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Subject: Who Stole Ed's Android? rss

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The Steak Fairy
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Okay, I took a lot of flack recently for suggesting that nobody who already owned both Yahtzee and Ra would ever need to own Ra: The Dice Game. I suspect I won't take as much flack for suggesting that anybody who already owns Who Stole Ed's Pants? can skip purchasing Android. The latter is the most hyper-complicated and overly wrought version of the former that anybody could possibly contrive, even under the influence of the most mind-altering drugs presently available.

I had the quasi-unique opportunity to spend six or seven hours learning how to play Android this past weekend. As always with games that I don't own, and the rules of which I have not read, I had to rely on the largesse of another human being to teach them to me. That unenviable task fell, this time, to the extremely personable and remarkably patient Ted Cheatham. The other players were, in no particular clockwise order, Scott (the eventual winner, who beat me by one point), Lori #1, who was the only person at the table who wished to play to completion, Lori #2 (quite possibly spelled differently--I never saw a name badge) who was the only person sensible enough to quit two or three hours into the game, then back to me, and then back even further to Ted on my left.

Ted was Floyd, Scott was Louis, #1 was Caprice, #2 was Rachel, and I was (because everybody loves him) Raymond. And that's pretty much the last time I'll bring anything up about the details of my one play. Well, I will tell you that nobody quite understood the specifics of Raymond's 2-week long plot, and the first card was prematurely resolved, but that just meant that the second card stayed out three days longer than it should have, so it was a self-correcting error that, in a learning game, mattered almost not at all, except to drive home how important it should be to really know the rules for all your variable characters if you plan to play the game with the full complement your first time. Or, possibly, just how difficult it can be in a game this overly complicated to make sure that everybody is actually doing what the hell they're supposed to be doing.

Ted kept mentioning the "director's cut," and that worried me a little, because it was pretty clear after three or four hours that something in this game needed to be cut. The whole "conspiracy" with its focus on instant gratification and end-game scoring potential is mitigated by the various cards in the anti-personnel decks that force everybody to lose all their favors. Knowing the game as much (or little) as I now do, I would advise people to do their best to cycle through the anti-personnel decks (whatever the hell they're really called) and collect (and do their utmost best to hang onto) those cards that cause as many favors as possible to be tossed out.

Oh well, who cares about my strategy tips. I'm probably never going to play this again. The only thing that can possibly keep a game like this fresh is expansions (once you've actually read all the cards), and I've had enough of that kind of thing. As Raymond, all I'd ever need to do is fly around collecting favors and make sure not to enter any of the places listed on any of my anti-Raymond deck's cards. Piece of cake! There's almost no reason to ever go anywhere in particular, anyway. You can get to within one point of victory with Raymond (as long as nobody else is really paying any attention to the game) mostly by drawing and discarding cards from your "We Love Raymond" deck. The VPs just line up for the taking, as everybody else manipulates everything else and you try not to trigger any "haunting memories."

In order to get this past the GeekModding process, I will provide the following informative section regarding the goals and essential rules of the game:

Every player attempts to earn more victory points than each of his or her opponents. They do this by actually earning more victory points than each of their opponents. Victory points are awarded for any number of seemingly unrelated reasons, my favorite being getting five jigsaw-type pieces in a row placed onto the "conspiracy." This extremely uncomplicated option is entwined with a highly foreshortened version of Waterworks. Somebody could argue that strategic arrangement of the pipes is possible, but I could argue just as effectively that this is complete nonsense, because tracking which configurations are already out of each stack becomes ever more difficult as this endless space opera unfolds. You're going to go after tiles based on the short term benefits they give you, and then do your best to stick them wherever they may fit in the overall conspiracy pattern. If you're lucky, you'll wind up multiplying the value of the stack of favors you've been collecting in one color or another. If you're of average luck, somebody is just going to force you to discard all those favors anyway, so you may as well thank whichever genius stuck that "5-in-a-row" rule on top of the theme. End of "informative" section occurs: Now.

This game gets one out of a possible five stars for cleverness. All the clever things that one could possibly point to in this game were totally wiped out by putting a little karmic scale on one side of a card, and using a little cardboard dot to mark your status on it, while at the same time printing useful information on the back of the card, so that you're bound to want to flip it over, and accidentally launch the little cardboard dot straight into the eye of a player across the table. Bad planning, game makers!

It was also probably bad planning to give Raymond a set of four cards with four unchanging locations to hand to each of his opponents, and then expect him to ever accidentally wander into one of those "haunting memory" locations. Sure, I didn't bother to read what was on the four cards before I dutifully did as I was told and handed them to everybody else, but I'm the only gamer in the world who probably wouldn't sneak a peak at them before handing them over. As it happened, I never went to any of those places anyway...well, one, but by then I was so unconcerned with the outcome of the game that I didn't care.

In conclusion, Who Stole Ed's Pants + Waterworks - Merchant of Venus * Blade Runner: The Director's Cut = Android. This game is so much more interesting as work of speculative fiction than it is as a game that I am tempted to buy it, just to read it. I will reiterate that I sincerely doubt I would ever play it again. I'd certainly never bother to try to teach it to anybody.

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Scott Everts
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Very funny review! I tried playing this once. After 4 hours (2 hours of rules review/setup) we got half way and all decided to quit.

I will say its quite pretty, a big thumbs up for the artists involved who are all probably sad they put so much effort into this game. whistle
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Gunther Schmidl
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Seriously? I can explain this in 25 minutes, with another 10-15 for setup, possibly while explaining.
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Jorge Arroyo
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This is not the kind of game you want to learn with so many people playing. It's also not the kind of game that can be judged after one play. Of course you didn't know what locations to go to on your first game. Strategies in this game are not that obvious, that is why it stands up to repeated playing.

Anyway, we always play with just two players and our games last about two hours. Three players is the maximum number I'd play with unless everyone knows the game well

And BTW, in games such as these it helps a lot if everyone reads the rules in advance.
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When we attempted to play no one knew the rules so it took a long time to figure out how to play and setup the board. There is an amazing amount of rules & bits. I'd be willing to try it again but Jorge it right that it would be best if everyone read the rules first. Without detailed knowledge of the rules its not much fun at all.

My main complaint with the game is there's just so many systems and complexity its hard to plan anything. Everytime I tried to do something I was blocked by other player's "take that" cards. Maybe with 2 or 3 it would work better. Otherwise you wait a long time between turns and then find out you can't do anything as you get hit by all the cards.
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Consider also the fact that each character is more vulnerable at different types of locations. knowing your weaknesses is key to playing well. That's why it is very important to read the strategy tips for your character, especially on your first plays.
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Chris J Davis
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maka wrote:
Consider also the fact that each character is more vulnerable at different types of locations. knowing your weaknesses is key to playing well. That's why it is very important to read the strategy tips script for your character, especially on your first plays.


Fixed that for ya.
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bleached_lizard wrote:
maka didn't wrote:
Consider also the fact that each character is more vulnerable at different types of locations. knowing your weaknesses is key to playing well. That's why it is very important to read the strategy tips script for your character, especially on your first plays.


Fixed that for ya.


You know, I now it's supposed to be a common joke around here to edit other people's quotes like that... but it's a bit old already, isn't it?

Now, about your "script". Follow the so called script without paying attention to the game. I'll play knowing my character and you won't stand a chance... The tips sheet is there to help ease new players into the game, but it doesn't substitute gameplay experience.

But then again, you don't really play Android, do you?
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maka wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
maka didn't wrote:
Consider also the fact that each character is more vulnerable at different types of locations. knowing your weaknesses is key to playing well. That's why it is very important to read the strategy tips script for your character, especially on your first plays.


Fixed that for ya.


You know, I now it's supposed to be a common joke around here to edit other people's quotes like that... but it's a bit old already, isn't it?


Nope - there's still some life left in it yet.

maka wrote:
Now, about your "script". Follow the so called script without paying attention to the game. I'll play knowing my character and you won't stand a chance... The tips sheet is there to help ease new players into the game, but it doesn't substitute gameplay experience.

But then again, you don't really play Android, do you?


Damn right.

EDIT: In fact, neither do you, as the game isn't designed for two players.
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bleached_lizard wrote:
maka wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:
maka didn't wrote:
Consider also the fact that each character is more vulnerable at different types of locations. knowing your weaknesses is key to playing well. That's why it is very important to read the strategy tips script for your character, especially on your first plays.


Fixed that for ya.


You know, I now it's supposed to be a common joke around here to edit other people's quotes like that... but it's a bit old already, isn't it?


Nope - there's still some life left in it yet. Yep. I agree and will stop. Sorry


There... two can play the same game

Quote:

maka wrote:
Now, about your "script". Follow the so called script without paying attention to the game. I'll play knowing my character and you won't stand a chance... The tips sheet is there to help ease new players into the game, but it doesn't substitute gameplay experience.

But then again, you don't really play Android, do you?


Damn right.

EDIT: In fact, neither do you, as the game isn't designed for two players.


Well... that's not really accurate. Kevin Wilson did say the only reason that they didn't say the game supported 2 players was that they didn't test it that way, but I did remember him saying there's no reason the game shouldn't work, and it does work wonderfully even without any variant at all.

So yes. I'm playing Android. Thank you very much.
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Android needs a good amount of time and effort but I find it worthwhile. I never find 'take that' cards troublesome since most of them are avoidable. Those who are not are mostly minor hindrance.
For example as Caprice I rarely got bothered since I avoid seedy locations. Same with raymond, avoid nightlife locations. Reading the tip sheet is a great help, but it seems to me that most people ignore them.
The game is surprisingly simple. Yes there is a lot going on but you actually only need to watch some of them.
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The Steak Fairy
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My problem with the tip sheets was merely this: There's not enough inducement to go into any of the places that you already know you're better off not going to. Raymond has it exceptionally simple: Don't go into the beanstalk for any reason, and try to stay in the normal locations. Since I didn't play the other folk I really didn't pay attention to their prohibitions, but if everybody is following the advice on their strategy sheet then their movements become somewhat predictable, don't they?
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Android is lousy as a pick-up game. It's also lousy with five players. Three is probably the sweet spot, with four being good if everyone's experienced.

The game works best with three, as an event, and everyone reads the rules in the preceding week.

Even then, it's such a strong flavor it's not gonna be everybody's cuppa. I get the feeling Dan & Kevin designed the game they wished someone else would design so they could walk into a game store and buy it. In other words, they decided to fuck the audience and make it for themselves. Good things come from that process -- but so do polarizing things.

As MScrivner says, it's a delivery system for literature. Like playing poker with Burrough's cut-ups. That's why I love it with a rock-solid 10.

For all that, thanks for the review -- I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you. Also, androids don't wear pants. It's against the law.
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MisterCranky wrote:
My problem with the tip sheets was merely this: There's not enough inducement to go into any of the places that you already know you're better off not going to. Raymond has it exceptionally simple: Don't go into the beanstalk for any reason, and try to stay in the normal locations. Since I didn't play the other folk I really didn't pay attention to their prohibitions, but if everybody is following the advice on their strategy sheet then their movements become somewhat predictable, don't they?


Actually, No. At least not when we play. Keep in mind that it is the OTHER PLAYERS that move the evidence after you've encountered it. A smart player, one who is paying attention to strategy and not sitting there sniveling about how broken Android is, would use this to move evidence to locations that would inevitably lead one's opponents to enter those locations as well. Not only is this not scripted, it creates a nice amount of dramatic tension for both the player and their opponents.
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MisterCranky wrote:
My problem with the tip sheets was merely this: There's not enough inducement to go into any of the places that you already know you're better off not going to. Raymond has it exceptionally simple: Don't go into the beanstalk for any reason, and try to stay in the normal locations. Since I didn't play the other folk I really didn't pay attention to their prohibitions, but if everybody is following the advice on their strategy sheet then their movements become somewhat predictable, don't they?


But many times players will tempt you by dropping clues on the types of places that may hurt you the most. You may choose to ignore them, or you may choose to take a chance. Also, by avoiding locations you'll move slower and sometimes you might want to take the risk to take a more direct route somewhere...

So it's not that easy...

Edit: I hadn't seen Matthew's answer when I posted this and his answer is clearer than mine too!
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MScrivner wrote:

Actually, No. At least not when we play. Keep in mind that it is the OTHER PLAYERS that move the evidence after you've encountered it. A smart player, one who is paying attention to strategy and not sitting there sniveling about how broken Android is, would use this to move evidence to locations that would inevitably lead one's opponents to enter those locations as well. Not only is this not scripted, it creates a nice amount of dramatic tension for both the player and their opponents.


I don't care if it's the other players, the guys who invented Floyd, or a koala bear with a shitty attitude--the requirement that the evidence be placed on an identically colored locale, without any other relevant tokens already in it, and not in one of the six particular sections where the placing player's character is located? This can hamper strategic placement greatly. Also, in practice, whether you play with the sorts of snivelers whose company you seem to keep, or merely people who have no idea what is on the vast majority of the rather large number of anti-personnel cards yet, the evidence moves around so much that it's entirely possible to go quite awhile without really being able to encounter any. At least in the five-player version. I know, because this happened to me. The more familiar everybody is with the contents of this game, the more likely they are going to be to encounter clever play and successful tactics.

I don't recall anybody saying anything about this game being broken. Overly involved, tedious, and not particularly enjoyable? I'd lean toward those. Broken? Not so far as I noticed.

Edit: P.S. Other players can tempt me? When I know exactly who is holding my cards, and I can see where they in particular are playing tokens? Plus we can assume that if I've studied the game at all, then I've certainly studied the cards that affect each character adversely. So, not really much of a temptation, right? If somebody could somehow FORCE me to go to a detrimental location, that might work. But basically the worst cards I managed to get played on me were of the type, "cancel the move, it never happened." As I said above, I did at one point, stumble into one of Raymond's haunted memories. But only because I never really looked at the cards to see where they were. Oh, this relates only to the cards dealing with locales--obviously I had all sorts of cards played on me that just automatically took place at the start of my turn, and I played plenty on other people with similarly uninspired entry conditions.
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HiveGod wrote:
Android is lousy as a pick-up game. It's also lousy with five players. Three is probably the sweet spot, with four being good if everyone's experienced.

The game works best with three, as an event, and everyone reads the rules in the preceding week.

Even then, it's such a strong flavor it's not gonna be everybody's cuppa. I get the feeling Dan & Kevin designed the game they wished someone else would design so they could walk into a game store and buy it. In other words, they decided to fuck the audience and make it for themselves. Good things come from that process -- but so do polarizing things.

As MScrivner says, it's a delivery system for literature. Like playing poker with Burrough's cut-ups. That's why I love it with a rock-solid 10.

For all that, thanks for the review -- I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you. Also, androids don't wear pants. It's against the law.


Chris, I am a huge fan of Dystopias, don't get me wrong. I believe the literature in this game, however, is more derivative than original. Not a big problem if the game were all that interesting in its mechanics. But come on--is there any particular reason to repeatedly play this novella?
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MisterCranky wrote:
MScrivner wrote:

Actually, No. At least not when we play. Keep in mind that it is the OTHER PLAYERS that move the evidence after you've encountered it. A smart player, one who is paying attention to strategy and not sitting there sniveling about how broken Android is, would use this to move evidence to locations that would inevitably lead one's opponents to enter those locations as well. Not only is this not scripted, it creates a nice amount of dramatic tension for both the player and their opponents.


I don't care if it's the other players, the guys who invented Floyd, or a koala bear with a shitty attitude--the requirement that the evidence be placed on an identically colored locale, without any other relevant tokens already in it, and not in one of the six particular sections where the placing player's character is located? This can hamper strategic placement greatly. Also, in practice, whether you play with the sorts of snivelers whose company you seem to keep, or merely people who have no idea what is on the vast majority of the rather large number of anti-personnel cards yet, the evidence moves around so much that it's entirely possible to go quite awhile without really being able to encounter any. At least in the five-player version. I know, because this happened to me. The more familiar everybody is with the contents of this game, the more likely they are going to be to encounter clever play and successful tactics.

I don't recall anybody saying anything about this game being broken. Overly involved, tedious, and not particularly enjoyable? I'd lean toward those. Broken? Not so far as I noticed.

Edit: P.S. Other players can tempt me? When I know exactly who is holding my cards, and I can see where they in particular are playing tokens? Plus we can assume that if I've studied the game at all, then I've certainly studied the cards that affect each character adversely. So, not really much of a temptation, right? If somebody could somehow FORCE me to go to a detrimental location, that might work. But basically the worst cards I managed to get played on me were of the type, "cancel the move, it never happened." As I said above, I did at one point, stumble into one of Raymond's haunted memories. But only because I never really looked at the cards to see where they were. Oh, this relates only to the cards dealing with locales--obviously I had all sorts of cards played on me that just automatically took place at the start of my turn, and I played plenty on other people with similarly uninspired entry conditions.


Whoa, back up there, Cranky. I think my post was misunderstood, and I hope you realize in no way was my intention to be insulting or uncivil. The sniveler remark was aimed not at you, and I realize that quoting your post in my response probably made it seem that way, so I am sorry.

To be honest, I have never played this game with more than three, and most of my plays were with two, so the advice I was giving really was sound. I suspect in the five player game the conditions are different, so perhaps the point is moot.

Anyhow, I am sorry you didn't dig the game. It's obviously not for everyone. I don't even disagree with most of your complaints, I just don't seem them as critical flaws.

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MisterCranky wrote:
Chris, I am a huge fan of Dystopias, don't get me wrong. I believe the literature in this game, however, is more derivative than original. Not a big problem if the game were all that interesting in its mechanics. But come on--is there any particular reason to repeatedly play this novella?

I've only played five times, but each play felt radically different from the last. And I get the feeling I haven't even scratched the surface.

I think the bad press Android gets is fair; it's really pretty delicate in the sense that the magic circle is easily broken or just plain evaporates over time. (I suppose critics would say the game is merely weak.) But combining this strong dependence on set, setting & people's willingness to push through with a game that requires multiple plays to reveal its secrets dooms it to critical failure. If the initial play is so off-putting, it ain't coming back.

(That's why I pop up in these threads with my usual suggestions for that first play: three people, read the rules ahead of time, plan on four hours. I don't know why they didn't put this on a jaggy balloon on the box.)

So, why play this hack novella repeatedly? Because it hits me just right. I'm the first to admit that's a weak defense. I can't fully articulate why, yet, and really, I'm waiting for my 10th play (twice with each character) to write a more cogent review.

Until then, I believe in the game and will keep carrying a torch for it.
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Matthew, no worries, I really did figure that you had encountered those snivelers that you mentioned, and not me. I will say that #2 was extremely irritated with me, probably because I made some crack about how long #1 was taking on her turns, and they were friends who had entered the game together. I don't know, maybe I sniveled too much and got her irritated, but for whatever reason, she was the only one at the table who was really seriously unwilling to proceed and see what happened in the game. I don't think the game was broken, I am sure that playing with three would be far more palatable, especially since the damned tokens might (and I don't know, because it depends a lot on which characters play and where they start) not fly out of reach so damned fast.

I will go out on a limb and say that I would play this game again readily with people who already knew it well, but I could really tell that Ted Cheatham, whose copy we played, was disappointed in the results he got plopping this thing down at a friendly four-day event and trying to get everybody on the same page with any alacrity. I think he should try distributing the rules in advance next time, if he doesn't trade this away. (Ted, if you ever read this, that's my one bit of advice.)

HG, the only reason I either asked or agreed to play this one (I don't recall the sequence) was because it looked SO DAMNED COOL and was right up my alley, with respect to the subject matter. I was pretty serious: I'd buy this just to read the whole thing. I suppose if I did buy it, and inevitably read the rules, I'd see where the whole thing went wrong, and what little gotchas we may have missed that would have increased its overall desirability. I had, at various times, the vague sense of incorrectness regarding almost all the various possible endeavors. That sort of confidence loss had more to do with my lack of knowledge about the four other characters (and I wasn't really too cognizant of my own--I never figured out who Kate was and I never ran into the presumed dead guy...or if I did I cycled those cards so fast that I just missed 'em.)

If you think the game is eminently replayable, then I respect your opinion and I will go out of my way to try to find somebody who wants to play it with three or four people that've already played it at least once. Assuming that ever happens, I will update this review thread with the new reactions. If any.
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Furthermore, nobody really cares what I think about games, anyway, so this was a fun way to yet again pigeonhole a game with a silly catchphrase and sneak this tripe past the geekmodding process.
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This whole thread feels like------

A game of Android where I have no idea of the 'posters' name, objective or motivesmodest

Nhoj

ps where ARE my hint cards!

pps on the bottom of BGG?






edited because of stupidity
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JohnMcKendrick wrote:
This whole thread feels like------

A game of Android where I have no idea of the 'posters' name, objective or motivesmodest


And thus I have attained my victory condition. With no accursed Louis around this time, to screw it all up with his triply valuable favors.
 
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MisterCranky wrote:
JohnMcKendrick wrote:
This whole thread feels like------

A game of Android where I have no idea of the 'posters' name, objective or motivesmodest


And thus I have attained my victory condition. With no accursed Louis around this time, to screw it all up with his triply valuable favors.


You decide on your own victory conditions?

WOW

Can I be your dogkiss
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The Steak Fairy
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Games? People still play games??
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Specious arguments are not proof of trollish intent.
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One of my bonus goals was to get you to be my dog, so thanks for that.
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