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TOPIC: Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"???

Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 12:08 #8918


A game that was decent, even good in the '70s, but I remain shocked (and vaguely appalled) that people still invest time and effort into this outdated and, in truth, uninteresting game.

Still, all told, Kingmaker is a classic and it does try to address some of the problems inherent in the multplayer free-for-all type wargames. While it doesn't totally succeed, and it does have a fair number of other problems, nontheless it at least tried. Many more modern games are not even trying. For fans of today's games like Twilight Imperium or Conquest of the Empire II, this is worth going back to once, just to see the way it works the problems. Every time I play another uninspired game like Antike, Conquest of the Empire, A Game of Thrones, or whatever, I wonder: have these designers played the classics? Kingmaker, Dune, Titan, Civilization? These old games are from a different time, a time when (apparently) we had a lot more time, but they are otherwise good designs which demonstrated that the problems with this genre have been understood for a long time, and there was a time when people made an honest attempt to address them. If only I could say the same thing for today's American designers.

That's Chris Farrell above talking about the Avalon Hill Classic "Kingmaker". Chis is a good reviewer and a Platinum Pawn nominee but his only fault is being seduced by the Euro.

Chris is "appalled" that people invest time in a game of "Kingmaker"?
"Kingmaker" comes from a time when we had a lot more time?

A common complaint and major selling point for the Euro is that the playing time is shorter. Perhaps we need a fast food version of "Kingmaker" to satisfy Chris?

A lot of people think like Chris and think that we don't have as much time as we used to but it is my theory is that we have all the time in the world to play any game we want to.

So, we have a job now and kids. People still play golf all afternoon, you can play "Kingmaker" one afternoon and have a rich gaming experience rather than a bunch of super fillers that nobody will remember the next day.

It is just an illussion that you don't have as much time as you used to. It is easy to think that you don't have the time with the hectic images you see on TV and your cell phone ringing. But you will find if you turn these things off and organize your time and don't over commit yourself to activities. You will find you have time for anything.

Not to sound sexist but women in particular are very guilty of multitasking to the extreme and going a million miles an hour and when you operate like this you find you don't have time for ANYTHING.

People that live like this think it is essential but I tell you it is not! Some people enjoy living like this, they think of themselves in the "fast lane" but I say,

"What's your hurry?"

So why don't you turn off the TV, turn off the computer, turn off the cell phone, pull out some Guinness, invite a few friends over to play "Kingmaker" and appal Chris Farrell?

Steve Weeks
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 12:28 #8920

It sounds like people have all the time they want but rather than playing 1 game for 2 hours, they would prefer to play 3 or 4 games in that same period time. The problem I have with a fast food version of anything, I'll relate in terms of "Mare Nostrum". I've never played Civilization the board game but I would imagine that Mare Nostrum has the feel but a much shorter game. The problem I have is that in shortening the game, the ending leaves me wanting more because it's so abrupt....Ooops, you built your 4th Wonder or Hero...congrats. I think in trying to speed up a game (or movie or whatever) you end up leaving out things that should be there.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 12:48 #8922

The answer, Good Sir, must be a resounding NO!

It's not the time that is a problem with Kingmaker. It is the chasing of small armies by large armies across England. Even when you are the last pretender on the board and have no hope in hell of recreating an army because all titles and troops have been taken by the King's cronies. It's the bad luck of being ravaged by plague or having your armies split up and the time it takes to get it all back together.

To my feeling, it doesn't even represent the Wars of the Roses very well where long periods of scheming and a bit of skirmishing was broken up by a short violent campaign after which things settled again. Power was redistributed and people went about their normal business (fighting local rivals) until some pretender turned up at a port to challenge the present King.

If it was better at representing that, the time to play wouldn't bother me none.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 12:59 #8924

It's not the time that is a problem with Kingmaker. It is the chasing of small armies by large armies across England. Even when you are the last pretender on the board and have no hope in hell of recreating an army because all titles and troops have been taken by the King's cronies. It's the bad luck of being ravaged by plague or having your armies split up and the time it takes to get it all back together.

I agree Jur. Those small armies should stay still so the large armies can kick their ass! I hate when they try to hide like that!

I hate when something like the plague spoils my perfect strategy. Those nobles should have got their plague shots before the game started.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 13:27 #8927

From a gaming point of view you're right. But the randomness is not the problem. The point is that at when one player is in a hopeless situation he can still keep the game going. And I did when I had the chance, because it had a slapstick cop chase quality to it. But a real pretender would have run for a ship and made for the Continent. But I could because I didn't have any ships. There it all turns silly.

Spoiling perfect plans is good. But some of the randomness just prolongs the game without adding anything interesting in return.

edit: Alternatively, you can play the Clearclaw way and keep track of the cities that already had a plague and go there. Now that is a hot rod of fun murdering up your behind.
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Last Edit: 22 Jul 2008 13:29 by Jur.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 13:51 #8930

edit: Alternatively, you can play the Clearclaw way and keep track of the cities that already had a plague and go there. Now that is a hot rod of fun murdering up your behind.

Is that the way Clearclaw plays? HA!!!
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 14:06 #8933

I had a pretty unpleasant scene at an all day game party two weekends ago regarding the one long game vs a bunch of short ones. Voices were raised, and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So much so that I've been on a break since then.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 22 Jul 2008 14:10 #8934

When I have the time, I'd rather play a long one. There's room enough for the shorter ones elsewhere. But maybe I'm just a lucky guy to have several different gaming opportunities.

Uba, get over this thing and play with fun people. Not playing when you could be is a waste and therefor a sin!
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 22 Jul 2008 16:02 #8956

Jur wrote:
edit: Alternatively, you can play the Clearclaw way and keep track of the cities that already had a plague and go there. Now that is a hot rod of fun murdering up your behind.

There's a suggested variant to shuffle the deck everytime certain cards show to remove players turtling in cities already plagued - can't remember exactly but have a file somewhere (from a few years back) about it which I need to find as this is a game I'm trying to rouse interest in. Have a mate at a wargaming club and some of them will play boardgames when thay have a break in campaigns, and are keen to try some of the longer games of our yesteryears - Fortress America, Samurai Swords, Kingmaker (already done Britannia), History of the World ... just got to carefully draw them in!
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 22 Jul 2008 20:34 #8966

Jur wrote:
When I have the time, I'd rather play a long one. There's room enough for the shorter ones elsewhere. But maybe I'm just a lucky guy to have several different gaming opportunities.

Uba, get over this thing and play with fun people. Not playing when you could be is a waste and therefor a sin!

The problem is that my long gaming opportunities are at the game club's full day, which is one Sat. per month. However, the president of the club doesn't like people to play long games because it "pulls them out of the mix for too long." He goes around to the tables and does this passive aggressive thing to people who are playing long games, asking them when they will be done, commenting on how much he dislikes whatever game they are playing, stuff like that. Then as soon as a table is done he starts forcing filler games on them.

A friend of mine started hosting a game party at her home once and again, inviting a few of the game club members who live close by. Its all mostly pre-arrange longer games with specific people who have been wanting to play that game. At the last party, the president shows up, even though he wasn't invited. Long story short, he was a total f-ing douche bag, and I got into it with him - loudly.

So now the president is pissed at me. My friend is pissed at me. So I'm waiting for things to cool down.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 22 Jul 2008 21:24 #8967

ubarose wrote:
The problem is that my long gaming opportunities are at the game club's full day, which is one Sat. per month. However, the president of the club doesn't like people to play long games because it "pulls them out of the mix for too long." He goes around to the tables and does this passive aggressive thing to people who are playing long games, asking them when they will be done, commenting on how much he dislikes whatever game they are playing, stuff like that. Then as soon as a table is done he starts forcing filler games on them.



Holy shit. If that was my scene, I have no idea what I'd do. One thing I do tend to do is respond to passive-aggressive douchebaggery with very much straightforward non-passive aggressive behavior. Who the fuck does this guy think he is, passing judgement, talking shit about people's choice of games, timing their length of play? "Forcing" fillers on them? Man...I'd love to attend a gameday like this...just once. I'm sure I wouldn't be welcome back again. Man, what an asshole. That's like the worst of BGG personified, absolutely and completely. I thought it was just exaggerated internet personas, but I guess not.


You can tell him that one of the F:AT founders has a message for him--kiss my ass, and pass the Imperium, douchebag.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 23 Jul 2008 00:56 #8970

I'm amazed the guy gets away with that kind of behaviour. If I were to tell anybody in my club what they should play I'd just be laughed at and ignored.

Even if I have some sympathy for his argument, it's not his business. The only way he can get away with that is if other people agree with him, but I can't imagine they do. All in all being president of a gaming club is small beer but apparently it brings out the authoritarian in some people. Sad.

Good luck in getting back into the fray.
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Last Edit: 23 Jul 2008 00:57 by Jur.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food "Kingmaker"??? 23 Jul 2008 05:46 #8974

Regarding "fast food" euro games: Yes, it amazes me that people will sit there with a straight face and tell you a 5 hour game is too long to play, but they will happily make the time to play 5, 1 hour games. It always begs the questions- well what if the 5 hour game is more fun? Isn't the point to have fun, not to play the most games?

Regarding Kingmaker: We played through several games with a friend's copy back in the 90's. It was fun. The only complaint was that often the best course of action seemed to be to hole up in your castle and do nothing. Stalemates like this were usually resolved by clucking at the player in question like a chicken. After an extended taunting he would come out of his lair and be slaughtered like a man, at least usually. In other cases, they just continue to hole up/run away. Still, it was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

I remember seeing a Feudal Japan variant in the Avalon Hill catolog and thinking it looked cool. I mean Kingmaker is fun- add ninjas and samurai- and SHAZAAAM! that game must be REALLY fun! Anybody ever try it? Never played it, but Samurai Swords scratches that itch and does so very well.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 23 Jul 2008 09:43 #8980

ubarose wrote:
Jur wrote:
When I have the time, I'd rather play a long one. There's room enough for the shorter ones elsewhere. But maybe I'm just a lucky guy to have several different gaming opportunities.

Uba, get over this thing and play with fun people. Not playing when you could be is a waste and therefor a sin!

The problem is that my long gaming opportunities are at the game club's full day, which is one Sat. per month. However, the president of the club doesn't like people to play long games because it "pulls them out of the mix for too long." He goes around to the tables and does this passive aggressive thing to people who are playing long games, asking them when they will be done, commenting on how much he dislikes whatever game they are playing, stuff like that. Then as soon as a table is done he starts forcing filler games on them.

A friend of mine started hosting a game party at her home once and again, inviting a few of the game club members who live close by. Its all mostly pre-arrange longer games with specific people who have been wanting to play that game. At the last party, the president shows up, even though he wasn't invited. Long story short, he was a total f-ing douche bag, and I got into it with him - loudly.

So now the president is pissed at me. My friend is pissed at me. So I'm waiting for things to cool down.

Ugh. This is why I always host my own AmeriTrash gaming days. Everybody is there to play AmeriTrash, and the turnout is usually no more than eight people, so we all play together instead of splitting up in separate games. Picking the next game is generally easy, because most of us are happy to play anything AmeriTrash.

And I already know most of the people in advance, so I know that I'm not dealing with any idiots or assholes. I took a chance with Joel and Thaadd here at F:AT, but they both fit in just fine. (Although Thaadd hasn't shown recent interest in showing up again, so maybe we offended her. And Joel may have concerns after I subjected the group to the opening scene of Step It Up 2: the Streets.) The poop guy did drop out of the group because he was offended at a fairly tame remark that I posted at BGG, but he has some self-esteem issues to work out.

The one thing that I have struggled with is the attention spans, which have tended to max out at about two hours. But Arkham Horror is changing that. Our group loves Arkham Horror, and since we keep playing with all of the expansions mixed in, the game has been averaging more than 3 hours lately. So this last Sunday, I actually got people to play another long AT game (Asteroid, which clocked in at about 3.5 hours), and nobody even commented about how long the game took, because they were enjoying it.
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Re:Do We Need A Fast Food 23 Jul 2008 10:43 #8984

ubarose wrote:
The problem is that my long gaming opportunities are at the game club's full day, which is one Sat. per month. However, the president of the club doesn't like people to play long games because it "pulls them out of the mix for too long." He goes around to the tables and does this passive aggressive thing to people who are playing long games, asking them when they will be done, commenting on how much he dislikes whatever game they are playing, stuff like that. Then as soon as a table is done he starts forcing filler games on them.

A friend of mine started hosting a game party at her home once and again, inviting a few of the game club members who live close by. Its all mostly pre-arrange longer games with specific people who have been wanting to play that game. At the last party, the president shows up, even though he wasn't invited. Long story short, he was a total f-ing douche bag, and I got into it with him - loudly.

So now the president is pissed at me. My friend is pissed at me. So I'm waiting for things to cool down.[/quote]
If the people there wanted to play those games and this guy didn't. Tough titties for him. And if people are having fun playing a longer game, what's the big deal for him anyway? I'm sure there are plenty of people that prefer the 45 minute game to a 2 hour game. If given a chance, I would prefer the longer game but I don't mind the shorter games.
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