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Subject: I need advice for my second game rss

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Mario Aguila
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After my first experience playing 18FL, with my test group (my secretaries), last night was about to surrender and almost resolved to not trying to play it again. I found this slow, tedious and almost monotonous game. It is more similar to the Monopoly than to Age of Steam, to give an example.
Today I woke up a little more optimistic (a spring day), but I need to make some modifications to present it to my official group. I need urgent to shorten the first game.
My objective is that it is a game that lasts exactly 3 hours, with rules explanation included. In a second game we could reach at 4 hours. This is my strategy of time and I won't accept any advice that takes me to play more than 3 hours during my first play.
Ideas: not to use the private companies; to have as limit $4.000 instead of the $8.000
Some other advice?
 
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A L D A R O N
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Cutting the bank's assets in half is a good start. Another option is to simply end the game after a fixed number of rounds (even one) in which a corporation owning a 6/3E train runs.
 
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Mario Aguila
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I am thinking in this solution:
a)No private companies
b)The first thing that happens: the bank spends $4.000 or a corporation buys the first train model 5.
 
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Devin Smith
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If you're going to limit it based on trains, make sure it's after the train /runs/ so-many times. If you end the game on train purchase, there's no incentive to buy the game-ending train.

And as general strategy advice (which is related to game pacing): buy. more. trains. In groups with no experienced players, 18xx games can take a looong time because no one makes any money or pushes the game pace. If someone has more trains than you do, buy some to catch up and/or kill off their trains.

Note: I have no played 18FL, but even Age of Steam would take more than 3 hours incl. explanation the first time.

Also, monopoly? Plz explain. This makes me worried that you're
a) negotiating too much (which is slow). Most 18xx games, esp those by David Hecht, are designed to disincentivize collusion.
b) doing something else wrong. 18FL is 'kinder-gentler', but not /that/ much.
 
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Mario Aguila
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Excalabur wrote:
If you're going to limit it based on trains, make sure it's after the train /runs/ so-many times. If you end the game on train purchase, there's no incentive to buy the game-ending train.


You are right...the condition would be... at the end of the Operatives rounds when a 5 train is bought.

Excalabur wrote:
And as general strategy advice (which is related to game pacing): buy. more. trains. In groups with no experienced players, 18xx games can take a looong time because no one makes any money or pushes the game pace. If someone has more trains than you do, buy some to catch up and/or kill off their trains.

We had a problem with trains limits. In one moment it was impossible to upgrade to a 3 train. Check this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/131807

Excalabur wrote:
Note: I have no played 18FL, but even Age of Steam would take more than 3 hours incl. explanation the first time.

But it is not only the problem of the time, but rather the monotony. In AOS the auctions, the location of the cubes, the special actions, the anguish of to have or not to have the money to pay the expenses delighted all from the first game...and it probably it lasted 4 hours.

Excalabur wrote:
Also, monopoly? Plz explain. This makes me worried that you're
a) negotiating too much (which is slow). Most 18xx games, esp those by David Hecht, are designed to disincentivize collusion.
b) doing something else wrong. 18FL is 'kinder-gentler', but not /that/ much.

And it resembles monopoly, because there is an indefinite quantity of rounds, without a clear and defined final climax; to buy and to sell; to make break to the other ones. Evidently there is more strategy, elements, and it is more complicated, but in essence a very creative or innovative game is not observed, as in fact it happens with such eurogames as Puerto Rico, Pof, In the Shadow of Emperor, La Cittá, etc.
...and in the first game the negotiation hardly existed.

My test group has pitied of my person and next week we will make a second intent, before proposing it to my official group.
 
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Guy Riessen
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marioaguila wrote:

And it resembles monopoly, because there is an indefinite quantity of rounds, without a clear and defined final climax; to buy and to sell; to make break to the other ones. Evidently there is more strategy, elements, and it is more complicated, but in essence a very creative or innovative game is not observed, as in fact it happens with such eurogames as Puerto Rico, Pof, In the Shadow of Emperor, La Cittá, etc.
...and in the first game the negotiation hardly existed.


This was our first foray into 18xx as well. Rules took about 20 minutes to go over, set up about 15 minutes total. We played for just over an hour and are halfway through with every expectation to finish during tomorrow's lunch. With 4 players, everyone was delighted with the game thus far, found it exciting, and full of strategic interest. 18xx is a system and is every bit as innovative as Puerto Rico, which is to say VERY innovative. Especially since it is the first time we've come across a game that truly breaks you out of gaming role--suddenly the main players (the corporations) are not "you" but rather tools to massage events towards conclusions you desire. It is the manipulation of ***all** the stocks and ***all*** the other players that you seek, not necessarily to forward the interests of "your" corporation at all. The entire game is made up of resources for you to exploit. Very very interesting stuff.

Sorry it doesn't seem to be a match for your group, but I must admit I can see these games as not being a match for many groups simply due to the depth of strategy, and focus required to play them.

For us, it's been a great introduction!
 
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Marcus Lau
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To shorten the game, we took out 3,000 from the bank and added in another game ending condition : When the share price of any corp hits the ceiling (maximum price). The game ends at once if this happens.
 
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Devin Smith
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A question: has the second condition ever come up? In general, stock charts in 18xx games are designed to be darned hard to get to the end of, with it happening if and only if the train rush is /extremely/ slow....

 
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Chris Shaffer
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It seems to me that if you (Mario) are testing the game, you need to start the test by having two (or all) players agree up-front to buy trains aggressively.

In a group of four players, two buying trains aggressively and two buying them conservatively, the aggressive buyers will win nearly every time.

Conservative train purchases slow the game down a lot. I can't imagine 18FL taking more than three hours even on first play.
 
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