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Subject: How does Long Shot compare to Winner's Circle? rss

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Todd
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Which is better with non-gamers? Which is more strategic? More fun? Quicker to play?
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Nathan Unck
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Hey Todd,

This is totally based on my opinion only, but I think that Long Shot is better with Non-Gamers. As for strategy, I would say Winners Circle is a little bit more strategic. I really like both games, but I do enjoy Long Shot a little more, for me, because it is a little easier to play with people who aren't big board gamers, which is most of my family and friends. And as for playing time, they are pretty close to the same. I also like the artwork in Long Shot a tad bit more. I hope this helps.
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Christian Montague
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I will have to say that I havn't played any other horse racing game other than Long Shot but for non-gamers it is really good like what Nathan said. I believe it is fun for all experiences in boardgames because it is entertaining for the advanced gamers, and for non-gamers getting into boardgames it is very inviting and can allow them to branch out to other games that require more.
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Doobermite
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I haven't played Winner's circle, but right now Long Shot has everything I want in a horse racing game - great components, great design, and fun, thematic gameplay.
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Chris Bailey
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I always think it's funny when someone asks people to compare two games you always see answers like the two above. "I've never played Winners Circle but..."

Can a few more people who HAVE played both weigh in please? (Thanks of course to Nathan for giving his impressions on both.)

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Martin G
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Falcons wrote:
Which is better with non-gamers? Which is more strategic? More fun? Quicker to play?


As of tonight, I have played both games. I'd say Long Shot is definitely better for non-gamers, as they'll be familiar with the cardplay. Winners' Circle is much more strategic, especially if you play with blind bets. Long Shot felt extremely luck-based to me. So which is more fun depends on whether you prefer your games light and random or slightly more thinky. They both take about an hour to play.
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Soren Vejrum
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Having played both, I definitely prefer Winner's Circle. It is both more strategic, more fun and quicker to play (as you play three races in one full game, and you could simply play a single race for a quicker game).

Winner's Cicle is much cleaner in its mechanics and less random. An initial betting round where every body places all their bets (I recommend the secret bets variant for added bluffing gameplay) - do you go on your own on a risky longshot or with everybody else on a steady favourite, and can you bluff the others to do what you want them to do. Then the race starts with one simple but interesting movement mechanic (roll die to determine movement "class" and then choose which horse to move - advance one of your own horses with a long move, or slow down one of your opponents' horses with a short move) while trying not to reveal your bluff bets. Horses do not move randomly - the random dice rolls only determines the options - the players choose what/when to move - do you move your own horse an ok move now or push your luck for a better move later. In about an hour, you play three full races, which should somewhat balance out the inevitable luck/unluck of dice rolls and bets on the wrong horses. You can simply do more or less races for a longer or shorter game - each race is about 20 minutes.

Long Shot seems to be quite random with limited (but at least some) strategic play, and it has many different mechanics - special abilities for the different horses; dice roll horse movement with eventual bonus movement of your owned horses; card play with horse movements, bets and card stealing etc; betting on horses, and prize money. This seems too much without much benefit, and although everything is very simple, I suspect that non-gamers could feel that it is a bit complicated (we, a group of fairly hardcore gamers, missed a rule completely when we played it, and some players probably forgot bonus movements and card draws on some of their turns). The basic movement is purely random roll and move - you only control additional movement with movement cards you may or may not have have drawn, so the gameplay in primarily in the betting. In about an hour, you only play a single, long race, so if you are unlucky and miss or come late to the betting on the leading/favourite horses, there may be no way to catch up and you just have to sit it out.

Winner's Circle / Royal Turf is an all-time classic - I doubt that Long Shot will become that. Long Shot is still good fun and I will be happy to play it again, but it is not a game I want to buy (already owning Winner's Circle - and if I were to choose one to buy it would be Winner's Circle - and if I were to buy a second horse racing game it would be TurfMaster (pure racing without betting)). But if you want a horse racing/betting game with everything and the kichen sink mechanics, Long Shot may be the game for you.

By the way, being a Doctor Knizia game, Winner's Circle is of course perfectly balanced, mathematically - I do not know if Long Shot is. Some of the horses in Long Shot seemed to move no matter what was rolled, while others barely got over the starting line. This can of course just be random, but such a big difference seems a bit suspicious over a one hour long game with many dice rolls. It would be interesting to see the maths on the different horses' movements, odds and prices. Do any of the horses have an inherent advantage/disadvantage?

Edited - long overdue correction after looking into the maths/stats of the horses. No, Long Shot is not good fun and I will not play it again.
I did the maths/stats on the horse prices, odds and prizes and they are wildly inconsistent. Some horses are mostly useless not worth buying/betting on at all except if they have a big lead near the end of the race, and other horses are much more likely to win than their premium price. A wildly random luckfest of a game disguised by layer upon layer of unnecessarily complicated and fiddly mechanisms, and it is "broken" in that if you know the real, inherent odds for and values of the horses you should have a big advantage. - Buy Winner's Circle or TurfMaster instead - both vastly better games, and Winner's Circle is both much simpler and much better and much faster and much more fun for casual gamers as well as for hardcore gamers.
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John H
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I'm not sure what games others have been playing, but
Winner's Circle is WAY better with non-gamers.

Long Shot asks players to read a LOT of "special powers" and rule-breaking power text on Horse cards and the cards drawn.

Winner's Circle is ten times more straightforward in how you play and how you win. Nongamer friends and relatives can pick it up immediately.

Long Shot has a lot of extra rules and situations to watch for. " OK, I rolled a 3 and a one. The 3 is the horse dice. Horse 3 moves one... do any of my horses have a three in small print on the bottom of their card? Do any of my horses have a special power this turn? OK, now I can either make a bet, discard two cards for money or play a card. What do all these cards do again? Can I play this card to make bets now, or is it too late? What does the text on this card mean again?... That horse is in the "No Bet zone and I can't use this card now?"

For experienced gamers, Long Shot is light, easy, and offers more choices (though I personally think most of them make little difference. Cards or turn order often dictate what you do, and the winning owner has a big advantage in $)

For the neighbor couple or your Aunt Edna, Winner's Circle is by far the easier game to figure out. You secretly bet on horses at the start; each turn you roll the movement die. Choose the horse you want to move based on how far it can go with that roll and how the bets look. While the choices are fewer, the strategy is greater, and the payoffs and horse race connection much clearer.

This is my two cents. Long Shot is not a bad game at all, but I don't see how people possibly think it would be easier for non-gamers.
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John H
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qwertymartin wrote:
Falcons wrote:
Which is better with non-gamers? Which is more strategic? More fun? Quicker to play?


As of tonight, I have played both games. I'd say Long Shot is definitely better for non-gamers, as they'll be familiar with the cardplay.


I don't understand this statement at all. In what way would NON-gamers be familiar with special Long-Shot specific text cards?? These are not playing cards. The heavy text on game cards puts non-gamers out of the comfort zone, not in it!
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Martin G
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gamezendo.com wrote:
qwertymartin wrote:
As of tonight, I have played both games. I'd say Long Shot is definitely better for non-gamers, as they'll be familiar with the cardplay.


I don't understand this statement at all. In what way would NON-gamers be familiar with special Long-Shot specific text cards?? These are not playing cards. The heavy text on game cards puts non-gamers out of the comfort zone, not in it!


What I meant was that a lot of non-gamer games have 'draw a card that does something special' gameplay e.g. Chance cards in Monopoly. I also think that Long Shot has far fewer difficult choices than Winner's Circle; it's much more of a 'roll and move' type game. Because I didn't really feel I could do any better at Long Shot by thinking harder, it came across as much more of a casual game. I can see your point too though.
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Kelly Bass
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I've played Winner's Circleat least 15 times, and just played my first game of Long Shot last night.

Falcons wrote:
Which is better with non-gamers??

I think Winner's Circle would be better, because in Long Shot there are quite a few things to think about each turn. As pointed out above, checking cards for special powers, whether a dice roll comes into play for another owned horse, and many players had 6 or more cards to peruse by the end of the game. It's no problem for experienced gamers, but that seems like a lot for a non-gamer.
Also, in Winner's Circle, after the dice roll, other players often chime in to try to persuade the turn-taker which horse to move. "No mom, don't move Earl Grey!" Anyway, this helps move the game along. In Long Shot, because they don't know what cards mom or Billy has, there isn't much to say.

Falcons wrote:
Which is more strategic?

I think Winner's Circle is far more strategic. I'm quite confident that I would win far more percentage of the time against non-gamers in Winner's Cirlce than I would in Long Shot.

Falcons wrote:
More fun?

Long Shot isn't bad, but one of the funnest things about Winner's Circle is several players are often cheering ("Go Sahara Wind!") for their horse (to have the "right" symbol on a die roll) as the race comes to the final stretch. Some horses could possibly move as much as 15. Often hoots, hollers, high fives & "Booo!"s after the roll.
In Long Shot, the roll is a random horse (#1 = #10) usually moves one (the six sided movement die has zero, 1, 1, 1, 1, 3).
Hard to explain, but the die rolls in Winner's Circle seem much more exciting.

Falcons wrote:
Quicker to play?

Both about an hour.

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