PDA

View Full Version : One Mans Perspective - First Game Played



The Mad Hatter
10-26-2013, 10:10
I played my first game of SoG at Flatcon yesterday evening (thanks again to Eric), I thought I'd post my review having seen and handled the ships and played two games.

First the models as that's a big draw to the game for me. They really are very good, especially for pre-paints! I'd give them a 8.5/10 overall. These seemed to be pretty close to final production models as far as I could tell. So what keeps them from being 10/10 I guess would be the question? Well, when I look at them in comparison to some of the 1/1200 stuff, the detail isn't quite as good. The biggest thing I would have like to have seen is the deck to have actual decking on it. It's done in 1/1200, should have been doable in 1/1000 was my thought. I also noticed the painting on the decks and in other parts isn't super clean and has what looks to be like maybe overspray potentially? Those are really the ONLY two issues that jumped to mind!

I have seen a few people talk about the plastic between the masts and the sails, but honestly, didn't even really notice it? Because you're always looking down and at some sort of angle, it very much blended in with the sails from my perspective. It's only when you pick it up, look at a straight side profile that you really notice it. If you added rigging and netting to the sides, this would easily disappear - and I can't wait to get my ships in my hand to do this (note two of the ships we played with had rigging done, I believe they may have been the exact ships Hajj rigged in the modeling threads).

Colors themselves were really well done. The ships REALLY come alive! The colors weren't super bright colors but looked more realistic and I might say weathered? It would have been easy to make the blues a bright blue, the reds a bright red which would have made the ships look very plastic and toy like, but I think they've achieved the opposite - because they have muted colors the ships look much less like plastic toys, more like painted wargaming models should. The sail colors were a bit different on some ships versus others, some had a very greyish and dirty looking sail type, others had a more bright white look to them. I personally preferred the grey looking ones, as I felt historically sails would very quickly turn grey or brown and never be truly white.

I can't say enough about the models themselves - as soon as they become available, I'll be buying even more ships to repaint just slightly to give even more variety.

Onto the game play then. The game played quite well and was INCREDIBLY fun! We didn't start with all the mechanics, first game was basically just moving, shooting, and reloading for the most part. It was a lot of fun with only those rules, not using anything more complex than that. I really like the fact that two enemy ships can't ram into each other, but two friendlies can. You might say that makes no sense, but these ships (unlike ancients galleys) weren't really meant to ram each other and I think including that would have led to some less historical gameplay. Having said that, running into friendly ships can HURT! A LOT! I think it helps capture the atmosphere of the game as you really have to be planning ahead, thinking about how all your ships are going to maneuver, and one mistake can really put a dent in your plans.

You do have to remember a lot of things in this game and I can see it taking a lot more pre-thought than something like WoW. We didn't play with wind changes, but that can create even more havoc for you and is another "future" variable you have to consider. You do have to remember/check a fair number of things from turn to turn. Checking the wind gauge, remembering what each ships sails are, remembering you have this thing called veer rating that affects what cards can/can't be played, number of crew and what actions you can/can't take based on crew remaining, etc. We didn't even play with all the advanced options, these just add more and more detail to the game (a positive, not negative). I think once you get into bigger games, a strict turn policy should be enforced to make sure you don't miss things. One thing I'm also wondering is, when using all the rules, how many ships can you effectively control?

We learned quickly that frigates versus ships of the line was bad, REALLY bad! SoL have the capability to tear frigates apart, mainly due to throwing out more damage tokens and the frigates having less burden. You combine those two things and the life a frigate captain can be rough! I really like the concept of burden which sort of reflects durability of a ship and how Ares has implemented this. The whole damage box burden mechanic works so well to really give the game a great dynamic feel to it.

Movement, while similar to WoG also feels very different - mainly because of the wind, and the potential to being caught in a bad position or wind change which could and does leave you not always where you expected to be. Even thinking you'd be orange, only to find out you're green in terms of wind can have drastic impacts, or as we found, getting stuck going into the wind for multiple turns and continuing to be pushed backward. I know some people feel there should be a third card being planned, but honestly, the game doesn't need it and it would just complicate things further without making the game feel like you're sailing a very large ship any more than it does now. Just one man's opinion though.

Overall, the game is incredibly fun, for me, maybe more than wings (although I don't play a lot of wings as many of you do). Overall game rating, call it a 4.5/5. I think we've got another winner with SoG.

Nightmoss
10-26-2013, 10:33
Thanks for the review, Ryan. Your take on the game pretty much reflects how I felt when I played my only demo at GenCon last August. We didn't have Keith's rigged ships on the table and only some of the ships were the final production models, but what was there was outstanding for prepaints, out of the box. I'm really looking forward to having them in hand, not only for playing, but for some painting, rigging, etc. The game mechanics are fun; wind especially is going to be a challenge and a defining aspect of the game that many will really relish (I know it's one item I really enjoyed).

Cmmdre
10-26-2013, 11:26
Welcome aboard Ryan. Thank you for your observations and opinions on what you've seen so far. Likewise I can' t to get going on some gaming. Feel like a starving man drooling on the other side of a picture window as a feast is being dished out on the other side of the glass. The long wait is almost over! :minis:

Naharaht
10-26-2013, 23:08
Thank you for this review, Ryan, and welcome to the Anchorage.

The Mad Hatter
10-27-2013, 10:55
In thinking back to Friday night, one of the mechanics I think I missed on a number of turns was making sure the veer rule wasn't being violated. It wasn't so much a problem in the second game where we played with a number of frigates, but with a fair number of SoLs in the first game, especially when things got to be in tight quarters, I may have violated that rule a few times. I think I need to ingrain in my head, check next turn card, check veer rating, check card planning to play. That way I'm building the memory pattern to check it every time. I see that as one of the things I might forget to do each and every turn. I think that's a critical part of the game to develop the lumbering feel of a SoL over a frigate.

Cmmdre
10-27-2013, 11:11
Good advice Ryan. Nice avatar by the way, like the veering ships.

Andy Blozinski
10-27-2013, 14:02
In thinking back to Friday night, one of the mechanics I think I missed on a number of turns was making sure the veer rule wasn't being violated. It wasn't so much a problem in the second game where we played with a number of frigates, but with a fair number of SoLs in the first game, especially when things got to be in tight quarters, I may have violated that rule a few times. I think I need to ingrain in my head, check next turn card, check veer rating, check card planning to play. That way I'm building the memory pattern to check it every time. I see that as one of the things I might forget to do each and every turn. I think that's a critical part of the game to develop the lumbering feel of a SoL over a frigate.

That's actually been my identified primary worry on things not getting done right. I'm thinking the solution might be to have the players keep a third card out on the table. This would be the movement card they played last turn. I could have them put it to the left of the current turn card position. This way we have the reference and the reminder for Veer.

The Mad Hatter
10-27-2013, 14:32
One of the things I want to do is draft a turn order with all rules. I'll probably use this the first few games to walk through sequence of events as they should happen. This will remind me, step X, make sail change settings, step Y, check veer difference. I think as you play with more people, this sort of thing could be useful as well just to make sure everyone's doing everything at the same time and ensuring things don't get missed.

I see a lot of potential for little things to get missed when you start using all the rules, so I think something like this would be helpful.

Comte de Brueys
10-27-2013, 16:24
Thank you for the insight of your experience, Ryan.

:g&t:

The Royal Hajj
10-28-2013, 10:10
Yep, veer rating is going to be the step most missed in games I think. Not only has it been the most difficult for demo players to grasp, but in the heat or combat it is easily over looked.

RichardPF
10-28-2013, 10:57
Yep, veer rating is going to be the step most missed in games I think. Not only has it been the most difficult for demo players to grasp, but in the heat or combat it is easily over looked.

I am finding a lot of the SGN rules to be almost genetic adaptations of rules from Wings.

I kind of viewed Veer as analogous to the Steep maneuver restriction.

Beowulf03809
10-28-2013, 13:44
Wonderful review and discussion. Thanks!!!
:rum:

Moideeb
10-28-2013, 14:57
Thanks for the review Ryan.

It's great to get all these pictures and reviews from people who have been lucky enough to play the game already. I can't wait to get my hands on the game and have a go myself. I have been tempted to get WOG of X-wing due to all the delays with delivery i could then play something similar now, but My interest has always been in the age of sail, so i'll keep waiting. These great reviews make the wait tolerable. Just!

The Mad Hatter
10-28-2013, 17:46
It's sort of a double edged sword....

Now that I've played the game and seen the minis, my desire to get my minis and start rigging and prepping them for engagements at sea has skyrocketed. I was content to sit back and wait up until Friday. Now, having played, November or even December seems so far away!

7eat51
10-28-2013, 21:40
I know some people feel there should be a third card being planned, but honestly, the game doesn't need it and it would just complicate things further without making the game feel like you're sailing a very large ship any more than it does now. Just one man's opinion though.

You're not alone on this. I wasn't sure, before playing, how the card component would work in terms of feel, but having been a part of several games, either playing or running, I really like the one card delay. It does force one to think about upcoming maneuvers, without being too binding or complex. Playing one card at a time is nice for learning, but two cards feels more mature, if that makes sense.


I see a lot of potential for little things to get missed when you start using all the rules, so I think something like this would be helpful.

Even with WoG, and solo games at that, I am amazed at how many things I forget or overlook. I think one sign of how good these games are is how well they stand up regardless of such oversights.

The Royal Hajj
10-29-2013, 09:00
I am finding a lot of the SGN rules to be almost genetic adaptations of rules from Wings.

I kind of viewed Veer as analogous to the Steep maneuver restriction.

It actually works different. In Wings, the steeps keep you from only doing two "extreme" maneuvers back to back. They have no limitation on direction. For example, a Dr.I could do a wide side slip to the left followed immediately by a rotary right, followed by it's tightest turn to the left. With the Veer rule in SGN, you could not do anyof those maneuvers back to back (depending on ship class). So similar in that they both restrict maneuvers, but very different in how they actually play out. To truly apply a Veer type of rule to Wings, we would have to add in a Roll Rate for planes.

Пилот
11-29-2013, 04:00
Yep, veer rating is going to be the step most missed in games I think. Not only has it been the most difficult for demo players to grasp, but in the heat or combat it is easily over looked.

Maybe some trained parrot which screams "Veerrr! Veerrr!" would do the trick :happy:

Seriously, for the few first games it maybe be good to have some kind of "veer reminder" on the table, to be sure everybody play right. Or to have one of the players comitted to this duty - until most people learn rutine. Also, to punish veering fault every time it happens.

RichardPF
11-29-2013, 04:34
It actually works different. In Wings, the steeps keep you from only doing two "extreme" maneuvers back to back. They have no limitation on direction. For example, a Dr.I could do a wide side slip to the left followed immediately by a rotary right, followed by it's tightest turn to the left. With the Veer rule in SGN, you could not do anyof those maneuvers back to back (depending on ship class). So similar in that they both restrict maneuvers, but very different in how they actually play out. To truly apply a Veer type of rule to Wings, we would have to add in a Roll Rate for planes.

Sure it works differently, but it is an additional game mechanic that modifies an otherwise straightforward potential movement sequence.
As a game designer sitting around saying "What additional challenge can I throw at this to make it more realistic and more challenging" like we did with wings, they both fill the same purpose.

7eat51
11-29-2013, 10:09
Maybe some trained parrot which screams "Veerrr! Veerrr!" would do the trick :happy:

Seriously, for the few first games it maybe be good to have some kind of "veer reminder" on the table, to be sure everybody play right. Or to have one of the players comitted to this duty - until most people learn rutine. Also, to punish veering fault every time it happens.

Aaron (Old Ironsides) pointed out, during our game at Rock-Con, that with the maneuver decks we had, veer only prevented playing the lowest and highest numbered cards back-to-back. Once we realized this, it was quite easy to remember.

Пилот
11-30-2013, 21:42
It's making thing easier, indeed.

swarbs
12-24-2013, 16:09
Aaron (Old Ironsides) pointed out, during our game at Rock-Con, that with the maneuver decks we had, veer only prevented playing the lowest and highest numbered cards back-to-back. Once we realized this, it was quite easy to remember.

I agree with this. It's not something you have to think about each turn, just if you had the wheel hard-a-port or hard-a-starboard. Otherwise, you're golden.

I would anticipate that veer will be more important when we get the big 3-decker 1st rates. Those should have a fairly terrible veer rating, one that may be prohibitive enough that a player has to be more careful.

I was so glad to get to set up and play a game today (albeit against myself) and played with the standard rules. Having those great looking ships on the table even generated some interest from my non-gaming family members. This one's going to be a staple for a while in my game collection.

Nightmoss
12-24-2013, 16:12
I agree with this. It's not something you have to think about each turn, just if you had the wheel hard-a-port or hard-a-starboard. Otherwise, you're golden.

I would anticipate that veer will be more important when we get the big 3-decker 1st rates. Those should have a fairly terrible veer rating, one that may be prohibitive enough that a player has to be more careful.

I was so glad to get to set up and play a game today (albeit against myself) and played with the standard rules. Having those great looking ships on the table even generated some interest from my non-gaming family members. This one's going to be a staple for a while in my game collection.

Thanks for the positive comments. Still waiting on my ships to come into port, but it's nice to hear of others enjoying some sailing time.

tmon
12-26-2013, 08:55
I am finding a lot of the SGN rules to be almost genetic adaptations of rules from Wings.

I kind of viewed Veer as analogous to the Steep maneuver restriction.
Physics is universal. :)

7eat51
12-27-2013, 17:33
Physics is universal. :)

Especially astrophysics.