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Subject: OBG 128: Balance Sheet rss

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Erik Dewey
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In this episode, Don and Erik are joined by Ray Greenley to talk about balance in games.

In the review-a-palooza, Don and Erik review:

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Vengence
Takenoko
Krosmaster Arena
Myrmes
Nuclear War



RSS Feed: http://onboardgames.libsyn.com/rss
Email us: onboardgames.net@gmail.com

Direct download:http://traffic.libsyn.com/onboardgames/obg128_041614.mp3
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Donald Dennis
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Ray, when are you going to teach Through the Ages?
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Donald Dennis
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When talking about Caverna I misrepresented the game board. Yes, the cards that come out each turn can be in a different order, but the base boards change not each game, but each game based on the number of players. In other words the starting boards for a specific number of players will always be the same with small variation based on the one card which flips each turn.
 
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Ray Greenley
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Walsfeo wrote:
Ray, when are you going to teach Through the Ages?

I figure I'll try to schedule a time when someone expresses interest! Unfortunately I'm not free on just any given evening, but I'll be happy to do my best to work with whoever wants to learn. When would work for you best?
 
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Philip Gross
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What happy timing!

Ray, I was just going to post my interest in learning TtA on BGO on the game's page. Then you made your generous offer on the podcast.

Please let me know if the teaching offer still stands, what times are good, etc.

Thanks!

-Phil
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Ray Greenley
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I'd be happy to teach you, TtA, Philip! As I mention in the podcast, my optimal times are generally Wednesday and Sunday evenings, although I might have some flexibility in some cases. What day and time would work best for you?
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: I just started listening to this OBG episode, and would also be interested. I am fortunate to have a 3rd Printing edition of the game from purchasing it a few years back.

What evening would not be much of an issue for me, except this Sunday (3/23/14) would be bad as family is in from out of town.

** I would hope there would be at least one other person besides myself as I would not want to take up your time just for me.

I just created an account on www.boardgaming-online.com, and I see they have several options:

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Game Versions:
Standard
Czech
Polish
BGO 2
Spanish
Global (Hammurabi Ext 3.0 style)
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Levels: 1, 2, 3, 4
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Randomize player order
Private game
No aggressions/war allowed in game
---------

I would be interested in your thoughts regarding the site, and average time games have lasted from start to finish. Maybe this is something you cover in your instruction.

You noted How to Play on OBG.

I found these:
-- How to Play Podcast: Ep 29 - Through the Ages, July 19, 2011 (1 hour 19-min)
-- How to Play Podcast: Ep 29 - Through the Ages Part 2, Ep 29, July 19, 2011 (1 hour 11-min)
-- How to Play Podcast: Ep 29w - How to Win Through the Ages, Feb. 12, 2012 (1 hour 23-min)

His Ep 29w show notes say: "In this third “How to Win” episode I tackle Through the Ages with my good friend and fellow TTA fan, Geoff Englestein."

I just hope Ep 29w is not some secret key to winning all the time, though just helps in strategy and tactics.

BGG Forum noted this one:
-- The Long View Podcast: Feb. 2, 2014 (2 hours 7-min)

If it will be at least a week until your teaching session -- I would plan to listen to the above episodes, and ideally break out my game with the rule book prior to your online session.

Much thanks, Grant
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Ray Greenley
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No problem, Grant! I'll be happy to teach you. I might have a conflict, but I'd hope to be able to set up as session to teach this Wednesday evening (March 19th) at around 9:00pm-9:30pm Eastern time.

For the How to Play podcasts, I listened to the first two (part A and B), but I actually didn't listen to the 'How to Win' one since I like to try and make that discovery for myself when playing a game (even if it means getting punished for a while!) I will say though that TtA will allow you to box yourself into a corner if you're not careful! I teach by walking through the beginning of a game, so I can offer suggestions and warnings as we go. If you listen to this stuff ahead of time, you won't need me to teach you much except the interface!

How long a game takes through BGO depends on how fast players take their turns. Two player games tend to last about 20 turns, and it usually only takes a few minutes for a turn. Sometimes there will be extra things that players will need to address outside of turn order, so that can slow things down. If you only ever play one turn per day, it will move pretty slowly. If you can turn around 2, 3, or 4 turns per day it will go pretty quick (by asynchronous board game standard!)

The site has a functional interface that will take a bit of getting used to. But it all makes sense, and I think it shouldn't be hard to pick up with someone to teach you.
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: Wow, thanks for your quick reply.

Wednesday 19th would be fine, though I would hope someone else would be part of the session. Also, I am in no rush, so even if we have to wait till next week for a second / third person is fine.

Just let me know when it is confirmed, and details on accessing the session.

Would it be best if I had the actual game out during the session? Provided I can fit the game on a table next to my computer.

Hopefully, I can listen to both Ep 29 episodes by then. I'd need to start tonight. Likely won't have time to break out the actual game box.

So, BGO length just depends on the players. I guess it could be as quick as 7 days or an entire month?

Thanks, Grant
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Ray Greenley
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Grant,

I don't actually own the full game, so when I've taught it I do so using the BGO interface as a guide. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have the full game out if you want. It might help to describe some of the mechanisms and I suppose could help you when playing the table version.

Don't feel too much pressure to listen to the HtP episodes. I've taught people cold before and it's not too bad. Although certainly you'll pick up on it much quicker if you have. Keep in mind that BGO only allows you to play the 'Full' game, and the podcast teaches you to learn by playing the 'Basic' (simple?) game.

Right, the length of the game completely depends on the number of players and how quickly they turn around moves. You could play a game in less than a day if everyone is on top of it. Or it could go on for weeks. Part of why I started evangelizing the game is because the person who taught me has been pretty busy lately and wasn't able to turn games around very quickly. I made up for this by teaching anyone who showed interest and had several games going at once. ;^)
 
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Philip Gross
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Thanks, Ray!

Wednesday nights are game night and usually out. How about Sunday evening 3/23? After 630 EST is good for me.

Also, I don't have a webcam--should I use this as a good excuse to pick one up?

-Phil
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Ray Greenley
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Hm, this coming Sunday night may be a bit iffy for me since I'm going to be away that weekend. I SHOULD be back in time, but I can't be totally sure. How late would you be willing to let me let you know if I can go for that night?

I can teach via audio chat only since we'll be looking at the BGO interface, but if you want to use video as well I don't mind. :^)
 
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Philip Gross
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I think 9PM is the latest I could reasonably start. Let me know what's best for you!
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: Thanks for your reply, and that BGO does the full version vs How to Play being basic.

Sunday the 23rd is iffy for me as well, but go ahead and do it if you are able whether I make it or not.

Sunday I will be about 45-min from home visiting out of town family, and should be back before 9 pm EST (8 pm my time) as I will need to take my dog outside no later than that hour.

So, I might likely be able to make 9 pm EST. I would also just listen by audio as I have not had a need for a webcam, so do not currently own one.

Just let me know what you decide and how to access, which I believe was via Google.

Maybe after this training session the three of us can start up a game. I work from home, so unless I am deeply involved in some programming or support, I might be able make several moves on a single day depending on everyone else.

Thanks, Grant
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Ray Greenley
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Hi, Grant! Just to clarify, the first part of the HtP podcast just covers the basic game, while part B covers the full game. However, Ryan does strongly recommend only playing the basic game your first time while that's not an option for us. And as the person who taught me said, going straight into the full game will help keep you from picking up bad habits. ;^)

We'll tentatively shoot for Sunday at 9pm. Hopefully the schedules overlap just enough to make it work! I'll let you know as soon as I can if that doesn't work for some reason.

Please make sure you have a BGO account set up ahead of time. I think a Google Hangout will work best, although I can use Skype if you need. It's just that I can share my screen with Google Hangout, which could be handy. No worries about a camera of course!

We'll set up a game on BGO as a part of the teaching session. This is definitely a game that I like to teach as we get started. Then we can finish the learning game asynchronously and we can start another 'real' game after that.

Sound good? :^)

Ray
 
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: Thanks for the reply. Sounds great.

I loaded up the four episodes noted earlier on my iPod to listen over the next few days, and after listening to those, hope to open up the game box before Sunday.

I already setup a BGO account earlier today, and have a Google account setup from awhile back. I will take a look into Google Hangout so I won't be completely new to it for Sunday.

I have never been interested in playing board games online as I would rather play the physical game as my job has me on the computer most of the day already. I need a change of environment.

Though, this longer / strategic / tactical game sounds interesting since it would likely be hard to find someone to play face to face very often.

I also feel I am more interested in games with less luck of the roll or draw of the card. I will play them, though they often don't feel very satisfying. I think this might be more my style.

So, thanks for this chance.

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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: I was hoping to play TtA with a game group I am going to start attending next week. Though, it appears they don't care for it based on what one of the members (who has a large game collection, and brings many of the games to the game night) wrote below on a BGG forum. What are your thoughts? Maybe you can help me talk them into a 3-player TtA face-to-face.

This member might not like it, though I might be able to talk a couple of other members to play face-to-face.

I am looking forward to trying out BGO.

I listened to The Long View episode the other day and at the 27-min mark he talks about Nations and he prefers TtA as he has thematic issues with Nations. I guess it is like any game where not everyone is going to love a game, even if it is extremely popular / highly rated.

Much thanks, Grant

mdpotter wrote:
I just played Nations in solo mode for the first time. It is a Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization civilization building game without the 'screw you' and 'run away' mechanics. It is also a much shorter game - maybe two hours with new players.

Military gets you turn order and good bonuses from battles (battles are solo affairs). You can also declare wars but, the results of these are no where near as devastating as in TTA. If you have strong stability in your civilization, the wars become minor annoyances. Military also has high upkeep (unlike TTA).

Since you only take one action per turn, there are tough decisions on what you should do since your opponents can remove options before your next turn.

There are random events every round which you must attempt to mitigate or win before round end.

All in all, I think is a better design than TTA. It will certainly appeal to more gamers.
 
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Ray Greenley
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Grant,

Hah, well I've never played TtA face-to-face, so it's tough to comment on playing it that way. There seems to be a reasonable amount of bookkeeping that the site does for you, and I could see how it might run long. I think I would like the more direct interaction, which is always the case when comparing to playing via the internet.

My honest suggestion is that you might have better luck with it if you play learn it from me and we play a game or two, then when you bring it to the table you'll be much more confident in what it's about. Hopefully then you'll be able to make the case to your group. But I don't feel like my suggestion should bear any particular weight, so take it for what it's worth. ;^)
 
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: Thanks for your reply. Sorry if my post was not clear. I do indeed want to go forward with the Sunday night session if we are both available. I already told a few people I needed to leave by a given time to get me back home in time.

My main thought about TtA remains the same in I feel playing it on BGO will be an excellent way to play it as I can see playing it face-to-face to be very limited.

The one thing about TtA versus lighter games is just that, playing a lighter game online does not sound very interesting as I would prefer to move away from the computer to play it on the table. I see the possible complexity of TtA as being interesting. When something becomes easy for me I often lose interest, and like to take on new challenges to involve my mind.

My secondary thought is in seeing if the local game group might be willing to play it, though I noted in my recent post how apparently they favor Nations. I was just curious if you had any opinions about the two, though if not that is fine. That might have been where the confusion resides is Nations versus TtA, not face-to-face versus online.

I know BGO and the rule book is supposed to have something like a low confrontational / minimal war variant where that part that was disliked by the other noted player could be eliminated.

It is very likely my face-to-face plays of TtA might be counted on one hand, while BGO could be unlimited.

I have nearly finished part one of How to Play, and find it very interesting. I should likely finish it and part two tomorrow.

I also enjoyed the Long View episode. The two speakers said how it does not really have a particular winning strategy as you typically need at least three cards, and only a few with two cards, though the circumstances might not always be right for any of them to happen or work. One speaker said how he had hesitantly read some strategy articles, though they did not hold up and could not be reliable. I like this idea that essentially things change from game to game and not one strategy will win it. They also noted how it is more tactical than strategic as the game is more of a micro way to manage a civilization.

Anyway, thanks for your time and I will check back on this post again later on the Sunday night session.

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Ray Greenley
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I hate to do this, but I think Sunday may not work out for me after all. This weekend suddenly got turned on hits head for me. I might be able to do another time this weekend, though. Can you guys change schedule?
 
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Grant Wuellner
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Hi Ray: Saturday evening would be fine for me, if you are looking at 9 pm EST time. I will be doing house maintenance most all day Saturday so during the day is bad for me.

Or, most any day during next week except not Monday for me or Wednesday for Philip -- both of those are game nights for us.
 
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Ray Greenley
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Okay, let's shoot for Saturday night at 9pm Eastern. Thanks!
 
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Isaac Shalev
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Arg - am I too late to this thread?

Ray, I'd love to learn TTA too. Let me know when is convenient for you, and thank you so much!
 
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Ray Greenley
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No problem, Isaac! I'll be happy to teach you. I've actually had to flake out on the scheduled session for tonight, but I should be good for Wednesday evening or next Sunday evening if either of those times work for you. :^)
 
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Isaac Shalev
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Next Sunday sounds great. I'll GM you my gmail address.
 
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