4 Player, not recommended.

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RicardoRix
Posts: 1693
Joined: 29 April 2012, 23:43

4 Player, not recommended.

Post by RicardoRix »

Great game and great implementation, but

Just a word of warning. Having just started some beginner friendly 4 player games, I can say that the 4-players setting was a mistake. 3 would have been far better.

There are not enough action-spaces, resources(we run out of mountain strips) and islands.
We're all just flapping around more like giant sea-turtles than Vikings.

It would be good to see that the default mini-expansion option is set to YES rather than NO. I can't see why you'd ever really want this off.

I am struggling the find the recommended player count for ANY game, has is been removed? I can't see it in the table setup page.
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KeithHendricks
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Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by KeithHendricks »

4 player is great! Best way to play. Sorry to hear of your bad experience.

Some tips for the future:

1) wood and ore are always available through the 2V mountain strip action, as this does not come from the mountain strips, but the supply; if you need an extra stone, you can fail at raiding for a stone and a sword. I do this sometimes if there are no stone on the strips and I have 2 lumber and 1 stone and want to use 4V build or 3V crafting. You can also fail at hunting actions for wood, but this is not as useful, as wood is always available, as I said above.

2) don’t forget the imitate squares in 4 player. At the beginning of the game make a mental note which columns they are in for that game. If the 1-2 copy strip is on the 2V column, 2 players can do pillaging every round.

3) there are always plenty of action spaces as long as everyone isn’t trying to play the game the same way—if whaling and pillaging are always blocked, try animals. Taking the 4V sheep and cow gives you 20 squares of red tile for upgrading to green for instance. So taking that space then the x2 just gave you 20 squares worth of green. Think creatively. And if you get lots of animals, the 1V milk, 3V wool, and 4V market become great spots without any competition. Crafting spots are also great. Taking occupation cards with a Viking. Taking not just islands but houses. Taking a risk with an early emigration. Emigrating a whaling ship for 4 Vikings in the early rounds can be a great way to play an occupation card and save food all through the game. Taking that action in round 2 is a 13 point move, plus the value of the occupation card. Playing occupation cards 4 at a time. I’m always surprised how many people don’t use that play 1-4 spot, if only for the points. The spots are only limited if everyone is trying to use the same spots.
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RicardoRix
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Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by RicardoRix »

Maybe I should have been a bit more clear, I meant for beginners. Maybe the experts can find better things to do.
I've just finished my 2nd game - 4 players with mini-expansion. I only managed to get 1 island. I spent the whole 7th round just finding extra points from non-tile actions. So 2 emigrations, buying boats and sheds. I got lucky as none of these action spaces were blocked because the other 3 players all needed more tiles. But it's really not a great ending. Given I won by a large margin I can only feel that this situation would be even worse if the other players were better.

At least for trying out the game I would suggest 3-players. 4-players seem to need some high level thinking not to get accidentally stuck.
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KeithHendricks
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Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by KeithHendricks »

Nah, IRL we’ve been playing this game four player since we started playing in 2018. I also create nothing but four player games on here. It’s super fun at that player count no matter your skill level. I’m sorry you had a bad session, but it’s an outlier. Competition for action spaces isn’t a bug, it’s a feature of worker placement games.

Also, as competition for action spaces is stiffer in 3 player than in 4 player, as there are no copy squares in 3 player, your recommendation to caution beginner players against 4 player Feast logically should extend to putting a caution sticker on three player games as well.
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RicardoRix
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Joined: 29 April 2012, 23:43

Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by RicardoRix »

I'm aware of how worker placement games work.
The main cause as far as I can tell are the limited amount of islands. There aren't any more of these for 4-player.
Running out of mountain strips is not cool. The rule book even mentions this for 4-player.
There are only 2 more action spaces with 4-player, admittedly slightly magical ones. Given the large number of similar action spaces, this might not be overall too bad. But when you're fighting for those island spaces, then having to switch gears, buy a bigger boat and then maybe get beaten to the punch again is quite painful.

As a beginner playing the game it's nice to be able to explore all the different options, and not be permanently paranoid and having to analyse all the myriad of different ways in which resources might not be there by the next turn or round. The reality is that you won't even be focusing on that and just figuring out the mechanics of the game. So when it happens, it's a bit puzzling that you hit a brick wall.

If it's analogous to the 'point-celling' idea you get with Agricola, then I doubt many beginners of that game are going to hit that problem.
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KeithHendricks
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Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by KeithHendricks »

I win a lot with just one island. It’s easier for beginners to win the game with one island as well, as it narrows the strategic field, limits the amount of negatives to cover, and gives the player time to turn their attention to filling their homeboard for the big homeboard income. So there being fewer islands to go around is also not a bug, but a feature of the game, as it incentivizes early expansion and competition for the islands. It adds excitement to early rounds. But the one who comes away with one island often ends up making better investments (animal breeding to cover the homeboard, longhouses, emigrations). In one game, a player took four of the six islands, and ended up with the lowest score. I won that one with Bear island, a filled home board, houses, and emigrations. And tons of cards. There are a lot of slots on the score card, not just islands. Everyone should be going after everything. I am often more concerned that the last longhouse is gone than that someone took the last island. Longhouses are cakewalks to fill in endgame if you’ve been activating your bonuses, etc.

4 player only has 2 extra action spaces, but they let the players at the table double up on strategic actions, so 2 people can use pillaging or emigration instead of one, or whaling, or 4V build. So it is much more generous than 3 player.
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RicardoRix
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Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by RicardoRix »

OK, I will concede that I was wrong. It was a bit of a an early judgement.

After seeing a crafted win of 150 points with no islands and lots of emigration, I can see that perhaps I was focussed too much on the engine building, and not realising the victory points aspect.

My analogy to the point-ceiling in Agricola should be better to that of making fields, or fencing. And you only tend to fence 1 or 2 times, and maybe never.

The game is very intriguing. I look forward to trying more games, maybe even 4-player ;)
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KeithHendricks
Posts: 39
Joined: 13 August 2020, 03:48

Re: 4 Player, not recommended.

Post by KeithHendricks »

Look for my games! I run nothing but four player.
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