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Subject: Praise for Around the World in 80 Days rss

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Chuck Uherske
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I don't find myself with the time to organize and write out a complete review, but I wanted to blurt out my two cents with a bit more detail than a typical game rating/comment. So, to the forums I go. . .

OK, we've only played this game but twice. But I must say, it's the pleasant surprise of my Christmas gift collection (I also received Ra, Samurai, For Sale, and Battle Line.) All of those games get a lot more respect on BGG than Around the World, but Around the World and Ra are off to the hottest starts with my game group. (I've played Ra before, and it's already highly rated around here, so this wasn't a surprise.)

Maybe Around the World will get old with us, but on the first few plays, we think it's just great. Among the things we like about it:

-- The theming is very well integrated into the game play. We all feel as though we're playing our way through the basic story as we play.

-- The artwork also supports the theme very well.

-- Some games make you do a lot of work learning funky rules only to have frustratingly luck-driven results (T&E, anyone?). This one seems just the opposite; the rules and feel are light and very family-friendly, so it's a dawning surprise to find as much game there as there is.

-- Specifically, the play is intuitive and the rules aren't overwhelming, but there is plenty to think about on every turn: managing the turn order, the value of the travel cards, the value of the special powers, arriving first at a city, arriving last at a city, the location of the detective, collecting doubles, managing your hand, playing aggressively vs being patient, etc.

-- Like El Grande, you're presented with a novel tactical situation every turn, you can't just decide on a global strategy and implement it. But it's a manageable novel situation -- you don't have a whole set of new actions and possibilities to digest and analyze and slow the game down as you do so, it's actually possible for you to more readily evaluate what has come up. So it's unpredictable, which is fun, but you don't feel totally unable to deal with that unpredictability.

-- We find that the game causes different personalities and choice preferences to emerge. What seems like the obvious "best play" to one player is not to so another. So the tactical choices are clearly not so obvious.

-- Luck plays a role but it's principally one of creating variety. The pluses and minuses of the game are nicely balanced, especially since the same player can't lead off on consecutive turns. Both of our games were very close. Even though the luck is present, you feel as though you're making meaningful choices.

Maybe the game won't hold up to replays, but it seems to us as though the luck element in the game will help to make each game different from the last.

As I said, I had the lowest expectations of this game of any I received for X-mas, but I think it's my favorite so far. I'm surprised it doesn't get more respect on BGG.
 
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Bob
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Glad to hear--I have this on the way right now
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Out of curiousity, how many people played during each session? I ask because I thought it was a really "so what?" game the one time I played, but we had only 3 players and I remember thinking that it would be better with more. (It's been awhile, so I don't remember the details, but I think that some of the options that went with choosing a particular card didn't ever become available in a three-player game.) I
 
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Nick Fisk
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Stoke on Trent
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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Quote:
The theming is very well integrated into the game play. We all feel as though we're playing our way through the basic story as we play


To get (ever so slightly) closer to the theme of the book, try giving everyone a day back when they cross the dateline.

Makes no difference to the outcome of the game, but it's a nice touch!

N.

 
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Wilson Tan
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great review! makes me want to play it right away. had it hidden, piled up for awhile with all the new games coming in. will try to get it to soon, i hope!
 
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Chuck Uherske
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smithhemb wrote:
Out of curiousity, how many people played during each session? I ask because I thought it was a really "so what?" game the one time I played, but we had only 3 players and I remember thinking that it would be better with more. (It's been awhile, so I don't remember the details, but I think that some of the options that went with choosing a particular card didn't ever become available in a three-player game.) I


We played it the first time with 3, then with 5. As you point out, it's not really the complete game with only 3, as some of the choices are absent. We felt the game really hit its stride with 5.

That being said, I enjoyed our 3-person inaugural run also; it didn't show everything the game had to offer, but it was an easy way for us to do a quick dry run.
 
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Chris Bailey
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I've always really liked this game and it's the game I pull out to play with non-gamers rather then TTR or Settlers or Carcassonne.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Thanks, Chuck. I'll try it again with more people. Shouldn't be hard since it's kid-friendly.
 
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Kevin Wood
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I've played this game several times with 6 players and, although I think it's a fine game, it just leaves me cold. I don't find gameplay particularly stimulating, and luck plays a very heavy role in how the game is played. During the last game I played, I stared the game with 3 "8" ship cards and was the last person to go. I could not get the starting player token, the balloon, or the "change cards" actions for the first third of the game. There wasn't much I could do. Although things did eventually get better, the damage had been done and I never recovered.

Also, in this game, the leader "topdecked" an elephant card exactly when he needed it, then rolled a "1". Talk about good luck.

I'll play this game when it hits the table, but there are so many other games I'd rather be playing.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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The more players the merrier IMO. It's a great game with 5 or 6.
 
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Chuck Uherske
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kvn299 wrote:
I don't find gameplay particularly stimulating, and luck plays a very heavy role in how the game is played. During the last game I played, I stared the game with 3 "8" ship cards and was the last person to go. I could not get the starting player token, the balloon, or the "change cards" actions for the first third of the game. There wasn't much I could do. Although things did eventually get better, the damage had been done and I never recovered.


No doubt luck shapes the choices one faces, but I've found that the game very cleverly balances out the effects. Just to give two examples:

-- You started out with 3 "8" ship cards, which is actually pretty good even though the number was high. You can play them as doubles and move any two-ship step with a total cost of 8, which is better than any pair of non-identical ship numbers. I'd be happy to hold a couple of 8's in my hand for such a purpose (though I'd try to replace the third with a balloon when the chance arises). In my last game, I had it worse than you did: I started out with three bad ship cards -- an 8, a 7, and a 6. So I couldn't leave London, and I couldn't make doubles. But I was still able to find other opportunities.

-- In our last game, I went the entire first seven turns without having a crack at any event cards, as they were repeatedly snapped up before I could get to them. And I had bad luck because the player to my left kept taking the starting player card, forcing me into the last turn slot. But upon reflection, I think the starting player card spreads the luck quite neatly. No player can be the starting player two turns in succession; if the first person who can always grabs the starting player card, then the order of play would always move clockwise. In practice, that's not what happens, because it's not always the best card. But to the extent that starting first is the biggest advantage, the game moves that privilege around fairly.

 
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Jim Cote
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I really like this game as well. Casual gamers can play it with very little instruction (and they like it), and serious gamers can dig deep to optimize their play. It's a litte on the heavy side rules-wise for such a light game (board position, days position, 2 kinds of cards, first/last bonuses, the detective, balloons, elephants, etc.), but not prohibitively so.
 
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True Blue Jon
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I think it says quite a lot about BGG that there are four games in the database named Around the World in 80 Days yet nobody asks which one is being discussed.
 
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David Seddon
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Given that he goes on about a detective, I reckon he's talking about the latest version.

Anyway, I too love this game. It's a bit like TtR - a great game to play with most folks. It handles 3-6 very well and is fun. It's got enough thinking to keep you interested but it's not too heavy. A great light-medium game. One of the best of that type.

Although it nominally came out right at the end of 2004, when I was asked to do my top 10 games of 2005 for Dice Tower, I had no hesitation in including this. No one got it in the UK before 2005 - not unless you ordered it from Europe.

Incidentally, much the same is true of Der Untergang von Pompeji. If anything it's even better than this (though it holds only 4). Chuckles and others here. I've no idea if you've played Pomp[eji, but I urge you to in the strongest poss terms. It's a cracker - more deep than AtWiED and the theme is fantastic! You'll love it!
 
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andrea melegari
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I bought the game as Christmas'present for my family this year and I really liked it.I found it's the best six player game I've played so far.What I found really unique is that it manages to play fast even with six very-very-slow-casual-gamers-parents.And it's full of fun and tension.
My only disappoint were the bouns chips for the player who gets first in a city.I think they should be less powerful than the chips taken from the last.
 
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Thomas Huber
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I don´t know...
The good thing about this game is that the board looks nice.

Hmm, yeah that´s it.
Every time we played AtWi80D it left a kind of "thin" feeling in our group. Everyone was telling me the game is "ok", noone asked for a replay.

I´m sure if you somehow can add only a little bit of more content to this game, it would have a much higher rating. Something like random events (bad weather, a raid on the train arrrh , getting sick because of bad food, finding a shortcut somewhere,...) or the possibility to hinder your opponents (leading the detective onto a wrong trace, sabotage, serving bad food devil ).

How about introducing a little "meta-play", e.g. saving a princess in India. What if this part could or even should be played cooperative. I have to think about it a little longer I guess. I believe this game deserves some effort in making it a little more "dense".

Thanks for listening
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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I think it's a great game! We have played it only with 5 players, and it works beautifully. The last time we played, I was in San Francisco, when the rest of the group got to New York. I had exactly the cards I needed, including the Connection card and some double train and double ship cards, which would have allowed me to hit New York and London in the same turn. I was set up to be first to London and to reach it in less than 80 days. I couldn't wait for my turn (no one ahead of me, it turned out, had the cards to get to London on that turn), but then disaster struck. The player playing just ahead of me drew a blue event card! After discarding my beautiful Connection card, I couldn't even finish in the same turn as the last person ahead of me. Wow, one event card draw by another player moved me from first to last place. Now, that's my kind of game!
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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2004 had those two great games released at Essen, Around the World and Pompeii; both of which were largely ignored or dismissed early on - and both unfairly treated IMO.
 
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