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Subject: It burns! It burns! rss

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Matthew Titelbaum
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We just played this for the first time tonight. Our group seemed to like every part of it...except the fire mechanics. It seemed like some compounds were exploding too quickly and too frequently. I can't tell if this was by design or if we were playing wrong.

Tell me if this is right:

If a compound has only one Flame Token icon, it explodes as soon as a Lab Fire hits. If that's the case, if you know a Lab Fire is due, you should probably avoid claiming that Compound or partially Researching it, because you'll lose your work. You should only start Researching a one Flame Token icon if you know you can complete it before a Lab Fire occurs (unless you're willing to expend your Fire Extinguisher for the AP loss).

Does that all sound right? What we found is that so many of the one Flame Token icons exploded in such quick succession that we churned through a lot of Compound cards much faster than we expected, and we felt disincentivized to even consider Researching them.

Were we playing it wrong? Did we just have a bad shuffle?

Also, unrelated, can you make use of the Graduated Cylinder on the same Lab Phase during which you receive it?

Want to love the game, but something felt off. Thanks.
 
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Jason Kotarski
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I had a similar experience of avoiding stuff that was going to blow up soon, too. But I think this is where the crafty social player could focus their energy. "Hey, help me finish this thing before it blows up and later I'll owe you a little something."

I've only played 3 times now and I know I'm under-utilizing the trading mechanic (and lab tools, for that matter). Hoping more plays will helps me figure that out. For me, it gives me a desire to play again so I can keep exploring what makes the game tick...that, and how pretty it is!

Full disclosure: The publisher of this game writes me checks for my game and the designer is my friend...but I wouldn't want to play a crappy game just cause my friends made it, that's just being a bad friend. :)
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Michael Tyree
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How many players did you play with? My experience is that the fewer the players, the lower frequency of fires because the deck cycles slower. It is more chaotic with more players, and negotiation to complete compounds grows in importance.
 
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Richard Waszczuk
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mtitelbaum wrote:
If a compound has only one Flame Token icon, it explodes as soon as a Lab Fire hits.


Yes, but keep in mind that when you draw a Lab Fire card you set it aside and complete re-filling the research field. Then you resolve the Lab Fire, placing flame tokens on any flammable compounds and discarding/replacing those compounds that explode. Any additional Lab Fire cards drawn during the first or second replacement actions are ignored that turn. If you followed these rules then you should be fine.

The only exception to the rule on lab Fires is the "Volatile" effect caused by completing such a marked compound (from the expansion only, as I recall).

Quote:
If that's the case, if you know a Lab Fire is due, you should probably avoid claiming that Compound or partially Researching it, because you'll lose your work. You should only start Researching a one Flame Token icon if you know you can complete it before a Lab Fire occurs (unless you're willing to expend your Fire Extinguisher for the AP loss).


I know in the last game I played there was an aversion to flammable compounds, although if you have the Research level and the elements to complete a compound, or a handy fire extinguisher, you should be able to take advantage of these risky compounds later in the game.

Quote:
Also, unrelated, can you make use of the Graduated Cylinder on the same Lab Phase during which you receive it?


Good question. I had assumed "no", as that's how we ruled it during our game, but then I failed to find any reference to this ruling in the rule book.
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Michael Mesich
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People anticipating the lab fire cards in the standard setup on my first game led me to shuffle each deck segment instead so people stop trying to card count towards the next fire.

I like it better this way.

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Richard Waszczuk
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mmesich wrote:
People anticipating the lab fire cards in the standard setup on my first game led me to shuffle each deck segment instead so people stop trying to card count towards the next fire.


While I haven't played enough games for this to happen (i.e. card counting), I naturally assume it might. This sounds like a good way to randomize the appearance of a Lab Fire while still spacing them out.
 
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John Moller
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I avoid flammable compounds like I would avoid the plague, but it doesn't devalue the game for me. I still do well, and even win without them.

But...get enough of those compounds out there and someone is going to have take a chance on one or two of them. force other players to do it...not you.

Position yourself so that stray elements after a fire can land on your compounds and help you.

Don't look them as a negative thing, find the positive.

They're a necessary part of the game because they keep things fresh and moving. If the only time a compound left the table was because someone finished it I feel the game would be boring. As it is, you have to work around the dangers and find a way to make it work for you.

I've read a few of these types of posts where people don't like the flammable stuff, it burns too easy... but there are ways to look positively at them. I won't claim them, but they sure as shooting figure in to what I'm doing.

Consider, in a trade situation, not just trading the elements, but trading an element play. "i'll put one of my carbons on your flammable compound to help you finish it faster...before it blows up."...Think of the deal you could try and get in return for that.

Use the flammable stuff to your advantage. Be creative and find a way. those ways are there.

Edit: ALSO... since I've owned a copy, and everytime I've actually set the game up, I just shuffle the lab fires into the deck without sorting. It alleviates the card counting and makes the fires more random and the compounds easier to complete. I believe that variant is the rule book and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants "hopefully" a little more time between lab fires.
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Matthew Titelbaum
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I wasn't trying to make any sort of judgment about the fires. I just want to make sure I'm playing them correctly. I totally agree that they add spice and should totally be in the game.

We played with 4 players.

Just to be clear, is this the right sequence of events:

In the Lab phase:
1.) Completed Compounds are scored, lab tools distributed, experiment levels adjusted.
2.) Research Field starts getting filled in.
3.) A Lab Fire card flips immediately and is put to the side.
4.) The rest of the field fills up with mostly one Flame Token Compounds.
5.) Those one Flame Token Compounds all immediately blow up, are placed in the discard, and then get replaced.

There was something jarring about Compounds that were just dealt out blowing up immediately. Were we playing it right?

Thanks all for the help.

---Matt
 
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Darrell Louder
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Yep, that is correct. Just luck of the draw on those. They are high score compounds- gotta make it hard to be all Pokemon (poor 'gotta catch them all' joke).
 
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Matthew Titelbaum
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getlouder wrote:
Yep, that is correct. Just lick of the draw on those. They are high score compounds- gotta make 'me hard to be all Pokemon (poor 'gotta catch them all joke).


Thanks for the reply. You might want to take your auto-correct off of "porno mode", though.
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Darrell Louder
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Thats the last time I try to post from my cell phone.
 
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