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Subject: Item distribution rss

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Chris S
Germany
Abensberg
Bavaria
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Hi geeks,

I had this discussion with a friend of mine who also backed the Kickstarter so we have a couple of games each, some together, others with our respective board game groups.

We are both huge fans of Brandon Sanderson so getting this was a no-brainer and we adore the game so much. However he told me yesterday that the last game we played before Christmas was the most boring game he ever had so far, and I might have caused it.

What I would like to get out of you here is if you feel the same way. Have you already identified this as well and then adapted your game play. Do you maybe even have a rule for this?

You see us being fans and friends means we talk quite a bit about our games and of course we also discuss strategy. So here is what I said what triggered this:

What I mentioned to him is that in a 2 player game which I played with my gf one of us had Cody. Due to the special ability of Cody it felt like nearly every item we bought would have been better given to Cody instead of the other Reckoner. That lead to a situation in which Cody had like 10 items while the other Reckoner had 2.
Now this game was still fun mostly because it was the 2 of us and we discussed everything together so in the end it did not really matter which Reckoner had the items.

In the game before Christmas it was a bit different. We were 5 players and I took Cody out of the character choice because I did not want this to happen again (for some it was the first playthrough). That did however not prevent it from happening. For the first items that are bought, if there was not a logical choice we gave them out "randomly". However later on items would appear that would build up a synergy with other items that were handed out before. So of course it would make sense to hand this item to the Reckoner creating the synergy. But this new item would trigger even more synergetic effects and we ended up stacking a lot of items on 2 characters, while others had none.
My friends was playing Prof and had 0 or 1 items available to him. In later rounds other characters were even producing more Plan Tokens than he was and he only had 6 dice.
The player count unfortunately did not help this as a group discussion with 5 people is a lot more complicated. Don't get me wrong we are not talking Alpha Players here, no one was forcing anything on other players. But with 5 players there are some that are naturally quieter than others.
So we had one player with no items who is also quite and in the end felt like he did not have much impact on this game.


Now we will continue playing The Reckoners, because we still like it but we are considering introducing a house rule which says that no Reckoner is allowed to have more than 2 items more than any other Reckoner.
We also agreed that the game is played best with 3 players (but this has probably more to do with co-op games in general).

So what's your take on this?

Cheers,
Chris
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Felix Scholz
Germany
Gütersloh
NRW
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Hi Chris,

I definately see this happening in my games a lot. Strategically it just makes sense for most items to be together.
In my games it David most of the time, due to his special ability it feels right to give him additional dice that get bought. Once he has some of those, items that let you swap one icon into another are most useful in his hands. And like that it kind of snowballs.

I try to balance this out with other items that are reletivly independet of other items but depending on the order they become available the ownership of items can get very one-sided.

For me thats not really a problem since lately I mostly play The Reckoners solo (didn't really click with my gaming groups. Hopefully the expansion will change that).

As for your proposed house rule. I don't think I would like it because it sets a rather arbitrary limitation. I could see myself buying the cheapest stuff for other characters just to bunch the important items together just like before.
But thats rather objective. If it helps your groups to enjoy the game more go for it.
If you catch yourself buying cheap items to circumvent the rule you could go try to keep item value balanced across players, but that would probably require more book keeping than reasonable.

Cheers,
Felix
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Bowen Jacobs
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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My wife and I have played many a game of Reckoners (probably somewhere around 2 dozen at this point) with various #s of Reckoners, and while we’ve definitely seen situations like this before, it’s never really been an issue for us. I remember one game we gave Cody ALL of the extra dice (although by the end it was mostly just so that we could say that we did it). But we’ve also had plenty of games where the epuipment was distributed fairly evenly, and we haven’t lost a game in ages (and we only ever play at Sparks level any more). Here are a couple disjointed thoughts that may or may not be helpful:

Usually we give each Reckoner 1 or 2 primary tasks, and then look for items that help each reckoner with that task. For example: we set Abraham the task of killing pesky epics, and so to help with that we usually give him items that help him get Research results, so that he is better able to research and then kill Epics on his own. With Tia we do the opposite. So on and so forth. So with this tactic, instead of building up one super-Reckoner, we spread the items out and use them to make each Reckoner a specialist in one or two things.

There are a lot of items that don’t matter which Reckoner you give them to (ie: Grenada Launcher, Drones, Medkit, etc). Don’t hesitate to spread those out to some of the Reckoners that aren’t getting enough love.

While many items build on each other and create synergies, there are some that give diminishing returns when stacked. For example, all of the pieces of equipment that turn 1 symbol on your white dice ito 2 symbols. I find it’s usually best to spread those out to different Reckoners, so that each Reckoner has one symbol they’re hunting for on their white dice.

Certain Reckoners are more prone to being souped up than others. Namely, Cody, David, and Abraham, because of their unique abilities. In the case of a player who feels like they got jipped, in the next game you can give them one of the super-Reckoners and leave the others in the box, then let them experience the awesomeness of having all the stuff.

Lastly: once you’ve played this game a few times and gotten the hang of it it’s not very hard to beat. A lot of people have complained about this on the forums, but I don’t really mind. I still enjoy playing the game just for the sake of playing the game. Anyway, my point is that you don’t always HAVE to take the MOST optimal strategy in order to win. Don’t feel bad about giving an upgrade to Megan, even though Cody could get better mileage out of it, for example. Spread the goodies around and have fun killing Epics and bringing down Steelheart!
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Anne Reynolds
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Colorado
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I see it happening in my gameplays as well. Cards tend to combo up, so you want to put them with the same player. My gaming group tends to want to spread out capabilities, though, so each player seems to get at least one fun combo with one player getting one large combo or several smaller combos.

This tendency toward grouping doesn't seem to bother the folks with whom I've played. I can see where YMMV, though.
 
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