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Subject: Bonus tiles - why the odd balance? rss

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Ben Master
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I don't really see why they created some bonus tiles that are better than others - what they were trying to accomplish.

The most glaring is the +2W, +4 vp for SH/SA, in comparison to +1W, +2 vp for TP's.

Trading posts you rarely get all four firing any time early (or any time) and 2 is not that easy to have either. So for pure points, the +4 vp bonus is far easier to use AND it gives you more workers.

I'd also argue that this tile is alot easier to benefit from than the D*1vp tile that also gives +2 coins.

Anyhoo, it's all a market so it's not a huge deal if the bonus tiles are not equal in utility. But why do you think they designed it this way? Did they just think strongholds & sanctuaries would not often be built early?
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Shawn Fox
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Yeah I agree, all the bonus tiles should have exactly the same strength. Also all the other actions you can take should have the same value so that everyone ends up with exactly the same score regardless of what they do.
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Wolf
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I would say that it is easier to score 8vp from dwellings or TP's. It's definitely not rare, I did it many times and I have seen other players scoring high from this tiles. SH + SA is a big investment and many races don't want to build SH early, so additional worker is a nice addition to this tile. Obviously for some races it will be stronger but that's perfectly fine. Overall I find these tiles balanced pretty well.
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Martin Larouche
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- because sometimes, in your example, you don't want to build your stronghold, so 2vps for a trading post is better than none at all.

- because if it's not taken, it becomes better later on when coins are put on it.

- because passing early can become strategic to get the bonus tile you want over another, less desirable one.

- because they are impossible to balance. What's more "powerful"? 3 power to rotate around the bowls, a worker or an increase to ships? To me, they are all perfectly balanced as it depends on the status of the players and the game much more than a direct comparison.
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Rafael Ramus
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hatedriven wrote:
I would say that it is easier to score 8vp from dwellings or TP's. It's definitely not rare, I did it many times and I have seen other players scoring high from this tiles. SH + SA is a big investment and many races don't want to build SH early, so additional worker is a nice addition to this tile. Obviously for some races it will be stronger but that's perfectly fine. Overall I find this tiles balanced pretty well.


And there is the sinergy with favor tiles. Both the Dw and the TP bonus tiles have amazing sinergy with the most popular Favor tiles (+1 earth, +1 blue or even +1 air). The +2w tile is necessary for the otherwise weaker SH factions.
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Rhett Morgan
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sfox wrote:
Yeah I agree, all the bonus tiles should have exactly the same strength. Also all the other actions you can take should have the same value so that everyone ends up with exactly the same score regardless of what they do.

Incredibly mature way to carry on a conversation.
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Wolfer Vanwey
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Mature or not, he's correct. There's no reason why everything should be balanced. It's OK to have something that's better than another option. It creates strategy and applies a focus on good passing control.
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Ben Master
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sfox wrote:
Yeah I agree, all the bonus tiles should have exactly the same strength. Also all the other actions you can take should have the same value so that everyone ends up with exactly the same score regardless of what they do.


i like debating straw men and i don't understand sarcasm. Thanks for sharing.
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Ben Master
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Good points here and by others, thanks for sharing. it's meant as a discussion of what they were thinking, not as a criticism of the game design. Yes, obviously it's all a market system as I said up top and so this is not a "problem" that I've raised, just a question.

Rafael Ramus wrote:

And there is the sinergy with favor tiles. Both the Dw and the TP bonus tiles have amazing sinergy with the most popular Favor tiles (+1 earth, +1 blue or even +1 air). The +2w tile is necessary for the otherwise weaker SH factions.


So that's interesting, it encourages the building of SH/SA's which might otherwise not be built, by making the bonus tile more powerful. That makes sense for some race selections, I guess.

My potential concern would be particularly for the TP's; there seems to be less incentive to build and keep very many of those given their stepping-stone status to bigger and better buildings, so i was a bit surprised by the comparatively wimpy +1W bonus there.



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Ben Master
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WolferGrowl wrote:
Mature or not, he's correct. There's no reason why everything should be balanced. It's OK to have something that's better than another option. It creates strategy and applies a focus on good passing control.


Different bonus tiles = good
One tile uniformly better than another = lazy game design



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Wolf
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eumaies wrote:
My potential concern would be particularly for the TP's; there seems to be less incentive to build and keep very many of those given their stepping-stone status to bigger and better buildings, so i was a bit surprised by the comparatively wimpy +1W bonus there.

I think you undervalue the TP's. They are main source of money. If you just skip them and immediately upgrade to bigger buildings you will most likely be short on money. It's good to have some TP's to generate good money income.

Also if there is round scoring tile for TP's you will most likely end up with lots of TP's, combine that with water1 and 2vp per TP tile and you have just earned tons of points.
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Matthew G

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I don't think they're particularly unbalanced at face value, but I won't attempt to argue that. Like everything in Terra Mystica, it depends entirely on the scoring tiles and chosen factions.

If there is any unbalance with the bonus tiles, I think it's mitigated by adding a coin to the unchosen ones. If +4VP for SH/SA is chosen a couple rounds in a row and +2 for TP is ignored, the TP bonus tile builds up some coins and is suddenly more valuable. Especially since, if no one wants it, they probably don't have TPs and are therefore lacking coin.
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Ben Master
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hatedriven wrote:

I think you undervalue the TP's. They are main source of money. If you just skip them and immediately upgrade to bigger buildings you will most likely be short on money. It's good to have some TP's to generate good money income.

Also if there is round scoring tile for TP's you will most likely end up with lots of TP's, combine that with water1 and 2vp per TP tile and you have just earned tons of points.


Yeah I hope you're right. So far in my games I've seen under-investment in TPs since they cost alot, there's usually other ways to get coins/power, and the TP-related favors are harder to leverage than the Dwelling-related favors. The weak bonus tile pushed things further towards other options. But I look forward to seeing games where TPs are used more. They should be self-propagating since they generate coin, and they should be easier to build in crowded boards. Perhaps my games have been too small.
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Ben Master
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NegativeNine wrote:
I don't think they're particularly unbalanced at face value, but I won't attempt to argue that. Like everything in Terra Mystica, it depends entirely on the scoring tiles and chosen factions.

If there is any unbalance with the bonus tiles, I think it's mitigated by adding a coin to the unchosen ones. If +4VP for SH/SA is chosen a couple rounds in a row and +2 for TP is ignored, the TP bonus tile builds up some coins and is suddenly more valuable. Especially since, if no one wants it, they probably don't have TPs and are therefore lacking coin.


I agree the game is designed to be quite impervious to potential imbalance, so it's not a big deal.

I do think the +1 coin is a relatively weak forcing mechanism, so if the tiles are too far apart it is unfortunate. i've seen people clawing and scraping against each other to get the SH/SA bonus tiles multiple times during the game as a central part of their strategy. Not so much the TP bonus. Perhaps that means some enterprising player should've invested in TPs instead. But it's hard to say :)
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Chris H
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For a time I thought the 1w and 2w bonuses should have been swapped - 1w for SH/SA and 2w for TP. Now I feel it's much more complicated as the relative VP value changes. As I see it, in the first half of the game SH/SA is stronger, in the second half it's the TPs.

Early game, SH/SA will give 4 VP to some factions and 0 VP to the others. It's a strong boost for those starting with SH because the workers can allow them to still build a D or even two (given enough digs).
I find it's rare to have just one TP sitting around somewhere. Early it'll probably get you 0 VP and won't be worth picking up. Either you're just coming out of a TP >> 3 round and have 2 or 3 of them, or you might have none at all. In my eyes, only dwarves and swarmlings would usually have a TP just standing there.

Late game, the tile values change considerably. There are many factions who might not build both their SH and SA, for those the SH/SA tile is only worth 4 VP. With all the income at that point, 4 TPs are easy to achieve and give amazing points with TP >> 3 from round bonus and/or favor tile.

As for all the other tiles, I think they're balanced quite well. Like many things in this game in any given situation some will be far better than others, but each one has its moment. Including the TPs.
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Rhett Morgan
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It's all very situational. Once you get both SA/SH out then BON6 is objectively better than TPs. When you get those buildings is determined by round point bonuses etc. TP bonus is only really better for races that will never finish their SH lines, Fakirs specifically.

Personal opinion, point tiles place too much emphasis on turn order which is the part of the game you have the least control of (at least before the expansion). Having a set of all resource tiles would have been interesting.
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Wolfer Vanwey
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eumaies wrote:


Different bonus tiles = good
One tile uniformly better than another = lazy game design



But it's not. It's better in certain situations, but not if you don't have your SH and SA out.

See? Not uniformly better.
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Ben Master
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Prodigaldax wrote:
It's all very situational. Once you get both SA/SH out then BON6 is objectively better than TPs. When you get those buildings is determined by round point bonuses etc. TP bonus is only really better for races that will never finish their SH lines, Fakirs specifically.
.


Yeah. Usually the races that have a reason to build their SH/SA have two ways to score big, then, while the other races are more dependent on the TP tile, which is also less good economically.

It does seem the SH/SA is structurally stronger because by their nature SH/SA's are always i play. You frequently get bonus points for building TP's, but you less often hang around with them when tempted to build a temple and get a favor, etc...

Anyhoo, no argument with the folks who say it has a place. I just wish the game encouraged me to build TP's more, because I don't see people building or holding on to alot of them in most games. +1 c +1 W might be a bit more competitive and aligned well with the costs of TPs.
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Petri Savola
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eumaies wrote:
Prodigaldax wrote:
It's all very situational. Once you get both SA/SH out then BON6 is objectively better than TPs. When you get those buildings is determined by round point bonuses etc. TP bonus is only really better for races that will never finish their SH lines, Fakirs specifically.
.


Yeah. Usually the races that have a reason to build their SH/SA have two ways to score big, then, while the other races are more dependent on the TP tile, which is also less good economically.

It does seem the SH/SA is structurally stronger because by their nature SH/SA's are always i play. You frequently get bonus points for building TP's, but you less often hang around with them when tempted to build a temple and get a favor, etc...

Anyhoo, no argument with the folks who say it has a place. I just wish the game encouraged me to build TP's more, because I don't see people building or holding on to alot of them in most games. +1 c +1 W might be a bit more competitive and aligned well with the costs of TPs.

If you want to get high scores you usually have to build a lot of TPs.

You can get away without TPs if you manage to get 7 money power action often, but usually it's very contested because everybody wants it. If you don't build TPs and don't get act4 you'll run out of money and using power and workers for money usually does not lead into a great score.

Often it's a good idea to build 4 TPs (hopefully combined with TP >> 3 and fav10) on round 4 so you'll get great money and power income for 2 rounds. If you manage to do that, it almost always leads into a good score.

Building many TPs early usually leads to a worker shortage, but it can still be a strong opening. If you manage to end round 1 with temple, trading post and 2 dwellings, it's a very very good start and almost always leads into awesome end score.
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Jan B.
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SH/SA +2 workers is good, but often times it's the only incentive to choose a race that depends on a first round SH built (Alchemists, Giants for instance). I would never choose Alchemists if this tile is not in the game.

The TP +1 worker is worse, I agree but between round 3 and 5 it's not rare to score more points with this tile compared to the SH/SA tile. It could be that there is less incentive to pass with lots of trading posts during early and mid-game because of this tile, which also explains why there is such a big battle for the 7 coins power action .

So the bonus tiles definitely have big impact. I am ok with their balance, even though I'm not sure if TP bonus is too weak and a change could have a positive impact on the game.
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Robert Stewart
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If everyone is avoiding Trading Posts, that suggests that there's an opportunity there to take advantage by focusing on it yourself - even if it's objectively weaker in the abstract, by picking up all the TP benefits rather than competing for the non-TP lines, you should come out ahead...
 
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Rhett Morgan
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I don't feel like it's as much avoiding trading posts as it is ending a round with them still standing. Some races do better with standing TP's than other - Dwarves and Swarmlings for example. Access to cash bonuses, passing tiles etc. will determine how many TP's you need to keep around. Again, variables, if you're in a big competition for connectivity then your TP's need to go up to temples rather quickly to make room for new TP's in which case they won't be sitting around at the end of the round necessarily.

Petri has a better handle on this though.
 
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Martin Larouche
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Going TP is very good.
I won my last game that way.

You don't starve as much for gold as the other players and you have more power to use elsewhere.

Other players get power to burn on gold all the time, you barely need to with a TP strategy. You use the extra power to get the missing workers/priests you don't have because you focused on trading posts.

It's not the best strategy IMO to gain points on the cult tracks, but to get the biggest connected cities it's great. Going power-heavy means easy shovels for terraforming, enough money from the TP for late game settlements and easy workers from burning power, enough to get a huge land-mass settled for that bonus.
 
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Prodigaldax wrote:
sfox wrote:
Yeah I agree, all the bonus tiles should have exactly the same strength. Also all the other actions you can take should have the same value so that everyone ends up with exactly the same score regardless of what they do.

Incredibly mature way to carry on a conversation.


This.
 
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birchbeer
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WolferGrowl wrote:
Mature or not, he's correct. There's no reason why everything should be balanced. It's OK to have something that's better than another option. It creates strategy and applies a focus on good passing control.


Then he should simply state this directly and leave the flippant remarks out of it.
 
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