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Any additional tips for speeding up games?

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Azure
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Any additional tips for speeding up games?

I love this game so much, but the thing I love about it (nuanced incredibly detailed decisions with long-term ramifications) fuels the thing that makes people hesitant to play it over and over again with me like I'd really love to do (games are taking significantly longer than 30 minutes per person), granted I've only had one multiplayer game so far where it isn't at least one players' first time.

The pressure of timers and true simultaneous play without much or any consulting feels like a non-starter. The cooperation is the best part, talking through big power/growth choices, figuring out plans. This is probably a "you can't have both" scenario, but I'm just curious if anyone has extra tips to keep things flowing beyond the things listed in the rule-book.

speedyolrac
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Do you play in person or on Table top Simulator?

Not playing with the expansion bits and using the premade power decks really help teach the game to new players. Once they get use to it people seem to like it more.

Don't over analyze every move and let some leeway for mistakes. Tell them they can not solve everything just do the best you can this turn.

 


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Rabit
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To take Speedyolrac's last point one step further, I usually recommend folks not try to come up with the best play -- to just do the first thing they notice that looks like fun. As players get used to the game, they'll start getting a feel for what is a good idea and what might not be. 

But it sounds like you want to actually play a longer game? 

Azure wrote:
The cooperation is the best part, talking through big power/growth choices, figuring out plans.

Getting into that level of cooperation will make the game take longer, no question there. Every person added to the game adds significant complexity (see the diagram on this page for a good visual of what I'm talking about). I usually promote folks just sharing the decisions they're going with (to help reduce folks realizing everyone is focusing in one area and having folks waste actions/powers) but not worry about coordinating all their activities -- at least while they're learning the game.

I've seen folks playing who made all decisions by committee (even what new power cards to acquire!), and those games take an exceptionally long time!

I have some friends who, playing 2-player games, take 3-4+ hours to play. They love analyzing all the possibilities (and they don't go for major powers until the last round or two, which makes it take even longer), but that's how they enjoy playing the game. If that's what they want to do, they should be able to do it, but if I'm trying to teach someone how to play that's not what I want to subject a new person to! ;-) 


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Trajector
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To keep the cooperative discussions following, I would suggest talking with other players about what thing to do rather than how to do things.

What I mean is, talk about strategy like, "Can you blunt the ravage in that land?" "I'll pick off this explorer before he builds." "Does anyone have an ability to push some Dahan into this land?" or "I have to take a turn off to reclaim."

Leave how players accomplish asks to the individuals. You don't have to get into the nitty gritty of each players' mechanics.

Rabit
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Nice, Trajector! I hadn't thought about it, but yeah, that's the kind of thing we also do. :-D Great catch!

We also use the reference tokens to show "I have this land dealt with" in areas where range likely overlaps. That way folks can glance over the board and know what still needs help.


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MindWanderer
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Our group uses extra "I got this" tokens that we'll place on a land to indicate that we're dealing with that land's build or ravage (the game's reference tokens often aren't enough).  We're contemplating using tokens that players can put in front of them that say "I can make powers Fast for one of you this round" or "I can give one of you an element", etc. that other players could claim.


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Azure
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Rabit wrote:

We also use the reference tokens to show "I have this land dealt with" in areas where range likely overlaps. That way folks can glance over the board and know what still needs help.

MindWanderer wrote:

Our group uses extra "I got this" tokens that we'll place on a land to indicate that we're dealing with that land's build or ravage (the game's reference tokens often aren't enough).  We're contemplating using tokens that players can put in front of them that say "I can make powers Fast for one of you this round" or "I can give one of you an element", etc. that other players could claim.

That sounds like a really great way to clarify decision-making. Especially mid/late game where everyone can reach everywhere and throw a major at a land to kill everything,

Things like that are I guess what I was looking for. As you said, many factors leading to my longer games are in letting people stew in decisions for a while. I'll give them input, but leave the final decisionmaking up to them, which can take a while. This game has a lot of things to consider, and the smoothest game I remember was with  my Ivy-League-graduate friend who pretty rapidly parsed choices and built plays compared to my friends who never attended college. (It was his first game AND he played Ocean) Hell I even find myself locking up every few turns on characters with very critical growth/reclaim breakpoints, like timing River's flood 4 card awakening, or getting the tide positioned properly for the upcoming turn-sequence on ocean.

Maybe it's on me for not applying pressure or actually helping them choose more than I do, or the inverse, letting them know there's no pressure to be perfect. The "just find cool plays" philosophy.

I'll try the fast and loose approach with the friend who complains most about the game-length, and make it super clear that I'd picked an easier aversary level than I know we COULD do, to leave room for us to not find the absolute best solutions to every turn.

Thanks for all the advice.

speedyolrac
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Ughh I hte play by Committee. Mostly because I am the one they refer too. And I am usually busy figuring out my turn. I Usually go with "What elements you need" and when they say I like this card better I tell them to pick that one.

I also tell people to put markers on lands they have covered and allow for limited backtracking. I feel is we find that someone also got a land during the fast phase. to allow one to undo a thing, I assume that if we talked enough we could have arrived that the better sullution.


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Ameena
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I tend to say which land(s) I can deal with that turn, or ask what other people can do, for example "Can someone get an extra two points of Defend here or kill this Explorer because I can't quite do enough to save us from the Ravage", or "I can either destroy this Town or Push these Explorers out of this other land", stuff like that. I tend to focus firstly on what I can do that turn, and check with the other player(s) as to what they can do if it's likely to clash. Or I may ask another player's plans if I know they have a card that could help me significantly, eg using Sky Stretches to let me eat a City early so it doesn't Ravage, that sort of thing. But even then, I don't tell them what to do, it's more a case of "If you were to do X, it would mean I can do Y...but if not then we can just do Z".


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