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Subject: Think I need a more Zen approach rss

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Kurt R
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So I'm two plays in (one each of the past two days) and I'm really digging this game. I really like how the mix of auction, civ building, and worker placement come together so fluidly and all in about 75 minutes. Want to play this again asap, and not many games give me that sense of urgency. Feeling very good about the replayability here.

OK, so anyway, I've scored in the 40s in my two plays. First game was won by 67 points and tonight's with 55. I think I see the error of my ways and I'm putting this out there for feedback. I've been trying to get a building every turn and trying to avoid the railroad track if at all possible, but what I noticed tonight is that the winner used the RR track more than anyone and she waited for the right moments and bought the Church and something else that gives 10 VPs. She seemed to have a more patient approach than I did and let the game come to her rather than try to force things.

I remember there was one turn I bought a building just b/c I could rather than b/c it was part of my overall strategy. Not a good move. Another player did worse, though, as he took out massive debt in order to win every auction he wanted. His plan was to pay off the debt, of course, but he got stuck with a mountain and it crushed his score.

I think I need to not feel like I have to avoid the RR track and I can pick my spots and let the game come to me a bit more.

Thoughts?

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Chris Linneman
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I've never played but I've read the session reports and it seems the RR track is viable so long as other players are paying enough for their auctions. Enough would seem to be 5-6 early game and 7-9 late game. But take that with a grain of salt. The Homesteaders haven't migrated this far north yet
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Alex Rockwell
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enzo622 wrote:

I remember there was one turn I bought a building just b/c I could rather than b/c it was part of my overall strategy.


yep, winning one every turn isnt good unless people are letting them go too cheaply!
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Kurt R
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Alexfrog wrote:
enzo622 wrote:

I remember there was one turn I bought a building just b/c I could rather than b/c it was part of my overall strategy.


yep, winning one every turn isnt good unless people are letting them go too cheaply!


And since most buildings are worth 0 VPs, so you can't just buy a bunch of VPs that way.
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Zack Stackurski
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I agree that getting buildings you don't need (especially taking debt to do so) is not going to win you games... The railroad track gives you stuff for free and lets you build up silver for the auctions you need the most. Don't think of passing on an auction as failing... particularly if you get a chance to bid up your opponent first!
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Kurt R
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ZackStack wrote:
I agree that getting buildings you don't need (especially taking debt to do so) is not going to win you games... The railroad track gives you stuff for free and lets you build up silver for the auctions you need the most. Don't think of passing on an auction as failing... particularly if you get a chance to bid up your opponent first!


Yeah. Funny how sometimes in trying to "make" things happen, you prevent them.
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Michael Mindes
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It is also important to note that if you passed every round, it would be a for-sure way to lose. So don't take the passing too far.

I personally find that 2-3 passes in a game works out well for me. Although, I have not played the game too much.
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Adam O'Brien
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I've only got a couple games under my belt, but I was wondering if anyone has determined the "break-even point" for the auctions, meaning what is the highest price that the auction is always "worth it"?

In my last game (3P), one of the players would pass without ever bidding (he was stock-piling to buy the church). This left me with the option of getting into a bidding war with the other player, passing also, or getting the other auction for $3. Is there an auction tile that is not worth $3? $4?

I am thinking of Stone Age, where the rulebook actually states that the civ cards are ALWAYS worth at least one resource. Are all of the auctions always worth at least $3?
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Craig Corlis
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I just got a game of this in last night, finally, and we really enjoyed it. I wound up winning with 73 points. It was a 4-player game and I bought a building 8 of the 10 turns, I believe. We had a player who passed a number of turns, allowing me to get a building cheaply, but many turns I wound up paying $9-$12 for some, using gold to pay.

My strategy was basically to get complimentary buildings. I wound up getting both Forges which allowed me easy VP every time I built something, making building each turn even more useful. I did wind up building the church the last turn it was available.

I did end up at the "1 resource of any kind" RR spot, mostly through winning auctions or buildings which advanced me, rather than passing.
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Dave Eisen
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Sharv 2.0 wrote:

My strategy was basically to get complimentary buildings. I wound up getting both Forges which allowed me easy VP every time I built something, making building each turn even more useful. I did wind up building the church the last turn it was available.



You can't buy both Forges. A player can never have multiple buildings of the same kind.
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Craig Corlis
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Missed that rule. Ah, well. That's what first playings are for. To screw up and then laugh about it and play it right next time. whistle

Thanks for pointing that out.
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Sean McCarthy
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3dicebombers wrote:
I've only got a couple games under my belt, but I was wondering if anyone has determined the "break-even point" for the auctions, meaning what is the highest price that the auction is always "worth it"?


It depends too much on what you can build to say anything for sure. For example, sometimes there are literally no buildings of that type that you have the resources for (and don't already own a copy of). In that case you'd be paying $3 to not advance on the railroad track, which is a slightly bad plan.
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Tim Gilberg
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3dicebombers wrote:

I am thinking of Stone Age, where the rulebook actually states that the civ cards are ALWAYS worth at least one resource. Are all of the auctions always worth at least $3?


Probably not, if only because of the possibility of an auction that allows you to buy nothing--I have had rounds where one of the auction tiles is useless to me.

Last game I played was odd in that I didn't pass once. I did bid a few times with the expectation that I would pass after pushing the bidding up but those never worked that way.
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Alex Rockwell
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3dicebombers wrote:
I am thinking of Stone Age, where the rulebook actually states that the civ cards are ALWAYS worth at least one resource. Are all of the auctions always worth at least $3?


In general, to some expected average position? Yes.
To you, given your current position? Not necessarily. You might be unable to use it, or desperate to conserve money.

Also, just because a tile was available for $3, doesnt mean its necessarily a better choice for you than paying $7 for one that works better for you. It depends on how much better the expensive one is.

You should always be aiming to maximize your net gain and minimize your opponent net gains received from the auction, this is just common-sense game theory. Sometimes the best gain is achieved by passing and taking the reward for advancing on the railroad track. In this case, its obviously better if you bid your opponents up first.

If all your opponents are willing to pay $7 to win something, and you pass with it at $3 and let them all have things cheap, then you are

A strong strategy for attempting to win the game will include trying to make your opponents pay as much as possible when you do pass, to reduce their final scores and make them have less money to overbid you in rounds where you want to win an item.


The minimum bid of 3 servesmultiple functions in the game:
1) Speed up the game by reducing the number of possible bids that can be made before reachign a high bid level. If you all started at 0 and take turns bidding up by 1 to reach 3, on your way to taking turns bidding each other up to 5-7, that would just waste a lot of time.
Originally in my playtesting there was no minimum bid, and adding this sped the game up.

This is by far the most important factor.
Note that the breakpoints on the higher bids also serve to speed up the game, while adding excitement. They provide a reason to jump to a higher level immediately (to lock yourself into a desirable number that is hard to top), and also make it so that only a few overbids are possible, even with high income levels.

2) Enforce a minimum payment on the opponents of a player who is 'screwed' and cannot afford to even pay 3.
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Alex Rockwell
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Gilby wrote:

Last game I played was odd in that I didn't pass once. I did bid a few times with the expectation that I would pass after pushing the bidding up but those never worked that way.


This strategy is superior if the bid level is too low. The other players (or at least some of them) are passing too soon, and you are defecting from that strategy by always winning an item.

On the flip side, if the bid level is too high, passing more than average is optimal. The others are winning too often and you defect from that strategy to pass more. (This is of course only successful if you first bid them up to that 'too high' level before passing).


Which strategy will end up winning at a given bid level ends up determining what the 'correct' bid level is, and what levels are too high or low. Of course, the 'correct' level is not constant during the game, and varies based on the specific tiles available.

You'll all have to figure out what bid levels are really 'too high' or 'too low' and encourage a heavy passing or heavy auction winning strategy. When this occurs, the winning strategy is to be the player who defects from the group. (Obviusly, what you build when you do win is also critical).



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Kurt R
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It was my life, like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was to let it be.
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Gilby wrote:
3dicebombers wrote:

I am thinking of Stone Age, where the rulebook actually states that the civ cards are ALWAYS worth at least one resource. Are all of the auctions always worth at least $3?


Probably not, if only because of the possibility of an auction that allows you to buy nothing--I have had rounds where one of the auction tiles is useless to me.

Last game I played was odd in that I didn't pass once. I did bid a few times with the expectation that I would pass after pushing the bidding up but those never worked that way.


I'll say this, I've been playing that way and I'm going into my next game assuming that the answer is no. Gonna try to pick my spots better and pass 3-4 times. The winner of the last game got all the way down the RR track. I *think* she got one space via an auction tile, but that means she passed at least 4 times and possibly as many as 5.
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