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Lost Cities: The Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: LC:TBG vs. Keltis: History lesson rss

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Dan C
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First of all - it's me getting the history lesson in that I'd like to outline my understanding of how the two versions came about and ask for corrections if anyone has cited info.

I'm very interested in original designer's intent concerning games. I know that sometimes a publisher can make good suggestions, and some house rules and variants can be very good -- but I like to know what the designer wanted in general.

I've looked through the forums for both games and only gotten bits and pieces of info. So was it...

1. Back in the '90s, Knizia designs the 2 player card game Lost Cities.
2. Circa 2007, he designs a board game version of the card game. But for some reason(?) the German publisher changes the rules and the theme: You can lay the cards in ascending AND descending order, and you only play one round instead of three.
The new theme is an abstract/Irish theme and it is called "Keltis". It goes on to win the SDJ award.
3. When Knizia goes to Rio Grande to publish English version, he has it done with his original theme and rules (Ascending only/3 rounds/adventure-archaelogy).

So my question (given the above is accurate) - was Knizia upset when German publisher made the changes in #2, or did he like them? If he didn't like them, why does he continue to make expansions to Keltis and not Lost Cities? Does he prefer one over the other?

Did Knizia ever recommend playing ascending/descending in 3 rounds? or only in 1?
 
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Laszlo Molnar
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Its quite simple.
1. He wasn't upset; actually it's quite usual that publishers suggest more or less changes on a prototype. Actually he said in an interview that he thought what Kosmos added to the game was the right thing to do.
2. It's Keltis that won SdJ so the sales of Keltis were boosted to extreme numbers. Therefore it's more than logical that this one gets the expansions.
3. Also as Keltis is relatively themeless, it's a lot easier to make an expansion and different further games based on its mechanism and "theme". E.g. in the one and only expansion, the roads are crossing each other and keep changing colors; that wouldn't make sense with the Lost Cities theme. Also these versions are based on the advance/decrease rule so they really work this way and wouldn't really work the other way.

And about the 3 rounds: it's recommended for LC:TBG for two reasons. One being the similarity and 'link' to the card game and the other being that LC:TBG's only ascending rules make that version too luck-based so this luck has to be balanced somehow. AND it's for US players who like longer games than euro gamers.
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Billy McBoatface
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Laszlo's comments agree with what I've heard.

Also, originally it was going to be LC:TBG, developed by Kosmos, then sold by various companies. But Kosmos wanted an abstract, while other companies wanted the LC tie-in, so Keltis came out first, with Kosmos also doing the development work for LC:TBG (even though they didn't plan on selling it themselves). Then when Keltis won SDJ, every company except Rio Grande changed their minds and said they wanted Keltis instead of LC:TBG. So, even though LC:TBG was developed by Kosmos, the only company that published it was Rio Grande.
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Dan C
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Thanks for the replies and espcially for the link to the article, Laszlo!
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Mark Raciborski
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I am one of the few people, it would seem, that likes LC:TBG over those green versions. I find Keltis's abstract version gaudy, an all green linear fanned parcheesi, for lack of a better description. No, I don't find the LC:TBG board this way. I am not a fan of anything Celtic. Ok, this place is green, I get it, that Keltis Das Orakel is just too much green for me, the stone colors red/brown are off, 4 leaf clovers, leprechauns, oh my, an Irish wizard of Oz. I do think they need to hire an artist to review some of these color picks, especially when it comes to shading objects at their base. This is one of the problems with Keltis das Orakel on the iPad. Even with changes, the red/browns are muddy. Everyone who plays KdO on my iPad gets confused with these two colors, the board is a little better if you move the tokens off to the side.

The deal is, when I hear "Celtric Women"/PBS I go running for the mute button. Right up there with RiverDance which I guess will be the next release of Keltis, Keltis Das RiverDance. :D

The linked article on KR was interesting, thanks for posting it. Kind of like the record/CD companies I guess. Still in all, they all play well, just like LC:TBG over them.
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Dan C
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Well, I do enjoy Celtic Woman, but I agree I probably prefer LC:TBG over Keltis as well. I say "probably" because I have only played the iPad version of Keltis, whereas I have the LC:TBG physical game.

For one thing... do people ever discard much in Keltis? In LC:TBG, there is much more discarding apparently. The games I've played on the iPad of Keltis just seems like there is only about 2 or 3 cards discarded in a game, and they are quickly snatched up. It seems like you wouldn't want to because you're always helping someone. In LC:TBG, since you are always going in one direction (up in sequence), you discard a lot. There's more of a difficult choice, to use your turn to discard or to play; whereas in Keltis, you usually just want to play, because the discard is going to help someone (high cards for those starting high, and low for those staring low) - probably not as much of an issue with 2p, but still.

(edit: my apologies for the slight off topic on this thread I started a long while ago)
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Laszlo Molnar
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I think the biggest criticism that Keltis gets is that people are not discarding as much as in LC:TBG. While it's true I don't find that to be a problem. What's more, I do like discarding in Keltis. True, you are helping others... But you help only one player, and this is a multiplayer game. So if you help somebody and yourself then help somebody else and yourself quite soon you'll realise it's you who gets the most from discarding.
And of course in a 2-player game things are different - but it's a lot easier to discard in a 2-player Keltis.
 
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Dan C
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I hadn't see that it was a common criticism. Interesting.
 
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