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Subject: Blue Moon session report rss

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Mosse Stenström
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Blue Moon session report

I had checked this game out here on BGG for a while, and even considered buying it for myself - but because I had no prior experience with CCG:s, I wanted to try it out before I made the purchase. And because I knew my brother Jens owned the game I asked him to bring it when he came for a visit. Lucky for me he did.

Initial impressions

We played to games, with different tribes, as he had all expansions with him. The rules were pretty easy to catch on to, and the components are nice. The design of the cards appeal to the eye, and the dragons, although not necessary to the gameplay are very good looking and have a nice weight to them. Game on! devil

Game one
We started off with the two tribes included in the basic game set (can't for the life of me remember their names) and went into battle. I pretty easily caught on the the gameplay and there were no problems. The game was very slow, and only one poor dragon found himself (itself?) running from tribe to tribe. Just before my draw deck turned up empty Jens had me retreat for the victory.

Game two
For the second game we used a house rule my brother had used before, mainly because he previously had misinterpreted the rules. The dragons did not have to go via the gameboard, but instead, upon victory one could attract a dragon straight from the opponent. This rule was to speed up the game, as our first game turned out very slow. We used new tribes from the expansions, again - can't remember which, other than the fact that I had the tribe with half-naked ladies. cool

The house rule did speed up things, and in the beginning we fought over the dragons fiercly. Until something happened that formed my opinion of the game. Jens had one dragon in his camp, and we were in a battle of fire. A battle I was leading strongly, and I had very strong characters of fire on my hand, getting ready to beat my brother. I had played the game up to I think a strenght of seven or so, and a support card that stated he could not draw new cards from his deck. I had it in the bag, or so I thought.

He went on to play a leadership card stating my support card had no meaning, a character card with a shield, so he didn't have to match my strenght, and a support card stating that I had to, on my turn, play a booster card, or be forced to retreat. I had no booster cards on my hand. None. I had great character cards and could have gone on fighting for a while - but no booster cards. I had to retreat a battle I was leading. So, retreat it was - and because Jens had previously played a support card stating he would attract two dragons was I to retreat - he got the two final dragons for the victory.

Verdict

So, I lost two games in a row. That's alright. I'm not a sore loser, and can handle defeat pretty well. But I did not like this game. And I'll tell you why. The special cards are too strong. The final battle of the second game was too much for me. I found it to be unbalanced. I lost the battle, even though I did nothing wrong, and I was in the lead, with stronger cards, all because of a special card which was too strong.

In my humble opinion, too many cards have special powers. Too many of the special powers are too strong. The players hold too few cards on their hand to defend themselves against these über-cards. I think the game might improve if there were fewer special powers-cards, and the players could maybe hold more cards on their hand. Granted, it would be difficult to hold 20-or-so-cards on your hand at the same time.

To sum it up, this game was not for me, and I will not be buying it for myself. I'll also think twice before playing it again, and will at least suggest another game.

Verdict: yuk Rating: 3/10
This is my opinion, and I stick by it.
 
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Allen Doum
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So you play with a house rule to speed the game up by not having dragons return to the board, and then complain that the special cards that attract extra dragons are too powerful. cry

 
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Mosse Stenström
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The "house" rule we used for the second game had no effect in the last battle. I would have lost the game anyway. I found the game to be unbalanced either way, house rule or not.

Just calling it the way I see it. devil
 
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Matthew M
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The cards can be powerful, but only if used well. Rgardless of the houserule (good point, BTW, Allen) it sounds as if your opponent set up a very nice combination, and was justly rewarded for it. This is a far cry from the cards themselves being too powerful and being the cause of your defeat...it was the way your opponent was able to combine them that beat you in that battle.

...and the houserule didn't help. When you speed up the acquisition of dragons in this way it gives more power to swings of luck. The game is designed so that such swings even out over the course of play through the decks, giving the overall advantage to whomever plays best. Your houserule meant you were never given the chance to bounce back.

-MMM
 
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Mosse Stenström
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Don't get me wrong. I can see how some people like this game. I just don't. The house rule was my opponents idea, and after trying it - although it sped things up, it did not improve the game.

I'll be the first one to admit I was beaten fair and square laugh, by a far better opponent. I just didn't like the way I lost. I lost not because I had a worse hand. I lost because I did not have a specific card on my hand at that instant (a booster card).

I can see that CCG:s (although this, if I understand correctly, is not a CCG in the right sense) just aren't my thing, and I'll stick to other kinds of games from now on.

I guess these kinds of games you either like or dislike. I'm with the latter.
 
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AxonDomini
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You do need to keep in mind Allen's and Matt's comments, that the house rule in question really does throw off the game signficantly. Not only does it make many of cards more powerful, it selectively makes them more powerful when your opponent has dragons on their side. Thus, being in the lead in dragons is not nearly as helpful as it is otherwise. Just image the 2 dragon win, using your rules, would pull BOTH dragons from one player to another, turning a 2 dragon win into a FOUR dragon win. Meanwhile, if all dragons are in the center or if you have a dragon on your side a two dragon win is just a two dragon win. You're basically rewarded for not having dragons on your side.

Also, as pointed out, it's not single cards that are powerful, it's combinations. A big part of the game is knowing when to play your potent cards, which involves knowing your own deck and your opponent's. I've yet to play a game with experienced players were a single card, or even a single combination of cards, won the game. Timing is key, and even the losing player is likely to make a couple of killer plays. The game is about the long haul. Just being ahead on dragons, even near the end of the game, is not evidence that you're winning. It's all about how you have managed your cards up to that point.

Not to say that you should like the game, of course. Just that your initial impressions may not be an accurate assessment of the dynamics of the game.
 
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Alan Kwan
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First, as everybody else is saying, please be aware that the game you have been playing is not Blue Moon, but rather a game butchered by your house rules. Attracting dragons straight from the opponent, plus ending the game by getting the 3rd dragon instead of the 4th, makes the game much more dependent on luck swings. Plus:

Mosse wrote:

Jens had one dragon in his camp, and we were in a battle of fire. A battle I was leading strongly, and I had very strong characters of fire on my hand, getting ready to beat my brother. I had played the game up to I think a strenght of seven or so, and a support card that stated he could not draw new cards from his deck. I had it in the bag, or so I thought.


"Wall of Fire" is not in the Mimix deck, but rather in Vulca. So you were playing with constructed decks, when you were unfamiliar with the game and did not even understand the game and insisted on using huse rules which break the game.

Quote:

He went on to play a leadership card stating my support card had no meaning, a character card with a shield, so he didn't have to match my strenght, and a support card stating that I had to, on my turn, play a booster card, or be forced to retreat.


I don't know of any such support card. The only card I know of which has this function is a Terrah character card, and Terrah doesn't have a shield booster to play that character against your high power.

And what leadership card was that? "Enthrall Opposition", a Hoax card? Were your decks properly constructed decks, or did your brother just throw lots of cool, powerful cards into a deck, without obeying the deck construction rules?

Quote:
I had to retreat a battle I was leading.


You have got the wrong concept for the game. In Blue Moon you mainly lead in dragons, but your atrocious house rules ruin that. A "lead" in a battle can be turned around easily by special cards; every experienced player knows that.

Quote:
So, retreat it was - and because Jens had previously played a support card stating he would attract two dragons was I to retreat - he got the two final dragons for the victory.


"Fearsome Spirits" is a Vulca card. What decks were you two playing?

In conclusion, you have been playing with lots of wrong rules (both intentionally and mistakenly), and with constructed or messed up decks when you were new to the game. The game you were playing was not Blue Moon, and your decks were not the ones recommended for learning to play with. Thus, your opinions on whatever game you were playing are totally irrelevant to the game of Blue Moon. (Just like one's feelings about a game of Poker has nothing to do at all about the game of Bridge.)

In the first place, your intent that the game needs your house rule to be "sped up" is inappropriate. The game already has the rule built-in, that if the winner has played 6 or more cards, he wins 2 dragons. (Or have you missed that rule?) Blue Moon is never "too slow".
 
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Mosse Stenström
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I agree with almost everything you say, except the fact that you seem to like the game and I don't. As a general rule, I dislike house rules. I bet the designer tried both ways in their playtesting, and ended up the way they did for a good reason.

The house rule was my opponents idea, I was merely along for the ride. And it did not improve the game.

As to which decks we played with - as I said, I don't remember, I played with the decks my opponent handed me, and relied on his version of the rules - I personally never read the rulebook.

Maybe one day I will forget my first impression of the game, and try it again, reading the rulebook myself. This game surely seems to have enough fans to imply that the game is not as unbalanced as my first impression lead to believe. I really wanted to like this game...

Edit: Minor grammatical corrections - after all, english is only my third language
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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As a general rule, I dislike house rules

There are, generally speaking, two problems with house rules. The second one (the first is discussed below) is that it makes it more difficult to play with others (something I do a lot) as you can't just sit down and play a game you all know as you have to agree what you are doing. Worse is if half way through the game someone does something illegal - but not the way they play it. This can get ugly.

I bet the designer tried both ways in their playtesting, and ended up the way they did for a good reason.

I can't actually speak to this specific rule, as it was already in its final form when I first played, but there's one thing you can take as certain from a Knizia game: it will have been playtested, with all the numbers of players it claims to play and with anything from several to many, many, alternatives depending on the complexity of the game. Thse will vary from complete redesigns to minor tweaks. I would suggest that house rules for any Knizia design are ill-advised until quite familiar, and that Blue Moon is a game which it is especially ill-advised owing to the complexity and the subtleties of making a change which don't (for an easy example) seriously favour some peoples over others.

 
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Nigel Buckle
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Just to add to what others have said. I've only recently got Blue Moon so I might be closer to your level than some of the experts. To learn the game and give it a fair try you should really play the pre-constructed decks that you get with the game. There are advanced rules to build your own decks which is where the comparisons with CCGs comes in.

It's the same arguement for learning a CCG - better to buy a pre-built deck and play with that for a while until you understand how the game works than try a trick deck or a deck that has just been thrown together. If you were to try Magic (say) with a difficult to play deck your opponent had constructed (so he knows it well) and face another deck the same player had built, I'd expect you to lose and feel the game was broken ... a big part of CCGs is knowing the cards, knowing when to hold cards and when to play them and what order to play etc. Blue Moon has the same feel - especially important is knowing when to retreat, struggling on with a fight that you end up losing is bad play - as you've blown a chunk of your cards and probably taken the card played count over 6 so your opponent gets 2 dragons rather than one.

In the basic game there is an easy deck (Vulca) and a harder deck (Hoax) to play, first few games we played Vulca dominated as it's pretty straightforward. (Battle in fire, overwhelm your opponent) - Hoax needs a bit more thought.

If I were teaching Blue Moon to someone - and not just trying to grind them into the dust to show how much better a player I am ... shake I'd stick to the first 2 decks and have my opponent play the Vulca, then after a couple of games switch decks and have my opponent try the Hoax.

Once the basics are grasped, then play the other preconstructed decks - then try deck building if it appeals.
 
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Daniel Kearns
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It sounds like the second game you played was with constructed decks, something I've never tried and have been playing for a while. The fixed decks offer a wide variety of game play by themselves and were designed for balance (albeit it does take some experience to realize this).

You are certainly entitled to not like the game you played. Just please understand that the game you played was not Blue Moon. I would go further and say that you should be more unhappy with who you were playing against than the game itself.

I do hope you reconsider. This is a game worth revisiting and I would suggest that you give it another try with the fixed decks.
 
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