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Subject: A first chance to play this game rss

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Greg Berry
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Finally got my first chance to play this one the other night. Tom went to Essen and purchased the game but didn't bring it to our game group to be played until he got back from BGG Con. cry

We had one somewhat experienced player, Tom, to teach us the rules and four newbies (me, Patrick, John and a guy who's name eludes me now.) Tom chose to use the level of the game that is just above the family game version.

The rules explanation went on for quite a while until at the end I felt like the only way I was going to learn how to play was to play it and have Tom answer questions and prevent us from making mistakes until we all picked up the games flow. John had upgraded his German version of the cards with English overlays which made things significantly better than they might have otherwise been. It would have been nicer still if he would have provided all of us with a translated player aid detailing turn order and end game scoring conditions.

The game finally started. One of our newbie players was immediately dissatisified with his career cards (how he knew what might be good and bad ones I am not sure) and we had a little discussion about ways to make this random distribution of jobs and minor improvements more fair.

For the first several turns Tom and Patrick acquired resources (wood, clay and reeds) while I mainly played out my job cards and minor improvements trying to get a jump in that area. John focused on jobs, and getting only enough food and resources to make sure he could purchase major improvements. A final newbie seemed to suffer from a significant degree of AP so the game dragged a bit as he agonized over decisions such as he should take two reeds or one food, one read and one stone instead.

As the game progressed Tom got off to a strong position by expanding his house with two more rooms and adding two children. Patrick also expanded his house. I upgraded my house to stone first and had quite a few job cards and minor improvements out. John continued to just add more jobs and minor and major improvements. The other newbie continued to suffer from AP but was really getting his land fenced in and filled with animals.

People seemed to be able to follow the game flow pretty well all though all of us newbies had problems remembering the order of the things like harvest, feeding the family and when those things had to occur.

The game had to end about five turns early as the group played fairly slowly and took 2 1/4 hours to get that far between rules explanation and play.

At the end Tom won of course, followed by Patrick (both had more children then me, the other newbie and John.) One humorous thing about the play was that John did no actual farming type activities in the game except obtaining and slaughtering one cow. He had no fences nor stables, nor ploughed fields. He was simply trying to score as many points as he could without actually doing any "boring farm work."

The game seems to me to be a mix of Puerto Rico, Caylus and MTG. My favorite part was the game gave a good sense of building a family farm and had quite a few interesting decisions at each turn. I am left wondering though if this will be a game where the less experienced will have little to no chance to compete with the more experienced who know all the cards (and their capabilities) as well as the game flow the best. Games like Power Grid seem to bring newbies up to speed really fast where this game could see a decided break in chance of winning between the haves (who have played the game enough to know the cards and their combinations) and the have nots (who know the rules but not the better combinations of cards to play and activities to take.) More competitive newbies will likely really slow down the speed of the game as they have to have time to analyze all the new possibilities presented to them each turn.

Overall though I will gladly try this again soon.



 
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Benji
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gberry wrote:

I am left wondering though if this will be a game where the less experienced will have little to no chance to compete with the more experienced who know all the cards (and their capabilities) as well as the game flow the best.


I don't think this will be a real problem. Knowing all the (over 300) cards is one thing, but more important than the single cards are their interactions. And since you receive 14 cards for the whole game, knowing the whole bunch will not help you that much since you have to make the most of the ones you get. Of course an experienced player will be quicker to recognize certain possibilities that may open up with the cards he was dealt, but after a few games the mechanics (which are not complicated at all, just a lot and a bit hard to explain) should be intuitive and even a new player should be able to come up with interesting combinations.

By the way: The turn order is printed on the board, so once the english version is out, things will be much easier for you guys.

PS: Did you let John get all the fish? Otherwise I don't see how he survived without begging. How large was his family? Still - I somehow like his approach
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Greg Berry
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Benji68 wrote:
gberry wrote:

I am left wondering though if this will be a game where the less experienced will have little to no chance to compete with the more experienced who know all the cards (and their capabilities) as well as the game flow the best.


I don't think this will be a real problem. Knowing all the (over 300) cards is one thing, but more important than the single cards are their interactions. And since you receive 14 cards for the whole game, knowing the whole bunch will not help you that much since you have to make the most of the ones you get. Of course an experienced player will be quicker to recognize certain possibilities that may open up with the cards he was dealt, but after a few games the mechanics (which are not complicated at all, just a lot and a bit hard to explain) should be intuitive and even a new player should be able to come up with interesting combinations.

By the way: The turn order is printed on the board, so once the english version is out, things will be much easier for you guys.

PS: Did you let John get all the fish? Otherwise I don't see how he survived without begging. How large was his family? Still - I somehow like his approach


John built the raft minor improvement early so he did take fishing a lot. He also had some other improvement that got him grain for his beer making. With no children he didn't need much food.
 
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Joachim Pehl
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gberry wrote:
John built the raft minor improvement early so he did take fishing a lot. He also had some other improvement that got him grain for his beer making. With no children he didn't need much food.

Wait a minute ?

Benji68 wrote:

One humorous thing about the play was that John did no actual farming type activities in the game except obtaining and slaughtering one cow. He had no fences nor stables, nor ploughed fields. He was simply trying to score as many points as he could without actually doing any "boring farm work."


No, fences, stables, fields and children ? With what score did he finish ? -10 ?

After all you get -1 for each empty field.
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Greg Durrett
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Hard to believe that John still won given your description of the game play.

I calculate a starting deficit of -14 based on no pastures, fields, or stables, assuming he built 5 huts. With only two family members throughout the game, it's hard to imagine he gained much more than that in the other areas given the lack of harvest goods and animals such a strategy would entail. The VP's would have to come from the two family members, improved huts, cards, and card bonuses (and 1 more assuming he kept a pet).

Balance is essential to attaining a decent score in this game, but I am curious to know what kind of score John came up with given his "non-farming" approach.

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Zopper Alf
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I am also very curious on how you score points and even win the game wihtout any fences, stables, fields and children.
Did he maybe redraw cards or what? Did you count the minus points? Usually an overall job secures a middle place (without or with few minus points that is). Concentrating on only one thing doesn't seem to be the killer strategy.
 
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Greg Berry
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Terminus_Est wrote:
Hard to believe that John still won given your description of the game play.

I calculate a starting deficit of -14 based on no pastures, fields, or stables, assuming he built 5 huts. With only two family members throughout the game, it's hard to imagine he gained much more than that in the other areas given the lack of harvest goods and animals such a strategy would entail. The VP's would have to come from the two family members, improved huts, cards, and card bonuses (and 1 more assuming he kept a pet).

Balance is essential to attaining a decent score in this game, but I am curious to know what kind of score John came up with given his "non-farming" approach.



John did not win. If you read my session report Tom won. John actually did finish in last with something like +3 points. I finished with somethinglike +7 and everyone else with quite a few more points. Also, as mentioned in the report, we finished about five turns early as the game store was closing.
 
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Greg Berry
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Zopper-Alf wrote:
I am also very curious on how you score points and even win the game wihtout any fences, stables, fields and children.
Did he maybe redraw cards or what? Did you count the minus points? Usually an overall job secures a middle place (without or with few minus points that is). Concentrating on only one thing doesn't seem to be the killer strategy.


Please see my response to Greg's query along the same lines.
 
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Greg Durrett
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gberry wrote:


John did not win. If you read my session report Tom won. John actually did finish in last with something like +3 points. I finished with somethinglike +7 and everyone else with quite a few more points. Also, as mentioned in the report, we finished about five turns early as the game store was closing.


Indeed, my error. Got Tom and John mixed up... Score me -10 for comprehension.
 
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