Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Die Macher» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Impressions from a newbie after first encounter with Die Macher rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Die Macher

I got a rare kitchen pass and arranged to play board games with my buddy Sean, his wife Karen and his friend John. I was sort of hoping he’d break out Through the Ages because I am back and forth on buying this one based on reviews and word of mouth and would like to try it first. Sean said it would take too long, so what did we play instead? Die Macher. Oh, the irony is killing me! But to be fair, he did offer a choice between Senji and Die Macher. Having read about the game and knowing its influence in a game website we all know and love, I decided it might be time to learn what all the fuss was about and play this classic.

Sean was the only one who had played before -- the rest of us were first timers. Sean did a fairly decent job explaining the rules, despite the rest of us interrupting to ask questions. (I know how annoying it is when explaining a game, yet I still am a guilty party to it.) One question I asked was what other board games the designer had designed, and we all joked that he couldn’t have designed any others because his head exploded right after creating this one...but I digress.

After about 45 minutes of rules explanations we were off...almost. Just before starting, we had one major negotiation. I wanted to use one of the score sheets from the note pad that came with the game, but Sean didn’t want to give them up. I think he was worried that we’d use them all up (bear in mind, this was the first time his copy of the game had ever been played and the pad was full). Finally, after we agreed to use pencil and erase markings so we could re-use the same sheet every round (which is probably the intent anyway) and after his wife promised she’d design him new sheets if he ever ran out, he graciously agreed to let us each use one sheet for the game. (Just out of fairness, I should mention that Sean would give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it. Just not a score sheet from one of his beloved games.)

Once we started playing, the chits started flying. A lot of stuff was happening and it was hard to keep track of it all. It’s all a blur now. Sean was pummeled early by a few poll cards and he was out of contention. Mid-to-late game, Karen lost an election badly and never recovered. We ended up deciding to end the game after five rounds because it was getting late. The final round was the 80 (Nordheim something or other I think) so we were all jockeying for votes in that region. Worried that I could fall behind, in round four I changed one of my party platforms to match that of the final region. This was a major blunder, as the opposite was a national platform and it ended up costing me a bunch of points when that platform was cemented. I could have recovered had I introduced all my media markers in the region and changed the platform, but I failed to do so.

In the end, I thought I had won the game by a hefty margin with 366 points (Sean had 277 and Karen even less) but John ended with 400. The difference was the points for matching national policies. He matched the first four, and three of those were cemented.

My thoughts:

LENGTH: This will always be an issue with this game. Our game (including rules explanation) ended after 4 hours and 45 minutes and we still had two rounds to play. I don’t generally mind long games, but this one really seemed long. I would almost prefer playing two or three shorter games. I don’t like to think about how long it took to clean up the game, but I’m guessing 20 minutes.

RULES: These are some complex rules and explaining them doesn’t seem like a real fun job. I think a better plan of attack for this game might be to jump right in and play a practice round, explaining as you go and then scrap that game and start over. At minimum, have everyone read through the rules and/or FAQ before playing. And maybe print out some player aids, if there are any, including a list of what happens every round.

STRATEGY/PLANNING: There are some good opportunities to plan ahead. However, it didn’t seem too hard to get max points in each election. For the 80 state, everyone reached 50 rather easily because they were converting cubes every turn. In fact, John hit 50 in round three. It seems to me, a novice, that you have to do well in elections in order to match pace with your opponents but the difference in the game might be in the other ways of scoring. Money (or lack of) never seemed to really come in to play.

SCREW YOU FACTOR: Seems really high to me. Sean was hammered a few times, once by early by his wife. I think everyone was hit at some point. I see this being an 8 or 9 out of 10 on the Cutthroatery Scale, meaning there are lots of ways to be nasty and vicious to your opponents.

ALLIANCES: Can’t remember what they were called, but if you had a phone and matched two or more with an opponent, your votes were combined. I have mixed feelings on this one. In one election I positioned myself perfectly with bidding and jockeying my votes and would have won the election. It was important for me to win, but two other players joined forces and I was beat. Not sure it mattered in the end, but it was unsettling that I couldn’t do anything about it whatsoever. I do like that it adds an element of negotiation in the game. Just not sure if the mechanics of it really mesh with the rest of the game. More plays might bear this out or prove me wrong.

COMPONENTS: Graphics on the cards sucked. And if you don’t like "fiddly" games, you probably should just stay away from this one. I thought Agricola and Masters of Venice were bad, but they don’t hold a candle to this one, in my opinion.

THEME: Not really excited about the theme. I think Valley missed a great opportunity to re-theme this game. A different, more engaging theme with better art work and board design would have made a huge difference in my opinion of the game. Put this in the hands of Days of Wonder or FFG and you’d have a huge winner.

OVERALL: I can see why this is rated so highly. It is a good game, I can’t deny it. There is a lot going on and you really have to balance some short and long term decisions. But it’s one of those games that you really have to have the right group to play and it probably only gets good after everyone has played several times and knows and understands the game well enough to not only strategize effectively, but play quickly. I can’t see this game ever being played by my family in a million years. And I play with a regular game group of serious gamers and I don’t really see it being popular there either. That being said, I’d probably play again. But it would have to be at a convention where I had lots of time and with experienced players. (Of course, I’d play with Sean, Karen and John again because it was they were a very fun group to play with. I would, however, bring my own chair because sitting on a hard kitchen table chair for five hours was almost unbearable.)

My ranking after one play would be 7 out of 10. That’s certainly a rating that could easily go up or down after more plays...likely up. I just doubt there will ever be more plays.




18 
 Thumb up
0.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. B. West
United States
Beech Grove
Indiana
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Why aren't you PLAYING a game?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is one of those session reports that could easily be a review as well. Thanks for your thoughts!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom DeMarco
United States
Cinnaminson
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It is usually not that easy to get to 50 votes in multiple regions. Your game must have featured high trends and multiple matches between party platforms and regional interests.

The alliances are called coalitions and they are very important if you need to do well in a region. You've got to adjust your platform so you can have planks in common with other players and are able to form coalitions. You've got to send out feelers to potential partners so they can play a shadow cabinet card to place a telephone tile in the region. You may have to bid high at the beginning of a round to win the bid to choose starting player so you can choose to go first and be the first to propose or force a coalition.

I've played a lot of Die Macher, and when all the players are experienced, a game can be played to completion in less than four hours. But it's four hours of brain-bending excitement.

The game was designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel, who also designed Tyranno Ex, Tribune, and Was Stich, all of which are among my favorite games.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Shaw
United States
Idaho
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It was a fun game. I had a running total in my head...though it was a little off because it was only the second time I played, and I still didn't know all the ins and outs of the scores...but close enough. I think Kendahl could have won pretty handily except he made one card switch on his platforms which sort of did him in, and then the final election he made a coalition with John instead of someone else. I believe I offered it up to John and Kendahl, and I think I also had the Media control...figured one of them would take it up as they may have thought it would help them over the hump...but as it was they got a coalition together instead much to my surprise.

Since he and John were neck in neck, what John needed were the points at the end from his party platform to all match up (which John suceeded in doing), and John convinced Kendahl to basically use something helpful to John on the national platform if I remember.

Of course, I was just trying to get a coalition to avoid being last, mine and Kendahl's platforms were pretty close through most of the game. John won I think by a matter of 45 points, so fairly close (If I remember right). If they had managed to change the end game platform matches so that John lost one of the primary ones, and Kendahl gained it, even then I think Kendahl may have won the game if he had done that. It was pretty darn close between those two. Going into the fifth round Kendahl had the lead to tell the truth, it was simply the final national platforms that pushed John over into the winning slot.

It really was the final round that determined the winner.

Great game, unfortunately I may never get to play it enough to rate it. Finding players to actually play this game and then getting them together is a hard game in and of itself! I've enjoyed it thus far...too many rules to memorize though! Even after two plays I'm certain I probably make mistakes in the rules...

As a side note...I think my wife likes to screw me over in games occasionally...probably still getting me back for all the games she thinks I screwed her over (which she's actually correct on that measure too...I suppose pay back in later games is only fair!).

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The main reason I made a coalition with John was to just speed up the game. We'd already played nearly five hours and I had work the next day. Everyone was at or near 50 votes and there was really no way to affect anyone not reaching 50. Karen was way behind and in points as was Sean, but those two were jockeying back and forth to win the election and in my mind it really didn't matter and it was wasting time. So John and I, getting a bit antsy, just decided we'd solve that issue by aligning.

In reality though, I thought I was way ahead of John. I really didn't think the last election through enough or I may have been able to change the outcome of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can't imagine how so many of you reached 50 in so many regions. It almost seems like you must have played a rule wrong. Normally, you can only reach 50 in 3 of the 7 regions, perhaps 4 if you're very good and lucky.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oystein eker
Norway
Unspecified
sola
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You were very close to finish the game in a proper way. 6. round is very very quick. You are out of cards and the strategy is settled. Final round is a few minutes affair - just counting points.

I doubt you played it right. Never seen such a high score - even in a full game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I plan on reading the rules in depth when I get a chance. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we did play something wrong.

One thing that seemed not quite right was you could buy cubes (can't remember the proper term) at $1000 each and later in the round convert them for votes every turn. Then after converting them, you'd get them back. So every turn, I was buying max for each state (four, if I had enough cubes to buy) and then converting them for 8 or 12 votes. So doing that a few rounds and you were already half way to 50. Then you could get 12 more in a region (or 6 in one and 6 in another) at the start of each turn when you were bidding for turn order. All you'd need was a few more to get to 50 and those shadow cards also gave you votes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You really could afford to spend 16,000 on meeting markers (small cubes) each turn?

Note that you can only convert if you have 5+ cubes in a region, so if you completely convert all your cubes, you won't be able to convert the following turn. Also, in order to convert 4 cubes to 8-12 votes, you'd need a +2 or +3 influence, which can be difficult to achieve.

I re-read your summary and I wonder if you played alliances correctly. The combined votes are only counted to determine the winner of the province to place media markers and influence national opinion. If you have 10 votes and your coalition partner has 50, you have a combined 60 for determining the winner - but you only get points and cash for your personal 10 votes.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Shaw
United States
Idaho
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheCat wrote:
You really could afford to spend 16,000 on meeting markers (small cubes) each turn?

Note that you can only convert if you have 5+ cubes in a region, so if you completely convert all your cubes, you won't be able to convert the following turn. Also, in order to convert 4 cubes to 8-12 votes, you'd need a +2 or +3 influence, which can be difficult to achieve.

I re-read your summary and I wonder if you played alliances correctly. The combined votes are only counted to determine the winner of the province to place media markers and influence national opinion. If you have 10 votes and your coalition partner has 50, you have a combined 60 for determining the winner - but you only get points and cash for your personal 10 votes.


Part of it was the high number of vote regions they had, the second, third and fourth regions were all 40+ regions, with the 5th as an 80 vote region. Also, we played with the idea brought up that you write in the region where you are going to place your bid markers (adding votes, party markers, etc) each turn with any region being free, which probably added up with those bonuses in other regions pretty quickly. In addition, at the beginning of the game, normally I was the only one getting hit with the negatives in the polls, which was unique. I normally was getting negatives with no way to get out.

We played alliances properly.

The bigger factors were the bidding process we used, which was slightly different then what I had used the first time around, but supposedly described as working that way in the rulebook, which may have had a big effect on the popularity.

There were some differences, the first game I played was second edition, I was trying to teach that ruleset, but the edition I actually have is 3rd edition. Overall it turned out to be sort of a hybrid between 2nd and 3rd, so that also may have had a major impact on the scores.

Also, as I said, it was the second time I played, I had reviewed the third edition rules before we played to try to refresh myself on the rules, but I wouldn't be surprised if I had made some mistakes...there are a LOT of rules and overall I was more interested in actually getting to playing the game so mistakes would be my fault.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
GreyLord wrote:
Also, we played with the idea brought up that you write in the region where you are going to place your bid markers (adding votes, party markers, etc) each turn with any region being free, which probably added up with those bonuses in other regions pretty quickly.


Huh? Totally confused by this sentence. Can you try to describe it in more detail or with different words?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Shaw
United States
Idaho
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any state, any region is open to place any of the items you place during your bids for who goes first. AKA...the 6 party markers, votes, or plus in ratings can go to any state you write in. Hence, you could place a +2 popularity rating in the state 4th down the line, with 6 party markers and six votes, that if untouched would move you up rather rapidly in prep for it. Add in 4 more during the party marker buying, and with a slight push you'll be at +3x10 next round easy meaning 30 votes right there (of course depending on how the opinions of the state match your own party platforms as well). Hence not much further to go after that to gain 50. Basically playing in advance. Don't know if that's normal, but that's much of the reason why everyone got some high votes (well except for me, I had some pretty low ratings for the first 3/5 of the game...well maybe even more than that...but that's how the game goes) in many of the states. We placed the simultaneously which was different then how I played it the first time, so we were trusting that everyone was placing what they had put down. We did NOT use pen so there was no way to really check anyways.

However, no one got 50 votes every time. Everyone managed to get 50 votes in the above described method for the 80 seat state. However, it was different on others, I think most got 50 votes in 2 states, with less in the others.

The big thing people got high numbers for were the +12 to the national party (also given during the bid process) which if only done for 5 rounds = 60 national party points right there without any other modifiers, +80 for the big state (so that's 140), most matched many of the national platforms by the end of the game which also was equal to around 50-60 points at least, so around 200, and then you have the media markers which they won typically for two high winners (John had coalitions with the three last elections, which gave him some nice numbers there), and then you add on the other states which had 46, 40, 42, and 15, which looking at those, you have some pretty high numbers over 200 at least, if you even got middle of the road on those elections you would get around 270 points right there, without any National media points, etc. Most got around 40 to 42 seats at least on one other election, so that is around a 290 probably for the average there...so you can see it could get rather high. Don't know how the 400 point total was pulled off, in detail...but that's the general idea of how it went. Now not everyone went for the +12 everytime either for the national party additions, but later on it was more then made up with the party additions as you matched the national platforms, I know I was getting around +8 or more on the last two rounds to my national party, as well as those who rejected contributions getting to roll to add to their party numbers as well.

They also secured I believe 3 of the National platforms which gave John +15 points, and I think overall he did well with the seats that he got in the last three elections, which is where he actually got close to the maximums...wasn't paying attention exactly to how he did it though. So, if you have an average of 70 National Party, +80 +10 +10 +42 +38 = 250, +75 for national media +72 for platforms matching up +15 for secured platforms, you get in the neighborhood of 400...and he had something similar to that...

As I said, I don't have the exact numbers, or remember exactly what he had, but it was something similar to that, and gave him a lot of points.

He joined a lot of coalitions and they won a lot of the elections (actually any election a coalition was in, won the election). Also as I said, the third edition rules have it so that you can switch out your party platform each round (so five times total) and by the fourth round, we were pretty close to matching the national platforms with our party platforms.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ummm... you only get those items ONCE, at game start, prior to the first turn. They just happen to be on the same piece of paper as the turn order bids. If you got the game start items every turn, no wonder your scores were so high.

And yes, at game start, you can place those items in any of the four provinces at the beginning of the game.
5 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kendahl Johnson
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, there you go! That makes more sense and would make a world of difference in making elections more contested. Great, now we gotta play again... Surprisingly to myself, I keep thinking about this game and am actually interested in playing again. Wonder if that itch will ever get scratched...

TheCat wrote:
Ummm... you only get those items ONCE, at game start, prior to the first turn. They just happen to be on the same piece of paper as the turn order bids. If you got the game start items every turn, no wonder your scores were so high.

And yes, at game start, you can place those items in any of the four provinces at the beginning of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.