Thursday, January 21, 2016

Timed Games

One of the interesting things to come out of the weekend was that it was most people's first experience with timed games.

We allowed 55 minutes for each player (including deployment) which roughly works out as 5 minutes deploying and then 7 minutes per turn.

From what I could see most people coped - I believe there may have been 2-3 actual time outs and 4-5 games where significant time pressures were evident.

What I do think is twofold. Firstly, with practice people do get better at managing their time and secondly, time constraints do make it a better game (as people are forced to make decisions quickly). I also think that 55 minutes was about the right time. Most games finished well within time so I'm not sure that it needs to be altered significantly....perhaps 60 minutes per player at upper end.

The one aspect where I do think the game suffers with timed turns is in regards to the social aspects. During your own turn I find you tend to be very business like and focussed on what you want to achieve so as you don't run into time pressures late game. In your opponent's turn you are mindful that you don't want to distract them and put pressures on their time, so you shut up.

This means that there is little chit chat over the course of the game as the focus is on the result. While this is great for the competitive side it is not necessarily conducive to the social aspects that a lot of people want from a day's gaming.

So what's the answer?

I don't think there is one....yet. It is too early in the cycle to see whether time pressures are temporary as people get used to the game (and concept) or whether it is a permanent thing. To that end I think it is a wait and see and monitor it over time.

What do others think?



  1. Allow slightly more time between rounds? If you have longer between games the social aspect can be before/after the game while you are still across the table from your opponent.

  2. I started to write a reply but got timed out

    1. Neil....I bet if we checked your birth records we would find you were overdue

    2. Well I've certainly gone past my best before date

  3. Timed games are good. Completely stops slow play and the pressure makes things more interesting. It can be a little harder with very large armies but you just need to get used to it.

    Little things like organising your dice into specific piles for the most common rolls your units need to make, 10/20 for instance, make a big difference too.

    1. I agree, I found the timed turns to be a bonus. Runefang was my first experience of these, and I came close to timing out (1.57 left end of turn 6, fortunately no turn 7...), but never actually did.

      As a fairly slow player, the pressure to decide and act was a useful prod to make me stick to the allocated time. As a result, all of my games made it to the final turn.

      I think 55 minutes allocation is fine, but TOs should plan on 60 minutes per player, because at this stage being able to pause the clock to check rules etc is very useful.

      It does mean that the casual chat and banter about models and what we did in the holidays was noticeably less than in WHFB, but I didn't miss that so much. I still interacted with my opponent's and never felt like I was gaming against a blank wall. There was plenty of time for that between games.

      3 of my 8 games weren't timed, due to the lack of a chess clock on Sunday (I forgot my phone). Despite this, knowing we had a set time meant my opponents and I went through our turns quite quickly, to make sure we completed our games. The pressure was there, even if there was no timer.

      Overall, timed games are good, and in this case, enabled us to get in 4 games in one day. That's got to be a good thing.