John Watts
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I nearly bought this game unseen except for a quick perusal of the BGG pages but i had the opportunity to play before making my mind up. Sometimes i get lucky.

The components are excellent, the board is superb, the concept is great (particularly the non-turtling bias), the 2 teams of 2 (for the 4 player game i played) looks like a good idea, the individual card decks for each player shows that extra effort has been put into the design process and the dungeons are a nice twist.

After setting up, i was really, really, impressed! Then we started. I liked the way the battles were resolved (nothing wrong with dice rolling) but hated the decks which often added just too much 'out-of-the-blue' unexpected bias to the result. If you didn't have the right card, despite your preparations, you invariably lost. The rewards in the dungeons were also just too random. But the worst aspect of the game by far ......

I have never spent so much downtime during any game yet, or did it just seem that way? You need to be woken up to roll for your troops during other players turns, and just how many turns did i get in the 3 hours (including the rules explanation) which the game took? 4! That's right, FOUR opportunities to play with my marvellous toy dragons etc. So thanks, but no thanks, i shalln't be volunteering to play this again. What a disappointment!

Oh yes, FYI our team did lose and my own demise was sealed when i lost my castle (protected with 3 dragons) due to the introduction of a card by one of my opponents which flipped all of them before the battle began (in contrast, the cards/treasues available to me seemed biased only towards allowing extra movement). As I mentioned earlier, the decks are supposed to be tailored to the pieces and in this case they were - tailored to the winners and losers

The final word: This game might be more acceptable with 2 players but the reward versus downtime with 4 is too low for me. Sure we could play it quicker next time but the randomness of the card decks would still interfere with my own enjoyment. There is just too much luck for such a strategic and beautiful game.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Is the stiff upper lip a thing of the past? Seems like you're throwing in the towel awfully quickly. How do you know that game wasn't an outlier? If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.
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Rich Moore
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For me, the worst downtime is created when a player is moving units and buying them. There's room for some serious AP and there's no player interaction. Battling, though, seems to go by quickly enough and engage at least one other player...it's also the most exciting part of the game!

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John Watts
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Sphere wrote:
Is the stiff upper lip a thing of the past? Seems like you're throwing in the towel awfully quickly. How do you know that game wasn't an outlier? If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


Without wishing to sound too 'pompous', Old Bean, I think I've experienced enough games to recognise that (for me) this wasn't just a one off. For a 4 player game, there simply weren't enough turns to justify the time it took to play. Not enough opportunities for parry and repost. So the only 4 player 'shot' i would give it would be both barrels of a 12 bore shotgun. With 2 players, hmmmm, give me a while to recover?

However, it's certainly one of the best looking games out there.
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J T
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That's a damned shame JP - CoN was one of the few games that came really close to living up to the hype it generated here and elsewhere imo. We played a 4 player free for all and got about 9 turns each in the 3 hour play time we allowed ourselves (including rules explanation). Even with a free for all the downtime never seem too onerous to us - we always had the player to the left of the active player roll for dungeon monsters to mitigate that somewhat. About the only complaint we had was the difficulty in actually knocking out a player - the final assault on the capitals is brutal when the all-but-defeated player buys 2 dozen foot soldiers guarding a mass of monsters and heroes.
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Kiren Maelwulf
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Always a smart move to research a game before you buy it. I learned my lesson buying with nothing more than visual appeal and brand recognition before. Getting to play it beforehand though is by far the best way to see if a particular game is for you. Sorry to hear this one isn't.

I don't really see you complaint about the cards. They can be a big positive or negative depending on which side you are standing on when they hit but really without them there would be no variety. I think about pretty much every game with cards, having the right one is great, not having it is not so great. However I would say that your preparations should be planned around what cards you DO have, not which ones you may or may not draw.

The event decks aside though I am surprised to see someone complain about the treasure rewards. These seem brillantly done to me. The 1 VP ones are better than the 2 VP ones and the 3 VP has no abilities at all. Simple but effective as 3 VP is a solid push in your score while the 1 VP ones abilities can help you attempt to attain those VP yourself.

As for the downtime, it is hard for me to say on this one. I remember the first time I played Chaos in the Old World I thought the same thing. After playing without a specific player and the rest knew the game that issue was gone. I can't say for certain since I do not know your group but with one play that could be the case here too as I have not experienced the same issue.

In the end if you think there is too much luck though the game is probably never going to fit you. I think the luck elements in place are needed to keep this game fresh myself and you are probably not going to find many similar games without at the least an equal amount of luck factors.
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Brian M
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Sphere wrote:
If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


With thousands of games out there to choose from, what's the point playing a 3 hour game that you didn't like a second time?
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Kiren Maelwulf
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StormKnight wrote:
Sphere wrote:
If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


With thousands of games out there to choose from, what's the point playing a 3 hour game that you didn't like a second time?


It could be argued that by taking the time to post a thread such as this about a game he only played once, prehaps playing again is on the back of his mind and he is looking for reassurance that there is more to the game than his initial fears suggest.
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Jon Quinn
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I don't know. 4 turns in 3 hours averages out to just over 11 minutes per player turn. I think that is slower than it ought to be. I read another thread that mentioned 15 minute turns, so you're not even the slowest. I didn't really time the games I have played, so I don't have a time for our turns, but I would be surprised if they're much over 6 or 7 minutes. I could be wrong, maybe I thought the game was such a blast that time just seemed to go by more quickly than it really did.

Now, it is true that I did do alot of planning during the other players' turns... pretty much knew the moves i was going to make and the units I wanted to purchase when my turn came around.

I am looking forward to my next play.
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IIRC, The reviews I read said this was really a 2-player game, since the side you're one is pretty much predetermined.
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Michael Noakes
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StormKnight wrote:
Sphere wrote:
If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


With thousands of games out there to choose from, what's the point playing a 3 hour game that you didn't like a second time? :what:


Because some of the best games out there require a bit of patience, or might have a learning curve, or your first try might've been on a bad day, or require a few plays before you begin to know what you're doing, or reveal more and deeper strategy with every play, or are completely different when played with a new opponent, or you played with the wrong people, or....

But hey, if he doesn't want to give it a second chance, who cares? I've played CoN four times now, loved it, and will play it again, so I'm happy. Wizards of the Coast doesn't really care, because the game seems to have been a success and if he won't buy it someone else will.

But it's hard to take seriously "the event cards are unfair" comments based on a single play.

-M.
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Anders Pedersen
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Weloi Avala wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Sphere wrote:
If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


With thousands of games out there to choose from, what's the point playing a 3 hour game that you didn't like a second time?


Because some of the best games out there require a bit of patience, or might have a learning curve, or your first try might've been on a bad day, or require a few plays before you begin to know what you're doing, or reveal more and deeper strategy with every play, or are completely different when played with a new opponent, or you played with the wrong people, or....

Totally agree!
I have had that experience with both Dungeon Twister, and Defenders of the Realm, among others.
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John Watts
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dbc- wrote:
Weloi Avala wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
Sphere wrote:
If I were you, I'd give it another shot before moving on.


With thousands of games out there to choose from, what's the point playing a 3 hour game that you didn't like a second time?


Because some of the best games out there require a bit of patience, or might have a learning curve, or your first try might've been on a bad day, or require a few plays before you begin to know what you're doing, or reveal more and deeper strategy with every play, or are completely different when played with a new opponent, or you played with the wrong people, or....

Totally agree!
I have had that experience with both Dungeon Twister, and Defenders of the Realm, among others.


So that you don't try to second guess where I am coming from when writing this session report perhaps (if anyone is interested snore)i should clarify a few things?

This is actually my first session report i have instigated on BGG. I chose not to make it into a Review because i am being negative rather than positive about the game. BUT, I have absolutely no problem with reviews appearing on BGG from users after just one play, the more the merrier (please don't open this can of worms any further with respect to how many times you have to play a game before you should be allowed to write reviews - mine is only a session report after all).

I did my homework and watched Tom Vassels enthusiastic video review and was suprised that he thought it was so good he was going to replace his copy of Shogun with it (one of my favourite TWO player games, but let's not get too sidetracked). So i really wanted to enjoy it. But, on this occasion i disagree with his summary and one of the best things about BGG is that it is a forum for all opinions, not just one sided debates, which is where i come in.

There is no right or wrong here, but i just have a difference of opinion from what is almost certainly the mainstream of those who have played this game. My motivation for writing this report in the first place was driven by my own disappointment (for the 4 player game), because all the commendable mechanics didn't work out. IMO this is primarily due to too much downtime between your own 'proper' go but secondly because of too much luck for such a strategy based game. (Another of my favourite games is Tales from the Arabian Nights - so i do think there is a time and a place for excessive luck for which that would be a front runner, but just not here).

As for the comments about patience, learning curve etc, i know why you might think that but it's simply not relevant with me, you'll just have to take my word for it but i have been round the block a few times. I played the game about 2 weeks ago and i took a step back to be as objective as possible. I probably will try to get a 2 player game in sometime but there are other far more exciting games on the horizon which will delay returning to CoN for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for contributing.
'JP' (as someone here posted)
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kent Anderson
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A lot depends on the people who you play with. We play with a group that pushes the game along. I was a GM for one of the games and really pushed the players to move and attack quickly. (Egg timer set at 3 minutes) Sounds harsh but effective. And still very enjoyable.

Have your purchases ready before your turn during the down time.


We played two 4 player games (no alliance, first game done in two hours, second game down in 2 1/2 hours.


Very enjoyable.

I am sorry your experience was not as enjoyable.


I believe this game is a keeper. I would recommend it.
 
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stephen biggs
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JPWatts wrote:
I have never spent so much downtime during any game yet, or did it just seem that way? You need to be woken up to roll for your troops during other players turns, and just how many turns did i get in the 3 hours (including the rules explanation) which the game took? 4! That's right, FOUR opportunities to play with my marvellous toy dragons etc. So thanks, but no thanks, i shalln't be volunteering to play this again. What a disappointment!


I've noticed the game wastes time when rolling dice, because there arn't enough dice to do the whole attack with one roll. So you have to do multipl re-rolls and keep careful count. Surprising just how much time that wastes. Solution is to supply the extra dice. Greatly reduces the downtime between actually doing stuff with your dragons...

2nd problem for new players, while most of the events are weak, a few are very strong. With experienced players who know what might be in the card decks, that's not a problem. But new players see the first half dozen events have only minor effects and can loose the game the first time a strong event is played. Which can put them off the game. I'd recommend reading out at the start the half dozen strongest cards, so they know what they might need to defend against.
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Paul Regulski
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Heh that's DEEP man.... Perth
 
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Joe Como
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XAos wrote:

I've noticed the game wastes time when rolling dice, because there arn't enough dice to do the whole attack with one roll. So you have to do multipl re-rolls and keep careful count. Surprising just how much time that wastes. Solution is to supply the extra dice. Greatly reduces the downtime between actually doing stuff with your dragons...


Excellent point, Stephen. It's definitely a huge time saver to roll all of the dice for a combat round at the same time. It would probably help if game designers added a plastic cup (kind of like Yahtzee had) so that players could roll more than one handful of dice at a time.
 
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Bernd Caspers
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All I can say to this is that I played a 4 player game recently, with me being the only person to ever play this game (one time) before and the game went so smoothly and quickly, that I really think if there is too much downtime it´s the fault of the players and not of the game.
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Guy Srinivasan
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Hunterlope wrote:
(Egg timer set at 3 minutes)

We used 4 minutes, which also worked well.
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John Watts
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So i returned to give this game another go as a 2 player game, but i still stand by everything i originally wrote and, believe me, I really tried my best to see the positives!

IMO most of the mechanics taken individually are excellent, but the result of using them all together is a game with huge amounts of unnacceptable downtime problems, with not enough opportunities for parry and repost (turns) to make it a well balanced game.

The vast swings of power between the cards in the decks can easily make or break even the best made plans and you draw so few of them in a full game that whoever gets the best ones can be firmly in control.

And, oh yes, we did play with extra dice too.
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Joe Como
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John, I agree with your assessment that there's too much luck in this game, which can be alleviated by removing the event cards (or making them much less powerful) and removing the dungeon keepers (or at least making them more predictable in power).

But how would you eliminate the "downtime" problem between turns, which seems to be one of your main pet peeves?
 
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John Watts
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jakoye wrote:
John, I agree with your assessment that there's too much luck in this game, which can be alleviated by removing the event cards (or making them much less powerful) and removing the dungeon keepers (or at least making them more predictable in power).

But how would you eliminate the "downtime" problem between turns, which seems to be one of your main pet peeves?


I would eliminate downtime by never playing the game again

No, seriously, there are many ardent fans out there who clearly like this game for what it is, and there are others who like the game whilst acknowledging the downtime issue and have tried to fix it.

The BGG threads here have some variants which you might want to try (sorry, but i'm not going to trawl through them again to find the them - perhaps someone else will assist you?) but essentially my own interest in fixing the problem is zero. For me, i believe a complete overhaul would be necessary before the game could become engaging enough to be fun during the long gaps.

One last comment. Don't forget that downtime can be very subjective. So X minutes of an opponent's turn could be quite enjoyable if you're observing something you are genuinely interested in or have something to concentrate on. It just depends on the individual, of course, and obviously CoN didn't do it for me!

My other pet peeve was the lack of turns in the 4 player game.....
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Seeing this old thread, I should note that once I got a chance to play, my reaction was similar to John's. It wasn't the downtime that bothered me, it was that each player only got three or four turns and the game was over. It looks like a strategic game, but the game is over before long term planning could have much impact.

I do intend to follow my own advice and give it another go, but I'm not in any hurry to do so. Too many games clamoring for my attention.
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