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Subject: Suggestions and Questions (lack of interaction) rss

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Breno K.
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Hey, I've just played my first match of Snow Tails and while I liked the hand management mechanism, I didn't like the lack of interaction. It wasn't that one player sprung ahead of the others, we stayed close, but still the game ens up being a lot more about the cards you play than watching what your opponents will do. Also, the downtime can be somewhat of an issue, which sort of kills the mood of a racing game.

I've thought of two variants for the game (I don't have the "game hacker" microbadge for nothing!):

1) Simultaneous action: everybody chooses their cards simultaneously, then resolve in turn order. When you're done, you place your cards face down on the table and say "Ready!" (or something more within the theme, if you can come up with one). Players only pick their cards up in the next round, during the resolving phase (in turn order), nobody can look at their cards). The slowest player to finish his orders gets the big paws token (this is sort of stolen from another topic here) and moves one space less than he otherwise would have. If he already has the big paws token, he moves two spaces less than he would have. If all the other opponents agree that this lack of movement is beneficial to the player, then the player does not move less (it's supposed to be a punishment, always). It'll be more chaotic, but I don't think "Analysis Paralysis Brainburner" is a good description for a racing game.

2) Bigger punishment for crashing into an opponent's sled: This I found to be disappointing about the rules, you do not lose much by crashing into an opponent. I think players should get a dent card and (this one's more experimental) perhaps they should bump the other player one space in the direction they hit them (making them get a dent card). This second part is definitely not to be played with the first variant, or else this will turn into a glorified Robo Rally, a game that I hate.

Anyway, I found the hand management aspect to be very good, but the lack of interaction (even when all players stuck together) bothered me a bit. I guess adding a bit more chaos would make the game more interesting, specially considering it will make a short game even shorter.
 
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Most other similar racing games have the same level of interaction... if your car/chariot/racer/boat/motorcycle/wood block/plastic token is in the way, then other people have to go around you.

Introducing a VOTE to a racing game seems antithetical to the desire to speed it up.
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Geeky McGeekface
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Lack of interaction? We must not be playing the same game!
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Breno K.
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Vote? You mean other players deciding if the negative should apply or not? To me it seems pretty clear when the player would benefit from moving one or two spaces less, I don't think discussions should take long.

And comparing to most other racing games doesn't help it, I haven't liked any other racing games I've played. this one has a very good basic mechanism, the lack of interaction is what's killing it.
 
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BrenoK wrote:
Vote? You mean other players deciding if the negative should apply or not? To me it seems pretty clear when the player would benefit from moving one or two spaces less, I don't think discussions should take long.

And comparing to most other racing games doesn't help it, I haven't liked any other racing games I've played. this one has a very good basic mechanism, the lack of interaction is what's killing it.


My point is it has the exact same amount of interaction as every other racing game.

If you didn't enjoy other racing games, it is safe to assume you do not like this one.
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Breno K.
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There are many euros that are like racing games (Maharaja), and I like the "hurry" aspect of the gameplay. In this case, the base system is very good, I'd be sad to sell the game because of something that's seems like it's easy to fix (or change, if you prefer this other word).

But then again, I always expect some people to complain when I suggest changes to the rules.
 
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Anthony Simons
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BrenoK wrote:
There are many euros that are like racing games (Maharaja)...

I have to stop you there. Maharaja is like a race game? You have got to be kidding!
 
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Breno K.
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fellonmyhead wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
There are many euros that are like racing games (Maharaja)...

I have to stop you there. Maharaja is like a race game? You have got to be kidding!


Sure, first one to build 7 palaces wins. To me it feels like a racing game. Most games with a fixed VP victory feel like that to me, but maharaja is more because of the small number of actions and "close" finishing line (just 7VPs).
 
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Anthony Simons
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BrenoK wrote:
fellonmyhead wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
There are many euros that are like racing games (Maharaja)...

I have to stop you there. Maharaja is like a race game? You have got to be kidding!


Sure, first one to build 7 palaces wins. To me it feels like a racing game. Most games with a fixed VP victory feel like that to me, but maharaja is more because of the small number of actions and "close" finishing line (just 7VPs).

That cannot be a race by any definition, however loosely you define a race game. This is mainly because races are set over a course and have position as well as magnitude. I don't buy the "race along the scoring track" analogy I've seen elsewhere, either.
 
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Breno K.
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fellonmyhead wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
fellonmyhead wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
There are many euros that are like racing games (Maharaja)...

I have to stop you there. Maharaja is like a race game? You have got to be kidding!


Sure, first one to build 7 palaces wins. To me it feels like a racing game. Most games with a fixed VP victory feel like that to me, but maharaja is more because of the small number of actions and "close" finishing line (just 7VPs).

That cannot be a race by any definition, however loosely you define a race game. This is mainly because races are set over a course and have position as well as magnitude. I don't buy the "race along the scoring track" analogy I've seen elsewhere, either.


There's no spatial element to it, but to me it feels like a race, I'm in a hurry to reach the defined limit, no matter what. To me it does not feel like the efficiency drive from other score-track games.

My intention isn't to define the game in an universal manner; rather, it's to know with precision what I understand from the game. Since I win rather frequently, I'm guessing that I didn't understand it poorly (but then again, being an interaction-based game my victories could be based on poor group play)
 
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jbrier
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Larry Levy wrote:
Lack of interaction? We must not be playing the same game!


How do players interact other than being in each others' way, and how often is this intentional rather than just incidental?

Snow Tails strikes me as having virtually no player interaction. Please enlighten me. Honestly.
 
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jbrier
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BrenoK wrote:
[Snow Tails] has a very good basic mechanism, the lack of interaction is what's killing it.


I feel the same, and moreover it doesn't help that in all three of my games so far there's been a runway leader from about 1/3 of the way through the race. I've pre-ordered it and am seriously considering canceling, which is sad cause I really wanted to like this game and I thought it'd serve as a great gateway game.

 
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Breno K.
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Once again, verandi, I'm surprised by how our opinions seem to match in the least common cases (dislike for Age of Empires 3, Saint Petersburg, etc). I find it good, since I pretty much bought Kaivai on your (and clearclaw's) recommendation alone. (The rules make the game look pretty interesting, though)
 
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Fraser
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With four or five players we see quite a bit of player interaction. I prefer not to play with less than four players.
 
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Jason's Good Twin
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I played it with 5 and found it to be virtually silent with everyone looking up to verify each others moves and handle the math of their own move. There were congratulatory, "nice move", but that was about it.

Note that we did use a track that had only one straight, everything else was curve and trees.
 
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Anthony Simons
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verandi wrote:
Larry Levy wrote:
Lack of interaction? We must not be playing the same game!


How do players interact other than being in each others' way, and how often is this intentional rather than just incidental?

Being in each others' way intentionally is kind of the whole point. Subtle I know, but interaction nonetheless (and in buckets). There is also subtle interaction in the exploitation of player order, though that is definitely indirect.
 
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BrenoK wrote:
But then again, I always expect some people to complain when I suggest changes to the rules.


My personal dislike of house rules and variants is this:

I want to be able to pull out a game and know that everyone knows and understands the rules.

Having to negotiate house rules, or worse, discover mid-game that there are two sets of operating parameters, is an absolute buzz kill.

Play the game as written or play a different game.
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Breno K.
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byronczimmer wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
But then again, I always expect some people to complain when I suggest changes to the rules.


My personal dislike of house rules and variants is this:

I want to be able to pull out a game and know that everyone knows and understands the rules.

So, you refuse to teach games?

Quote:
Having to negotiate house rules, or worse, discover mid-game that there are two sets of operating parameters, is an absolute buzz kill.

It's just a matter of teaching what house rules are being used.

Quote:
Play the game as written or play a different game.


People in my group use house rules all the time and we've never had any problems with them. We learn so many new games every month that it's not difficult for us to get used to different rules when they're proposed. With over a thousand logged plays in the past two years, I've never seen someone complain midgame that they were playing with the wrong rules in their head because of enacted house rules.

The only slight problem that we have is when one set of players like a certain house rule and the other set does not, but then again this is hardly different from one part of the group preferring one game over the other and the decision to what-should-we-play-next taking longer than 2 minutes.

In your opinion, people that dislike the rule changes in the second edition of Neuland (a.k.a. almost every gamer that has played it with the 1st edition rules) should try to find a first edition of it or give up on the game altogether?

Edits: clarity and grammar.
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BrenoK wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
BrenoK wrote:
But then again, I always expect some people to complain when I suggest changes to the rules.


My personal dislike of house rules and variants is this:

I want to be able to pull out a game and know that everyone knows and understands the rules.

So, you refuse to teach games?

Here we go.

No, I do not refuse to teach games. I am often the teacher. I teach because I can read and parse a ruleset very quickly and I can then organize that information into a lesson to teach the game.

One of my biggest frustrations is when I'm explaining the game to a new player but have an experienced player at the table and I invariably have to correct the experienced player who was taught a house rule and that house rule was taught as gospel, not as a house rule.

Quote:
Quote:
Having to negotiate house rules, or worse, discover mid-game that there are two sets of operating parameters, is an absolute buzz kill.

It's just a matter of teaching what house rules are being used.

If I sit down to play game 'x', and everyone agrees that they already know, there is no teaching time. Everyone comes in with the unwritten and unspoken contract that they know the rules.

It is not until someone tries to do something permitted/banned by a house rule that the argument commences. In a mixed group, the rules as written always win. No downloaded FAQs (unless they have been printed and put into the box), no verbal pre-agreements, none of that.

If the table pre-agrees to a rule, that's fine. But when people from multiple backgrounds come to the table, it is critical that they have a common understanding.

Quote:
Quote:
Play the game as written or play a different game.


People in my group use house rules all the time and we've never had any problems with them.

Of course not, that's a closed system. The moment you step out into a convention setting you're screwed.

Quote:
We learn so many new games every month that it's not difficult for us to get used to different rules when they're proposed. With over a thousand logged plays in the past two years, I've never seen someone complain midgame that they were playing with the wrong rules in their head because of enacted house rules.

This is more a social acceptance thing, and is noted with established groups.

Quote:
The only slight problem that we have is when one set of players like a certain house rule and the other set does not, but then again this is hardly different from one part of the group preferring one game over the other and the decision to what-should-we-play-next taking longer than 2 minutes.

By eliminating house rules, even this 'slight problem' cannot occur.

Quote:
In your opinion, people that dislike the rule changes in the second edition of Neuland (a.k.a. almost every gamer that has played it with the 1st edition rules) should try to find a first edition of it or give up on the game altogether?

Edits: clarity and grammar.

Not familiar with the game, so I cannot comment on that particular title.

In general, if the first and second editions are different enough, then they are different games. If the rules are written down and different, they are definately different games.

In my opinion, when either edition is proposed, that is the established ruleset that the table will be going by.
 
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Breno K.
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All the problems you mentioned are communication problems. We always say when a rule is a house rule, and we always say when a house rule is being enacted before a match starts.

I guess I could get badly accostumed to a game's strategies if I were to go to a convention to play that game with different house rules. Since that's never going to happen (no gaming conventions in South America), I hardly think that's an issue.

The thing about neuland is that the first edition was very limited and vastly superior to the second edition. It would be a terrible waste to consider the game to be "out of print" because of poor publishing decisions.
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BrenoK wrote:
All the problems you mentioned are communication problems.


we agree
 
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Roland Wood
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byronczimmer wrote:
My personal dislike of house rules and variants is this:

blah blah blah blah*


Dude, you are just a bit too anal for your own good.

The OP is trying to make the game more to his own liking and sync up better with his own fun preferences. There is no need to piss in his cornflakes or lecture him on how his variant is going to somehow ruin the game for THE WORLD OF GAMING. He lives far far away from you and I'm pretty sure he is just as glad that he won't have to ever negotiate a ruleset for a game with you as you are that you won't have to correct experienced gamers in his part of the world on THE RULES.

As utterly horrible the affliction of "being screwed at a convention" may be, I am guessing that the OP is probably going to be able to cope with it should it happen and that the said awful awful state of having to negotiate a ruleset with strangers once or twice a year will be offset by playing the game in a way he likes with loved ones and friends many many times.

Your advice to him is to just play a different game. Hey, if dealing with variants and houserules are among the most frustrating aspects of gaming for you why not go and respond to a different thread instead of trying to vary, deviate, and change the nature of this one which (I will help you out here since I am an excellent parser of original posts) was to seek for encouragement and good ideas rather than discouragement and lectures.

*paraphrased for better clarity
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Roland Wood
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BrenoK wrote:
2) Bigger punishment for crashing into an opponent's sled: This I found to be disappointing about the rules, you do not lose much by crashing into an opponent. I think players should get a dent card and (this one's more experimental) perhaps they should bump the other player one space in the direction they hit them (making them get a dent card). This second part is definitely not to be played with the first variant, or else this will turn into a glorified Robo Rally, a game that I hate.


Maybe creating a quick and easy event deck would be the answer. You could have cards that say something like the following:

Near Miss: nothing happens
Dent for you
Dent for your opponent
Dent for both of you
Opponent pushed one space away
Dogs entangled!

etc..

This way you just draw a card when you collide to find out what happens and it would always vary instead of just the same thing every time. I don't think this would add too much time to the game nor would it make it too take-thatish like Roborally.
 
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jbrier
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BrenoK wrote:
I pretty much bought Kaivai on your (and clearclaw's) recommendation alone.


If you can get over the ridiculously oversized box, I think you'll really like the game. Be sure to play with 4 though.
 
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Roliander wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
My personal dislike of house rules and variants is this:

blah blah blah blah*


Dude, you are just a bit too...


Roland, usually I agree with you, but not when you open with a personal attack. I recommend in future you not enter a conversation with a shot across the bow. It is unnecessary and unprofessional.

My experience with house rules is that they ruin game play.

My experience with house rules is that they are put in place to stop some perceived imbalance or are correcting something the players got wrong in the first place.

My experience with house rules is that half way through a game a player attempts to excercise a house rule that they think is a rule as written, only to be told that the manuever they'd been planning for an hour is not valid.

My experience with house rules is that it is the players attempting to change the game, instead of their play within the game.

When I play a game, I want to be able to escape from the real world and enter a space where the rules of play are clearly defined and the boundaries are known. If two players come in with different interpretations or versions of the rules, that cannot happen.

So, I don't think the personal attack was necessary when my message has been consistant:

Do what you want with your game, but don't expect anyone else to abide by anything other than the rules in the box.
 
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