Podcast Episode 27: G2 Summit!

Marc and Orion sit down to talk about all they played at the Granite Games Summit in Nashua, NH. It was a wonderful convention and we played some truly awesome games! Except one. Prepare for a good old-fashioned rant.

Paramedics Clear!: 2:31

Clank! In! Space!: 7:04

Dominant Species: 13:38

Rising Sun: 18:57

Deck Construction (prototype): 43:38

Here I Stand: 46:45

Lisboa: 55:32

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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3 thoughts on “Podcast Episode 27: G2 Summit!”

  1. Really enjoy the podcast and have been listening for a few months now.

    That said, I have to take an opposing view on Rising Sun.

    Before I get into this at all, I will say that I think the primary issue with the game you played was that you played it with 6 players. Checking out BGG’s recommended, it seems to hover around 4 and I’d say that is probably ideal in my experience, with 5 being okay too.

    I also want to say that I was very much apprehensive of Rising Sun myself when it was announced. It felt very much like a game that was being carried by its hype so going into my first game, I wasn’t expecting much.

    That said, I think it’s a very, very good game.

    I get your argument about the pieces and not knowing the power of the armies. That said, except in very few instances, all pieces have a value of 1. I get the monster thing, but in a 4-5 player game, you’ve got a total of maybe 9 monsters on the board for the entire game? Maybe that’s too much to remember, ask about but I honestly don’t think it’s too much of a burden…but perhaps I’m wrong on that.

    I disagree that the only two mandates that seem to have real value as far as the bonuses are concerned are Harvest and Marshall. In a game where so few pieces are on the board, the second piece in a Recruit action is big. The same goes for the Train (buy a card mandate) Not only are you getting the discount, but you’re also acting first. That’s really big when there are so few cards on offer.

    I also disagree that the game is as luck driven as you argue. When it comes to placing coins behind your screen, you go in knowing exactly what your enemies forces/coin/ronin situation is. Then it’s a game of think, doublethink and triple think. Perhaps your argument is that all this double and triple think amounts to luck? If so, I don’t really understand why you’re okay with the luck of dice rolling in Here I Stand (which I also really love) or the potential swinginess of the cards in Dominant Species (which I also really, really love). Also, taking coins from the victor of a fight when you’ve been beaten is a fantastic balance that should really influence all decisions made in that phase.

    Also, the places you sit are not luck of the draw. You’re supposed to sit in a very specific place around the table and act in a specific order depending on your clan.

    I get your argument about the power of the honor track, but I think it’s an absolutely fantastic way of breaking all ties easily. That said, I think it was probably overly important in a 6 player game when there isn’t that much strength to go around.

    I DO agree with you that it does NOT nearly have the amount of negotiation that it was sold as having when it was touted as the spiritual successor to Diplomacy. But it’s certainly in there. There’s been plenty of “don’t go in here now and i’ll clear it out for you the next turn” style deals in every game I’ve played. That said, your point does stand.

    I could say more but I’ve already wasted too much of your time. It doesn’t sound like you’ll ever give Rising Sun another chance, and I get different strokes for different folks, but I think you’d probably like it at a smaller count. That said, I think calling it a “chaotic mess” is quite unfair.

    Sorry for the rant. I sincerely appreciate all the work you surely put into this and the content. I just couldn’t help myself.

  2. I was looking forward to your thoughts on Rising Sun, as I haven’t played, but your comments seemed to come from a place of feeling overwhelmed rather than from a place of critical analysis, that latter of which first brought me to your podcast and blog recently.

    The huge red flag mentioned repeatedly in your comments was the word “luck” as applied to your “player choices” on not playing enough coins. If you failed to play enough coins to win a battle, that is in no way “Luck”. That is a player decision driven by situational analysis, plain and simple. Disappointed that you fell into that kind of trap in analyzing your play.

    I have seen bad reactions to games that involve a large amount of bluffing. Daxu is an example. I had a bad first reaction because the value of all commodities is driven 100% by player actions and nothing else. The player choices are driven by publicly displayed available cards.

    So there is some luck in card appearance ordering versus previous game state and choices. Is there is similar case in Rising Sun? Or was it merely chaotic because of inexperience with the game and far too many players for a first game?

    Sounds to me like you should try playing the game again at a 3 or 4 player count to get a better feel. Also, reflect on whether this is just not the right kind of game for you, due to the apparent extremely strong component of bluffing as player interaction.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys! I’ll say upfront that obviously in the podcast we were talking about a 1st play of the game with 6 players. I fully expect that the game would improve on a 2nd play with fewer players and more of an understanding its quirks. And if you’re looking for more in-depth discussions–don’t worry, there’s going to be lots of those. This was a bit of catharsis for Orion and I more than anything. Feel free to attach a “but I could be wrong” after essentially all of my comments here because, obviously, I’ve only played the game once.

    Mark: Can’t say that I agree that the recruit bonus felt that important, particularly in a system where there is so many removal of unit opportunities in the battle phase, and in a system where you could just be giving an additional point to an opponent in the battle with that extra unit. Very true with getting first selection on the train action, though that doesn’t necessarily help in an alliance at all…unless allies get the 2nd choice and we played it wrong?

    “Luck” isn’t the word I’d use. “Chaotic” is how I’d put it. True that it’s not luck if you happen to bid 2 instead of 3 on a particularly critical category in the battle phase, but there’s not enough useful information to make a meaningful distinction between spending 2 or 3, so when you happen to pick the wrong one, then it simply feels like you’ve lost a coinflip. Compared to, say, the psi games in Netrunner, which are a similar blind bidding system (though with a max of 2 credits you can spend), it didn’t feel like I was making a particularly interesting decision other than “spend none here, some here, and lots here”. In Netrunner the economic margins are frequently so paper thin that a 1 credit difference can snowball into something quite significant. Of course, I was flushed with cash in that game so I might have had an abnormal experience.

    We certainly played that part wrong if the clans were supposed to dictate turn order! Not sure how much of a difference that would have made, though, it makes me more inclined to try to play again.

    With 6 players there wasn’t really any much negotiation at all other than a couple of “if you go there I guarantee I can stomp you” and the people in 1st and 2nd colluding to ally with each other each round. If feel like the game’s more in the lineage of Cosmic Encounter than Diplomacy, for sure.

    Kent: See my comment above about luck vs. chaos. Something I’ll add to that is that there were so many situations where something happened to us outside of our control at all. Comparing again to Dominant Species, there’s a lot of powerful cards in that game, but it’s so easy to see the whole picture that you can think through how to work around any potential catastrophes heading your way. Indeed: that’s the heart of the game! Rising Sun felt similar, except that it was twice as much work to understand a game state less complex, and your plans could be foiled by guessing one coin wrong in a particular battle and losing everything.

    I don’t think I’m necessarily against bluffing as a mechanism. Netrunner and The Resistance are both in my top 10. Fundamentally I think my criticism was that Rising Sun felt like a lot more work than it should have.

    Thanks again for the comments. Hopefully that clears up some of my thoughts.

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