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Subject: Euro-style economic game rss

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Ethan Larson
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Hi!

I just did the second playtest of my new economic board game. It took us 3.5 hours to complete. Maybe that's partially because of component quality (bits of cardstock are hard to pick up) and everyone being unfamiliar with the rules (only second game ever). Anyway, I'm just curious what people think about this.

I'm hoping the game turns out to be of similar weight to Agricola or Macao, which are 2 hours and 1.5 hours respectively for 4 players. So currently, it seems like it's too long.

It is a game that involves planning, so I'm not sure how much I can shorten the game (it's 9 turns right now, plus two partial turns to unwind the production process).

Poll
What's the maximum time you think is ok for a 4-player Euro-style economic game?
1 hour
1.5 hours
2 hours
2.5 hours
3 hours
3.5 hours
4 hours
4.5 hours
      70 answers
Poll created by almo2001

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Scott Nicholson
Canada
Brantford
Ontario
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I play games like Indonesia and 18xx games, which are economic games that last many hours.

What is important to me is that there is a story arc to the game. I get tired of games when they hit a point where I can see that future turns are going to feel pretty much like this turn. Instead, I like a game where there are significant changes to the game environment so that it is telling a larger-scale story.

If there's an arc like that, I am just fine with a longer game.

18xx for me hits that point about 2/3rds of the way through many of them, which is why I seek those 18xx variants that either have a turn timer (Steam over Holland) or other mechanism that shuts the game down before the drag.

Indonesia, on the other hand, picks up pace, and as new areas of the board are unlocked, changes up quite a bit.

On the other hand, you don't want too much chaos - I don't want a game that changes so drastically that it undoes what I worked for during the game (I'm looking at you, Cavum!)


This is why I really like Dominant Species - it has a good story arc to the game, and the final turns of the game don't feel at all like the early turns of the game.





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M C
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Honolulu
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Really depends on how much fun I am having. I don't mind much longer if I am having fun the whole time, but generally 1.5 hours.
 
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Max Jamelli
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Chambersburg
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Anywhere from 90-120 minutes.
 
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Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I voted for 4.5 hours +, but a game has to offer a lot to justify that kind of time investment. All else being equal, shorter is better (IMO). My opinion is that the change from Funkenschlag to Power Grid, though it took a few enjoyable aspects out of the game, more than made up for it by shortening the game by about an hour.
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Ethan Larson
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Thanks for the responses and poll votes, fellas. :) They will help me make future decisions on the game's length.
 
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David Jones
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I hope I'm not over-analyzing your question too much, but I would have to say that it really depends on your target audience and, maybe more importantly, how much down time there is for other players between turns.

On the first point, a game like Stone Age which is geared more towards family play would suffer from more than 2 hour play time. On the other hand, Le Havre is geared toward people who like heavier, more complex games, so 3+ hours is OK.

On the second point, suppose your game is just destined to be a three hour game. What is each person doing between their turns? Even though Caylus is only a two hour game, it wouldn't bother me if it were 3+ hours because there really isn't much down time between your actions. Similiarly, people are willing to sit through four hours of Twilight Struggle because there is rarely any down time for either player. If you can keep people entertained, they are less likely to care about the game length.

On the other hand, if time is lost because you are processing too many event cards or waiting five minutes between turns because everyone else is stuck in AP, then you either have a broken mechanic or you need to consider gearing your game to a heavier market.
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Ethan Larson
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That's a very good point. My impression was that there's very little down time. Each turn has around 10 phases where people do stuff. I'll monitor that more closely in the next playtest. Thanks!
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Ethan Larson
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Hi again, folks!

Got another playtest (or maybe more...) in. I was not one of the players for the most recent one. It came in at 2:45. When I asked the players if they thougt it was too long, they asked how long it was. I told them, and they all agreed it didn't feel like it was that long. So I think I'm on the right track.

I've redesigned the board to speed things a little; players now have their own boards like in Puerto Rico. There was too much conflicting reaching past each other on the single central board I had. I had hoped that the layout of the central board would make the flow of events easier to read, but it didn't seem to have that effect.

Next up is designing the 2- and 3-player versions. More testing, then the hunt for a publisher. :)
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