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Subject: Building the Erie Canal rss

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Ron
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge, yeah we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If ya ever navigated on the Erie Canal

("Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal", written 1905 by Thomas S. Allen)


Yesterday I broke out my recently finished copy of BGG user Orph’s Erie Canal map for Canal Mania. We were four players (3 veterans [with two or three games of CM under our belts] and 1 newbie) and we used the 2nd Edition rules.

The Game

The game started as every game of Canal Mania. Early on we had small independent networks which soon became connected. The map and the contract cards are great – an absolute professional work – Kudos, Orph!

I (playing yellow) managed to build a network in the east and another one in the west, the green player dominated the south while the black player sat prominently in the center of the board. The scores for building and transporting goods were roughly equal, although our newbie (playing white) fell a little behind. His network was probably a little too fragmented.

Things went good and everybody enjoyed the game. As per the 4 player rules, we set the “game end trigger marker” to 60 points. When we reached a score of 50 or so, things became a little strange. We had 4 contracts left, but we hadn’t enough canal tiles to finish them. So we had the situation that building wasn’t possible, but the game end hasn’t been triggered because no one reached 60 points yet.

So, as building canals wasn’t possible any more, we started to use Phase 1 for discarding the five open build cards in hope that a stretch with a color good supporting your network shows up.

In Phase 2, we then took the build cards, placing the good on the best city and shipped the good in Phase 3. This went on until one player reached the 60 points, and, as per game rules, for two rounds more.

So, the endgame was dominated by the luck of the draw: No one cared about locks, aqueducts or tunnels; not even Surveyors where of any interest. For me as the yellow player, I just hoped for a stretch with a black good, which would score 6 points for me. Well, I was not as lucky as the black player, who seemed to be more successful with drawing stretches with green goods.

After finishing the end game rounds, we added the values of our built canals. The final scores where as follows:


Black: 111 points
Green: 108 points
Yellow: 106 points
White: 75 points


The following image shows the board after the game.



Conclusion

I enjoy Canal Mania very much; it has a strong theme, you have this building element, card collection and play, beautiful components and competition between the players. Oh, and wifey and me love to spend our holidays on a houseboat travelling on those old canals, so I have a special relationship to this game.

The new Erie Canal map offers the same experience as the original map – and that’s what I hoped for. Same game on a different terrain, offering new challenges. The only thing to complain about was the endgame. I can’t tell from one game if this was bad luck or if this is the norm. And if it is the latter, how to fix it?

The easiest way seems to be lowering the “game end trigger marker” by 10 victory points – in a 4 player game of course – to 50 points. Another, probably better solution would be adding more canal tiles; I’m unsure … 3 or 4 straights and locks per player? Plus one aqueduct and one tunnel?

It would be very interesting to hear about your experiences with this new map! So, if you have played it, please post your impressions.

Thanks for reading meeple

PS: You can download the Erie Canal map and the corresponding contract cards here in the File section. Please, don't forget to thumb!
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Dave Heberer
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Does the Erie Canal expansion play with first edition rules? The trigger would be normalish if it plays with second edition rules, as the value of contracts are added to your score as you go there.

The board looks great, I'm going to see how I can get this printed up!
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Pony Casts Fire
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Hey, thanks for the review. I have to admit that I didn't playtest the map, so I'm glad to hear anything about it. I do hope to get it played soon.
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Ron
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
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i7dealer wrote:
Does the Erie Canal expansion play with first edition rules? The trigger would be normalish if it plays with second edition rules, as the value of contracts are added to your score as you go there.

Orph used the first edition rules when he created the map ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/41472/custom-erie-cana... ); although I'm looking for a small fix to use it with the second ed rules. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the easiest solution would be to add a few tiles per player.
 
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Ron
Austria
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
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Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
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Orph wrote:
Hey, thanks for the review. I have to admit that I didn't playtest the map, so I'm glad to hear anything about it. I do hope to get it played soon.

If you play it, would you use first or second edition rules? meeple
 
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H-B-G
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Just reading this and the comments, it looks like you may have been using 2nd edition rules but playing incorrectly.

The 60 point trigger for 4 players is from the second edition, first edition it would have been 50.

Also I notice 20 cubes in the basin, whereas strictly in the first edition you only use 15, although I know many ignored that (or missed it) and used all 20 anyway.

You say that you added the contract values at the end and as Dave earlier said these values (in 2nd edition) should be added when the contracts are completed as the game goes on. In first edition the contract values do not count for anything except for the awarding of bonuses (max 10 points) to the most prolific builder, and even then they are only a tie break as the primary determinant is the number of contracts completed.

The drop in the trigger value to 50 in line with 1st edition would likely have solved your problem, alternatively adding contract values as the game goes on would definitely have avoided the problem.
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Ron
Austria
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ASL ... yes, this is my Desert Island Game. If I have to give up all my 3000+ games and only allowed to keep one, this would be it. This bloody game stood the test of time. Around for more than 25 years - simply the best.
badge
Devoted Follower of the Most Holy Church of the Evil Bob. Possessed and down the road to become chaotic, evil & naughty. All hail the Evil Bob and his Stargate.
mbmbmbmbmb
Dave,

thanks for your reply - just to make it clear: We used 2nd ed rules.

DaveD wrote:
Just reading this and the comments, it looks like you may have been using 2nd edition rules but playing incorrectly.

The 60 point trigger for 4 players is from the second edition, first edition it would have been 50.

We set the trigger to 60 according to 2nd ed. So we've got that right.

DaveD wrote:
Also I notice 20 cubes in the basin, whereas strictly in the first edition you only use 15, although I know many ignored that (or missed it) and used all 20 anyway.

We used all cubes, but that was never an issue. At no time in the game where more than 10 cubes in cities on the board.

DaveD wrote:
You say that you added the contract values at the end and as Dave earlier said these values (in 2nd edition) should be added when the contracts are completed as the game goes on. In first edition the contract values do not count for anything except for the awarding of bonuses (max 10 points) to the most prolific builder, and even then they are only a tie break as the primary determinant is the number of contracts completed.

Ouch! You've got me! gulp

From the rules: "Each player should keep the number and total value of completed contracts secret until the final scoring"

Re-reading the entire section just now, it states cleary that the contract values are added to your score after you've finished the canal. But because of the sentence above, we've added it not until final scoring - that was obviously our mistake! They are only needed as tie-breaker. So much for 'veteran players'.

Thanks for pointing that out to me! blush

I guess I need to play that map again, using the correct rules meeple
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Pony Casts Fire
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Phew! Glad to hear that there's a reason. I tried to keep the same values and general sizes for the canals. I would play with the new rules, which means I'd need to update it with the generic canal cards.
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