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Subject: I wanted to like this game, but.... rss

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Travis Bridges
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I don't think the economics work out very well. I did like the accordion effect of scoring (the winning player in our game was actually 30 points in the hole at one point) and I also liked all the track management...it reminded me a bit of Through the Ages meets Suburbia meets Glen More (all are games I like). My problem is the turn order track. We had 2 players take tiles that effectively maxed them out on the money track. So...they never had to relinquish first and second player in turn order (they always selected 1-2, and money was no object). So...they always had first selection of the tiles. While I understand that their foci put them at a disadvantage in other areas, this advantage is way out of balance with the other tracks. While I thought the scores were fairly close at the end, nobody in our 5 player game really had to second guess who was going to win. The end game scoring gave them each 15 points in addition to the 3 points per activation they were getting by hitting the end of the money track. This person had a stranglehold on culture too, so most everyone's tourist was in his play area for most of the game. Now you would think, 'hey! we should keep that person from running away with all the money and culture', except the other players don't have a chance to do so, since this player is always choosing tiles first. It almost felt like the game wasn't rigorously play-tested. I don't think any of the five players were very impressed with how this worked out. I'm hoping there is something wrong with how we played...there are a lot of good ideas here.

I will also say we weren't ecstatic about the board design (a lot of negative space and wonky tracks) and the misprints on the tiles and player aids, but that is a topic for another day....
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Kevin Nesbitt
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Your first experience with the game can potentially be like that... some will grasp the combos concept very quickly and others need to see how it all works with a first play-through. I think you'll find it's much easier to present counter-strategies once you know the moves that are available to you.

Generally speaking, someone who is willing to repeatedly spend the $18 to continually select a tile first is giving up more Prestige Points than they're getting back in return. Someone who has built a city around high cash profits has earned the right to dominate the turn order track, but may want to reconsider doing so.

On the other hand, if someone leads in money, culture AND the employment track, someone else has played rather poorly.
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Travis Bridges
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otrex wrote:
Your first experience with the game can potentially be like that... some will grasp the combos concept very quickly and others need to see how it all works with a first play-through. I think you'll find it's much easier to present counter-strategies once you know the moves that are available to you.

Generally speaking, someone who is willing to repeatedly spend the $18 to continually select a tile first is giving up more Prestige Points than they're getting back in return. Someone who has built a city around high cash profits has earned the right to dominate the turn order track, but may want to reconsider doing so.


While you may or may not be able to totally sell me on that point (likely not, because I think at least one out of five tiles is worth way more in points, possibly from maxing out tracks, than paying the money/points to acquire first in turn order, but either way...), the fact that somebody can lock down turn order does, in itself, detract from the fun of the game. We typically had one player always left to choose the last spot and while they were paying zero for their turn order, they weren't exactly paying nothing for their tiles. In most of the rounds, they only had a choice of 3 tiles, of which 1-2 cost $2-$4. Due to this and the placement of their crossings, they would have to sometimes pay points to place a tile. All in all, they were typically hosed with no end in sight, except to hope for one of these players to relinquish the stranglehold on turn order. I am not saying it is the only strategy or even game-breaking, but the mechanic seems underdeveloped. I think the entire way money works in the game seems a bit pointless. I was just hoping we were making a colossal error in the gameplay...
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Kevin Nesbitt
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There is a way to soften the impact of the turn order by using the designer variant of drawing 2x the number of players for tiles each round. That will take some emphasis off of going first, which is going to make the game a little more friendly and a little less of a "gamer's game".

You could also try allowing turn order selection in reverse order. That's a completely untested solution, but it may suit your needs. It would give the first option to the player lowest on the initiative track.

I personally don't play with either of those options, but the variant of drawing more tiles in particular may take some of the sting out of the initiative track for you, at least until everyone is more comfortable with the game.
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Travis Bridges
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otrex wrote:
On the other hand, if someone leads in money, culture AND the employment track, someone else has played rather poorly.


Responding to your edit, this player was actually way behind on the employment track...the thing is that it doesn't matter all that much. They probably lost 35-40 points on the public service and employment tracks throughout the game, but their tile placement plus maxing out culture and money was netting them ~15 points a turn towards the end! And also, what recourse do the other players have? That player is always choosing tiles first!...it isn't like my army is going to attack his town!

Sure...maybe the money tiles get spread around the first few rounds and culture is more competitive, but if everybody is looking for the same random tiles to appear, where is the fun in that? The point is to have competing strategic pathways that are open and balanced. I actually like how the tracks work...a lot. The money component of the game is just really silly, because it is only there to control turn order...it isn't very elegant.
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Travis Bridges
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otrex wrote:
There is a way to soften the impact of the turn order by using the designer variant of drawing 2x the number of players for tiles each round. That will take some emphasis off of going first, which is going to make the game a little more friendly and a little less of a "gamer's game".


This is far from a 'gamer's game', so to patronize is really unnecessary. Defending your game as a publisher is expected, so I assume we can just agree to disagree.

otrex wrote:
You could also try allowing turn order selection in reverse order. That's a completely untested solution, but it may suit your needs. It would give the first option to the player lowest on the initiative track.


Yeah, that won't work either...turn order will likely always just flip flop with the printed multipliers for the payment. My fix would be to get rid of the money track, place symbols on the tiles to denote initiative for turn order, then balance heavily against having to acquire tiles for turn order alone. 'I want turn order heading into the end of the game, but how much am I willing to sacrifice to obtain it?'...Obviously this isn't possible, nor will I imagine this thought will cross the minds of players with the game in its current state.

otrex wrote:
I personally don't play with either of those options, but the variant of drawing more tiles in particular may take some of the sting out of the initiative track for you, at least until everyone is more comfortable with the game.


None of us felt stung...instead, we just felt cheated...more, it was everybody looking at each other saying, "surely we got something wrong in the rules." Apparently not.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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Sorry, no offense meant... I just meant that on a pretend scale with "Gamers Game" at one end and "Family Game" at the other, some of those proposed variants slide the game away from the Gamer's Game end of the scale.

Ah, I think I may have spotted a problem: You mention that maxxing out money and culture was netting this person 15 points per turn? That seems like an awful lot. Maxxing out culture alone would normally require a player to invest a lot of their money into going first to get those buildings. In theory if you had all the tourist markers AND could afford to lose $18 each turn AND then gain all $18 back plus more to earn the bonus points AND have gone around the Progress track enough times to earn enough Energy Cubes to power such a plan, I guess it's possible. But in practice I cannot see this being possible except under the most strange situations (side question: How many activations is this player getting in a given turn to receive 15 points plus account for the $18 they're losing on the initiative track?).

In any case, I'd be happy to explore this further with you if you wish. Feel free to message me and we'll see if we can figure it out.

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Travis Bridges
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I will confer with the winning player and send you a message. Like most 'player board' games, I wasn't watching immediately what other players were doing. More, I was wondering which tile I would actually end up being stuck 4th in turn order. I was, however, handing out victory points. I will say they lost 4.5 points in money (18/4), but made it back with the action of a single tile, which gave them 3 points back for maximizing the track again...they never had to pay for a tile either. They had the extra activation by having the highest culture, so their other activation, plus tile placement, plus maxing culture was likely what did it....I will find out.
 
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Kevin Nesbitt
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No rush - see if you can figure out what the player did to earn so much and we'll try to replicate the situation.
 
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Thiago Boaventura
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Hi, thank you for your feedback! (Sorry my poor english)

Did you followed the rule that says: the building tile never generates effects to itself? You need a lot of money and energy to gain $18 each round.

Making a comparison with the Castle of Burgundy only on the initiative game system aspect, if you buy many boats sooner you will probably stand in front of the entire match, but it will also neglect (early) various other aspects of the game. The advantage for doing a good structure of money is precisely the initiative (like castles). If you guaranteed initiative you shall need to get something else because 3 points is not so efficient at the Era III. 30 points was not a bad score but it is far from being a estategy that can not be beaten.
I recommend you play the 2+ #number of players each turn oficial variant because the initiative is less strong, because there is more tiles to choose. The original rule was choose because it is more easy to play.
Regards,
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Travis Bridges
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I sent a geekmail explaining some of the finer points I was making. I will just consider this post closed.
 
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Scott Nelson
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chicagometh wrote:
I sent a geekmail explaining some of the finer points I was making. I will just consider this post closed.


Closed on good note or "this game is still broke" note?
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Travis Bridges
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I never stated the game was broken...just that turn order, and therefore the tile draft, becomes less compelling with more money floating around the table. I'm not sure (because I haven't had a chance to talk to the 'rich' players in my game) whether we played everything correctly. I will post when I find out.
 
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Thiago Boaventura
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The money strategy was made to dominate the initiative the most of time. You can not play activing to beyond the track and keeping the start player for a long time. Or you lock the first spot and lost money points or you move beyond the track and pass the first spot.
If it happens probably you have missing some activation rule as:
A) 1 + # of cubes or tourists on tile (including the printed cube)
B) never count the effect of the tile itself
C) each activation can not be simultaneously. You first move the tourist to allocate another one in that tile or the first tourist counts as a cube.
D) start buildings (hotel and city hall) has a misprint (the red numbers are negative)
E) some other rule as: the number of employment never can be high than population.
 
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Travis Bridges
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We had several activation rules wrong...some in the rulebook and misread, and some not actually outlined in the rules. This is likely because the specific case was for 5 players, which was a publisher change, and the rules as written didn't deal with what happens should a person have 3 or 4 tourist markers. I still don't think the way money works in the game is elegant, but it is functional. While money may lock turn order for a couple of turns, I can't imagine it can be sustained continuously. We will give it another go soon and see if the impression of the players about the game changes significantly.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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Yes, one of the issues we discovered with the OPs first play-through is a good one for the next iteration of the FAQ, and it applies to a very specific strategy. The rules do cover this scenario but not by way of a specific example.

This scenario assumes that a player has managed to get to the end of the Culture Track (no small feat in itself) and thereby managed to obtain all the Tourist Markers, and that those Tourist Markers have all been used on the previous turn (so, we're probably talking a very late game situation here). With the highest culture marker, let's assume this player has 2 activations available to them.

The situation is: We have three tiles: A, B, and C and there are say, 2 Tourist Markers (only) on tile A, and 2 (only) on Tile B, both of which have a printed cube on them.

A player does not simply swap the tourist markers on tiles A and B and then take those activations for "free". Remember that activations are done one at a time, and the tourist markers from tile A may indeed be moved to tile B for activation purposes. However, those tourist markers on tile B are still there, and the cost for activation must include those tourist markers meaning a total cost of 4 energy cubes (in this case 2 tourists and 2 energy cubes) to activate it. After activating tile B, those tourist markers that were there from last turn may then be moved to tile A to activate that tile, and since the Tourist Markers from tile A have already been moved to tile B, the cost is just 2 Energy Cubes (or in this case, just the two tourist markers).

Of course by next turn you'll have 2 energy cubes sitting on tile B, meaning an increased cost to use this same strategy.

In the above example, by the way, it would be acceptable to pick up the tourist markers from tile A and B and move all of them to tile C for a single activation, provided that tile C requires 4 or more energy to activate.

Long story short: You cannot pick up all the Tourist Markers and move/swap them around. You have to take your activations one at a time, and not move the Tourist Markers until you intend to use them on a specific activation.



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Steve Carey
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I didn't expect to like this game, but I did.
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Scott Nelson
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otrex wrote:
Yes, one of the issues we discovered with the OPs first play-through is a good one for the next iteration of the FAQ, and it applies to a very specific strategy. The rules do cover this scenario but not by way of a specific example.

This scenario assumes that a player has managed to get to the end of the Culture Track (no small feat in itself) and thereby managed to obtain all the Tourist Markers, and that those Tourist Markers have all been used on the previous turn (so, we're probably talking a very late game situation here). With the highest culture marker, let's assume this player has 2 activations available to them.

The situation is: We have three tiles: A, B, and C and there are say, 2 Tourist Markers (only) on tile A, and 2 (only) on Tile B, both of which have a printed cube on them.

A player does not simply swap the tourist markers on tiles A and B and then take those activations for "free". Remember that activations are done one at a time, and the tourist markers from tile A may indeed be moved to tile B for activation purposes. However, those tourist markers on tile B are still there, and the cost for activation must include those tourist markers meaning a total cost of 4 energy cubes (in this case 2 tourists and 2 energy cubes) to activate it. After activating tile B, those tourist markers that were there from last turn may then be moved to tile A to activate that tile, and since the Tourist Markers from tile A have already been moved to tile B, the cost is just 2 Energy Cubes (or in this case, just the two tourist markers).

Of course by next turn you'll have 2 energy cubes sitting on tile B, meaning an increased cost to use this same strategy.

In the above example, by the way, it would be acceptable to pick up the tourist markers from tile A and B and move all of them to tile C for a single activation, provided that tile C requires 4 or more energy to activate.

Long story short: You cannot pick up all the Tourist Markers and move/swap them around. You have to take your activations one at a time, and not move the Tourist Markers until you intend to use them on a specific activation.





This doesn't seem like the rules read. The tourist markers cannot be moved if they already exist on the player's tiles of the one who takes the highest culture card that turn. From the rules it reads they stay there until either another player takes them from off the tiles or end of an era cleanup. Taking off cars (tourist markers) from tiles is only done if you lose yours or others from your tiles by being not the highest in culture. Is this a variant? If so, this is the way we played and had a runaway leader the whole game. So, if it is a variant, it is one I don't agree with.
 
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Thiago Boaventura
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Scott, Kevin was explaining the activation movement. You really can't do tourist swap. If you have more than one activation, it is one at a time.

You are talking about Tourism Phase, which the tourists move between the cities. In this pahse, the tourists really stay there until either another player takes them from off the tiles (era cleanup nothing happens, only energy cubes spent are removed from city tiles).
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Scott Nelson
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Okay thanks for the clarification.
 
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