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Subject: So... what did we do wrong? rss

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Itai Rosenbaum
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I got this game from my Secret Santa and was very excited to get it.
After reading the rules last night, we brought it to the table this evening for a 3 player game.

To say that the experience was disheartening is to put it mildly.

Basically, from around the middle of the second decade - we hit a deadlock. I was in the lead with around 20 points, and the other two with about 6 or 7. One of the other players realized that by making installations - he would basically be giving away points to the third player. So he kept making Proposals, and vice versa. I had pretty much run out of things to do by myself (I had focused on Recycling and Cold Fusion, while the other two were fighting over Bio, Forestation and Solar). The decade rolled around, and now it was me who would be giving away points to other players. I was faced with two option - keep making Proposals, which would cause us to lose at the beginning of the 4th decade (because no one would build anything). Or make installations, and let other people build and grab the points. I opted for the latter, and squandered my lead - going to last place.

For the fourth and fifth decades, we were basically deadlocked. No one wanted to install anything, as other people would do the building and grab the points. So basically - everyone just kept making Proposals. We were just skirting by on the pollution level (After the 5th and final Supply phase, we were at 470 ppm). During the last 2 rounds of the final decade, there were no more free spaces for proposals. I was first player, so basically the next two rounds went - I installed, 2nd player builds, 3rd player Proposes in the now-empty space. Repeat. Game over.

I went over the rules again, and I really don't see that we made any glaring errors (we did miss two rules, we sold to market from controlled regions, and we forgot to pay the CEP for building a fossil fuel plant in a controlled region - neither of these mistakes however, would've made much of an impact on the deadlock).

I really want to like this game, it's been on my wishlist for a long time and I heard a lot of good things about it. Mr. Lacerda's game are among my favorite (Gallerist wins my "Best of 2015" game). But from our game today, I really don't see what we could have done differently without one player handing the game to someone else or simply tanking the game entirely and forcing a loss.

So please, tell me what I missed? What did we do wrong?
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Eric Lee
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You do have to minimally work together to prevent the CO2 level from rising, which is a core part of the game. Just because you allow somebody to make an installation doesn't mean that you are handing them the game, because you can build off of those installations yourself later and construct them if you have the required resources. Not to mention working the expertise tracks. Also, vying for control of continents is important (which means constructing a lot of power plants) because you then end up with all of those CEPs from that continent. If you managed to drive up the market value + controlled more continents than others, you have a more likely chance of winning.

I've never had a game come to a standstill. But I suppose we all knew going into it that we 1) had to work together to some minimal extent just to not kill the earth, and 2) didn't assume that allowing others to install and construct did not mean that it was a zero-sum situation.

I'd definitely recommend giving it another go. It still sits at #1 in my own personal rankings, and everybody I've taught it to has loved it. Sorry your first play wasn't what you expected. The design is definitely, definitely worth trying again
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IronSyndicate wrote:

So please, tell me what I missed? What did we do wrong?


I guess nothing in particular besides not playing together. This game is not coop, but it does requires players to realize that in order to advance their own agenda, they need to first survive together.

Do play the game again but before-hand explicitly say to all the players that:

1. you guys must keep the CO2 levels as low as possible as early as possible.

2. the best way to take the lead during the game is on the expertise tracks which get huge boosts when you go to summits and construct plants. You can also get money instead of victory points which always makes a huge difference for me (that's how I manage to beat my wife at this game when she beats me at everything else!!)

3. Region control/CEP in your hands can change everything at the end of the game if you haven't lost due to CO2 levels...
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Bryan Thunkd
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IronSyndicate wrote:
During the last 2 rounds of the final decade, there were no more free spaces for proposals. I was first player, so basically the next two rounds went - I installed, 2nd player builds, 3rd player Proposes in the now-empty space. Repeat. Game over.
I got stuck in this exact same loop except I ended up having to propose new plants. There was no reason for the other two players to do anything else and it kept me from ever building a plant and getting one of the scoring cards.

I ended up trading the game away after that experience.
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Dave Eisen
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The thing you did wrong was overvalue the Power Plant Construction action relative to the also-good Install Project action. Yes, construction does give VP and other ancillary benefits. But it's expensive. It also gives the player who installed the project a coin and a free move of the scientist to a summit.
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Manuel Berger
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Hi all,
I'm one of the players in Itai's game too.
I still have the feeling that we did something wrong.
Yes, we did not work together at all... But that was not an issue.... There was very little chance of loosing the game.

We ended up having almost all of the CEPs (specifically I had 18! They scored me 36 points)

On the first decade we only built 2 green factories.
On the second decade we all had enough resources (both money and tech) to build 2 factories (also expertise enough to build 2 different factories. Yet, we all shared both expertises with the other players)
Installing a factory was not really necessary, since project proposals + cards gave us lots of money and tech at the start of the game.... It seemed like if I were to start installing factories, it would take 4 factories built by other players before I could build one myself....

The first place had around 120 points at game end.
Is this a normal scoring?

I really believe that we had some small, yet very important rules wrong....
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Manu
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falenheld wrote:
There was very little chance of loosing the game.

The first place had around 120 points at game end.
Is this a normal scoring?

I really believe that we had some small, yet very important rules wrong....



1. Very little chance of losing the game: did you add bad power plants at the end of each round? The CO2 level should go up dramatically at the end of round 1 and 2...

2. 120 points is ok at game end.

3. dding the polluting plants at the end of each round brings you closer to failure so maybe that was what it was.
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Manuel Berger
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M7N6L wrote:
falenheld wrote:
There was very little chance of loosing the game.

The first place had around 120 points at game end.
Is this a normal scoring?

I really believe that we had some small, yet very important rules wrong....



1. Very little chance of losing the game: did you add bad power plants at the end of each round? The CO2 level should go up dramatically at the end of round 1 and 2...

2. 120 points is ok at game end.

3. dding the polluting plants at the end of each round brings you closer to failure so maybe that was what it was.


Well... We added polluting plants to regions which do not meet their power requirements... We started at 180 ppm... At the start of the second decade, it jumped to around 300.... It did feel like we'll lose fast after then... But building just a few power plants took care of that.
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John Bradshaw
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Have you read the designer's strategy article on here?

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/880800/one-sentence-ran...

I don't know if it answers your concerns but he seems to indicate that installation is not the only way, nor necessarily the best way, to earn points. Personally I've only played twice, and some time ago, so I can't personally comment on the lock your game got into, but I hope the points made by the designer can help you enjoy the game better.
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MC Crispy
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I really like this game, but I won't play it with 3 players because there are some three-step cycles in the game that make the game fell wonky to me and which exacerbate the issue that the OP describes. I "fixed" the OP's issue by only playing four-player (I don't play two-player games) and shrugging off the tyranny of the belief that the game is all about being the person that builds power plants - it isn't.
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Bryan Thunkd
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mccrispy wrote:
I really like this game, but I won't play it with 3 players because there are some three-step cycles in the game that make the game fell wonky to me and which exacerbate the issue that the OP describes. I "fixed" the OP's issue by only playing four-player (I don't play two-player games) and shrugging off the tyranny of the belief that the game is all about being the person that builds power plants - it isn't.
That would eliminate the three-step cycle problem, but the game is a little long with four.
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Christopher Hill
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I have played this game quite a bit three player. Sometimes there is a stall where players don't want to install projects because the next player will be set up to construct, but we don't usually worry too much about it. The timing for construction seems to cycle throughout the game.

One thing to be aware of is what other players have available with regard to expertise, resources and money. Early in a game a player may not have the expertise to construct a given clean plant. Or, they may lack the resources or money to do so. Take advantage of these situations and realize that the points will fluctuate throughout the game. So yeah, a player might score some points now for constructing, but he is not going to be able to do that every turn.

From mid-game on the income phase becomes critical in deciding how to allocate between money and victory points. Being the leader or second place in expertise will obviously help in this regard. Gaining the edge in expertise is greatly dependent on how you decide to use your scientists. For example, the benefits of the summits can be powerful especially if you can set it up that only your scientists benefit from a given summit.

In our early plays of CO2, we experienced the same things outlined here, but over time we have learned that when one player gains an advantage in one aspect, another player can make gains somewhere else. Don't give up on CO2. One or two plays doesn't do this game justice. Take your time to dig in to it and I am sure CO2 will become a rewarding game play experience.
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Tom Pensyl
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I play with Christoper H. and agree with everything he said. We really enjoy this game a lot. We have lost due to exceeding the CO2 limit maybe once in over 15 games, so we don't worry too much about losing that way.

Not knowing enough about your particular game to say exactly what you did wrong, I can only offer a couple of general points for what ever it is worth.

I am wondering how the "build" player in the cycle you described had the resources to keep building. Usually when we play, if someone builds, they don't have enough money or white cubes to turn around and build on their next turn. Selling a CEP from a region you control would give you money you shouldn't have. That could throw things off.

Another consideration is that you have to get the expertise for a plant type before you can build it. If you go for early expertise in something no one else has, then you can install a project of your exclusive expertise and they can't build it.

Also I am wondering if you played towards getting the UN cards. I have found them to be key to winning the game. These give you the incentive to build different types of plants. So it would not help a player to keep building the same type of plant over and over.

Hope this helps. It's a good game. I hope you won't give up on it.

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Itai Rosenbaum
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Thanks for the replies, all. You have given me much food for thought, and I hope to be able to get the game to the table again and give it another chance. As I said, I really do want to like it

tompen wrote:
I am wondering how the "build" player in the cycle you described had the resources to keep building. Usually when we play, if someone builds, they don't have enough money or white cubes to turn around and build on their next turn. Selling a CEP from a region you control would give you money you shouldn't have. That could throw things off.


Since we were deadlocked, and no one was building - we were stockpiling resources. So 2, and possibly even 3 build actions weren't much of a problem for anyone.

Quote:
Another consideration is that you have to get the expertise for a plant type before you can build it. If you go for early expertise in something no one else has, then you can install a project of your exclusive expertise and they can't build it.


This was an issue in the first decade or two, but pretty quickly - each of us could pretty much build anything. Again, another byproduct of not actually building anything and diverting your actions elsewhere. By the end of the game, I was maxed out on 4 out of the 5 expertise tracks. Another player was maxed on 3 of them, and pretty high on the remaining ones. The third player didn't max anything out, but he having the expertise to build wasn't an issue.

Quote:
Also I am wondering if you played towards getting the UN cards. I have found them to be key to winning the game. These give you the incentive to build different types of plants. So it would not help a player to keep building the same type of plant over and over.


Not in the least. Not a single UN card was claimed.
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You may call me
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Seems to me a clear case of "group think" and not an actual issue with the game.

Once one of you was willing to bite the bullet and build and try a different strategy (like the UN goals) the game would have opened up.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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tompen wrote:
So it would not help a player to keep building the same type of plant over and over.
It did in my game. For the last two rounds, another player built the Forrest plant twice just to keep me from being able to, denying me a UN card and the win.
 
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Chris Berger
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Quote:
Again, another byproduct of not actually building anything and diverting your actions elsewhere. By the end of the game, I was maxed out on 4 out of the 5 expertise tracks. Another player was maxed on 3 of them, and pretty high on the remaining ones. The third player didn't max anything out, but he having the expertise to build wasn't an issue.


Just to check - you were only gaining 1 expertise per turn from scientists on projects, right? Because it seems odd to get that high on the track without building projects (which gives you 1 expertise per build). I haven't played much 3 player - I really like this game best with 4 - but even with the extra space open for proposals, something doesn't seem right if you were able to get large stockpiles of tech cubes and high expertise without installing or building.

Also, when you say, "diverting your actions elsewhere", if you weren't building and weren't installing, what were you spending your actions on? Once everyone had proposed 6 times, the only action left to take is installing a project... And having your own scientist on an installed project is kind of nice if someone else decides to pay you in order to build it.

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Ryan M
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Yeah, it sounds like maybe something was done wrong but it's impossible to say for sure. You really only get one single action per turn and some of those actions are limited to your expertise...and you only get a single expertise each turn as well. And that expertise has to be in the area the scientist was on. Honestly, I have limited experience with CO2, but in my games, scientists were key to doing well as it makes people think twice about the camping problen you describe. Because while they may get a bonus for installing or building or whatever, if you have scientists all over the place then you are benefitting by taking their money as well as increasing your expertise or getting more IN bonuses quicker.

Also, how were you stockpiling so many resources? You would get some from proposals, it those are one time only. Were you taking these every turn or round? In the few games I've played, resources have always been very tight.
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IronSyndicate wrote:
Thanks for the replies, all. You have given me much food for thought, and I hope to be able to get the game to the table again and give it another chance. As I said, I really do want to like it

tompen wrote:
I am wondering how the "build" player in the cycle you described had the resources to keep building. Usually when we play, if someone builds, they don't have enough money or white cubes to turn around and build on their next turn. Selling a CEP from a region you control would give you money you shouldn't have. That could throw things off.


Since we were deadlocked, and no one was building - we were stockpiling resources. So 2, and possibly even 3 build actions weren't much of a problem for anyone.

Quote:
Another consideration is that you have to get the expertise for a plant type before you can build it. If you go for early expertise in something no one else has, then you can install a project of your exclusive expertise and they can't build it.


This was an issue in the first decade or two, but pretty quickly - each of us could pretty much build anything. Again, another byproduct of not actually building anything and diverting your actions elsewhere. By the end of the game, I was maxed out on 4 out of the 5 expertise tracks. Another player was maxed on 3 of them, and pretty high on the remaining ones. The third player didn't max anything out, but he having the expertise to build wasn't an issue.

Quote:
Also I am wondering if you played towards getting the UN cards. I have found them to be key to winning the game. These give you the incentive to build different types of plants. So it would not help a player to keep building the same type of plant over and over.


Not in the least. Not a single UN card was claimed.



For what it's worth, I personally love the game and just to make sure you are doing everything right, check out the following file

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/106848/how-teach-co2-...

i found it very useful the first couple of times I played the games. I think it explains everything very clearly and simply. I think the rulebook is hard to follow and confusing a times. The file above helped me streamlined everything for me.
 
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Chris Berger
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Mools wrote:
Also, how were you stockpiling so many resources? You would get some from proposals, it those are one time only. Were you taking these every turn or round? In the few games I've played, resources have always been very tight.


That's been bugging me too. The number of tech cubes available from proposing projects is pretty limited, and you'll be losing one each turn to the event. Is there any chance that you're taking the bonus printed on the tile (which is the bonus for installing that type of project) when you propose it? In addition to the bonus printed on the space you're proposing onto?
 
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Itai Rosenbaum
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arkayn wrote:
Mools wrote:
Also, how were you stockpiling so many resources? You would get some from proposals, it those are one time only. Were you taking these every turn or round? In the few games I've played, resources have always been very tight.


That's been bugging me too. The number of tech cubes available from proposing projects is pretty limited, and you'll be losing one each turn to the event. Is there any chance that you're taking the bonus printed on the tile (which is the bonus for installing that type of project) when you propose it? In addition to the bonus printed on the space you're proposing onto?


Nope. Combination of Proposals, Expertise bonuses and Lobby cards.
 
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Vital Lacerda
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IronSyndicate wrote:
we did miss two rules, we sold to market from controlled regions

This may cause some money injection to the players, an incorrect change of market and an easy way to have resources you usually get from installations.
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