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So Third Floor Wars brought up the game length problem, and I've given it some thought.  I see a few solutions, but this is one of the least drastic.  Lets face it, most round 5s are a bit lame.  And not being able to score round 1 is outright weird.  Remember Reckoning, and killing things and realizing it didn't score you a point?  Just bizarre.  Or Martyrs, your Martyr can die in Round 1 and you don't score?  It doesn't feel intuitive.  

Yes, game balance will be a little wonky and we might have to rethink deployment zones (Corner might have to get larger, for instance) but I don't see anything wrong with starting scoring in Round 1 and letting it be a 4 round game.  A few models might need to get nerfed, but it should be an overall positive effect.  And the crews hurt worst by this are summoning crews, which are almost all in a great spot.  

It'd also bring the crews in conflict faster, which means more dead models, and dead models means shorter games.  

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33 minutes ago, RisingPhoenix said:

So Third Floor Wars brought up the game length problem, and I've given it some thought.  I see a few solutions, but this is one of the least drastic.  Lets face it, most round 5s are a bit lame.  And not being able to score round 1 is outright weird.  Remember Reckoning, and killing things and realizing it didn't score you a point?  Just bizarre.  Or Martyrs, your Martyr can die in Round 1 and you don't score?  It doesn't feel intuitive.  

Yes, game balance will be a little wonky and we might have to rethink deployment zones (Corner might have to get larger, for instance) but I don't see anything wrong with starting scoring in Round 1 and letting it be a 4 round game.  A few models might need to get nerfed, but it should be an overall positive effect.  And the crews hurt worst by this are summoning crews, which are almost all in a great spot.  

It'd also bring the crews in conflict faster, which means more dead models, and dead models means shorter games.  

Even if I don't see it as a bad idea, it will require a complete change in some crews, like a lot, so I don't see it happening. The game was designed for a 5 turn length and it would be extremely complicate to change it now.

It's not even 1 year since the release. Many people is starting or re-starting to play Malifaux and don't know what changed. I think it's a matter of time. I don't see a problem with a game taking 3-5h unless you're playing an event with a strict time limit, for which in that case you just need to practice and become faster playing. Let's remember that most of the people plays for fun, not to go to important tournaments.

As an example, in my meta, an important part of people people prefer to play a chill relaxed tournament with 2 games (3.5h each) while having some time to chat, discuss stuff, eat pizza, etc... Than a 3 full rounds tournament for which they have to wake up earlier, keep playing until later and do it all in a rush to end the games.

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This idea is bad and gamebreaking.

Being able to score turn one will give a huge advantage to fast crews and will hurt all other "moderate-speed" crews (not only summoners). And even most fast crews will not have enough actions to prevent enemy scoring turn one. 

On the other hand strategies like Recover Evidence or Symbols of Authority are very difficult to score turn one. And models, that can teleport and remove a Symbol (looking at you, Mr. Seamus), will be the only tool to score full 8 VP if the game is only 4 turns.

I would like to remind, that back in m2e some schemes could be scored turn one. It was a smart strategy to score 6 points turn one and use all resourses not to let your opponent score more than 5. But is was not very fun to play against.

 

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Newish player here (with quite some experience in other skirmish miniature games). 
As already stated above, it might be an issue of practice or lack thereof. My first game of Malifaux (M3E) took us about 6 hours and just now I am able to finish most games within 3 rather easily (with the crews I am used to play).  
Lucky me for tournaments usually offering 2.5 hours per game - I finish about 50% of my games within that time frame. 

I do see that Malifaux is no fast game (soooo much decision making and tons of micro management) but I see it as a boon. I prefer to spend 3 hours on a single game than 2 times 1.5 hous on a game I don't enjoy as much. 

And tbh one of the things I like most about Malifaux is the scoring (including Strategies and Schemes). With my other favorite game (Infinity - great to satisfy my scifi/cyberpunk needs) the only thing I really don't enjoy as much as with Malifaux is the Rambo-issue. Typical an usual successful thing at Infinity is step 1) winning initiative , step 2) score the first point(s) step 3) kill as much as possible of the opponent's army - even very good players often face a very hard time to recover and win when going second. The issue is there because most organizers at Infinity don't care enough about terrain setup which is very important but that's another topic.

At Malifaux one the things I really enjoy are the scoring/crew composition.
Being able to score at turn one will imho most probably result in a Rambo-situation as described above. As M3E is now, turn 1 usually is adaption, making tactical movements, putting on some pressure.
I enjoy the scoring limitations especially when it comes to Reckoning and such as you don't really get all the good things: if you want to score you will wait until turn 2 to kill. If you kill turn 1 you still get the tactical advantage of ridding the opponent of some of his ressources. Getting would make the game less entertaining and tense imho. 

Getting rid of the somehow lazy turn 1 limitation would change so many things and imho not lead to any improvements (besides shorter time frame). 

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1 hour ago, Scoffer said:

This idea is bad and gamebreaking.

Being able to score turn one will give a huge advantage to fast crews and will hurt all other "moderate-speed" crews (not only summoners). And even most fast crews will not have enough actions to prevent enemy scoring turn one. 

On the other hand strategies like Recover Evidence or Symbols of Authority are very difficult to score turn one. And models, that can teleport and remove a Symbol (looking at you, Mr. Seamus), will be the only tool to score full 8 VP if the game is only 4 turns.

I would like to remind, that back in m2e some schemes could be scored turn one. It was a smart strategy to score 6 points turn one and use all resourses not to let your opponent score more than 5. But is was not very fun to play against.

 

The first point of a strategy is usually a gimme (in my quite a few games of M3E I think that I've stopped the enemy from scoring completely maybe a handful of times, and it usually involved Corrupted Idols).  Schemes and strats will need to be adjusted to make it possible.  That almost goes without saying.  But this is the internet, so I suppose I was foolish to assume that anyone would be able to understand something without it being explicitly stated, so my bad.  Schemes and strats will have to change to accommodate this.  Yes.   

There's many ways to do this, we could have some of the back-and-forth "if you have more X than the opponent you score" strategies.  We've already walked back the escalating difficulty a bit (Symbols has no escalating difficulty component), we can adjust the schemes and strategies.  It's not impossible, it's not even that hard.  "Gamebreaking"?  Come on now.  This is absurd hyperbole.  Schemes will still have an "end of game" component, you would at most be able to score 3 points Round 1.  Which shouldn't happen anyway without your opponent misplaying, the same as scoring 3 points round 2 involves your opponent misplaying (and probably having thrown the game right there).  

We'd almost certainly unbalance certain crews.  Euripides has enough mobility problems to begin with, this wouldn't do him any favors.  

Honestly, most of my matches, Round 5 is perfunctory anyway.  We already knew who won before the round started.  And Round 1 just give summoners and buff crews time to power up that doesn't cost them anything.  If they're weak after (and most of those crews are on the high end of the curve), we can adjust it.  No crew is going to be unplayable, no crew is going to be unbeatable.  Malifaux isn't perfectly balanced, and it wouldn't be.  It would be quicker, and it would be more elegant.

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I agree removing rounds breaks the game more than other options (like 35 soulstones games), but one thing to note is that many metas seem to have a De facto 3-4 round game length.

Balancing around a shorter game makes more sense than balancing around a longer game and then cutting it short a lot of the time.

Although personally I think other solutions are in order.

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If there's a group of people who want to develop a faster play format, that's great.  That's how we got the M2E variant play formats.  But that's what you want, get to work and do it.

But as presented, this is just "A podcast presented an argument that I agree with that I'm not going to bother repeating, and I want other people to make those results happen."  🤷‍♀️

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The game length "problem" is only occur in tournament hence I believe changing the format of tournament is a more proper way to fix it.

Not sure if it can help or not, but the tournament format of my local meta has vary time length among all 3 rounds. the 1st round lasts for 2 hours, 2.5 hours for 2nd and 3 hours for 3rd.

Since it is no way to hold a 3 3-hour games aday so I have to move the time from 1st round to the more important 3rd round to ensure it ends at turn 5.

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1 hour ago, Maniacal_cackle said:

I agree removing rounds breaks the game more than other options (like 35 soulstones games), but one thing to note is that many metas seem to have a De facto 3-4 round game length.

Balancing around a shorter game makes more sense than balancing around a longer game and then cutting it short a lot of the time.

Although personally I think other solutions are in order.

What other solutions ?  I've thought of a few myself, this was by far the least drastic.  If anything I would be slightly worried it doesn't go far enough.  I'd love to discuss it.  I feel like 35 soulstones is worse than 4 rounds though.  4 rounds might involve tweaking some models and rewriting the schemes and strategies (which Malifaux does regularly) but 35 soulstones is just not that many models.  Many crews would be reduced to "we take these models, because that's what fits in 35 soulstones".  And summoners would just be absurdly good, there's a reason Henchmen Hardcore doesn't let you summon models.  

There's a hell of a lot of measuring happening in a game of Malifaux, we're just not going to get 2 hour games (or even 2.5 hour games) unless one person is getting tabled, or you just say "screw scheming, lets go for each other's throats".  And the idea that experience speeds up the game is true, for a while.  But we're basically as fast as we're going to get with experience.  People forget that experience can slow down a game too, and I think we're actually moving to the point where that's relevant.

Ultimately this is de facto a 3-4 round game.  I think we can adapt the rules to make it a more fun and better 4 round game.  And yes, there will be complaining, I remember the debates over cutting round 6.  We did it, and the game got better.  Obviously cutting every round isn't the answer, but Round 5 is sufficiently silly that I don't think it'll be missed.  Ending on a whimper isn't a good ending.  

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I'm sceptical, but also the Gaining Grounds system is pretty neat for tinkering.

Would totally support something like a Gaining Grounds 1.5 or 2.5 that introduced 4 round games for a limited trial period.

The game would be entirely different, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Although I'm biased, as I'd finally be able to play Dreamer in a 2.5 hour setting! I'm not fast enough for five round Dreamer.

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I mentioned this in a recent thread:

And I don't really think it's an issue. I do believe we can, for the most part, finish games in the allotted time (although that is usually 2:15). There are a few masters that are very difficult to do this with like Sandeep, Hamelin, and the like, but most of the masters can move smooth and efficiently through a complete game. There are slow players out there (and I don't think this is an experience thing) but the game works pretty well as a 5 turn game. 

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Scoring turn 1 should be with smaller table and greater game speed (+1 AP for all models, maybe) and rework of bunch of mechanics. Totally different game in simple words. Wyrds have another things to do than rework all of the Malifaux to alternative shadespirish skirmish for debatable size audience.

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18 hours ago, RisingPhoenix said:

What other solutions ?  I've thought of a few myself, this was by far the least drastic.  If anything I would be slightly worried it doesn't go far enough.  I'd love to discuss it.  I feel like 35 soulstones is worse than 4 rounds though.  4 rounds might involve tweaking some models and rewriting the schemes and strategies (which Malifaux does regularly) but 35 soulstones is just not that many models.  Many crews would be reduced to "we take these models, because that's what fits in 35 soulstones".  And summoners would just be absurdly good, there's a reason Henchmen Hardcore doesn't let you summon models.  

There's a hell of a lot of measuring happening in a game of Malifaux, we're just not going to get 2 hour games (or even 2.5 hour games) unless one person is getting tabled, or you just say "screw scheming, lets go for each other's throats".  And the idea that experience speeds up the game is true, for a while.  But we're basically as fast as we're going to get with experience.  People forget that experience can slow down a game too, and I think we're actually moving to the point where that's relevant.

Ultimately this is de facto a 3-4 round game.  I think we can adapt the rules to make it a more fun and better 4 round game.  And yes, there will be complaining, I remember the debates over cutting round 6.  We did it, and the game got better.  Obviously cutting every round isn't the answer, but Round 5 is sufficiently silly that I don't think it'll be missed.  Ending on a whimper isn't a good ending.  

Except its  not a defacto short game. Most people I know have no problem finishing 5 turns.

In approx 30 tourney games in m3e I have failed to finish 1 two hour game down to opponents slow play.

Have played in varied lengths from 2 hours to 2.5 and not every game is a tabling, some are very tactical (penultimate round table 2 at nationals for me for example) but we still get finished in no problems.

If you want a 3 round game maybe play shadespire? Or create some alternate rules for your local meta. The problem is, if you aim for 3 turns you will probably never have the incentive to speed up and subconsciously always play for 3 turns which results in never finishing games.

Perhaps go into a tourney with 2.5 hour rounds expecting and playing for 5 rounds, you might surprise yourself

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The problem is, it's not a problem everywhere. Lots of metas don't finish games. Lots do. 

You can't punish those able to play in the time limit by screwing the game balance. 

I get the need to try and fix it for everyone but the better solution would be for metas to understand their playing times and adjust the tournament times accordingly.

 

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23 hours ago, RisingPhoenix said:

Lets face it, most round 5s are a bit lame

what if, and bear with me here, instead of rebalancing the entire game you just... resigned? You know, if the result is already a foregone conclusion.

Like, go watch a professional match of any game from Starcraft II to Go, the vast majority are won by resignation 

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Top table in my 1st m3e tourney, if it ended at round 3 I would have lost 4-0, however I was fortunately playing a 5 round game so went on to win 5-4 and take the top spot

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18 hours ago, RisingPhoenix said:

What other solutions ?  I've thought of a few myself, this was by far the least drastic.  If anything I would be slightly worried it doesn't go far enough.  

Ultimately this is de facto a 3-4 round game.  I think we can adapt the rules to make it a more fun and better 4 round game.  And yes, there will be complaining, I remember the debates over cutting round 6.  We did it, and the game got better.  Obviously cutting every round isn't the answer, but Round 5 is sufficiently silly that I don't think it'll be missed.  Ending on a whimper isn't a good ending.  

Some suggestions- smaller tables. Smaller crews, smaller hand. Larger deployment. Only can cheat on your activation. Large areas of hazardous terrain on every table.  Change scoring mechanism. Longer round times. 

All can work but they would all change the game in different ways. 

If you go into a game with the mind set of its a 3 turn game, then you probably will only get 3 turns. So it might be a de facto 3/4 turn game for you, but it not for me Or a lot of other people. I have had more games have important turn 5 than have been irrelevant. It doesn't seem to be that way for everyone. 

If your group want to play 4 turn games, you're welcome to, and you can consider ways to change the game to suit the way you play.

Henchmen hard-core was originally created as a short 20 minute game to play while the final scores were being worked out ( before there were henchmen in the game if I remember correctly, so hard-core). It's now a common format around the world for people that want to play shorter games. 

 

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5 hours ago, Andrew James Princep said:

what if, and bear with me here, instead of rebalancing the entire game you just... resigned? You know, if the result is already a foregone conclusion.

Like, go watch a professional match of any game from Starcraft II to Go, the vast majority are won by resignation 

Let me explain a little concept called "Diff"...

5 hours ago, katadder said:

Top table in my 1st m3e tourney, if it ended at round 3 I would have lost 4-0, however I was fortunately playing a 5 round game so went on to win 5-4 and take the top spot

Oh good, so, let me see.   You scored both points of both schemes in round 5, and one strategy point?

... That was a very legit M3E tournament.  Christ.  Well, it helps explain how some of these tournaments reach 5 turns all the damn time, they're happening in people's heads.  

 

5 hours ago, Adran said:

Some suggestions- smaller tables. Smaller crews, smaller hand. Larger deployment. Only can cheat on your activation. Large areas of hazardous terrain on every table.  Change scoring mechanism. Longer round times. 

All can work but they would all change the game in different ways. 

If you go into a game with the mind set of its a 3 turn game, then you probably will only get 3 turns. So it might be a de facto 3/4 turn game for you, but it not for me Or a lot of other people. I have had more games have important turn 5 than have been irrelevant. It doesn't seem to be that way for everyone. 

If your group want to play 4 turn games, you're welcome to, and you can consider ways to change the game to suit the way you play.

Henchmen hard-core was originally created as a short 20 minute game to play while the final scores were being worked out ( before there were henchmen in the game if I remember correctly, so hard-core). It's now a common format around the world for people that want to play shorter games. 

 

I mean the other thing I was considering is just add 7 to Df/Wp and make opposed duels and tactical actions work the same way.  That probably has a much larger game impact though, as you can no longer cheat certain pieces of BS into failing.  Smaller tables and smaller crews though?  That makes the game very much worse.  I'm honestly shocked you're calling that a possibility, because having only 3-4 models really ruins the strategic diversity of the game.  Henchman Hardcore is not as interesting a game as full Malifaux, and turning Malifaux into henchman hardcore is silly.  

Four rounds is perfectly reasonable.  And the first round not being scoring is wonky.  What's the thematic justification?  We have to seize the symbols, but we can't do it too quickly because that would be... I dunno... bad?  We complain about focus carry over and too much resources being built up, but why are too much resources being built up?  Well, what else is there to do Round 1?  If suddenly building up resources too hard starts to threaten your scoring ability (or give your opponent free scoring opportunities) it becomes a choice, and potentially a painful one.  Choices are interesting, and this would force you to make more hard ones.  

Although it helps to know that a lot of people finishing tournament games in 2 hours are people who win tournaments where they score 5 points in the last round.  Really tells me how seriously to take the claims that it's happening everywhere.  Christ, I taught my friend to play Malifaux a few months ago and he knows better than that.  

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2 minutes ago, RisingPhoenix said:

Oh good, so, let me see.   You scored both points of both schemes in round 5, and one strategy point?

... That was a very legit M3E tournament.  Christ.  Well, it helps explain how some of these tournaments reach 5 turns all the damn time, they're happening in people's heads.  

Although it helps to know that a lot of people finishing tournament games in 2 hours are people who win tournaments where they score 5 points in the last round.  Really tells me how seriously to take the claims that it's happening everywhere.  Christ, I taught my friend to play Malifaux a few months ago and he knows better than that.  

He said at the end of turn 3. So perfectly possible to score 5 points between turn 4 and 5, I've done it myself many times.

You can have your opinion, and we can disagree with it. For start, it will require to increase the Mv of all the miniatures, which implies a modification of all the cards in game. For someone like me that bought all faction packs except 2, that's a huge investment of money. And that is only the top of the iceberg.

I played many games in M2E (which was way more difficult to play because it wasn't as streamlined as it is now) in 2.5h or less, going to turn 4-5 without many issues. More than once up to turn 6 with Tara (even once up to the 7th).

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18 minutes ago, ShinChan said:

He said at the end of turn 3. So perfectly possible to score 5 points between turn 4 and 5, I've done it myself many times.

You can have your opinion, and we can disagree with it. For start, it will require to increase the Mv of all the miniatures, which implies a modification of all the cards in game. For someone like me that bought all faction packs except 2, that's a huge investment of money. And that is only the top of the iceberg.

I played many games in M2E (which was way more difficult to play because it wasn't as streamlined as it is now) in 2.5h or less, going to turn 4-5 without many issues. More than once up to turn 6 with Tara (even once up to the 7th).

Again, I sincerely doubt it will require adjusting the movement of all miniatures.  Four rounds is not some drastic departure from 5.  At most it would require adjusting some of the deployment areas farther forward - I doubt more than 3" except maybe on corner.  Most strategies are perfectly scorable round 1 right now for crews, if the game rules allowed it.  Leylines is the perfect example.  Claiming a leyline turn 1 isn't very hard, is it?  Certainly picking off two scheme runners or a slightly larger model to score Public Enemies is not outside the realm of what already happens in games.  Turf markers being flipped round 1 was mostly not done because it was pointless.  But it was very easy to get to one and flip it if you wanted to.  Reckoning, again not hard to score round 1. 

I don't understand why you think movements would need to be so drastically adjusted.  Does everyone spend both their actions double walking round 1?  No?  Adjust the deployment zones forward a bit, and then it's solved.  Can you walk me through your logic as to why this wouldn't be the case?  

 

By the way, the idea of the other player not scoring in the final two rounds while you score every point in them does explain how you're playing so quickly.  You just go table your opponent.  Once they have 1-2 models, yeah, the game is pretty damn quick.  Honestly though, I don't like the "murder the opponent's face until they're dead" playstyle as the primary way to play.  So maybe it caters to murder crews, but it doesn't really cater to most of the crews in the game.  But yes, it would make "kill now, score later" a harder strategy to pull off, because you would have less later to score in. A win in my book, but I see it would be a loss in yours.

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6 hours ago, RisingPhoenix said:

 

Oh good, so, let me see.   You scored both points of both schemes in round 5, and one strategy point?

... That was a very legit M3E tournament.  Christ.  Well, it helps explain how some of these tournaments reach 5 turns all the damn time, they're happening in people's heads.  

 

Try reading, I said end of 3 I was 4-0 down. Easy to score points needed if set up for final turns as I expected and got 5 rounds (2 strat, 3 scheme). And it's not so hard to think I could stop him scoring turn 4 and 5 when I had been stopped from scoring for the 1st 3 turns.

It was also a tourney ran by a henchman who runs the biggest tourney in the world, which guess what,I get to end of round 5 in all those games too.

4 rounds will hurt this game as the 1st round is often move and focus, and unless you change how the game works entirely some crews will never see play as they are not fast enough to get places to score round 1.

As I said before, aim for round 5, if you consistently aim for round 3 you are subconsciously playing a 3 round game and will not learn to speed up your play and therefore get the full malifaux experience. 

This is one of the best games out there, and most of us who spend money and travel want to play full games of it, not half games.

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11 hours ago, RisingPhoenix said:

 

I mean the other thing I was considering is just add 7 to Df/Wp and make opposed duels and tactical actions work the same way.  That probably has a much larger game impact though, as you can no longer cheat certain pieces of BS into failing.  Smaller tables and smaller crews though?  That makes the game very much worse.  I'm honestly shocked you're calling that a possibility, because having only 3-4 models really ruins the strategic diversity of the game.  Henchman Hardcore is not as interesting a game as full Malifaux, and turning Malifaux into henchman hardcore is silly.  

Four rounds is perfectly reasonable.  And the first round not being scoring is wonky.  What's the thematic justification?  We have to seize the symbols, but we can't do it too quickly because that would be... I dunno... bad?  We complain about focus carry over and too much resources being built up, but why are too much resources being built up?  Well, what else is there to do Round 1?  If suddenly building up resources too hard starts to threaten your scoring ability (or give your opponent free scoring opportunities) it becomes a choice, and potentially a painful one.  Choices are interesting, and this would force you to make more hard ones.  

 

In the interest of making this a productive discussion I'm going to expand on my suggestion.  If you don't want a productive discussion, then please don't bother to read.

Is it an issue if I play you and I expect a 5 turn game and you expect a 3 turn game?

yes I think it probably is. The game would probably end on turn 4 and neither of us would really be satisfied. You would have spent all your resources to score as much as possible in turn 3, and so probably really struggle in turn 4, whilst I would end turn 4 still with resources to use and plans to score points I hadn't been able to implement yet.

I'd look at why you aren't reaching 5 turns, but I'm also prepared to accept that some people are not going to play the game fast enough to get the turns. So lets take game time off the table as a list of options.

What is taking the time? Decisions and measurement are probably the top 2 things that take time.  I'm going to expand a little each of the options I suggested earlier and list a few pros and cons to them. It probably won't be a fully thought out list, but it will hopefully get an idea of how they could work but what might be an issue. 

Smaller Table.  If you play on a 2 foot by 3 foot table (So the same width, but you reduce the distance apart), you will have forced the two sides to start closer together (You could look at Close deployment in M2 as a similar alternative but that did allow you to hide if you wanted). This will mean that  right from the start of the game you are much more likely to be engaged in a fight. This will probably increase  decisions in that first turn, because placement in that turn becomes more important. Models will die faster because they are under threat from before they activate on the first turn. This will typically lead to fewer decisions to make in later turns as you have fewer models. It also makes it much harder for models to slip round into the back field safely to score points. This will probably favour models with good defences and models with good ranged attacks. It allows "slow" models to get much more involved in the game.  It will hinder "scheme runners" as they are less likely to be somewhere safe.  Larger deployment areas does this to a lesser extent so I'm not really going to discuss them separately, just note that the larger deployment area won't have as big an impact on a scheme running model.

Smaller crews. This will lead to less decision making and less measuring as you have less to consider. But this does strongly favour summoning in general, and can easily lead to situations where 1 moment of bad luck will be more decisive as you are less likely to have the ability to have hired "spare" models. Henchman hardcore has partially used this, and as a balancing act it has forbidden summoning altogether. This isn't a good option for the "main game" outside of a complete edition change, because you don't want to completely remove some crews from being allowed to be taken, but a possibly alternative is you might look to reduce the number of Summon upgrades masters got, if it became 1/3 rather than 2/5 then there would be a lot less summoning possible. I have no idea how balanced this would be as these are numbers plucked from the air, but it might be enough to effect the dominance of summoners.  

Smaller Hand. One of the longest parts of the game is the choices based around cheating. If you lower the hand size, you may well spend les time thinking about cheating. I know I do, but others may find they dither more. This will put a stronger reliance on raw stats, and probably decrease the power of summoners as Actions with a fixed TN are the most binary actions in the game. If I need an 11:crow to reach the TN, then both a 10 :crow and a 12 :mask are useless cards for me (You can SS the crow if you're a user so the 12 might not be useless). If I'm doing an opposed duel then every card in the deck might have the potential to win it for me (I've won duels where I flipped the black joker). I might want the suit for a trigger, but hitting without the suit for the trigger will still at least hit. This will probably lead to summoners focusing more on engine building to be their most effective.

Only can cheat on your activation. This is a quite out there suggestion, but I don't think its quite as extreme as it seems.You probably find most people spend most of their cheat cards on their own activation anyway. If you remove the possibility for them to cheat on attack you've taken away quite a lot of the decision making steps in the opposed duels, because as well as removing 1 whole persons needing to think about it, you have also removed the thinking the attacker needs to do if they are losing after the flip and how high they should cheat to make sure they hit.  This will making attacking stronger, but I've no idea how much. It will also weaken a lot of defensive triggers and be a big improvement to shockwaves. Makign attacks stronger will also result in more models dying, which also speeds up the game as you have less to do in later turns. It puts Luck into the game in a much bigger way, even if it doesn't change that many actual turns.

Large areas of hazardous terrain on every table.  Another out there solution that might be more sensible than it first sounds. Lets make the whole board be hazardous Poison +1 and ignore models that trigger things off poison (In reality you would probably make a new condition, that works the same as Poison, and is removable by assist). On average every model takes 1 damage at the end of turn 1. They take 1 damage at the end of turn 2, 2 damage at the end of turn 3 and 2 damage at the end of turn 4. This means that models will be doing less over the course of the game, but almost all models would be able to do 3 turns of actions without dying. This will reduce the number of actions performed over the game in a combination of models dying earlier, and people naturally less likely to take "pointless" actions. Choosing to do bonus actions will be an impoirtant choice, as its potentially costing you extra actions later on as it kills you quicker. Likewise things like Flurry and Onslaught are going to not be a default do thing.

Change scoring mechanism (In conjunction with reducing the round size).   In itself scoring on turn 1 doesn't speed the game up very much if at all. If you tie it in with other options, such as reducing the number of game rounds, then its not so much the scoring mechanisms that have speed it up, but rather the loss of a turn. The game has gone through lots of different scoring options over its history. I started playing when both players had different strategies and you could choose which ever scheme you liked (and not all were worth the same number of points). Over many iterations the game has come to scoring every turn as a way to try and make you have to focus on the mission every turn and not just kill everything, and then score all your points on the last turn. The latest edition has also then tried to make every point slightly harder to score than the last to try and spread out the skill.  My view is that a good set of strategies for the game would encourage you to build a different list for each strategy. Not everyone agrees, but that's where I stand. There are some factions that have faction weaknesses. The most common of these is the fact that Guild does not have many fast scheme running models. So if you need to get to the center line on turn 1 to score, then there are not a lot of options in the guild faction to do that. There are a lot more ways to get there for turn 2 and score (obviously). Removing the "manoeuvring" turn from the game will reduce the viability of slower crews and increase the power of fast mobile crews. I may be wrong, but my current understanding of the game is that currently the stronger crews are those that are fast and mobile. I wouldn't want to change the game in such a way that you increased the power level of these crews. There are ways you can make a 4 turn game run that doesn't automatically increase the power of these crews, but a lot of those would be ways that would encourage the reduction of interaction.

Reducing the number of turns does the following - reduce actions. Reduce options to use resources, reduce choices. The side effects are that this makes every action and choice you make more important, and so potentially one that you need to think more carefully about.

You have a lot more experience in playing a 4 turn game than I do, so you probably have a better idea on what advantages/disadvantages there are to it. I know that if you are to play a 3 turn game in the current rules you absolutely have to do each VP on a set turn, with no second chances if you want maximum score. In a 4 turn game your are allowed 1 slip up with each scheme, but that's it. I would imagine that if your turn 1 when you don't score it is Walk-Focus on a lot of models (or what ever engine building you are doing), you're not actually going to save very much time if you bypass that turn. If your turn 1 does contain meaningful choices, even if you can't score VPs, then you will probably find it takes longer, and removing it doesn't actually speed the game up, and you're kind of in the same place just playing an 8 point game in the 4 turns rather than a 7 point game in those 4 turns.

I can remember the designers discussing the change from 6 turns to 5 turns when they did that reduction. I think they looked at 4 turns as well, so its not something that is never going to happen but it is something that will have diminishing returns.

Each of the options I've outlined could work with minimal changes outside of a gaining grounds document. Each would make some crews better than they are at the moment, and some worse.

 

Finally,  as someone that likes reading posts on this forum, its generally a nice thing if you mis read someones post and insult them over it if you apologise when you realise you're wrong.

 

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I have an option to add that might encourage speedier play - you can only score end of game vp at the real end of the game, ie end of turn 5. if you dont make it then you dont score. minor change to the schemes from end of game to end of turn 5 in the wording and we are done.

This then makes it less likely the 3 turn players can win a tourney as they are capped to probably 4vp (2 schemes, 2 strat) vs a full 5 turn player 

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If you want to really speed up your game, just re-read your crew before your game (or your tournament). Also, don't interfere too much during the opponent's brainstorming.
Fewer turns means fewer actions/activations which means that each one is more important and the game becomes less permissive.

Turn 5 have 2 options : 

  • whether the game is already kinda over, so we can scoop there.
  • whether the game is tight, so it's another turn of deep thoughts.

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