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Subject: Are goods and other tokens limited by game component supply? rss

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dave bcs
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I understand that disks and cubes are limited by the available supply, but what about goods, gold, navigation tokens, and industry tokens?

In one game I played recently navigation tokens were being saved up such that the game supply was going to run out. When the navigation tokens (or goods tokens for that matter) are all taken, does that mean that players cannot acquire any more?
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Olivier REIX
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I would say they are unlimited, because I do not see a reason why they would be.
I don't see that happening with any other token than Navigation, by the way.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Looking at the answer on black cubes, I have the feeling that they are indeed limited.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Good question.

I've looked at the counter mix in some detail and conclude that the number of supplied tokens is a bit weird to start with. In total the players can never own more than 40 gold (because gold has to be stored in banks, and excess gold is immediately converted into VP), yet the game comes with either 45 or 56 coins depending on the edition. No more than 11 industry tokens can ever be handed out to the players, but the game comes with 13. If I made no errors in counting there are 19 spaces where two food each are to be had, making for a grand total of 38 food, but the game comes with a measly 14 counters. Cloth is the other way around: 14 spaces, 20 counters. And this isn't even taking industry counters into effect.

Now players will be strongly limited by their capacity to store goods: it is for example simply not possible to have 38 food stored up because the discs removed must have required food to be placed in the first place. In other words, for food the situation is that if you store it, you are strongy inclined to use it later on thus recycling the counters, because other goods offer far more bang for the buck. With cloth it's more likely that it will be combined with industry tokens as this creates the equivalent of a money press... or perhaps more precisely, cloth is the most efficient way of storing money. (And once you use cloth like this, you reduce your storage capacity, thus freeing up tokens in the main supply.)

Navigation tokens are special because they don't take up space to be stored: they get moved to the player's stock. They could be considered to be limited in number, thus promoting hoarding. There is a balance between amount of players and number of tokens needed to progress; I'm under the impression that in a single turn you want to move ahead at least two Ages on the ship track in order to cause significant VP damage. That seems doable with what appears to be reasonably obtainable. But in the games with high player counts the person going last in turn order would be screwed through no fault of his own; and then there are a sizable number of cards which give out navigation tokens as a reward. Given that it would seem a bit weird to make the tokens a limited resource then.

So my answer has to be, without consulting The Man for the time being (which has to happen yet again, I'm afraid, but I will do so once I have a few more questions to send off):

— gold and industry: certainly not meant to be limited;
— normal resources: likely not meant to be limited, use a suitable replacement (those surplus gold coins for example) when the supply runs out;
— navigation tokens: might or might not be limited.
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Seth Jaffee
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cymric wrote:
Good question.

I've looked at the counter mix in some detail and conclude that the number of supplied tokens is a bit weird to start with. In total the players can never own more than 40 gold (because gold has to be stored in banks, and excess gold is immediately converted into VP), yet the game comes with either 45 or 56 coins depending on the edition. No more than 11 industry tokens can ever be handed out to the players, but the game comes with 13. If I made no errors in counting there are 19 spaces where two food each are to be had, making for a grand total of 38 food, but the game comes with a measly 14 counters. Cloth is the other way around: 14 spaces, 20 counters. And this isn't even taking industry counters into effect.

Now players will be strongly limited by their capacity to store goods: it is for example simply not possible to have 38 food stored up because the discs removed must have required food to be placed in the first place. In other words, for food the situation is that if you store it, you are strongy inclined to use it later on thus recycling the counters, because other goods offer far more bang for the buck. With cloth it's more likely that it will be combined with industry tokens as this creates the equivalent of a money press... or perhaps more precisely, cloth is the most efficient way of storing money. (And once you use cloth like this, you reduce your storage capacity, thus freeing up tokens in the main supply.)

Navigation tokens are special because they don't take up space to be stored: they get moved to the player's stock. They could be considered to be limited in number, thus promoting hoarding. There is a balance between amount of players and number of tokens needed to progress; I'm under the impression that in a single turn you want to move ahead at least two Ages on the ship track in order to cause significant VP damage. That seems doable with what appears to be reasonably obtainable. But in the games with high player counts the person going last in turn order would be screwed through no fault of his own; and then there are a sizable number of cards which give out navigation tokens as a reward. Given that it would seem a bit weird to make the tokens a limited resource then.

So my answer has to be, without consulting The Man for the time being (which has to happen yet again, I'm afraid, but I will do so once I have a few more questions to send off):

— gold and industry: certainly not meant to be limited;
— normal resources: likely not meant to be limited, use a suitable replacement (those surplus gold coins for example) when the supply runs out;
— navigation tokens: might or might not be limited.

The more I read about this game, the less inclined I feel to play it again
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Well, coming from Martin Wallace, my expectations regarding published rules are not that high.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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sedjtroll wrote:
The more I read about this game, the less inclined I feel to play it again

Don't be so cynical meeple. We're in the home stretch, really. The game is conceptually rather simple, so there truly isn't much more to ask about in the first place.
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Seth Jaffee
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cymric wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
The more I read about this game, the less inclined I feel to play it again

Don't be so cynical meeple. We're in the home stretch, really. The game is conceptually rather simple, so there truly isn't much more to ask about in the first place.

I was mostly referring to the comments about unfair turn order stuff, and the game being all about dumping cities in ages 6 and 7.

The fiddliness of rules, difficulty knowing if we're playing right, and poor graphic design making it harder to learn and teach on top of that is a bit if a turn off.

Finally, while the turns do seem crisp and quick, the game seems to take a really long time, which means it won't get played often.

I'll hopefully play it again tonight, so we'll see.
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Christopher Dearlove
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If you are counting counters and spaces on the board, don't forget the effect of industry. So having more cloth than cloth spaces, given that cloth is an obvious candidate for use of industry, is expected.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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sedjtroll wrote:
I was mostly referring to the comments about unfair turn order stuff, and the game being all about dumping cities in ages 6 and 7.

This being a Wallace game I'm going to withhold comment on that until I've let the game tell me what it wants to be. In my opinion there have been too many examples where people condemned a Wallace title because they wanted to play a certain way and were disappointed to learn that the game broke down because of it; while in fact the game was eminently playable if players didn't push so hard in that direction.

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The fiddliness of rules,

They aren't. They really aren't, and if but one person has actually seen and experienced the playing rythm then the rulebook is really reduced to the status of reference work. I can guarantee you that had the rules been written based on the way I was taught at Spiel (two similar games in one) that there would have been much gnashing of teeth in that we were faced with another obtuse disaster of Brass-like proportions. (Which I actually read the other day, having bought it at long last, and apart from there being a few details which could be easily overlooked while playing I really don't understand the ruckus about this text. Perhaps it was my sitting down in a comfy couch with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit that did the trick.)

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... difficulty knowing if we're playing right...

Which is why we're talking in these threads, and those will soon cease. This isn't Myth.

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and poor graphic design making it harder to learn and teach on top of that is a bit if a turn off.

The only genuinely poor graphic design bit is the depiction of that black square thingie, and that has now been cleared up in full. You make it sound as if this breaks the game, more or less.

Quote:
Finally, while the turns do seem crisp and quick, the game seems to take a really long time, which means it won't get played often.

Well, from where I'm sitting you're really making an effort to find excuses to not spend anymore time with this design. Why continue holding off the inevitable then? Sell off the box while people are still interested in it, and move on to something which meets your exacting specifications.



Dearlove wrote:
If you are counting counters and spaces on the board, don't forget the effect of industry. So having more cloth than cloth spaces, given that cloth is an obvious candidate for use of industry, is expected.

Yes, I noted that; not in these words, but the gist was definitely there. Hence me concluding that resoruce counters seemed to have been provided based on expected usage pattern rather than being an intentional limitation (although the two are not mutually exclusive). With the exception of navigation tokens, of course.
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Seth Jaffee
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cymric wrote:
Quote:
The fiddliness of rules,

They aren't. They really aren't...

Perhaps I should have said "the fiddliness of the rulebook" and not "the rules?"

Quote:
Quote:
and poor graphic design making it harder to learn and teach on top of that is a bit if a turn off.

The only genuinely poor graphic design bit is the depiction of that black square thingie, and that has now been cleared up in full. You make it sound as if this breaks the game, more or less.

The Action Cube iconography makes it difficult to learn the game without a teacher, but when it comes to actual game play it's the least problematic of the graphic design choices.

So far in my experience, players have frequently had trouble telling at a glance which lines delineate the Ages and which just separate the Merchant ship box from the War ship box. That's a pretty big difference and it would help greatly if those boarders were more noticeable.

The rulebook devotes more pages than necessary trying to explain the "super complicated" resolution of the Place Ship action, but they didn't bother to put an image/icon of a cube being placed in a cube space on the Merchant boxes and an image of a disc being placed on a disc space on the War ship boxes.

A player tonight got tripped up when the ships reached the bottom of the board, and the War ship boxes were left of the Merchant ship boxes rather than right. It wouldn't have hurt to give the War ship boxes a red tinted background or something.

The indicator which says how many points you get and how many points people lose when a new age is opened could easily have had a "-0" penalty hex between the big scoring hex and the small penalty hexes, so it's actually halfway clear which areas get which penalties. A player tonight added that it wouldn't hurt to have some indicator on or by the "-2" penalty hex to remind you that the ships are removed after that penalty is applied.

There should absolutely be lines on the board separating the areas, so it's not a pain in the butt to determine which cities are in the area you're interested in, which you count when checking Navigation cost to open the next area, and when scoring an area - both important and frequently checked.

Off the top of my head, that's all the issues I can think of.

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Finally, while the turns do seem crisp and quick, the game seems to take a really long time, which means it won't get played often.

Well, from where I'm sitting you're really making an effort to find excuses to not spend anymore time with this design. Why continue holding off the inevitable then? Sell off the box while people are still interested in it, and move on to something which meets your exacting specifications.

Tonight a 3 player game took 3 full hours. 2 of the players had never played before, and I'd only played about 2/3 of a game the other night, but as one player said, we didn't feel like we were playing particularly slowly most of the time - it's just a long game.

Perhaps contributing to that is the fact that opening a new Era (Sailing Ship/Steam Ship) hurts (especially for early turn order players) because other players get more action cubes than you do, and opening new Areas often feels like you're paying to allow other players to benefit - at least with the ship ages you get points.

As for making excuses... unfortunately I haven't had to try very hard or make much effort at all. I find the gameplay very fun in the early game, but I find the design irritatingly lacking. Perhaps I should indeed sell it off while it's still kind of hot (IS it hot?), but it's a shame - I've invested 6+ hours into trying to learn and play this game on top of the 45 euros or whatever I spent on it, and I'd prefer it not to be a let down when the endgame comes around and early turn order players just get immensely shafted - without having any discernible advantage in some other part of the game. If I remember correctly, the later turn order players even start with a Food resource over early turn order players!

Maybe if the new Era began (new cards come out, start using new Era's cube income) after the end of a round when the Era was opened, rather than immediately, so player 1 got first crack at the new cards and didn't get screwed out of actions then that would be better.
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Steve Carey
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Seth, it sounds like you're overlooking some strategy timing opportunities - the player advancing ships or areas certainly has some measure of control and advantage.

For example, when advancing ships from Galley to Sailing (or Sailing to Steamship), the era change happens immediately (including scrubbing any cards left and replacing them with 12 new ones). Just have a cube remaining and you get first choice of the new available cards.

Sure, all players from then on will get an extra black cube when an era advances, but having the first choice of cards can be very important.

The player advancing ships also gets VP's, while everyone will lose -1 VP or -2 VP depending how obsolete their ships are. You can remove or upgrade your ships before triggering the age change.

When advancing an area, you likewise get first choice where to place your merchants or warships. You can place ships to score in an area before advancing (to increase your VP's and/or to get a needed Good) if you wish. These options likewise can be very important.

As far as the 3rd/4th player starting with a Food, that's fair compensation for turn order. If you're 1st/2nd to begin the game and want a warship, use a Ram card to place one or put a merchant down for 2 Food and go from there.

Again, to start play the 1st/2nd players will have their choice over obtaining a card and ship placements before the 3rd/4th players get their turn.

There's nothing wrong with not liking a game, but I've found Ships not nearly as lopsided as you're perceiving it to be. The design is full of decisions, management, balance, and tension. So far, I've found it to be an excellent game in the classic Wallace tradition.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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While I agree with a few quibbles (lack of a '0' hex, for example), I also believe that many gripes stem from the fact that the game is played on a circular track, which is an unusual topography for many. I recently explained Backgammon to a retired couple, and one of them had serious issues with both stones moving in opposite directions, and with the direction of movement changing as you moved from one player's side to the other. Therefore I don't think adding more colour and lines to boxes would improve matters much: what is called for instead is a completely different layout, with the ship Ages being stacked from top to bottom so that the relative playing direction never changes. (Look at the Winsome edition of Locomotive Werks here, for example.) But the orientation of such a very long and thin stack causes issues with the map-part... unless you arrange that in a long strip too. I'm sure that people would complain about the game feeling too much like filling out a spreadsheet then.

sedjtroll wrote:
Perhaps contributing to that is the fact [...] least with the ship ages you get points.

You exercise control over timing and available resources. This is an incredibly important advantage to use. Steve already explained this in greater detail.
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Seth Jaffee
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cymric wrote:
While I agree with a few quibbles (lack of a '0' hex, for example), I also believe that many gripes stem from the fact that the game is played on a circular track...

Exactly one of my comments related to the circular nature of the track, and that was someone else's complaint, not mine.

That the ship age track is a circular track around the board is fine. The comments were regarding the important information not being delineated well.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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cymric wrote:
— gold and industry: certainly not meant to be limited;
— normal resources: likely not meant to be limited, use a suitable replacement (those surplus gold coins for example) when the supply runs out;
— navigation tokens: might or might not be limited.

Word from The Man:

All tokens are meant to be LIMITING, with the following extra elaborations (italics are mine):
— you can still score VPs for gold returned that cannot be stored even if there is not enough in the stock;
— industry counters are available in precisely the right quantity (must've overlooked two opportunities then);
— it is considered unlikely to run out of navigation tokens (but what this means for extremal strategies is unclear);
— and you can actually run out of resource counters (meaning that there is no compensation of any kind).

I actually kind-of-like the prospect of having limited resources, as it means milking Map Age 7 for all it's worth might become a tad problematic. Limited navigation tokens on the other hand: owie.

Game on!
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Thank you very much for the answers.
What about Oil when black cubes ran out?
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Not asked, but by analogy with gold I'd say that you still get the free action. After all the oil resource is already in your posession, and the rules stipulate that the exchanged-for item must be spent immediately. (This view is compatible with the previous discussion on gold, IIRC.)

I strongy suspect the same holds for metal and navigation tokens.

These would still be edge cases, though; unless play in general gravitates to intentional depletion. But I haven't played enough to be able to say whether that is a worthwhile strategy.
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dave bcs
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Thanks for the clarifications.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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That makes sense. Thanks for the information.
Now we need a proper FAQ!
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Nikolas Co
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cymric wrote:
— industry counters are available in precisely the right quantity (must've overlooked two opportunities then)
I'm very interested in where the two remaining Industry Counters come from. I just counted and came up with 11x: 3x in City Spaces in Area 4, 2x on Sailing Cards (1x on each), and 6x on Steamship Cards (3x on each). I also haven't seen a way to reuse Cards or City Spaces, so I'm baffled.

I also noticed that the Steamship 'Industry' Cards depicted in the rulebook have 2x Industry tokens, while the actual cards have 3x. (The Sailing version of 'Industry' is consistent).
 
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Nikolas Co
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NikolasCo wrote:
cymric wrote:
— industry counters are available in precisely the right quantity (must've overlooked two opportunities then)
I'm very interested in where the two remaining Industry Counters come from. I just counted and came up with 11x: 3x in City Spaces in Area 4, 2x on Sailing Cards (1x on each), and 6x on Steamship Cards (3x on each). I also haven't seen a way to reuse Cards or City Spaces, so I'm baffled.

I also noticed that the Steamship 'Industry' Cards depicted in the rulebook have 2x Industry tokens, while the actual cards have 3x. (The Sailing version of 'Industry' is consistent).
I asked Martin and his answer was
Quote:
Not sure, but at least you have more than you need
 
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