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Subject: No spoilers. Do you start weak or strong, slow or fast games rss

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David Carlile
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People talk of 45 minute first and second games- Why did ours go to 2 hours. Early pictures of game boards after one game show all countries populated, but by 2-5 troops at the most. So how is the best way to play-what was the game designer's ideas? Does one spread out thinly over a wide area, picking up territory coin cards quickly but leaving oneself weak to attack. But this quick turn-over of 'tit for tat' battles using few troops circulates the coin cards quickly and moves the game along at a good pace.
Alternatively, does one keep getting those 3 troops, pick off easy targets but concentrate more on building large armies which cover little ground slowly. The game slows as coin cards are less frequently collected as battles are fewer and spread out.
So quick and few troops or slow and masses of troops?
Which style do people feel they have been following? Ours is the slow build with large troops but long games. As most reports are of the opposite, I fear we are playing wrongly or are in effect breaking the game and not the way it was meant to be played.

Each to his or her own I suppose but thoughts would be appreciated. Ta David. Earth 8368....please no spoilers-we've only played 2 games of this new risk.
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Dave C
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Grumblygrew wrote:

Which style do people feel they have been following? Ours is the slow build with large troops but long games. As most reports are of the opposite, I fear we are playing wrongly or are in effect breaking the game and not the way it was meant to be played.


You are not alone.

Our first two games were with five adults who had not played risk or a risk-like board game in about 20 years. Both games lasted about 1 1/2 hours. We were talking, clarifying the rules, building large defensive armies. A couple of us were, now we see, playing "old risk" or "slow risk." We were creeped out by empty territories because "didn't you start Risk with everything filled?" We did not know that you could expand, expand, attack, attack, expand. We now know that you can go far and do much with five or six units in this new version of the game.

There are two groups playing this magnificent game: gamers and non-gamers. I am a non-gamer who came to Legacy (and BGG) after hearing the spot on NPR. I'm a huge fan of sci-fi and narrative in general, and this game provides buckets of both. But I am doomed, for now, to the slower version of the game. I've read the session posts by the gamers on BGG--and boy they all sound like they are sweeping Rommel out of Africa in a turn. They sound like they are having a fast blast with this game. I am glad I am not up against them!

I am sure we will all speed up in future games.
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Stephen Rochelle
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In the very early games, victory is all about HQs. Controlling a small continent is also nice, but it's really about HQs, and maybe picking up a couple nice territory cards to cash in for one big turn where you grab those HQs. Gobbling territory and deploying widespread defense just don't matter, because the game won't last nearly long enough to bring those into play if you have even one aggressive player. Remember: the winner doesn't have to be able to defend what he just took. He just has to be able to take it.

The game will slow somewhat as players win and thus start with fewer VPs, but even that's not a given -- one recent early-stage game of mine ran over an hour and a half, but that was only after I came up 1 troop short of victory at the 45-minute mark.

That said, playing as if the game were traditional Risk isn't wrong by any means. You certainly shouldn't be worried about "the way its meant to be played" in this context. It's just that, if you're playing to win, it's suboptimal.
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Steven Sousa
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Our early games went very fast, mostly because everyone wanted to win so badly that they took crazy chances. Someone would see a way to take two HQs over on his third turn and win the game, but it would only work if he lost two troops along the way at most. Despite the long odds, he went for it, predictably failed, and left his own HQ terribly undefended. So then the next person has slightly better odds to take out two HQs, but still fails, and now there are two undefended HQs. Pretty soon, almost everyone is stretched too thin, and someone will have an easy path to two HQs and win.

I prefer to be a cautious expander, so I had to adjust to this sort of playstyle as I often found myself losing despite having the most territories and troops on the board at game end.
 
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Jeff Abramson
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We've played three games so far, all finished less than one hour. I play with my two sons, ages 8 and 6. They tend to take big risks, i.e., extend themselves, or go all out to capture a base. In all three cases one of them has won each game. This is compared to my strategy of being a bit more conservative, which is how I always played the original.

My kids are good game players. The 8 year old plays Magic, they both play Quarriors, Castle Panic, and others. There's pieces of strategy they both don't get of course, but they simply take more risks. And I don't let them win automatically any more !

 
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V Dickson
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Our games have been on the longer side as well. Never under an hour, but never more than 2.

We have been cautious. And that works okay if others are playing as you are. The secret is to pay attention and be sure that someone doesn't make a sudden dash and win the game.

Our second game was our fastest, because my son (7) went for it early. Cashed in coin cards and sped out of Africa after my daughter (12). And he made it! (He had, seriously, about 6 troops on the whole board, when he won.)

My daughter tried to do a very similar thing in the next game--and failed. Leaving her exposed.

It's called Risk for a reason. But, you also have to be cautious to not rush in a game where others are stockpiled and you can't crack them. Or to stockpile too much in a game where others are taking risks--and leaving themselves exposed to your other opponents (while you're stuck in your HQ/continent, out of reach of the action).

The game will morph as you play more. Watch what your opponents are doing and figure out if you can/should change the tempo to win.

Really loving this game.
 
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Dan Taylor
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I've started the game with 2 different groups.

Group 1 played it like normal Risk: folks spread out before attacking each other and then only gingerly. It took 2 hours.

Group 2 went for the throat: They were attacking each other's HQs within a few turns of playing. Large amounts of Asia were unfilled for many turns. Playtime was more like an hour.
 
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Zap Riecken
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We had five players and two players were at each others throats immediately while the other three built up slowly.
 
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Gordy Crozier
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Our first game took about 2 or so hours. One guy was playing very much in an old Risk style and has yet to win a game in 7 games. He was setting up for a game that was going to last all day. We played for 12 hours with about 2 hours for lunch and dinner so 10 hours gametime. The first game was the longest and other games varied a lot! It is about risky moves. I charged overland from North America to Egypt to win a game, leaving my army thinly spread for a turn before I could claim victory (read about it in my session report if interested, War and Whatnot: Episode 1). That last however long they last, it depends on how conservative people are being and if they have adapted their play to suit a new game.
 
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David Carlile
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Glad to see people are sometimes having games similar to our slow build up style.
Could one argue that although the mechanisms,goals and starting criteria are different than old 'classic' risk, one should still play it like classic. Otherwise a player continually leaves him or herself in a weak vulnerable position. If everyone plays spread wide with few troops in each territory, then fine-everyone is on the same 'playing field'of battle and opportunity to strike. But surely the best or most realistic method of expansion should be slow with lots of defensive support in areas around the HQ. Slows the game down but more in keeping with good strategic gameplay.
I am not arguing for a return to 'classic' style play or world domination but suggesting the slow strong build up is a real life, long term strategy to defend the HQ and stay in the game. It would be interesting to know what the designers intended- quick or slow? With so many reports of quick games, it worries me slow build up is breaking their intentions and may have repercussions later as envelopes are opened. Without spoilers, can anyone who having completed the 'story', played it slow with longer games and did this style suit, help, or damage the game once envelopes wwere opened. Thanks for your thoughts
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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Grumblygrew wrote:
Could one argue that although the mechanisms,goals and starting criteria are different than old 'classic' risk, one should still play it like classic. Otherwise a player continually leaves him or herself in a weak vulnerable position.
Sure, you can argue that, and it's fine if you play it that way. But consider: you've just admitted that the mechanisms, goals, and setup are different from Classic. Might not the definition of a "weak vulnerable position" be different, too?

Grumblygrew wrote:
I am... suggesting the slow strong build up is a real life, long term strategy to defend the HQ and stay in the game.
A slow, cautious build is indeed a reasonable strategy to defend your HQ and stay in the game. Is your goal, though, to stay in the game and hold on 1-2 Red Stars?

I think, based on watching my long-time Risk fanatic buddies play, that the "weak vulnerable position" is the thing that most surprises people between Classic and Legacy. I've seen those guys continually do things like take 20 troops and spread them out across a 4-territory front, 5 troops each, on a border that isn't for continent control. Maybe that's good Classic strategy, maybe it's groupthink, but they reinforce each other's decision-making by discussing things like the need to protect their territory. And then their forces are spread too thin to do anything, and so the cycle reinforces.

Please understand -- the aggressive player I advocate isn't one who burns down to the last troop each turn, grabbing as much territory as he can. That's a sure-fire way to lose in any version of Risk. Rather, he defends only what he absolutely must (HQ usually, defensible continent bonus definitely) with troops that can shift quickly from defense to offense as needed. Superficially, this looks a lot like a slow builder in the opening one or two turns. The key difference is that the aggressive player, once his core is secure, is looking to make a swift, decisive strike and not a slow, plodding campaign.

All that said, play the game as you see best. Obviously we have very different viewpoints about how we approach the strategy, but that does not make one of us "right" and the other "wrong". The unlockable content will cause you to re-evaluate your strategies and decisions, but that's true for everybody who's playing without foreknowledge. The designer has commented elsewhere that early-opening packets contain content specifically intended to be opened early so that you've got plenty of time to adjust long-term plans as needed. The game will not break if you play 3-hour games, and your experience will not be inferior for it -- though I do encourage you to see if you can let some of those Classic Risk notions go for a game or two.
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David Carlile
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Thank you for your reply Stephen.
Yes I am willing to let the classic risk notions go. Unfortunately my enemies still pursue such a method which means I must do likewise-if only not to lose ground or troop number parity in defending territories.
I suppose another factor is how far away an HQ is positioned from other players. Too secluded and you cut yourself /surround yourself with own troops. Hence your front line troops take 3 or 4 turns expanding and not battling so early turns of 3 or 4 in number occur before territory card collection. Alternatively to get those cards, a player has to travel over many territories towards an opponents FRONT LINE and thus leave 1 or 2 troops own in territories. I think this is the dilemma- how long one can play or how many turns/rounds one can play without needing a coin card.
No doubt as territory cards gain the magical 6 coins such will affect direction of domination and advancement.
 
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Mike Oehler
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Our group was expecting a slow game and choose abilities accordingly. So we were quite surprised when the first game ended in about half an hour. The additional material like cities and missiles tend to slow the game down some - plus people lose their bonus stars.

I think one of key things is that early expansion is not very rewarding. By default, players start with 8 troops and gain 3 on their first turn. That's a maximum 11 territories controlled at the start of their next turn. Without a faction ability, 11 territories means you get 3 troops. (IB can get 4 with their round up power, and Khan has the potential to get 5 on turn with a bonus troop and using their first turn bonus man to take a 12th space). But you can get the same 3 troops with 5, 3 or even one territory. Keeping a beefy army capable of focused aggression costs little in the early stages of the campaign.

Obviously, the development of the board can change that. Someone starting in their major city has a much easier time getting their 4th army, and more spaces besides HQs and continent chokes become valuable. People can use missiles to prevent someone from winning early.

Quote:


I think, based on watching my long-time Risk fanatic buddies play, that the "weak vulnerable position" is the thing that most surprises people between Classic and Legacy. I've seen those guys continually do things like take 20 troops and spread them out across a 4-territory front, 5 troops each, on a border that isn't for continent control. Maybe that's good Classic strategy, maybe it's groupthink, but they reinforce each other's decision-making by discussing things like the need to protect their territory. And then their forces are spread too thin to do anything, and so the cycle reinforces.


Actually, I'd say that Risk Legacy makes it really easy to break that group think. Since you don't need to wipe someone, a large army can just punch through one defended territory, break through, and grab an HQ.
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