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M.U.L.E. The Board Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: A list of differences between the computer game and the boardgame rss

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neko flying
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Do you know the original video game? Here is a list of differences between the computer game and the boardgame. As you can see, this is an extremely faithful implementation.

So you don't know the original video game? You can try the Nintendo NES version here:

http://game-oldies.com/play-online/m-u-l-e-nintendo-nes

and then read this list of differences. (Warning: in the Nintendo NES version the elusive Mountain Wampus sucks at eluding )




MAP

Map setup is either fixed or random. Even the location of rivers can be random. And if you are really daring... you could omit them entirely

Player boards. This is perhaps the only major change. In addition to a common map, each player has their own player board witha player map. The common board is divided into four sections (rivers, white, blue, red). When a plot is taken from the common board, it can be put on the player board in any matching region. Adjacency is then determined by the location of the plots on the player's boards. This affects, among other things, production and food costs for outfitting and moving MULEs.

Double land grant on round 1. Players start with two lands.

Land auction is initiated by hand cards (one per player). Open bid. Opening bid is exactly 8$. Increase only in increments of 2$. (Optional: Secret bids.)



DEVELOPMENT

Time is abstracted to fixed food prices for several different actions. Each player can spend 6 food tops. Each player takes one or two actions, going around the table.

Gambling is a player's last action and always gets 5$.

Hunting the Wampus costs one food and gives 1 chance in 3 to get a 10$ reward

Outfitting and refitting M.U.L.E.s costs food but no money.

You cannot release M.U.L.E.s



PRODUCTION

Basic production ranges from 0 to 3 for each good on each tile:

+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| | F | E | S | C |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| River: | 3 | 2 | n/a | n/a |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Plain: | 2 | 3 | 0 | 0-3 |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Low Mountain: | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0-3 |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| High Mountain: | 1 | 1 | 2 | 0-3 |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Crater: | 1 | 1 | 2 | 3 |
+------------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+


Crystite basic production is not distributed according to a "diamond shape". Every tile has a different production on the back:

+---------------------+-----------------------+
| | CRYSTITE PRODUCTION |
| | |
| | 0 1 2 3 |
+---------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Plains | 6 | 9 | 6 | 3 |
+---------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Low Mountain | 2 | 3 | 2 | 1 |
+---------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| High Mountain | 2 | 3 | 2 | 1 |
+---------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Total | 10 | 15 | 10 | 5 |
| (probability) | 25% | 37% | 25% | 13% |
+---------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+


Bonus production for Economies of scale is for paths connecting plots, not for plots connected.

No learning curve effect on production (no bonus for having 3 plots producing the same resource).

Production is affected by a single random card draw for all players. Details not yet available.



PRICES AT THE STORE

Prices for everything have been scaled down to make computations easier.


Store sells for
Food: 3 - 9
Energy: 3 - 7
Smithore / M.U.L.E.s: 5 - 12
Crystite: 6 - 12

The store always buys for two space dollars less than its sale price.

Prices change as follows:
Food: +1 for each unit of food that a player has below 4.
Energy: +1 for each unit of energy that a player has less than M.U.L.E.s.
Smithore/M.U.L.E.s: +1 for each two M.U.L.E.s available less than 12. -1 for each available unit of Smithore.
Crystite: Random new price determined by cards. Details not yet available.
Finally, reduce the prices for Food, Energy and Smithore by 1 for each unit currently in stock.



TRADING

Priority for buying from the market is: lower ranked player first. Between players: No priority, seller chooses.



SPOILAGE

Maximum stock for all goods is 12.



RANKING

Determined by money in hand only. Optional: 5$ per M.U.L.E. and 10$ per plot of land.



EVENTS

Package from the Home World! and Land for Sale! are played as hand cards.

Personal Events happen as the last thing in the turn. Rather than being entirely random, the player ranked first gives a random lucky event card to a player of his choice; then that player gives an unlucky event card to another player. Personal events will scale to two time brackets rather than four.



COLONISTS

Different optional special rules for the different colonists. Details not available yet.



GAME END

The game lasts 7 turns (default). Optional rules to make the game variable or longer (6-9 turns).



NEW OPTIONAL RULES

Each race has a different optional special power.

____________________

Did I miss anything important? Say it and I will add it to this list.

Thanks to Heikki for pointing out more changes by PM!
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Mark O'Reilly
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You missed this:

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Matt Smith
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I don't think there's a rule allowing players to buy and release M.U.L.E.s, driving up the price of Smithore.

Oh, and you missed the most important part of the original game:

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Craig C
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flying_neko wrote:
The store always buys for two more than sell.


This should be the other way around, right? The store sells for two more than the buy, or buys for two less than its selling price, so the store can turn a profit and stay in business.

So if it's selling an item for $5, it'll buy it from a player for $3.
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neko flying
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bird94us wrote:
flying_neko wrote:
The store always buys for two more than sell.


This should be the other way around, right? The store sells for two more than the buy, or buys for two less than its selling price, so the store can turn a profit and stay in business.

So if it's selling an item for $5, it'll buy it from a player for $3.




Thanks
 
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Craig C
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No prob. Thanks for posting all that info.
 
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Scott Ferrier
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Oh I'm really excited now after hearing how the events are handled
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Matt Smith
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Yes, this is a really great summary post. It looks like the game will really feel like the original M.U.L.E.

And I will have the music on my cell phone, so we can play it during each Ranking Phase. Just for old-times sake.
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J Holmes
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WAMPUS HUNTING!!!
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Heikki Harju
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This is a great post from Flying Neko. I want to comment Crystite production. While it's true that Crystite deposits are not organized in diamond shapes, they are not entirely random, either. Entirely random would be if there was, for example, a die that was used to determine Crystite production.

Every Land tile with a Secret Side has a fixed Crystite production value, which is hidden at the beginning. But the distribution is known (Sorry for the shoddiness of my house of cards here)

Crystite Deposits

--------------------|--0--|--1--|--2--|--3--|
--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
Plains-------------|--6--|--9--|--6--|--3--|
--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
Low Mountain---|--2--|--3--|--2--|--1--|
--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
High Mountain--|--2--|--3--|--2--|--1--|
--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+
Total--------------|-10--|-15--|-10--|--5--|
--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+

Out of these 40 tiles, random 30 are used in a single game.

By taking the "Assay Any 2 Lands" action or by seeing Lands flip over as someone starts to produce Crystite on them, players not only discover the Crystite content of those Lands, but can assign an new probability for discovering Crystite in any Land of the same type. So, while the diamond shapes were not implemented, another logic is being introduced: players have information about the probability distribution from the beginning and they can gather more information to improve their odds of discovering Crystite.

When it comes to personal powers of reasoning, I find it hard enough to remember what was the Crystite content in the Lands I Assayed in the previous turn



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Katina Choovanski
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So... I won't need an Atari 800 with four joystick ports? (Oh man, was this game a blast!) Very excited to try the board game. I'm so tempted to buy it unseen!

~Kat ^_^
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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The main difference for me is the lack of price level priority. That is, in the original game, if the store sell price is 5 and another player declares that he will buy at 6, you were obliged to sell to that player first, and only after that transaction, if there are no other players offering above-store price and you still had units to go, you could sell to the store. The same worked other way around, if store buy price was 20, if someone offered it for 10, you had to buy from them first.

Now, I understand that this might be somewhat awkward to implement in a board game, but I wonder if this was chosen on purpose? What kind of economic effect it causes if players are free to choose on buying / selling targets?
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Heikki Harju
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rattkin wrote:
The main difference for me is the lack of price level priority. That is, in the original game, if the store sell price is 5 and another player declares that he will buy at 6, you were obliged to sell to that player first, and only after that transaction, if there are no other players offering above-store price and you still had units to go, you could sell to the store. The same worked other way around, if store buy price was 20, if someone offered it for 10, you had to buy from them first.

Now, I understand that this might be somewhat awkward to implement in a board game, but I wonder if this was chosen on purpose? What kind of economic effect it causes if players are free to choose on buying / selling targets?

This is intentional, because the video game also had a mechanism called Collusion, which meant that by simultaneously pushing their buttons, any two players could bypass the offers from other players, even better offers, in favor of the colluding player. So, actually the original M.U.L.E. did feature players agreeing whatever prices they wanted with each other as long as two players were in agreement and used the Collusion mechanism.

Collusion is easy to forget, because it was underused: the AI never used it and the UI for entering collusion mode was clumsy in a game where a moment of clumsiness could cause a player to miss the deal in the normal mode. It felt extrinsic and went against the logic of the UI where normal trade was possible with everyone, while collusion was only possible between players. Wasting a 0,5 sec not running while entering the Collusion mode could cost you your opportunity to trade with the AI after the collusion. It was there, but not well-implemented.

The remaining difference to the video game, then, is that in the video game it was not possible to Buy from or Sell to The Store if one of the Players offered at least as good or better a deal. In The Board Game, this is offered as an optional rule. Adopting this rule does increase trading between players, but it also adds to the rules explanation overhead. Since there is always the "middle price" between The Store's Buy and Sell prices, it's technically not necessary and was streamlined away from the default rules.

- Heikki
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I remember collusion well (we sometimes used it), but you still couldn't bypass players when you wanted to sell directly to store or buy from store.

But yeah, I'm dumb, I did not notice that additional rule for the old guild of Irata in the manual. It's right there, stating exactly this. Now I'm at peace :)

Thanks.
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Josh Feathers
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mvettemagred wrote:
I don't think there's a rule allowing players to buy and release M.U.L.E.s, driving up the price of Smithore.


Oh man...my favorite cutthroat move has not been carried over into the boardgame. Smithore miners of old would release so many mules into the wild to become the wealthy "First Founder" all while damning the colony to failure.

The memories...
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Craig C
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I haven't received my copy yet (come on, UPS!) but from the looks of things there are price caps in the store, so the days of $250 Food may be long-gone.

I remember the MULE stampede move, too. Good way to get a person's controller "accidentally" unplugged, hehe.
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neko flying
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bird94us wrote:
I haven't received my copy yet (come on, UPS!) but from the looks of things there are price caps in the store, so the days of $250 Food may be long-gone.


There were price caps in the computer game too. Hard caps when trading with the Store, and "for all practical purposes" caps given by the time limit (you can only walk so far up the screen).

One difference is that the value of money has been rescaled roughly as

1 BG$ = 25 CP$

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Big Head Zach
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dobbie wrote:
mvettemagred wrote:
I don't think there's a rule allowing players to buy and release M.U.L.E.s, driving up the price of Smithore.


Oh man...my favorite cutthroat move has not been carried over into the boardgame. Smithore miners of old would release so many mules into the wild to become the wealthy "First Founder" all while damning the colony to failure.

The memories...


If you wanted to allow this in your games, it wouldn't be difficult:

[F]: Pay the cost of a MULE to remove one from the Corral (return it to the token supply).
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Heikki Harju
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bhz1 wrote:
If you wanted to allow this in your games, it wouldn't be difficult:

[F]: Pay the cost of a MULE to remove one from the Corral (return it to the token supply).

Yes, you could do this. It would probably not upset the game balance too much, either.

But you'd probably also find out that the "smithore gambit" would not be as powerful as you remember it being in the computer game. This is because the leverage from the "smithore gambit" is [player's stock size] * [price increase due to fewer M.U.L.E.s in The Store], and stock sizes are much smaller in the board game (max 50 vs. 12).

To increase this leverage (and upset game balance quite a bit more), you could try increasing the upper limit of Overstock Spoilage (say, to 16 or 18). However, then you'd also see more games where The Store runs out of M.U.L.E.s and no-one is forced to sell their Smithore because of reaching the max stock. The "carrot" for selling Smithore would remain (high price), but the "stick" would not be as sharp (reaching spoilage limit). This would be a problem especially with 3 players. Overall, the worth of Smithore would increase relative to the other Goods.

You could compensate this by adding one or two extra turns to game length. More game turns and bigger stocks would increase the worth of Crystite relative to other Goods, counterbalancing the increased worth of Smithore. But now you'd probably find the earning potentials of Food and Energy diminished relative to Smithore and Crystite. The game would revolve around these two Goods.

So, the "smithore gambit" was left out because it was not worth explaining another, very situational Action to new players, and because even the old guard would probably not find it as powerful as they'd remember and would end up rarely using it. But you can go ahead and try.

Increasing stock sizes (leverage) would have altered the game balance, and in any case would have led to higher quantities and a less streamlined experience.
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