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Subject: 3 plays, my thoughts on learning it rss

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Chris Walkley
United Kingdom
Birmingham
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Earth Reborn was a present from my parents this Christmas, and I was pretty excited about it. The only downside was that I had to wait until after the holidays to really get stuck into it!

I knew from everything I read on BGG that I would love this game, but I was slightly wary about how to go about teaching it to my partner. Now, she is a pretty hardcore gamer, but I wanted to strike a balance between showing off the cool things the game can do, but not overloading on the learning. One of my best friends has just got this and played the first scenario with his wife and it fell pretty flat, with the possibility of not being played again, something I was keen to avoid.

I sat down and learnt the rules up to what was required for Scenario 3. But once I had those figured out and played Scenario 3 solo a couple of times, I realised that Scenario 4 was just too cool to ignore. One of the 'problems' with this game is that so many interesting things get introduced as you go that it is hard to limit yourself!

So I took a risk. Figuring the first two scenarios would not hold either of our interest and that a game where you only really get to move and fight would not be so interesting for my partner, I went in at Scenario 4. And I am very pleased that I did as it worked out well and we had a great time. The only thing I would say is that, if taking the role of the 'teacher', just make sure you know the rules well enough yourself. So long as you do, you will probably find you can get stuck in to the good stuff quicker.

Then I had to figure out what next. Scenario 5 add rules for searching and spying, as well as using Mission Points to determine victory. In essence, this isn't a great deal to learn when you understand the basics, so we moved on to scenario 6, adding the rules for traitors and radio jamming as well. I reasoned this would be a good balance without adding too much.

Again, it went well and it was an enjoyable game. We were going to play Scenario 8: Rescue John Woo and went though the rules for large figures, capture and torture, but in the end decided against it. We felt these rules were pretty situational: you only need to use the large figure rules when playing with the Mammoth and you won't always want to be capturing the enemy. From a read through we both understood the basics of how to capture someone and were happy to remind ourselves of the rules and options as and when the Salemites required it.

So, with a quick read of combination orders we leapt into the SAGS system.

Best... thing... ever.

I wasn't expecting it to be all that much different once you had learnt all the rules up to that point, but there was just something about it which made it stand out. Perhaps it was the freedom of choice in creating the map and selecting/equipping the teams. But I think it was the missions as well and needing to achive your goals while stopping the other side from completing theirs. The moment when I realised Jessica was suddenly dashing across the board becasue the Salemite player was holding the missile launch mission (and I didn't think it was worth destroying it when I walked past earlier in the game...), well, it was a real moment of excitement!

But what came through so strongly, more so than in the scenarios, was the sense of narrative. Every turn was packed with incident. Afterwards we really were discussing the game as though it had been a great movie we had just seen. Okay, this is a cliched comment, but it was true.

The only other thing was that, when all the elements came together, we found we were experiencing a real buzz from playing. Afterwards we kind of had to calm down from all the excitment the game had contained. Pretty unusual for a boardgame!

So this is just my random thoughts on how I learnt/taught the game. Obviously a lot is dependent on the individuals playing and what works for them, but if someone reads this and thinks 'Hey, I reckon that will work for me' and then goes away and has a great time, then I'm happy!

The only downside was that we did miss out some of the missions which sounded quite good, but now we have played with the SAGS, I don't think we will want to go back.

If you are still on the fence...leap in and enjoy!
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James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
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Great post! Eleven plays in and I'm still only up to Mission 4, so I suppose I have taken the opposite approach. There's definitely room for that in the game - by all accounts, SAGS is awesome (and I am very much looking forward to eventually getting to it!), but the missions are very good indeed too.

I've played the first mission a few times with a couple different people, and it went down very well every time, so I don't think the risks of it falling flat are too great. It's not got the replayability of the later missions, and of course only a very limited ruleset (an advantage in itself however for a lot of players), but I think that the theme and story in it are very engaging, and a good introduction to the setting.

On the whole I've enjoyed the sense of narrative in the missions, so I am encouraged to hear that you find that aspect even stronger in SAGS.
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Chris Walkley
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Thanks, James. I think your reply highlights one of the strengths in how the rules and scenarios have been put together, i.e. it is a really great tool which allows people to use it as much or as little as they want according to their own preferences.

You are right about the narrative of the missions, but there was just something about how the SAGS worked out that elevated the whole experience for us. I could certainly see myself checking out at least a couple of the later missions to see how they play. I quite like the idea of the virus outbreak one..
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Peter Van den Broeck
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Hey Chris, great post indeed.

I had two experiences which confirm your statement.

Positive: I played with a friend of mine directly scenario3: good choice for him. He really is anxious to play a next scenario.

The other way With my son I played every scenario until scenario5 up till now. Till scenario4 all went pretty well, but scenario5 was a dissapointing experience. We ran around and searched and searched until we completed our missions, then the game ended. Nothing tactical, no attacks, just searching and powering on and off the electricity . It was fine to learn the things about searching and interacting but one feels that this scenario is are just there to learn you the game mechanics... So now I am indeed thinking of jumping directly to SAGS and learn about radio jamming and mammoths as we go along...

P
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Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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Pretty much the same reaction I had when I played the game. I gushed about it to my geekbuds. Only up to scenario 4 and can't wait to get further in. I'm glad to hear the SAGS works well. Of course it does, everything in this game does.
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Chris Walkley
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Phyriphiry wrote:
It was fine to learn the things about searching and interacting but one feels that this scenario is are just there to learn you the game mechanics...


Peter: That's a good point, and something I agree with. While the scenario's give good games, they focus (naturally) around the elements you need to learn.

Then you get to SAGS and everything that you have learnt suddenly become a huge load of options that you can use as you feel fit to complete your objectives. The whole game takes on an epic open feel, with so much to do and choose from.

Even something as simple as stopping the Salemites from activating the missiles has a raft of options: I had to choose between shutting down the power, turning them off at the console, killing the salemite trying to turn them on, or just blowing the floor tile up. In fact I could have taken a fifth option of just ignoring that problem and trying to complete my missions quicker instead!

Phyriphiry wrote:
So now I am indeed thinking of jumping directly to SAGS and learn about radio jamming and mammoths as we go along...


Exactly, as long as you are happy checking up on the rules when you need them doing what you suggest would not me a problem for you I imagine! I can see situations where so many games go by without using radio jamming that you'd need to refresh your memory on how the rules work any way! I skim read the Mammoth rules but will read them properly when I decide to include the Mammoth on my team, it isn't a big deal.
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Great to hear positive stories! ..keep gaming, there’s no way back.. :D

I started with scenario 4 for the same reason: more to explore/experience on the first touch.. AND it turned out to be a total blast right in my face, my head is still blown almost a year later..
Anyway I got my own box right after and reading the background stories made me feel I was about to miss something..so I started a campaign form scenario1 (I was/am Norad)..played each mission at least three times before next one and I got to confess I really enjoyed those first three ones very much! (for sure, the later one, the 'better' one, but-but). Not only there is a whole scale of challenges for both sides, but mostly I learned so much about game-play, little nuances in tactics, multiple using of greatly layered rules is awesome (beside of stunning action stories and thrilling gaming moments.. each play was/is unique.. )
On SAGS, there are few issues making a huge differences.. the greatest one is a fact ,that in SAGS the goals are not an open info! I find this quite essential, while you can’t block your opponent if no idea what from.. that shifts a lot imho.. and also .. but that’s for another topic..:)
Cheers!

ER4EVER!
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Jakob Christensen
Austria
Elsbethen
Salzburg
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Fantastic thread Chris. I will receive Earth Reborn next week and since we are hardcore gamers we will approach the game as following:
- Scenario 4
- Scenario 6
- S.A.G.S!!

Can't wait to play! Thanks for the inspiration.
 
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