I’ve played 100 live games of G40, G42, and G41. I don’t play AAA. I do have some observations, and some advice.
First, its just a really long game. G40 is especially long, because the first 4 turns not everyone is in the war, and actual fighting tends to kill some of the raw bulk of the units/combats to processed, but in any event, those first 4 turns are kind of a preliminary to get to the “good stuff” (eg post turn 4).
When we played (Classic) in college, we were always starting late (12p), cajoling new players, ignoring other guests who weren’t into wargames, drinking avidly, arguing about rules. In those 4-5 years, we barely could get to the real grit of the game and finishing wasn’t likely by 5am. Maybe we played 4-5 times.
This is really funny when you compare the rules complexity and game size of G40. Classic is a pretty small map with a pretty basic setup, yet we couldn’t really figure out how to make it a routine.
Now, we play as part of several clubs, and at Gencon. There are not many new players, and definitely no “maybe ill play” people. Both are huge time sucks, and also don’t really exhibit competitive play so there is no way to draw lessons from what goes down. Only experienced people come to the table, and they tend to know how to approach the game, so its mostly business–-our socializing is playing the game. With other games or game groups, this may not be even desireable (to limit socializing), but in AxA, the “crowd” probably doesn’t represent a super social subset anyways.
Back to the game,
- many people suggest combining or truncating parts of the turn. This is not what I would recommend. There are many variations of this, but all of them tend to blur the conduct of the game and/or obscure weak play by permitting the players to do anything they want in any order (such as revising your buy after you see the combat outcomes).
- Playing with the paper money is a waste of time (about 30m)
- People need to focus on setup not wander in whenever
- eat before you play stopping to eat is a huge waste of time and right after you finish, someone else is hungry
- quit smoking. Going outside to smoke makes role playing games and wargames impossible because no-one is at the table.
6) when it isn’t your turn, think about what you’re going to do. You can chat or mingle or whatever but you should never say "Oh, its my turn, damn, lets start processing now (after a 45 minute wait on the rest of the players).
- help. Without trying to mess up your pieces or make decisiosn for you, when its not my turn, im moving chips, removing casualties, gathering the other players die, laying out control markers, cleaning up army men. I’m acting like a banker when its not my turn, managing the board while the other players announce casualties.
- narrate the game. if you say out loud whats happening, and gently remind people when it is their turn, everyone can hear the conduct whether they are watching it or not.
- pre-organize the pieces. someone suggested egg boxes, dividing the stuff makes setup/cleanup even easier, this wastes a lot of time (when all the pieces are just lumped in the box, 30+ min extra)
- commit to play, show up on time. If there are people who are reluctant to play, immature, etc, they are not helpful to your game, they are an impediment. Adding semi-dedicated players is a waste of time. Selling the game to new players is pretty fruitless considering the learning curve.
- shut up. I cant count as well when you are talking. I cant focus. Same goes for me on your turn. Chat, but do as an aside and keep the game as a priority.
12) Watch each other, count and recount. We all count buys. We all count incomes. We all announce hits and count total hits. This prevents both cheating, mistakes, and omissions.
13) use minidice to represent air moves. We use the “moves remaining system” (rather than “moves used”). so each plane or set of planes has its own range dice. This is a HUGE help. If you don’t use minidice to show how much EACH AND EVERY plane has moved, there is a much higher chance of slop. This is especially true when you reshuffle your plane allocations, ill tell you right now that it is pretty much slop city if you re-allocate planes when 10-15 of them are available to support your battles.
Many of these things will not really reduce the total time of play to some reasonable limit, unf. They can shink it to 45 m setup 2 hours first turn 1-1.5 per turn after that. There are other setup versions (G42) that are a bit more expedited, but its simply a very, very long game. We usually begin at 10am and end around 5-6, T6-8. Same at tourneys, with an earlier start.
Have fun my friends.