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Subject: Has anyone else noticed that this game is ridiculously good? rss

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T. Rosen
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I've played it five times make that 6 times in the past week and just can't get enough. I was hesitant to buy it because of the cost, but I'm beginning to think that this is going to turn out to be the best value out of any of my games

I played it for the first time over 6 months ago and was not particularly impressed. I thought it was alright, but I suppose I was just overwhelmed and therefore not eager to play ever again. Luckily another friend traded for a copy about a month ago and convinced me to give it another shot. That second play was what really made me see the light. I began to appreciate how simple the game really is, how many different strategies there are, and how different the map layout is every time (and how huge an impact that has on the game). That's when I decided to take the plunge and pick up a copy.

Unfortunately, right after I ordered it from Boards & Bits, I had to travel for work for the next 3 weeks. But since I got back a little over a week ago, I've been playing it nonstop. I've played 4 times two-player, 2 times three-player, and 2 times four-player. I'm usually someone who likes to find the optimum number of players and stick to that for each individual game, but this game scales beautifully, and the simultaneous play eliminates almost all downtime.

I'm still just trying to figure it out and wrap my head around the game after 8 plays. I'm giving each patron saint a try, wondering how anyone could ever win with Santa Maria, trying to figure out how to not drown in pollution and graves, contemplating what buildings are the best to start with, and wondering how to arrange all those Blokus-esque buildings to fit in my cities.

I've never been one to play the same game over and over, usually preferring to bounce around from game to game, but this one has really captivated me.
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Dave Eisen
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Yes. We have. Completely awesome.
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brian
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I know they are completely differnt games, but how do you find it compares to Roads & Boats? For the quality/value, the desire to play, how it's designed.

I have been looking at this one for awhile, especially after getting back into R&B for a while before you left the States. It would be my next choice if I were to get another Splotter. The cost is making me hesitant though especially since I won't be able to play test it even though I have read the rules a couple of times.
 
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T. Rosen
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dkeisen wrote:
Yes. We have. Completely awesome.


I'm glad to know that I'm not alone

And from your Top 10, it looks like I should definitely try Through the Ages and an 18XX game as soon as possible, hmm...
 
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T. Rosen
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
I know they are completely differnt games, but how do you find it compares to Roads & Boats? For the quality/value, the desire to play, how it's designed.

I have been looking at this one for awhile, especially after getting back into R&B for a while before you left the States. It would be my next choice if I were to get another Splotter. The cost is making me hesitant though especially since I won't be able to play test it even though I have read the rules a couple of times.


They are definitely very different games, you're right about that Brian. However, I can try to compare them as best I can. I've played Antiquity 7 times now and Roads & Boats 4 times now (all solitaire), and am really hoping to try multi-player R&B soon though.

I'm really glad I own both because they really are so different, but if I did have to pick just one at this point, then I would not hesitate to pick Antiquity over Roads & Boats. Then again, I give Roads & Boats as 9, to Antiquity's 10, so R&B is certainly no slouch either in my mind, and multi-player R&B might step it up in my mind, we'll see.

Antiquity is very different because you're competing against the game itself. You're being overwhelmed by pollution in the fields and by graves in your cities, and a huge part of the challenge is to overcome those hurdles. It seems like in R&B your challenge is to compete against the clock, trying to amass as much wealth as possible before time runs out.

You've also got 5 different victory conditions to choose from in Antiquity, and each one plays very differently and can make for a very, very different game as a result. Unlike with R&B, the map is created randomly, but with 16 double-sided tiles, and using 4 in a two-player game, I think there are almost 800,000 different possible maps, which is pretty incredible.

Antiquity is a relatively solitaire experience at the beginning of the game, but depending on how it progresses, there can be a lot of interaction later on, as players compete for scarce resources and with one victory condition, try to enclose each other. It has the same sort of simultaneous play as R&B with turn order not generally mattering, but sometimes coming into play.

I know it's a huge investment to buy any of these Splotter games, especially without having tried them first. It's a big risk to pass on 4 other games, and buy just 1 of these games instead, without knowing whether you'll like it, but I'm certainly glad I took the blind plunge with R&B, and glad that I went for Antiquity after having played it twice on other people's copies. I'm also glad I gave Antiquity a second chance because just one play definitely wasn't a fair shake.

Let me know if there's anything else I can help explain more specifically about this game. It's tough to describe and compare, but I'll do my best. I guess something to keep in mind is that it's a punishing game, so if you have disliked Age of Steam, Notre Dame, or In the Year of the Dragon because the game felt too negative, then you probably wouldn't like Antiquity. If you liked those 3 games because you enjoyed the challenge of trying to overcome a brutal game system, then Antiquity would be a very good one to try. This is not to say the gameplay is similar, but rather that the feeling is similar, and I know some people don't like that type of game. Personally, I love when the game system is so brutal because I enjoy the sense of accomplishment when I earn a single dollar in Age of Steam, and as a result of these tough game systems, I don't mind losing to my opponents, since I get enough pleasure out of simply trying to beat the game itself.
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Tim Seitz
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dkeisen wrote:
Yes. We have. Completely awesome.


QFT
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Alexander B.
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No, I give a 10 to nearly every game
 
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Chris
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It sucks when you get one of the many copies that have the chit borders offset printed so that each chit runs into the next. We'd play it more often otherwise.
 
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Daniel Danzer
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It`s # 78, so some people (36 users gave it a "10") probably have recognized some qualities in this one, yes.
 
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Darren M
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I think the general consensus for those that have had Antiquity on their watch list for ages but have never quite pulled the trigger and actually bought it is that they sense that the game is fiddly and long and that it would be hard to find opponents to play this type of game with. The last con is that it's pricey and that usually tips the balance in favor of not purchasing.

I think most gamers "respect" a game like Antiquity (and Roads and Boats, Indonesia, many Martin Wallace games etc) and realize they have some very interesting game play but focus their buying on affordable games that are easier to get to the table more often with a wider range of gamers.

Yes, many are missing out on some great games by thinking this way but that's also better than seeing an expensive game collecting dust on the shelf while you could have purchased 4 or 5 other games that may see a lot more table time.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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nexttothemoon wrote:
I think the general consensus for those that have had Antiquity on their watch list for ages but have never quite pulled the trigger and actually bought it is that they sense that the game is fiddly and long and that it would be hard to find opponents to play this type of game with. The last con is that it's pricey and that usually tips the balance in favor of not purchasing.

I think most gamers "respect" a game like Antiquity (and Roads and Boats, Indonesia, many Martin Wallace games etc) and realize they have some very interesting game play but focus their buying on affordable games that are easier to get to the table more often with a wider range of gamers.

Yes, many are missing out on some great games by thinking this way but that's also better than seeing an expensive game collecting dust on the shelf while you could have purchased 4 or 5 other games that may see a lot more table time.


The flaw in that type of two-in-the-hand reasoning is that, of those 4 or 5 "other games that may see a lot more table time", they're most likely all the same, tepid level of challenge to the player, whereas those games you and others might respect from a distance are ones where the challenges have both substance and depth.

Yes, you can spend your 20 seconds deciding what to do next in Thurn and Taxis, or you can try and wrap your brain around a city filling with tombstones, simply because you thought you needed to infuse some luxury goods into your economy.

I paid 90 bucks for Indonesia, have only played it about a dozen times, yet still feel it is one of the best gaming investments I've ever made, because of just how much, damn fun it is to play, every time. (Same goes for Antiquity.)

If all games felt the same way when we played them, you might have a point. But they don't. Not for me, at least, and I hope for your sake, not for you, either.

Even if it takes some extra effort to get the right people together, and it can only be done once in a while, it can still easily be worth it. I think you're missing out on that element, reflexively settling for a consistent, second-best mindset, and couching that lack of ambition in economic rationalization.

Yeah, Tom, I've noticed how good this game is. It's just a bit to get your head around, the first time through, so you miss out on what you get to dwell upon, once the implications of all the mechanisms soak in and come together as a picture for you. Of course, some people never get past "fiddly", so they never get to appreciate that.
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T. Rosen
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diamondspider wrote:
No, I give a 10 to nearly every game


Hmm, usually when someone gives a 10 to a game that I give a 10, I think very hard about trying out the other games they give a 10... so Advanced Squad Leader, eh? Not sure I'm ready for it laugh
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T. Rosen
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Liumas wrote:
It sucks when you get one of the many copies that have the chit borders offset printed so that each chit runs into the next. We'd play it more often otherwise.


Yeah, it is annoying that on my copy as well, a lot of the chits are printed a bit off, so they have one and a quarter pollution skulls, for example. However, I've noticed that usually those same chits are fine on the reverse side for some reason. Since I'm already used to having to deal with the annoying one-sided chits in Roads & Boats, I figure I can pretend the Antiquity chits are one-sided and flip them over when the printing error is particularly egregious. I know what you mean though.
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T. Rosen
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duchamp wrote:
It`s # 78, so some people (36 users gave it a "10") probably have recognized some qualities in this one, yes.


Hmm, that's a good point Daniel, but then again, what about those other 420 people who don't give it a 10?
 
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Tom Martell
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The game isn't punishing enough... too many buildings provide easy escape hatches. Age of steam is much more punishing on poor resource management.
 
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michael dorazio
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Disliked it after my first play. Then I grew to adore it during the next five or so plays. This game is ridiculously good, and I will pick it up when there is a reprint. Roads and Boats is also a great game. Different animals entirely.
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brian
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Thommy8 wrote:
duchamp wrote:
It`s # 78, so some people (36 users gave it a "10") probably have recognized some qualities in this one, yes.


Hmm, that's a good point Daniel, but then again, what about those other 420 people who don't give it a 10?

They probably thought it was good - just not ridiculously so!
 
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marc magner
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yup notice this all the way back in 2004 and started spreading the word
in january 2005 you can see my review here.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/33151

as a side note. Antiquity plays much faster then R&B and also avoids that late game brain freeze that R&B gives you while you try to figure out what the heck to do that your opponents aren't going to beat you to.
 
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Michelle Zentis
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Um, yes, I have noticed! I try to do my part by offering to teach Antiquity at any gaming event that I attend. It looks intimidating, but (as others have pointed out) once you're into it, the rules start coming together nicely.

It does cost a pretty penny, but I just point out to people it's not going to get any cheaper -- and may get much more expensive if Splotter lets it fall out of print. Besides, it's such a fabulous game that it's well worth the investment.
 
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caesarmom wrote:
Um, yes, I have noticed! I try to do my part by offering to teach Antiquity at any gaming event that I attend. It looks intimidating, but (as others have pointed out) once you're into it, the rules start coming together nicely.

It does cost a pretty penny, but I just point out to people it's not going to get any cheaper -- and may get much more expensive if Splotter lets it fall out of print. Besides, it's such a fabulous game that it's well worth the investment.


Well if you would have gone to PrezCon we could have played! (I'm a big fan of the game myself nowadays)

I've also become a big fan of Kaivai-- we definitely need to make this hit the table next time I'm in the area!
 
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Alas, my Antiquity is gathering dust. It's hard to get a longer game like this on the table around here - but I'll make it happen eventually. Your effusive praise has pushed me even closer to twisting some arms into trying it out, so thanks!
 
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Michelle Zentis
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John, I'm sorry I missed seeing you -- and not just because of the missed Antiquity and Kaivai opportunities! Alas, money and vacation time wasn't enough to cover everything on my agenda, so something had to give way.

Sifu wrote:
Alas, my Antiquity is gathering dust. It's hard to get a longer game like this on the table around here - but I'll make it happen eventually. Your effusive praise has pushed me even closer to twisting some arms into trying it out, so thanks!


It's long the first time (like 3.5 hours), but subsequent plays go much more quickly. Also, since it's simultaenous play, there's very little downtime, so the time flies. Don't know if that'll help your cause!
 
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I felt the urge to bump this thread. I'm not sure how much good it will do, considering the game is essentially unobtainable for many potential fans, but this is a game of which I must evangelize.

You may look at the marketplace prices and think it is crazy to pay $200+ for this game, or any game. I am here to say that it is worth it.

Maybe you have played some other Splotter games and thought they were ok, but not worth the price. I would agree with you. However, this game is not like other Splotter games.

It appears perfectly balanced, in both gameplay and win conditions. The gameplay is balanced between fighting against the system and against the other players. The level of interaction starts off almost non-existant, especially in newbie games, but quickly ramps up as the game proceeds and as players get more experience with the game. The game can be played in an almost sim-city fashion with new players, or cutthroat with veterans.

Likewise, the win conditions feel about equal, varying in power based on the terrain layout and player decisions. Any appearance of a particular saint being overpowered is likely the result of groupthink as opposed to an innate imbalance. I recall being extremely jealous of an opponent's Santa Maria powers, but then I saw them struggling to win just as much as any other saint.

It feels great to play a game where you truly have control over your method of victory. Deep strategies and intricate tactics are developed. There is a Marianas Trench level of depth here. And while pre-game plans can be made, they are not guaranteed to play out as expected. Every session is different and this game is truly replayable. The variety of map layouts combined with the mind-blowing number of decision trees right from turn zero make each game an experience, not just another "game played" in your log.

In short, buy this game. I don't care if you have to forgo buying five other games this year. Or buying any other games this year. If you own the game but don't play it, then sell it to someone who will.
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michael dorazio
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Great game, and as mentioned, different and better than Splotter's other games I've played. Most of the time, it would make more sense to skip buying five or six other standard fare offerings and go right for this. And the counter manipulation is not a big deal (unlike a Roads and Boats session). Top ten game for me. Two hundred bux is a worthy price for this badboy.
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Couldn't agree more... I was one of the lucky people to get a brand new copy from Boards and Bits for $195 about 2 months ago.

So far, everyone I've played it with loves it (and I've found that people were able to learn the game rather quickly) and even though there are lots of bits, I haven't found moving them around to be at all tedious. There's a great depth here without incurring a huge learning curve or forcing one to learn an endless set of complex rules.

One thing that I find especially impressive is how well the game scales from 2, 3, or 4 players.

If you're on the fence about getting this game, and you have the opportunity, I'd definitely recommend picking it up.
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