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Subject: Mitigating Luck of Contract Cards rss

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Chris Smith
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Anyone have thoughts on how to mitigate some of the luck getting contract cards causes?

I've got 10 or so plays of this game and it seems without fail that at least once during a game a player will end up with a really lousy draw on the first couple of turns, or worse (like my most recent game) 2 turns in a row where the contracts the player received were nearly unfulfilable (I got 4 of the people cards out of 4 cards on the second turn).

Unless the other players also suffer the same bad luck on those first turns its nearly impossible to catch up without that income coming in. It's much easier to mitigate it later in the game.

I don't mind luck in games but it feel bad for players when after the first couple of turns they are pretty much out of the game, for the next 2 hours.

Thoughts?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I have only played solo against myself a few times, but there are several ways to mitigate the randomness:

First, you can buy commercial buildings that guarantee you a way to dump your cubes.

Second, you can buy the utility building that lets you store cubes, allowing you to wait for the right contracts to appear.

Third, you can buy a medium or large ship to at least be able to take passengers. Getting cash instead of points early is not a bad thing.

Fourth, you can take the role that gives you extra cards, or one of the roles that lets you exchange cards.

Fifth, you can buy sheds, which allow you to draw extra cards (and store cards).

Sixth, you can build the wall segment that lets you draw an extra contract each round.

Seventh, you can get the wall segment that allows you to change one cube's color each round.

Eighth, you can just buy cubes to fulfill the contract(s) you drew.

Ninth, you can focus on producing a wide variety of colors, to increase the chances of getting a contract you can use.

In other words, there are a lot of ways to mitigate the randomness. These won't always work, but they should help a lot. If you're not doing any of those things, then you are putting yourself completely at the mercy of the draw, and the game will feel quite random.
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Chris Smith
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The thing is all of those require money. Which if you have a couple of bad draws you won't have any or enough to to anything that will catch you up to those that didn't have the bad draws.

If in the early turns you get contracts that you cannot fill you are kinda screwed.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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KillMeForPrizes wrote:
The thing is all of those require money. Which if you have a couple of bad draws you won't have any or enough to to anything that will catch you up to those that didn't have the bad draws.

If in the early turns you get contracts that you cannot fill you are kinda screwed.

You start the game with money, so you can absolutely do at least one or two of those things on your very first turn. If you're not doing them, what are you spending your money on? Maybe your group plays completely differently than how I have been playing?
 
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Mitigating luck is indeed a very important aspect of the game.

I fully agree with Kevin, there are several different ways to do so.

Regarding money, the best way is to be careful and not to spend all your money on the first round of building purchases: you should be cautious and spare some money to be able to:
- buy a medium ship if you drew passenger contracts
- buy the missing goods if you miss some
- buy a shed if you have goods with no contracts
- last but not least: keep for the next auction phase to get one of the roles that allow you to get or exchange contracts

You can choose between a slow and more careful start or a fast start that will require more luck in the contracts drawing.
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Brett
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You can play where if during the 1st or even 2nd rounds that a if a player receives a contract that requires a yellow or black cube they can exchange it for another card. This can help someone from starting off in a hole.
 
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Jerry Wang
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I take out 21 of the 106 contracts on the first turn:

The nine "low" passengers (the -/1/1 that pays 2, the -/1/2 that pays 3, and the -/2/2 that pays 4) because they are too bad.
The 12 "strong" single-cube contract cards (the 1/2/2 single green that pays $4, etc.) because they are too good.

Not fool proof, but better than pure random. After the first turn, I immediately shuffle these 21 back in.

The idea is that you're removing both the worst and the best contracts out of the initial draw, somewhat mitigating the early luck factor.
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Rex Dart
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I had a lot of luck with a "retail-heavy" strategy in my first game, where I focused on getting both lots of production buildings and lots of retail buildings that I could sell all or most of my production at every turn. I didn't even start shipping in a serious way until pretty late in the game.

(Caveat: None of the players really knew what they were doing, and it's probably not a winning strategy to totally focus on this - but doing SOME of this helps mitigate bad luck, because you have an engine that provides you with guaranteed income.)

Fairly obvious, but another way to mitigate the luck of contract cards is simply to get more of them, via the office that does that and IIRC some buildings and wall segments.
 
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