First game feedback and suggestions

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Jose-san
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First game feedback and suggestions

Post by Jose-san » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:45 am

Hi,

I constructed my first ARDA deck and I tested it with my gaming group yesterday. It was a complete success :)

We were 4 players, all of us experienced MECCG players. I was the only one who played ARDA before though (once at Llinars this year). After one round we changed to simultaneous turns to speed it up and it worked quite well. During the game serveral questions arose and we had to rule them out on the fly. Also we like to tweak on games :twisted:

¿Who gets a last turn after a player calls the council? If there are 4 players ordered ABCD (i.e. AC play at the same time) and A calls at the end of his turn it seemed fair that BD get a last turn and then C alone gets another one. Is that right?

The "fairness in timing issue" was some problem. We ruled out that hazards that my secondary hazard player is currently playing against the other resource player don't take effect on my table until either my primary hazard player pass him the hazard playing, or until my next movement-hazards phase. This solved most timing conflicts.

We changed a bit the roving character and the minor items managing. We defined 4 slots for each deck, the first slot for the "older" card. At the begining of the turn if the first slot is occupied, we discard its card regardless if other slots are empty or not. Then we move all cards towards the first slot and at last we fill the empty slots. It felt a more "natural" way to do it since we're used to a similar mechanic from the boardgame "Power Grid".

We were talking after the game about the marshalling point categories. We are toying with the idea of multiply the MP in each category by one plus the number of players who don't have any points in that category. Maybe we try it next time just for the fun, probably it will be unbalancing. There is some logic behind though.

That's all that comes to my mind now :)

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:13 pm

hey Jose-san, thanks for sharing these insights!

I like the idea you propose to multiply the mp sources by a certain factor depending on number of players, that means more competition over certain mp sources. For instance now it's only useful to go and influence a faction away if it means you can double up on factions. Otherwise you'd gain mp only vis-a-vis 1 player, but not all players. Note that I already proposed to let the faction switch side like characters, so it would not be a complete waste. But with this proposal you would gain even more. It's also nice because if many of your characters get killed, you still have a relatively good shot at catching up. However there must be a maximum, because otherwise you can design your game for example on only getting factions and trying to get a big multiplier for that. Hmm, must brood on it, but nice idea.

Since you are all experienced players, a turn can go pretty quickly, I wonder if it is actually that much time gain if you play multiple turns with 4 players, because in sim turns you also lose some time waiting for eachother...
Your fairness in timing approach is very elegant. I don't think it needs to be played like that, for example other opponent's Wake of War could take effect semi-immediately in my m/h phase whether my opponent plays a Wolf or not, though obviously not while I am resolving my Wolf creature. But, it would make things more clear, so it is worth considering. What do you do with passive conditions though, if there is no hazard limit left to pass. Does an ahunt on the table still attack the comp even if there's no limit left?

When the council is called all others get another turn, so obviously if you play 4 players and sim turns that means 1 guy gets a single turn, you are right. It could also happen half of the times with 5 and 7 players though, so thanks for clearing it up I will make a reference of it.

About Roving/Offering cards, well that's basically how we used to have it, but we decided that the cards need to be Roving longer in order to give everyone a chance to play them. Obviously with 4 players and sim turns that's not an issue, but with more people it is :wink: . If you discard the first revealed card no matter what, then there's a max window of 4 turns in which the card appears, which means in bigger games I don't get a chance to move to a haven/home site at all, and it's more of a matter of chance which character I get to play. The up side is of course that more characters are revealed, so that could only be changed by having more roving at a single time, which in fact we had at first (7), but decided it was too much info to deal with for most people. So this is the balance we struck.

thanks again for your imput, keep us updated!
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

Jose-san
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Post by Jose-san » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:03 pm

Thank you and Joe for develop the format. I overlooked it last Lure, but I had the chance to try it at worlds and I enjoyed it :)

We've played a second game. We haven't decided to modify the mp multipliers yet. I think it can be worth a try. I like the idea of factions changing sides, we will use it from now.

I noticed that the roving characters were leaving the table too fast even with sim turn. Maybe I'm not reading right the rules file, but as it is written, if nobody plays a roving character, they are revealed at a rate of one every two turn, is that right? I find confusing that there is roving character management both at the begin and the end of the turn, and that you have to remember at the end of the turn (if I understand it right) whether characters were revealed at the begin of the turn or not. I think I will try this next game: "at the begin of the turn if there are no gaps discard the first character, then move characters towars the first slot and refill". I'll let you know how that works :)

When we switched to sim turns the play speed improved a lot. Even some players complained that there were scarce opportunities to trade since we enforced the rule that you can't trade if you had "things to do".

One of the things that truobled me about the fairness in timing issue was avoiding talk between the primary and secondary hazards players designing combos and waiting for each other's cards to be played. I mean, I find it ok if the secondary hazards player tells the primary one that he has nasty things in his hand to cast on the unfortunate resource player, they can use the hl however they want. The difference is that they could use the hl of the other resource player to effectively increase the hl of this resource player (if need arise). That's what I don't like (in a non-competitive ARDA game, in other context it could be fun from a tactical point of view).

About passive conditions I would say that they don't trigger for the current company if the primary hazard player doesn't spend 1 against the hl to pass the hazard playing to the secondary hazard player (again it would be an effective hl increase). But it would trigger even if the secondary hazard player has not hl left. Does it make sense?

I'm concerned about rings. I like them to be a separate mp category, it's very thematic. But my mp deck contains about 100 cards, including the 9 gold rings and another 15 rings (minor, magical and dwarf rings), also there are 12 ring-test cards in the play deck. As some players pointed out, it's very likely getting rings and ring-test cards but not getting any gold ring at all. How is it in your decks?

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:00 pm

Yep, a roving character will be on the table for a full 8 turns at least, unless played before that of course, so that even with 7 people (in which you get 2 resource turns every 7 turns) you have the chance to go and pick him up. I agree it might seem a bit complicated at first to remember if you've revealed one this turn, but that's why preferebly an experienced Arda player should be the game leader, to keep track of such things, and to not lose his head because there's alot going on...and even if it gets overlooked once or twice, that's no biggie, it's Arda! 8)

btw, to make clear, you only reveal a char if there are less than 4 roving. This way, either a char is discarded at beginning of the turn, or revealed (or more than 1 if many were played). I know it says end-of-turn, but basically since beginning and end of turn are the same in Arda, that doesn't matter.

that's true, with 4 people sim turn you can hardly trade! didnt think about that either. So you see, maybe a fast playing non sim turn is easier for 4 players in the end, and more fun. Of course you can decide to trade non-MP resources between every turn with everyone, and create like a little trading phase.

Well the Fairness in Timing rule must be expanded to fairness in playing rule then. I must say, in my arda games, or any multiplayer games I've played, we always stick to indicating 'yes or no I've got some hazards to play', not detailed info. Seems only logical. This is also because primarily you're focussed on your own opponent after all, so if I play stuff which affects the other opponent, thereby effectively increasing the HL as you say, that's just one of those things, but it doesn't happen that often. And thematically, Arda is a big place, lots of stuff going on everywhere :wink:

In fact, I know that Boderhamster and some german guys played an Arda game at Lure and went about completely different, teaming up on the active resource player in the most favourable way. Bit sadistic maybe, but it does create even more level playing field for everybody, as long as you try and target everybody in the same way, and don't make it a game of diplomacy...but it seems many players get more kick out of crushing opponents than playing stuff themselves, so that's not really a risk. And true enough, often in Arda you can get to dangerous places quite safely because there is no hazard strat and most players focus on their resource game. Tell me, did any of you get crushed because 1 guy played Doors and Plague of Wights on one opponent, and the other guy a Barrow wight on the other opponent, during same m/h phase but afterwards in timing? And not communicated? rather unlikely occurrance in a non constructed game.

Nevertheless, your solution does have the advantage of being elegant and simple, so it's worth considering, but you do lose out on some possible cool plays.

Yes rings are coveted and difficult to trade. I myself have made an exception for rings on the 3x non-unique rule, and have 5 Beautiful GR in deck. As for testing, see also the Expanded World ideas, those can really improve testing, especially Scroll of Isildur (A) is cool. Currently I have Jewel of Beleriand (A) with a new card text, letting you trade the Jewel for a ring at a Borderhold. This is to speed up play, but it could perhaps be used to play one from discard pile, that's an idea. You can also add a minion Dwarven Ring (the one that recycles GR). Either way, with 10-12 GR in deck there should be enough, I find that quite some people choose not to go for rings, personal preference, or bad experience in sealed games with testing the buggers...it is a riskier strategy after all.

Keep on playing!
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

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