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Subject: Even less luck! rss

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Luke Piefer "Luke Luke The Orange"

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Let me start by saying I absolutely love this game because of all the skill involved. I think it would be very hard to program a computer to outplay a really good player, which to me is important criteria for a game that requires this level of skill. It has extraordinary depth, much like chess, but it has so much variation that I can't see it being so much about memorization as it is about novel decision-making.

That said, I have an issue with the little bits of luck involved. It's disappointing for such a great game to have hidden explorer tiles. One of the best opening moves by far (I've won one turn 8 with Maria multiple times) is cart-cart-explorer-harbor, but if you get wine then it's harder. You can make it work, but it's better to explore and find food first so you can activate more men sooner. Why are the explorer tiles hidden? If you know everything else about the terrain, why shouldn't you also know what goods are on each explorer space? It's thematically inconsistent in my opinion, but more importantly the luck takes away from an otherwise exquisite game. I believe explorer goods should always be visible, and I think they should be evenly distributed throughout the board so that no players gets 2 wine on their starting tile or something like that. That alone would determine who wins in a battle of 2 skilled players who use the explorer.

I also would suggest that players get to choose their starting tile in turn order. Then, to further even out the luck, they get to choose a second tile in reverse turn order and can configure the tiles near them as they see fit before all the tiles are combined. This gives players a chance to avoid unfortunate terrain. I realize you're supposed to be able to make any terrain work, but in reality being able to build large resource engines on turn 1 while still locating your city close to multiple explorer tiles and having a large harbor can be a huge advantage.

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that Matt
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As for the question of why: someone at Splotter appears to enjoy having a tiny random element. Roads and Boats is another design that is almost entirely non-random (all except the iron/gold production order of mines).
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David Gibbs
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tumorous wrote:
As for the question of why: someone at Splotter appears to enjoy having a tiny random element. Roads and Boats is another design that is almost entirely non-random (all except the iron/gold production order of mines).

Indonesia is another Splotter game which is almost entirely non-random.
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Christophe Denoize
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Lille
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If you find it more confortable with your variants, I guess this not really far from the original game, and it's totally playable.
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Morten K
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I think I will actually start playing like this. Too many times I've tried getting bad explorer tiles while others raced away.
 
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Luke Piefer "Luke Luke The Orange"

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tumorous wrote:
As for the question of why: someone at Splotter appears to enjoy having a tiny random element. Roads and Boats is another design that is almost entirely non-random (all except the iron/gold production order of mines).

Interesting. I've just started a game of Indonesia and I'm excited about it. Haven't had a chance to try R & B, but I'm willing to bet I would suggest a house rule about this before my first game is even over!
 
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Luke Piefer "Luke Luke The Orange"

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I forgot to mention that exploring and finding wine first can hurt you because of famine. It's a double advantage for your opponent(s) if they find food and you find wine because you get a grave.

I'm okay with luck in board games, but this example is just so inconsistent with the rest of the game that it feels out of place. Also, there's so little luck in other aspects of the game that there's no time for it to even out. You can start out extremely unlucky in Twilight Struggle but you still have no idea how it's going to end, so you play it out. But if you start out exploring and you get the same good twice, you can pretty much count on losing if you're playing somebody good - especially if it's wine both times. So you end up playing a long, intense game as a formality. That doesn't seem right.
 
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Malachi Brown
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coolhandluke121 wrote:
tumorous wrote:
Roads and Boats is another design that is almost entirely non-random (all except the iron/gold production order of mines).
Haven't had a chance to try R & B, but I'm willing to bet I would suggest a house rule about this before my first game is even over!
In Roads and Boats there is a way (via researching technologies) to remove the random production of the mines.

coolhandluke121 wrote:
I forgot to mention that exploring and finding wine first can hurt you because of famine. It's a double advantage for your opponent(s) if they find food and you find wine because you get a grave.
I don't look at it that way because finding food drives famine up. Finding food only insulates that player from the famine incurred by finding the food in the first place. If two players find food then they each suffer the impact of an additional famine over what they discovered food for.

To put it another way, if another player finds food and you find wine and you get a grave that means you still would have gotten a grave if you had found food instead of wine because the famine level would have gone up by 2 and your food only protected you for one of those.

You can argue that there is a continued impact on following turns because of the use of the good as a seed, but in the outcome of getting a grave that turn is not dependent on if you found wine instead of food.
 
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Luke Piefer "Luke Luke The Orange"

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Malachi wrote:


coolhandluke121 wrote:
I forgot to mention that exploring and finding wine first can hurt you because of famine. It's a double advantage for your opponent(s) if they find food and you find wine because you get a grave.
I don't look at it that way because finding food drives famine up. Finding food only insulates that player from the famine incurred by finding the food in the first place. If two players find food then they each suffer the impact of an additional famine over what they discovered food for.

To put it another way, if another player finds food and you find wine and you get a grave that means you still would have gotten a grave if you had found food instead of wine because the famine level would have gone up by 2 and your food only protected you for one of those.

You can argue that there is a continued impact on following turns because of the use of the good as a seed, but in the outcome of getting a grave that turn is not dependent on if you found wine instead of food.

I worded that poorly, but what I meant is that it's a double disadvantage because if you reversed the luck, your opponent would get a grave and you wouldn't. If you both get food, then you both get a grave, so the luck is equal. But if you get wine and your opponent gets food, you get a grave and he doesn't.

That's not the end of the world, but it just compounds the disadvantage of not being able to build a field of food and activate more men, with is the real issue with the luck of explorer tiles. If you explore and find wine, you have to use wood for fish (and it might be an inefficient use of wood if your closest harbors are small) or choose Giorgio/Maria* to activate men in a timely fashion, which is a constraint that your opponent who explores and finds food doesn't suffer from. Very early in the game, you almost always want food more than luxury goods. Wine is very helpful as the 2nd explorer good you find, but a big liability if you find it first.

*But this only works if you had the foresight to build a stone quarry in turn 1 as a contingency plan in case you explore for wine, and even if you did maybe you would have preferred to use that stone for Forced Labour, which is a very strong move that is no longer available to you.
 
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chuck dunn
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those early graves that the explorer tiles can cause throw in a loop in early game that is fine by me ...
 
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Luke Piefer "Luke Luke The Orange"

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toooooof wrote:
If you find it more confortable with your variants, I guess this not really far from the original game, and it's totally playable.

It plays well this way. Also, having each player choose and configure two terrain hexes can help neutralize Giorgio, who wins a bit too often in 2-player games if there are convenient harbors on the board.

Thanks for the website! I've lost many hours of my life to it, and I can't say I regret it. cool
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