actions and more (like Foodchain Magnate or Yokohama).

This week I played Yokohama. At first I thought "Hey thats straight forward what I can do and what I want to do" But oh boy I let my head burn to think 4 Turns ahead to reach one goal. In Feast for odin it took me 2-3 Rounds where it was narrowed down by the players how complex it could be for me.

I would say Agricola/Caverna>Le Havre>A Feast for Odin


Thanks for your time.

Best Regards
Tom
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Scott Hill
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Weight is an extremely nebulous and highly subjective concept.

For me weight covers all of the following:

- Depth and breadth of the decision space.
- Complexity of the ruleset.
- Interconnectedness of the mechanics.
- Fiddlyness of the components.
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RyuSora
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The game is heavier than a fat baby, that says a lot.
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Steven Irrgang
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I honestly expected, from the title, for this to be asking why it wasn't rated heavier! My friends and I were actually quite surprised how low it was rated for heaviness.

I think it's the difference between "heavy" and "deep".

A "deep" game is one where there are many layers of strategies and counter strategies, and that takes a long time to master.

Being "deep" does make a game more "heavy", but being "heavy" also includes other aspects like:
* Having a lot of components
* Taking a long time to play
* Taking a long time to explain or understand the rules
* Taking a long time to grasp the basic strategies
* Having a lot of qualitatively different options to choose from at any given time
* Generally being epic

Think of it in terms of barriers to casual players. Being deep isn't a barrier at all in and of itself (though it can make it very hard to join an experienced group). But all of the above would make it quite hard to convince a casual gamer to try it out.

I'd agree that Odin possibly isn't as deep as some other, less heavy games. But it wins hands down in all of the other categories, over almost anything outside of hardcore war games.

Chess, by comparison, is a classic example of a game that's extremely deep, but much less heavy. Chess I notice has a similar weight rating (slightly lower), but I would say Chess's rating comes entirely from being deep whereas Odin's comes from all the other aspects of being heavy.

I'm talking down Odin's deepness, but it's still fairly deep in the scheme of things. The solo game is very deep for a solo game. The main thing that stops it from being super-deep is that even the multiplayer game is a bit multi-player solitaire. Interaction is limited to racing for specific resources (mostly action spaces), and that can be interesting but only ever gets one or two layers deep.
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Olli Juhala
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It's rated what it is because there doesn't exist any sort of real weight categorization, nor can there ever be, so we are left with a poll of user feelings.
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Tom
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ryusora wrote:
The game is heavier than a fat baby, that says a lot.


Caverna weights more I think (punched) but yes thats something.


Irgy wrote:
Being "deep" does make a game more "heavy", but being "heavy" also includes other aspects like:
* Having a lot of components
* Taking a long time to play
* Taking a long time to explain or understand the rules
* Taking a long time to grasp the basic strategies
* Having a lot of qualitatively different options to choose from at any given time
* Generally being epic


Na I would say 50%:
Yes lots of components,
Medium Time to play ,depends on the people!,
Explaining is fairly light-medium and standard time,
understand the rules: here it can go deep but if you already played caverna or agricola it is easier to get in,
the Basic strategies I found fairly easy to see. Yes you have multiple to mix and match but you can play all of them with lucky timing or you take 2 ways if one of them is blocked by others.
The Epic I would say here is the rulebook and the other books. There is so much content and the graphics are also good!


 
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Ryan Feathers
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So first off understand that only about 300 people have voted in the weight poll, and it's just whatever users wanted to vote in that, so basically I'd recommend taking all weight ratings on the site with a bit of a grain of salt.

Most of the other users here have been giving you good responses. I'll just quite share my thoughts.

I too would rate this a 4, or Medium-Heavy. If able I'd probably give it a 3.5 but that's not a real choice and I lean a bit more towards the 4 than the 3, so that's how my vote wound up. It is a game with a 20 page rulebook, 60+ action spaces, many phases. Basically there are quite a bit of rules. it takes 20ish minutes to teach which puts it on the heavier side of Euro games which is mostly the scale I operate on. (If we start including wargame rules complexity then pretty much everything I play looks fairly light in comparison, which is just part of the problem of the ill defined weight rating). AFFO is a pretty deep game as well with lots of strategic avenues to explore and learn from. It takes quite awhile to start getting great scores and learning the nuances.

All of which makes for a game that I think pretty fairly is near a 4 weight rating. If you'd prefer to view it as a 3, or medium, I don't really have any quibbles there.

It's much like actual ratings--some games I'm a bit baffled by their ratings, but alas different users have different views than me and I just don't sweat it too much. Most of the time I can understand why many for example love Castles of Burgundy even though I rate it quit a bit worse than the average.

Weight ratings sometimes work the same way--I look at them and don't quite agree, but can usually understand why others might be voting the way they are and just move along. There's not much one gains from worrying about these things.
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Tom
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Ranior wrote:
So first off understand that only about 300 people have voted in the weight poll, and it's just whatever users wanted to vote in that, so basically I'd recommend taking all weight ratings on the site with a bit of a grain of salt.

Most of the other users here have been giving you good responses. I'll just quite share my thoughts.

I too would rate this a 4, or Medium-Heavy. If able I'd probably give it a 3.5 but that's not a real choice and I lean a bit more towards the 4 than the 3, so that's how my vote wound up. It is a game with a 20 page rulebook, 60+ action spaces, many phases. Basically there are quite a bit of rules. it takes 20ish minutes to teach which puts it on the heavier side of Euro games which is mostly the scale I operate on. (If we start including wargame rules complexity then pretty much everything I play looks fairly light in comparison, which is just part of the problem of the ill defined weight rating). AFFO is a pretty deep game as well with lots of strategic avenues to explore and learn from. It takes quite awhile to start getting great scores and learning the nuances.

All of which makes for a game that I think pretty fairly is near a 4 weight rating. If you'd prefer to view it as a 3, or medium, I don't really have any quibbles there.

It's much like actual ratings--some games I'm a bit baffled by their ratings, but alas different users have different views than me and I just don't sweat it too much. Most of the time I can understand why many for example love Castles of Burgundy even though I rate it quit a bit worse than the average.

Weight ratings sometimes work the same way--I look at them and don't quite agree, but can usually understand why others might be voting the way they are and just move along. There's not much one gains from worrying about these things.


Thank you all for the inside. Yes I can see why it is voted like that.

For me 30 minutes explaining is around a TI4 or something like that so that makes total sense. Also it has a lot of text, and we found out, it would be a lot easier with a small overview sheet with the symbols on it and 1 sentence or so but hey, the plus point is that he clears things up in the rulebook pretty good.

The actions itself are repeating and would put them in their groups with different types so that shrinks a lot the many actions you can do. Still it is a lot of actions.

But I have to say, that he really put in his other games to make it a big one.
 
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Ryan Feathers
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I'm an unashamed Uwe fanboy. Beyond his greatness with mechanics and all that, I think he's really good with rulebooks and making a game with good information design/layout/etc. Essentially if there was some word/concept for how easy it was to grasp and get in the flow of a game, despite it's seeming complexity, I think Uwe is incredibly good at that.

The rulebooks are often very well laid out and written. (Something that I personally think shows through in the Terra Mystica rulebook as well, which is another one Uwe heavily helped with). The theming of the game tends to assist with learning and playing along. Overall despite AFFO seeming scariness of it's massive action board, many phases, lots of card text, I think the game does play out quite a bit easier than that, especially once you get into it a bit and everything nicely clicks together.

In contrast some other games have much worse information design and it can be a slog to figure it all out, even if there are less rules. Some of that is theme isn't as nicely tied in. Some is the rulebook is not as cleanly laid out. Others it just is that the artwork/layout is poorly done to easily communicate what is going on in the game.

I'm just saying all this because I agree that if you want to call this a medium weight game I really have no qualms with that. I think many of Uwe's titles are fairly easy to grasp because I think that's kind of one of the features of many of his games. He seems really good at making games that are easier to grasp than their rulebooks/looks might suggest.

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Brad
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I'm not sure I have a real good grasp of what distinguishes a heavy game from a medium game, but I think I agree that A Feast for Odin is more on the medium side. When I brought it to a game day, I mentioned that it had a lot of stuff but it wasn't as complex as it looked. The group - admittedly all experienced gamers - had no problem figuring it out and playing it first go.

I do think that the game is longer than advertised. I only have a half dozen plays so far, so I expect to get faster, but every time I've brought this to the table, it has taken twice as long to play as I expected. With four players in the long game, I think it took us 4.5 hours, though I don't think anyone was bored or unhappy. We finished and went, "Wait, we were playing for HOW long?" Time spent probably isn't a good way to gauge heaviness, but this is the longest game in my collection so far.

 
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Ranior wrote:
Essentially if there was some word/concept for how easy it was to grasp and get in the flow of a game, despite it's seeming complexity, I think Uwe is incredibly good at that.


'Intuitive' is a pretty good word for that particular property of games (it's a term also used in other design contexts, like user interfaces).

A game is intuitive if it's easy to understand how the pieces fit together and how it flows (whether it's a simple or complex game). Games can be simple but unintuitive (I think Go is actually like this, even though its rules are elegant), or complex but intuitive (I think A Feast for Odin is a good example of this).
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Steven Irrgang
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Ressless wrote:
ryusora wrote:
The game is heavier than a fat baby, that says a lot.


Caverna weights more I think (punched) but yes thats something.


Irgy wrote:
Being "deep" does make a game more "heavy", but being "heavy" also includes other aspects like:
* Having a lot of components
* Taking a long time to play
* Taking a long time to explain or understand the rules
* Taking a long time to grasp the basic strategies
* Having a lot of qualitatively different options to choose from at any given time
* Generally being epic


Na I would say 50%:
Yes lots of components,
Medium Time to play ,depends on the people!,
Explaining is fairly light-medium and standard time,
understand the rules: here it can go deep but if you already played caverna or agricola it is easier to get in,
the Basic strategies I found fairly easy to see. Yes you have multiple to mix and match but you can play all of them with lucky timing or you take 2 ways if one of them is blocked by others.
The Epic I would say here is the rulebook and the other books. There is so much content and the graphics are also good!


Well, it took us 5 hours for our first (4-player) playthrough. Which actually isn't including the time I spent getting everything out of the box and setting up beforehand, nor the hour or two I spent learning the rules myself (by way of a solo game) in order to be able explain it to everyone else. That's a lot more than than most games that I play. I'm not familiar with Caverna nor Agricola so I can't comment on those, though I notice their weight rating isn't all that different anyway.

It sounds to me like your experience with it simply just isn't typical. You mention that being familiar with Caverna and Agricola made it easier to understand the rules, I can imagine that would change your perception of the complexity of the game significantly. Maybe many of the people who voted on "weight" had to learn the game from scratch (which is what the vote ought to be based on anyway).
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Tom
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Sounds like a normal UWE Game where it takes longer, especially when people blocking each other and try to crack their head against each other.

The only that worked "fast" so far according to the time is Le Havre, Patchwork and the rest of the small puzzle games.
 
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I'm stunned by the times being reported here.

I'll admit that the game's listed time of 30/mins per player is a little fast in my experience, and I play in a group that generally finds stated playtimes to be accurate. I'd argue AFFO is a bit closer to 40/mins per player.

But 40/mins per player is pretty right on. I can solo a game in about that long. 2 players take a little over an hour. 3 players is probably about 2 hours and 4 player games are about 2.5 hours. I'd be pretty surprised if I sat down for a game of this that took over 3 hours, and I'd be quitting the game if we were playing slow enough that the game was going to take 4+ hours.

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Francis Irving
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Ryan - are you and your players really good at games like this?

I played four players the other week and I've no idea how long it took. 2 of us knew the game well, 1 was a new player, 1 had played once before. All game a fair amount. Including rules explanation was certainly 4 hours.

It used to take me 2 hours to solo it. Typical now for a new game for me is 1.5 hours.

If I've already got it set up, and I'm playing with same occupations (for a challenge), I can do it in maybe 50 minutes.

How do you understand the occupation cards and plan your strategy so well so quickly? Do you ever undo an action? Or do experimental puzzling? Or spend ages trying to rearrange a set of actions to be a bit tighter?

Maybe need to see videos of us playing to see what is happening.
 
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Ryan Feathers
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Well again, how does your group normally fare for speed in most games? For example my group finds Agricola or Terra Mystica to very much be about 2 hour games at 4 players. Stuff like Puerto Rico is 60-90 for 4. We tend to play pretty closely to what printed playtimes are on the box. I find this makes us a bit fast compared to many groups.

But as to some of your specific questions for AFFO, I find understanding the occupation cards to be pretty easy. I also tend to only pick a few to really fit into my strategy, as I'm only playing just a few early enough to really make use of them. (Also for what it's worth one of the lead playtestes for AFFO has basically stated it was intended for players to play the game like this, not trying to maxmize use of every occupation drawn, etc.)

We don't undo actions. My philosophy, and apparently that of my gaming friends, is that no individual game matters all that much. Additionally nobody has ever gained expertise by just sitting there and puzzling the game out for hours finding the optimal moves. Nah, expert players almost always just play a lot of games, learn from their mistakes. If you've ever sat down against a really good player at some of these games, true experts at these things tend to be able to take quick moves because they already know what the right moves are from experience. If you sit me down at a game of Terra Mystica I can practically play on auto pilot. My turns will be lightning fast. And unless you've studied the game a lot and are highly rated, I will beat you no matter how long you think about your turns. I find a lot of newer players to some games seem to think they'll play a lot better if they just think longer but I almost never have found that to be the case--usually players have a pretty good gut feeling about what action they should take. I suggest players just do so rather than try to math everything out, and learn from playing and experiencing what occurs.

As for experimental puzzling, this is where the game can really bog down. We try to limit it a bit. If I'm playing solo and really trying to maximize my score for one of the solo challenges I will play a bit longer. But for the most part I just puzzle stuff out at the end of the round and get it looking as best I can in a few minutes. Usually I can find an arrangement that gets most of my pieces on the board and unlocks some more income and bonuses and I call it good enough. Spending longer might reveal something better, but maybe not, and either way it's just dragging the game length out to a point where I and others aren't having as much fun.

Finally we absolutely do not spend ages trying to rearrange a set of actions to be tighter/better. In solo, again I occasionally do this. Again though I've developed some level of "mastery" in AFFO after playing 90+ times so a lot of things are still just by gut feeling, memory, experience, etc. I can run pretty tight action chains without having to think for too long as I know certain things that have worked well in the past. I have several favorite openings in solo that I can whip through in a few minutes if I want to. I do occasionally spend a few minutes to plan out an action chain but I don't spend too long trying to plan something too far ahead.

With all that being said I'm not trying to tell anyone how to play the game. If you all have fun thinking that deeply about the game and are engaged, go for it. Have fun playing AFFO and if it's entertaining your group for 4+ hours then there's nothing wrong with that. Personally that pace would be too slow for me and I'd be getting impatient, but that's why everyone can find the group that works for them. I'm lucky to have found some gaming buddies that play at a nice pace, even during some of these heavier games where one can get bogged down in considering options.
 
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Yeah, we play this almost exclusively 2-player and easily take up to 2 hours on a weeknight, possibly longer if we're relaxed and drinking wine during a weekend. We enjoy taking pleasure in the process. Like Ranior said, play where the fun is.

As for the weight of the game (while it might be a constructive conversation) without a concrete rubric, it's completely objective.
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Tom
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Ranior wrote:
Well again, how does your group normally fare for speed in most games? For example my group finds Agricola or Terra Mystica to very much be about 2 hour games at 4 players. Stuff like Puerto Rico is 60-90 for 4. We tend to play pretty closely to what printed playtimes are on the box. I find this makes us a bit fast compared to many groups.

But as to some of your specific questions for AFFO, I find understanding the occupation cards to be pretty easy. I also tend to only pick a few to really fit into my strategy, as I'm only playing just a few early enough to really make use of them. (Also for what it's worth one of the lead playtestes for AFFO has basically stated it was intended for players to play the game like this, not trying to maxmize use of every occupation drawn, etc.)

We don't undo actions. My philosophy, and apparently that of my gaming friends, is that no individual game matters all that much. Additionally nobody has ever gained expertise by just sitting there and puzzling the game out for hours finding the optimal moves. Nah, expert players almost always just play a lot of games, learn from their mistakes. If you've ever sat down against a really good player at some of these games, true experts at these things tend to be able to take quick moves because they already know what the right moves are from experience. If you sit me down at a game of Terra Mystica I can practically play on auto pilot. My turns will be lightning fast. And unless you've studied the game a lot and are highly rated, I will beat you no matter how long you think about your turns. I find a lot of newer players to some games seem to think they'll play a lot better if they just think longer but I almost never have found that to be the case--usually players have a pretty good gut feeling about what action they should take. I suggest players just do so rather than try to math everything out, and learn from playing and experiencing what occurs.

As for experimental puzzling, this is where the game can really bog down. We try to limit it a bit. If I'm playing solo and really trying to maximize my score for one of the solo challenges I will play a bit longer. But for the most part I just puzzle stuff out at the end of the round and get it looking as best I can in a few minutes. Usually I can find an arrangement that gets most of my pieces on the board and unlocks some more income and bonuses and I call it good enough. Spending longer might reveal something better, but maybe not, and either way it's just dragging the game length out to a point where I and others aren't having as much fun.

Finally we absolutely do not spend ages trying to rearrange a set of actions to be tighter/better. In solo, again I occasionally do this. Again though I've developed some level of "mastery" in AFFO after playing 90+ times so a lot of things are still just by gut feeling, memory, experience, etc. I can run pretty tight action chains without having to think for too long as I know certain things that have worked well in the past. I have several favorite openings in solo that I can whip through in a few minutes if I want to. I do occasionally spend a few minutes to plan out an action chain but I don't spend too long trying to plan something too far ahead.

With all that being said I'm not trying to tell anyone how to play the game. If you all have fun thinking that deeply about the game and are engaged, go for it. Have fun playing AFFO and if it's entertaining your group for 4+ hours then there's nothing wrong with that. Personally that pace would be too slow for me and I'd be getting impatient, but that's why everyone can find the group that works for them. I'm lucky to have found some gaming buddies that play at a nice pace, even during some of these heavier games where one can get bogged down in considering options.


I agree with a lot of this. You just play the first time you play it, maybe even the second time if you try to discover the other parts of the game.

I have one group where playing around this 2 hours is totally exact and non of them is a person who plays everything or every week. But they do their actions and try to do the best with it. Of course you have to plan beforehand a little bit or maybe you have a whole strategy in your mind if Case X and Y hits the table and it plays automatically.
And one more thing.: People who doesnt talk much and just play the game are really fast because they dont disturb themselves and others and concentrating on their turn the whole time.

But there are also other groups and people I play with. At first it looks straight forward but for some reason it slows down after the first few turns for games. Then you look around who is taking so long or why does some parts (like drafting in game) is longer then expected.

And I think reason for slowing down in games is taking care of others and socialising (even when unnoticed). So yes practically AFFO could be 30mins per Player.But don't forget they are talking and maybe doing their turn planning when its their turn, so they dont use the downtime for it. Or they are looking directly at all the other player actions and decide to change their plans and now it takes longer to reach their goal and they struggle to finish it but doenst want to give up.

The Only game where the Time on the box is absolutely not true is Mage Knight. It takes ages.... *joke*
 
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If I look at my collection of games I definitely rate Feast as being heavy.

Other main games I play include Carcassonne, Scythe, Dominion, Ashes, Trajan, Tzolkin, Zombicide

It has a huge number of resources. Like seriously huge. There are 32 different trade goods and 3 different mountain goods.

Compare this to Scythe which has 4 resources (Oil, Wood, Metal, Food) or Tzolkin which has 5 (Skulls, Corn, Wood, Stone Gold)

Each turn you have over 60 different actions to choose from. That is an overwhleming amount of choice. Again in Scythe you have 4 options. In Trajan you have 6. In Tzolkin you have 5 wheels.

I guess it really depends on the relativity of what games you are comparing it against.

If you took a groups of games that included Feast For Odin, Battleship, Cluedo, Monopoly, Jenga, Twister, Connect 4, Guess Who and Cards Against Humanity. You would have to say that Feast for odin is an extremely heavy and complex game.

If instead you took Agricola, Terra Mystica, Caverna and Feast for odin then it no longer appears quite so complex.
 
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Gernot Köpke
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I did not understand, why it is discussed the time, that is needed to play, in thinking about its "heavyness". However we will interpret this category, next to it is the category 'time'. Well, I still can comprehend, that time can be a scale of rumination, but many chessplayers play great games just in a few minutes...

I rated maximum "heaviness". For many people the enormous number of opportunities needs its time to handle with. For nerds and strategists it may be "heavy", because of its possibility to be very top-heaviness. In German, I would prefer to interpretate heaviness more like "Schwierigkeitsgrad" (something like 'difficulty level'). You still can play it without deeper analyses and the rules are made as simple as possible, but its potential is awesome. I don't know a boardgame that comes so close to classic games like Go or Chess, because of its abundance of strategies. I played it about 300 times and still did not watch all strategies or got boring. Let me call it therefor a "high-brainer" in distinction to a so called "no-brainer" (a more and more often used word in German) or "low-brainer" as I prefer to say. All testplayers in chessclub have been fascinated by this: Easy to learn, hard to master - like Chess and Go. Uwe's clue is in my eyes, that he develops games, that address freaks as well as "normal" players. In my eyes Frank realizes that precept as editor of "Feuerland" at its best.
Well, I have to announce, that I am not really unprejudiced in this case. My enthusiasm as a testplayer (and later almanac writer) was like this, that Uwe gave me the pleasure and honour to design the expansion with his mainlines and Franks antithesis in a complementary way whistle
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But how about Wargames and 18XX games or Steam/Rail Games where you have tight line to play good are bad or so many outcomes that are not well displayed and need time to figure out or only after X plays of that game?

I feel they are heavier, because the accessibility is much harder in my opinion.

Otherwise I have to rate a lot of games harder than normally for me. For example XIA: Legend of the Drift System or Marauders give so many possibilities to do stuff but they are not so heavy because it doesnt have a lot of planning for everything in advance because every round can change things.
 
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Ressless wrote:
But how about Wargames and 18XX games or Steam/Rail Games where you have tight line to play good are bad or so many outcomes that are not well displayed and need time to figure out or only after X plays of that game?

I feel they are heavier, because the accessibility is much harder in my opinion.

Otherwise I have to rate a lot of games harder than normally for me. For example XIA: Legend of the Drift System or Marauders give so many possibilities to do stuff but they are not so heavy because it doesnt have a lot of planning for everything in advance because every round can change things.


Weight ratings are only really useful if you stay within game type.
Mage Knight is a heavy euro game and compared to that a feast for Odin is medium heavy weight while something like Pandemic is a medium light weight and Carcassonne is light weight game.
If you start adding in Wargames suddenly the rating scale gets pushed. Compared to say Pericles or Pendragon, A feast for Odin is light weight and now suddenly you can’t really distinguish different Euros because the would all fall under light weight, even though the actually differ greatly in weight.
Only judge the weight rating compared to other games in the same type/genre and you will have a much more accurate comparative picture.
 
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