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The Manhattan Project» Forums » Variants

Subject: Thoughts on making this game shorter. Suggestions? rss

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Alexandra Logan
Australia
Bardon
Queensland
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I've had two play throughs of this game now. I played my first game with me playing two players and the second using the "ATOM" solitaire variant on the BGG forum. In both games I've called it short early, around about the time of the second bomb being made. The reason I haven't played it with real people is that my main gaming group doesn't like to play longer games (me included). Our limit for games is absolutely 90min which would include a rules explanation/refresher and set up as well as playtime. Our ideal time frame is 45min. After my most recent playthrough I've been thinking of ways to make the game come to a conclusion sooner.

Here are my thoughts for condensing the end game conditions.

- The game ends when one player has built "X number" of bombs. Player with the most points at that time wins.
- At such time each other player gets one more turn. They may retrieve their workers and replace all in one turn, in an attempt to build a bomb to get the winning points.
- For this purpose, they may build a bomb that is in their hand OR one of the face up bombs directly.

"X number" could be:
- one plutonium and one uranium bomb
- one tested plutonium bomb and one real thing plutonium bomb
- three uranium bombs

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Especially if you try it out and can give me a playtime estimate. Also, for anyone who has the expansions comments on that may be interesting.

I really think my group would enjoy this game if only I could get it down to the 45 minute mark.

Edit: Just thought maybe having each player choose one of the start buildings would also speed up the initial stage of the game?
 
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brian
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Cedar Lake
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I don't think of this as a long game. While I don't know that it can get down to 45 minutes, 90 or less should be the norm. The game accelerates as it progresses since you have trained more and more workers and have more buildings to place them on. And regardless of whatever mechanics it officially has, at its heart it is a race game - a race to the points. Usually those that lose only needed one more turn to get the points needed to win. So the game rewards playing it quickly (even if an individual turn is not as speedy as it should be).

So my point is actually play it with real people and see how the game goes and then if you feel it is still too long, start making tweaks. But the tweaks you list could actually extend the game.

Making a player have both bomb types is actually a detriment forcing them to broaden their production to handle both uranium and plutonium. It is usually easier to specialize in one. In addition, due to the shuffle, we have only had one type of bomb come up in one round. So you are depending on luck to get everyone chances at two different bombs.

Likewise, requiring a tested and untested plutonium falls under the same issues as the point above.

Building 3 bombs may shorten the game for 2 players but with 3 or more players, 2 bombs is usually enough to get the winning points. So again, I see this as an extension to the game, not a contraction.

If you want to make the game quicker, perhaps starting people with 1 or 2 buildings would be better. Or give them each 1 or 2 additional specialist (scientist or engineer). This will get their game engine running faster.
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Alexandra Logan
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Thanks Brian. Your clearly better understanding of the gameplay with actual people is very helpful.

I think I'll try out starting with a few buildings, maybe letting people have some of the choice for fourth and fifth player listed in the rules.
I don't want to force a practice game that will take closer to 90 minutes on my decidedly reluctant group.
 
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Eric Jome
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Set up as normal. Then go around twice with each player picking a building from the first 3 spaces. Not buying, just drafting. Then deal each player 2 bombs face down. Then play as normal.
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Shawn Macleod
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Pearland
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In my opinion this is a 60-90 minute game for folks familiar with worker placement games. I can get a 3-4 player game done in an hour with experienced folks. Experieced being played at least once before. Just this past Tuesday I taught and played a 5 player game in 80 minutes. And, 3 of the 5 of us were able to win on the last turn.

This is in my opinion one of the fastest playing worker placement games on the market. If you want a worker placement that has potential for consistently playing at or under 60 minutes consider Minion's Kingdom of Solomon.

Edit: totally f'd that up. I meant 1 hour 20 minutes (80 minutes) not 120 minutes.
 
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James Mathe
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cosine wrote:
Set up as normal. Then go around twice with each player picking a building from the first 3 spaces. Not buying, just drafting. Then deal each player 2 bombs face down. Then play as normal.
I agree with Eric, usually you don't get your "engine" working well enough till you have 3 or more buildings. If you really wanted to jump start the first 3 rounds you could give everyone an extra Scientist and Engeneer and draft the starting buildings for a round or 2.

James
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Evil Bob
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I've played this game 5 times so far, with 3 players each time. So far, no game has lasted more than 60 minutes. Some players have actually complained that the game is too short!

Perhaps you're finding it long because you're playing it solo. You are processing the turns for multiple players. When we play, generally people plan their turns while others are playing. The game really moves along quickly for us. Of course, I play with groups of experienced worker placers and your results may vary.
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Craig
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Remove all of the fighter/bomber cards and don't use those spaces on the main board. You could still leave in the cards that offer planes or money, but use them for money only. Without this mechanic people will only use their resources toward producing points. The downside is that you lose a strategic and interactive element of the game.
 
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Selwyn Hope
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From all the games of this I have played it is FAR TOO SHORT already.

We are seriously contemplating doubling or tripling the points required to win to enjoy the game more.
 
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