Recommend
24 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Android» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Game -- Better Than Expected Despite Criticisms Read Here rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Edwin Karat
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
So, this game has been out a while, and there are some serious criticisms of this game. However, a bunch of friends and I still wanted to try it. I pointed people at criticisms of the game, so that everyone know what to expect. Also, I set aside a specific day other than my usual gaming day to play this -- to not force anyone to play it if it wasn't their thing.

I got four people for the turnout. We decided to assign detectives and start player randomly and play with the default murder. I got Raymond and the start player. To my left were Floyd, Caprice, and Louis. I was dealt my innocent and guilty hunches to find that I was obsessed with Noise. I drew the Old Flame card as my plot for this game.

Reading the tip sheets, I decided to play a card-heavy game. I didn't want everyone to notice that I would be focusing on Noise, so I decided to start playing the conspiracy game in order to help me lightshift more often. I would try to get light cards to help me, as well as one dark card on each other player in order to lightshift again.

This plan had two unforeseen problems. The first was that people remembered me as the one initiating the play of dark cards, so they opted to draw my dark cards in return. Not only that, but even though only one dark card can be played on your for a single trigger, someone can play a dark card and a memory for the same trigger. The other was that once someone was playing with the conspiracy puzzle, everyone else was pretty quickly, especially after I played a light card to place two pieces in a row and claim the +4 victory points for completing that row after only following up three leads (middle piece + 3 leads + bonus piece = 5).

In the meantime, Floyd was doing pretty well on the moon. Caprice was doing a good job following up leads, so Floyd moved all the leads to the moon, while the remaining three were struggling to find remaining pieces on Earth. In the meantime, there was an event that gave people 2 Haas tokens for the action that normally only gets them one. Sure, people could play dark cards on Floyd, but most of them just forced him to go to Haas, where he could pick up 2 Haas tokens for a single cost. He didn't follow up many leads, but he got 4 Haas tokens this way while all the leads gathered on the moon. By the time the event was over, Floyd could mop up the leads on the moon and get 3 conspiracy tokens. I, as Raymond, cheated him out of some more with cardplay, and also got 3 conspiracy tokens. In the meantime, Floyd had gotten to the plot where everyone else placing conspiracy tokens gave him bad baggage. Plus, Louis had managed to connect the political and industrial favors, making each of his 4 NPC favors worth 2 points each. Caprice was following up the most leads, and actually placing evidence, unlike the rest of us. Unfortunately, as we discovered at the end of the game, this caused other players to place a whole lot of negative evidence on the suspect she was favoring, cancelling out her work. Finally, Floyd got a Haas conspiracy piece and connected it to a loop for 2 connections, making his Haas tokens worth 5 VP each. That, plus the one extra token he got from a card had him declared the scourge, with 5 Haas tokens at 5 VP each, plus 3 conspiracy tokens for 4 VP each. With one day left, we decided to ruin Floyd's plot. We were down to the last two conspiracy pieces, which we could not play because the two last spots had no lines leading to them. However, looking up the rules, it was legal to discard a piece, so we deliberately gave Floyd two more bad baggage on day 6, causing him to lose 5 points, in addition to losing two more points for sad endings by connecting that part of the conspiracy to the center by two different links. (In fact, this was the same loop that Floyd hung the Haas piece off of.)

After the end of week one, the scores are approximately 30 Floyd - 17 Raymond - 14 Louis - 6 Caprice, based on tokens and plots so far. Raymond's plot went to the successful second half. The suspects from left to right had: 3 evidence tokens, 4 evidence tokens but with 2 of them revealed to be 1's, a large number of evidence tokens but two hits, a moderate number of evidence tokens, and a small number of evidence tokens, but one faceup alibi and one hit. All but Caprice were on the moon to collect the leads that had started there.

At the beginning of week two, several people noticed that several of the new plots involved the conspiracy, but that could no longer be played. Raymond could no longer get good baggage through the normal way, and someone (Louis?) could no longer get bad baggage the normal way. This seemed like a flaw in the game that the plots could become unbalanced by completing the conspiracy early.

Anyway, it had become obvious that Floyd, in the lead in tokens, had been placing the most tokens on the two suspects with the most tokens (numbers 3 and 4 from the left). When I placed a negative evidence token on suspect 4, Floyd intervened to look at it and decided not to discard it. This meant that he likely wanted suspect 3 to be guilty. Suspect 3 had the most tokens but also had 2 hits. I had two favor colors. If I could get to Earth, I could get two more favors and complete the hit. However, I also needed to pick up some good baggage at special locations, since I couldn't play the conspiracy game anymore. So, my plan was to pick up a few extra industrial favors on the moon, get down to earth, get two more favors, put out a hit, and buy some good baggage. The problem is that I no longer had a dropship pass and had to make my way down the beanstalk safely first.

I pulled some light cards to see what I'd get and then made my way down the beanstalk, getting hit by a memory about halfway down. The event at the beginning of week 2 was to interrogate Kate on Earth to cause someone to lose one of each type of normal favor. I made it down the beanstalk and did so, causing Floyd to discard a society favor, which I was worried he would use to get the last Haas token. After this, I noticed that I only had 3 days left. If I didn't follow up any evidence or do anything with cards, I could get two favors, get the two baggage I needed to win my plot, and put out the third hit on Floyd's suspect. However, if anyone sacrificed an Old Flame dark card, I would lose my plot and my score would swing something like 16 points downward. It was too risky. I told everyone that I was giving up on putting out that hit, but someone else could. However, nobody had more than two kinds of favors except Louis if he spent all this NPC favors, which were worth two points each.

At one point in the second week, I drew a light card that let me rotate a conspiracy piece when revealing the conspiracy. This engaged a large debate as to whether or not this was possible after all the pieces were exhausted. In particular, I could hypothetically have rotated a piece to cost Floyd 10 bonus points of Haas tokens. In the end, we decided that it wasn't legal.

My plan effectively foiled, I decided to give Floyd the lead (using the optional rule in the faq/errata). I then went to get one piece of good baggage. On the next turn, I got another piece of good baggage, gave Floyd a piece of bad baggage, went to follow up a lead, and had my turn ended by Floyd's cardplay. On his last turn, Floyd gave me another piece of bad baggage and himself another piece of good baggage. We would need to give him two bad baggage to cause him to lose his plot; I would need one good baggage to win my plot; and I could only use the special location once. On Louis' turn, he gave me a bad baggage. On my turn (the last turn of the game), Floyd made me unable to follow up leads. So, I couldn't stop Floyd's plot, win my plot, or follow leads (or use my cards that helped me follow leads at a distance). So, I drew cards, looking for something that would help me do something. No luck, but I finished off my light deck trying. It turns out I could have made Louis lose his plot by spending my favor to give him bad baggage, but I was too focused on Floyd.

Now for scoring. As I was tallying points, Floyd's player pointed out that with my bad plot, Kate was eliminated, which means that I lost my two Kate favors (worth 2 points each). Ouch. That sad ending really hurt with the -14 points relative to what the happy ending would have been, minus 2 more points for a sad ending, minus 4 points of Kate favors, though I did get 3 points for conspiracy tokens (ie the sad ending cost me a net of 17 points -- on par with what my final score was).

We resolved the murder, which surprised us all. Suspect 1 had a lot of points (~11) in about 4-5 tokens. Suspect 2 (whom I was obsessed with) had about 9 points from about 4 tokens -- too bad I wasn't able to follow up those last two leads in the last turn. Suspect 3 (with the 2 hits) had even fewer points due to a surprise witness. Suspect 4 had zero points due to a pile of negative tokens. It was really impressive. Finally, suspect 5 had the most points, partially due to a perjury token to counter the visible alibi. What was surprising was that nobody had suspect 5 as either their guilty or innocent hunch -- this also seemed bizarre to us. So, we all tied on murder points (7, due to the conspiracy making innocence worth more). After plots for the final week were added in, the relative standings were Floyd, Louis, Caprice, and Raymond. However, it was noted that if Floyd had lost his plot (as he was close to) and Raymond had won his (as he was close to as well), then that swing would have won Raymond the game. The scores were really close enough, despite the huge piles of tokens that Floyd had at midgame.

Overall, we liked it much better than we expected, especially the conspiracy mechanic.
9 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Harvey O'Brien
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
badge
...easy ...easy ...eeesay...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice report. I think this game gets an unfair rap, actually. It's very very messy, yes, but it is so drenched with theme that the experience of playing it is quite rich, almost RP. Sounds like you had a good time anyway, and that's what counts.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Calavera Despierta
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
karat wrote:
Overall, we liked it much better than we expected, especially the conspiracy mechanic.


Well there can be negative hype as much as there can be positive hype I suppose. Most of the negative reviews seem to miss the point of the game. Glad you had a good experience.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiago Nunes
Portugal
Odivelas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just goes to show that the general opinion sometimes means bunk. I could always see all the negative points people talked about this game, I just never thought it took from the fun of it.

I do agree that this game is for a very specific group of people, as your group seems to be

Have fun!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Kudzma
United States
Millsboro
Delaware
flag msg tools
designer
People are...
badge
SPOCKED!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hob69 wrote:
Nice report. I think this game gets an unfair rap, actually. It's very very messy, yes, but it is so drenched with theme that the experience of playing it is quite rich, almost RP. Sounds like you had a good time anyway, and that's what counts.


The game is just a PILE of things to learn. It takes one GOOD play. It's certainly not for everyone. It certainly doesn't help when many of the cult of the new panned it after failed, 5-8 hour long, 5 player learning games.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Glassco
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
karat wrote:
Finally, suspect 5 had the most points, partially due to a perjury token to counter the visible alibi. What was surprising was that nobody had suspect 5 as either their guilty or innocent hunch -- this also seemed bizarre to us.


I wonder how this could happen if people were playing optimally. I suppose you might put down a low token or two on someone you didn't have a hunch on to throw people off the trail if you were worried about one of your main characters getting hit -- but why waste on any high counters on someone you won't get any points for?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Calavera Despierta
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
BruceGee wrote:
karat wrote:
Finally, suspect 5 had the most points, partially due to a perjury token to counter the visible alibi. What was surprising was that nobody had suspect 5 as either their guilty or innocent hunch -- this also seemed bizarre to us.


I wonder how this could happen if people were playing optimally. I suppose you might put down a low token or two on someone you didn't have a hunch on to throw people off the trail if you were worried about one of your main characters getting hit -- but why waste on any high counters on someone you won't get any points for?


I've considered writing a comprehensive strategy guide, but honestly am not sure I have the experience. I have only ever played the first scenario (Evil At the Estates) once from each of the character's perspectives, and it is such a fundamentally different game each time even then (and I still only got to see a half to a third of the plot cards) that I am not sure any advice I would offer about optimal play could be any more than merely conditional.

I will say that I am really starting to see the benefit of things like Jinteki and Haas tokens, bonus VP for the conspiracy, and especially assassination. The last game I played I won by mostly ignoring the my guilty hunch, focusing both on the conspiracy and getting hits on other players suspects (it helps that Rachel, whom I was playing, had some light cards that aid in this), keeping my plot resolving on the positive, and my opponent's plots resolving on the negative. It was a huge gamble, but it satisfied my curiosity that players can indeed win without focusing primarily on their guilty hunches.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The reviews are pretty accurate for the game, but I take them in a *good* way. This is film noir game, in which the players are writing separate stories for the characters. Much like film noir, the murder is unimportant. It's the character's personal struggles that are center of the story.

In our first game, we *were* able to play with five players. I moderated and one player had played before. We stopped after four hours and after the first week of the game. But, by then, we accomplished quite a bit: The conspiracy puzzle was pretty much filled, we resolved our plots, we had a guilty suspect, and even Vinnie had been killed off!

I think this game had some unfortunate expectations, and it's not as accessible as other FFG games. But if you enjoy film noir -- and, I mean, *really* enjoy it -- play a game of Android.
1 
 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.