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Fallen City of Karez» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First session, Impressions, and questions. rss

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Matt Freitas
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So me and my group played this for the first time so here is my impression of it.

So we played a 4 player game. The builder guild, trader guild, arcanist guild, and the public guild were in the game.

So as the arcanist i noticed i didn't start with a hero just monsters. So I ran for the inn on my first action whille the builder built, the trader traded, and the public went for two gold. We then noticed we were all out of civilians and adventurers so we wondered what on earth we were supposed to do now. I spent an action taking out a loan and funding a public dungeon as people were intimidated by my 3 monster dungeon. This ran us into our first question as to when we could buy stuff after it was made, we ended up ruling it took the action to produce so that another player got first chance to buy, which seems wrong. I know i will house rule you get first chance to buy if you build if that is the correct rule. Our first visitor is the jeweler, worthless to us in turn 1. We upgrade to a village turn 1 as we only have a 1 threat with our mine.

Turn 2 came around we now add 2 more civilians and one more adventurer. Our villager is now the useful mercenary. So first turn the public grabs the inn and i throw civs at some money with the hope to deck out my new guy, forgetting about the mercenary. Which get taken by the builder. Our trader and builder then proceed to spend all their free money getting buildings while i have to hoard my precious 1 gold in hopes that i get to buy a piece of equipment. Which immediately made me note my initial problem. Builders and traders make a ton of money compared to the other guilds and the only real way to get a decent amount of money is to win treasure because no one but the arcanist cares about monsters. And there is no incentive to raid a private dungeon until turn 8 in which case you want to kill the arcanist dungeon to ruin the pool of threat he made. Public guild beat our first dungeon and gained a crystal for his troubles, everything seemed to be going ok.

Turn 3 everything went downhill. Public guild wiped in a medium dungeon and i sacrificed an adventurer to my dungeon in the hopes of getting something on the treasure dice (which was a single gold) so i could do something this game as i wasn't gettting any money. The builder guild who was constantly getting paid for doing nothing had amassed himself a decent little army nicely equipped and went into the basic dungeon and won. While i picked up a second dude by sacing my valor and finally having enough gold i was able to purchase a single piece of equipment. We then had 4 threat on the board vs 2 valor and so we had some extra adventurers come out. Thats when people started grumbling that i should be helping the town more and not sacrificing people. This ran us into the next problem of how do we revive people without being a city.

The next turn i went after the lowbie dungeon as it was a 2 person dungeon but still was only 3 cards. I had a knight with a shield and a rogue with a scroll for extra health so i thought i'd have a good chance after seeing the monsters that came out. Raised the threat again to try and get some stuff before i went into the dungeon and got some gold but no one built equipment that turn as we didn't have enough people to do things. I got the visitor to train my rogue for an extra attack before i went in. I rolled like 20+ rounds against the 3 monsters and ended up wiping in the dungeon simply because i could never hit the random target numbers and this was with cheating and using the knights shield proc every time the monster would hit me. But i never rerolled my green dice but once an encounter as that's what i understood i was supposed to do i thought. But perhaps that was backwards? At this point the public guild began to loose interest there was no way he was ever going to get enough hero cards to get back into the dungeon and the same with me without us getting to a city, and i didn't even get a crystal like he did.

So i kept sacrificing guys hoping that i could rebuild but by the time turn 7 rolled around i had 1 guy with 1 item, public guild had 2 guys with 1 item. and we just stopped playing as only one player was doing anything in the game and that was the builder who didn't have to pay for equipment, got money anytime we bought something and so he was able to fully kit out 3 characters so he could clear dungeons. By this point everyone was yelling at me for intentionally tanking our chance of anyone winning the game because the only way for me to get back into the game was to work against building our town.

So we just said he won and packed it up leaving me frustrated and annoyed at my friends got so angry at me for making them loose while i wasn't able to do anything else in the game.

So in the end this game did nothing but leave a bitter taste in my mouth with a hope that i was just doing something wrong as at it's core this game seems like it would be my bridge into the euro games my friends love so much that i really don't enjoy.

In the end no one attacked my dungeon, and i put 2 threat cubes on it.

But here are my core problems with the game:

Guild imbalance - the trade guild & build guild are so much easier to play and do well with as they can essentially gear heroes for free, while getting paid for anyone else doing this. The hero guild and public guild seem like a decent power as well as they can get gold on useful buildings. The arcanist seems like a stupid waste of time, no one cares about you having a public dungeon there is nothing for them to gain by attacking it and if they loose you get stuff from them.

Private dungeons are worthless - No one cares about having a private dungeon because it requires that they add threat to get a reward, and unless you're doing really poorly you don't have enough adventurers to waste on it to even get that. Unless you're the arcanist and you're pissing off everyone to get victory points.

Adventurers - You can very easily loose your entire party in a dungeon based upon bad rolls but with an 8 turn timer it can take you half the game to get a decent sized party and if you die you might as well just stop playing because you aren't getting another party together at all.

Resurrecting people - requires a city which requires you to not die & beat dungeons to get which if you die you can't do because you can't ever raise a new army. Hmmmm

Monsters are worthless - goes with private dungeons, i can't play them except in my dungeon which i have no real need to do because no one wants to risk their party for no reward. So no one wastes their time buying mosters.


All in all i'm tempted to sell this game after this game because it just doesn't seem well balanced at all and the rules just don't seem to explain things very well.
















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Jeff Burgess
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I'd love to hear some contrary opinions. Any devil's advocates to say how they like the game?
 
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Kristoff Bergenholm
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Dunno, I might be able to get it to the table this weekend, though.

I'm sort of staring at the pretty board and saying: 'Well, *now* what do I do?'.
 
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Steven Durst
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I've only played it once so I am withholding judgement until I have a another play or two under my belt. However, we seemed to have the opposite issue in the game being easier than expected while the OP seemed to indicate that it was too hard. Maybe my group was just rolling well but I think we only had 1-2 heroes end up dying and we steadily built up to a full city by turn 4-5 and never dropped again. There just are not that many actions that kill off your civilians and threat was not an issue.

OP you did play one part wrong which would probably have made things a bit easier. Defense dice are rerolled each new combat round (assuming they are not matching a number of one of your heroes in which case they stay there until used). This makes the rogue a very powerful hero as he can help prevent wounds to the whole party with his 2 defense.
 
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Matt Freitas
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Yea i think we played with green dice wrong we played it you only got to reroll them on each new card drawn. As their supposed to be all rolled at once on the first round of combat so it seemed weird that you could take all the hits against the green dice and then simply reroll them again after your characters started. But i also played with the equipment cards wrong as I used the shield ability every round so i was re rolling almost every blue dice that would have hit me.

How does green dice on equipment work then? Ie the shield card on a knight. Does his green dice just go away after you roll it once? Are the things on the right of the card permanent additions to a character and on the left of the card the once per ecnounter special use abilities?

So in the end i think my extra rerolls worked just as well as having the extra green dice and we still party wiped twice. I mean i had crappy rolls and was only rolling 5 dice a round so i know it's a lot easier when you can throw 9-10 dice at the thing. I just never generated enough gold to seemingly get enough equipment to do it.

I was also the only player to draw rogues, there are only 2 in the whole deck, so most players won't have green dice to roll without defensive equipment, which goes back to do they get to roll that every round or once per encounter.

 
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Owen Fingerhut
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BTW I think you made a mistake on the private dungeon rewards. If heroes defeat it they get 1 treasure die roll and one valor cube for each two monsters/traps defeated. This makes one monster private dungeons very good if you are sure of getting a city since you can get rather a lot of loot out of it by feeding adventurers to it and other people won't get rewards for clearing it. (plus they have to waste a guild token to do so)
 
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Greg Allen
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I seriously think that the game is not balance with the guilds, more over the rule book is seriously one of the worst rule books I've ever read. The rules are unclear on a lot of things in the game. Please don't assume that everyone can read symbols as the designer thought so it'll be understood whereby as simple as a symbol chart couldn't even be found in the rule book.

Besides that, they don't even bother to write a full page explaining every single buildings in detail. After the first and second play of this game, I doubt that they have done thorough beta testing and changes to eventually make the game a good one. I cannot envision this to be put on the table if they are not going to even bother to make a well detailed rule book explaining every single details required. This game is going away if they are not fixing the imbalance and problems with this game. It'll be sad if they ever think that the game is all good and no improvement/changes needed.

I can say that I'm truly disappointed with this game and I can see why their ratings on BGG is rolling down. I do hope that the designer have such awareness and realization, or else it'll just make it for one of the worst games ever.
 
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Matt Freitas
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That still doesn't make private dungeons an enticing location. Just makes for even less of a reason for players to buy monsters to make a large dungeon.

Either a player is just using it to farm treasure by purposefully sacrificing adventurers which raises the threat (working against the group to make a city). Forcing someone to go and waste time to defeat the lone monster to clear the threat for no reward.

Or your the arcanist, because no one else has an incentive to make the private dungeons actually survive more then one turn. (if they clear the dungeon you simply have to get 1 more monster and replace your shield on the next turn if you want to sac another adventurer) The arcanist has to spend a couple turns trying to get a formidable army of monsters to hold his private dungeon because you can send any number of heroes at it and if he closes it to add monsters later it clears all threat (which means he gets no vps) so he has to guarantee it can last otherwise he looses the game because he get no bonus vps.

Which is counter intuitive to the game. The builders simply have to buy buildings to get vps once bought nothing can stop him, the trader just has to hoard his gold again nothing can stop that, everyone has to have a city to win so you're garunteed at least 1 vp as the public, you work to get a city again so collecting valor is how you go about winning as the hero guild anyway no other player can stop that. But the arcanist not only has to work against everyone trying to ensure that there is always extra adventurers coming into the city so he can sacrifice them. He has to also ensure all his hard earned threat cannot simply be destroyed on turn 8 by another player wanting to prevent his victory.

 
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