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Age of Industry Expansion: Belgium & USSR» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Belgian Workers are Revolting rss

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My wife and I gave the Belgium map a spin yesterday.

The map is nicely tight for two players. And there are special rules for cotton, factory, and national rail subsidies that provide interesting (and variable) tweaks to the cost landscape of each playing. I expect that they'll improve replayability.

But the most significant rule change for this map involve labor unrest.

Whenever either player uses coal, the used cubes go to a track with eight spaces. On filling the fourth space, a card is flipped over (from the game setup discards). That card shows where a strike is imminent. On filling the eighth space, the strike is triggered.

A strike shuts down all industry in the affected region for one round of play. No building, no accessing coal or iron, no sale of goods or use of ports. Material can move through the region on the railroads, but none of the spaces in the region can do anything.

Then, when the strike concludes, each player must pay a monetary penalty for every industry that the player owns in the affected region. The penalty increases with each subsequent strike: one $ per chit in the first strike; two $ per in the second, etc.

Once per game, each player can invoke "Blacklegs" (i.e., strike breakers) -- discard a card from your hand and use an action to bury the card showing the next strike location. It goes to the bottom of the strike deck.

Labor unrest had a huge effect on our game. It destroyed me.

Much too early, I used my one Blackleg action to prevent a strike in purple, where I had three industries. That was a big mistake, as I could have shrugged off the disruption and the $6 in penalties that I'd have owed. It wouldn't have been good, but I could have recovered.

Later in the game, on the next to last turn, we got a strike in blue -- where I had a port that I needed in order to sell goods from my level 4 factory. The damned strikers shut my port down and I couldn't flip those tiles. Then I got hit with a $12 penalty and didn't have quite enough cash on hand (I'd expected to sell goods!). So I needed to take a loan to cover the cost.

Then my wife ended the game. I lost 5vp for my unpaid loan and another 7 that I would have gotten from income, if I'd managed to sell my goods.

Grrr.

Lesson learned: late game strikes can be brutal. Don't burn your Blacklegs too early.

Thanks Klode, for the interesting 2p alternative!

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MLeis
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Didn't you earn enough from railways to repay the loan?
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Charles-Louis de Maere
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"The Belgian Workers are Revolting" gulp

Love the title of your review.

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Joe Pastuzyn
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Great session report and thanks for posting.
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Fielmann wrote:
Didn't you earn enough from railways to repay the loan?


Oops, you're right. I misremembered the rule -- I thought I had to repay before taking my rail money.

I didnt lose by quite as much as I thought (the strike only cost me 9 vp, rather than 12). Thanks!




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Claude Sirois
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Thanks for posting this session review Hobbes! I appreciate having feedback.

I like your title too, but what made me laugh is Charles-Louis' comment! I guess Belgian workers are not that active these days!

ClementXVII wrote:
"The Belgian Workers are Revolting" gulp


You presented a very good overview of the rules. As you know now, it is probably better to keep your "hiring blacklegs' privilege for the third ot fourth strike. Moreover, if you don't have any loan at this point of the game, that might help you go through those last strikes.

The Strike rule was implemented quite late in the designing process, mainly to counterbalance the discount you get when building subsidized railways and cotton mills/factories in Textile/Industrial centres. Without the strike rule, the game was far too easy with players piling a lot of money early in the game.

I hope this experience won't discourage you to play again! I guess your wife might want to play again since she seems to have played a pretty good game!

Thanks a lot!

K
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I must admit to initially being pretty frustrated when the strike took me down. But I quickly realized that there were ways I could have insulated myself (saving my Blacklegs until later in the game and doing a better job of managing the timing of game end).

Overall, I like the idea of adding some risk management to AoI. It's a nice twist. I'm eager to try again.
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Steve Carey
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Hobbes wrote:
But the most significant rule change for this map involve labor unrest.

Labor unrest had a huge effect on our game. It destroyed me.



In our game tonight, strikes played a role but were not decisive.

The winning player (Rob Masson) actually suffered more labor unrest ($ recovery fees), while I was mainly inconvenienced and had to adjust strategy.

An important consequence of a strike is that players swap turn order (so back-to-backs).

Neither one of us used an action to hire strike breakers - the game was so tight, every action counted.

Great job by Klode, the Belgium map is an awesome 2-player AOI experience.
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