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Subject: How long does the shortened version take? rss

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The Quirken
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This game sounds like a lot of fun but given the ~3 hour playtime, I'm concerned I will have trouble "selling" this game to my group. If I can get them to play once and they like it, the 3 hour thing might not be a problem, but I suspect in general that it would get played less.

So, there are those variant rules to shorten playtime by taking out 4 dominance cards (Omnivore, Intelligence, Parasitism, Immigrants).

How much does that reduce playtime? Will the game be as fun?

If it brings down the average game to ~2 hours, then I think I might buy this game.

Thanks!
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killy9999
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I managed to finish 2 player game in about two hours, and 3 player game with beginners in 3,5 hours. Removing 4 cards shortens the game only by one turn.
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Stephen Stewart
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Quirken wrote:
This game sounds like a lot of fun but given the ~3 hour playtime, I'm concerned I will have trouble "selling" this game to my group. If I can get them to play once and they like it, the 3 hour thing might not be a problem, but I suspect in general that it would get played less.

So, there are those variant rules to shorten playtime by taking out 4 dominance cards (Omnivore, Intelligence, Parasitism, Immigrants).

How much does that reduce playtime? Will the game be as fun?

If it brings down the average game to ~2 hours, then I think I might buy this game.

Thanks!


The more you become familiar with ANY game, typically speeds up play.

If they dilly-dally around during their turn, it will last longer regardless of how many cards you want to remove.

If you think the 4 cards isn't enough to cut out... Then you could shuffle the ICE AGE Card earlier in the deck to make it come out a little earlier...

I wouldn't want it too early...maybe cards 17-end... That would guarantee a full 4 turns before showing up instead of the typical 6th turn...

Remember, someone has to claim the card to initiate game end.

This will MOST LIKELY make everyone make sure no one has the lead by a sizable margin due to the "sudden Death" conditions.

I think it might be an interesting option.

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Stephen Stewart
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killy9999 wrote:
I managed to finish 2 player game in about two hours, and 3 player game with beginners in 3,5 hours. Removing 4 cards shortens the game only by one turn.


4 player game- no longer than 3 hours...

even with noobs...


I've heard of 16 hour TI:3 games...that's just STOOPID to allow a game to drag on that long....
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Ron Gilbert
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It really depends on the players. My group has someone that has bad AP, and he can easily take 10 minutes per action pawn spent (at least until we start pushing him to go faster). If you have 1 or 2 like that in your group, a 4+ hour game isn't out of the question.

On the other hand, if you have people like me and the other fast player in our group, you can get a 4 player game finished in 2 hours easy.
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These cards don't shorten the game so much because there are less rounds.. but because it keeps additional action pawns from being added to the game.

I think Chad also published a no card variant which I expect would play faster as well.

BOb

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Jeff Pratt
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It's a three hour game. The only reason it ever goes longer is if people aren't aggressively taking all five Dominance actions every turn. This happened in my first game, which did take 4+ because of it. Everyone was holding back on Domination actions to try and score maximum points with them.

After that first play through, everyone realized that taking the dominance cards could be just as effective of a defense as an offense. The same is true for controlling which hexes get scored. Even if a player finds himself in the unlikely predicament of not controlling any hexes, they can take the dominance spot and nominate a tundra space to score, denying their opponents points.

When the Dominance actions are firing off five times a turn, from the very first turn...There is no way the game should go longer than advertised.
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Adrian Sperling
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pilotbob wrote:
These cards don't shorten the game so much because there are less rounds.. but because it keeps additional action pawns from being added to the game.

I think Chad also published a no card variant which I expect would play faster as well.

BOb



It's not really a no card variant, but rather the effects of the cards aren't used. Instead, you get bonus points for the number of cards you claim. In addition to this, you could reduce the number of cards in the deck. I've been toying with the idea of using Chad's no effect variant with just 10 cards, give or take. Just enough that everyone gets an idea what the game is about & how to play before committing to a longer game. I figure with the game lasting no more than three rounds, it should be finished in under two hours even with noobs.
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Gonjeshk wrote:
pilotbob wrote:
These cards don't shorten the game so much because there are less rounds.. but because it keeps additional action pawns from being added to the game.

I think Chad also published a no card variant which I expect would play faster as well.

BOb



It's not really a no card variant, but rather the effects of the cards aren't used. Instead, you get bonus points for the number of cards you claim. In addition to this, you could reduce the number of cards in the deck. I've been toying with the idea of using Chad's no effect variant with just 10 cards, give or take. Just enough that everyone gets an idea what the game is about & how to play before committing to a longer game. I figure with the game lasting no more than three rounds, it should be finished in under two hours even with noobs.


Right... the effects on the card can take a while to resolve as people decide which card to play and how to resolve it. So, not resolving those cards (not card effect variant?) should speed up play quite a bit.

BOb
 
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Duke Of Lizards
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I didn't find the facedown card variant to be any shorter. There were fewer players taking dominance each round, so that offset the savings of not choosing/resolving cards.
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The Quirken
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Thanks for replying, all.

My concern wasn't that a game might go over 3 hours... it was that it's a 3 hour game to begin with. I don't mind that (I love me some board games!), but one of my friends I play board games with the most flat out said "I won't play a 3 hour game."

This essentially means I need to be able to shorten it to 2 hours, even with newbs playing, or I'll never be able to pitch this game. Given I have never played the game or read the rules (just looked at a review), I can't really gauge how much time "one turn shorter" is =/

Gonjeshk wrote:

It's not really a no card variant, but rather the effects of the cards aren't used. Instead, you get bonus points for the number of cards you claim. In addition to this, you could reduce the number of cards in the deck. I've been toying with the idea of using Chad's no effect variant with just 10 cards, give or take. Just enough that everyone gets an idea what the game is about & how to play before committing to a longer game. I figure with the game lasting no more than three rounds, it should be finished in under two hours even with noobs.


Do you think the game would be as fun? My gut feeling says that changing that much would probably ruin the 'spirit' of a game. It's unlikely that I'll be able to get them to commit to a 3 hour game even if they like an abridged 2 hour version...
 
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It's can be played in 2ish... but truthfully it is a 3 hour game. If your friends won't play a 3 hour game... I would look for something else...

Like Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. It has a similar action selection mechanic with area control scoring and special action buildings. The game plays in about 2 hours.

(Some people will disagree with me, but it plays similar but quite a bit quicker.. and yes, the theme is much different.)

BOb
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The Quirken
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Clearly, I need better gamer friends
 
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Robert Stewart
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With new players, I'd allow 5-6 hours for the full game.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Otherwise, play the Ipad version!
 
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Sam Butler
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I just finished a 2-player "shortened" game in a little over 2 hours, and it was our first full game. We had played the first 4 turns of a game a couple of days prior, to get down the mechanics without having someone caught off-guard and discouraged the rest of the game because of not understanding actions.

It was very enjoyable! I think the cards we had removed mostly add an AP for their respective player...which could lengthen things more than 1 turn (since all turns become slightly longer), but even then I think the difference is not significant. We removed those cards primarily for "balance" -- I'm not saying those cards are unbalanced (which is why I put "balance" in quotes), I'm just saying for our first full game, we didn't really understand the merit of an extra final AP versus other perks, so that was our main motive for removing those cards. The time shortening was just a minor added benefit.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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ASLChampion wrote:

I've heard of 16 hour TI:3 games...that's just STOOPID to allow a game to drag on that long....


Or fun. Horses for courses... (and yes we are one of those groups).

Generally if something's a good game we are playing, we always play the longest variants, and favour longer games over shorter. Longer play time is distinctly an advantage.

Personally I never play games under 60 mins and very rarely under 90-120mins. Brevity is something I hate. If your groups thrives on 45 min games though, then this is never, ever going to be the game for them...
 
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Jonathan Challis
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Quirken wrote:

My concern wasn't that a game might go over 3 hours... it was that it's a 3 hour game to begin with. I don't mind that (I love me some board games!), but one of my friends I play board games with the most flat out said "I won't play a 3 hour game."

This essentially means I need to be able to shorten it to 2 hours, even with newbs playing, or I'll never be able to pitch this game.

It's unlikely that I'll be able to get them to commit to a 3 hour game even if they like an abridged 2 hour version...


Honestly, I think this is the right game for you, but totally wrong for your group. I'd give up on the idea, and hope to play this one day with another group.
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Quirken wrote:
Clearly, I need better gamer friends


Clearly you need to find better games to play with the friends you have given the parameters you all agree to.

Maybe give us some examples of games you and your gamer friends enjoy and you might get some good recommendations?
 
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Jack Smith
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As people have indicated the more you play the shorter the games tend to get. Someone with AP or players not focusing can also make a big difference. If your friend is not willing to go through the learning curve I doubt you will get to the point of a couple of hours per game.

Removing cards does make a difference but this is marginal when compared to the other factors. We messed with some variants but found the best balance and best games with it all included.

If you can find people to play with I would highly recommend it though.
 
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The Quirken
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markgravitygood wrote:
Maybe give us some examples of games you and your gamer friends enjoy and you might get some good recommendations?


Well, we frequently play Power Grid, Puerto Rico, Dominion.

Occasionally Catan. They really like Agricola but I despise the nonlinear scoring system (it gives me AP not because of too many variables, but because it isn't linear and there are negatives all over the place). Not sure how I'd feel about Agricola otherwise. I suspect I'd feel better about it if each sheep was worth a fixed number of points (0 if you had none), and starvation wasn't basically being kicked out of the game. (I am aware of Brass, Le Havre, Ore d whatever, etc, and have thought about it some)

Most of those games are in the 90-120 minute range when we play, especially because we're generally also drinking and talking, which slows things down a bit. I don't personally think 3 hours would be too much of a stretch, but 3 hours + drinking...
 
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The Quirken
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Just played this for the first time tonight, and wanted to weigh in on my original question, now that I have an answer.

I believe the game will scale quite well to "play until people get bored or have to leave" with a small tweak: when people get antsy, put the ice age card on the top of the deck, and you get one more round.

I suspect taking out the cards that affect worker count will not have as much effect when everybody knows the game. Our first couple of turns (2 newbies, 2 people who have played 4ish times) went quite sluggishly, but about halfway through the game we got the rhythm of an entire round taking about 2-3 minutes worker placement.

I suspect using that as a "selling" strategy to my friends, they'll say, "OK, we can play for 2 hours," but lose track of time
 
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Quirken wrote:
Just played this for the first time tonight, and wanted to weigh in on my original question, now that I have an answer.

I believe the game will scale quite well to "play until people get bored or have to leave" with a small tweak: when people get antsy, put the ice age card on the top of the deck, and you get one more round.

I suspect taking out the cards that affect worker count will not have as much effect when everybody knows the game. Our first couple of turns (2 newbies, 2 people who have played 4ish times) went quite sluggishly, but about halfway through the game we got the rhythm of an entire round taking about 2-3 minutes worker placement.

I suspect using that as a "selling" strategy to my friends, they'll say, "OK, we can play for 2 hours," but lose track of time :)


That's not a bad idea. As long as you had fun nothing else matters anyway. Hopefully before you know it you will be getting full games as people settle in to the game.

Our first ever 4 player game was 6 hours. Now we do it in 3 hours and that includes plenty of thinking time, side chat and cups of tea. We have just learned to be efficient elsewhere.
 
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The Quirken
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well, we finished the game, but if we'd stopped earlier artificially, I don't feel like I would have "missed out" on anything. The game was equally fun the whole way through.

I do kinda wish the worker cards had been in play, since once we got the hang of it placing workers was very quick.
 
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vladdswrath wrote:
It's a three hour game. The only reason it ever goes longer is if people aren't aggressively taking all five Dominance actions every turn. This happened in my first game, which did take 4+ because of it. Everyone was holding back on Domination actions to try and score maximum points with them.


??? The catch is that you don't score until you choose a Domination Action. If you fail to do this, you allow the Wanderlust/Glaciation/Survivalist Bonus Points to jump so far ahead you will just lose.

Grab them to score your prime VP areas... You WILL get nailed by a couple of cards during the game...You can't avoid it.


Quote:
After that first play through, everyone realized that taking the dominance cards could be just as effective of a defense as an offense. The same is true for controlling which hexes get scored. Even if a player finds himself in the unlikely predicament of not controlling any hexes, they can take the dominance spot and nominate a tundra space to score, denying their opponents points.


Right score a Tundra for another player if you dominate it to get a card and offer minimal VP. Good Catch!

Cards:
About 1/3 are defensive
1/3 offensive
1/3 miscellaneous types of actions.

Quote:

When the Dominance actions are firing off five times a turn, from the very first turn...There is no way the game should go longer than advertised.


Well, the # of turns doesn't necessarily reflect the length of the game.

We just finished a 5 player game with 1 Noob (yet cognitively alert player) and (4) 3 play "veterans". There were 2 or 3 turns where the cards weren't all used thus "extending" the game.

When we finished...Just under 2 hours later, we cleaned it up...I expected the 3 hr. game, but it just ran smoothly..

DITCH your AP "friends" 30 sec to place AP...It really isn't that hard.

You really only have a couple things to think about.

If all you want are quick and dirty points: WANDERLUST/Glaciate/Dominate
If you need to be on more tiles: SPECIATE
If you have no resources to survive on : ADAPTATION
If you want to start screwing people: ATTACK!!!!

That's about it...
 
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