Matt Thrower
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Hi,

I hadn't taken much interest in Eagle games until they crashed and I felt the need to buy up games that were of vague interest as fast as possible. In doing so I noted that not one, but two of Eagle's lineup (Railroad Tycoon and Conquest of the Empire) were based very heavily on Martin Wallace games (Age of Steam and Struggle of Empires respectively).

Now I may be mistaken but I thought it was pretty rare for a designer to take a game by another designer (let alone a popular one as both AoS and SoE are), tweak it and then release it as a different game with a design credit. In fact I'm not aware of anyone else who's done it - and here's Eagle games doing it twice!

So the question is, why? Did Eagle employ Wallace to consult on these designs? Was Glenn Drover just a huge Wallace fan? Were they friends? Is there any particular explanation?

Cheers,
Matt
 
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Wallace has designer credits for both Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
Wallace has designer credits for both Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon.


I know. But I'm wondering what drove Glenn to rework not one, but two Wallace designs both of which were already well-recieved games. I just don't see that sort of thing happening very often in the design industry and it seems a curious thing to do.
 
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MattDP wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Wallace has designer credits for both Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon.


I know. But I'm wondering what drove Glenn to rework not one, but two Wallace designs both of which were already well-recieved games. I just don't see that sort of thing happening very often in the design industry and it seems a curious thing to do.


Hey who isn't a fan of Wallace. God bless Wallace! cool
 
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MattDP wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Wallace has designer credits for both Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon.


I know. But I'm wondering what drove Glenn to rework not one, but two Wallace designs both of which were already well-recieved games. I just don't see that sort of thing happening very often in the design industry and it seems a curious thing to do.


I think it was an interesting move on Eagle's part as well. I haven't played Conquest so I can't really speak to that, but to me RRT seems like a slightly watered down version of AoS to me. I think that Eagle's possible motivation was to appeal to the gamers who weren't interested in playing the original designs for whatever reason by tweaking and changing the games slightly to be more accessible to the public, and putting them in a big shiny box with lots of bits. Could be totally wrong here, though.
 
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IcemanCU wrote:

I think it was an interesting move on Eagle's part as well. I haven't played Conquest so I can't really speak to that, but to me RRT seems like a slightly watered down version of AoS to me. I think that Eagle's possible motivation was to appeal to the gamers who weren't interested in playing the original designs for whatever reason by tweaking and changing the games slightly to be more accessible to the public, and putting them in a big shiny box with lots of bits.


If I was being harsh, I'd point out that if that was the strategy, it obviously didn't work brilliantly.

That said, I'm chasing down a copy of RRT and I'd never have bought AoS. That's got more to do with the more forgiving gameplay than the bits though - I've heard too many horror stories of AoS games being over before they start thanks to a careless first round error. I bought CotE over SoE purely on the two-games-in-one-box draw, not the bits.
 
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IcemanCU wrote:
I haven't played Conquest so I can't really speak to that, but to me RRT seems like a slightly watered down version of AoS to me.


Personally, I think it is different, not watered down.

I think the feeling was not to reinvent the wheel, that you could take an already existing system and adapt it to a new model.

Funny, but RRT seems to get played a lot more than AoS right now in my gaming group. And that is with some real hard core AoS players in the group.
 
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MattDP wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
Wallace has designer credits for both Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon.


I know. But I'm wondering what drove Glenn to rework not one, but two Wallace designs both of which were already well-received games. I just don't see that sort of thing happening very often in the design industry and it seems a curious thing to do.

I don't think this is true when it comes to train games. 18xx, crayon rails, and many other train themed games are constantly being reworked and published with subtle "improvements" and updates to their systems. In particular Martin has been at it much longer than AoS. (Ferrocarriles Pampas anyone?) RT is just another step (i.e. it was not a commission as much as just adding bits to the next train game idea Martin had in the works)
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Unless I'm blind I don't see the original question answered quite yet.

Yes, Eagle involved Wallace (read: paid him sacks of cash) to redesign some of his Warfrog productions and release them as Eagle games. I believe Eagle was trying to use a proven forumula mixed with a bit more attractive marketing hoping to profit. Ostensibly, it was a quicker path to a good game.
 
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MattDP wrote:
IcemanCU wrote:

I think it was an interesting move on Eagle's part as well. I haven't played Conquest so I can't really speak to that, but to me RRT seems like a slightly watered down version of AoS to me. I think that Eagle's possible motivation was to appeal to the gamers who weren't interested in playing the original designs for whatever reason by tweaking and changing the games slightly to be more accessible to the public, and putting them in a big shiny box with lots of bits.


If I was being harsh, I'd point out that if that was the strategy, it obviously didn't work brilliantly.

That said, I'm chasing down a copy of RRT and I'd never have bought AoS. That's got more to do with the more forgiving gameplay than the bits though - I've heard too many horror stories of AoS games being over before they start thanks to a careless first round error. I bought CotE over SoE purely on the two-games-in-one-box draw, not the bits.


I wasn't necessarily trying to be that harsh either, too early in the morning I guess. I think that Eagle's decision was merely to take a known system and make it somewhat more suitable for a wider audience, put nice bits in the box, and sell oodles of copies (which I think worked, at least with RRT). I don't necessarily think RRT is a bad game, but I do think AoS is the better game. Once players have played an intro game (which shouldn't be taken too seriously), I've never seen anyone completely eliminate themselves due to an error. It does take a lot of thought, but if you pay attention to what you're doing, self-elimination shouldn't be a problem. In other words, not a good game to play in the pub .

On a side note, I've got a new-in-shrink RRT that I was looking to trade, but I just noticed you're in the UK, which might make shipping prohibitive...
 
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If you're a really crappy player, such as myself, you can lose Railroad Tycoon in the first few turns as well. The problem of Age of Steam is that you need to cultivate a group devoted to that game, so you can all play enough to get good enough to avoid the aforementioned runaway leader problem. And because I game with supergenius freaks of nature [i.e. anyone smarter than me...], I'm used to having vicious battles for second or third place
 
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I think Eddie got it in one.

Particularly after some pretty tepid reception for his earlier releases, Mr. Drover was likely shooting for some immediate acceptance, by hiring out on a couple of Wallace designs.

I've played AoS a few dozen times, now, and in my last game (five players, Midwest map) I was utterly certain I had completely trashed my chances on the first turn. (Not quite going belly-up, mind you - that should really only happen once, when you first start to play this game.) After four turns, though, things weren't looking too bad, and just got better as time went on. I ended up winning, by two points. Go figure. I don't hesitate to point out, though, that this isn't the norm - just that it isn't impossible.

I like RRT more for what Mr. Drover wanted it to do, than for what it does. I respect the desire, and the guts to take a whack at the ball, so to speak.

 
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Matthew Watson
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MattDP wrote:
...I'm chasing down a copy of RRT...

Just in case you're having trouble finding a copy, Gameslore.co.uk have some (I got one last week, and the board was perfectly flat).
 
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MattDP wrote:
IcemanCU wrote:

I think it was an interesting move on Eagle's part as well. I haven't played Conquest so I can't really speak to that, but to me RRT seems like a slightly watered down version of AoS to me. I think that Eagle's possible motivation was to appeal to the gamers who weren't interested in playing the original designs for whatever reason by tweaking and changing the games slightly to be more accessible to the public, and putting them in a big shiny box with lots of bits.


If I was being harsh, I'd point out that if that was the strategy, it obviously didn't work brilliantly.


RRT has lots of fans, myself included, who think it worked just fine. If you are suggesting that they went under because of these choices, I think you'd be mistaken. They made a bad call on trying to get into the poker market, but that boom went in the tank just as they joined, so they lost their shirt there, not on their boardgames. (At least that is the impression I've gotten.)
 
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My take on the relationship was that Eagle Games had for years been putting out really good looking games, but with a constant chorus of criticism that the rules to the games were either undercooked or just plain broken.

So, looking out in the gaming world is Wallace who is trying to marry Euro design with American mentality and it looks like it would be an obvious solution to Eagle's problem. Mix great looking components with proven game design, streamline a little more for an even larger audience and it should prove a winner.

I doubt RRT and CotE were the downfall of Eagle games though. I sounds like a general over extension in production and paying for licensing that probably sent the company into a deathspiral. Shame.
 
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