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Subject: Concerns about future editions... rss

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Mark Johnson
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I have backed Scythe for now, but I have concerns.

While I really respect Jamey's presence on the BGG forums, his ability to run exciting kickstarters, and known customer service (from what I've heard), I'm a little wary of this company's rapid amount of updates to it's games. Since Viticulture's release, there was the original edition, 2nd edition, and now an essentials edition. Three editions in less than 2 years seems excessive and a similar situation really annoyed fans of Puzzle Strike. Euphoria also had some differences in it's second printing and who knows if there will be any other changes when/if they do a kickstarter for an expansion. While I know this company is considered to be one of the best ones out there, I worry that an expensive Collector's Edition is just going to be replaced by a version with better gameplay in a year or so.

Put my fears to rest please.
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Yes, the burden you have to carry as a first edition buyer ... I'm also on the edge here ... but the price is really good! So I might jump on the train! meeple
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.
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Kolby Reddish
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I can't answer your question directly. I don't think anyone can put your fears to rest - though some will point to the number of blind play test sessions (which has been much more than in any of the other projects). While that does inspire some confidence, the fact is that no amount of play testing will ever catch the things that a wide release will.

I wanted more to post that while I absolutely think Jamey is a great guy - I think your question and fears are legitimate. I was afraid that some people, caught up in the excitement of the KS starting today, would simply suggest your question is unfounded. It's not, it's a really good, legitimate question and I look forward to any discussion it spawns.

Total side note so people can ignore this - I have two other big concerns with the project.

1. This game, again from Jamey, is essentially a "race" game. Not in the sense of Formula De, but in the sense that game end is triggered by a player completing a number of objectives. Both Euphoria and Viticulture used this mechanism for endgame - I love Viticulture and really didn't like that mechanism in Euphoria (Even though I've demoed both at SaltCon for 2 years for SMG). This is a red flag for me. I would much rather the game go a certain number of rounds or have some other type of mechanism for game end. The fact that a very similar game end trigger is used in every one of his games is worrying to me. (Sorry Jamey, still love ya).

2. This game is clearly meant to be a hybrid, even under Jamey's definition, of games like Kemet (light skirmish type games) and Farming (resource management) games. There have been a few hybrids that just haven't worked for me. I'm afraid that Scythe is going to fall into that space for me. I guess since I enjoy games like Kemet and I enjoy resource management games, I'm afraid that an amalgamation of both of these attitudes into one game will do both aspects in a mediocre fashion. Or put another way, if I own Kemet, and I own resource management games I like - why would I want to combine them? Why not just play resource management when I'm in the mood for it and skirmish when I'm in the mood for that?

While people are talking about assuaging fears, anyone care to assuage mine?
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.


For those of us who can't think of it, what is blind play testing?
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Kolby Reddish
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miloshot wrote:
jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.


For those of us who can't think of it, what is blind play testing?


People learned the game from the rules alone and outside of the direction of the designer.
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Steve Dillon
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You raise some very good points. I certainly can't speak to all of them since I'm not in any way affiliated with Stonemaier Games, but here's my point of view.

Viticulture really only had one "new" version. The Essential edition is identical to the 2nd edition, but with some of the Tuscany expansion modules included. It's sort of a middle ground between the base game and the full expansion.

Viticulture was their first game, and they presumably had very limited resources during development. For Scythe, they have had over 750 blind playtests thus far (I was lucky enough to get in on one of them at Gen Con). That lends itself to being very polished and complete prior to product delivery.

When they release a "new" version of game, they make it right for the original buyers. You can buy an "upgrade" kit on their website for Viticulture for $8. When Tuscany originally came to KS backers, there was a small printing error on two cards that only affected game play in about 1 in 500 games (their estimation. I've NEVER had a game where it came into play). They sent stickers to fix the issue to all backers who wanted them FREE OF CHARGE.

I haven't played Euphoria, but as far as I remember, the only things that changed in the 2nd edition were aesthetically improved components. Same game play.

I'm backing the KS campaign because of the companies stellar customer service and track record, and because I thoroughly enjoyed my one play of the game.

Of course, you are free to back or not at your pleasure. Just my opinion.
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Richie Turner
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I believe the essentials edition is just the 2nd edition with the most popular modules from Tuscany and all upgrades were made availble for purchase to those who had the original edition. I've had nothing but great experiences with Stonemaier Games and would encourage anyone to back Scythe but if you are truly worried about future editions then wait and buy it later.
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Kevin Erskine
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It's play testing where you just hand new people (not associated with the production) the game with no instructions other than the printed rules and see how they fare.
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miloshot wrote:
jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.


For those of us who can't think of it, what is blind play testing?

It's when they translate it into braille. devil
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Eric O.
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Eeeville wrote:
I have backed Scythe for now, but I have concerns.

While I really respect Jamey's presence on the BGG forums, his ability to run exciting kickstarters, and known customer service (from what I've heard), I'm a little wary of this company's rapid amount of updates to it's games. Since Viticulture's release, there was the original edition, 2nd edition, and now an essentials edition. Three editions in less than 2 years seems excessive and a similar situation really annoyed fans of Puzzle Strike. Euphoria also had some differences in it's second printing and who knows if there will be any other changes when/if they do a kickstarter for an expansion. While I know this company is considered to be one of the best ones out there, I worry that an expensive Collector's Edition is just going to be replaced by a version with better gameplay in a year or so.

Put my fears to rest please.


The essentials edition is so that people that missed that last two kickstarters can still get a copy of the game since it is currently sold out. Also update packs have always been made available. Usually cheap or free depending on the situation.
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Patrick G.
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.

I appreciate this... but could we also get a promise that if anything does get changed in the next printing... you will offer CE owners the same quality of components for any upgrades/updates.
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Kolby Reddish
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dr_steve_dillon wrote:

I haven't played Euphoria, but as far as I remember, the only things that changed in the 2nd edition were aesthetically improved components. Same game play.


Just in case anyone reads this as fact, this is untrue. There were changes to quite a few of the "Recruit" cards. These weren't aesthetic improvements, they were balance changes.

Jamey did a great job of making them widely available, but they were actual balance changes from 1st edition.
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Kerstin
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What ensures me somewhat is the way Stonemaier Games has handled those things in the past.

I never needed any of it from them so far as my versions of Viticulture and Euphoria are already from those 2nd editions, but from what I've seen and read, they have always provided upgraded cards, stickers, etc. for first edition owners in some way, so that they are not missing out on any changes.
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Steve Dillon
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reddish22 wrote:
dr_steve_dillon wrote:

I haven't played Euphoria, but as far as I remember, the only things that changed in the 2nd edition were aesthetically improved components. Same game play.


Just in case anyone reads this as fact, this is untrue. There were changes to quite a few of the "Recruit" cards. These weren't aesthetic improvements, they were balance changes.

Jamey did a great job of making them widely available, but they were actual balance changes from 1st edition.


Good to know. blush
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Wim Leenaerts
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Quote:
The fact that a very similar game end trigger is used in every one of his games is worrying to me. (Sorry Jamey, still love ya).

I suppose you could then call that Stegmaiers trademark mechanism, don't all designers have something like that? Faidutti's role selection, Mac Gerdt's rondel, Felds point salad etc.
I personally love games that don't have a fixed number of rounds, makes it much more tense. If you know the game only lasts 8 rounds and you're already way behind in points in round 6 you know you're probably going to lose, but with a variable end condition you can always hope to postpone the endgame in the hopes of being able to catch up.
The multiple objectives is one of the best parts of this game in my eyes.

And I also love the idea of a hybrid: the thematic flavour and direct player interaction (usually through combat) from an Amerithrash game and the strategic choices and low presence of luck from a eurogame make this very interesting and totally up my alley.

And I also think the enormous amount of play testing eliminates possible balance issues or mistakes.
What I dislike about this game is the fixed set-up and while I understand why this is the case I think this could have been fixed by changing the powers of the different factions to something else than what it is now. But let's wait after our first play to judge a game.
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Matt Thiel
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I pledged at the $89 level for the 1st Ed. of Viticulture. I had to pay $10 for the upgrade to fix cards from the first edition (even though the upgrade pack comes with grande workers, I don't need them since they came with the first ed. expansions, so I paid that $$ for a few cards). Then I buy Tuscany for $50-$60 (cant remember exact price). Great expansion, but basically everything that I paid $89 for in the original edition has been replaced. The only thing I still use from my $89 purchase are the visitor cards and player pieces/mats. Even the extra I paid to sponsor a set of coins were replaced. I look at it as a donation to a company and guy that I respect, and I love playing Vit & Tusc. but it still hurts a little bit to see that I invested over $150 in a game just to have a large pile glass pieces, unbalanced cards, a game board, coins I helped support, and duplicate expansions that I never use because they are obsolete.

I could have KS-ed the 2nd Ed with the Tuscany KS for $79-$99. Again, no sour grapes (see what I did there), because I made the choices I did with the info available at the time, but with hindsight being 20/20, it does kinda feel like I got snubbed a little bit. Like the O.P. and others have said, hopefully Scythe with its Playtesting and the company having a number of KS under it's belt will be a quality product out of the gate. Can't wait 'til Scythe arrives on my doorstep!

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David Hammel
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MTheaded04 wrote:
I pledged at the $89 level for the 1st Ed. of Viticulture. I had to pay $10 for the upgrade to fix cards from the first edition (even though the upgrade pack comes with grande workers, I don't need them since they came with the first ed. expansions, so I paid that $$ for a few cards). Then I buy Tuscany for $50-$60 (cant remember exact price). Great expansion, but basically everything that I paid $89 for in the original edition has been replaced. The only thing I still use from my $89 purchase are the visitor cards and player pieces/mats. Even the extra I paid to sponsor a set of coins were replaced. I look at it as a donation to a company and guy that I respect, and I love playing Vit & Tusc. but it still hurts a little bit to see that I invested over $150 in a game just to have a large pile glass pieces, unbalanced cards, a game board, coins I helped support, and duplicate expansions that I never use because they are obsolete.

I could have KS-ed the 2nd Ed with the Tuscany KS for $79-$99. Again, no sour grapes (see what I did there), because I made the choices I did with the info available at the time, but with hindsight being 20/20, it does kinda feel like I got snubbed a little bit. Like the O.P. and others have said, hopefully Scythe with its Playtesting and the company having a number of KS under it's belt will be a quality product out of the gate. Can't wait 'til Scythe arrives on my doorstep!



While I definitely appreciate what you're saying, wouldn't you have still bought Tuscany even if it didn't replace any of the original components? I also personally hope they don't repeat this trend with multiple editions of the same game within a few years, but if we're being honest, those purchases would have happened whether the original components had been left alone or not.
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The Iced One wrote:
Quote:
The fact that a very similar game end trigger is used in every one of his games is worrying to me. (Sorry Jamey, still love ya).

I suppose you could then call that Stegmaiers trademark mechanism, don't all designers have something like that? Faidutti's role selection, Mac Gerdt's rondel, Felds point salad etc.
I personally love games that don't have a fixed number of rounds, makes it much more tense. If you know the game only lasts 8 rounds and you're already way behind in points in round 6 you know you're probably going to lose, but with a variable end condition you can always hope to postpone the endgame in the hopes of being able to catch up.


The problem you highlight for fixed-number of round games, (falling behind and knowing you'll lose early) is equally true of "Race" games. (I'm going to continue addressing "Race" games because that's what I was talking about in the quote - not any different variable endgame mechanism). In fact, I've even found it to be more true of "Race" games where the end game occurs when a player has scored a number of points.

I could go on for that at length at why - but that would derail the thread a little too much. Just wanted to point out that the problem you cite as being unique to fixed number of round games applies to both types (and especially to "Race" games).
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Matt Thiel
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"those purchases would have happened whether the original components had been left alone or not."

Right...but then I'd still be using all the components that I paid for rather than having them sit in a box on the shelf forever. I wouldn't have a problem with still using the stuff I paid for and then getting more stuff.
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.


I love that you guys had over 1000 playtests and think thats awesome for a game. But I am a bit curious - if there have been over 1000 playtests, why are there not more reviews or session reports by this point? I see two reviews here on BGG, and I see no session reports at all. Did you have all your playtesters sign agreements saying they wouldnt talk about it at all? It makes me a little cautious around extremely controlled playtests like that. There's also the fact there's only 70 or so ratings still at this point.

Then again, I have no idea how these things work, so I may just be misunderstanding something fundamental. Its just that I'd've liked more information/updates aside from a small dozen or so overviews personally.
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reddish22 wrote:
The Iced One wrote:
Quote:
The fact that a very similar game end trigger is used in every one of his games is worrying to me. (Sorry Jamey, still love ya).

I suppose you could then call that Stegmaiers trademark mechanism, don't all designers have something like that? Faidutti's role selection, Mac Gerdt's rondel, Felds point salad etc.
I personally love games that don't have a fixed number of rounds, makes it much more tense. If you know the game only lasts 8 rounds and you're already way behind in points in round 6 you know you're probably going to lose, but with a variable end condition you can always hope to postpone the endgame in the hopes of being able to catch up.


The problem you highlight for fixed-number of round games, (falling behind and knowing you'll lose early) is equally true of "Race" games. (I'm going to continue addressing "Race" games because that's what I was talking about in the quote - not any different variable endgame mechanism). In fact, I've even found it to be more true of "Race" games where the end game occurs when a player has scored a number of points.

I could go on for that at length at why - but that would derail the thread a little too much. Just wanted to point out that the problem you cite as being unique to fixed number of round games applies to both types (and especially to "Race" games).


How do you feel about the fact that it's not the person who ends the game first who actually wins though? From what I understand the star collection is the method used to determine the when the game ends however it's a different track (forget the name, is it popularity?) that determines the winner.

So perhaps the methods used to collect stars are not the same as the methods used to gain on this other track?
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NowOrNever88 wrote:
jameystegmaier wrote:
Mark: I understand those fears, and I'm responsible for them. That's why we've had Scythe blind playtested over 1000 times at this point (multi-player and solo)--I want the first printing to be a perfect version.


I love that you guys had over 1000 playtests and think thats awesome for a game. But I am a bit curious - if there have been over 1000 playtests, why are there not more reviews or session reports by this point? I see two reviews here on BGG, and I see no session reports at all. Did you have all your playtesters sign agreements saying they wouldnt talk about it at all? It makes me a little cautious around extremely controlled playtests like that. There's also the fact there's only 70 or so ratings still at this point.

Then again, I have no idea how these things work, so I may just be misunderstanding something fundamental. Its just that I'd've liked more information/updates aside from a small dozen or so overviews personally.


Generally there are NDA's when playtesting, so testers can't go and do public session reports,

I've tested some games and know others that have tested games, and we could go talking about them.
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venrondua wrote:
reddish22 wrote:
The Iced One wrote:
Quote:
The fact that a very similar game end trigger is used in every one of his games is worrying to me. (Sorry Jamey, still love ya).

I suppose you could then call that Stegmaiers trademark mechanism, don't all designers have something like that? Faidutti's role selection, Mac Gerdt's rondel, Felds point salad etc.
I personally love games that don't have a fixed number of rounds, makes it much more tense. If you know the game only lasts 8 rounds and you're already way behind in points in round 6 you know you're probably going to lose, but with a variable end condition you can always hope to postpone the endgame in the hopes of being able to catch up.


The problem you highlight for fixed-number of round games, (falling behind and knowing you'll lose early) is equally true of "Race" games. (I'm going to continue addressing "Race" games because that's what I was talking about in the quote - not any different variable endgame mechanism). In fact, I've even found it to be more true of "Race" games where the end game occurs when a player has scored a number of points.

I could go on for that at length at why - but that would derail the thread a little too much. Just wanted to point out that the problem you cite as being unique to fixed number of round games applies to both types (and especially to "Race" games).


How do you feel about the fact that it's not the person who ends the game first who actually wins though? From what I understand the star collection is the method used to determine the when the game ends however it's a different track (forget the name, is it popularity?) that determines the winner.

So perhaps the methods used to collect stars are not the same as the methods used to gain on this other track?


I think popularity and stars are both a factor to determine the winner. But to answer your question directly - I think that is a much better system than Euphoria where the most stars wins.
 
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