Me and my gaming group are debating to get this game especially after we put WOW:TBG back on the table the other night.
Our most played game is Battlelore and even if it takes time to setup when you include all the elements (calls to arms, speciallity cards, heroes, or even epic) it is usually fun to setup the game as you can see you army mount and position itself infront of you.
We like the adventure feel of WOW but when you need to set up it takes more than 30 minutes: 5 item decks to shuffle, 9 quest decks, 2 event and destiny decks. And i have invested in everything possible to speedup the setup time: ziplock bags (containing each character with its starting energy, blood, and gold tokens and skills and power deck) seperators for all the tokens (two sets one for each faction) and dice trays to handle throwing more than 20 dice. What is worse than setup is during the game. Every time you complete a quest you have to go through a number of steps that take time (house keeping): removing the quest, drawing and selecting item cards, collecting gold, and if leveling up: reseting your energy and blood level, gaining a skill, than you need to draw a new quest, spawn blue, green, and red creatures. All of this and your opponent is waiting and yet you didn't finish your other character needs to move and he might go through the same steps which would make your opponent bored and just about ready to quit. And this game is very long I have read reviews of finishing it in less than 3 hrs. But I don't think it is possible of your not really doing it to beat the clock instead of enjoying the game. My shortest game was 6hrs and we were skipping some steps especially destiny and event cards.
Don't get me wrong we sometimes play 3 Battlelore games in row which easily take 4hrs and we are still excited to play more but it gets late.
I like the theme, mechanics, and "the two games in one" feeling in MEQ but I wanted to get your feedback on comparing it to WOW:TBG in the issues i mentioned above.
Your response is highly appreciated.
Thank you and Happy Holidays
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Haven't really paid attention to setup time for MEQ, but since I also play Arkham Horror (and War of the Ring), let's just say setup length isn't an issue for me . As for downtime, my plays have been 2-player (both 1-Hero and 2-Hero), so that will definately have less downtime than 4-player. There isn't very much to do house keeping over, basically 3 types on tokens (Favors, Characters and Influence) and even their placement happens at a specific time during a turn mostly. Actual play time for 2-player for me is 75-90 minutes (though games of 60 minutes of less have happened).
A dirty mind is its own reward.
After sorting all the elements the setup time is less than 10 minutes.
Bag 1: Favour tokens and NPCs (they go into one area of the board)
bag 2: influence tokens
Bag 3: small other tokens (actions, plots, story etc)
Bag 4: Monster tokens and wound tokens (initially just make sure they're all face down, then Sauron can sort them out while waiting for the players to make decisions)
And all the card decks are kept separately in the box (I've made divisions from cardboard)
During the game as Dam said: Not so many elements to move around.
Having played both MEQ and WoW:tBG, in terms of Setup, Downtime and House Keeping MEQ is much better.
SETUP: There are a decent amount of decks and tokens to be shuffled/setup in MEQ, but one thing that has helped me in all my games is organizers. For MEQ I purchased a drawer organizer for $12 at Staples. It has 6 small trays, 3 medium trays and 1 large tray that all lock together. The MEQ box fits all 6 small, 1 medium and the 1 large (could also do 3 medium and no large). I place all the tokens in the smaller cups; all the heroes, minions and characetrs in the medium tray; and I made my own divider for the large tray to sort the cards so I don't need to use ziploc baggies. Anyway, even without that setup of MEQ is much quicker setup over WoW.
DOWNTIME: Generally not an issue in MEQ, since your actions directly involve the other side. When the heroes are going, Sauron has to pay attention and will be directly involved either through using Shadow Cards or fighting with Monsters/Minions, so for Sauron there is 0 downtime (I have a hard time finding a good spot to room to the bathroom!). For the heroes, there is a bit more downtime, but its not horrible. During Sauron's turns you should be paying attention to his moves and confer on strategy with the other heroes. During the other hero turns we generally find the same discussions going on about what to do. Greatest downtime is during battles that another hero has with Sauron, but those are relatively quick.
HOUSE KEEPING: Again not bad at all compared to WoW as all the house keeping actions generally affect both the heroes and Sauron, so you should be paying attention. That and they are relatively quick, at most you are placing either 1 character and 1 favor or 2 favor on the board and resolving some quick text during the encounter phase.
As far as game-length goes, my group is somewhere in the 3-4 hour range. But, we have not played it a ton, less than 10 plays, and have been getting quicker with each play. Also, the last time we played contained a 1st time player (never played before) and a 1st time Sauron (played a hero, but not sauron). It took about 45-60min for setup and explaining rules to both the new player and the new Sauron, but once we started the game was actually under 3 hours. So we are definately getting quicker.
I have arranged the tokens etc into separate bags and split up the cards so that its pretty quick to set up takes me about 5-10 minutes. But I dont rush when playing it usually takes 2-3 days to play at about 2-3 hours per night.
"Its life Jim but not as we know it"
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