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Subject: Need help deciding between Civilization and Merchants & Marauders rss

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jason wendling
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I'm looking for a good adventure/exploration game. I've been looking at both Civ and M&M. I'm hoping to get some advice.

I've read reviews on both and gather that they both are better for more seasoned gamers, both take quite a while, and both have a lot to manage.

I am more of a Eurgo-gamer than Ameritrash fan, but find that Euros tend not to have as much in the way of empire-building. Hence, I am looking at both of these.

Civ

In general, I find FFG games to have way too many rules that distract from the core mechanics. They include a lot of upkeep and have legions of cardboard counters that could easily be missed on a turn.

I do like the aspects included in the technology advancement, resource management, etc. It seems like the game also does a good job if you have a 4-person group of recreating the classic game.

M&M

Z-man is a bit more to my taste but this game seems to possibly suffer from the multi-player solitaire syndrome. While it has a lot of options for strategy, it looks like it may be worth fewer replays and does not lend itself to expansion.

Perhaps, that is balanced by the character-driven elements. I also that the game seems to have a natural progression - get good, make money, travel - rinse, repeat.

General

I dislike luck elements. I dislike long setup.

I like customization. I love games where two people can try wildly different approaches and both have a competitive chance at winning.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be welcomed! Thanks.

(cross-posting to avoid bias)
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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jasonwendling wrote:
(cross-posting to avoid bias)

The Recommendations Forum is unbiased, and helps avoid cross-posting.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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jasonwendling wrote:
Z-man is a bit more to my taste but this game seems to possibly suffer from the multi-player solitaire syndrome. While it has a lot of options for strategy, it looks like it may be worth fewer replays and does not lend itself to expansion.


I don't think I've played a game that screams at me more to replay than M&M does. Sure, the map doesn't really change, but that's a minor piece of the puzzle. The captains change, the ship modifications change, the cargos in demand change, the players you want to hunt down and kill change.

To address your specific points:
- Setup is very fast. Put some chits on the board, choose a captain/ship, add two rumors and off you go.
- There is definite luck involved (dice rolling in all combats) but it doesn't seem like everything hinges on the roll of the dice. You have a lot to tilt the balance in your favor (or against if you are ill prepared).
- There are no "rolls" forced on any players. I've seen many players think their captains were best suited for piracy, but ended up winning through merchant sellings, and visa-versa. I really love how versatile the game is.

This is a really fun game and I *highly* recommend it.

-shnar
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Kyle Meighan
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This won't help you at all, but I own both, have played both, and thoroughly enjoy both games.

M&M is not multiplayer solitaire and Civ does have a lots of cits, but is very intuitive once you start playing.

In other words, take out a loan and get both games.

-One Wolf
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Christian Marcussen
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Sphere wrote:
jasonwendling wrote:
(cross-posting to avoid bias)

The Recommendations Forum is unbiased, and helps avoid cross-posting.


I think you can get some unbiased opinions here as well

I would be very weary about recommending M&M to you. The game features a significant amount of luck. That luck s part of what the experience though. But this is definately not a sure buy for you. However it may satisfy some of your other criteria and make for an interesting enough game that is just strikes the right chords with you. But I highly recommend you try before you buy.

If I were to recommend one of the two games to you without you playing any of them, it would be Civ. All else being equal it seems like a surer bet (from what I have read about it).
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Max Maloney
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I'm not sure why you'd be choosing between these games given that they are nothing alike. That said, I think M&M is a much better game. It may not be perfect or to your taste but it's good. The Civilization game is something of a game design monstrosity, in my opinion.
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Dormammu wrote:
I'm not sure why you'd be choosing between these games given that they are nothing alike. That said, I think M&M is a much better game. It may not be perfect or to your taste but it's good. The Civilization game is something of a game design monstrosity, in my opinion.

I'm not sure everyone is talking about the same Civilization game. I think Christian may have been thinking of the classic AH Civilization (the real deal!), which had no luck elements. The O.P. mentioned FFG, which would suggest Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game. I'm guessing here, but Max may have been thinking of Eagle's Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame, which almost nobody seems to like. Regardless, Max's point is accurate - none of these Civ games have much in common with Merchants & Marauders. Comparing them with each other makes sense, but comparing them to M&M is totally apples and oranges.
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Max Maloney
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Sphere wrote:
Dormammu wrote:
I'm not sure why you'd be choosing between these games given that they are nothing alike. That said, I think M&M is a much better game. It may not be perfect or to your taste but it's good. The Civilization game is something of a game design monstrosity, in my opinion.

I'm not sure everyone is talking about the same Civilization game.

Very good point. I made the same assumption as you that the OP referred to the newest one, the Kevin Smith-designed Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game from last year. I dislike that design. I think there's fun to be had in the game, but it's the opposite of elegance, plays too long for what it delivers and inspires no desire to replay.
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Christian Marcussen
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I guess it to me does not sound like the OP would enjoy M&M except if for some reason it all gels together in a mystical way that he may like.

Coming from a Euroish perspective and disliking luck does not seem like the best starting point for M&M.

I have not tried the FFG game so it may also be as poor a choice.
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Guido Gloor
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You might want to look at Eclipse. It's an empire builder (a feature that I love) that looks so Euro that I am not certain whether I want it at all.
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Jeff Kayati
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Frankly, I'm not sure the either game is going to be the best choice for you. Civ has a ton of setup to do and lots of chits to manage. M&M has a big luck factor.

If you're determined to break out into a new gaming experience and see if you like it, I'd recommend M&M a thousand times over Civ.

For me, the way Civ handles the military component of the game makes it unenjoyable. M&M is always a good time, even when luck is against you.
 
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Kyle Meighan
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jasonwendling wrote:
I dislike luck elements. I dislike long setup.

I like customization. I love games where two people can try wildly different approaches and both have a competitive chance at winning.



To be slightly more helpful. (BTW I am talking about FFG's newest civ game)

Setup is not terribly long for either game, but M&M is a shorter setup.

As others said M&M does involve a lot of luck. Civ involves some luck, but not a lot. (I love the military aspect of civ. It is the most unique I have played albeit slightly abstract)

Both games allow for wildly different approaches while statying competetive. M&M has more choices and variety of ways to achieve the glory points necessary to win, while Civ has diverse winning conditions only tangentally related to each other, if at all.

-One Wolf
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Kyle Meighan
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marqzen wrote:
I guess it to me does not sound like the OP would enjoy M&M except if for some reason it all gels together in a mystical way that he may like.

Coming from a Euroish perspective and disliking luck does not seem like the best starting point for M&M.

I have not tried the FFG game so it may also be as poor a choice.


Christian, I have said it before, but I'll say it again. You are truly a class act. To objectively recommend against a game you designed shows an incredible level of integrity.

-One Wolf
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Daniel Hammond
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I think it is worth buying all of Christian's games even if you don't like them. We need to keep him making money at this so he keeps making new games. devil

Civ has luck in only 2 places that really matter and a couple of more that barely matter.

Military Units 60% are average 20% above average and 20% below average. I started with 3 below average units one game I built 4 more and 2 of those were average and 2 below average. Starting like that limits your options.

Culture cards are random bonuses. Last game I played my neighbor and I were both going for culture. My cards didn't help my situation at all and his cards ended up helping him to rip me apart (destroying key armies, buildings and forcing me into Anarchy.

Where the luck barely matters is Egypt gets a random ancient wonder (none are worthless, but some better than others), great people are drawn randomly (all are good, but might not help your strategy), the board has a random set-up (which could force you to get a water tech), and resources are randomly distributed (some might help you more than others).

That being said, I ended up with a military victory in the game where I started with horrendous units and the guy that was killing me with culture ended up getting conquered by a third player (although it did come close to him having a strong attack on my capital).

I really like M&M but everything is chance. Fun, exciting, but it is either dice rolls or random cards. I have seen a Merchant pick up three of the same good 3 ports in a row that were in demand not very far away. I have seen a sloop sink a frigate.
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jason wendling
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Thanks for all the fantastic opinions in the thread. I should offer a few clarifications.

I was referring to the newest FFG Civ game.

WRT luck, I don't mind shared luck elements like in Puerto Rico where the plantation tiles are random each time they are drawn. I also think that combat is a lot more exciting when it is resolved by some semi-random element.

I watched an extensive set of video reviews for both games and really like the theme of M&M. I think I can get on with the dice-element of combat alright.

Perhaps, the fact that it took 15 minutes to just describe the component of Civ nearly put me to sleep. :(

I guess I have my answer. M&M is worth a buy.

Thanks.
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Daniel Hammond
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Good luck! I hope you enjoy your choice. I enjoy both games a lot. Puerto Rico is one of the least luck based games I know of (short of chess) and you are jumping into a sea of randomness. M&M is a great game and I hope you enjoy it.
 
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