I am really excited about Android but am still not quite ready to plunk down $60 for it.
I know I want it, but I want to feel like it is going to be a good game to play for awhile with my group. After reading all the reviews out there I get the impression that it is very ambitious but doesn't quite reach everything it strives for.
I've read around here, but give me your take - -
Before I start giving my opinion I think I should just state for the record that I'm not a fan of this game in its pure, unaltered state. Anyway, here's my answers/opinions to your questions:
It's enjoyable, but what enjoyment there is can be spoiled by what my gaming group consider to be some pretty big gameplay problems:
* A lot of the cards are very heavy-handed in their effects. You can do a lot of work throughout the whole game to achieve something, only to have it all undone by the play of a single card in the last round, making you lose dozens of VPs. I don't care if people say that this is just because you're playing to your character's weaknesses, there are more subtle ways to implement variable character strengths/weaknesses that don't lead to such a negative play experience than the way it was implemented in this game.
* The way the murder works is very random. After a couple of plays you realise that the outcome is determined almost entirely by luck, which can make the whole idea of following up leads seem a bit pointless (which is a shame, because that's one of the main parts of this 3-hour minimum game).
* The way points are allocated is completely disproportionate to the amount of effort needed to put into it. You get 4 points just for completing 5-in-a-row on the conspiracy puzzle (which usually just requires following up a couple of leads in a row), but only get 3 points for getting a Jinteki/Haas token (which requires acquiring two favours of particular types, travelling to a certain location, spending 3 Time to enter that location (unless you earlier acquired a warrant to enter that location for 1 Time instead), then spending 2 Time, the favours and discarding two cards to get the 3VP token). Then at the end of the game players can acquire an insane amount of points - much more than you get from the three main focuses (foci?) of the game: murder, conspiracy and plots - just for saving up favours throughout the game (and being lucky enough to not have a "lose all your favours" card played on you). This again leads to the feeling of many of your actions not having much real meaning.
* The theme doesn't match up to the gameplay *at all*. You never really at any point really feel that you're actually doing the thing that your actions on the board are supposed to represent. The "theme" of the game is entirely contained in the flavour text written on the cards, which is quite extensive (and isn't integrated with the game effect text like it is in Arkham Horror). After a very short time, players (our players, at least) got bored of reading the flavour text out and just went for the gameplay effects, mostly because of the realisation that reading out everything would at least double the play time.
How long does it take to play with 4-5 players (after the first couple games and everyone is knowledgeable with the rules)?
Our games with three players have taken about 3-4 hours. The amount of time would be directly proportional to the number of players, so you can figure it out from that. I don't see the time going below 2.5 hours for a 3-player game even with thorough knowledge of the rules.
How is the replay factor?
I have to agree with one of the above posters; although a lot of people proclaim that this game will have high replayability due to the combinations of investigators, murders, plots, events, etc, none of these things really has that much of an effect on the game to make it feel like it is changed significantly. The games we played with the base rules felt pretty similar, even though we used entirely different investigators and different murders.