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Introducing to First Time Players?


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#1 Tromdial

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:48 PM

How do I introduce this game to my board gaming group? The game seems pretty 50/50 on if someone loves it or hates it, and I would like the most out of my investment if I purchase this. I know I will enjoy it, but I am afraid there is a ring of truth to the game's criticisms for first time play, and I do not want to buy a game that doesn't get played because the first time was too difficult or unbalanced.

Most hostility seems to be how the first game goes due to complexity, length, and dark cards combined with those two for a volatile mix. I have read one suggestion that dark cards should be read before playing but that sounds like it ruins the mystery of the game play, especially first time. The strategy card offered to each player seems like it would suggest to a new player how to avoid those dark cards. Is this true?

To avoid the length dilemma, I will be playing the first game two player with someone who I do know has been wanting to play it (heard this game by several reviews has no dilemma being played 2 player). After that, I believe I will slowly introduce the game to the three player mark until I know who loves it or hates it and  manage when and where to bring and set up a game or not pending on those opinions.

Is there any more suggestions on how I can introduce properly this game to friends for the best gaming experience?



#2 jasonpanella

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:50 AM

Tromdial said:

How do I introduce this game to my board gaming group? The game seems pretty 50/50 on if someone loves it or hates it, and I would like the most out of my investment if I purchase this. I know I will enjoy it, but I am afraid there is a ring of truth to the game's criticisms for first time play, and I do not want to buy a game that doesn't get played because the first time was too difficult or unbalanced.

Most hostility seems to be how the first game goes due to complexity, length, and dark cards combined with those two for a volatile mix. I have read one suggestion that dark cards should be read before playing but that sounds like it ruins the mystery of the game play, especially first time. The strategy card offered to each player seems like it would suggest to a new player how to avoid those dark cards. Is this true?

To avoid the length dilemma, I will be playing the first game two player with someone who I do know has been wanting to play it (heard this game by several reviews has no dilemma being played 2 player). After that, I believe I will slowly introduce the game to the three player mark until I know who loves it or hates it and  manage when and where to bring and set up a game or not pending on those opinions.

Is there any more suggestions on how I can introduce properly this game to friends for the best gaming experience?

I made a thread earlier about this, but I'll just move my answer here (and of course, I can't seem to delete the old thread now!)

My two cents: have players go over the strategy sheet that comes with the game, and also have them take a look at the articles FFG posted right after Android was released. (They're pretty easy to find on the Android product page!)


It might also be worth stressing that it's hard to really grasp a ton of the strategy on your first play. Still, I think a nice balance of rules-learning and strategy developing can happen.

I agree with you too, Tromdial...looking at twilight cards ahead of time takes something away from the experience. It's always nice to be surprised (good or bad surprise) by them.

 



#3 subochre

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 04:02 AM

Unless you email the rules on pdf to each player and can convince them to read through the whole thing in advance, the best way to teach them is not to try to explain everything at the beginning--they'll just forget half of it--but to do a first-turn "learn by doing" to introduce them to the basic sorts of actions that one can perform, and then you can gradually ease them into warrants and jinteki tokens and all that stuff later on.

The strategy sheets do indeed provide some general information about what sorts of locations and circumstances are likely dark card triggers for each character, but lack certain crucial details.  If your players want to know more without going through the effort and spoilers of reading every card, there is a (cough, cough, self-promotion) pretty good BGG thread on the subject.  I can tell you right now that the characters who get screwed the hardest are Raymond and Caprice.  Raymond in particular cannot hold onto favors unless he knows exactly what he's doing, so if your Raymond is planning to work the conspiracy so as to make all his favors worth a bunch of points, he's probably going to end up being very sad.  Caprice mostly just loses the rest of her turn, especially in seedy locations.



#4 Tromdial

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:50 PM

 

Tromdial said:

To avoid the length dilemma, I will be playing the first game two player with someone who I do know has been wanting to play it (heard this game by several reviews has no dilemma being played 2 player).

This is a preliminary review of my initial thoughts of the game thus far:

Those who consider playing this game two-player, let me make abundantly clear: some plots and event cards are over-powered between only two players; furthermore, some cards are unbalanced between the 3 and 5 players themselves (i.e. numerical values are non-existent factors from what I've seen reflecting the degrees of player attendance). Another FFG example of this is Gears, but that can be ammended by house-ruling ammo tokens as use-counters on the exploration cards (Android cannot). I dually note that playing with the advised 3-5 aids cards like Floyd's "What makes a soul?" and "Jimmy has some real juicy info for you" event card can bring unsteady alliances against leading players, but the fact is the game itself is easier to water-down when playing with more opposing players. For instance, a 3 player game with "Jimmy has some real juicy info for you" event versus a 5 player game, the card is more powerful in the 3-player, as there is less deductive reasoning needed to know who has what suspects. However, to bring more balance means to bring in more players, which means this game WILL BE LONGER. I have yet to finish a two-player game, let alone finish even the first week!

With that said, this is a good game. Not my favorite, but the potential is great. If you like Mansions and Arkham for there detailed flavor text, I would push you to buy this. My buyer beware however is that the game is very long, especially when explaining it to a first time player, and attendance balance (two-player is a bit too uneven and some cards are completely unbalanced for it). So far, critics have proven untrue in stating that the dark cards are too over-powered. However, I have not came into conflict yet with a single card that was not warned beforehand in each investigator's strategy sheet. I will say, though, there are some nasty, rare combos.

READ BOTH CHARACTER AND STRATEGY SHEETS BEFORE PLAY, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO OR ADVISE A FIRST TIME PLAYER!

I recommend this game if you can get a guaranteed four-player group, which will be patient to comprehend the game. So far I have myself and two of my friends familiarized, and one was hesitant except to see how the potential for a real three-player game would be much more solid (however, two-player test play to familiarize has been invaluable so far). The card balance has made me hope I can educate a fourth to eventually play. However, that session will be long, even after everyone familiarizes with what they are doing. I cannot recommend this game if you will come shorter than the three because it will leave you hungry. This game is also not for someone who also likes a short distraction, even after all players are experts. If you can properly introduce the game to players, it is worth buying; I would otherwise save the money. I am fortunate that so far I meet the 3 player prerequisite. I expect an advanced session of familiarized three players to go for four hours easy, as an example of length.

Until then, if I think of a clever solo way to play Android, I will make potential buyers aware.

Thoughts or concerns, ask or comment away.



#5 jasonpanella

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:25 AM

 Great thoughts, Tromdial. Glad you liked it. I genuinely think gameplay speeds up a bit the more familiar you get, even though the game is by no means short. (I did participate in a four-player game that only lasted three hours, though. Too bad all of the players moved away! ) The same goes for enjoyment. I merely liked it after the first play, liked it a lot after the second, and now love it several games later. 

 



#6 Tromdial

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:58 PM

jasonpanella said:

...I merely liked it after the first play, liked it a lot after the second, and now love it several games later. 

I theorize the same for myself if my players continue to play. I had one dislike greatly how unusable his dark cards were against me (Floyd). idk if it was bad draw or what.



#7 jasonpanella

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:10 AM

 Yeah, that can happen. Some characters' dark cards only really work well if a certain plot is in play. I think (ideally) that you'll play enough cards to frequently get new dark cards, but this doesn't always happen!






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