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After playing a few times and friends really liking the game, I had this idea to play two whole revolutions of the big wheel. That means a total of 53 rounds (2x26+1). Why? Because we noticed that rarely people ever build monuments, one at the most, and we also felt that the game was always in the last quarter when your strategy is just beginning to develop.
A regular 4 player game usually lasts up to 3 hours so we were expecting 5-6 hour game for two revolutions of the big wheel. Having drinks and a good time so we were up to it. Here are some thoughts on this.
1. Perhaps it was a little too long. Everyone was very tired at the end. Although we will probably try for a longer game again, perhaps just 1,5 revolutions.
2. Advancing in temples was a very dominant strategy since now the gods favor temple goers 2x as many times (points and resources).
3. The skulls would be depleted in the first part of the game making skull-hoging a considerably worse strategy compared to temples (see above). A solution to this imbalance might be to increase the number of skulls twofold and allow for two skulls on each Chichen Itza space. (When no more skulls are available you could re-use skulls already placed on Chichen Itza and replace with a resource token)
4. Place a token on the beginning tooth of the wheel to mark the beginning of the second revolution.
5. Replace first age building after the first revolution. We found that in a game this long we would have built every single building available, and most of the monuments, if it were not for the discarding of first age buildings. (There were two that got discarded). Now I would recommend not discarding, rather let the first age buildings stay and gradually be replaced with second age buildings as needed. Because at the end when there were no buildings left to build the game got very imbalanced, cause people who had saved up resources had few options. I hope there will be an expansion for the game with more buildings.
6. Since ALL the buildings are very likely to be built, then I would consider replacing the monuments when built. So bringing in a new one whenever someone builds. This keeps the balance for those who try to win via building a lot.
7. Another way to correct the imbalance of double Temple bonuses: you could always have temple bonuses only after the wheel turns half a cycle, not every quarter cycle as in a regular game. But to not throw off feeding balances you would still have feeding days every quarter cycle. Just mark one of the exclamation-mark tooth with a resource, indicating that it is a resource round from the gods and the other exclamation-mark tooth would then be points round from the gods. I suppose that this way you would not have to double the number of skulls for balance. I would have played this way if I had realized beforehand the major imbalance caused by double temple rounds. So next time we try for a longer game I'll let you know how this plays out.
All in all it was a nice experience to play two revolutions. After returning to a regular game I was reminded of the HUGE difference. Because you more than double scoring and buildings built. So you get to 'do' much more on average,if that makes any sense. (You build, score and go through more resources even if divided by total number of rounds.)
How the game went: The highest scorer, obviously figured out the advantage of temples in the game, score around 260 points, he used 6 workers the whole time, hogging food and wood from jungle and scored big on wood tiles monument and monument that doubles end of age points for temples. The follower up scored some 180 points mostly through scoring points with building tech. And the two last scored just under 100 with mixed strategies.
General thoughts about the Tzolk'in game: I have had around 10 people trying the game with me and they all loved it. Even gamers that usually don't like complicated games. So my feeling is that this is not a complicated game for beginners and most people will like it. We probably will play it more than 20 times in the next few weeks.
It sounds like you really just need more experience with the game. It's normal for players to rarely build more than one monument each and sometimes not even that - they're crazy expensive for a reason, but give huge points bonuses. And if someone plays to a certain monument strategy, then there's a good chance they won't fit a second different monument instead. One revolution is really enough to do whatever it is you plan to do. I've played three times - in the first, the building stack almost went, in the second, I maxed all three temples. If I'm able to achieve those in one revolution, then two just sounds crazy in terms of what could be done.
If you're feeling like strategies aren't developing for 3/4s of the game, that possibly suggests the issue - in all of my games I've been working towards a goal from about the first feeding day. In the first one, I'd maxed out my building tech (well, not 100% certain of that, certainly had at least two though) and had one wood tech by that point, and was beginning to work towards building huge quantities of buildings (incidentally, in this game we managed to get through almost both entire building stacks). In the second, I had farming techs and was gathering huge quantities of corn to build with on the yellow gear (I think I had 30 corn at the first feeding day).
On top of that, if your games are taking 3 hours, then that's awfully slow. So far I've played two 4 player games, the first took a little over 90 minutes (excluding rule explanation, all four of us were new), the second a little less (two new players), and I've also played a two player game in about 45 minutes. It makes me wonder, maybe you're getting some rules wrong which are slowing things down, maybe?
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I agree with just about everything that Martin says. 3 hours seems awfully long for this game. If every player builds one Monument, then that's 4 of the 6 built, which sounds about right--hardly a reason for changing anything. And even though one revolution can go by really fast, with experience, it's plenty of time to accomplish just about everything you want to do in a game. It just takes some planning, starting at a very early stage, something I'm still not very good at, but am slowly learning to do.
I find that it is not that odd if the first game took 3 hours. Of course it is a long time but can happen. Mine first game with 4 players took little over 2 hours excluding rules explanation. If you have one or two players that tend to over think or analyze his/her every move carefully, 3 hours is possible.
To me it seems that you lose the tension of the game if you play 53 rounds because you can do almost anything and build what ever you want. It can be merely a rush who gets the best monuments first or who gets on top of the temples first to sit there the rest of the game hording points.
I think this is a terrible idea maybe spawned by some rules mistake. The fact that you claim that only 1 monument per player is build as a reason to do 2 revolutions makes me think that maybe you are replacing the monuments when bought what should not be done.
In our games the game ends with usually at least 1 god tower maxed, 3 or 4 out of 6 monuments sold, all but 5-6 buildings sold, and half the skull track full so it would have no point to keep going for another full revolution because we would have nothing to do. You could try at most to start a quater of turn before (having a point scoring after the first quarter and then doing a normal full game) but I find at least we don´t need it as the games seems perfectly times as it is.
- Last edited Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:26 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:23 am
Could be that we need more experience with the game. To be fair to the game regarding play time, we have young ones to take care of, sometimes constant care so that tends to slow things down when playing. So pauses here and there and often holding them while directing playmates to do actions for you.
I still think that 53 round game might be preferable to say 2x27round game, if you have the time. If temple days are only on every half cycle, and feeding still quarter cycle it could rebalance the game towards building tech instead of having the temples be a dominant strategy, which it seems to be in a regular game. Also allowing for a longer game = more fun. And longer-time strategies.
Then again if you usually build almost everything in a regular game, then there is not much point, I agree. We never had that happen yet tho.