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

Subject: First impression — Tournament game rss

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neko flying
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This is a 50% session report and 50% review based on the session report itself.

Knowing the computer game well and having studied the rules, and having to teach first timers, I was in the same situation as the poster of this review: First impression — Beginner game I chose instead to go ahead and try the Tournament rules on the first go, and it worked pretty nicely.

Featuring

1 neko as the Leggite.

2 Micha as the Gollumer.

3 Marios as the Bonzoid.

4 Sascha as the Spheroid.

_______________________________________


I did recommend my opponents - almost forced them - to get a river plot as their first one, and commented on what everyone took as their second plot and what it probably meant strategically. From then on everyone was pretty much on his own - except that I reminded them to use their Package from Home World when they needed and were able to.

Micha The Gollumer started pretty well economically, but did not think of using his money advantage to secure a plot auction. While standing in the dreaded first place in the Ranking track he got the dreaded Pest Attack, losing his food production for a round. By that point all food had been sold out from the store, neko the Leggite and Marios the Bonzoid gracefully offered to sell food to poor Micha for 15-20$ a piece. They were politely told off. This kicked the Gollumer to second place and then, after two rounds, Radiation made one of his MULEs run away — he was pretty much out of the game. (These events are in the original computer game and they can be loads of fun; but if you dislike very random events that can make or end your game, there is a variant to make those events more predictable or have them target every player instead than singling out just one!)

From then on it was a close race mostly between the neko the Leggite and Sascha the Spheroid, who both had a Smithore strategy, since the Crystite prices were relatively low throught the game - although no Pirate ship was ever sighted.

Leggite: 414 (pure Smithore strategy)
Spheroid: 392 (mixed Smithore strategy)
Bonzoid: 345 (mixed Crystite strategy)
Gollumer: 325 (mixed Crystite strategy)

I won because I knew the game better and my opponents let me build a square of (mostly high) mountains on my board, but, nevertheless, Spheroid did a great job.

My friends enjoyed the game. Everything flowed smoothly and reasonably fast, although the sequence and timing of the Usage, Spoilage, Production, Pricing and Market events proved just a little bit confusing during the first couple of Market phases, when the players had to plan for their following turn.

Micha the Gollumer was a very elegant loser, placing the blame for losing the game on "his bad choices", but I believe he was mostly very unlucky with the Events.

I am looking forward to try this game again this week with another group of players. I currently rate this game 8/10 (very good) because I am really looking forward to play again. It might go down with multiple replays, but it will certainly stay over 7/10 (good).


EDIT (2015, December 8): After another four or five games, instead of going down, my rating has gone up to 9/10. Solid game, multiple paths to victory, good replay value thanks to the event cards that make all games a little bit different. And I haven't got 'round to trying many variants yet.
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Heikki Harju
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I'd say that there are two main ways of dealing with the Production Card effects that target only one player (Radiation! and Pest Attack!):

1) Take them as part of the fun . To some extent, Personal Events act as a counterbalance. That is, the person getting bad luck in Production Cards is probably going to be receiving Lucky Events from other players.

2) Use the "More Predictability" variant, where Radiation! and Pest Attack! never target only one Player (using only their Turn 1 effects throughout the game).

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Sebastian Zarzycki
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This is an interesting result. I remember that in the original game, AI players always were going for pure Smithore strategy and usually, doing well with it, counting on pure amount of what they could produce. Crystite can win sometimes, but it's random. Food and Energy were only relevant, if there was a fire in store, but even then, only for a round or two. How does the board game tackle this? IIRC, the max storage limit is 12, so, in theory that should counter the Smithore strategy?
 
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Heikki Harju
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rattkin wrote:
This is an interesting result. I remember that in the original game, AI players always were going for pure Smithore strategy and usually, doing well with it, counting on pure amount of what they could produce. Crystite can win sometimes, but it's random. Food and Energy were only relevant, if there was a fire in store, but even then, only for a round or two. How does the board game tackle this? IIRC, the max storage limit is 12, so, in theory that should counter the Smithore strategy?

I don't want to comment strategies (so as not to spoil the fun of discovery), but Food and Energy pricing work a bit differently in the Board Game, making them more attractive from time to time for those who pay attention to what's happening. Others are welcome to comment strategies too, of course .
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Sounds promising, thanks :)
 
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neko flying
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Food and Energy both skyrocketed to maximum price early on in this game and stayed there for most of the game. Nevertheless, no-one was able to capitalise on them really. Everyone was trying to autonomously produce the energy and food they needed, and occasionally it happened that someone was starving a little bit or was low on energy.

I was able to buy a few units of energy here and there in anticipation of negative events, and my opponents were kind enough to sell their stuff to me, although I wasn't returning the favour when they needed it. Given that the result was very close, probably the player with the mixed smithore strategy should have been able to win, had he been a little bit nastier.

So I would not take this one session as indication that pure-Smithore trumps other strategies.
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neko flying
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harmandil wrote:

2) Use the "More Predictability" variant, where Radiation! and Pest Attack! never target only one Player (using only their Turn 1 effects throughout the game).


Good point. I will edit my post to reflect this :)
 
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Matt Smith
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rattkin wrote:
This is an interesting result. I remember that in the original game, AI players always were going for pure Smithore strategy and usually, doing well with it, counting on pure amount of what they could produce. Crystite can win sometimes, but it's random. Food and Energy were only relevant, if there was a fire in store, but even then, only for a round or two. How does the board game tackle this? IIRC, the max storage limit is 12, so, in theory that should counter the Smithore strategy?

When my friend and I played the computer game (C64) against two computer opponents, we always went with a heavy Crystite strategy, and always smoked the computer players. One of them went Smithore, while the other was mixed. The only real gamble with Crystite was the Pirate Ship, so it was a matter of pushing your luck and deciding when to sell. Smithore was never a viable strategy for us, because the one computer player always went heavy into Smithore, keeping the price down.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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The Crystite price was pretty crazy though, and not always you could captialize before the pirates. Also, you could never produce that much Crystite. Smithore on the other hand was easy to produce, never used, never spoiled, and thus even if the price was 2 or 3 times lower, the sheer amount of Smithore was usually giving you the first place. Some random events or choking them with energy denial could work.
 
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Scott Ferrier
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I actually won my first game of this with a food strategy, everyone else wanted to mine and let me go food krazy.
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neko flying
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fsnam wrote:
I actually won my first game of this with a food strategy, everyone else wanted to mine and let me go food krazy.


Tells us more.
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Scott Ferrier
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flying_neko wrote:
fsnam wrote:
I actually won my first game of this with a food strategy, everyone else wanted to mine and let me go food krazy.


Tells us more.


It was a 4P and the other players had gone into Smithore and Crysite with some minor energy and minor food. They where concentrating on an economy of scale and had bought out the store by the end of the middle of the game so I sold 2 food for $10 each. Over half of them where running low on food but were greedy and set up more mines and didn't convert to food. I started converting as much as I could into food and sold enough at full price and they bought them all and let me be the main food provider for the colony so 3 turns of selling all my food at full price + I suspect they might break down next time and convert their plots into food. The Crysite minor would probably had won but he hung on to his ore too long and the pirates took it all and devastated him but he knew the risks. I didn't teach the game as the owner of the game was an old MULE enthusiast but I did tell them getting a river plot was important but they felt energy was more import for that plot. Cha ching!
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neko flying
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UPDATE! After another four or five games, instead of going down, my rating has gone up to 9/10. Solid game, multiple paths to victory, good replay value thanks to the event cards that make all games a little bit different. And I haven't got 'round to trying many variants yet.
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Lane Taylor
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There are only two games on my radar for purchase, and this is one of them! (The other is Mega-Civilization).

Can't wait.
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