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Mare Nostrum: Empires» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Trade phase rss

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Juanlu Bermudez
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Hi. We played our first game of Mare Nostrum Empires. Our first impressions were favorable but I was kind of shocked about the trade phase. That was something I wasn't expecting. Not in this way.

The mechanics for trade seemed completely ramdom for me. This is not a bad thing for a light game like Mundus Novus, but in the case of a strategy game, it doesn't fit the rest of the mechanisms and the mood of the game.

While reading the rules I was shocked seeing how much goods of each type are present in the game. I suspected there will be almost a metagame of resources flying from one player to another in a chaotic fashion and this actually is pretty much all about it. Every player produce a set composed by certain types of goods but they all end the phase with a different (and completely randomized) set. What's the point of this?

Yes, you have to pay different resources for building and you can even win the game via piramids if you get all of them, but this seems to be a weak reason to put such an flawed mechanism there.

This may be an okay way to supress negotiations between players. But while negotiations can drag, predictions based on what players collect and how many goods will be exchanged can lead to huge amounts of analysis paralysis.

Maybe I'm missing something here (edit: actually I missed a rule! see below) so I would like to hear from you about this.
 
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Ryan Amos
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Give it some time. Soon enough players will be aware which resources are rarer than others and it will change things. Plus, some players will put a lot of coins in there for the Egypt and Greek players. It's really an interesting part of the game once everyone is used to it. There's incentive to put better goods out there so that you get an earlier pick of goods as well. Plus, you get negotiations and blocking players who are close to winning in this phase. It's a crucial phase once you get used to the game and, to my group at least, it becomes one of the more fun parts of the game.
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Paul Sauberer
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The resources each player ends up with are very far from "completely randomized."

You were having players select specific resources from specific players, right? You weren't introducing any randomness to the selection, were you?
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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hemp wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something here so I would like to hear from you about this.

From the 1st turn on, the trade stuff can have quite a strong influence on the outcome of the game.

Empires with a bad number of tax/commodity tokens can trade them to get them in 3-folds. Force the Greek or Egyptian player to play 5 resources in the first turn and you're certain you may get an extra coin, for example.

Next to that it's the only way to get many different resources, especially important for non-tax oriented empires (basically all except Egypt and Greece). Trade the commodity you have 3 of and get new ones in return. If you have the hanging gardens you may store up to 2 commodities to help you getting all the different stuff for heroes and pyramids - but you won't be able to do that without trading first.

That said I do agree that being cultural or military leader are more potent accomplishments. Especially being both gives a great lot of tactical advantages.
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Juanlu Bermudez
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Wait a minute. Are you saying that you can trade coins too?. That change things quite a bit!
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Ryan Amos
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Yes, you can.

Give it another shot. As I said, it really becomes one of the more interesting parts of the game (choosing how many resources to put up can make people win/lose games very often).
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Steven Townshend
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hemp wrote:
Wait a minute. Are you saying that you can trade coins too?. That change things quite a bit!



COINS = coin chips

COMMODITIES = goods chips

RESOURCES = coins + commodities

When you trade, you're trading RESOURCES. There is deep strategy involved.
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Juanlu Bermudez
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Now that makes much more sense. Thanks for the acclaration and the tips.
 
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J
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I'm not entirely clear on what your perceived flaws with the trading is but I can tell you that there is a lot more there then you were initially giving it credit for. I'm not trying to be mean or condescending, I just don't understand your perceived issues are (or were).

The real strategy to trading is what resources you make available. In this game there are "rare" resources and there are "common" resources and being careful about letting players obtain the resources they need is part of the strategy. A very general breakdown of the rarity of resources is:

Rare: Pottery, Smith, Stone, Wood, Diamonds, Paper, Flowers, Gold
Common: Sheep, Wheat, Gladiators, Grapes, Olives

However there its even more than this. Putting up trade embargoes against strong opponents is one of the main ways to prevent someone from from winning. Sure you can just treat the trade phase as some sort of chaotic resource shuffler but don't be shocked if somone snipes a win cause you weren't paying attention.
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Juanlu Bermudez
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Just to let you know, we played our second game (applying the correct rules) and now everything about the trade phase makes sense.

By the way, I have been blown away about how great this game is.
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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hemp wrote:
Just to let you know, we played our second game (applying the correct rules) and now everything about the trade phase makes sense.

By the way, I have been blown away about how great this game is.

Good to hear! It's our favourite game at this moment! ^^
I am even considering making custom units and ships for this game ..
 
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