Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
16 Posts

A Few Acres of Snow» Forums » General

Subject: If you love this game please tell me why.... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
J
Norway
Stavanger
Rogaland
flag msg tools
Those who know do not speak.
badge
Those who speak do not know.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First off, I'd like to say that this is the first war game I've played, and I don't have any experience any other wargames. With this post I am seeking education and enlightenment.

I have recently played:



So obviously this is very different, and I'm playing against an experienced 2p wargamer. I hate it. I hate every excruciating second of this game and just want to be doing my tax return or sorting my socks, or even doing the monthly reports instead.

But I'm not posting to hate; I'm posting because Martin Wallace is a very well respected and successful guy and I'm pretty sure he didn't get there by making bad games. I am posting, therefore, to understand, and hope that my fellow BGGers can enlighten me.

So what do I hate? Well not everything, to be completely honest...my three British plays went like this:
* First game I promptly got myself a really big army and then couldn't do anything apart from watch it get picked off by Indian ambushes. French won by the geography (most towns) end game was triggered by French player having 12 points of my cubes
* Second game I decided I wasn't going to be so aggressive and proceeded to expand everywhere I could. Same thing happened though, lost a few raids and French won on most towns (they expanded to Louisborg, Port Royal, Halifax etc). The French won this time after I raided the heck out of their towns and was on the doorstep of Quebec. I even got north and cut his empire in half. I was outraged to discover that he won because he had most towns - half of them were cut off, but they still counted for points.
* Third game I put the two British cards that don't offer military or money into reserve, got an Infantry and put a siege onto an unfortified Port Royal. Somehow I lose this siege and then lose Pemaquid. I get Pemaquid back and eventually fortify, I give up on Port Royal after three subsequent unsuccessful sieges and settle in Fort Beau...something (next to Port Royal). I lose it the next turn, never having the chance to fortify. I eventually get it back, and even take Gaspe. I lose in two ways this time; New York was raided into nothing, and this also gave the French 12 points. I had three Indians, which I didn't know until end game could ambush from anywhere (thought it required geographic proximity, like raiding) and I also had all the British infantry.

My observations, and the reason for not liking it are as follows:
* First off, the map can be generously described as misleading. Military connections are listed on the cards, forcing players to go through every single card of interest to see if there is a desirable connection, and which transport is required to take advantage of this. This means that there is nothing in place to trigger me as a player to consider something new, only to confirm attempt after attempt to find something meaningful to do. I'm sure this is by design, but I don't care; I hate it. It's an unnecessary barrier to making meaningful game decisions.

* The downtime, the downtime, the downtime, the downtime, the downtime. OMFG the downtime. If I want to settle in Fort Bea... (near Port Royal) after raiding it I need to go through a full deck cycle to get there. If I have a lot of military cards I have to pay 4 just to discard and find some useful settlement cards. Or the reverse, where I need military cards ASAP and they've been used. If I expand to avoid a points loss I then have to Governor out those locations so my deck is still useful. It is so infuriatingly tedious. Turn after turn is wasted on discarding until I get that one card that is useful.

* In this game I never get feedback on whether what I'm doing works or doesn't until end game. In a game like Dominion or Agricola when I have a good turn I know about it immediately; I got to buy a province or got that clay oven. Here I'm constantly wondering if I'm going in the right direction, and if I dare change my mind about what I'm doing it'll take ages to rectify my deck.

* Finally I suppose it's the fact that I suck at this game. I suck with such enormous zeal that I can never see myself getting any pleasure out of it. I sucked at Agriloa the first time too, and Dungeon Lords and Le Havre, but I got better each game. I learnt from the experience of losing. Here all I'm learning is how to accept the inevitable.

If could learn to not suck at this game, and to see the meaning in the decisions I was making, I could play a losing game quite happily. The main problem is that most of the time I can't do what I want to do, and I see no way apart from a deck cycle to get another chance.

So consider this my personal appeal...tis the season.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
flag msg tools
badge
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wellspokenman wrote:
My observations, and the reason for not liking it are as follows:
* First off, the map can be generously described as misleading. Military connections are listed on the cards, forcing players to go through every single card of interest to see if there is a desirable connection, and which transport is required to take advantage of this. This means that there is nothing in place to trigger me as a player to consider something new, only to confirm attempt after attempt to find something meaningful to do. I'm sure this is by design, but I don't care; I hate it. It's an unnecessary barrier to making meaningful game decisions.

Yup. This is just poor graphic design.

All of the pertinent information could have also been on the board. You should be able to look at the game board and determine a course of action, unfortunately, you have to be rather familiar with the location cards to make sense of anything, and until you are, you will make poor choices.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clyde W
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Red Team
badge
#YOLO
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Are you sure you suck? You sound fine to me. It's like playing against a Grand Master of chess, losing horribly, then claiming you suck. You don't suck, your opponent just had a lot more playtime under his belt than you did.

Honestly, for all the talk of the game being unbalanced towards the British (and for the record I do believe this), if the Brits don't know how it's unbalanced, the French can easily wipe the floor with the Brits exactly in the manner you describe. Typically French can settle out and win on points, making the Brit game significantly more difficult.

Now of course, it really helps if you were to play against someone who has little experience with the game. Then you'd probably find yourself wiping the floor with them.

As for the "downtime" (the time between drafting a card and getting to use it), it is certainly the case that you must learn tricks specific to this game to shrink that time. You should ask your opponent how he does it. This game is NOT like Dominion, in that if you get a crap hand, that crap hand can really haunt you for a while. The trick of course is to make your deck never give you crap hands.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Gautier

Rhinebeck
New York
msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Here's why you should keep playing:

Because it feels great when you stop!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Moore
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
wellspokenman wrote:
Finally I suppose it's the fact that I suck at this game. I suck with such enormous zeal that I can never see myself getting any pleasure out of it. I sucked at Agriloa the first time too, and Dungeon Lords and Le Havre, but I got better each game. I learnt from the experience of losing. Here all I'm learning is how to accept the inevitable.

If could learn to not suck at this game, and to see the meaning in the decisions I was making, I could play a losing game quite happily. The main problem is that most of the time I can't do what I want to do, and I see no way apart from a deck cycle to get another chance.


I agree very heartily with this bit.It sucks, collecting cards and lunging about the map, wallowing through the cards. I suspect that the answer is, I don't understand deck building. I know I despise Dominion pretty bad.

Unlike many people, the connections and restrictions on the map appealed to me as a very good, abstract way of showing the limits of the era. They could be printed on the map, sure.

. . . But I have one suspicion to share: has your opponent offered to play the British? Because they French Intendant card gives them much more flexibility. A better, more experienced player can make mincemeat of the Brits, especially since the French start at a point advantage.

I'm not saying you're playing someone looking for cannon fodder who cares not for your pleasure. Maybe they have a tough love style of letting you learn by experience!

But maybe this isn't your game, is all.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jon Gautier

Rhinebeck
New York
msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
catmando wrote:
A better, more experienced player can make mincemeat of the Brits, especially since the French start at a point advantage.


There's a short thread or two on this game you might want to add your thoughts to.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clyde W
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Red Team
badge
#YOLO
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dieroll Honker wrote:
catmando wrote:
A better, more experienced player can make mincemeat of the Brits, especially since the French start at a point advantage.


There's a short thread or two on this game you might want to add your thoughts to.
I'm fairly certain he's only referring to when the Brits are played by an inexperienced player. The game is really hard on newb Brits.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Moore
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
clydeiii wrote:
I'm fairly certain he's only referring to when the Brits are played by an inexperienced player. The game is really hard on newb Brits.


What he said.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
asj
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's probably the 2nd wargame I've played. I vaguely remember playing some game 20+ years ago with 2p constant rolling of dice and little hexes and men all over the plan and hated it. So let's call this one number 2.

I'm green. I've played this with my wife and friends, all of us learning this game, and not having read any strategy threads here, rather finding out about it ourselves. I think there is a lot to learn, and perhaps going up against someone experienced off the bat isn't a great idea. Especially if he doesn't take it easy. I don't think there's much to be had from royally trouncing a newbie, others disagree.

I was totally blown away by the British a few games ago, the fellow I played against was an expert Magic player, and experience with Dominion, and I'd never played the first and once or twice the later. His use of the British hand was excellent, keeping about 8 cards he could play home support every round and steam rolled over me. Both of being very leery of sieges from a prior game we avoided them like the plague. If this was my first game I think I would have been very disenchanted.



wellspokenman wrote:

* First off, the map can be generously described as misleading.


In many games the designer makes a compromise between design and form. And here I think it's about right. Perhaps I know the eastern seaboard geography a bit, and I grew up with fur trader stories, Cartier, etc But it's fairly obvious.... The only exception is sea ports, but really there's only a couple important ones.

Other than see connections what do you need? It's on a river you need a bateaux, if it's no a cart trail you need a cart. And Kennebec is not the card you seek.

Quote:

I need to go through a full deck cycle to get there. If I have a lot of military cards [snip] Turn after turn is wasted on discarding until I get that one card that is useful.


"You're doing it wrong. (tm)"

You need to think a little more beyond, ok I raided something then I'll need to wade through 20 cards to get it back. Don't waste turns, always be doing something useful. Plus why is your deck so big?



Quote:

* In this game I never get feedback on whether what I'm doing works or doesn't until end game.


The feedback should be pretty quick. Why not run a VP score sheet?

Then again who cares, if you don't like it move on. I've played games people here love and I hate. The Resistance, hate it. Dominion I want to like...but where's the kingdom? All I see is a bunch of cards and actions. etc.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Fung
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Your comment about downtime reminds of Up Front, another card based wargame, where a great deal of the game was about hand management and "card flow." Hand management means having the card you need when you need it. Why do you have to wait a whole deck after you raid to settle Fort Bea? Why not hold the Native American or location card until you have both, then raid and settle before he has time to react? (Rules check: you are aware that raids do not require you to play the starting location, right?)

The idea of card flow is to move as many cards through your hand per turn as possible. Every card you play 1) generally helps you, and 2) opens room in your hand to draw the card you really want. This is more of a rule of thumb than an iron rule; if you're about to lose a siege, you should probably play military rather than settle. For example, sometimes you're holding onto a ship and $2 location, waiting for another good location to maximize the ship. Well, if those 2 cards are clogging your hand and you've got nothing better to do, just cash in what you can and move on.

As for learning, I'm pretty sure you can learn something from your games. If you lost a battle, is it because you didn't draw military in time? Your opponent had more military in his deck than you? Did he ambush your military at an inopportune time? When something happens that you don't like, analyze why it happened and work to not let it happen again.

Finally, as you're playing a wargamer, you should probably consider who has the tempo and initiative in your games. You can think of tempo as who ever can do things more efficiently, and initiative as whoever is controlling the events in the game. If you're constantly reacting to your opponents' moves rather than doing what you want to do, and meanwhile he's continuing with his own agenda, that's not a good place to be because you're stagnated while he's working toward victory. As someone mentioned, you may want to consider thinning your deck so it is more potent. If you opponent likes to win by building settlements, try making him spend time reacting to you instead.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
bestia immonda
Italy
Bologna
Bologna
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
An experienced wargamer will tear you apart in this game because he know when, what and where to hit! Hand management only can't help you!
Being a wargamer but also a former Magic player and avid CDGs player, I think AfaoS hits a lovely spot! TRY HARDER!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Powell
Ukraine
Berdyansk
flag msg tools
badge
I'm in my prime.
Avatar
mb
wellspokenman wrote:
My observations, and the reason for not liking it are as follows:
* First off, the map can be generously described as misleading. Military connections are listed on the cards, forcing players to go through every single card of interest to see if there is a desirable connection, and which transport is required to take advantage of this. This means that there is nothing in place to trigger me as a player to consider something new, only to confirm attempt after attempt to find something meaningful to do. I'm sure this is by design, but I don't care; I hate it. It's an unnecessary barrier to making meaningful game decisions.

* The downtime, the downtime, the downtime, the downtime, the downtime. OMFG the downtime. If I want to settle in Fort Bea... (near Port Royal) after raiding it I need to go through a full deck cycle to get there. If I have a lot of military cards I have to pay 4 just to discard and find some useful settlement cards. Or the reverse, where I need military cards ASAP and they've been used. If I expand to avoid a points loss I then have to Governor out those locations so my deck is still useful. It is so infuriatingly tedious. Turn after turn is wasted on discarding until I get that one card that is useful.


Have you watched the spiel's interview with M. Wallace? Here's the link:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/12286/martin-wallace/the-...

Wallace does a pretty good job at addressing both of your observations and his reasons for the map design and game play. Both decisions were intentional. Supplies were limited and the area was not mapped very well. The historical article at the end of the rulebook touches on theses topics as well.

My wife and I have played 7 times. So far I have only played the British and I have won twice. We'll swap sides after 10 plays. We really like the game. It is our first war game and our first deck builder. It looks like we have somewhat similar tastes in games- Innovation, Glory to Rome, Forbidden Island, Pandemic.

With Dominion and Thunderstone in your top ten, you obviously have a lot of experience with deck builders. As I said, this is my first deck builder and after 7 plays I am still learning how to manage my deck, the reserve, the discard pile, and the Governor's ability to return cards to the available stocks.

I won the last game we played. Early in the game I often took the merchant action as my second action and I did not settle locations that would only clutter my deck with pelts. I pressed towards Halifax and towards Detroit. I weeded out cards to the reserve and had the money from the merchant actions to pick those cards back up when I needed them. That being said I am still 2 for 7, so what do I know.

I really like this game. One of the reasons is that I have bought into the premise and the design. After reading the article at the back of the rulebook, the deck building mechanic seems to fit the game, the time period, and the conflict. Benefits aren't gained immediately and in a lot of instances, the benefits of a location aren't that great. Pelts?
Well what did you expect from basically a wilderness outpost?

Edited to fix the link.








 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tajs Seelen
Netherlands
Etten-Leur
NB
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
War isn't an easy game to play

Your report definitely feels like a David an Goliath kinda match btw.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
flag msg tools
badge
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ukraineboo wrote:
Wallace does a pretty good job at addressing both of your observations and his reasons for the map design and game play. Both decisions were intentional. Supplies were limited and the area was not mapped very well.

That's no excuse. Intentionally confusing a new player is just bad game design. It's not like the information isn't there, it's just tedious to get at.

There are ways to create real fog of war effects for both players without resorting to unnecessary information translation issues.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thomas Wegner
Germany
Bremen
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sorry, no love here. I just sold the game, mainly because ...

+ Martin Wallace hasn't found the time to fix this dominant strategy issue (Halifax Hammer or whatever they call it). I cannot enjoy a game, where there is a predominant strategy. Obviously, this game hasn't been playtested enough.

+ the English rules are lousy. To fully understand the game, you need a FAQ found here on the geek. Even worse, you will not find a rules clarification or FAQ on the Treefrog website. So Mr. Wallace left that to the community.

+ the German rules suck. (Sorry!) The German translator did a really poor job. Whole (important) sentences were left out. I would fire him. And I don't see corrected rules on the Treefrog site or at least an official errata.

+ I'm not a war gamer and don't want to be one.



My 2 cents.


~Thomas
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reinhard Mueller
Germany
Gauting
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I do not want to make you love the game as it is a matter of personal taste (for example one man's tediousness is another man's suspensefulness). But apart from that, every wargamer worth his money will tell you that AFAOS is not a wargame, regardless of what BGG says. And I agree.
So do not draw any conclusions about wargames from playing AFAOS.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.