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Subject: Shortage of goods rss

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Gary Barnett
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I realise that building material shortage is key to the game but...

I played our first game with my son yesterday and, unfortunately, it was not a success. The problem was that I was dealt the building card requiring 3 bricks and my son had a building card requiring 2 bricks. These are face down in a two player game. There are only 3 bricks available in a two player game (or three player game for that matter).

Inevitably, what happened is that I snagged two bricks and my son one leaving no more to play for. But neither of us could build either so that no bricks were going back into the market (I think I understand correctly that no materials go back onto the board until someone builds? You are not supposed to restock from unused materials.)

I guess this impasse might have been broken by someone drawing a Black Market card that allows it to be used (Shady Supplies) as a missing material or to steal one from another player (Common Thief). But in our two player game, the top of the Black Market quickly became clogged with near worthless cards (the Shakedown cards – these are of very low value in a two player game where (a) you don’t know what resources other players need and (b) there is only one other player to buy resources.) So both of us quickly concluded that it was not worth wasting a black market pass going to the market.

As a result, the game stagnated and dragged until we realised what had happened (“When are you going to build so some supplies get recycled?”, “I can’t”, “What, neither can I!”). At which point we decided to just add in the extra unused resources to market stalls to get the game going again.

As a consequence, when choosing build cards in future, we both chose very generic ones requiring a bit of everything. It just isn't feasible to go for a building card requiring a lot of one resource in a blind two player game!

This is only a one-off experience, but it wasn’t a good one. The problem I can foresee is that it could actually be replicated with more players – with a third player there is no extra brick in the market, but you could have three building cards requiring 7 brick to start (though at least with building cards face-up, you’d know the issue in advance).

I see that the “shortage” aspect of the materials is crucial to how the game works, but this was just too extreme for me and resulted in a poor experience.

It may be that we were just unlucky with this opening building card draw, but equally I feel the issues we faced in this very first two player game might have been foreseen and catered for in some way to improve the experience.

Sorry for the negative post - I would add that the components, box, art design etc are all great.
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Ben Haskett
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Hi, Gary--thanks for playing!

First, and most importantly, you shouldn't be using any build cards that require three clay in a 2-player game. Please check the setup on page 4 to see what build cards should be removed--in short, it's all the build cards that have 3 or 4 player icons at the bottom. This would have removed your build card from the game, and thus, the issue likely would not have occurred.

Still, please see page 11 in the rules for Kingdom-wide shortages. If no one in the game is able to buy what they need, players can supplement the required materials with literally anything else. It stays in effect until someone builds. You'll notice I start the paragraph by indicating that it's rare, and that was very much by experience--in play-testing, it really only did happen once or twice, and that was only in 3/4-player games.

I admit that, with cards facedown, it might take a minute for both players to realize this has occurred.

Hope you'll give it another shot!

Ben

 
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Dick Butler
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Sorry to add this, but in my first game of Tower on Saturday (4-player) I had exactly the same problem. I drew the 3-brick card to start and other players had cards calling for at least one or two bricks.

I kept drawing gems from the bag because there was nothing else I could do (I still needed two bricks). The game slowed to a crawl for us as well. I did have a Black Market card that allowed me to substitute another good for one I lacked, but ONLY if I could build on my next turn (Remember, I needed TWO bricks). I had another similar unusable Black Market card as well.

Eventually, we discovered the rule that you can't keep your meeple at a market stall unless you purchased goods there on your previous turn. Somehow we continued playing then, and eventually got a winner.

The other thing we found disappointing was that Black Market cards are simply too expensive to buy (and later to activate) to make them worth acquiring in the first place.

I hope to get the game to the table again soon to try some of the Kickstarter variants, but game one was definitely not a good experience.
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Gary Barnett
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Ahh, too eager to get the game out and start playing to read the rules properly! Thanks for pointing out my error on the build cards - will definitely play it again using the correct rules and see how it goes. (As you say, dealing with Kingdom wide shortages with face down cards is a tad tricky.)

On that point, what was the reason for having the two player build cards face down? Too easy to buy goods the other player needs? (Are you allowed to buy goods you don't currently need by the way eg to stockpile for your next build card?)
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Ben Haskett
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Dick,

Hmm... well, I think there's two big take-aways for me here:

1. The "No Loitering" rule might fit better somewhere else in the rulebook, since your group didn't catch it right away. Should a second printing occur, maybe I should just have players remove their meeple from stores at the start of the draw phase. They can always just put it back during their action phase, but this way, no one will forget or miss that it's removed at the end of a turn in which you don't buy anything.

2. The Kingdom-wide shortage may be more common than I originally anticipated based on play-testing.

Still, the rule is that if no one can buy what they need, people are permitted to just buy any material until someone builds a tower segment. This was specifically to prevent the lock-up you experienced.

Also, just to clarify, when entering the black market, you were only paying ONE of the four entry fees listed at the bottom of the card, right? Another player mentioned paying all four of them.

I do hope you'll give it another shot, but sorry that the first experience was not so good...

Ben
 
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Ben Haskett
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Gary--nope, can't buy goods you don't need. Play-testing revealed 2-player games to be too aggressive with the cards faceup, creating a big take-that atmosphere; however, I encourage you to try it with the cards faceup anyway!
 
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Jerad Clark
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benHaskett wrote:
Dick,

Hmm... well, I think there's two big take-aways for me here:

1. The "No Loitering" rule might fit better somewhere else in the rulebook, since your group didn't catch it right away. Should a second printing occur, maybe I should just have players remove their meeple from stores at the start of the draw phase. They can always just put it back during their action phase, but this way, no one will forget or miss that it's removed at the end of a turn in which you don't buy anything.

I like that idea, I've started just removing the kids meeples at the start of their turn, because no one was tracking it very well.

Quote:

2. The Kingdom-wide shortage may be more common than I originally anticipated based on play-testing.

Still, the rule is that if no one can buy what they need, people are permitted to just buy any material until someone builds a tower segment. This was specifically to prevent the lock-up you experienced.

I'll have to keep this in mind, we were one move away from resource-lock (2-player game), but I had the card to steal a resource that I needed... to actually win the game. Lol.
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Dick Butler
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Ben,

I like the idea of just removing one's pawn/meeple from the stall after making a purchase--though it has implications for the player playing after you who would otherwise be blocked from using that stall until after your next turn, or longer if there were other goods you were able to purchase there. This would take away what some might regard as an important element of strategy in the game. I think I'll just play by the regular rule.

Regarding the Black Market, I wish there had been a separate Black Market stall (or maybe two) where players could purchase selected goods (not always the same ones on a given turn) for higher gem prices than at the regular stalls. This seems to me more in keeping with the idea of a Black Market than is provided by the cards. I'd keep the cards, though, as a separate option for players who want to access the Black Market site. I can picture the Black Market stall(s) in my mind right now. Hmm.

Looking forward to another go at Tower at our next game session.
 
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Daniel Theuerkaufer
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gamerbut wrote:
Ben,

I like the idea of just removing one's pawn/meeple from the stall after making a purchase--though it has implications for the player playing after you who would otherwise be blocked from using that stall until after your next turn...

I guess he meant to remove them after all players made their move, at the end of the turn.
 
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Gary Barnett
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No, he means remove a meeple when you draw your gems from the bag. If you don't then use a stall, your meeple stays off the board. If you do, your meeple stays on, blocking, til your next draw.

The problem with the rules as written is that it is easy to forget to remove your meeple from the market at the end of a turn if you didn't buy that round. Far easier to remember to take it back as part of your start of your turn actions, even if you then just revisit the market stall you were already on to buy again.
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Ben Haskett
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^ This. Indeed, with the rules as they are now, a player's meeple stays in place until the end of that player's turn--and if that meeple didn't buy anything, it returns to the tableau.

With this new idea, the rule is virtually identical, except that you always remove your meeple at the start of your turn. The only purpose of this change is to help players remember that you have to shop to stay put.
 
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Henrik Larsson
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The Kingdom Wide Shortage rule makes sense, but it becomes too powerful in solo play against the bot. You can completely nullify the bot and easily chain it so he can never do anything, and you can get all the gems, get all the suitable Black Market cards and then finish the game in 2-3 turns before the bot is able to finish any single card.

It's all based on what Tower Plan card they got compared to yours.
 
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Will Blankenship
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benHaskett wrote:
the rule is that if no one can buy what they need, people are permitted to just buy any material until someone builds a tower segment.


Sorry to pedantic about this, the wife & nephew interpreted the language used in the rule and even this post one way & I see it the other way.

But the issue came up in a game last night, so does no one mean every player or no single player? Simply, there's no more wood for purchase in the stalls and two people still need wood. How is this resolved? I think it only really mattered to the game since it was the last round for tower segments.
 
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Daniel Theuerkaufer
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I interpreted it as: no one (at all) = every player
 
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Gary Barnett
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No one means no one! Only if no one can buy the materials they need does the special rule apply. So if anyone CAN buy what they need, the special rule does not apply. Tough on those that cannot until material is returned to the market.
 
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