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Subject: Issue: Game Length Due to "Lesser of" Conditions rss

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Jim Scheiderich
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Last night I played my second game of RTE. Four players and we managed 9 turns in 4 hours including game explanation.

In my observation of play, usually one person was always last in setting their stacks - not the same one - no AP issue. Since doing this is important, it is the longest part of a turn. Frequently, the resolution of a turn was less than maybe 5 minutes and not more than 10.

Something for the designer to consider:

When creating a stack for a Census and for Taxes, the rule about using the lowest sum of two different attributes seems to be considerably lengthening the game. You are trying to find two different attributes that are not located at the same place (on the upper left edge) on each Luminary card - for example Wealth and Politics. Since you want the lowest one to be as high as possible, you are usually using several cards to get the desired results; especially true in a Census. Counting specific symbols over several cards is tedious and error prone. This is worse on a Religious census as an opposing religion cards may NOT be used for their Political rating making another symbol to watch for.

From your play testing, is there any way to relieve this issue with the goal of speeding up the game some?

My first thought would be to simply use the sum of the 2 required Luminary attributes e.g. Science Census is sum of Pi's and Light bulbs, etc. with Taxes being based only on a Wealth total. However, this is something you would be far more familiar with. Perhaps it is unworkable.

Second thought is to republish the card deck with all Luminary attributes in the same position e.g. top to bottom Military, Politics, Science, Ideas, Art, Wealth, Religion (with Catholic and non-Catholic having there own "row"...) Then when you fan your cards, it would be far easier to sort out the attributes.

Your thoughts, sirs?
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Dirk Knemeyer
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LHIM wrote:
Last night I played my second game of RTE. Four players and we managed 9 turns in 4 hours including game explanation.


We've found that until a table has players who've all played at least once or twice before it does play long. Once people are accustomed to it, reliably it is completed in under 3 hours, a tidy 2 for a four player game.

LHIM wrote:
In my observation of play, usually one person was always last in setting their stacks - not the same one - no AP issue. Since doing this is important, it is the longest part of a turn. Frequently, the resolution of a turn was less than maybe 5 minutes and not more than 10.


Yeah, we have seen this dynamic, and particularly with new players.

LHIM wrote:
Something for the designer to consider:

When creating a stack for a Census and for Taxes, the rule about using the lowest sum of two different attributes seems to be considerably lengthening the game. You are trying to find two different attributes that are not located at the same place (on the upper left edge) on each Luminary card - for example Wealth and Politics. Since you want the lowest one to be as high as possible, you are usually using several cards to get the desired results; especially true in a Census. Counting specific symbols over several cards is tedious and error prone. This is worse on a Religious census as an opposing religion cards may NOT be used for their Political rating making another symbol to watch for.

From your play testing, is there any way to relieve this issue with the goal of speeding up the game some?


It really isn't a time issue with experienced players. We did try a couple of different things - more on this below - but the current card design seems the best solution.

LHIM wrote:
My first thought would be to simply use the sum of the 2 required Luminary attributes e.g. Science Census is sum of Pi's and Light bulbs, etc. with Taxes being based only on a Wealth total. However, this is something you would be far more familiar with. Perhaps it is unworkable.


You're right that this does speed things up. The problem is that the friction of only counting the lower reinforces the theme and richens the narrative: you aren't simply searching for as many matching numbers as possible, you are needing to balance both, for example, politics and wealth. This underscores the historical and cultural relationships between those things.

LHIM wrote:
Second thought is to republish the card deck with all Luminary attributes in the same position e.g. top to bottom Military, Politics, Science, Ideas, Art, Wealth, Religion (with Catholic and non-Catholic having there own "row"...) Then when you fan your cards, it would be far easier to sort out the attributes.

Your thoughts, sirs?


This was the original design but it didn't test well. People felt like it was hard to figure out what to use each card for and spent time scanning to get oriented with the basic thrust of each card. The current design allowed people to get oriented around the luminaries more quickly. It does add some time to scanning for ratings as you point out.

Let me know if you are still having time issues once the whole group has played twice before. Usually by that point is it smooth.

I appreciate why you are looking for these solutions and empathize with it. The game takes players time to get comfortable with. We're not entirely sure why yet, because the systems are all designed to play quickly and indeed do with experienced players. Our concern, increasingly, is that people aren't getting to the quick and efficient game because the learning game(s) seem too arduous and discourage them.
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Jim Scheiderich
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Dirk,

Thanks for your response.

I agree that with experience these issues would lessen. Having said that, with the number of games out there, if something doesn't take hold or catch on with others, it's difficult to get much beyond the learning curve.

It may be that the groups I play in just tend to be this way.

As to the "lesser of" issue, I understand the matching and decision making that accompanies the way you have this set up. It still has an off putting effect.

I will stick with my idea about the cards though. Nothing worse than counting Politics and Wealth and then find a card where the order is flipped...

Jim
 
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