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Everything posted by rbelikov

  1. With experienced players (at least 5+ games), a 3-player game is possible in 3 hours, not counting setup / takedown time. But you have to play much longer games to get that experience. There are 2-player variants on BGG. I have never tried them, but those may be possible in 2 hours.
  2. Not sure if they playtested it with SotT, but I think you shouldn't have any problems except for some obvious cases (such as using ghost of Creuss on a multi-galaxy map -- although I think that may make for an interesting game b/c everybody would be bashing them and thus balance them out.) Yes, if Abyz/Fria and Bereg/Lirta aren't explicitly mentioned on the map, just shuffle them in to the respective planet piles.
  3. For the first game, I recommend the solo game (not Solo challenge) to make sure you have the rules down absolutely flat. That one is only available for the Standard version of course. A two-player game is also fine as a first game (either Standard or Classic). I do not recommend having 4 newbies play with constant rule lookups, that is a recipe for disaster. I don't think either the Standard or Classic games are intrinsically better as a first game. It just comes down to your group's style. Ameritrashers would enjoy the standard game more, eurosnobs would enjoy the classic game more. Both are great though. As far as number of players, if everyone in the group is fast, and at least one person has the rules down flat, then 4 players is fine even with 3 newbies. (But still budget at least an hour per newbie player + 30 minutes for setup/takedown.) On the other hand, if anybody in the group is prone to analysis paralysis, even 3 players may be painful if everyone is new, or if there are frequent rules look-ups. It is absolutely critical to minimize downtime in this game. Play solo or with 2 for as long as you feel you need to look up rules. Fortunately, I think the game plays fine with 2 (or with the Solo challenge).
  4. Yes, that's my understanding. Note that this (mainly) only matters only for spaceports, because almost all cities only have one direction to go as the first step anyway. In fact, I think that with the classic rules, cities have one advantage over spaceports in that you effectively don't need to declare your heading -- you come to a fork immediately after lifting off from a city and are free to move left or right. I like the Standard game rule that makes spaceports also have this advantage by not requiring declaring direction on spaceports
  5. http://www.amazon.com/Android-Strange-Flesh-ebook/dp/B008ZPZ30O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345597831&sr=8-1&keywords=android+strange+flesh along with the first three chapters for free in the preview.
  6. Golem is pretty good. It is written entirely from a perspective of a bioroid, which gives it an unusual and unique style that is interesting (reminds me of "Flowers for Algernon"), but takes a bit of getting used to. It's much lighter on the science though than Freefall (I really enjoyed the quasi-technical expositions in Free Fall!) and psychologically darker. Themes and feel are rather similar to Robocop actually.
  7. I see. Well, in that case I think there are a lot more "easter eggs", though I wouldn't really call them that. It's more of a homage, like the name Rick Harrison. And, actually, what makes you think it's not just a coincidence? It's not that unusual of a last name, after all.
  8. Now I'm curious. Can you tell us what general topic this easter egg refers to? Android? Another sci-fi novel/film? Something personal or private of the author?
  9. I just finished the book, and thought I'd submit a review. After initial apprehension from reading the first three free chapters online which didn't impress me that much, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the rest of the book. In fact, I think this book is awesome (at least for what it is). Kudos to Bill Keith! Here are some specific things I love about it: 1. Incredible attention to detail. Everything is thought out very deeply and described thoroughly. 2. Richly fleshed out sci-fi sociopolitics and twisty psychologies/incentives, at times reminiscent of an Asimov sci-fi murder mystery. Definitely a page-turner, especially at the end. 3. Lots of hard sci-fi physics reminiscent of Clarke, especially when it comes to the space elevator (but see below). Thank you Bill for putting the space elevator on the equator!! The author was undoubtedly influenced by both Clarke and Asimov. 4. It is clear that the author took a lot of effort to study and understand the Android universe, and a lot of details from the game are explained. (Ever wonder why Haas bioroids have blank eyes w/o pupils and wires on their hands? It's uncanny!) I love the game and it is almost scary how this book is *exactly* how I imagined the Android universe. He just gets it right. 5. It comes with an order form for an event card for the game. And here are the cons: 1. Number one pet peeve: physics errors, some gross. In particular, the Coriolis force on the elevator is ignored, there is confusion between acceleration and gravity, a few calculations are obviously off (to a physicist at least), and a few other things. These don't detract from the book and are easy to fix (I just make a mental erratum and keep going.) And I do love the detailed science descriptions in my books and applaud Bill for putting them in there. However, if the author chooses to put in scientific detail, the onus is on him to get those details right. (Bill, if you are reading this, I'm hoping these errors can be corrected in the next printing if there is one? Or that you can show me that I'm mistaken in thinking these are errors? I'm happy to send you details.) 2. I felt that the book wasn't quite polished enough. I felt that there were some quasi-repetitions and that in general the writing could have been leaner. There were also one or two inconsistencies in dates. (Again, Bill, if you're reading this, I'm happy to send you the details.) 3. For those not familiar with the Android universe, some things and characters may feel contrived, and it may be easy to get lost in the richness and the number of different characters. I think you need to pay close attention if you're not familiar with the Android universe. The bottom line is that even though this book won't win any awards for literary style or character development, and is a bit rough around the edges in general, it blew all my (understandably low) expectations. You won't be disappointed if you want to see the world of Android richly fleshed out, if you appreciate murder mysteries, and if you dig detailed sci-fi settings complete with hard science and sociopolitics.
  10. BetaMale said: Where are the Jol Nar? The image from the cover art shows what appears to be a Hylar, and on the info page below the heading "Negotiation, Betrayal, and Warfare" there is another. But in the description of the races they Jol Nar are not there. Are they in the game? Hylar is the name of the race living on their homeplanets Jol and Nar. Aka the "Universities of Jol-Nar".
  11. Yes (this was clarified by Kevin Wilson somewhere).
  12. rbelikov

    The Game

    A lot of pros and cons in this game are a matter of taste. You can get a lot of information on BGG. Personally, I love this game and it's one of my favorites. Here is my take on pros and cons: Pros: - Rich Cyberpunk theme, in a richly developed universe (at least two novels are coming out) - Unique and bold game mechanics. I don't know of another game where you have to balance your character's personal life and work, a game that captures the inner struggles and personal demons of your character. - Absolutely beautiful art and components - The game makes it possible to imagine a movie about your (and other) characters Things that are considered cons by a lot of people: - Your role is not really your character, but more of a writer who is writing a story about your character, as well as the other characters. (I actually prefer it that way, so this is a pro!) - This is not a deduction game. Sometimes it feels like your character is framing a suspect rather than finding evidence. (Again, I actually prefer it that way!) - Understanding of the Android universe at a relatively deep level is almost necessary in order to fully appreciate the theme. Otherwise a lot of events may seem somewhat random and unthematic out of context. The game doesn't make it easy to follow the unfolding story about your character, it just provides little bits and pieces of the story, and if the player is looking for a connected story, the onus is on the player to use their imagination to fill in the missing details. (Again, I prefer it that way!) - There are a lot of rules and players who like optimizing victory points will be prone to AP during the first few games, with corresponding downtime. - Beginners may experience seemingly random powerful negative events that may leave them feeling out of control until they learn the weaknesses of their character - Hurting other players is a significant part of this game, so players must have a thick hide against such things. (Again, I prefer it that way!)
  13. rbelikov

    Release date?

    It's out! I have an Amazon copy in my hand.
  14. I would like to see that as well! (I'm also curious why a tech tree was not included in the SotT manual!)
  15. Bleached Lizard said: The title is simply an homage to Blade Runner - nothing more, nothing less. That may be what your intent was, but "Director's cut" is not a term unique to Blade Runner, so it seems to me that most people would not interpet your title as a homage, but rather as "this is the definitive version of the rules as Kevin Wilson should have designed them". Imagine if prior to Blade runner's director's cut somebody made a video and called it "Blade runner: director's cut" and maintained that the title is a homage to, say, the Alien director's cut... Ridley Scott and fans of the movie would have been deeply insulted. He might even have sued. I know the analogy is not perfect, but it does point at least to some of what I mean. Anyway, it is your responsibility to be cognizant of such possible interpretations and hurt feelings. Also, regardless of what you think of the original game, there are a lot of people who prefer the original rules (wasn't there a poll showing that more than 50% do?). I personally never played by your rules and once I get tired of the original rules, I would love to give yours a spin. I may even like them better than the original. And my hat goes off to you for all the work and care you put into it. But regardless of your intent and merit of your variant, I think that you title conveys a degree of condescension to most people and that is a big turn-off.
  16. There is no reason to speculate about the thematic interpretation of the conspiracy puzzle. It's all mostly explained by the designer in: http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=256 Specifically, he fully explains the thematic interpretations of the rewards due to connecting each of the 8 potential conspirators. Those are very clear. As far as the bonuses and benefits such as the 4VP tokens, the thematic interpretation of those is explained less well, but the suggestion is that whenever a detective uncovers a piece of the conspiracy, he should always get some small (sometimes random) rewards from it, be it a favor, respect in the department, dropship pass, etc. The interpretation of those is left to the player, but I think that's a feature not a bug! It's a lot of fun to make up a story for why your detective just gained 4VPs or a dropship pass for uncovering a puzzle piece. I think there is a perfect balance between how much of the story is revealed to you and how much it is up to you to make up. Of course, tastes differ and some people may prefer to have to fill in less details.
  17. Bleached Lizard said: The combined Director's Cut files have accumulated over a hundred thumbs up on BGG, with the latest version accounting for almost half of those. Version 3.0 has been downloaded almost one and a half thousand times and the file has appeared in the most popular files of BGG for the past two years. I even get the occasional thank you message from BGG users for creating the variants (I received one just yesterday, in fact). So I'm guessing I must have done something right. I think the question the OP raised is not about the quality of your variant, but in calling your variant a "Director's cut" and the implication that this is the definitive way to play the game. I applaud all your effort and care that went to it, but the presentation seems a little condescending, that's all.
  18. p. 39 in the rules: "NPC favors gain all VP bonuses for each type of favor they show on their token (e.g., a Mr. Li favor gains the VP bonuses for all four types of normal favors)." By contrast, when spending NPC favors, they only count for one of their favors, not all.
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