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Mega Civilization» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simplified Advances Purchase for a faster game rss

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Eric Hupin
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Hudson
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Hello,
We have tried an alternative purchase system to speed up the game.
Sorry to not even try the vanilla game as it is, but we did have some experience with the Civ Project, which we played on a handcrafted version.

Anyway, the variant goes like this:
We simply got rid of the rebates complexity.
Instead, the money from commodities/ressources was doubled.
To make sure nobody snatched a big mean card without us seeing it coming, there were simple prerequisites: 2 small (less than 100) cards before buying 1 intermediate one (between 100 and 200), and 2 intermediate cards or 1 intermediate and 4 small ones before a big one (greater than 200).

Example 1: Agriculture effectively costs 60 instead of 120. However, one would need Pottery and Cloth Making beforehand (or any combination of "Orange" advances).

Example 2. Engineering effectively costs 80 instead of 160, and it requires 1 small "orange" and 1 small "green" or 2 small orange cards or 2 small green ones.

This makes things cheaper overall and enables players to purchase more bigger cards than they would have in a vanilla game. However, we did not become omnipotent, resisting every calamity. What happened was I got Agriculture, but not Pottery. We all stalled at least once on the AST. The experienced players because they got reduced below 3 cities by other experienced players, the newbies because they failed to prepare well their purchases.

I did not notice any big imbalance, but the variant was only played once (next game is planned at Xmas). But purchasing was much much much easier. And the game flowed faster.

Comments are most welcome.

Éric
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John Bradshaw
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A faster game? Mega Civ? SACRILEGE!!!

Seriously, enjoy the game, however you choose to play it.
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alan beaumont
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MoiMoiMoi wrote:
We have tried an alternative purchase system to speed up the game...

We simply got rid of the rebates complexity...

To make sure nobody snatched a big mean card without us seeing it coming, there were simple prerequisites: 2 small (less than 100) cards before buying 1 intermediate one (between 100 and 200), and 2 intermediate cards or 1 intermediate and 4 small ones before a big one (greater than 200)
....This makes things cheaper overall and enables players to purchase more bigger cards than they would have in a vanilla game...We all stalled at least once on the AST. The experienced players because they got reduced below 3 cities by other experienced players, the newbies because they failed to prepare well their purchases.

I did not notice any big imbalance...purchasing was much much much easier. And the game flowed faster.

Comments are most welcome.
You're not playing the game and certainly not rewarding skilful play. I'm not really certain why because the variant then adds rules to compensate.
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Eric Hupin
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misteralan wrote:
MoiMoiMoi wrote:
We have tried an alternative purchase system to speed up the game...

We simply got rid of the rebates complexity...

[...]

I did not notice any big imbalance...purchasing was much much much easier. And the game flowed faster.

Comments are most welcome.
You're not playing the game and certainly not rewarding skilful play. I'm not really certain why because the variant then adds rules to compensate.
Hello MisterAlan,

The objective is to speed up the game because of a time constraint; we can "only" squeeze about 9-10 hours to play. Obviously, there is a cost in finesse, but the goal is to be able to get as close as possible to a finished game within a day without disturbing the essence of the play.

With the CivProject game, we resorted to the Excel spreadsheet to calculate the rebates. This was the worst part of an otherwise excellent game, and sometimes lead to errors. Thus we are investigating ways to speed up the game without removing the fun. We have tried the "starting with mysticism" option, but the impact was muted at best. Other avenues to be explored are a starting wilderness city, and/or a few advances at the beginning. But somehow, this option (half-cost, no rebates) which has no impact on the early turns, seems preferable. Since it was only tried once, the jury is still out. Any suggestions or shared experiences are most welcome.

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alan beaumont
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Shorter = faster game
MoiMoiMoi wrote:
misteralan wrote:
MoiMoiMoi wrote:
We have tried an alternative purchase system to speed up the game...

We simply got rid of the rebates complexity...
[...]
I did not notice any big imbalance...purchasing was much much much easier. And the game flowed faster.

Comments are most welcome.
You're not playing the game and certainly not rewarding skilful play. I'm not really certain why because the variant then adds rules to compensate.
The objective is to speed up the game because of a time constraint; we can "only" squeeze about 9-10 hours to play. Obviously, there is a cost in finesse, but the goal is to be able to get as close as possible to a finished game within a day without disturbing the essence of the play.
I'm not sure I can help you there, because I'm not an owner having stopped at Advanced Civ because of the Mega Civ's Mega price and absurd player count possibilities.

As for myself I have played a 13 hour playtime (+ time for meal breaks) ACiv with 8 (one over theoretical max, but with the extended Western Map) but would have thought a 6 or less player game should be possible in 7 - 9 hours*.

I'd rather chop the endgame or specify a number of rounds than mess with the Civ Card purchasing, which is the core skill of the game.

*I know this looks optimistic, but a 7th player adds 6 trading/conflict relationships and the 8th another 7 so the game extends somewhat exponentially and consequently can be shrunk in the same manner!
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Eric Hupin
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We are usually 8-9 players, most - if not all - experienced (10+ games).
However, we generally stall at the three 100+ Civ Advances, and never get to the juicy 200+ cards. We have a 5 minute time limit for trades. Not sure where we lose much time. I would guess moves and purchases. Perhaps there should be clocks for these too... Or maybe we're just bad at this.
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alan beaumont
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Advances Purchase Variants
MoiMoiMoi wrote:
We are usually 8-9 players, most - if not all - experienced (10+ games).
However, we generally stall at the three 100+ Civ Advances, and never get to the juicy 200+ cards.
The time sounds reasonable, I'm assuming when possible players already move simultaneously where they don't interact.

I wonder if during trading there is a tendency for your players to ensure that sets never optimise. A possible explanation for that would be a lack of equally generous (to the recipient) offers for those very valuable final cards so that overall purchase power is reduced. In trade it is eminently sensible for neither player to get the best of a deal if it means both of them gain an advantage over the other 6/7 players.

I don't know about Mega-Civ but ACiv discounts were at times hard to calculate precisely, but if applied correctly following a sensible development path, those big cards weren't impossible to buy. I understand from other threads that there has been some price inflation in the new game, so perhaps you should instead simply inflate the discounts, or (and this is an idea that has popped into my head writing this) give everyone some kind of one-off (and not part of your hand) discount joker card to be used in the game so that each nation can get an economic nudge. If I were to design that I think I would have it usable only against a single card and possibly with a sliding scale so cheaper cards get a smaller discount. That would give your players the chance to get quicker early or more effective later development at a point in the game that suits them best.

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Eric Hupin
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Hello MisterAlan,

You are opening a door I had never seen with this discount joker which could be tailored to every nation and scalable with the price tag.

Regarding speed, yes we do move simultaneously whenever feasible and purchase simultaneously as well. The gentlmen's agreement is to clamour the purchase of aggressive cards such as metalworking, military or monotheism in a timely manner.

Using unit cost per victory point as a reference, I have done a few simulations and noticed that blindly purchasing 17-21 advances yields credits of about 20-25%. However, being extremely focussed on one colour brings the prices down to 50-60% of full cost (i.e. rebates of 40%-50%). This is not far from the 50% discount variant which was tried, but is only achieved by purchasing exactly one card at a time to fully benefit from the previous credits. Obviously, the real game generates a sub-optimal sequence. But I am guessing that good colour-focussed players would be able to reach a 30%-40% discount rate, thus paying on average two-thirds of the full price.

Unfortunately, setting a universal discount of 33% will bring fractions, which are not as simple as division by two and might not particularly speed things up. Another way is to subtract a scaled lump sum from every card (-25 for small, -50 for intermediate, -75 for big cards). This yields an average price of slightly more than two-thirds of full cost.

So many avenues, so few games...
We'll see what the group votes for.

Best regards,

Éric
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Jason Schmidt
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Has anyone tried this (or similar "purchase simplification") variant? Did it save much time? Would you do it again?

After having played Adv Civ and Mega Civ a number of times each I find the "math" part of the credits to be definitely the most tiresome. It also feels like the purchase phase takes a very long time because of said math.
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Becq
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If you haven't tried doing so yet, a printed spreadsheet with credits on it (perhaps such as this one (https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/126995/mega-civilization-...) can be helpful. Just give each player a copy of the spreadsheet and a highlighter. As you buy advances, highlight all the way across your purchase. Then in future rounds, you can read down columns to (fairly) quickly add up your credits. (Leave the credit markers in the box.)

To my mind, the credits add to the game, making the advances into something of a "soft" tech tree. That is, you aren't forced to buy along a certain path, but the credits provide a noticeable incentive to follow general paths. I wouldn't want to remove that aspect of the game, but feel free to try it out if you prefer.
 
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