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Subject: IS vs 51st State 'openness' rss

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Nathaniel Chambers
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So, apparently these games are very similar. Normally when games are similar I tend to favor the newer one, simply because it usually has lessons learned form feedback from the first. But in this case, apparently this game offers more 'freedom'. This would not bug most people, and I suspect most people would really enjoy that open nature of gameplay. I am not most people though. I tend to prefer games with limited actions. Dungeon Lords only allows you to pick from 8 cards and 2 of those are locked at any given time. Race For The galaxy only gives you 7 roles to pick from. I love those games. Agricola and Le Havre are big giant messes to me, because they offer too many options. I suspect it's the same reason I prefer single player video games with linear storylines to these vast and large GTA-like games.

Anyway, I'm just curious what you think when comparing the two games mechanically. (ignoring theme)
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Rafał Kruczek
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bubblepipemedia wrote:
So, apparently these games are very similar. Normally when games are similar I tend to favor the newer one, simply because it usually has lessons learned form feedback from the first. But in this case, apparently this game offers more 'freedom'. This would not bug most people, and I suspect most people would really enjoy that open nature of gameplay. I am not most people though. I tend to prefer games with limited actions. Dungeon Lords only allows you to pick from 8 cards and 2 of those are locked at any given time. Race For The galaxy only gives you 7 roles to pick from. I love those games. Agricola and Le Havre are big giant messes to me, because they offer too many options. I suspect it's the same reason I prefer single player video games with linear storylines to these vast and large GTA-like games.

Anyway, I'm just curious what you think when comparing the two games mechanically. (ignoring theme)



Imperial Settlers rules are to be published really soon. Then you could make better comparition. But really comparing how some rules and abilities are implemented, is possible only after knowing cards and playing the game.

According to Designer Previews some 51 State restraints are dropped.

You could mormally use VP production ability only 3 times per game in 51, then location was usally overbuild.
All locations could be used to build, deal or raid. In IS common locations can be build and razed, faction locations can be build or used in deal. So (with exception of Japanese faction cards) there are 2 options instead of 3.
Cards flow seems to be similar - 2 cards from draft and 1 from deck - per turn in both games. But this is probably THE big difference. In 51 there was only common deck, no easy system for increasing hand (there was discard 2 cards to draw 1 action and several card with drawing abilities and raid rewards). In IS each player has own faction deck, and card for 2 workers action seems to be "easy" draw. It probaly won't be so easy decision - workers are very useful resource with lot of uses. In 51 card flow was very luck dependent, we will see how it will be balanced in IS.

There is some cuts in resorces number.
In 51 there were 4 main resources, universal resouce (excangable for one of the 4 main), workers, and several Auxiliary resouces.
There are 3 main resources in IS, universal was (re)named as gold, and sword and shield represent some functions performed by some Auxiliary resouces in New Era (raid token and detence token).
Building cost was a number in 51. In IS system is a bit more complcated and a bit simpler - no easy analogies here.


One of options in 51 was open production - you could sent a worker to opponent's location if it had open production ability. It wasn't mentioned in (p)reviews, so it was probably also cut.

And there were Leaders in 51 (not in New Era, not in Imperials Settlers (probably base at least). They weren't exactly tight mechanics.


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Nathaniel Chambers
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"51 state" is a game in which there is "too many options". Eponymous State is snowballing , and number of location is growing with growing number of produced resourced and number of options. Of course you can run your state on limited area - rebuilding and reusing space - but not always it is best strategy.
All signs indicate that in IS snowballing is also present, but to what extent we will see.

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Nathaniel Chambers
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rafal100 wrote:
bubblepipemedia wrote:
So, apparently these games are very similar. Normally when games are similar I tend to favor the newer one, simply because it usually has lessons learned form feedback from the first. But in this case, apparently this game offers more 'freedom'. This would not bug most people, and I suspect most people would really enjoy that open nature of gameplay. I am not most people though. I tend to prefer games with limited actions. Dungeon Lords only allows you to pick from 8 cards and 2 of those are locked at any given time. Race For The galaxy only gives you 7 roles to pick from. I love those games. Agricola and Le Havre are big giant messes to me, because they offer too many options. I suspect it's the same reason I prefer single player video games with linear storylines to these vast and large GTA-like games.

Anyway, I'm just curious what you think when comparing the two games mechanically. (ignoring theme)



Imperial Settlers rules are to be published really soon. Then you could make better comparition. But really comparing how some rules and abilities are implemented, is possible only after knowing cards and playing the game.

According to Designer Previews some 51 State restraints are dropped.

You could mormally use VP production ability only 3 times per game in 51, then location was usally overbuild.
All locations could be used to build, deal or raid. In IS common locations can be build and razed, faction locations can be build or used in deal. So (with exception of Japanese faction cards) there are 2 options instead of 3.
Cards flow seems to be similar - 2 cards from draft and 1 from deck - per turn in both games. But this is probably THE big difference. In 51 there was only common deck, no easy system for increasing hand (there was discard 2 cards to draw 1 action and several card with drawing abilities and raid rewards). In IS each player has own faction deck, and card for 2 workers action seems to be "easy" draw. It probaly won't be so easy decision - workers are very useful resource with lot of uses. In 51 card flow was very luck dependent, we will see how it will be balanced in IS.

There is some cuts in resorces number.
In 51 there were 4 main resources, universal resouce (excangable for one of the 4 main), workers, and several Auxiliary resouces.
There are 3 main resources in IS, universal was (re)named as gold, and sword and shield represent some functions performed by some Auxiliary resouces in New Era (raid token and detence token).
Building cost was a number in 51. In IS system is a bit more complcated and a bit simpler - no easy analogies here.


One of options in 51 was open production - you could sent a worker to opponent's location if it had open production ability. It wasn't mentioned in (p)reviews, so it was probably also cut.

And there were Leaders in 51 (not in New Era, not in Imperials Settlers (probably base at least). They weren't exactly tight mechanics.


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Nathaniel Chambers
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"51 state" is a game in which there is "too many options". Eponymous State is snowballing , and number of location is growing with growing number of produced resourced and number of options. Of course you can run your state on limited area - rebuilding and reusing space - but not always it is best strategy.
All signs indicate that in IS snowballing is also present, but to what extent we will see.



I must have jumped the gun a bit there, for some reason I thought the game had already been played by people and was out in other countries. Will check back later when the game is officially out! Still, good to know that people are able to sort of preview what the difference may be!

Also, thank you for the good read! I think I will hold out on both games until I can play them (before just recently hearing of IS, I was very very close to buying 51st state, since I love Neuroshima Hex, but again, theme means very little to me vs mechanics)

Thanks again!
 
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Thomas
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Now that Imperial settlers has been out for a while, can someone who has possibly played both comment on their similarities/differences? I already own 51st state/New era with all the promos and expansions and wonder if IS has anything "new" to offer that i'm missing out on besides a new theme (I actually like the neuroshima hex universe).
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LunarSoundDesign wrote:
Now that Imperial settlers has been out for a while, can someone who has possibly played both comment on their similarities/differences? I already own 51st state/New era with all the promos and expansions and wonder if IS has anything "new" to offer that i'm missing out on besides a new theme (I actually like the neuroshima hex universe).


Despite Winter/New Era being far more rules heavy, I find it a lot more "open" than IS, in that IS forces you to follow your draw, whereas W/NE you kind of have more choice. The factions mostly determine your OPENING moves, and your first couple of action tokens, but from there, it's your oyster. In IS, the faction cards are basically your goals, and you've gotta build to them.

The art in IS is astounding, and the system is much easier to teach- however, I traded mine away after first play because of how good W/NE was, and how my wife would never choose IS over W/NE (I might, If I was feeling for a lighter game with less choice).

EDIT: IS is a stripped down version of W/NE that has less restriction, but also less valid options. The asymmetry is stronger in IS, but also more confining.
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Nathaniel Chambers
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hanibalicious wrote:
LunarSoundDesign wrote:
Now that Imperial settlers has been out for a while, can someone who has possibly played both comment on their similarities/differences? I already own 51st state/New era with all the promos and expansions and wonder if IS has anything "new" to offer that i'm missing out on besides a new theme (I actually like the neuroshima hex universe).


Despite Winter/New Era being far more rules heavy, I find it a lot more "open" than IS, in that IS forces you to follow your draw, whereas W/NE you kind of have more choice. The factions mostly determine your OPENING moves, and your first couple of action tokens, but from there, it's your oyster. In IS, the faction cards are basically your goals, and you've gotta build to them.

The art in IS is astounding, and the system is much easier to teach- however, I traded mine away after first play because of how good W/NE was, and how my wife would never choose IS over W/NE (I might, If I was feeling for a lighter game with less choice).

EDIT: IS is a stripped down version of W/NE that has less restriction, but also less valid options. The asymmetry is stronger in IS, but also more confining.


Thank you so much! This really gave me a good sense of the differences, despite not yet having played either game! Top notch descriptions.
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Daniel Honig
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Another thing about Imperial Settlers that wasn't really discussed is reliability. The three-activation limit in New Era forces you to be constantly cycling your scoring engine to whatever is most opportunistic, which makes you diversify unless you get really lucky with cards. Imperial Settlers gives you way more cards and removes the engine cap, so once you can build towards an engine you know with 100% certainty that it will carry you through to the endgame.

This is why The New Era is a ~40 point game and Imperial Settlers is a ~130 point game. IS is also less snowbally, since you can raze things for immediate gain a lot of short-term "panic button" catchup moves are actually useful (since you don't need to wait a turn).

New Era gives much more incremental card draw, but you also see a lot less cards - which means that what you draw is much more important to your final board. Imperial Settlers gives you a huge number of options, though they are heavily shaped by your faction, and the sheer draw power means that games will often look the same by the end even when they played totally differently from one game to the next.

I'm honestly not sure which is the better game. NE is heavier, more punishing, and more about maximizing short-term gains while trying to reach that victory breakpoint and pushing yourself into a basic engine. IS is about developing a combo and thinking several actions ahead, then executing your master plan for awesome short-term power and long-term points while hoping other players don't blow something up that totally sinks you in the process. You have a lot more choices in Imperial Settlers, but individual choices tend to matter more in New Era due to reduced cards and resources (plus time delay on a lot of things).

Caveat: I have not played with Winter, though I hear it is good. The benefits of the Frozen City may help offset some of the issues with base NE's pacing.

Secondary caveat: Imperial Settlers scales waaaaay better. 4p IS plays flawlessly, with players constantly racing to build an engine while looking to raze and interfere with others' plans. 4p New Era was just sort of an unorganized mess that took a really long time.
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Andarel wrote:

This is why The New Era is a ~40 point game and Imperial Settlers is a ~130 point game. IS is also less snowbally, since you can raze things for immediate gain a lot of short-term "panic button" catchup moves are actually useful (since you don't need to wait a turn).


This is also true!

Andarel wrote:

New Era gives much more incremental card draw, but you also see a lot less cards - which means that what you draw is much more important to your final board. Imperial Settlers gives you a huge number of options, though they are heavily shaped by your faction, and the sheer draw power means that games will often look the same by the end even when they played totally differently from one game to the next.

Yes definitely. I can see IS getting samey one of these days, but as I've only played it once and am unlikely to again, this is probably moot for me.

Andarel wrote:

I'm honestly not sure which is the better game. NE is heavier, more punishing, and more about maximizing short-term gains while trying to reach that victory breakpoint and pushing yourself into a basic engine. IS is about developing a combo and thinking several actions ahead, then executing your master plan for awesome short-term power and long-term points while hoping other players don't blow something up that totally sinks you in the process. You have a lot more choices in Imperial Settlers, but individual choices tend to matter more in New Era due to reduced cards and resources (plus time delay on a lot of things).

Caveat: I have not played with Winter, though I hear it is good. The benefits of the Frozen City may help offset some of the issues with base NE's pacing.


Yes. Winter is amazing. It's to the point where I would probably never play with vanilla NE. There are more interesting scoring cards, more interesting "twist" cards, a way to sacrifice a worker for tokens or leaders, a 6 round limit, upped starting resources, and generally a more robust game. You can really play the way you want, instead of cannonballing into a 30 point wall like in NE. Our high score in Winter is 89. Due to the scarcity of incorporation tokens, however, getting blasted in W/NE rarely feels as "Goddamnit!" as in IS, because building over rubble is sometimes so good in winter that you beg to be attacked.

Andarel wrote:

Secondary caveat: Imperial Settlers scales waaaaay better. 4p IS plays flawlessly, with players constantly racing to build an engine while looking to raze and interfere with others' plans. 4p New Era was just sort of an unorganized mess that took a really long time.


This is also definitely true. I played it winter 2p with my wife, and after the increased speed, I would hesitate to ever play with more than 3 ever again. IS, however, is perfectly serviceable with 4, and is not quite the sludge that MP Winter is.
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It's not really that imperial settlers feels same-y (it doesn't, really) but that the final boards are often relatively standard, assuming good players. The actual path to get there will vary dramatically from game to game.
 
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Andarel wrote:
Another thing about Imperial Settlers that wasn't really discussed is reliability. The three-activation limit in New Era forces you to be constantly cycling your scoring engine to whatever is most opportunistic, which makes you diversify unless you get really lucky with cards. Imperial Settlers gives you way more cards and removes the engine cap, so once you can build towards an engine you know with 100% certainty that it will carry you through to the endgame.

This is why The New Era is a ~40 point game and Imperial Settlers is a ~130 point game. IS is also less snowbally, since you can raze things for immediate gain a lot of short-term "panic button" catchup moves are actually useful (since you don't need to wait a turn).

New Era gives much more incremental card draw, but you also see a lot less cards - which means that what you draw is much more important to your final board. Imperial Settlers gives you a huge number of options, though they are heavily shaped by your faction, and the sheer draw power means that games will often look the same by the end even when they played totally differently from one game to the next.

I'm honestly not sure which is the better game. NE is heavier, more punishing, and more about maximizing short-term gains while trying to reach that victory breakpoint and pushing yourself into a basic engine. IS is about developing a combo and thinking several actions ahead, then executing your master plan for awesome short-term power and long-term points while hoping other players don't blow something up that totally sinks you in the process. You have a lot more choices in Imperial Settlers, but individual choices tend to matter more in New Era due to reduced cards and resources (plus time delay on a lot of things).

Caveat: I have not played with Winter, though I hear it is good. The benefits of the Frozen City may help offset some of the issues with base NE's pacing.

Secondary caveat: Imperial Settlers scales waaaaay better. 4p IS plays flawlessly, with players constantly racing to build an engine while looking to raze and interfere with others' plans. 4p New Era was just sort of an unorganized mess that took a really long time.


Have you had any more experience/plays with IS that you can decide which is the better game? I agree with most of your points as to why I enjoy 51st state/New Era. Curious if you feel they both are worth owning or not too.
 
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I think they are both good. I slightly prefer Imperial Settlers because it is more freeform, but the responsibility it imposes of playing your entire deck every game can be somewhat frustrating - the fact that you are expected to do well makes things a bit less interesting than having to claw together an engine. Really, it's going to come down to personal preference.
 
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