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Subject: Anyone played the 4 player partnership/team game? What did you think? rss

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There is an older thread on this subject, but it was prior to the game's release, and only the designer chimed in. Now that the game has been out for a while, has anyone played the team game for 4 players, where you play in partnerships? (as per the rules seen below)

I've not yet had opportunity to play with that number of players myself, so I'm curious to hear from others how they feel it changes the game, and what they do or don't like about this form of the game. For those who have had a chance to give this a shot, please do share your thoughts and experiences!

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Michael Sweazey
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I have played it a number of times with two, three, and four players. I love the game with two and three players, but I am not enamored with the four-player rules. I find it a bit clunky. It is fine for teaching the game to more people at one time, but I think the sweet spot is two-three players.

I know the reasoning Alf had for developing the four-player rules: He doesn't like the down-time for deck-building types of games for four players, and this was a way to attempt to keep people engaged. I kind of get the feeling that the game was really designed for two-three players, but the publisher said that adding a fourth gives it a much larger market.

I haven't tried to play it with standard rules with four players, but I would like to in order to see whether this would create balance issues. I suspect that the game is robust enough to play "normally" with four.

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Kevin B. Smith
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We accidentally played 4p with teams, but without trading. It was terrible. The board was completely chaotic, and several times my turn came around I could't do anything at all. Literally nothing. With the ability to trade, it would have been far, far better.
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msweazey wrote:
I know the reasoning Alf had for developing the four-player rules: He doesn't like the down-time for deck-building types of games for four players, and this was a way to attempt to keep people engaged.

You're quite right. In his words:
alfseegert wrote:
Yes, the 4-player version of Fantastiqa is entirely partnership based, not just as an option. Most deckbuilding games suffer with more than 2 players because the inactive players just sit around waiting for others to take their turns. I like my designs more interactive than that. Feedback from testers made it abundantly clear that partnerships were vastly more fun when playing with four, so that's how we decided to run with it. Coordinating your Adventurers' positions on the board and skilfully trading cards in your hands to overcome Creatures and fulfill Quests is great fun, so I'm a big fan of this development.

All this being said, there's nothing to stop you from playing Fantastiqa with 4 players competitively as a variant; it would work as well or better than other deckbuilders. It's simply not supported as an "official" way to play.

Any other feedback from folks who've tried the partnership form of the game? I managed to find some positive comments from Andrew "Mr Fantastiqa" MacLeod, and a recent review. But that's about it, so some more reactions would be helpful. It seems to me in theory that it should work rather well, and could be a lot of fun to play that way.
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Iain Triffitt
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EndersGame wrote:

Any other feedback from folks who've tried the partnership form of the game? I managed to find some positive comments from Andrew "Mr Fantastiqa" MacLeod, and a recent review. But that's about it, so some more reactions would be helpful. It seems to me in theory that it should work rather well, and could be a lot of fun to play that way.


I'm hoping for a couple of four player games this weekend so I'll update this thread with my thoughts.
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Andrew MacLeod
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And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
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EndersGame wrote:

Any other feedback from folks who've tried the partnership form of the game? I managed to find some positive comments from Andrew "Mr Fantastiqa" MacLeod, and a recent review.


Awww, you're making me blush, Green Guy. Fame from Fantastiqa is fraught with frightful fears, however. Cruel carnivorous characters creep from its cards as one restfully reclines, seeking solace in repose and relief from the revels of recent quixotical quests. Furthermore, is fame folly? Far from it, friends!


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amacleod wrote:
Fame from Fantastiqa is fraught with frightful fears, however. [snip]
Furthermore, is fame folly? Far from it, friends!

Friedemann Friese, is that you?

And what did you do with Andrew?
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jon beall
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I really like the 4-player game. It is entirely based on partnership, and our most successful games have been with repeat teams. (We have a group of 4 that plays this once or twice a month, with the same teams every time - it has become a game with a lot of planning, because we're plotting how to beat the other team. It has opened up a whole new dynamic to the game.)

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Marcus Kielly
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I think the game plays best at 4 personally.

There is more competition for the quests, and therefore more tension. In addition, you are far more likely to tussle with each other in terms of artefact usage and the dreaded Peaceful Dragon (damn you and your wretched tea you feckless beast!). It's also easier for two opponents to chuck junk in your discard pil. As they can assist each other in trading and by having more players on the board they're more likely to end their turn on your region - plus the fact that if their partner is adjacent they can siphon bad cards from their hand!

Of course, there's also some great humour in this game, and having more gamers at the table makes that humour more enjoyable. It's becoming something of a sleeper hit in my gaming group, and is arguably one of my favourite games.
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I've finally had opportunity to try the 4 player team game myself, and here are a few of my impressions:

Down-time: There's still considerable down-time, because three other players need to take their turn before your next turn. Admittedly this is compensated somewhat by the fact that one of these is your partner, and you will often be involved at that point, to discuss strategy and trade cards; the fact that the game is also over quite quickly and doesn't run too long also helps.

Interaction: The partnership game is absolutely better than playing 4 players individually, since on your partner's turn you're still involved in the form of trading cards. There's also real competition for completing the open quests, and you'll have to act quickly to beat out your opponent's team. I don't think I'd ever want to attempt Fantastiqa as a four player individual game, in view of the downtime. But this is definitely a good option I'd be happy to play.

Building your deck: Adventuring becomes far less important, because there's much less of a need to subdue creatures in order to get them into your deck. Instead you can often get the cards you need to complete quests by trading with your partner. Decks will often be more focused towards a particular quest, and getting cards from your opponent and the beast bazaar will often be enough to get you what you need, while ensuring that your deck is efficient at the same time.

Magic carpets: Using magic carpets is important, because you can't afford to take too long to finish a quest. Since you're basically working as a team, you effectively have six magic carpet tokens between you, so it is important not to wait too long in using them. In some cases it's a better option to use your magic carpet token rather than "waste" an entire turn adventuring to get to a specific region tile, especially if both teams are in a race to complete the same quest.

Trading and adjacency: The trading element is such an important element of the game, that it's critical to at least spend part of your turn at a region adjacent to your partner, to ensure the possibility of trading cards. This gives added reason for using your magic carpet tokens, since they will help with this.

Quick beginning: The game doesn't take as long to build up as normal, because you're quickly trading cards and completing quests quite early in the game. So the pace of the game is quite speedy right from the outset, which is a positive, because you're immediately doing interesting things. In a regular game the initial stages are slower, as you try to build up a deck with creatures from adventuring or the beast bazaar.

Speedy finish: You can accomplish quests and get the win condition quicker than in a normal game. Part of this is because smart trading will help you get the cards you need from your opponent rather than from the board. In fact by the time the game was over, we'd barely got through the top part of the creature deck! We played to 15 points, and it still felt shorter than a two player game to 12 points.

Different feel: Even though I think I still prefer the 2 player game, in view of the reduced down time, the 4 player partnership game was a whole lot of fun, and I can see why some people even find it the best way to play. It has a very different feel than a 2 player game, because you're mostly getting the cards you need in a totally different way, and there's a lot of interaction and competition. So it offers a different challenge, requires a different approach, and feels like a different "flavour" of standard Fantastiqa.

In short, if you have four players, I'd definitely recommend this as the preferred way to play, and certainly a viable and satisfying way of enjoying Fantastiqa.
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