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Subject: Why does player 4 not get any gold during district scoring? rss

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Sam Lehman
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I played a game last night and I couldn't explain why player 4 gets 0 gold on all three rounds.
 
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Evan Dunn
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Because they have a scoring advantage from going last. Especially in terms of the fourth scoring round, where they get to go last last, and can improve their position without any other player having the ability to react to it.

The gold bonus is also a super minor thing. At the point that player 1 and 2 get some dollars from it, taxing already produces 14 bucks. An extra gold here and there is nice, but it's really not a huge difference.
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Timur Tabi
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Is the extra gold really necessary? I wonder if it really makes a difference. Perhaps mathematically it's necessary to provide true balance, but I wonder if it's really just an extra rule that makes things complicated. There already are a lot of scoring rules, so this game could benefit from some simplification.
 
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Evan Dunn
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I agree with you. I don't really understand it, but I'm sure the designer felt it was necessary.
 
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Manny O
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Think about it this way: the last player will always make as much or more from levying funds as each of the preceding players, because if any of them have built on that turn, they may have pushed prosperity into the next "tax bracket".

Similarly, the third player will always make as much or more than players one and two, and player two will always make as much or more than player one.

This is a clear advantage which is partially offset by player one's ability to push city prosperity over the century mark, and thus begin scoring with a one-turn advantage over the other three, the second player's ability to do so, resulting in the first two getting a one-turn scoring advantage over the last two, and the third player's ability to do so, which results in the three of them getting one more turn before scoring than the last player. (Obviously, this is not a concern at the final District Favor tally, since that is always scored after all the players have had the same number of turns.)

Figuring out HOW big each advantage was, and how much they offset, took extensive playtesting. We playtested this game nigh unto death. So much so, it's a wonder that we still enjoy it, but we do! :-)

Once we figured out that the slight advantage went to later players, we eventually came up with this extra cash for the earlier players to compensate.

The above should give you some strategic hints for playing this game.
To spell it out, every player should attempt to be the one to get city prosperity over the line whenever possible. Early players should do it to make the most of this advantage, and later players should do it to wipe it out. Meanwhile, later players should be trying to levy funds after everyone else builds, and build after the others levy funds, to increase their monetary advantage over the earlier players.

Hope this helped.
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Andrew Parks
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To follow up on Manny's points, the decision to add the Rank Tokens came after extremely rigorous testing in an attempt to discover why players 3 and 4 were winning more than their fair share of games (mind you, we always switched around who was playing in those positions).

Eventually, we realized that players 1 & 2 were frequently "just short" of needed funds, while players 3 & 4 tended to be more "financially comfortable" during the game.

Afterwards, we started tracking every game on a financial level, and we realized almost without fail that player 4 was earning around 9-10 gold more than player 1 over the course of one game, with the others sprinkled somewhere in between. In a game with no luck, 9-10 gold is significant.

Adding the Rank Tokens allowed us to insert some gold at intermittent moments in an attempt to even out the wealth somewhat. After more rigorous testing, we started to notice that the amount of gold that each player collected each game was much, much closer.

Of course, player 4 still has his advantages (and continued to win frequently in our playtests). He gets that extra gold much more steadily than the other players, and often has positional advantages due to his later place in the starting turn order. However, this is balanced out by the fact that the earlier players can push the city over the 100 mark before him, and therefore put him "one turn behind" when district favor is scored.

I hope his helps explain our obsessive-compulsive playtesting practices!

Andrew
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Jonathan Harrison
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Andrew Parks wrote:
To follow up on Manny's points, the decision to add the Rank Tokens came after extremely rigorous testing in an attempt to discover why players 3 and 4 were winning more than their fair share of games (mind you, we always switched around who was playing in those positions).

Eventually, we realized that players 1 & 2 were frequently "just short" of needed funds, while players 3 & 4 tended to be more "financially comfortable" during the game.

Afterwards, we started tracking every game on a financial level, and we realized almost without fail that player 4 was earning around 9-10 gold more than player 1 over the course of one game, with the others sprinkled somewhere in between. In a game with no luck, 9-10 gold is significant.

Adding the Rank Tokens allowed us to insert some gold at intermittent moments in an attempt to even out the wealth somewhat. After more rigorous testing, we started to notice that the amount of gold that each player collected each game was much, much closer.

Of course, player 4 still has his advantages (and continued to win frequently in our playtests). He gets that extra gold much more steadily than the other players, and often has positional advantages due to his later place in the starting turn order. However, this is balanced out by the fact that the earlier players can push the city over the 100 mark before him, and therefore put him "one turn behind" when district favor is scored.

I hope his helps explain our obsessive-compulsive playtesting practices!

Andrew

This is the sort of thing I love to see from a designer.
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Manny O
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HuginnGreiling wrote:
This is the sort of thing I love to see from a designer.


Oh, don't give him TOO much credit. He probably just cut-and-pasted this from Chapter 27 of the first draft of his Designer Diary.
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Rich Radgoski
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Note, however - I taught this game at a local convention to 4 new players. Player 4 was probably the most timid, with player 1 the most aggressive. (Seen after the game was in progress). In this scenario, the bonus coins were feeding the player destined to win and helping the last player fall way back. Ultimately, you can't do much for that, but if you know the folks you are teaching the game to - think about the order in which you let them start the game. Sometimes (like blind hook ups at conventions) you can't help it...but at home games, you'll know.
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Mike Beiter
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We played our first time last night and those few extra coins for the first 2 players made a huge difference.
Every round it made the difference between them buying the building that was most beneficial to them or not.

Money is so critical this game that every coin you get is crucial.

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