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Subject: First Game - which personalities should play which faction? rss

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Mr Suitcase
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Hi folks,

For my group's first game (using the base game only), I want to make it a success. But I really don't know the game well myself (beyond the rules).

To help ensure everyone enjoys themselves, I thought I might just dictate who plays which faction for the first game, rather than have folks pick one that looks "interesting" (looks can be deceiving!). The idea behind this is that it looks like 4 different games being played at once. So I think it's an opportunity to customize the experience for each player, and match who they play based on their personality!

But without the experience of playing each faction myself (never having played), I'm not sure who would be best where!

So, based on these personalities, who should I assign each faction?

1) Player A - enjoys Euros the most in the group. Also has the most potential for analysis paralysis - but nothing to an extreme level. Doesn't like being on the wrong side of kingmaking.

2) Player B - really likes engine building and worker placement games. Tends to do really well at these. However, out of all the group, tends to forget or overlook rules (in error, obviously) on the first several playthroughs, and can get frustrated if something negative occurs during gameplay as a result.

3) Player C - flexible player. Pays close attention to rules chats and can later point out errors others might be making. Good at advanced games, but often prefers simpler games to mentally relax on board game nights. Tends to enjoy thematic games, but has a mathematical streak.

4) Player D - Um.. That's me! I own most of the group's collection. As such, I'm usually the game teacher. I have an admiration for overall design in board games, and love games that express theme. I will play anything, and enjoy most types of games, but don't enjoy games with minimal player interaction as much (i.e. some euro/engine building games which can tend to seem like multiplayer solitaire). I'd like to think that winning or losing has the least effect on my ability to enjoy a game, but would require an independent third party to verify that!

And there you go! Any ideas who should play what factions to start? Or maybe you think assigning this way is an awful idea - let me know.

And if there's any more details you'd like to know, go ahead and ask!

 
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Geoff C
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A WAlliance
B Eyrie
C Vabagond
D Marquise
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Matt Matt
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I suggest

A -- Marquise
B -- Eyrie
C -- W - Alliance
D -- Vabagond
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Ken Brown
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The Marquise develops an economic engine - play style really depends on whether they decide to focus on crafting cards for points or being military. They don’t get a lot of points being militant, but by the same token, someone has to police the forest in order to keep other factions in check, and the cats can probably muster the greatest army - they can get up to six warriors out a turn, and their move action is twice as powerful as any other faction. Either way, the main way they get points is building more buildings.

The Eyrie is an action programming faction. Each turn you add cards to the decree, which means each successive turn you get more actions, and the more of their Roosts they have out, the more they score just for being in the game. But the price of failing to complete every action you’ve programmed in a turn means losing some points and starting the decree over. That said, going into turmoil isn’t the end of the world, and it’s not uncommon for it to happen a few times a game, but it can be demoralizing to new players. Experienced Eyrie players plan to go into turmoil - essentially, get as much of one thing done as you can, then switch tactics mid-game.

The Woodland Alliance is a faction about seizing opportunities and exponential growth. They literally begin the game with nothing on the board. The WA player has to start by spreading sympathy through the forest, then stage a revolt, which will get them some warriors. But they have a small army, and rely on taking advantage of opponents who don’t pay them enough attention to spread even more sympathy and craft cards. They start with modest point gains, but can rack up huge points later in the game if their opponents haven’t significantly suppressed them.

The Vagabond plays the most differently of all of them - the vagabond wanders the forest, exploring for items, trading cards and building alliances for items and points, completing quests, and fighting. The vagabond play needs to be able to read the board well - they need to avoid players that are tempted to hit them, because it can set them back significantly, but they also need to get crafted items off of others. You can play the vagabond as a lonely wanderer, getting points by completing quests, or as a helper who gets points by aiding others, or a fighter who scourges the forest for enemies. You’ll have to probably do a little bit of a couple different things to win, but you have to be flexible and not stretch yourself too thin. Your actions are limited to the number and types of items you’ve collected, and how many you can refresh a turn, so you really want to score the most points with the items you have possible - especially since each hit you take will render some of your items damaged, and if you take enough damage, you’ll have to waste a turn hiding in the woods fixing everything.

Hope that rundown helps!
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Stephen M
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Here's another way to look at the factions: the trickiest thing they'll need to be good at.

• The main challenge for the Marquise is that she takes up a lot of space, so she's in everyone's way. She's the least able to avoid "politics". She builds up a material economy, but remains limited in actions, so needs to cede some space to someone to avoid spreading those actions too thin.

• The Eyrie have a kind of logic puzzle. They need to follow through on a program repeatedly, and if they can, they get a lot of power. They can bypass some of the politics (not all) with "well, I have to do that because of a Decree I made three turns ago".

• The Alliance needs to time their pushes well. They can scare people with quick bursts of movement, or lie low and make carefully-chosen smaller moves to avoid a target on their back but risk never gaining enough steam.

• The Vagabond needs to make efficient use of their resources to gain more resources in as few turns as possible, while picking allies and enemies to slow the leader down.



A quick note on the Eyrie: They can feel like they're doing worse than they are at first (Turmoil isn't as bad as it sounds until you've gone through it) so avoid giving them to a player who'll hate that.

And on the Vagabond: Nobody needs to hit them to gain space, but the Vagabond can surprise everyone with a fast win if treated too generously, so they're in a weird spot.
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James Ling
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dmczyn wrote:
I suggest

A -- Marquise
B -- Eyrie
C -- W - Alliance
D -- Vabagond
Agree with this.
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Mr Suitcase
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Thanks for the suggestions! I really appreciate Ken and Stephen's breakdown of the factions.

Now, for Geoff's suggestion:
A WAlliance
B Eyrie
C Vabagond
D Marquise

And Matt's suggestion:
A -- Marquise
B -- Eyrie
C -- W - Alliance
D -- Vagabond

I'm curious about the reasoning behind the suggestions if, if you've got time. I only ask, because I basically looked at Geoff's and thought... "Yeah, that makes sense", then Matt's and thought "Yeah, that makes sense" !

I guess for myself, should I be the Marquise, as it looks like a "losing" battle territorially, even though you might be winning on points if you construct things right? Or the Vagabond because I'm the game teacher and it would be the most complex/open ended play of the factions?
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Stephen M
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Looking back at your player descriptions, my recommendations are once again different from Geoff's and Matt's lol.

I'd recommend A plays Eyrie, because they have a satisfying engine puzzle like Euros do, require the least calling-for-allies like Euros tend to lack, and because the Decree locking you into moves helps cuts down on analysis paralysis.

I'd steer B away from Eyrie, unlike the other two suggestions, because going into Turmoil can feel like a terrible and punishing mistake the first time you see it approaching. Vagabond has a constant progression (collecting more items which mean more actions) which might scratch the engine-building itch, and is way easier to play than its supposed high complexity would imply. A Vagabond can play the whole game with no serious setbacks, unless the other players decide they're a threat and start hitting them.

I'd recommend C plays WA, which have some tricky rules that it sounds like that player would get a good grip on, but also start out with simple, fast turns where there isn't much to do, which it sounds like that player wouldn't mind. They're also pretty satisfying thematically. It's a ridiculously good fit.

And yeah, Marquise for you. They're harder to win with than their simple rules would imply, and can play almost a moderator-like role sometimes. Teach them first to everyone, to introduce the basic concepts like move/battle/craft.
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Esben Heick
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If B doesnt like a good ol negative turmoil, crash and burn your faction into the ground, then steer B away from eyrie.

Root is a surprisingly stabby wargame. Stuff will go horribly wrong. I really agree with the above post. The Vagabond could be a fit. But also the marquise, who does not have a lot of rules.

Edit
Its true, eyrie is masterful engine building, but not in the terraforming mars / worker placement way. More in the "build a million tonnes freight train driving with a 45 degree tilt on a single track, and you only control the throttle.

The cats though, require a balancing act between building soldiers that makes you not die or wood, that gives you points.

A good engine builder is in fact the vagabond. Though you dont control what items you get (that is a) random in ruins and b) up to the other players) there are lots of synergies between the vagabonds items that are fun to explore. Also, the other players have no incentive to have the vagabond suffer, except hitting him if he starts to win. But his greatest power is that the other players cant scpre points in they attack him.
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Michael Brazen
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The reason I wouldn't recommend Marquise for player A is that the marquise are everywhere and it feels like everybody is against you. The eyrie as well, but honestly they're gonna have to get used to dealing with team ups if you're playing root.
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Hardboiled Gregg
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I think it's worth considering. I know one of my players hates programming games so I didn't give him the Eyrie first game but, having seen how much fun it really was, chose it the second time around.

I would say...

A) Eyrie. Most straightforward to play but really interesting 'puzzle' of chaining your actions. I can suffer from AP with a lot of games but I had a blast with these guys on my first go (I won, too) and the confrontational nature was softened because it was essentially, "Sorry, but I gotta do this. It is decreed"

B) Marquise. Sort of engine-building/economic and not too complex a playstyle but with enough interesting decisions. The only problem is that if they prefer the non-confrontational side of Euros then they'll probably dislike that they're in everyone's way by virtue of the setup; might just need to point out that they can't hope to hold the entire map.

C) Woodland Alliance. Even if they prefer to relax on game nights, since they can handle advanced games they're probably more suited to this than some of your other players. The theme of plucky underdogs might appeal also.

D) As the Vagabond, you have the most interactive role and the exceptional ruleset. There's some cool theming with quests and such while you can guide the "story" of the game somewhat depending on who you help/hinder.

You could potentially switch C & D but I think it'll mostly come down to how C feels. The player boards do have that little rating bit for Complexity & Aggression, which are probably the two key areas.
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Mr Suitcase
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OP here.

Lots of great suggestions.

I like this little tidbit (thanks Gregg). Wish I'd noticed this earlier.

HotHeart wrote:
The player boards do have that little rating bit for Complexity & Aggression, which are probably the two key areas.
The suggestions provided by you guys are quite diverse! But I'm detecting some theme/pattern to it.

For player C - Almost unanimously Woodland Alliance. And I agree with all the points made.

Between A and B - who to give the Eyrie? I think A and B would enjoy it. B might enjoy the programming aspect a bit more. But A would be more "ok" with going into turmoil.

Giving B the Vagabond is an interesting outside choice - he'd probably enjoy it a lot, IF he could grok the rules and get his head wrapped around it. Is there a lot of potential to mess up your overall plan if you get a rule wrong here or there? (we're generous with take backs as long as no new knowledge hits the board). This might be the deciding factor.


Also, I should have thought of this, but the players have preferred seats at the table, in the order D - A - C - B . So, if I wanted to go with that order for the included game walkthrough, Stephen's assignments look great (because they happen to be in that order!). (just curious, after you do the walkthrough, you can continue to play the rest of the game, right?). Anyways, that seating isn't fixed, just it's where they normally sit, so this is no big deal.

But, after reading everyone's ideas, I'm thinking of simply assigning C the Woodland, and then asking B which they'd prefer - the Eyrie (build up a powerful engine, but you can collapse), Vagabond (lots of flexibility to do whatever you want, but lots of rules), or Marquise (you'll be losing territory, but more straightforward rules). After I get B sorted out, I'll assign A the Eyrie if B didn't want it. Otherwise I'll give him the Marquise. Then I take what's leftover.

 
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Geoff C
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mrsuitcase wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions! I really appreciate Ken and Stephen's breakdown of the factions.

Now, for Geoff's suggestion:
A WAlliance
B Eyrie
C Vabagond
D Marquise

I'm curious about the reasoning behind the suggestions if, if you've got time.
Quote:
1) Player A - enjoys Euros the most in the group. Also has the most potential for analysis paralysis - but nothing to an extreme level. Doesn't like being on the wrong side of kingmaking.
This screamed WA to me. Except for Martial Law, you need not pay too much attention to interaction with others until you build a base.

Quote:
2) Player B - really likes engine building and worker placement games. Tends to do really well at these. However, out of all the group, tends to forget or overlook rules (in error, obviously) on the first several playthroughs, and can get frustrated if something negative occurs during gameplay as a result.
Engine building and worker placement is what the Eyrie are all about in spades. If errors bother him, the biggest ones are right in front of him in his decree. No one to blame but himself.

Quote:
3) Player C - flexible player. Pays close attention to rules chats and can later point out errors others might be making. Good at advanced games, but often prefers simpler games to mentally relax on board game nights. Tends to enjoy thematic games, but has a mathematical streak.

Flexible, relaxed, can help other players? Vagabond!

Quote:
4) Player D - Um.. That's me! I own most of the group's collection. As such, I'm usually the game teacher. ... I will play anything, and enjoy most types of games, but don't enjoy games with minimal player interaction as much ..I'd like to think that winning or losing has the least effect on my ability to enjoy a game...
Teaching the game and enjoys interaction and doesn't mind losing? Marquise de Cat.

I wont say that's the only or best way for your group, just what leaps out to me.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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I'd give WA to A, since they don't need to pay that much attention to other players, and more importantly you don't want to give a quasi solo-player one of the other factions because they can easily give the win to WA if they don't pay attention to them.

I'd give Eyrie to B I think, they're basically an engine-building faction that require more planning ahead than others, and their rules are arguably the most straightforward of the factions.

Vagabond and Marquise, I suppose I'd give them to C and D respectively, but I'd say the other way around would sound OK to me too.

The important thing is that Marquise needs to police and balance the other factions, they HAVE to go out and take hits or they automatically hand the win to whichever faction they let get away with the most (usually this is WA IME), but they also have to know when to be selfish or they don't win themselves.

The table needs to self-balance, this applies to every single faction, but some more than others. Marquise has the highest responsibility and hardest choices to make for this, since they keep getting hammered by Eyrie (who are set up to have no choice other than to go full on nuclear against them from the beginning) but need to hold back in their response to some degree, Vagabond is the backup balancer and can kingmake like nobody else, Eyrie needs to come to some agreement with Marquise even while they're tearing them down, WA can most easily capitalize on others' mistakes but needs to be ready to jump in with a rebellion if someone gets too threatening...
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Stephen M
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I disagree that the Woodland Alliance doesn't need to pay attention to other players much. Placing sympathy in the right clearings is key, you want to predict what clearings people will want to move through but haven't filled up with too many Warriors yet (Martial Law is a tricky rule that's easy to miss, it's in tiny text at the bottom of the player board). If you try to play an isolated game with WA, you can get trapped in a corner with no easy way to expand because nobody's triggered Outrage and all your borders are in Martial Law. They're a ridiculously good fit for C in my opinion.


This thread is honestly a really cool exercise! It's fun to see how a bunch of different people would match these player-personality descriptions to the factions.


Here's another way to go about it -- I usually print out this sheet and let players choose their own faction based on a quick summary. Helps people be more invested.

I also slightly recommend against using the walkthrough. In my experience players don't realize why certain things are happening in the walkthrough, and can form terrible misconceptions.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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My reasoning is that it's easier for a less observant non-WA player to hand WA a victory without realizing it than it is for a less observant WA player to screw himself over, but of course, ultimately no faction can afford to ignore the other players entirely.
 
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Geoff C
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Ditocoaf wrote:
I disagree that the Woodland Alliance doesn't need to pay attention to other players much.
Sure, but this is just for the first game. Once you have them hooked, ramp up the strategy tips.
 
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Stephen M
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Talonz wrote:
Ditocoaf wrote:
I disagree that the Woodland Alliance doesn't need to pay attention to other players much.
Sure, but this is just for the first game. Once you have them hooked, ramp up the strategy tips.
I specifically think a new player's first thought when playing WA should be "I want to put this sympathy down where it'll get triggered". Stuff beyond that is advanced strategy. I've seen a player run out of steam on turn 3 or so and feel stuck, because they placed sympathy in an out-of-the-way corner. They didn't have the cards to revolt on their existing clearings or spread into new ones.
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Geoff C
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Then they shouldve mobilized more. Still a first game, and a tip easily suggested either way.
 
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Mr Suitcase
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FYI, Played as follows:

First Game - I suggested what each might like, but after explaining, allowed them to change if they didn't think it suited them. No one changed.

(A) took Eyrie
(B) took Vagabond (tinker)
(C) took Woodland Alliance
(D) I had the Cats

Game went well. I took a pounding as the Cats from the Eyrie, then the WA started piling on. The Vagabond was my good friend though... unfortunately, he went up the reputation with me, and then suddenly launched himself to victory on the strength of his gifts. By the time we realized what was happening, it was too late.

Second Game - we all rolled dice. High roller chose which faction they wanted and choices proceeded clockwise.

(A) took Vagabond (tinker)
(B) took Marquise
(C) took Eyrie
(D) I ended up with the Woodland Alliance

In this game, we were all smart enough to hit the Vagabond on the head once in awhile. That kept him in check

As the WA, I had ended up occupying the board vertically, cutting the Marquise's territory in half. The Eyrie mopped him up in the North, and started encroaching in the South. I hadn't realized what I'd done (and I kind of felt bad, as I'd pretty much pooched the Marquise game). The Eyrie itself played quite cautiously, with only 1 Battle and 1 Roost Build on his decree the whole game (and never went into Turmoil).

But, everyone was at about 20 VP, when I suddenly vaulted to victory. With 2 bases, I'd just pump out the soldiers and convert them to sympathy. I don't think anyone was controlling my sympathy until near the end when they realized what was happening.

I'm very curious to see who picks what and how our strategies adjust in our next game.

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Diogo Cruz
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That could be in the session forum. Really interesting!
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