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Subject: Hey Look, Rules are posted: Couple Questions rss

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Sheamus Parkes
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Overall, they look pretty nice I must say. I just had a few questions since we don't have tons of pictures for the game yet to answer some of these.

1. Are there only 9 Unique buildings plus your homestead in the game? Or are those just the 9 complicated ones that you needed to explain in the rules?

2. I'm ripping my mind off of Through the Ages conventions. The building tiles do not represent the *ability* to create those buildings right; they literally *are* the building correct?

3. So each turn you auction the right to build a building. Paying cash for the auction and then having to pay the construction cost of the building as well?

4. All buildings are available every time? Seems like a lot more replayability if you randomly tossed out 5ish from each era just to mess with same-old same-old strategies. (Of course letting people see what got removed.)

5. So the debt has a triangle penalty. Is this on the player aid somewhere, because the rules just barely gets this point across it seems?



Overall, nice looking game. Maybe a few many bits for my taste, but at least it looks like plenty of strategic paths to try. I'll probably bite to support the little guys


Now you just need to make a two player variant. Off the top of my head, I'd play around with:

Offer two auction tiles per turn, but only bid on a single track. The winning bid pays their bid and takes their pick of the auction tiles. The loser either takes the railroad track or buys the other auction tile for double the winning bid (Or winning Bid + $3 or something).

Just because I know this is the style my wife and I enjoy.
 
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Ariel Seoane
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Isamoor wrote:
Overall, they look pretty nice I must say. I just had a few questions since we don't have tons of pictures for the game yet to answer some of these.

Glad you like them. I'll upload more pics soon.

Isamoor wrote:
1. Are there only 9 Unique buildings plus your homestead in the game? Or are those just the 9 complicated ones that you needed to explain in the rules?

Those nine are the complicated ones. There are 33 unique buildings, one copy of some, two or three copies of others. 49 total plus the four homesteads.

Isamoor wrote:
2. I'm ripping my mind off of Through the Ages conventions. The building tiles do not represent the *ability* to create those buildings right; they literally *are* the building correct?

3. So each turn you auction the right to build a building. Paying cash for the auction and then having to pay the construction cost of the building as well?

Yes. The auction is for the land where you can build a certain type of building (Residential, Commercial, Industrial or Special). You pay in cash if you win the auction, then pay the resources required to build the building (get the building tile). Some auction tiles can be used for other things besides building, like getting an extra worker or Victory Points.

Isamoor wrote:
4. All buildings are available every time? Seems like a lot more replayability if you randomly tossed out 5ish from each era just to mess with same-old same-old strategies. (Of course letting people see what got removed.)

Unless you're playing with "house rules", all buildings for a certain era are available during it. I haven't played the game enough times to tell if replayability is an issue, but I have the impression that there are enough variables in play (turn order changes based on auction results, different sets of buildings can give you similar amounts of the same resources, the Marketplace can be used to get resources you don't get from the buildings you own) to prevent "get building X" strategies from becoming unbeatable.

Isamoor wrote:
5. So the debt has a triangle penalty. Is this on the player aid somewhere, because the rules just barely gets this point across it seems?

The player aids list the Marketplace going rates for buying and selling resources. No mention of Debt penalties. But the concept is simple: try not to have too much debt by the end of the game.

Isamoor wrote:
Overall, nice looking game.

Thanks!

Isamoor wrote:
Now you just need to make a two player variant. Off the top of my head, I'd play around with:

Offer two auction tiles per turn, but only bid on a single track. The winning bid pays their bid and takes their pick of the auction tiles. The loser either takes the railroad track or buys the other auction tile for double the winning bid (Or winning Bid + $3 or something).

Just because I know this is the style my wife and I enjoy.

Yes, a two player variant would be nice. I played with my wife using the 3-player rules, and the game works fine, though it's a lot easier to get the building you want and to win the auctions with low bids, hence the game economy is less tight and the final scores higher. I like your idea of bidding in the same track and then the winner picking one building and the other player paying some sort of penalty.
 
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Sheamus Parkes
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Thanks a bunch for the responses.

I realize I tossed a couple "house rules" bits in there, I should have stuck to just questions.

33 Unique Buildings. Dang, that's a bunch. Way cool.

I realize you don't *want* a bunch of debt, but I just wondered how often a player had to calculate the penalty for 6 debt chips by hand.


And yea, I was just tossing about the two player variant. It does seem like other than the bidding there's not a *ton* of player interaction. I do suppose the limited supply of buildings will add some tension too.


Anyway, great work again! Looks like a cool game.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Isamoor wrote:
Thanks a bunch for the responses.

I realize I tossed a couple "house rules" bits in there, I should have stuck to just questions.

33 Unique Buildings. Dang, that's a bunch. Way cool.

I realize you don't *want* a bunch of debt, but I just wondered how often a player had to calculate the penalty for 6 debt chips by hand.


And yea, I was just tossing about the two player variant. It does seem like other than the bidding there's not a *ton* of player interaction. I do suppose the limited supply of buildings will add some tension too.


Anyway, great work again! Looks like a cool game.

Bidding is pretty direct interaction (as in any bidding game) - here there are fewer auctions than players, and it's sorta bad to not win an auction (sometimes not as bad as other times of course).

Limited buildings is also a source of tension - often you want the same building as someone else, and if they get it first you might not have a great 2nd option (read: it can be good to leave yourself a 2nd choice!)

Regarding debt - it's likely you'll end each game with some, but after the final scoring it's likely you'll have paid it down to 2-4 debt chips. Having 6 debt during the game isn't rare, but keeping that much through the end of the game (not paying it off) is pretty rare. Consider that if you have 6 debt, the first one you pay off is 6 points - for just $5! It starts looking like a good deal when you look like it that way. So if you took debt early, you'll probably decide it's worth it to pay it off. I personally really like how debt works in this game - and when I play, my style is to take debt pretty freely to get what I want then worry about paying it off later. Sometimes it works really well!
 
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Sheamus Parkes
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sedjtroll wrote:
Regarding debt - it's likely you'll end each game with some, but after the final scoring it's likely you'll have paid it down to 2-4 debt chips. Having 6 debt during the game isn't rare, but keeping that much through the end of the game (not paying it off) is pretty rare. Consider that if you have 6 debt, the first one you pay off is 6 points - for just $5! It starts looking like a good deal when you look like it that way. So if you took debt early, you'll probably decide it's worth it to pay it off. I personally really like how debt works in this game - and when I play, my style is to take debt pretty freely to get what I want then worry about paying it off later. Sometimes it works really well!


I have absolutely nothing against the debt system. It gives diminishing returns (or in this case, increasing penalties) for more debt.

My issue was just the wording in the rule book:

"-1 for the first chit, -2 for the second, -3 for the third etc...
Five unpaid chits would be a total of -15 chits"


I understand what it means. *Most* gamers understand what it means. Still, it would be much simpler and easier to just give a table with the value of debt instead. I thought it might be on the player aid, in the same place that might remind you some resources are worth vp and some aren't.



As for the interaction bit, my comment was more for the 2-player variant. The more interaction a game has, the more difficult it can be to break it down to two players. If you just have auctions, it is easier to work out 2-player rules than something that depends on multiplayer chaos like Witch's Brew.
 
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Sheamus Parkes
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I do see you also left the post-10th round income phase. How often does the winner actually depend on this phase? It seems to me that would be just a ton of accounting at that point with trade chits flying everywhere. And there are not really any interesting decisions since everything can be perfectly min-maxed at that point.

I know some other playtesters mentioned the annoyance of this phase. I was just curious if anything was at least tried to remove it.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Isamoor wrote:
I do see you also left the post-10th round income phase. How often does the winner actually depend on this phase?


Well, it would certainly make a big difference in strategy not to have it, because all that income tends to be used to pay off debts. Additionally, removing an income round weakens buildings with good income. So you could say it determines the winner, but really people would simply play differently without it.

In terms of time and annoyance, it probably actually saves time. If the final income phase weren't there, the last phase would be the final auction, and all the min-maxing would happen in the auction instead. Min-maxing tends to take a lot longer when there's player interaction involved - you have to reevaluate the situation after every bid. Having an extra income phase at the end gives you the freedom to spend any or all of your stuff in the last auction.
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Sheamus Parkes
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SevenSpirits wrote:
Min-maxing tends to take a lot longer when there's player interaction involved - you have to reevaluate the situation after every bid. Having an extra income phase at the end gives you the freedom to spend any or all of your stuff in the last auction.


That's a very good argument for it to stay in. Of course... the really competitive are still going to be min-maxing during the last auction since that last income is a known then. How often that happens really determines if that last income phase is a help or hindrance I suppose.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Isamoor wrote:
SevenSpirits wrote:
Min-maxing tends to take a lot longer when there's player interaction involved - you have to reevaluate the situation after every bid. Having an extra income phase at the end gives you the freedom to spend any or all of your stuff in the last auction.


That's a very good argument for it to stay in. Of course... the really competitive are still going to be min-maxing during the last auction since that last income is a known then. How often that happens really determines if that last income phase is a help or hindrance I suppose.

I've always liked the final income phase because it gives you a chance to do something with money, goods, trade chits that you've been accumulating. It's often disappointing for me when I finish a game and have a bunch of stuff leftover that I didn't get to use. To an exent it means I over-invested in getting that stuff, but in Homesteaders you can combine stuff to get other stuff, and I like how that final income phase gives you a chance to do that when you don't have to worry about an auction anymore. You can focus your attention on turning all your leftover stuff into something worth points.

It's still possible to have a pile of Food for example and no way to convert it into anything useful - that's indicative of a long term mismanagement of income. Ideally you'll use up all your resources and trade chits and money and end the game with nothing leftover that isn't worth points... but that's easier said than done!

Back on topic though, I have heard the complaints from some players, but I have not shared their distaste for that part of the game. I like that it gives you a chance to pay off debt and use leftover trade chits. I was never bothered by any feeling of min/maxing, and I don't see it as any different from any other final scoring phase in any other game - it's a lot less annoying (to me) than counting up Farm scoring in Carcassonne for example!
 
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Sheamus Parkes
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sedjtroll wrote:
it's a lot less annoying (to me) than counting up Farm scoring in Carcassonne for example!


But farm scoring in Carc has a ton of tension associated with it because it's such a huge source of points. Basically, it's the only thing in Carc that obfuscates who the true winner is during a casual game.

I don't see the final "debt payoff" actually causing much tension among the players.

But, as long as it doesn't take too long in practice, then I'm cool watching it in motion.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Isamoor wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
it's a lot less annoying (to me) than counting up Farm scoring in Carcassonne for example!


But farm scoring in Carc has a ton of tension associated with it because it's such a huge source of points. Basically, it's the only thing in Carc that obfuscates who the true winner is during a casual game.

I don't see the final "debt payoff" actually causing much tension among the players.

But, as long as it doesn't take too long in practice, then I'm cool watching it in motion.

I see what you mean, but I don't see the farm scoring that way. To me it's just a complicated way to get our endgame points.

The final accounting in Homesteaders isn't about tension, it just lets you pay off debt and change all your leftovers into points before you count up your score. Sean also hit the nail on the head when he mentioned (a) value of a building's income and (b) keeping the final accounting from having to be done while/before bidding in the last auction.

I hope that when you get a chance to play the final income phase doesn't phase you
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Isamoor wrote:

1. Are there only 9 Unique buildings plus your homestead in the game? Or are those just the 9 complicated ones that you needed to explain in the rules?


As mentioned, those are just the ones that needed some extra rules FAQ. There are just over 30.

Quote:

2. I'm ripping my mind off of Through the Ages conventions. The building tiles do not represent the *ability* to create those buildings right; they literally *are* the building correct?


Yes. they are the building.
The land cards that you auction off represent the ability to create buildigns of that type.

Quote:

3. So each turn you auction the right to build a building. Paying cash for the auction and then having to pay the construction cost of the building as well?


Correct, you auction off N-1 pieces of land, where N is the number of players. Each piece of land is the right to construct a particular type or types of building. (Technically, there are several auctions that are not land, and give other stuff instead, but most are land).

Quote:

4. All buildings are available every time? Seems like a lot more replayability if you randomly tossed out 5ish from each era just to mess with same-old same-old strategies. (Of course letting people see what got removed.)


Yes all are present, but if you randomly removed some it would kindof screw up the 'tech tree' that the buildings provide. You wouldnt want to play Civilization the computer game with 5 techs removed (and the stuff they lead to!).
I suppose one could have a pile of required buildings and a pile of optional buildings, and remove some optional ones, but that isnt the way we chose to go.

There is a ton of replayability because of all the different 'paths' you can take through the construction of the buildings. Also, the land available for auction will not come out in the same order each game (some of it is random), and your opponents will do different things as well, and might steal the building you want for your plan.


Quote:

Now you just need to make a two player variant. Off the top of my head, I'd play around with:

Offer two auction tiles per turn, but only bid on a single track. The winning bid pays their bid and takes their pick of the auction tiles. The loser either takes the railroad track or buys the other auction tile for double the winning bid (Or winning Bid + $3 or something).

Just because I know this is the style my wife and I enjoy.


I plan to post rules for a two player variant eventually, it will involve auctioning two pieces of land each turn, however one of them begins with a neutral player bidding on it ad a moderately high level, so that the players can either get one piece of land between them, or both pay significantly to each get one.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Isamoor wrote:
I do see you also left the post-10th round income phase. How often does the winner actually depend on this phase? It seems to me that would be just a ton of accounting at that point with trade chits flying everywhere. And there are not really any interesting decisions since everything can be perfectly min-maxed at that point.

I know some other playtesters mentioned the annoyance of this phase. I was just curious if anything was at least tried to remove it.


Yes, but its kindof necessary. If you removed the final income phase, then all the final resource conversion and payoff would just happen in turn 10 instead, it would be the same, except that buildings would pay off one less time, and no one would want the final auction because they are too busy paying off debt on the last turn.

The final income phase was added when the number of rounds was cut from 12 to 10, to shorten the game. But we needed to have the stuff you build at the end of the second era of the game pay off enough time to be worth it, so the final two rounds became one income phase (and some buildings got adjusted a bit).

While the final income phase can be confusing, 99% of the time the optimal thing to do is:

Use trade chips to sell resources.
Use money to pay off as much debt as you can.
Use any remaining money/trade chips to buy Gold as it is worth points at the end, or use 2 actions to do buy+sell for 1 point.

 
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Alex Rockwell
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Isamoor wrote:

I realize you don't *want* a bunch of debt, but I just wondered how often a player had to calculate the penalty for 6 debt chips by hand.


I've never seen more than 4. You would have to screw up pretty badly to have six at the end.

I've seen players with 8 or 9 debt chips in the midgame, but they always pay off a lot of them at the end, with stuff like the Bank that allows removing one each turn, or just by spending the last couple turns of the game just paying them off.

The goal is basically to create an effective limit on amount of debt you can take. You usually take at least 4 early on (but occsionally less), and generally most people will take around 4-6 but someone will be a big spender and take more. I've seen games won by people who took 2, and by someone who took 9. How much debt is correct depends on the prices that people are bidding the land up to, and what opportunities you have in terms of buildings.

The auctions are very useful for inherently balancing different types of buildings and strategies. Generally all types of buildings are useful, but they are more or less useful at different times and to different positions. If you are experienced, you might be able to note that your opponents are going to want a certain type of building and not care about another, based on what they have so far. You could set yourself up to want the undesired type, and then get a bargain! Your opponents cant really afford to drive it up much, since if you waste a turn buying a building type that isnt very helpful to you, then you really lose out on the opportunity to buy what you really need later, as you spend resources and money to do it.

Passing fairly often is a very valid strategy if your opponents are overbidding. You can win the game even by passing half the time if your opponents bid to high, you will be debt free with a good railroad track and enough resources to buy something big when you do win, while your opponents will be loaded with debt and have too many small buildings.

Similarly, if they arent bidding enough you can win by getting a building every turn.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Alexfrog wrote:
While the final income phase can be confusing, 99% of the time the optimal thing to do is:

Use actions to sell resources.
Use money to pay off as much debt as you can.
Use any remaining money/actions to buy Gold as it is worth points at the end, or use 2 actions to do buy+sell for 1 point.

For anyone who may be confused, "Actions" are called "Trade Chips" in the published rules.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Alexfrog wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I've never seen more than 4. You would have to screw up pretty badly to have six at the end.

I've seen players with 8 or 9 debt chips in the midgame, but they always pay off a lot of them at the end, with stuff like the Bank that allows removing one each turn, or just by spending the last couple turns of the game just paying them off.

The goal is basically to create an effective limit on amount of debt you can take. You usually take at least 4 early on (but occsionally less), and generally most people will take around 4-6 but someone will be a big spender and take more. I've seen games won by people who took 2, and by someone who took 9. How much debt is correct depends on the prices that people are bidding the land up to, and what opportunities you have in terms of buildings.

The auctions are very useful for inherently balancing different types of buildings and strategies. Generally all types of buildings are useful, but they are more or less useful at different times and to different positions. If you are experienced, you might be able to note that your opponents are going to want a certain type of building and not care about another, based on what they have so far. You could set yourself up to want the undesired type, and then get a bargain! Your opponents cant really afford to drive it up much, since if you waste a turn buying a building type that isnt very helpful to you, then you really lose out on the opportunity to buy what you really need later, as you spend resources and money to do it.

Passing fairly often is a very valid strategy if your opponents are overbidding. You can win the game even by passing half the time if your opponents bid to high, you will be debt free with a good railroad track and enough resources to buy something big when you do win, while your opponents will be loaded with debt and have too many small buildings.

Similarly, if they arent bidding enough you can win by getting a building every turn.

Heh, the game's not even out yet, and here's a strategy guide from the designer! (Alex, maybe go back and add a spoiler tag?)
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Homesteaders » Forums » Rules
Re: Hey Look, Rules are posted: Couple Questions
sedjtroll wrote:

Heh, the game's not even out yet, and here's a strategy guide from the designer! (Alex, maybe go back and add a spoiler tag?)


Well, a little advice on debt and building/passing at least

Added spoiler.
 
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