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Bijan Ajamlou
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When recently playing this game I encountered a flaw in the game. Since there is an imposed limitation of spots you can keep "cards" on your playerboard you have to replace newly acquired cards whit old ones resulting in that your workers are returned home. This can create a situation where you find yourself not producing as much resources as you need to keep your engine going. At this point there is no turning back you just loosed the game.

It doesn't make any thematic sense to have a imposed limitation on the amount of cards you can keep. I think the designers copied a bunch of mechanics from Through the ages, tried to make them more streamlined and forgot to ground the mechanics in theme.
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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I don't see this as a flaw - there are games that are forgiving, when you make an error - and games that punish you so severely, that you cannot get back on your feet.
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Philip Thomas
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bijanajamlou wrote:
When recently playing this game I encountered a flaw in the game. Since there is an imposed limitation of spots you can keep "cards" on your playerboard you have to replace newly acquired cards whit old ones resulting in that your workers are returned home. This can create a situation where you find yourself not producing as much resources as you need to keep your engine going. At this point there is no turning back you just loosed the game.

It doesn't make any thematic sense to have a imposed limitation on the amount of cards you can keep. I think the designers copied a bunch of mechanics from Through the ages, tried to make them more streamlined and forgot to ground the mechanics in theme.


Solution (variant) put the workers from the old cards on to the new cards?

As for theme, what do the "cards" represent?

Also, should we be putting out a Nations-wide alert for all those games being loosed into the great outdoors?

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Daniel Corban
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Solution: don't acquire cards that will cause you to be in that situation.
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dcorban wrote:
Solution: don't acquire cards that will cause you to be in that situation.


Agree!!!

This is not a flaw... It is only a game rule like so many others. You have to think about what you are doing and if the downside that you might get from constructing on top of that building is or is not made irrelevant by the bonus the new building will bring to your Nation.
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François Mahieu
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Oblivion wrote:
dcorban wrote:
Solution: don't acquire cards that will cause you to be in that situation.


Agree!!!

This is not a flaw... It is only a game rule like so many others. You have to think about what you are doing and if the downside that you might get from constructing on top of that building is or is not made irrelevant by the bonus the new building will bring to your Nation.


Indeed. If you decide to cover your last source of stones on purpose, please don't complain. It's a choice you made. Even though, you might still get stones during the growth phase, with battles, with some leaders, or even with some golden age cards. There's plaintly of alternatives to get stones.
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Richard Ham
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bijanajamlou wrote:
It doesn't make any thematic sense to have a imposed limitation on the amount of cards you can keep.


It makes sense to me. Basically, each one of those cards represents something that your nation is known for throughout the land. You are the one of the finest nation in the world for education, or the arts, or armies, or mining, or whatever it might be. A given nation can be renowned through the known world for at most 5 things (4 on some of the B sides of nation cards).

Seems reasonable

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Daniel Hammond
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bijanajamlou wrote:
When recently playing this game I encountered a flaw in the game. Since there is an imposed limitation of spots you can keep "cards" on your playerboard you have to replace newly acquired cards whit old ones resulting in that your workers are returned home. This can create a situation where you find yourself not producing as much resources as you need to keep your engine going. At this point there is no turning back you just loosed the game.

It doesn't make any thematic sense to have a imposed limitation on the amount of cards you can keep. I think the designers copied a bunch of mechanics from Through the ages, tried to make them more streamlined and forgot to ground the mechanics in theme.


Sounds like the flaw was failure to plan. Keep stone so you can make moves to employ new workers.
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Bijan Ajamlou
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The problem is that you can only do those things that you have cards for. Why would a nation lose its ability to produce goods just because it has a theatre or for that matter make money.
For example in other light civ boardgames like Peloponnesian or 7 wonders. You add cards/tile to your "empire" and it produces more. The imposed limitation is there in Nations more because of making the mechanics work rather than tell a story. And lets say that as a player i imagine the card slots as the things my nation are renowned for, then why are those the only things I can do. I feel the same about the architects, why are they needed and why is only a certain amount of them available each age. It feels pasted on and only there to make a tension so that all players cant commit to the same goal (building wonders). What I am trying to say that in this game i feel disconnected from immersion because of the mechanics that usually dont happen to me. Maybe it is because there are so many civ games to compare it to out there.

On the notion of fixing the screw your self trap in Nation a easy solution would be that you can keep all cards you acquire and exchange them back and fort in you available slots for a action (little bit like alhambra). Its not fun to be losing a game becouse of a wrong placement of a card.
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Daniel Hammond
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bijanajamlou wrote:
Its not fun to be losing a game becouse of a wrong placement of a card.


I don't understand how that is a mistake you can make more than once. The problem you are having is part of the strategy of the game. You don't buy non-critical buildings without having space for them. You don't leave yourself without critical income on various resource types, depending on what your next turn's needs are. It is part of the game, and on the easiest difficulty it is pretty forgiving.
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Frank Hamrick
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bijanajamlou wrote:
On the notion of fixing the screw your self trap in Nation a easy solution would be that you can keep all cards you acquire and exchange them back and fort in you available slots for a action (little bit like alhambra). Its not fun to be losing a game becouse of a wrong placement of a card.


Seems your main concern is that you want to 'fix' the reason you lost. True, there is a theme, but it is also a game. Games are free to have their own rules to challenge game-play. You are probably more into the theme than the game itself.

I simply see the rules as a constraint under which I have to play - the same as in real life. Nothing is as it seems, or as we wish it to be. Circumstances, things unforeseen always complicate and make difficult what seems right in life. So, though it may seem right that I have all the cards available, the game of Nations doesn't allow that. Perhaps there is another civ game you'd rather play for this reason.
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Bijan Ajamlou
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I agree that you can learn from mistakes and move on and next time play better and avoid mistakes.

With that said i see no need to have a game design element in a game where a "action" in this case acquire a card equals to be put out of the game. Its very unforgiving and unexpected. Each turn each player gets 3 of either gold/stone/food (or optionally a worker). This bonus is the same each age. But the new cards you acquire requires higher placement cost regarding stone. So early in the game 3 stone has the potential of giving you access to place 3 workers on various cards. But later in the game where the price is 3 you can only place one. (For example if the "bonus" was increased by 2 for each age then this problem would be avoided.)

For me its a design flaw and something the designers missed. there is no need to a game having a "trap". Its okey to maybe lose 1 turn for doing a bad choice but in this case if you mid game make a bad choice of losing/ spending all your stone and gold and replacing your stone workers it will take you 1 turn first to get 3 gold to purchase a new card then a turn to place the first worker there then another turn to place another then the forth the game is finished (you have no chance to turn on your engine again) from placing your workers there. In other words you just lose by taking the wrong card right there and no turning back. As a first time player this is not a obvious consequence for making a acquiring technology action.
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bijanajamlou wrote:
I agree that you can learn from mistakes and move on and next time play better and avoid mistakes.

With that said i see no need to have a game design element in a game where a "action" in this case acquire a card equals to be put out of the game. Its very unforgiving and unexpected. Each turn each player gets 3 of either gold/stone/food (or optionally a worker). This bonus is the same each age. But the new cards you acquire requires higher placement cost regarding stone. So early in the game 3 stone has the potential of giving you access to place 3 workers on various cards. But later in the game where the price is 3 you can only place one. (For example if the "bonus" was increased by 2 for each age then this problem would be avoided.)

For me its a design flaw and something the designers missed. there is no need to a game having a "trap". Its okey to maybe lose 1 turn for doing a bad choice but in this case if you mid game make a bad choice of losing/ spending all your stone and gold and replacing your stone workers it will take you 1 turn first to get 3 gold to purchase a new card then a turn to place the first worker there then another turn to place another then the forth the game is finished (you have no chance to turn on your engine again) from placing your workers there. In other words you just lose by taking the wrong card right there and no turning back. As a first time player this is not a obvious consequence for making a acquiring technology action.


I understand your points but I have hard time to see it as a trap. First you use all of your stones and then you go and grab a new building and then you go and happily replace your ONLY existing stone producing building with it (even if you have 4 other building/military spots). It just doesn't make any sense to do that (unless you have a clear plan).

And it's even more ridiculous to do that if you don't have any gold production either shake

I hope that your second game will be more enjoyable (if there is a second game).
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Daniel Corban
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bijanajamlou wrote:
With that said i see no need to have a game design element in a game where a "action" in this case acquire a card equals to be put out of the game. Its very unforgiving and unexpected.


This is not unexpected at all. This aspect is part of every game. Play Goa and bid all your money on a single cinnamon plantation and you are probably doomed. Play Agricola and spend your time just getting reed and you lose. Puerto Rico selecting trader when you have no goods, building a poor ship in Galaxy Trucker, never having a majority in Acquire… every game penalizes poor play with a loss. If you put yourself in a poor position in Nations by crippling your economic engine, then you have earned your loss.
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Kim Choy
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I think you need new gaming friends if they'd sit there quietly allowing you to cripple yourself like this. Unless they also were unaware of the consequence of eliminating the only stone producing building in your empire.

In any case, this isn't a design flaw. Sorry, but you just failed to plan your economy correctly and were punished for it. I hope you give the game another go as-is and play better next time!
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Bijan Ajamlou
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dcorban wrote:
bijanajamlou wrote:
With that said i see no need to have a game design element in a game where a "action" in this case acquire a card equals to be put out of the game. Its very unforgiving and unexpected.


This is not unexpected at all. This aspect is part of every game. Play Goa and bid all your money on a single cinnamon plantation and you are probably doomed. Play Agricola and spend your time just getting reed and you lose. Puerto Rico selecting trader when you have no goods, building a poor ship in Galaxy Trucker, never having a majority in Acquire… every game penalizes poor play with a loss. If you put yourself in a poor position in Nations by crippling your economic engine, then you have earned your loss.


In many games you can make very stupid moves true. But bidding high in Goa is the act of bidding high. You firstly dont do it one blink. You usually incrementally bid higher and higher. And as a player you understand that you pay a higher price when you outbid. Never having majority in Acquire is part of the theme of buying stocks. But in the case of Nations its not obvious that acquire a new "theatre" tech card => lose your ability to produce stone and gold. Its also not obvious that when done you lose the ability to come back in the game and start producing goods in any way. Since you cant get in workers in the new buildings (requires 3 stones in the later ages to place a worker).
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Richard Ham
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bijanajamlou wrote:
But in the case of Nations its not obvious that acquire a new "theatre" tech card => lose your ability to produce stone and gold.


Well, I'm not sure how it fails to be obvious that if you get rid of your only stone generating industry, that you'll have a hard time generating stone.

Also, you *never* lose your ability to produce stone and goal. At the beginning of every round in the game you can get more in the growth phase. And if you're playing on the 'beginner' level (chieftan) it's a significant amount, that should be enough to carry you through even without other means of generating the resources.

So it seems that the game has catered for beginners who might make this mistake. That's why there's a beginner mode for the game

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And lets say that as a player i imagine the card slots as the things my nation are renowned for, then why are those the only things I can do.

Your nation can do LOTS of things that aren't modeled in the game. You can produce marble, or fireworks, or nails, or a million different things. But you, as the leader of your nation, have to select the 5 (or 4) things that your government will basically subsidize and ensure is the envy of the world. You only have so much power to do this, so if you really want your theaters to be the envy of the world, then you'll have to withdraw your government support of something else (some some wing of the military, or your ability to produce the best steel the best bronze the world has ever seen).

This happens in real life all the time. Here in Malta, the govt has decided within the last few years to make a big push to make Malta internationally renowned for a videogame industry (it's why I live in Malta). I guarantee you, in 10 years, they won't be doing this any more, and will be using their resources to push some other growth agenda.

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I feel the same about the architects, why are they needed and why is only a certain amount of them available each age.

Because the great wonders of the world need great minds to design them. And there are very few of those great minds around. Again, this has very tangible parallels to real life...
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Kim Choy
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bijanajamlou wrote:
In many games you can make very stupid moves true. But bidding high in Goa is the act of bidding high. You firstly dont do it one blink. You usually incrementally bid higher and higher. And as a player you understand that you pay a higher price when you outbid.

Replacing your only stone producing building is the act of replacing your only stone producing building. You firstly don't do it in a blink. You usually purchase the card from the progress card board and choose to replace the stone producing building. And as a player you understand that if you replace a stone producing building with a non-stone producing building that you can no longer produce stone.

I think this about sums it up. Bold above is the most salient point, if you don't understand the rules and mechanisms of the game you're playing then you're likely going to do poorly.

bijanajamlou wrote:
But in the case of Nations its not obvious that acquire a new "theatre" tech card => lose your ability to produce stone and gold.

Is it not obvious that discarding a card with the stone symbol on it means you no longer have the ability to produce stone?

Also, you only lose your ability to produce those resources if you choose to cover up the building(s) that allows you to produce them. You aren't forced to cover one building or another - it is entirely your choice. Even then, you aren't required to purchase a new building.

Thematically, I would agree that unless you understand the mechanics of the game there's no reason to suspect that a theatre produces gold and stone whereas a courthouse produces stability and books (or whatever it produces). However, the production of each building is clearly printed at the top of the card...


I get the feeling that you weren't given a great introduction to the game; either the various working parts weren't explained well or there were rules omissions. I don't think that anyone who is given a proper explanation of the game would fail to realize that having at least a little bit of all the resources is a Good Thing(tm) as a beginning strategy.
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Bijan Ajamlou
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umchoyka wrote:
bijanajamlou wrote:
In many games you can make very stupid moves true. But bidding high in Goa is the act of bidding high. You firstly dont do it one blink. You usually incrementally bid higher and higher. And as a player you understand that you pay a higher price when you outbid.

Replacing your only stone producing building is the act of replacing your only stone producing building. You firstly don't do it in a blink. You usually purchase the card from the progress card board and choose to replace the stone producing building. And as a player you understand that if you replace a stone producing building with a non-stone producing building that you can no longer produce stone.

I think this about sums it up. Bold above is the most salient point, if you don't understand the rules and mechanisms of the game you're playing then you're likely going to do poorly.

bijanajamlou wrote:
But in the case of Nations its not obvious that acquire a new "theatre" tech card => lose your ability to produce stone and gold.

Is it not obvious that discarding a card with the stone symbol on it means you no longer have the ability to produce stone?

Also, you only lose your ability to produce those resources if you choose to cover up the building(s) that allows you to produce them. You aren't forced to cover one building or another - it is entirely your choice. Even then, you aren't required to purchase a new building.

Thematically, I would agree that unless you understand the mechanics of the game there's no reason to suspect that a theatre produces gold and stone whereas a courthouse produces stability and books (or whatever it produces). However, the production of each building is clearly printed at the top of the card...


I get the feeling that you weren't given a great introduction to the game; either the various working parts weren't explained well or there were rules omissions. I don't think that anyone who is given a proper explanation of the game would fail to realize that having at least a little bit of all the resources is a Good Thing(tm) as a beginning strategy.


You missed what i was saying of course that is obvious (that you replace the stone producing by something else) but not that you cant get back.

What is not obvious is that if you at some point dont produce extra stone for example you are shut out from getting back in to the game since placing a worker cost you increasingly amount of stone. In the beginning it cost you 1 stone to place a worker. Later in the game it cost you 3 stone to place a worker. Of course you can play around it but i find it harsh and unforgiving and make no sense that you can commit suicide in the game so easily and whit no chance of getting back.

There are many ways a catch up mechanic could have been added and what i feel is missing. One would be that the player that passes first gets a resource for free and one extra every time the players passes him (like in Troyes) One other would be the one I suggested that your bonus resources increase whit the current age rather than being static amount. And a third would be that you cover the buildings you acquired so that you can always downgrade a building and keep your workers on the one you downgrade to. This game aims to be simpler than Through the ages then it could be more forgiving in my opinion.

I understand that this game is new and many have bought it and want it to be great to justify the purchase. I am not saying that the game is broken. Just that its a flaw in my opinion and takes away little bit from the game. You will learn after a few plays and not do it again. Many high ranking games have catch up mechanics. I feel they are missing in Nations and many mechanics kicks down.
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Daniel Corban
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I may have skipped over a sentence or two throughout this thread, but did this happen to you in your first (only?) play of Nations?
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Richard Ham
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bijanajamlou wrote:
i find it harsh and unforgiving and make no sense that you can commit suicide in the game so easily and whit no chance of getting back.


I still don't understand how you can commit suicide here by replacing a building. As I mentioned above, it's impossible to screw yourself out of ongoing resources, because you can earn more in the growth phase. If you find the game is too harsh, you can play on the easier setting so that you earn more resources during growth - enough to make up for disasterous mistakes...

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There are many ways a catch up mechanic could have been added and what i feel is missing. One would be that the player that passes first gets a resource for free and one extra every time the players passes him (like in Troyes)

There already is an implicit benefit for passing first... since you have a smaller population and are doing fewer actions, you have less upkeep costs for that population. Plus, there are often benefits for passing first based on events, etc.

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One other would be the one I suggested that your bonus resources increase whit the current age rather than being static amount.

Again, set yourself to 'chieftan mode' and you're earning so many resources during growth you can climb your way out of any hole you put yourself in.

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And a third would be that you cover the buildings you acquired so that you can always downgrade a building and keep your workers on the one you downgrade to.

That would significantly neuter the tough choices you have to make in the game. Having no consequences to choices means they're not very interesting choices...

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This game aims to be simpler than Through the ages then it could be more forgiving in my opinion.

And again, it is very forgiving if you play on chieftain level, IMO. Another 'official variant' mentioned in the rules is that for an easier game, play fewer ages. The rules in fact recommend this for new players, along with other ways to minimize the challenge: start with an extra 'free' worker at the beginning of the game, play the basic game instead of advanced or expert, A sides instead of B sides, etc.

Since your concern seems to be centered around how the late game increases in difficulty, and you're looking for a way to minimize that difficulty, there's already several answers to do this, again, officially part of the rules...
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I don't understand why you guys are still trying to reason with the OP...

It's clear that the problem he's describing was created by him, it's his own fault and not the game's fault...

It's also clear that he's not going to acknowledge that... he prefers to blame the game instead of taking in the advice and wise words that have been shared here and in his head he played well and it's the games fault...

So I think it's time to move on... it's just a waste of time trying to talk with someone that doesn't want to listen!
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Daniel Hammond
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bijanajamlou wrote:
This game aims to be simpler than Through the ages then it could be more forgiving in my opinion.


That maybe your opinion, but I have not seen that sticker on the box as an advertising point. I also find the tough choices you have to make in the game part of what makes it amazing and a deep gamer's game. Instead of doing what is recommended above why not play on the highest difficulty level on a B side and see how long you can survive (it isn't simple to do so).

bijanajamlou wrote:
I understand that this game is new and many have bought it and want it to be great to justify the purchase. I am not saying that the game is broken. Just that its a flaw in my opinion and takes away little bit from the game. You will learn after a few plays and not do it again. Many high ranking games have catch up mechanics. I feel they are missing in Nations and many mechanics kicks down.


It is great, no justifications are needed. Although I am not saying your opinion is broken. When I am teaching the game, I stress the fact that you need more stone every age and that you should never choke your gold, stone or food productions.
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Bijan Ajamlou
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Muse23PT wrote:
I don't understand why you guys are still trying to reason with the OP...

It's clear that the problem he's describing was created by him, it's his own fault and not the game's fault...

It's also clear that he's not going to acknowledge that... he prefers to blame the game instead of taking in the advice and wise words that have been shared here and in his head he played well and it's the games fault...

So I think it's time to move on... it's just a waste of time trying to talk with someone that doesn't want to listen!


I acknowledge that i made a move that made me lose. That goes without saying. And i would like to play the game more. Was it my or the games fault, that is more of a tricky question since interacting whit a game is an interaction and your thinking is situated (in the situation and the graphics and affordance of the game). Obviously my intention was not to cripple my own "Nations" ability to produce anything. My intention was to temporarily focus on something and then go back. But I failed to se that it was impossible. Did i fail since I was stupid or that there was semi hidden elements in the game that i didn't foresee. I didn't deduce that being low on money and low stone and at the same time unemploy workers equaled being cut out from the game (that was a trap according to me).

There are other games that have snowball mechanics (the leader gets stronger and stronger/running away leader problem). Mageknight the boardgame has it as well. In that game there is a trap where you spend moving-points going to a spot where you cant move out without spending a lot of resources. The player moving to that spot has usually no intention to put himself in such a position and usually gets very frustrated when doing so. Teaching new players to play that game I have to tell them to not make some moves.

But I think Rhados suggestion to play the game with only 2 ages the first time was a god point. We did play all 4 ages. We came to the same conclusion after playing it.

I am thankful for all the comments. Its nice discussing gamedesign and getting others input. The first time you play a game is very critical. Your experience as a beginner, experienced and expert player differ a lot. Understanding how to create games that doesn't scare away first time player is interesting.
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I think that this isn't a problem with gameplay as much as it is a problem with expectations: it seems to me that you were expecting Nations to be more of a scaled down 4X game, and that influenced your play. But it's not, it's an optimizational Euro with a historical theme. It has got as little to do with the growth of industro-political units as Powergrid has with running a power company or Agricola has with farming.
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