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Subject: Average length of the game? rss

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Jeff M
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From those who have played this game a bit, your thoughts would be appreciated:

(1) How long does Thebes take to teach? To gamers? To non-gamers?
(2) For four players, about how long do the first couple games take to play (as everyone is becoming familiar with the rules)?
(3) How long would a four-player game take to play once everyone is familiar with it?

Thanks very much!
 
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Joke Fierens
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1) for gamers, about 10 to 15 minutes. To non-gamers, 20 to 30 minutes. (depends how good you are in explaining games of course ;-))

2) and 3): I think my first game was about 90 minutes. Later on, when the games started speeding up, I think about 60 a 75 minutes per game.
 
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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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(1) To Gamers: less than 10 - 15 minutes
Non gamers: less than 25 minutes
Non-gamers (with no experience at all): 30 minutes
The "hardest" rule to get into peoples head is the order of play.
(2) around 45 or so minutes (granted that was with gamers... maybe over an hour without any)
(3) I think 30-45 minutes or so... maybe a little longer... with gamers... an hour without

I don't game itself very seriously... that is, there is always table talk. This game is more of a social game then others.

-DK
 
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Scott Russell
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With four players, the game takes two years, it's up to three with two players.

Ten minutes should be sufficient to explain the rules.
When your marker is farthest back on the time track, it's your turn.
On a turn, you move (or stay at city) and take an action.
It takes one week per city moved.
The actions are take a card, dig, or exchange available cards.
Each card tells how many weeks it takes to acquire.
Digging takes as long as you want (I'll explain this process in a minute.)
Flushing cards takes a week, two for the second consecutive, three for third consecutive, etc.
After your action, move your time marker forward as many weeks as you used for moving and action.
Here are what each of the cards mean. (show each one and explain briefly)
Explain again that exhibitions are points and the exhibitor keeps his treasures.
Here's how to dig. (Keep some of the cards that you were explaining in front of you to do an example.)
Do a dig using the cards and show flipping the permit.
Explain that permits reset once each year.
Here are the cards that show the distribution of treasure in each bag. Addditionally each bag has a general and a specific knowlege in it.
Explain that under no circumstances that can move your pawn beyond the end time of the game.

I can't imagaine this taking more than an hour if at least one person knows the rules well.
 
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R. N. Dominick
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I dunno. I've taught four or five different groups to play Thebes. Most of them were boardgamers, a mix of hardcore and casual gamers. I've got the patter down for explaining the game, and it takes about 10 minutes if I've sorted out the cards I'll need beforehand. The first game usually takes an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. The quickest game I've played was 50 minutes.
 
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Andrew MacLeod
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And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
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1)For gamers, about 10 to 15 minutes to teach (depending on your skill at teaching games! Due to the mechanics of the game, I have my doubts it would be all that different a time length for non gamers.
2)I hate to break this to you, but I'd say that the first couple of newbie games will take AT LEAST 2.5 hours to play.
3)Once everyone has got the hang of Thebes, at least two hours.
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J Kosec
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amacleod wrote:
1)For gamers, about 10 to 15 minutes to teach (depending on your skill at teaching games! Due to the mechanics of the game, I have my doubts it would be all that different a time length for non gamers.
2)I hate to break this to you, but I'd say that the first couple of newbie games will take AT LEAST 2.5 hours to play.
3)Once everyone has got the hang of Thebes, at least two hours.


We played our first four-player game tonight, and it was with a gamer and his (reasonably well-seasoned but not officially hardcore gamer) wife. Time from box opening to box closing was probably about 90-100 minutes.

Being fresh off this, 90 minutes seems about right. My (non-gamer) wife, who'd played the game before with two, said it was "longer than I thought it'd be with 4 players" but "not too long."

I could see being able to cut quite a bit of time out of the game once everyone knows what to do, but I wasn't sure how much. There's a lot to do in the game, so 30 minutes seems just way too fast once you'd know the game, but 2 hours seems like way too long. Atholbrose's figures seem pretty on-target from my experience, and it does make a difference to have a pattern down for explaining it. It'd work exceptionally well as a gateway game, so if you find yourself introducing games to people you'd find your groove with this one pretty quickly.

A few additional notes.

You have to count that the game will be played a bit lightheartedly; you may have a bit of downtime between your turns so it lends itself to table conversation. This, of course, adds to time.

At least two people at the table (I'm one of them) is pretty prone to AP. While the play-feel is totally different from Tikal, it pays to play with the same maxim that people suggest in that game: just make sure to have people move it along, and you should be okay.

As far as explaining it goes, there are a lot of interconnected bits, but you can save some time from the initial explanation by describing what each of the special cards do as they appear (with the exception, perhaps, of the exhibitions, which you may want to show them as you're explaining the excavations).


 
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Kevin B. Smith
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In the one game I played, we had 2 serious gamers, 1 semi-serious gamer (me), and 1 casual gamer. I had read a lot about the game, but none of us had played before. It took us about 20-30 minutes to get through the rules, and then the game itself took just over 2 hours. The two serious gamers disliked the luck, and the casual gamer disliked the length. I enjoyed it, but wished it had been shorter.

I would love to hear from more people on this. If a 2p game is realistic in 45-60 minutes, I might be able to talk my wife into giving it another try. If we're looking at 75-90, it's not going to work for us.

To summarize the answers so far, for players who already know the game:
30-60
over 50
less than 60
probably about 60
60-75
over 120
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Larry Welborn
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A 2 player game should easily be doable in less than an hour. A 4 player game, with people who know the game is doable in 60 to 75 minutes if everyone plays reasonably quickly. (No big AP delays)
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Steve Duff
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peakhope wrote:
In the one game I played, we had 2 serious gamers, 1 semi-serious gamer (me), and 1 casual gamer. I had read a lot about the game, but none of us had played before. It took us about 20-30 minutes to get through the rules, and then the game itself took just over 2 hours.


2 hours is really long. Are you sure you were counting the time properly? The rules can easily be misinterpreted because the "take a card" section concentrates on movement. I've seen some people not pay time for the card, just travel only, which massively lengthens the game.

A normal move is something like moving 2 cities, plus 3 for the card itself, so just one turn by a player takes up 5 weeks of your 52. 5 or 6 cards, a few digs and your year is over.

And of course the other thing is make sure you're only playing 2 years with 4 players, not 3 years.
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Kevin B. Smith
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
peakhope wrote:
In the one game I played, we had 2 serious gamers, 1 semi-serious gamer (me), and 1 casual gamer. I had read a lot about the game, but none of us had played before. It took us about 20-30 minutes to get through the rules, and then the game itself took just over 2 hours.

2 hours is really long. Are you sure you were counting the time properly?

Yup. We paid time for cards (and travel), and we went 2 years. There were a few pauses while players figured out their best move, and a couple where the person up next had left the room. And being a learning game, there were occasional rule checks. But didn't feel like we were going particularly slowly.

It definitely sounds like I'll have to try it again.
 
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Larry Welborn
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
peakhope wrote:
In the one game I played, we had 2 serious gamers, 1 semi-serious gamer (me), and 1 casual gamer. I had read a lot about the game, but none of us had played before. It took us about 20-30 minutes to get through the rules, and then the game itself took just over 2 hours.


2 hours is really long. Are you sure you were counting the time properly? The rules can easily be misinterpreted because the "take a card" section concentrates on movement. I've seen some people not pay time for the card, just travel only, which massively lengthens the game.

A normal move is something like moving 2 cities, plus 3 for the card itself, so just one turn by a player takes up 5 weeks of your 52. 5 or 6 cards, a few digs and your year is over.

And of course the other thing is make sure you're only playing 2 years with 4 players, not 3 years.


Oh yeah, I forgot that 4 player is 2 years not 3. I'll change my estimate to 60 mins not 60-75 once you know the game.
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Kevin B. Smith
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peakhope wrote:
It definitely sounds like I'll have to try it again.

A couple months ago, I played another 2p game with just my wife (who had played before), using the "put half the dirt back in the bag" variant, and it took 100 minutes. Since my wife didn't particularly like the gameplay anyway, for it to take that long pretty much killed it for her.

This week, I played it 2p with someone who knew the game very well. We didn't chit-chat a lot, but we weren't intentionally rushing either. We tended to pull chits out 2-3 at a time. The 3-year game took only 45 minutes.

I really like the mechanics and multiple paths to victory, so the length was my only concern. Now that I know the game really can go quickly, I raised my rating, and I hope to play it a lot more.
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