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Subject: Lewis & Clark vs Glass Road rss

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Richard Dewsbery
United Kingdom
Sutton Coldfield
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Having played both Lewis & Clark and Glass Road at Essen last weekend, and having watched both videos posted by
Richard Ham
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Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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CLICK THIS BEAGLE if you're looking for in-depth gameplay video run-throughs! :)
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and
Michael Wißner
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today, I thought that it might be interesting to jot down my initial thoughts about the two games.

Firstly, the similarities. They are both very pretty. They both have cards and boards. But the similarities are in fact much deeper than that.

Both games have resource collection and conversion as important aspects of the gameplay. In Lewis & Clark, the clever bit is the way that the resources are obtained (through the card play), and the way that they are stored (collect too many, overburden your boats, and you'll end up going backwards not forwards). Through various actions, especially native indian worker placement, you can convert one type of goods into another, and certain goods are used to power your movement forwards along the river to victory.

In Glass Road, the collection also comes from playing cards - but in a fairly familiar manner (it's not as clever as L&C in that way). The clever bit is that resources are stored on two production wheels - which also automatically convert the basic resources into the two most valuable ones (and timing this can be very important).

So both games use resource collection and conversion in quite a clever way. I'd score them both as being above average in this regard.

The other significant way in which the games are alike are in the action selection/card play. In Glass Road, which five cards (out of fifteen) are selected each round are crucial - not only trying to pick which actions you want to perform, but guessing at which you can "leech" from opponents; get it right and you can perform 8 actions in each of the four rounds; get it wrong and you might only do 3 actions per round.

In Lewis & Clark, it's again about picking actions which bring you the biggest benefit (perhaps leeching symbols off your neighbours to increase the effectiveness of resource-gathering cards), whilst at the same time wanting to limit the number of symbols that can be leeched from you.

In both games, players start with an identical set of cards.

Now to the differences.

Lewis & Clark has a sort of "deck-building" aspect - you can buy additional action cards which open up more options. Indeed, if you don't improve your available cards during the game you will find yourself at a disadvantage compared to other players who do; the cards available for purchase are almost always better than the basic cards you start with, allowing more resource collecting, or faster movement, or conversion options which aren't otherwise open to the players.

In comparison, Glass Road has the player board where tile placement - of buildings, of resource-generating terrain - is important. But that feels more pedestrian - we've seen it before, in games like Farmers of the Moor, and it can feel a little hackneyed. So that's a point to L&C.

The other big difference is the way that the games actually play out.

Lewis & Clark is essentially a race game - you're trying to cross the board faster than anyone else. No counting of victory points at the end, just a clear objective everyone can see. Glass Road has a victory point tally (fortunately a simple one - only points printed on buildings you have constructed count). Advantage L&C.

Lewis & Clark also has the addition of workers - it's not really a worker placement game per se, but it has a worker placement mechanism (it's obligatory for all 2013 releases to have either deck-building or worker placement - L&C has both). So there's a real depth to L&C.

So, having played them both I prefer Lewis & Clark, right? Nope. I bought Glass Road after playing it, I passed on Lewis & Clark after playing. Because even though it was ahead on points, L&C goes down to a knock-out blow scored by GR.

Game length. Thinking time. Analysis paralysis.

Lewis & Clark is not only the longer game - it FEELS the longer game, by a big margin. That is because a player can only really plan their turn when it comes round to them - cards in front of opponents have to be checked, the placement of workers (and explorers on the river) can change EVERYTHING. Two hours is the playing time for people who know what they are doing; it won't be the time taken for a first game.

Whereas in Glass Road, the important part of the thinking is done at the start of the round, when the players select their action cards. And everyone does that simultaneously. Sure, there can be a bit of thinking and calculation mid-round, but it's far less than with L&C in my experience.

So - until I play them again (at which point views MIGHT change) - I would say that Glass Road is the one that I would prefer to play.
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Wim van Gruisen
Netherlands
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Thanks for the article. It's been enlightening. Just one thing ...
RDewsbery wrote:
Firstly, the similarities. They are both very pretty. They both have cards and boards. But the similarities are in fact much deeper than that.Both games have resource collection and conversion as important aspects of the gameplay.

About sixty percent of the games that come out today are about resource collection and conversion (ninety percent of the games that score at BGG). If you point out these similarities, you might as well note that both games come in a box too.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Hi. Thanks for you input!

What I was tying to say is that resource collection in both games is more than just grabbing cubes; you need to grab the right resources, at the right time, thinking about how you store them (an important aspect in both games - in L&C they slow you down, in GR they can accidentally convert and you have hard limits on storage).

But if you think it invalidates my views, that'a fine. By all means petition BGG to remove the categorisation of games, and remind people who say that Nations is similar to Through The Ages or that Concordia lacks a rondel that they are stating the obvious.
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Serena
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I also played both at Spiel, well L&C I didn't finish. I also prefer Glass Roads, but I didn't convince me enough to buy it. L&C felt like it's all about the cards. Using them for different purposes and building your deck, but that didn't feel new enough to convince me.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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If there was much "new" at Essen 203, I didn't notice. The question is, did either game (or*any* game for that matter) use the existing mechanisms to provide something that you'd want to play instead of the ten best games you already own?
 
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Serena
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RDewsbery wrote:
The question is, did either game (or*any* game for that matter) use the existing mechanisms to provide something that you'd want to play instead of the ten best games you already own?

Simple answer: no. But if I got the chance to play either of them somewhere again, where I don't get the chance to play something better, I would give them a 2nd try.
 
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Andy Parsons
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I played Lewis & Clark but not Glass Road at Essen, so can't make comparisons. I'd agree with the points that Richard makes about L&C, while adding that it does have some nice thematic touches, from the cards all representing historical characters to a big flotilla of boats laden with people and goods making slow progress.

The in-turn thinking in our game certainly did lead to some downtime, compounded by our failure to keep our decks lean (each extra card adds to your options). After two hours we were about two thirds of the way to Oregon and felt that we ought to be auditioning other games. I enjoyed my play and nearly bought the game. It was concern about how often I would find the time to get it played that made me hesitate. As other games turned out mediocre and L&C sold out I came to regret my hesitancy.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Chelmsford
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SoRCon 11 23-25 Feb 2018 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk
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Andy Parsons wrote:
I played Lewis & Clark but not Glass Road at Essen, so can't make comparisons. I'd agree with the points that Richard makes about L&C, while adding that it does have some nice thematic touches, from the cards all representing historical characters to a big flotilla of boats laden with people and goods making slow progress.

The in-turn thinking in our game certainly did lead to some downtime, compounded by our failure to keep our decks lean (each extra card adds to your options). After two hours we were about two thirds of the way to Oregon and felt that we ought to be auditioning other games. I enjoyed my play and nearly bought the game. It was concern about how often I would find the time to get it played that made me hesitate. As other games turned out mediocre and L&C sold out I came to regret my hesitancy.


The good news is, I bought a copy (of each) so you can play them.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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I'm unlikely to regret not buying L&C; no matter how well themed - or how pretty - it's too long and too AP-prone for me. Same goes for Madeira. But Concordia - now that's a game I might come to regret not buying.
 
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