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Subject: Age of Steam Dethroned rss

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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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I love Age of Steam. Up until recently, it was my #1 favorite Euro.

Street cred: I'm the author of THIS Geeklist.

In the last week I've played 6 games of Terra Mystica. My beloved AoS is in the process of being dethroned as my #1 favorite Euro.

Terra Mystica is amazing.

Re; Age of Steam - #2 isn't bad.
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Game Junkie
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Let us know when you recover your senses...

I don't see what is so great about Terra Mystica. Just look at the objectives and pick the race that benefits the most from them. The game is pretty much over after that. whistle
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Dave Eisen
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fubar awol wrote:


I love Age of Steam. Up until recently, it was my #1 favorite Euro.

Street cred: I'm the author of THIS Geeklist.

In the last week I've played 6 games of Terra Mystica. My beloved AoS is in the process of being dethroned as my #1 favorite Euro.

Terra Mystica is amazing.

Re; Age of Steam - #2 isn't bad.
Seems my tastes are similar to yours. I raised TM above Age of Steam too although both are solidly in my top 10. Top 6, actually.

But after 30+ plays, well, TM might not have the same replay value that AoS has. Patterns are very much repeating themselves.

But the first 30+ plays: pretty darned excellent.
 
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Bradley Keen
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Ha! Long time to see Pierce. When we meet again, you will have to teach me this one.
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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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Canales wrote:
Let us know when you recover your senses...


Canales wrote:
I don't see what is so great about Terra Mystica. Just look at the objectives and pick the race that benefits the most from them. The game is pretty much over after that. whistle
The reason I started this thread: I want to alert AoS players that there is another game out there that plays like AoS. Truly strategic Euros are rare enough that they ought to be pointed out.

AoS and TM share the two characteristics that I love most in a game:

They are both Strategic (per my very specific definition) and Explosive. See my user profile to know my definitions.

They both have a similar "fresh-puzzle-in-each-game" feeling that I enjoy.

What TM does better: Limits Chaos. If AoS has a weakness, it is the always-present possibility that "some other player" will do something that randomly benefits your closes rival or hurts you.

What AoS does better: Less fiddly, cleaner and more elegant. You get the fun of what Clearclaw calls "torqueing the incentive grid", which is fun, but is more akin to a game like diplomacy (which is more like an Ameritrash game than a Euro).

For me, at the moment I'm valuing the reduced chaos of TM over AoS's social / influence / meta-gaming element.




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I had very high expectations when I bought Terra Mystica.

However, I ended up with the nagging feeling that each race had one optimal path to victory. It was like a race where every runner had its own fixed speed. If your race was the fastest, you won. In that regard, I found the game to be too strategic, hence my previous comment (choose race, do the best you can with it and see if that is enough to win).

Part of the problem was that interaction was too little for me (I favor more confrontational games). This is not TM's fault, since it is a pure euro; I was simly expecting a more cutthroat game.
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Dave Eisen
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Canales wrote:
I had very high expectations when I bought Terra Mystica.

However, I ended up with the nagging feeling that each race had one optimal path to victory. It was like a race where every runner had its own fixed speed. If your race was the fastest, you won. In that regard, I found the game to be too strategic, hence my previous comment (choose race, do the best you can with it and see if that is enough to win).

Part of the problem was that interaction was too little for me (I favor more confrontational games). This is not TM's fault, since it is a pure euro; I was simly expecting a more cutthroat game.
The more I've played, the more confrontational the games have become. Cutting someone off on the board can be very painful. A surprising early pass to guarantee early turn order on the next turn to grab a key power action.

No, it's not destructive. I cannot bomb your trading house. But I find Terra Mystica highly interactive in comparison to other Euro-building games.
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Eugene
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fubar awol wrote:
In the last week I've played 6 games of Terra Mystica. My beloved AoS is in the process of being dethroned as my #1 favorite Euro.

Terra Mystica is amazing.
Kaivai. Have you tried Kaivai, Helge Ostertag's earlier game?
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Dave Eisen
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garygarison wrote:
fubar awol wrote:
In the last week I've played 6 games of Terra Mystica. My beloved AoS is in the process of being dethroned as my #1 favorite Euro.

Terra Mystica is amazing.
Kaivai. Have you tried Kaivai, Helge Ostertag's earlier game?
If not, make sure you get the first edition. I understand that it was rereleased with a goal of making it more accessible which is gamer speak for making it worse.
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Chris Montgomery
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fubar awol wrote:


[snip]

What TM does better: Limits Chaos. If AoS has a weakness, it is the always-present possibility that "some other player" will do something that randomly benefits your closes rival or hurts you.

What AoS does better: Less fiddly, cleaner and more elegant. You get the fun of what Clearclaw calls "torqueing the incentive grid", which is fun, but is more akin to a game like diplomacy (which is more like an Ameritrash game than a Euro).

For me, at the moment I'm valuing the reduced chaos of TM over AoS's social / influence / meta-gaming element.
AFAIK, the only random element in AoS is the dice roll for production. I think AoS is really at its best when all the players are very good at playing the game. It limits that "random action" that disrupts the delicate balance the players themselves create. Unfortuntately, it does take quite a few plays before a group of beginners starts to figure out how important "just building that track there" was to the outcome of the game.

I will have to look into Terra Mystica, though.

Cheers!
 
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Hi again, Pierce and Brad!

I am quite enjoying Terra Mystica, but it has a bit too much long range strategy and not enough (ie none!) turn to turn randomness for my tastes. I still prefer AoS, although it's a lot easier to play TM online!
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J C Lawrence
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Compared to Age of Steam with its several hundreds of plays here (Rating: 8.5), Kaivai went over well (Rating: 9.0), but Terra Mystica did not fare as well after two plays (4.0).
 
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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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clearclaw wrote:
Compared to Age of Steam with its several hundreds of plays here (Rating: 8.5), Kaivai went over well (Rating: 9.0), but Terra Mystica did not fare as well after two plays (4.0).
Lost my decoder ring again... what stats are you referencing?
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Dave Eisen
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fubar awol wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
Compared to Age of Steam with its several hundreds of plays here (Rating: 8.5), Kaivai went over well (Rating: 9.0), but Terra Mystica did not fare as well after two plays (4.0).
Lost my decoder ring again... what stats are you referencing?
His own personal rating. "Went over well" means "JC likes it". "Not fare as well" means "JC does not like it".

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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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Canales wrote:
I had very high expectations when I bought Terra Mystica.

However, I ended up with the nagging feeling that each race had one optimal path to victory. It was like a race where every runner had its own fixed speed. If your race was the fastest, you won. In that regard, I found the game to be too strategic, hence my previous comment (choose race, do the best you can with it and see if that is enough to win).

Part of the problem was that interaction was too little for me (I favor more confrontational games). This is not TM's fault, since it is a pure euro; I was simly expecting a more cutthroat game.
You can disbelieve me or you can take my word for it: You're missing things! It's much better than you think.

A big part of the game is responding to the randomly-selected and ordered bonus tiles and the faction choices of the other players when you pick your faction (which is done AFTER SETUP in TURN ORDER). Then, it is responding to the turn order and the starting locations of the other players as you place your initial structures and plan your game.

The game hasn't even started yet and the tension is palpable.

The next big deal is TIMING. It is a huge part of the game. Additionally how you play your faction given which other faction are in the game and where they are located relative to your position.

Confrontation: In my last game, in one move (based on carefully managed turn-order timing and on the bonus tile I had chosen in the preceding round, all with the intent of crushing him: both tactical considerations) I completely destroyed another players chances of winning. He came in dead last by a mile.

Believe me, you don't know TM like I know TM...
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fubar awol wrote:
Believe me, you don't know TM like I know TM...
I won't deny it.

But after getting 5 plays in, I am aware of those nuances. It's just that the game did not entice me as much as it apparently enticed you. I am not saying TM is a bad game, just that I like AoS much, much more. Long live the king!
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Goo
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I don't see why they can't both live happily ever after hand in hand. They are both very good.

I don't think TM is going to have the staying power of AoS. I think often your actions are obvious based on the reward for that round and your race abilities. It's still super fun, but sometimes it almost plays itself.
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Pierce (敏敦) Ostrander
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
I don't see why they can't both live happily ever after hand in hand. They are both very good.
All games can... but only one can be #1

Gelatinous Goo wrote:
I don't think TM is going to have the staying power of AoS.
Staying Power needs to be defined. If is is just "I still like it" then it can't be argued.

I haven't played AoS since August of 2011. (!) I don't know how to get at that data on the geek, but it would be interesting to see how the total number of plays of AoS ranks in the top 1,000 of "games played this year".

3. Any game ranked in the top 10 "best" has a much better chance of achieving "staying power". TM is now at 11. AoS is at 48. Let's see what the relative position is in 2 years. Even "Village" which won the SdJ over TM is down to 65. I guess it was a flash in the pan. Comparatively, TM - released the same year is doing a heck of a lot better.

Gelatinous Goo wrote:
I think often your actions are obvious based on the reward for that round and your race abilities. It's still super fun, but sometimes it almost plays itself.
That, is the nature of strategic games. The fun is the tension involved in executing your plan along the path that you have pre-defined in the face of conflict with other players. In TM "denial" moves are definitely part of the game - which is a primary way to mess with your opponent's plans... the other side of a strategic game.

Compare this to AoS where the same claim can easily be made. Rewrite to: "your actions are obvious based on cubes you need to ship."

In either game, you might have several good options on a turn but usually only one is optimal based on your plan. Again, this is the nature of strategic games. The fun is not in having lots of equally-good options (which I find boring) but in having a plan that you must execute and watching yourself pull it off more or less successfully.

You imply that each race has a single predefined route... On this point I can't disagree too strongly - but discovering it is like discovering "sweet spots" on AoS Maps and part of the fun. With many of the timing decisions subject to other things, none of it can become rote too quickly.

Compare this to AoS. Rewrite to: "your actions are obvious based on the cube set and the random starting turn order."

That's not a fair distillation of the complexities of the game, but neither is your's of TM. At the same time, neither is too far from the truth.
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Some have compared TM, unfavorably, to Dominion, where the greatest challenge to overcome is assessing the randomized setup and planning accordingly. What do you say to this?
 
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Juho Snellman
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dkeisen wrote:
But after 30+ plays, well, TM might not have the same replay value that AoS has. Patterns are very much repeating themselves.

But the first 30+ plays: pretty darned excellent.
It's perhaps a bit unfair to compare a game to a game system. I love AoS, but have not played even 20 matches on any single map. Probably the only one I have over 10 plays on is the basic Rust Belt map. A huge part of the variability and replayability comes from all the variant maps. Now, AoS is a lot easier to extend than TM -- there's no need to worry about the asymmetries, and the basic framework is amenable to tiny tweaks that have interesting effects. We'll never have 100 published TM factions. But I could easily see TM staying fresh with yearly expansions. Or equally well the system could peak after an expansion or two and then collapse, like RftG. You never know these things in advance.

(I don't see any similarities between the two games. Nor is there any reason to think there's a strong correlation between liking AoS and liking TM.)
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Goo
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garygarison wrote:
Some have compared TM, unfavorably, to Dominion, where the greatest challenge to overcome is assessing the randomized setup and planning accordingly. What do you say to this?
I hadn't heard that, but that is my experience. I feel like my moves are mapped out for me.

The hardest part is waiting for the other players to see their mapped trajectory. Since my moves feel predetermined and the decision time is quick, it's a painful wait for the other players to take their turns (especially if they don't see their map ahead of time).

My simple critique amplifies the situation, though. It's not as bad as I make it sound and the predetermined map isn't totally set in stone, but I have found a large disproportion between my turn and waiting for everyone else's turn. I'm making it sound like I don't like the game, but I do. It's a fine game. But I just don't see me playing it as much as (Age of) Steam over the long haul.

Caveat: I don't think I've won a game yet, so maybe I should be thinking more and eliminating little mistakes.

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fubar awol wrote:
You can disbelieve me or you can take my word for it: You're missing things! It's much better than you think. :p
Um, no? Aside from your ridiculous presumption, TM and AoS do completely different things. TM can't possibly do much of what I enjoy about AoS. It's just not in the game.

To me, TM was built for boring. It's competitive watching paint dry isn't dethroning anything in this house.
 
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