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Subject: Has anyone played this game at least half a dozen times? rss

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Please share some thoughts if you've played Heroes of Graxia half a dozen times or more. There's a number of threads expressing concern about whether the player versus player combat is properly balanced and the degree to which it has been successfully implemented (examples here and here and here). As others have pointed out (e.g. here), the player versus player combat is an essential element of gameplay, and is part of the appeal of Heroes of Graxia. In determining how well this works, it strikes me that some of the critical posts are based on initial impressions and a very limited number of plays. I've personally only played four games until now, but they were wildly different in length and in outcome as we tried various strategies ranging from passive to aggressive, and focusing on different things like fighting monsters, attacking opponents, or building up an army after generating an income base. That tells me not to judge too quickly! Perhaps this game needs a larger number of plays to properly evaluate and understand it.

Has anyone actually played Heroes of Graxia six or seven times or maybe more? I'd be interested in hearing from people who have played a decent amount of times, and listening to what they have to say about the player versus player combat, the different strategies that are viable (e.g. attacking others versus attacking monsters), how balanced they think the game is, and any other impressions based on a larger number of games played.
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sean johnson
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I have played the game nine times. I have played with two all the way through six players. Overall, I find the player vs. player combat balanced with a couple of exceptions. In a two player game, it is possible for a player to get a really good starting hand and build up their character's strength dramatically faster than the other player. If this happens, they can attack early and get the kill, and then with a little luck do it again as soon as the opponent "respawns". Most of the two player games I have played though, are more of a cold war style conflict with both players trying to keep up with each other and picking off monsters when they can. Eventually one player gets enough of a lead in attack and has the right hand of spells that they attack for an epic battle. At this point the game is effectively over, because the losing character will get thrashed again most likely. However, the build up to that battle is tense, and a couple of games never made it to the epic battle as we both focused on killing monsters.

In multiplayer games, PvP combat is really risky. With two it is possible to attack, take a few wounds and grab a few prestige points. However, with multiple people doing this makes you weak and open to attack. In the six player game I played this happened. One of the players did not think about this and attacked. He killed a henchman, but was seriously damaged in the fight. So the following player attacked and killed him. This player was injured in their attack, so the following player attacked them as well. After that exchange, all the players were a little more cautious of attacking other players.

Often the deciding factor in the game has not bee what ended the game, but who has the most points in their decks. In the late game the most effective strategy is to stop buying cards you want and just buying the cards with the highest VP amount on them regardless of what they are.

After nine plays I still like the game, and I look forward to playing it more.
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Brian P
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I've played 10 times. Mostly 2 and 3 player.

I have only played with the rule, where the defender doesn't draw replacement cards at the start of his next turn (I believe they changed it). Keep in mind this may change things, but my opinion in the game has dropped with each play.

I was initially concerned about balance in this game, so I started keeping light notes. Starting player, character, score, ect...

The lowest margin of victory has been 11 points. The highest margin at around 40 points. The games don't end up very close score-wise.

My personal opinion is they didn't put enough play testing into the game. The rule book is an atrocity, and they could have done something to help with the constant accounting required.

I'd say PvP combat isn't balanced well in my experience with 2-3 player games.
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Stephen Slotten
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I hope you don't mind if I share some thoughts even though I only have 3 or 4 2-player games logged. So far, I see a huge imbalance in 2P games. Ideally you want to go first, mulligan for your henchman and a powerful spell or equipment. Attack as soon as possible. If you can attack your opponent before he has a chance to recruit, or if he misses his henchman on the first turn (impossible with the insane mulligan rules) then he'll be on the ropes for the rest of the game and victory is yours. Also, I don't really feel like I'm 'deckbuilding'. The starting cards are powerful enough and I may only buy 4 or 5 more through the course of the game.

Obviously I've had limited plays so I'm interested in the discussion here on this thread on how more plays enlighten things about the gameplay. I'm also itching to try this game with more than 2 players.
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Brian P
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So I looked through my games. 5 out of 7 of the two player games were won by the player that went first.

I do the exact same thing when I start a two player game. I go for the first attack. I generally will always buy cards early, but will never buy something just because I have the money.

I also agree with you about the deck building aspect. If you can mulligan your way through your deck, then you aren't really building a deck - you are just selecting cards to play at a later date.

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Randall Shaw
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In the poking around I've done on this game so far sounds like:

--the Defender needs to be able to refill his hand at the end of combat. Otherwise he faces a rough handicap going forward.

--the Mulligan Rule seems to detract from the deckbuilding aspect of the game. Should it be dropped completely or merely modified (I tend toward the former myself)?

Thanks Ender for all the interesting threads!
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Thomas Staudt
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I have only played a few two-player games against myself for test reasons, and in about every second game I found the only correct move was to attack the other player on turn 2, then destroy his units completely next turn, then win by attacking the rebuilt army.
In these games, there were at most 2 or 3 cards being bought, and no monsters battled. The games ended after 4 turns basically using only the starting cards.
This can probably be avoided by more experienced players. But is it any fun to only concentrate on getting enough defense early to make being attacked a bad option for the opponent, while they buy cards and battle monsters?
I cannot imagine any of my gaming partners to want to play again if they experienced those games I had.


On the positive side, I think there is a good game that could be created from the cards as they are: E.g. the card draw rules modifications mentioned here plus a few tweaks might make this a lot more interesting. Something discouraging early attacks might help.
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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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I have now gotten in 9 games and to be honest I am no where close to figuring out viable strategies yet. I am still trying to grasp the whole game.

I can see the very good game here, I can smell it, I can almost taste it -- and yet it is just out of reach it seems.

OK,just off the top of my head

1) way to hard to figure out all the numbers. I had a game with a hero, a henchman, 2 armies, and 2 mercs - most with lots of crap on them all out at once. When my friends have 5 cards they are missing stuff I had 10 or 12 down.

--- OK,would it have so hard to make attack bonuses in Red, $ in gold, and Defense in Blue ( just a thought )

2)Looking at all the cards they do seem unbalanced, but not sure on that one yet. The heros are uneven if you ask me. Then the cards and the bonus seem like there are ideal ones to get, and some that are just OK. It would be hard to really balance this all, and it might be, but so far it does not seem so.

3) use wound markers get rid of the cards that are clunky ( I still use the ones for prestige )

4) I am wondering in 3 or more, but really 4-6 player games how much down time there is going to be for the non combatants?

5) Having someone attack you, then starting your turn with few or no cards is just whacked in a way, but on the other I enjoy playing by the rules and just having to deal with it. But then I read that the designer has a house rule that you draw up at the end and the beginning of your turn? If this is true and he is not trying his hardest to share that info with others - shame on him.

6) The Rules - seriously, that is the best you could do. Sure have the compact one for the box, but this far along you should have on your website a big frigging giant reprint that really explains it well. If you care about your game, give the rules a overhaul to make it easier for all the newbs.

7) Why don't all game co. have a video of people playing a game and explaining it along the way - and giving you tips and pointers along the way. ( to be hones they might have this and the last covered at their home page, no clue, I will check that out next, lol OK, I am back, their webpage is terrible, gives you nothing. The funny part is they do have a forum section for it - it sends you to the BGG). Or have a really awesome interactive site where you are good the customers and give them extra stuff and make it a place you want to go check out?

8)The box is compact I will give them that, but the center part for the figures is where I keep the base 12 cards for 2 people and the hero's so there is no room for the figures now - ok, that is not really a issue, just a personal grip.



On the one hand when you start to play there seems like plenty of different cards, but after 9 plays I can tell at some point it will feel like there is not a huge choice. To many of the same things, and your 12 starting cards are all in the random mix ( the less players the more of the same starting cards you already have ) - that does not sit that well with me. Only 6 heros is also not that many - I would have rather had 10 or 12 balanced hero's and no figures then what we have.

I am not giving up on it, and I figure 6 more plays and I will figure out a house rule or two to tweek it to our likes a bit more,but I do see a good game in here, just a bit clunky.

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tim Tim TIm TIM TIMMY!!
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Ok, so I got the most logged plays around here at 15 and I got in a 3 player game for the first time last night.
I taught my friend the game yesterday, then my other mate who has played this with me over a dozen times shows up and does not want to play it anymore but agrees to a 3 player game, I buy all armies and hencemen but am buying up good stuff all along, I am the first to attack a monster, and then I attack the weaker of the 2 friends and kill him easily and and only wounded for 2 but can heal it. They where not close to being even close to attacking me till the very last turn, but not that close I would have won easily. I got 10 VP points and then he came back and was in no shape to stop another full on attack.

So my first thoughts after my 3 player game is, you just want to buy the best armies you can, then base choices on the card powers if they are really good but usually the points on the card.

The key is keeping your hand small really and putting all things in the legion. If you buy spells they may not get used to attack, but your attacking guys will, get the armies first to get them in your legion fast, then mercs to beef up y our hand for attacks or defending.


There are so many loopholes in the magic and the timing of the spells it is kinda sad the co. never gave this game any follow up love that I can see. Every game I have a to wonder how it is really suppose to work and am I doing I doing it right


Matt refused to play a 2nd 3 player games, he hates the game now, bastard, but what ever I want to find out more about the 3 and 4 player and is it just a race to get the most attacking guys out. As far as I can tell if I take you down and am not hurt and am ahead on attacking guys the 3rd or 4th player will not attack me and can not attack the weakened guy i just killed, so I am free to attack him a 2nd time after he has just been beat last round and win the game. If I am powerful enough to kill him once with his good hand out I am surely strong enough to kill him a 2nd time ( usually with more stuff then last time ) with his weaker legion in front of him?


Stream line people, Stream line - when you got 6 or more guys out, I think I had 7 or one the one time , it is confusing figureing it all out.
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EndersGame wrote:
Has anyone actually played Heroes of Graxia six or seven times or maybe more? I'd be interested in hearing from people who have played a decent amount of times, and listening to what they have to say about the player versus player combat, the different strategies that are viable (e.g. attacking others versus attacking monsters), how balanced they think the game is, and any other impressions based on a larger number of games played.

My original post was made after four plays of the game. With the benefit of further plays, I made a lengthy analysis of these points in my comprehensive review. Here's my final conclusion regarding this:
Quote:
Mixed feelings about player-versus-player combat: Adding player-versus-player combat to a deck-building game is a great concept, and I really like the way they've tried to incorporate it in this game. Unlike others, I don't think it is broken (people who find the game ending too quickly might want to try a house rule that doesn't let players engage in player-versus-player combat until a few turns into the game when a legion has been built up). But there are aspects of it that are somewhat simplistic, particularly the notion of a simple comparison between attack and defense values of the overall legion, and assigning wounds which subtract from health. It works, but in most cases it discourages player-versus-player combat until one player has an overwhelming advantage, and it does seem hard to win on trophy points alone if another player does end the game this way. I just wonder if it could have been developed into something a little more robust and satisfying. Make no mistake, it's still great fun, and I've seen this be a real hit, especially with teenage boys, or gamers who enjoy fantasy card games with combat. But I suspect that more mature adult gamers will eventually tire of seeing a recurring pattern where the game turns into a cold war stand off and ends in an apocalyptic nuclear cataclysm with a single major combat that ends the game, with the game often going in favour of the person who pressed the big red button. But even if you do eventually tire of this, you're likely to have a lot of fun along the way - if it takes you a dozen games to get to this point, as it has with me, you can still say that you've had a fun ride and that the game has offered good value. I'm almost ready to hop off the train, but my boys are still just loving the ride, which is some indication of success. And don't consider this to be the last word that's said about this aspect of Heroes of Graxia, because I'd like to think that the designers have spent even more time playtesting the game than the dozen or so times we've played it.

For justification of this conclusion, read the lengthy analysis in the section of the review entitled "Is the player-versus-player combat mechanic broken?" (under the "Common Criticisms" heading in the Conclusion). I won't repeat everything here, except to state the following elements that are treated in far more detail there, leading up to my final assessment is that it's overstating matters to say that player-versus-player combat is broken:
● Don't judge too quickly
● Attacking others quickly can be advantageous for starting players but is not a guaranteed winning strategy
● Attacking others is usually only viable if you have an overwhelming advantage
● The player who does mount a successful and decisive attack is often the winner
● The rewards of attacking don't seem entirely balanced
● Delaying early attacks makes for longer games
● You can use spells to offset some of the concerns about combat
● Is there a single winning strategy?
● Is it feasible to play the game without engaging in player-versus-player combat?

For further elaboration on each of these points, see the review:

mb A Comprehensive Pictorial Overview: A Dominion-style deck-building game with MtG-style player-vs-player combat
 
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