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Subject: An unimpressive and overwrought game rss

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Philip
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I disagree with your conclusion, and there's a few points in particular that strike me as off.

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You have no idea what sort of evidence other players are putting on the suspects, whether it is evidence that will prove them innocent (negative evidence) or guilty (positive evidence). You can consult with the reporter or snitch to figure this out, but honestly, there's no point. You can assume that any evidence placed on your hunch is probably negative and any time spent with the snitch or reporter is time wasted when you could have been placing new evidence or pursuing one of the game's other branches.


This is what the "Perjury" tiles are for. Playing one on a suspect switches an Alibi or Surprise Witness from +5 to -5. This can make a huge impact - far more so than just placing evidence at +/-2 at a time. Making intelligent use of the reporter or snitch to know where to place these tiles can cause a huge swing. Naturally, over-using the snitch and reporter is a bad idea since you only get limited time. Still, if they're on your way anyway, they can be well worthwhile.

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Typically, the most enjoyable events in the game are bad events. When I was playing the private detective with a shady past, I really wanted to see that shady past come into play. Unfortunately, the experienced player in me knew that allowing dark cards to be played against me was a poor strategic move. So I used every trick in the book to prevent this from happening, successfully winning the game because of it.


I think this is really player driven. Generally, if you get a piece of evidence either place it where it's convenient for you to pick it up, or place it where it will trigger a dark card when someone else goes to retrieve it. If the players are being competitive, usually it's a tough call about whether it's worth risking the dark cards to get the evidence.

Many dark cards aren't location specific either, so if I notice that a player is very carefully avoiding certain locations, I'll discard those cards to pay for more expensive location-independent cards and keep cycling through.

Since the plots are worth as much as solving the murder, to me they didn't detract from the theme. It's quite possible to win without even bothering with the murder mystery (although difficult). To me, that's a plus. I can see why it wouldn't work for everyone though.

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By moving to specific locations on the board, you can do stuff like gain favors, turn in favors for warrants and use warrants and spend more favors to place a hit token or an alibi on a suspect. But when you think about the amount of rounds that would require and how many pieces of evidence or conspiracy pieces you could be placing instead, it becomes hard to justify these actions.


How many VP did you finish the game with?

While you can score VP in different ways, a mixed strategy seemed to produce the best returns for me. I'm interested in hearing other's experiences on this.

Android certainly has some rough edges, but I think that the mix of theme, innovative mechanics and difficult decisions warrants more than a 4 out of 10.
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David Witzany
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Have you played Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game or Arkham Horror? All three of these games seem to be attempts at creating simulations in game form. If you're keen on the theme, you'll probably appreciate the lengths Fantasy Flight has gone to in increasing each game's detail/complexity. I own both AH and BSG; I'm up for the latter any chance I get, but I admit that AH is a little too fiddly to get much play time. I like Android's underlying concepts, and some of its mechanics seem keen as well, but I get the feeling that its Theme/Fiddliness Ratio (TFR) is even lower than Arkham Horror's.
 
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Scott Everts
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I sadly agree totally with this review. We tried to play this game about a month ago and it was one of the most painful gaming sessions I've ever had. After 4 hours we were half way through. During that time two players quit and it was just time to hang it up. Complex beyond reason, hard to make any plans since "screw you" cards usually destroyed any goals you worked at. This seems like a kitchen sink game, just too many systems. Needed an editor badly to streamline the game.
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Andy Parsons
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ScottE wrote:
This seems like a kitchen sink game, just too many systems. Needed an editor badly to streamline the game.


Agreed, it feels like the game concept was the product of an inital brain storming session; they had lots of good ideas (some of the ideas in Android really are interesting) and couldn't bear to take any of them out. But nor could they craft this huge mass of stuff into a fully functioning game.
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David Tolin
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David Anam wrote:
I should clarify that my ratings for games will probably be lower than most, since I'm one of those revolutionaries that believes 5 should be the average score. As such, Android would be considered "a bit below average," mostly because of it's length. It's a fun game, but not fun enough to warrant the time investment.


Off-topic here, and I apologize, but I wanted to point out that the idea of '5' being average is not revolutionary. The rating system on BGG designates '5' as average, so your score of '4' for Android is completely in line with your intent of 'slightly below average' (or, in BGG terms, 'Not so Good').

Good review.
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Rodrigo
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David Anam wrote:

I should clarify that my ratings for games will probably be lower than most, since I'm one of those revolutionaries that believes 5 should be the average score. As such, Android would be considered "a bit below average," mostly because of it's length. It's a fun game, but not fun enough to warrant the time investment.


So, according to my personal system, that gives Android a 6, right below Formula D or Cia vs. KGB, and on par with Supremacy...

The reviews I've read about Android seem to be divided in two types: the ones from the players that liked it, often stressing things like the unusual experience the game provides or its revolutionary game mechanics, and the ones from players who wanted to enjoy Android for those same game mechanics but were let down by the fact that the game seems to play the players and not otherwise.

Usually, the divergence of opinion seems to rest not in a matter of perception, but of personal taste.

Personally, my taste tends to align more the reviewer's. I'm not against the "quasi-rpg" experience, but, as a gamer, I just want, first and foremost, to be able to play a boardgame: one that really puts me in control of things and that allows me to take sensible decisions that have a clear effect (positive or negative) on the final outcome. One that allows me to make some plans, that has strategy depth. For me, Android seems kind of shallow in this matter.

Fury of Dracula, a re-implementation by the same designer, is one of my favorite boardgames. Arkham Horror, another re-implementation from the same designer, has great appeal to me too, as I'm a veteran Call of Cthulhu RPGer, and it seems to work very well with its expansions. On Android, though, the designer seems to have gone a little too far this time.

But one can always wait to see how future expansions may change the game.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I've been on the fence about this game, but now I think I'll wait and play it with a gaming group before I decide to buy it or not.
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Craig Rose
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gittes wrote:
I've been on the fence about this game, but now I think I'll wait and play it with a gaming group before I decide to buy it or not.

Good idea. Many of my games were bought without anything other than a press release and a handful of reviews. However, with Android, I decided to wait until I had a chance to play. Fortunately, I was able to play a session with the right group of people and we all had a great time with it.

The risky part was that I had played it at a convention, so still had no idea if anyone in my group would be willing to play. Fortunately, after introducing it to 6 people in my regular gamig group, 4 of them enjoyed it. Not always, but I generally manage to pull together a 3 player game when I suggest it.
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Justin Alexander
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David Anam wrote:
We played the game twice, I won both times (not unusual; many of my friends are less gaming-oriented). In both games everyone got the good ending of their plot(s), which seems easy but that's probably just because our group doesn't pay enough attention to each other's plots. I successfully implicated my hunch during one of the two games, and I got a huge number of points using the conspiracy puzzle both times.


I suspect this has a lot to do with your reaction to the game. As highlighted at several points in the rulebook, the game is explicitly designed with the expectation that you will be actively playing against the goals of the other players -- both hidden and otherwise.

The whole nature of the evidence system, for example, is specifically designed to encourage bluffs, counter-bluffs, and the like.

But if you guys aren't even paying attention to each others' plots, then it's likely that the deeper strategies of the game are going getting glossed over completely.

OTOH, based on some of your other comments, it's quite possible that this just isn't the game for you. Your group apparently isn't comfortable with highly complex games, so it's doubtful that you'd ever achieve a level of mastery over the game that would allow these deeper strategies to come into play. And without the deeper strategies coming into play the bulk of the game is just extraneous noise. There are a lot of mechanics that don't have any purpose if you're just playing the board.
 
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Andy Parsons
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JustinA wrote:
Your group apparently isn't comfortable with highly complex games, so it's doubtful that you'd ever achieve a level of mastery over the game that would allow these deeper strategies to come into play. And without the deeper strategies coming into play the bulk of the game is just extraneous noise. There are a lot of mechanics that don't have any purpose if you're just playing the board.


Possibly - and I confess there have been other very strong candidates - the most patronising post I have ever seen on BGG.
 
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Stefan Lopuszanski
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Well, for someone whose highest rated game on the Geek is an 8, lowest is a 4 (Android), and only has 16 posted ratings...

I'd usually like to compare someones score with their scores for other similar games, to see if it is just the theme or genre of game they don't like. But it is hard to tell when you haven't rated many games, let alone given anything really high marks (or low marks). :-/

EDIT: I don't mean this in a bad way, I'd just like to see more ratings and comparisons between what you like and what you don't like. 16 data points isn't much to go on. Also, where are you games rated higher than 8 or lower than 4?
 
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