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Subject: Techniques to gather players, speed up play rss

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Mark Kaminski
United States
Texas
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Please post ways that you've found effective in gathering 6+ players for an 8-12 hour game. Organizing this game can be a major hassle.

Also, please post any time saving techniques (outside of the obvious, such as moving simult. when feasible, and 5 minute trading sessions). EX. Does anyone put time limits on civ card purchases? I think we waste far too much time doing that.
 
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J Weintraub
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Commack
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Our group has found that setting the date for play about 6 months in advance works well for effectively gathering players.
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H-B-G
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I don't know about 6 months, but plenty of notice is definitely a good thing.
 
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Archibald Zimonyi
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We have eight players who, roughly, every three months gather to play this game. Even if you speed up this game, it is still a full day of gaming and we see this as a mini convention at home, meaning everyone knows it and accepts it.

That is one major point, it doesn't really matter how long it takes as long as everyone is in on it. We try to make plans a few months ahead and then remind people as we get closer to actual game day.

We did play yesterday (session report coming shortly) and we tend to discuss more about movement and conflict instead of just letting it happen which take a lot of time.

We play with 1 minute per player in the trading phase because that is still a set time, and seldom what slows down our games. We have a home made calculation tool which shows current costs of each card which makes it simpler/faster for people to purchase cards (which is a real time hoser usually).

Yesterday, our game lasted 13 hours and I know we can cut it down a few hours by simply not dwelling on the movement/conflict discussions which seem to be what eats up most of our hours.

Still, it is 12 hours of good fun and if everyone is ready for it, that is not a problem.

Archie

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Paul Schulzetenberg
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We've had really good success having a couple laptops set up near the play area with a discount calculator of some kind. It really speeds up the Civilization card purchases. We use igorl's .xls one which I found here on BGG, but there's a bunch of other different ones that you can find in the files section.
 
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Peter Stein
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zimonyi wrote:
We did play yesterday (session report coming shortly) and we tend to discuss more about movement and conflict instead of just letting it happen which take a lot of time.

We play with 1 minute per player in the trading phase because that is still a set time, and seldom what slows down our games. We have a home made calculation tool which shows current costs of each card which makes it simpler/faster for people to purchase cards (which is a real time hoser usually).

Yesterday, our game lasted 13 hours and I know we can cut it down a few hours by simply not dwelling on the movement/conflict discussions which seem to be what eats up most of our hours.



Setting a time limit for trades is just about a must. Archie's timing works, maybe a little shorter early, maybe a little longer the last turn or two.

In NY we had a "no kibbitzing" rule. When it was time to hand out secondary effects on calamities, there was no discussion allowed. "Why give it to me, give it to him he's winning" etc. The person just gave them out. The person giving them out was allowed to ask for scores, city counts or what advances others had (like who has Medicine when Epidemic was out). You also could cut a deal like I won't hit you with Epidemic if you don't hit me with Pirates. It did help quite a bit.

But as others have said, don't think you're going to get this to a four hour game. If you get it to an hour a player you're doing great.
 
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Jeff Luck
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I've always wondered about this, but haven't had a chance to try it.

How about using a trick from the PBEM game. There are 3 trade rounds - everyone offers 2 face up cards, and then everyone has a chance to counter as many offers as they like. Sticky notes might be a good idea here. In random order, the original offerers can choose to accept any one counter offer. This would run about 2 minutes per trade round - 5 or 6 minutes for the trade. This would make the trades more organized too, and the game would not resemble Pit as much. The down side - you get three chances to make one trade - so the offers would tend to be better to entice counters. You have less chance of smoking your opponents with a bad trade.

If somebody has a chance to try this before me, please let me know how it works out.

-JL
 
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Torbjörn Rander
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To speed up play, I would recommend not letting the game run to its end; rather, play a set number of turns (12 turns are usually good for roughly 5-6 hours). This is a format that I've played a lot at many conventions. Of course, the experience of playing a full game is very different, but still, it might be worth a try.

For shortening a full game, what others already said works well. We usually impose a 5-15 minute limit on trade rounds, depending on the number of players, player experience and other factors. We also consider advance purchase to be a part of this time. A calculator, or just copies of the discount sheet for everyone helps speeding up purchasing. In the group I usually play with, we usually impose a time limit for movement and discussion about movement based on similar factors as the trade limit. We allow discussions during calamity resolution, but when someone hesitates too much, we usually agree not to say anything more and let the person decide. Parallelize as much as possible, so as to cut waiting time. We usually make everything in parallel, except when someone explicitly wants to use his AST position to gain information, e.g. for movement or purchasing.

Oh, and for the organizing, we've set up a Facebook group where we've gathered all known board gamers in the area where we play, in total about 70 people. We then create events specifying time, date and game which we post in the group, and ask for replies as to who is coming. This has worked out really well I must say, and we now play more often than ever before. Granted, not always ACiv, but it's actually not that hard to find 6-8 people for a saturday/sunday of gaming out of the entire pool.
 
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Torbjörn Rander
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Lemming wrote:
I've always wondered about this, but haven't had a chance to try it.

How about using a trick from the PBEM game. There are 3 trade rounds - everyone offers 2 face up cards, and then everyone has a chance to counter as many offers as they like. Sticky notes might be a good idea here. In random order, the original offerers can choose to accept any one counter offer. This would run about 2 minutes per trade round - 5 or 6 minutes for the trade. This would make the trades more organized too, and the game would not resemble Pit as much. The down side - you get three chances to make one trade - so the offers would tend to be better to entice counters. You have less chance of smoking your opponents with a bad trade.

If somebody has a chance to try this before me, please let me know how it works out.

-JL


It seems to me that this approach would eliminate the most interesting and difficult to master part of the game; a really good player would not have a chance to optimize his trading at all. As this usually makes a HUGE difference between players, could you comment on this? Didn't ever play PBEM, only live..
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Lemming wrote:
How about using a trick from the PBEM game. There are 3 trade rounds - everyone offers 2 face up cards, and then everyone has a chance to counter as many offers as they like. Sticky notes might be a good idea here. In random order, the original offerers can choose to accept any one counter offer.


To clarify, this is the system implemented by the old Avalon Hill PC game, which could be played against the AI, hotseat or PBEM. The system is used in all three methods of play and is not specific to PBEM. Also, the way the system worked, you offered two cards face up and one card face down and there was no option to haggle at all, nor to indicate if the face down card was 'good' or not.

It is certainly possible to play Civ by email without using the old Avalon Hill PC game and have regular open trading rounds.

I went through a phase in the early 1990s where I played the PC game hotseat with two other players and 3-4 AI players. Regardless of playing vs. humans alone, humans + AI or AI alone, the "offer two cards in three rounds" system sucks rocks. It rips the heart out of the game.
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