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Subject: 1st Time Play - Review (never played or knew about the game before) rss

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Alan Irene
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Before I review, note that I played with 4 others that played at least more than once before. Also, I knew nothing about this game beforehand besides that it is like a "Highly Advanced Clue."

I was handed all 5 character cards to look them over. After looking them over I wasn't sure what to look for, so I instead chose randomly and ended up with Floyd. I was then given the directive cards and was shown basically what to expect in terms of plotlines. I was also shown the basics as to how to move, account for time and how to play the twighlight cards. So then we started. I quickly realized that each character was completely different in how they advanced through the game.

So here is my review:

Storyline:
Every game needs some sort of decent plot to keep players focused and this game excels greatly. From about the 2nd turn I was pretty sure I wasn't winning the game, but all of the flavor text, character plots and different ways of gaining victory points kept me interested. I find that if a player enters this game with a mindset of, "play the game how your character would," the game itself is fun even when you don't win.

Game Mechanics:
So to make a long story short, I was not impressed with the conspiracy puzzle. The game I played, the entire puzzle was complete by the end of the 1st week. Although this happened because we played the game incorrectly. When a player "Dug Deeper," they spent 1 time like normal, but then immediately drew the puzzle piece (one player actually recieved 16 VPs in one turn from completing 3 rows in the puzzle). I guess if played correctly, I would enjoy this aspect of the game a bit more.

My other problem with the game is that even with the character strategies sheets (which the game provides), unless you have already used each character, you don't know exactly how they work, which makes it harder to combat your opposing players.

The mechanic of how players follow leads I do like. It adds a bit of strategy to how you get your opponents to travel around the board. While placeing evidence is more like "framing" suspects, I do like the idea of how the murderer is decided.

A minor problem I did have was that there are certain character storylines that work MUCH better for the character if completed in Week 1. The problem is, you don't pick, it's random. For example, I was Floyd. It would have been a lot easier had I completed his plot that discards his 3rd directive. It really kept me on the moon until turn 4.

Flow of the Game:
Don't get me wrong, if every player knows the rules and are played correctly, this game is excellent. However, this game I played (5 total players, only 1 new player) took 5 hours. Turn 1 took a total of 30 mins. The rest were give or take. To be honest, I zoned out a few times when it wasn't my turn. If I had no Dark cards to play, I was more interested reading flavor text or reading through the rulebook. For new players, since each character is completely different, their actions go WAY over the newbie's heads.

Overall:
I would recommend this game to anyone that enjoys great storytelling. You could probably write a great short story based on events that the group completes. Because each character has 2 plots to complete (picked from a total of 3 for each), each game will not be the same. There is also very little randomness when it comes down to actual play. There is no dice in this game. Each character has a set distance of what they can travel.

The only huge drawback to this game is that there is a lot to take in. Each character operates in a completely different way. There are also many different ways to score victory points that new players will not realize at first. However as I stated above in my review, new players need to enter this game with the mindset that they are just another character in a story being told. Once you get an idea of how each character interacts with the game mechanics, you can legitimatly start playing the game to win.

I cannot wait to play my next game. The conspiracy rules will be played correctly and I will take more of a role in putting the puzzle pieces on the board. I now also have a better idea of the goals of each character and how each dark card really hurts them. If you are new to the game, please don't go into the game expecting to win. Just have fun learning and know that the next game will be much easier for you to plan your attack.

I do have a question though. Even if the "Dig Deeper" mechanic is played correctly, does the conspiracy puzzle get completed quickly (like, into the first couple days of the 2nd week)?
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Dan Has
United States
Sandy
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I've played about four games, so I am not at all that experienced. Not to mention the rules we got wrong in our first two times playing. Plus three of them were with three players and one with four players. But from what I've seen digging deeper usually isn't the best method, because it'll cost you two leads just to get to place a piece from the second pile and three leads just to place one puzzle piece from the third pile.

But yeah, I could see how the puzzle could fill up quick, but if everyone is working on the conspiracy, you could be placing all the evidence on the suspects instead, so you'll have more control of who is guilty or not.

Now I want to play again... I really do enjoy this game.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Yes, the conspiracy puzzle is usually finished by the end of week 1, as everyone rushes to grab the 4VP conspiracy tokens before everyone else does. It's generally best to go for these first as these are "concrete" points, whereas the points from the murder are a bit more of a lottery depending on which evidence tokens you draw.
 
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Benj Davis
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Yeah, I've been wondering if there's some good way to discourage filling out the puzzle until later on, because all the times I've played it's filled up very fast. No Conspiracy tokens until week 2, maybe? No Baggage pieces until Week 2?
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Calavera Despierta
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I am actually surprised that both of you guys are reporting the conspiracy filled so quickly. In most of my games (all two and three player), the conspiracy puzzle is relatively slow to fill. I think our thinking is that those bonus VP chips for completing rows will still be there toward the end of the game. In the final week, things in the conspiracy accelerate as players move to make sure those pieces that are placed maximize VP. So in other words, I would argue, finishing the conspiracy in the first week forces players to play a certain way according to how the puzzle was placed, and can really make the game feel like its on a set of rails. Conversely, waiting until the second week to finish the puzzle allows players to play in whatever way is required by the cards in hand, etc the first week, and then compete over the Conspiracy in the second week.
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Alan Irene
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I've only been able to play once so I cannot make too many statements without proof to back myself, but like someone said above, they are concrete points that you don't lose.

I was thinking a house rule that would clear this up would be that you can only score VPs from the conspiracy row/columns once per turn and it must be on the first puzzle placement of the turn. If a player is lucky to have a row and column placed on that first puzzle placement of the turn, they get the 8 total VPs.

This to me would encourage the other players to prevent double scores and whatnot, and at the same time would limit the amount of VPs a single player can aquire from just completing a row/column.
 
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Calavera Despierta
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tsa333 wrote:
I've only been able to play once so I cannot make too many statements without proof to back myself, but like someone said above, they are concrete points that you don't lose.


Ah! This point of view I can certainly understand. I think it may be a metagame thing then - we're mostly Ameristrashers around here, which means our play-styles lean toward significant risk-taking (high risk, higher reward, plus it adds tons more tension to the experience of play.) A more careful player (ie: a Eurogamer?) might definitely play in the way you describe. Both are, obviously, acceptable methods. It would be interesting to try out your variant.
 
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Roman Serebryakov
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kudos for review, thank you
 
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