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Subject: Speeding things up? rss

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David Fisher
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Has anyone tried modifying the rules of Belfort to speed up the game? Just wondering ...

(I have some friends who would be much more willing to play a 1 hour than a 2 hour game).
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Davi Rosa
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Convince your friends to think up ahead and don't invite the people who suffer from analisys paralisys.

But I feel your pain: there is something about this game that makes it take very long and I can't put my finder on it.
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Jeff Thornsen
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The game is highly prone to AP, so you need to avoid playing with AP people.

Also, anyone who has to learn the rules will play very slowly. Future plays of the game will go much faster once players are familiar with the general strategy and how all the buildings work.

You could also shorten the game by 1 turn by starting on turn 2 (e.g. only 2 turns in the Spring).
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Ralph T
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Part of the downtime is the scoring on the scoring rounds. If you created a score board which tracked:

How many gnomes
How many elves
How many dwarves
How many buildings in sectors 1-5 (marking each sector)

With color coded markers so players just moved their markers up during another person's turn, you could save at least a few minutes. It would also save time on everyone's turn because people spend time counting these things to see if they're in the lead or second place.
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Seth Jaffee
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ralpher wrote:
Part of the downtime is the scoring on the scoring rounds. If you created a score board which tracked:

How many gnomes
How many elves
How many dwarves
How many buildings in sectors 1-5 (marking each sector)

With color coded markers so players just moved their markers up during another person's turn, you could save at least a few minutes. It would also save time on everyone's turn because people spend time counting these things to see if they're in the lead or second place.

This could be a good idea for some groups. For other groups, it may be something that people will forget to update, and then you'll have people counting up stuff even more often to verify the scoreboard reflects the correct score.

If it works for your group, then that's great, and could mean some very desirable time savings!
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Captain Yellowbeard
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Faranim wrote:
The game is highly prone to AP, so you need to avoid playing with AP people.
AP is not some disease. Please be kind to the AP and help make them better gamers. They need love too.
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David Fisher
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ralpher wrote:
Part of the downtime is the scoring on the scoring rounds. If you created a score board which tracked:

How many gnomes
How many elves
How many dwarves
How many buildings in sectors 1-5 (marking each sector)

With color coded markers so players just moved their markers up during another person's turn, you could save at least a few minutes. It would also save time on everyone's turn because people spend time counting these things to see if they're in the lead or second place.

Great idea. I've created something like this and added it to the files section:

Belfort Tracker

(You can paste the little squares at the bottom onto cardboard or something else thick to use as markers).
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The downtime in this game comes from doing ALL your actions in one go. This is a bit of an AP trap because you have to work out a lot of stuff in your head before you commit.

I wondered if a variant could be that you take it in turns to do an action? It might not ultimately speed anything up, but it would give far less downtime between turns for a player.

Maybe to speed some other areas up, players could just take the actions that grant them resources (or anything else like that) at the same time in the actions phase - I guess like a communal action phase where you prompt players with "Anybody who wants to just do their actions now, then do it". Where a player doesn't care what other players are doing if you see what I mean. If there's actions you think might be influenced by what other players do, then save those for the normal turn order action.
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Sen-Foong Lim
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Please try and post your results! You're right though. When players slow their thinking down because the system demands that much of them, time between turns seems longer, especially when you know what you want to do. Issue with most of what you do in a turn is that it does impact on the players that follow,so turn order is important and even coveted.
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Thanks for the reply Sen-Foong. We played the game for the first time last night and found that some players were waiting a long time between turns due to some AP going on (ok, I'll admit I am AP prone!).

So unfortunately it took us 4 hours to play it. Now before you spit your coffee out, bare in mind that our group are quite AP prone overall. As a rule of thumb, we seem to double most box play times (4 player Le Havre/Imperial 2030 takes us 5 hours for example). We don't mind it since we're all guilty of doing it and prefer turns to be thought out rather than slapped down on gut instinct - especially if the game is supposed to be heavy weight.

So 4 hours for Belfort was about right with our usual time double rule, but in places was really noticable. I think some other games mask this by providing more rounds, but less actions to do each round.

All 4 players thoroughly enjoyed it btw and we're all keen to get it to the table again. My measure of a good medium-heavy game is if it gives you a bad night's sleep after playing it - and this did
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Sen-Foong Lim
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LOL that's gotta be the funniest metric for rating a game that I've heard in a while

I hope you'll return to the world of Belfort with the same group and see if it plays a bit quicker the second time around. Glad you enjoyed the game!
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Rich Charters
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puncr0c wrote:
Maybe to speed some other areas up, players could just take the actions that grant them resources (or anything else like that) at the same time in the actions phase - I guess like a communal action phase where you prompt players with "Anybody who wants to just do their actions now, then do it". Where a player doesn't care what other players are doing if you see what I mean. If there's actions you think might be influenced by what other players do, then save those for the normal turn order action.
I think that this kind of "simultaneous action" is the best way to speed up the game. I think for many actions, you don't need to wait....and for beginners, you don't necessarily need to wait even to build. If there is a conflict, and someone says: "I was going to build a library in that district" then you could resolve with the turn order....the player with the later turn order would remove his library and build/do something else.

Simultaneous actions (even with some 'rework' when players want the same action) would speed up the game.

I would think as you get more experience with the game, you would not want to 'tip your hand' so waiting for each player to finish may make more sense. But for beginners, I think simulateous action may help to finish a game in a more reasonable amount of time.

Anyone with experience play this way?

I've only played 5 rounds. I was playing with 2 of my kids earlier this week when my wife annouces: "who wants to see Jack the Giant Killer at the dollar theater?" So we ended our game early and went to the movies.
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Jeff Meunier
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I was going to post a new thread here, but I see that this one sort of covers what I wanted to say.

We have found that the collection phase is where most of the time is spent. In a 4-player game it can be 15 minutes from the time you finish your turn to the time you take your next turn.

Here's what we did:
During the collection action phase, each player takes only one action at a time instead of taking all actions at once. All 4 players agreed that this made the game a whole lot better.

[Edit: Corrected collection to action.]
 
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Seth Jaffee
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jeffrey_a_meunier wrote:
I was going to post a new thread here, but I see that this one sort of covers what I wanted to say.

We have found that the collection phase is where most of the time is spent. In a 4-player game it can be 15 minutes from the time you finish your turn to the time you take your next turn.

Here's what we did:
During the collection phase, each player takes only one action at a time instead of taking all actions at once. All 4 players agreed that this made the game a whole lot better.

I don't understand your comment... in the collection phase don't you just run down the collection board and assign resource bonuses and collect all your resources (simultaneously)?

OH! You must be referring to the Action phase, where you get to spend your resources building cards and buying Gnomes and things. I suppose you could take those actions 1 by one, but it may be even easier to just do them all simultaneously or something (with deference to turn order when it matters).
 
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Stefano Marchetto
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I saw expansion rules and even if I don't own it I would like to try out the 6-month duration of the game instead of original 7-month. That's because I like the game, but it sometimes lasts a bit too much, especially in 5P games.
Does this change hurt the base game or is it a playable variant?
 
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