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Subject: How does it feel? rss

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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Versailles
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How does playing The Ares Project feel? I would like to better grasp what a game looks like (how often do you battle? what kind of options must be weighed each turn? is the play sequence repetitive? etc.).

I read all the reviews and all the session reports. While they look like they can be interesting, I did not fully get a sense of what the game feels when played. In particular, I found most session reports to be mostly for the initiated (naming cards does not do much for me, at this point). There are certainly very good reviews out there, but most of them describe what can happen in games: I'm also looking for an example "time line" of game events that would tell the story of a full game, along with comments on how it felt to play it.

So, I would love to see a (possibly fictitious) typical example of game expressed in some "thematic" way (e.g. "The Terrans knew that the Kahoum could blah blah… because they are usually blah blah…"), with no knowledge of the rules required to understand it. I'm looking for the kind of story that the game provides.

Comments on the gaming/thinking aspect of it would also be very helpful: when are important choices made? how much guessing is done? I read that the game is both strategic and tactical: again, an example would be good, which would narrate a game along with the kind of strategic and tactical thinking that it requires.

From the outset, I am afraid that I would find too much guessing and repetition in the game: put a few cards (face up) to build them, add resources on them (face down), repeat for a few turns until a battle is started, tactically maneuver your forces, repeat. Something tells me that this description might be too simplistic. So, something more fleshed out and written as a game example that puts an emphasis on a simple/thematic description of what is going on would greatly help!
 
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Dirk Ackermann
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Hi Eric,

that is a very good question, but not that easily answered because of the inherent difficulties of 'feelings'.

Now, I have only 4 basic games and one full fledged game under my wings. That is far too less for a review but maybe good enough for your question.

How often are battles fought? I do not know yet! As often as your race and that of your opponent and situation and strategies demands. They are such an integral part of the game that there will be no unimportant battles. My guess is: fairly often!

What kind of options must be weighed each turn? At first, card- and handmanagement under the guidelines of your first chosen strategie, aka the two cards you did start with, for that will be important if you like to grab the frontier fast or to swarm your opponent or to be defensiv and tech up. But you do not play for yourselves and that is why you have to know what your opponent is doing, because surprises can get you killed very fast, I suppose, and as a result making probing attacks or using powers to scout. That said, it feels a lot like Starcraft the pc game, maybe to the point where there will be build orders based on card combos and the special race skills.

Repetitive? No! Just no! And the reason is the last paragraph!

I will not give you a fictitious session report. Maybe I will someday, but there are other users...

When are important decisions made? At the beginnig, choosing your strategie, after the first encounter, while at battle, because of the important tactic choices, every other round, to keep you and your opponent honest.

Because you do not only play the game, but your opponent as well, through the guessing and bluffing and outmaneuvering, the game is multifaceted! And that is its strongest point! The mechanics and the cards give you some funnels to which you can choosingly go through, but how fast or thorough is up to you, maybe someday making metachoices based on some race build orders or the opponents style. The last point I just muse out of thin air, but given the game it will be most likely. But for that we need experienced voices here.

Your last assumption is both true and false. But you already knew that, did not you?
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Thanks for the feedback!

DarAng wrote:
Your last assumption is both true and false. But you already knew that, did not you?
I was quite serious, actually. In fact, the units look mostly quantitatively similar (at least from what I have seen from the game): they have 4 Attack ratings that vary between units. The Ares Project seems quite different in that respect from games with huge variety like Magic: The Gathering or Innovation, so I was wondering how much of an impact this apparent uniformity has on Ares.

That said, I have yet to see anybody mention a lack of replayability. I also understand that some units seem to have special powers (but are there really enough of them to give some unique flavor when they're played?) and that races have specific rules, so that there is more than these 4 numbers (but each race still plays Building cards with 4 Attack ratings on them).

I am really curious about how varied each game of The Ares Project is, both within a single game, and between games (with identical or different factions).

Now that I have ordered the game, I guess I will soon know. However, I thought that BGG users could usefully share even more their experience on how The Ares Project feels during a game, in this thread.
 
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Timothy Pride
Indonesia
Jakarta
DKI Jakarta
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It's very different between each game and each faction just going by the numbers. When you've played quite a handful of Full Game, you'll start to develop strategies, and you'll notice the nature of each faction.

Basically, you want to match of what kind of unit type you can hit easily, with your opponent units (or in reverse, try to avoid opponent's guess)

But it's not that simple.

When you played Terran, you'll know that Terran can answer everything. Anti-Infantry? Terran has it. Anti-Armor? check. Anti-air? check? everything! But.... you cannot be prepared for everything. You want to setup the anti-infantry, armor, air, building, etc... with only 50 cards in deck, you won't have enough time. You must be smart to match your opponents. That's why Terran has the ability to "peek" the opponent

Kahoum is the lategamer. Very mediocre in the beginning, and must play a little bit defensively. But, his late game units are the best. One units usually can even answer 2 problems (ie. can easily hit both armor and building).

Xenos, while slow to build, is cheap and can swarming. Their attack rating on their cheapest unit is crap, but with the ability to roll 6 dice make it will almost hit at least 1.

Colossus can has cheap units also with gun. Most of them cannot really target problems effectively, but with flanking and few other tricks they can catch other faction off guard. And they can be any unit type without the need to look for the actual card.

The difference is in the nuance when you play. I look forward when you play couple of games, and let us see how you try to answer your own questions
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Wolfgang Birner
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In my opinion The Ares Project feels like an online match of Starcraft - which is out of my perspective a praise for this boardgame.

The game plays really fast because all you do is just - play a card - draw a card.

This simple concept creates a gameplay with hardly NO downtime in which you have to make a lot of decisions.

----
In the last fight I was attacked by an air unit I couldn't match properly. With the cards in my hand I could build some Anti Air units. But if I play this anti air card now I have to put down at least four more cards as resources to actually build this unit. What if my opponent attacks my within the next two rounds?

I could also attach a tech card to my existing infantry unit. This would only take one card instead of the five cards mentioned above. But my "upgraded" infantry wouldn't be as strong as the anti air...
----

You begin to bluff and to guess what your opponent does.

The feeling of stress, to put at least three more cards on my playing mat to have the units I want to, is what I love about the game.

And it feels great when you play the attack card and your opponent claims: Damn, two more rounds and you would have lost....

This is just an example of decisions and feelings in the build up phase. Then you have the attacking, the different races, the starting strategy, going for the frontier, teching up etc.

Everytime I played this game I just think wow, there was a lot going on in those 40 minutes.
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James Fung
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With regards to repetition, while each faction has a particular style, they also have a range of strategies to pick from. Therefore, I may go into a game with a plan, but during the game I'll be constantly reacting to what my opponent has played. I have yet to find the game repetitive.
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Gaanger wrote:
Everytime I played this game I just think wow, there was a lot going on in those 40 minutes.
Thanks. Given how you rate the games in your collection, it looks like we might have similar tastes: your remark bodes well. Waiting for the package to arrive…
 
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Wolfgang Birner
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I hope I didn't promise too much ;-)
For me The Ares Project is besides Eclipse and A Few Acres of Snow the top of 2011.

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