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Subject: Quite frankly, I find this game below average at best rss

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Max DuBoff
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dragon0085 wrote:
Thanks for the people not jumping to criticism, I will explain my point, to the others who just insult me as being too dumb to get it...nice one shake

Here is an example of two highly rated games: Puerto rico and Race for the Galaxy, both have some passing similarities to this which I will illustrate.

Our group finds both of these games great, played nearly every time. PR is simple but complex, and RFTG is slightly more complicated but ultimately simple: build a space empire.

But we got the expansions, and the games got worse in both cases.

PR goes from simple and elegant to introducing a lot of buildings and mechanics that do nothing other than complicate the game, suddenly there are forests and buildings dealing with them, and most of the buildings do little. The expansion is so bad and so detracting we never play with it anymore.

RFTG is slightly different, what happens here is a slow complication of a simple game. Consider base cards, they often have 0-1 symbol, something like the ability to ship a blue card on it for example. Then get to expansion 3 and the cards are completely insane, you have multiple symbols on symbols with an introduction of 'prestige' which does little other than another thing to track and slow the game down.

We still play with the cards but universally agree they are a detriment to the simple elegance the game once was.

This is a lot like this game, the 'base game' of territory and influence is interesting and potentially elegant, but the vast slowdown and bog from the text on literally every card to me takes the game into near unplayability for the reasons mentioned.


If you think either PR or RftG is "complex," I can easily see why you don't like TS. You're perfectly entitled to your own tastes, and both of those are great games, but at least this clears things up a bit. Cheers!
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Linda Baldwin
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Benkyo wrote:
I do not understand the opinion I have heard once or twice on BGG that TS can be enjoyed between two people who do not know the cards. Different strokes, I suppose.

Well, this I can speak to. My friends and loved the game from the first play. Fortunately, we were equally ignorant about the cards (the first time I played an experienced player was a bit rough), but what captivated us was: a) the way it perfectly captured that period of "history" (not history to me, I lived through most of it), and b) the unbelievable tension as you sweated over every little decision, of which there were many.

That said, it's certainly not a game for everyone. I have many friends who wouldn't have the patience, or the interest, for it. Nothing wrong with that, or with them. But for my money, this is a game I love to get to the table, and relish every moment playing.
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Max DuBoff
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Carmilla wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
I do not understand the opinion I have heard once or twice on BGG that TS can be enjoyed between two people who do not know the cards. Different strokes, I suppose.

Well, this I can speak to. My friends and loved the game from the first play. Fortunately, we were equally ignorant about the cards (the first time I played an experienced player was a bit rough), but what captivated us was: a) the way it perfectly captured that period of "history" (not history to me, I lived through most of it), and b) the unbelievable tension as you sweated over every little decision, of which there were many.

That said, it's certainly not a game for everyone. I have many friends who wouldn't have the patience, or the interest, for it. Nothing wrong with that, or with them. But for my money, this is a game I love to get to the table, and relish every moment playing.

For what it's worth, I agree. Knowing the cards only matters if you're playing someone else who knows the cards.
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Now that you have responded, I'll bite. I have no desire to convince you to like TS (to each his own), I merely take issue with a grossly inaccurate statement you made in your review.

dragon0085 wrote:

#1 Too complex...The game has many different ways to add influence to take over a country, a fair amount are basically assigning the value on a card to the board, the problem is EVERY card has a DIFFERENT rule to it

This is essentially nonsense. The base rules for adding influence are simple enough. Beyond that, read the card and do what it says. I have taught this game to groups of teenagers who ate it up and did not have difficulties figuring out how to apply the card events over top of the base rule set.

Saying the cards introduce new and unique rules is disingenuous at best. Ever since MTG (and probably before than) it is a common mechanic for card text to supersede the base rules. It's not a hard concept to grasp for most people and it's certainly not unique to TS.

It'd be like saying Monopoly is too hard because in addition to getting money from passing Go and collecting rent, Chance and Community Chest have dozens of cards each with unique rules on how you get money.

So, while I take no issue with the rest of your review. Your rationale for it being "too complex" is wrong. Perhaps you found it tedious to "remove half (rounded down of US influence and then add one Soviet influence) etc. If so, call it *tedious*, it's certainly not difficult to understand.

If you can make it through the rulebook to play the game in the first place, you'll have no problem with the card events.
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Daniel T.
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dragon0085 wrote:

This is a lot like this game, the 'base game' of territory and influence is interesting and potentially elegant, but the vast slowdown and bog from the text on literally every card to me takes the game into near unplayability for the reasons mentioned.

Ok, now I'm convinced that you are not trolling and it confirmed my assumption, that you have just a total different taste in games. What I can't agree with is your general judgement of TS as being "unplayable". It's unplayable for YOU, since you have problems with the amount of card text and developing game strategies for more complex games. Puerto Rico and RFTG are quite easy games, where the array of game strategies is narrow to some few main aims that players can choose to follow. TS is a game of reaction and counter reaction, where ,like i wrote before, initiative is very important. You can set yourself an aim how to win the game, but it will likely only last until the next card play of you opponent, when you have to adapt your strategy.

Its interesting that you name RFTG, a game which I don't like. And you now what, I don't like it because it hasn't enough text on the cards. I hate those games with seemingly millions of symbols, where you have an extra help sheet to look up what the different symbols mean.

You hate to read a lot of text on cards, I hate to memorize the meaning of a lot of game symbols. But does this render a game unplayable in general. Maybe RFTG is unplayable for me, but does that mean its unplayable for everyone (the majority of players)? I don't think so.
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dragon0085 wrote:
Our group finds both of these games great, played nearly every time. PR is simple but complex, and RFTG is slightly more complicated but ultimately simple: build a space empire.

But we got the expansions, and the games got worse in both cases.

(snip)

This is a lot like this game, the 'base game' of territory and influence is interesting and potentially elegant, but the vast slowdown and bog from the text on literally every card to me takes the game into near unplayability for the reasons mentioned.

Hm, that's two entirely different issues...

I fully agree with you that expansions for expansions' sake to milk a successful game system is both, a waste of money and a way to sour a game for you that you once liked.

In the case of TS however, we're not talking expansions. The game was designed pretty much as you see it now. If you took away the cards, you'd have Risk or something similar, which you already own. With TS, the cards convey the historic events which tie the game to real world history.

Edit: reformatted the snip...
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Daniel T.
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dasher47051 wrote:
In the case of TS however, we're not talking expansions. The game was designed pretty much as you see it now. If you took away the cards, you'd have Risk or something similar, which you already own. With TS, the cards convey the historic events which tie the game to real world history.

This is a very important point! TS is a wargame (please no discussion if it really is a wargame ) with a lot of flavor. The card events (separate by early/middle/late war) are so important for the right "feeling". This is not a euro game, which packs an interesting game system into a nice wrapping. This is a wargame, where the game system has to adapt to the historical background.
As an example: Without the card events there would be no immediate crisis in the game, where players have to react to. Theses crises are what formed the "hot" periods of the Cold War.
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dragon0085 wrote:
This is a lot like this game, the 'base game' of territory and influence is interesting and potentially elegant, but the vast slowdown and bog from the text on literally every card to me takes the game into near unplayability for the reasons mentioned.

OK, so it's obvious that the game is not for you. But your review would be similar to one I might write for cooperative games: boring team puzzle with too much talky talk and random chance determining whether or not the group "wins" or not ... 'cause I don't like coops!

In any case, since you did try Twilight Struggle, you are apparently looking for something in the wargame-light category, for 2 players. I strongly suggest you try Hammer of the Scots: it is also a 2-player game, has a more traditional map (divided into regions of different terrain), feels thematic (if you've seen Braveheart, anyway), has each player playing a different style of game, and is also card-driven -- but there are only FIVE cards with text (the rest are numbered 1-3).
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Mattias R
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Thank you for taking the time to write a well-reasoned negative review. Most reviews tend to be positive and the site profits from the diversity.

Like many have said before, I like the game in part for the same reasons that you dislike it. TS just wasn't your cup of tea.
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Asger Harding Granerud
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dasher47051 wrote:
AsgerSG wrote:
dragon0085 wrote:
The game would be infinitely improved by say something like 5 common events, of which there were multiples, and perhaps 5 special events that there was only 1 each.

That. Is. Funny

I won't say it's funny - it's just describing a totally different game. The games the OP picked as references really set up any comparisons in between apples and oranges.

It is funny to me because the core of what makes TS tick is the cards. The three stages means that there is a natural narrative arc developing along a rough historical trajectory.

Those cards and their layering ARE the game, if any single element is. Suggesting to change it is like suggesting taking the board away from chess... Which is funny


Not that it is important. I agree with the many others that have said this mainly sounds as if the OP misinterpreted what he would be getting from TS. Wrong expectations = wobbly experience.
Move on, and play games you enjoy! I play games that do nothing for me all the time, and simply don't come back to them once I know...

Regards
Asger
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dragon0085 wrote:
Thanks for the people not jumping to criticism, I will explain my point, to the others who just insult me as being too dumb to get it...nice one shake

Here is an example of two highly rated games: Puerto rico and Race for the Galaxy, both have some passing similarities to this which I will illustrate.

Our group finds both of these games great, played nearly every time. PR is simple but complex, and RFTG is slightly more complicated but ultimately simple: build a space empire.

But we got the expansions, and the games got worse in both cases.

PR goes from simple and elegant to introducing a lot of buildings and mechanics that do nothing other than complicate the game, suddenly there are forests and buildings dealing with them, and most of the buildings do little. The expansion is so bad and so detracting we never play with it anymore.

RFTG is slightly different, what happens here is a slow complication of a simple game. Consider base cards, they often have 0-1 symbol, something like the ability to ship a blue card on it for example. Then get to expansion 3 and the cards are completely insane, you have multiple symbols on symbols with an introduction of 'prestige' which does little other than another thing to track and slow the game down.

We still play with the cards but universally agree they are a detriment to the simple elegance the game once was.

This is a lot like this game, the 'base game' of territory and influence is interesting and potentially elegant, but the vast slowdown and bog from the text on literally every card to me takes the game into near unplayability for the reasons mentioned.

This is pretty different from your OP.

Taking away elegance is an understandable perspective. Your original criticisms were wildly overblown.
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Jonathan Schaer
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Ilikegames wrote:
Washington's War, Unhappy King Charles (I think) and maybe some others have mostly "fixed" cards - i.e. just Ops without special rules (events). Personally, I think the tension between playing cards for the events or for ops is one of the most appealing and tense aspects of the CDG model, and I missed it in Washington's War.
I suppose you could just play ignoring the event text, or do the "blind" thing, but I don't really see the point. I'm not convinced it would really make the game any easier to learn, and it would lead to an extremely odd game, so whatever it did teach wouldn't have any relevance when you came to play properly (and might suggest moves which would be actually bad in the full game).

I agree - part of the reason I love games like TS and Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? (why doesn't that get more love?) is the tension involved in figuring out how to mitigate the other side's events.
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js619 wrote:
I agree - part of the reason I love games like TS and Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? (why doesn't that get more love?).

I loved Twilight Struggle and hated Labyrinth, and I learned both of them within about a week of each other, with high expectations and excitement for both, going in.

After learning Twilight Struggle basically straight from the rulebook, I struggled with the asymmetry of Labyrinth (taught to me by another person), and found it frustrating to plan because there was "extra" stuff to take care of (e.g. funding, transportation -- I played the terrorists). It's just easier for me to grok the influence mechanics in Twilight Struggle, which I find to be cleaner and simpler.

Of course, the theme of Labyrinth is something that is anything BUT clean or simple, so the design makes sense to me. It just didn't feel very straightforward or intuitive in the way that Twilight Struggle does for me. Also, the Cold War is much more interesting subject matter for me as I do enjoy reading about history, whereas Labyrinth is probably more about the here-and-now of asymmetrical warfare, political relationships between countries (if I recall there was something about political/military priorities in Labyrinth as well). TS makes my eyes light up, but Labyrinth just puts me to sleep and makes me feel constantly frustrated (rather than just constantly behind).
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alexdrazen wrote:
js619 wrote:
I agree - part of the reason I love games like TS and Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? (why doesn't that get more love?).

I loved Twilight Struggle and hated Labyrinth, and I learned both of them within about a week of each other, with high expectations and excitement for both, going in.

After learning Twilight Struggle basically straight from the rulebook, I struggled with the asymmetry of Labyrinth (taught to me by another person), and found it frustrating to plan because there was "extra" stuff to take care of (e.g. funding, transportation -- I played the terrorists). It's just easier for me to grok the influence mechanics in Twilight Struggle, which I find to be cleaner and simpler.

Of course, the theme of Labyrinth is something that is anything BUT clean or simple, so the design makes sense to me. It just didn't feel very straightforward or intuitive in the way that Twilight Struggle does for me. Also, the Cold War is much more interesting subject matter for me as I do enjoy reading about history, whereas Labyrinth is probably more about the here-and-now of asymmetrical warfare, political relationships between countries (if I recall there was something about political/military priorities in Labyrinth as well). TS makes my eyes light up, but Labyrinth just puts me to sleep and makes me feel constantly frustrated (rather than just constantly behind).

Wow, that's a great response - I've never heard it put that why, and I think you hit the nail on the head as to why I actually prefer Labyrinth over TS: I really like asymmetrical games. I love both and will always play, but given a choice of the two, Labyrinth it is. Although who knows, now that TS is coming to the iPad lol!
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My main issue with Labyrinth (which I love very much) is the occasional swinginess of the dice. It can be far more extreme than in Twilight Struggle, especially on Prestige Rolls, which can swing the entire Prestige track on a single roll - if it goes high, it can be very difficult for the Jihadist to take it down again, and the US will be seriously set back if it drops too low.
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Linda Baldwin
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My issue with Labyrinth (and I'm going way off-topic here) is the theme, pure and simple. I lived through the Cold War, and was terrified by the Cuban Missile Crisis (we lived in a prime target area for said missiles), but I've had to time to come to terms with it. OTOH, I lived in New York on 9/11, in an apartment with a clear view of the towers. It's way too soon for me to think about playing Labyrinth.

OK, back to talking game mechanics ...
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Carmilla wrote:
My issue with Labyrinth (and I'm going way off-topic here) is the theme, pure and simple. I lived through the Cold War, and was terrified by the Cuban Missile Crisis (we lived in a prime target area for said missiles), but I've had to time to come to terms with it. OTOH, I lived in New York on 9/11, in an apartment with a clear view of the towers. It's way too soon for me to think about playing Labyrinth.

OK, back to talking game mechanics ...

I can respect that - although I wasn't around in the 1960s, I am a child of the 70s and 80s Cold War; I was also paramedic and spent time at the Trade Center on 9/11 and don't have issues (for lack of a better term) with the game. In the same vein, I had family killed during the Holocaust and can't bring myself to play as the Germans in any WWII game. Guess it's all a matter of what you're comfortable with...
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Jeremy Hager
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This gets a resounding "K" from me.

Everything you've said sounds like reasons why this game is great.
 
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Russell King
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I think it makes the Cold War feel like something undynamic, dull and unexciting. It's slow.

Another card? Oh, how thrilling. Is that the time already?
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Russell King wrote:
I think it makes the Cold War feel like something undynamic, dull and unexciting. It's slow.

Another card? Oh, how thrilling. Is that the time already?

No accounting for taste
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Russell King wrote:
I think it makes the Cold War feel like something undynamic, dull and unexciting. It's slow.

Another card? Oh, how thrilling. Is that the time already?

You can do that with any game when it's abstracted to that level. Oh, another tile/dice roll/card/token, that's just board games. If you don't immerse in the theme, every game will feel like a spreadsheet.
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dragon0085 wrote:
The general idea of two powers spreading influence and effecting each other is great, I like that. But this game goes far beyond that at the cost of playability.

The game has many different ways to add influence to take over a country, a fair amount are basically assigning the value on a card to the board, the problem is EVERY card has a DIFFERENT rule to it, meaning of the 100+ cards, every single one does something different, there is not simply look at cards and know what is going on.

It is kind of like playing poker if beyond just 8 of diamonds, this card as 'force every player to put 2 chips into pot' and 9 of diamonds 'the player to your right draws 1 more card', so not only do you have to figure out you hand, the pure number of effects is a vast negative. The game would be infinitely improved by say something like 5 common events, of which there were multiples, and perhaps 5 special events that there was only 1 each.

I have thought a lot about how your suggestion in the third paragraph might play out, since designers are forced to leave some events and people out. Part of this is the desire to stay somewhat faithful to history - a game about the Cold War should mention the Cuban Missile Crisis - but an equal part is that the fixed map and state of play influences the best options on any given turn.

To borrow one of your analogies, there is not a 5% chance of each possible opening move happening in any given game of chess. Players eventually realize that the freedom to to anything is not as helpful when considering the entire range of strategic options.

So even if a card gives 2 points of influence in a random place, odds are that players would eventually locate the specific place where it does the most good. Though the card looks like it has generic applicability, it ends up having the opposite effect.
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Rick Maxey
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Wow. I don't have a problem with negative reviews but I got news for you, the world is round and not flat. Also, evolution is real.
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Bob Gibson
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I suppose it's tough being #1 - even when it comes to boardgames.cool
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goddice wrote:
Wow. I don't have a problem with negative reviews but I got news for you, the world is round and not flat. Also, evolution is real.

Logical inconsistencies in an otherwise great game/review? Not sure what point is.
 
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