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Subject: 120 Minutes?! rss

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Matt Burns
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Why is the estimated time for this game 120 minutes? Really? Does everyone experience the same? I've heard the idea where it's half an hour per person, but I have never played a game that has done longer then 90 minutes, and almost all my games range lower than 60. And the majority of my games are played with more then two people.
 
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Nate Johnson
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mattburnsey wrote:
Why is the estimated time for this game 120 minutes? Really? Does everyone experience the same? I've heard the idea where it's half an hour per person, but I have never played a game that has done longer then 90 minutes, and almost all my games range lower than 60. And the majority of my games are played with more then two people.


Most of my games have been with new players, and the 30m/player has been pretty accurate with those.

The first game was 5 new players and it was longer I think, but most of the play was from one player's AP, which gave everyone else time to develop a plan and a couple of backups so our turns went pretty fast.
 
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Matt, you must be a more accomplished game player than I am. I've played 7 games. The first four went about 4 hours. The last three maybe closer to 2.5 hours. I'm not the only slow one in our group but I'm probably the slowest.

We talked about getting a minute time out for our turns but never did.
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Chris Potter
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I agree. 120 minutes it totally bogus. We generally play with 3 or 4 people and rarely hit even 90 minutes. On the other hand, we've all played at least 6 or 7 times by now so we know what's up. I remember taking freaking FOREVER to make a decision the first time I played. Still, that's a high estimate.
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Peter Evett
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We have a pretty deliberate group, and 30 minutes per person is pretty accurate even after 6+ games (that includes set up and take down, which does take some time). I say its refreshing to have a game give you an honest or even conservative estimate of playing time. -- PAE
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Matthew Giglia
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I recommend playing the game solo a few times, especially online before you even buy it to familiarize yourself with all the rules. The rules seem a little daunting in print, but once you play a couple times you'll see it's really not that complicated. I played online a few times and it really helped me explain the rules to everyone for that first play. In fact, my first play with four players was with two complete non gamers!

When someone knows the rules well, it can really help speed up the process. Deffinitly play the family version with new people as well. The cards take even more time when people don't have a feel for what's going on.

With every play though the game greatly speeds up. I've been having the same experience with Le Havre. Really great game too if anyone's interested!
 
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Philip Eve
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Anyone who looks at the game time stated on the box and compares it unfavourably with the usual amount of time it takes for them to play with their friends (having played several games already) is missing the point. The game time stated on the box is intended as a guide to the amount of time the game might take for the benefit of an average group of gamers who don't have any other way of knowing. For a new group of 4 players, 2 hours is probably not a bad estimate. It doesn't need to be an accurate assessment of how long it will take to play once the group is already experienced at the game; such a group has no need of a guide to length as they already know how long it will take them to play, by virtue of their experience.

(I'm sure some smartarse will come in now and say "well the first time we played we had 5 people and finished in 90 minutes what do you think of THAT", but my personal experience seems to suggest the stated time is accurate for new players.)
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Geoff Burkman
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Seems pretty obvious to me that playing time is something that depends on a number of factors including relative player experience, ability to conceptualize the structure of the game, degree of AP suffered, general player gaming style, and other factors as well. I have no doubt that some groups can play a 4-player game in well under two hours, while others may take three hours, or even more. Given that each player has fourteen Rounds to make in the vicinity of 35-40 moves, I see nothing wrong with a general estimate of a half hour per player to finish the game.
 
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eduardo espada
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mattburnsey wrote:
...almost all my games range lower than 60 (minutes).


This strikes me as incredible. Taking into account that seeding the board between rounds and processing a harvest eats up at LEAST 20 minutes cumulative game time, that would leave about 10 minutes per player, in a four player game, for some tough decision making. Heck, I spend more than 10 minutes just reading the 14 cards and coming up with a strategy around them.
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smobbit wrote:
mattburnsey wrote:
...almost all my games range lower than 60 (minutes).


This strikes me as incredible. Taking into account that seeding the board between rounds and processing a harvest eats up at LEAST 20 minutes cumulative game time, that would leave about 10 minutes per player, in a four player game, for some tough decision making. Heck, I spend more than 10 minutes just reading the 14 cards and coming up with a strategy around them.


Some of us have created storage that doubles as little trays to speed up setup (almost negligible) and harvest is dubbed to the player in the last position so that the lead player can make his move.

The custom tray and designating a rule for who replenishes the board took a lot of time off our 'down time' from our first couple of games.

The majority of the time I took in my first games was just following through the implications of so many decisions. Initially I had no backup in the case that my first choice of action was taken (and it more than often was).

Obviously with more plays I've naturally had to calculate less deliberately and I've had a set of choices made in case the previous player took my preferred action. I've also learned to anticipate what everyone else will be going for (which has given me the victory in a few cases).
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eduardo espada
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We had a game recently where so much wood was tied up on the board or in people's supply that we were forced to rely heavily on those multiplication markers. They are awful. THAT slowed things down even more. Is Le Havre available in the US yet? Agricola in different flavors still sounds good to me.
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Matthew Giglia
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Le Havre is available in the States now. I picked up my copy at my FLGS in Rochester NY two weeks ago to the day. I've had about ten plays so far, with various amounts of players and each game has been different and exciting. My game group loves it, and it's really completely different from Agricola. Agricola is about amassing various things to score points whereas Le Havre is all about what you can do with the things you have. There are many more paths to victory. If you enjoy the variety of stratigies of Peurto Rico, but want something with a lot more player interaction then Le Havre is the game you've been looking for. It plays extremely well with any number of players as well. Plus the addition of loans instead of beggars cards allows you to take the path you choose to make the most money. It's not uncommon in my experience for a player to take seven loans and still win at Le Havre. Imagine taking seven beggar cards in Agricola for comparison...


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It wasn't a rock
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mattburnsey wrote:
Why is the estimated time for this game 120 minutes? Really? Does everyone experience the same?

Obviously not.

Quote:
I've heard the idea where it's half an hour per person, but I have never played a game that has done longer then 90 minutes, and almost all my games range lower than 60. And the majority of my games are played with more then two people.

You are, therefore, atypical. Here's your cookie.

Now that I've got a few dozen games of Agricola under my belt, as long as you ignore the time it takes to set up, look through the cards at the start and to seed the board every turn during the game, a half hour per normal person (ie: not someone who starts hyperventilating if you take longer than two seconds to make your move in Ticket to Ride) seems about right.

If you want to view every game as a race against the clock to see how fast you can finish, have fun. Some of us, however, do not.
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Peter Valeta
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14 rounds per player at an average of 2 minutes is 28 minutes per player. That leaves only 4 minutes for replenishing, etc., but figure some moves are faster, and some activity in replenishing, harvest, etc. overlaps, which helps give more time for game maintenance. So 1/2 hour per person is a reasonable average to shoot for ... absent excessive AP gulp.
 
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