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Discworld: Ankh-Morpork» Forums » Reviews

Subject: or why i won't be trading off my copy rss

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Simon
United Kingdom
Sheffield
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Disclaimer; Theres already quite a few reviews for this game but i feel like theres a few things that have not been said, or if they have i haven't read them. In this review im NOT going to give a detailed description of the components, or explain how the game is played, nor am i going to talk at length about either Terry Pratchet, or Martin Wallace, others have done this.


Why wont i be trading off my copy? Because this game out competes both Survive, and Dragons Gold as the go to light game to play with both non- gamers and those who wont play complex games.

The design of this game is far more abhock than either of the two games ive just mentions, but it manages to be more strategic than either of them, and not induce analysis paralysis (i've played it about 15 times each game lasting less than an hour and half, shortest game about 20mins), which survive often does.

How is more strategic?

Whats great about this game is it manages to achieve quite alot with a simple set of rules (see other reviews for more details on rules). Essentially, you play a card, and do the actions on that card. Very simple, i can teach it to anyone, and they after a few turns can start to click into the strategy at some level.

The strategy in this game hinges on the hidden objective (personality) cards you get at the start of the game.

I suspect that whether you enjoy hidden objectives as a game mechanic will make or break this game for you, since it is where most of the substance of this game lies. At the beginning of the game you randomly draw an objective card. no one knows your objective and you don't know anyone elses. And the board, the board where you vie for control of the decedant city of Anke-Morpork is where the players reveal their objectives, or if they are skillful, try to hide them. I enjoy this game because i enjoy figuring out what the other players real motives behind an action are, why are they moving minions over there? why are they buying this property and not the Unreal Estate? And i like concealing my motives behind bluffs too. It's reminiscent of poker. If this doesn't appeal to you, don't get this game. The game comes with 5 different objective cards, or personalities, which vary over things such as controlling areas of the board, accumulating, wealth, creating as much chaos as possible, or simply trying to keep the game running until the main deck of cards runs out and the game is over. In my experience each of these has a pretty even chance of winning in the right hands. And each of them is different enough to give the game replayability.

Ive played 15 games and won more than half, i dont say this to brag, i say this to refute the argument put forward by some that this is a game with alot of luck in it. There is a slice of luck, but in most games the player that makes the best decisions will win. I can see why people feel it is a chaotic game though. It takes a few plays to work out whats going down, and in those early games it can be rather random.

Criticims; Some have said that this game is rather tame for something set in the discworld. The discworld novels are full of insane events and numerous disasters for the characters involved. This game does have a full cast of discworld characters on its cards and the potential for alot of insane events in the random event deck. In practice minimal real chaos occurs. Why? because Martin Wallace (i did say i wouldnt talk about him much) designed this game to be a family game, and it is family friendly, it is also girl friend friendly. This game allows for chaos in small doses. You can, and will, play cards that allow you to steal monies, and buildings off the other players, you can assassinate their minions, but you can never really do that much damage to each other. You just put the other player back a turn or so, they a turn later they return the favour. The random event deck i mentioned, has the potential to cause chaos but more often than not it wont. Often cards drawn from it require a dice role, and that dice role often has more than a 50% chance of nothing happening ( luck! ). Theres a few cards that are more certain to create conflicts, such as the demons from the dungeon dimension, but if your decks well shuffled theres a good chance this card will never come out. In my last game we went through about 8 cards in the random event deck, only about 3 had any consequences, one brought out the 4 demons, on another a dragon landed and killed all of three minions, and a flood killed one other minion (none of these was a disaster). There is the potential for anarchy from these cards, the fire could potentially wipe out every building on the map, but more often than not the first dice role will land on an area with no buildings and it will do nothing. It's a family game with a hint of spice. not a very chaotic game.

If the game sells well (it's in Waterstones at the moment) Martin Wallace might produce an expansion, i think whilst this game is fine as it is, an expansion could easily make the game more chaotic. It would be relativly easy to add more random event cards and more player personality cards.

This game plays best with 3/4 players in my view. It's ok 2 player, but theres a lot of cards that say 'pick a player and do x to them'. With 2 players the picking part is lost and the game feels a little flatter. Still not a bad game though.

Summary/who should consider buying this game; This has already been said by others, but this game is NOT BRASS. It is not a complex economic game it is a light family game with a pinch of chaos, and a bit of hidden objectives strategy. Neither does this game contain any original or inventive game mechanics or ideas. If you like hidden objectives as a game mechanic, consider picking up this game. If you want a game to play with your kids or your girl friend, where you can get at each other a bit, but where no one will really get upset (unless he or she is a really bad looser) consider this game. The special editions are nice, but not essential, and the basic edition is pretty good value for money in todays gaming market.
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Russell Miln
Australia
Perth
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It certainly is an odd game. Three times to the table, with those that have no idea who Pratchett is, and three times the game has finished (a rarity with our group as our games tend to stop if they're not working). The absolute horror that happens when someone has been allowed to reach a victory condition is hilarious - especially the trouble marker condition after it has been virtually given to the player after the demons come out.

I thought the hidden victory conditions would be a bit too much, but everyone had a laugh and reloaded the game again (also a rarity). The way we're playing it, no-one minds that it lacks suspense, it's just a bit of nonsense.
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Michael Sweazey
United States
Powder Springs
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Simon,

Good review, and I agree whole-heatedly with your impressions. As I describe it to people, if you want a good, light game that fans of Discworld and those who don't care who Pratchett is will enjoy, this is a wonderful game. The flavor of Discworld is more in the lines of, "Ahh, the Tulip Brothers, they are...and they did...in...". Hence, this game introduces those unfamiliar to the books by the other players' narrative. I do believe this game could use more random event cards mixed into the deck, and it could use them starting earlier in the draws. In fact, I think the next time I play, I might shuffle the lower deck into the bottom half of the upper to get them into play faster and more frequently.

On the other hand, if you want a game that has more "screwage" built in and really gets people interested in Discworld, pick up "Guards! Guards!". Despite coming out at about the same time, I do not see these games as competing. They are completely different types of games that every Pratchett fan should have in their collection. Guards! has much more narrative from the books on each of the cards, and it makes people want to read the books because it is so funny and outlandish. Discworld hints at this through the names of the characters (Harry King), but Guards! gives the description or quotes. It also has the sapient pearwood luggage running around, and that is never a bad thing...unless, of course, you are in its path!

Michael
 
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Michael Sweazey
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One of my favorite points of this game is when you have figured out what most of the players' objectives are (Sgt. Vimes can be disguised quite well), but you have to hope you can quicktime it to your own win because you can't catch them!
 
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