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Subject: One path to rule them all? rss

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Jerry Dziuba
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Scurry
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This is from a very small sample size so I hope I'm proved wrong with more play, but after winning 4 games in row I felt the need to bring it up here. In all four games I concentrated on simply building a perimeter route connecting all explorers and temples. I easily won every game, also being the first to visit all 4 temples each game.

All four games had wildly different starting placements of the explorers and temples, but it didn't seem to affect the strategy much at all. Whenever possible I built first by explorers so I could use any tile draws that didn't help the perimeter route as movement points.

Again, I really hope I'm wrong because I like the concept of the game but am afraid if this turns out to be a (even mostly) winning strategy then the game will wear out its stay pretty quickly.
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So it goes.
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We played our first 2 games Friday night and the guy who did what you did won both games as well. After I caught on to what he was doing it seemed like an optimal way to build unless a whole lot of intersections and bends come out first.
 
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Rob van Tol
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Played the game about 10 times and won them all with the strategy you mention. But with four players, it might be interesting to go for some quick temples. I have not tried that strategy yet.
 
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Jerry Dziuba
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Dang. I was hoping to have replies that proved me wrong, not collaborated my fear.
 
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David Luchetti
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Nick Danger wrote:
Dang. I was hoping to have replies that proved me wrong, not collaborated my fear.


I haven't purchased the game yet but it's been on my wish list ... I've been following this thread and if you're right it kinda kills the game for me too. The one question I have, though: what if all of the players are aware of this strategy and all attempt it? Will it once be a working competitive game?
 
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Randy Espinoza
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So.. What's the consensus: is the game "broken"?

For those who've used this perimeter strategy: doesn't it guarantee that adventurers will block each other quite often?
 
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Jonathan Schindler
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Hmmmm... I'm interested to see where this discussion leads, as I love Karuba. My suspicion is that this strategy is similar to Big Money in Dominion: it's a good baseline, but an efficient player will be able to beat it. (At least that's my hope!)
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The Rake
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I just bought the game but haven't played it yet and this strategy is exactly what I was thinking I would try my first game. If it does prove to be a strategy that always wins I wonder what would be a good house rule to prevent it. Not more than two explorers can share a path? Every explorer can only use an existing tile as a one time cross over and must create their own path? Ideas?
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Jerry Dziuba
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I'm hoping Jonathan is right and while it may be a winning strategy against fair players it's not a shoe-in win against strong players willing to cut through the center. I'm going to try to get some testing done to that point soon.

If not, the game has gotten my designer juices flowing and I'm already hatching some scoring tweaks that I think would level the field. If that is the path (!!) I decide to go down it will take quite a few play tests before I'd be willing to offer them up as a true "fix".
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Jerry Dziuba
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Curiosity got the best of me and I had to get the game out and do at least one run through. Again, hardly scientific and only one sampling but in my solo game playing one board with a perimeter scheme and the other as best I could without adhering to any one strategy the perimeter route was beaten and fairly soundly at that.

So it's definitely not a sure thing at any rate but probably depends on tile draw and setup. At least this gives me hope that my fear may be unfounded. More testing needs to be done for sure, but I feel much better about the game than I did 2 days ago.
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The Rake
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Hey Jerry,

Just out of curiosity how many players have been involved in your games so far?
 
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Jerry Dziuba
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trakes wrote:
Hey Jerry,

Just out of curiosity how many players have been involved in your games so far?


All my games have been two player affairs so far, so as I said not a huge playing sample.
 
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Jerry Dziuba
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I played another solo session and this time I didn't even adhere strictly to a perimeter route as for one leg it would have been pretty useless to do it. While the "perimeter" strategy did end up winning, it was very close and it actually took some really bad draws for the "normal" strategy board for the perimeter to sneak out a victory.

I'm willing to say that it depends too much on goal placement and tile draws for and one type of route to be a winner against players of equal strength. I'm thinking my wins said more about my opponents than it did my perimeter strategy.

I'm going to crawl out onto the limb and call my fear of one path to rule them all basically a non-issue.
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Laszlo Molnar
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I also think the more players play the less it's going to work - while it might be the fastest way to get all the stuff, other players may beat you in reaching certain colors faster than you, and more the players, more it is possible that they get all the 'first' scoring tiles before you get to them.
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Andrew P.
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lacxox wrote:
I also think the more players play the less it's going to work - while it might be the fastest way to get all the stuff, other players may beat you in reaching certain colors faster than you, and more the players, more it is possible that they get all the 'first' scoring tiles before you get to them.


I've only played 2 and 3 player games so far, but I think lacxox is right about this being a much weaker strategy in 4 player games.

In two player games, the "one path" strategy seems hard to beat unless the temples are directly or almost directly across from their same-colored explorers.
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Derek Thompson
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This game also has a print and play expansion of 4 mid-game "goals" that score points - you might look into that to see if it'll shake things up a bit.
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A J
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Played a 7 player game last night (with 2 copies of the game). I tried this strategy and got 5th place. Not saying I played it perfectly, but there are a couple problems I see with it:

1. Depending on placement of the explorers/temples, having only a single road ring around could potentially increase chance of traffic jams.

2. Those making direct routes will probably get to a temple faster than you, snagging those extra points. Maybe you will eventually get more temples, but probably after giving up those initial points.
 
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Salvador C. Majoral
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I have just read the whole thread amd my jaw is now on the floor! Such a lovely game is (even if only partially) broken! Just yesterday I told some friends I liked it more than Carcassonne! It is really a very big pitty that such a nice game has this flaw. I just would like to say, if the author and/or publisher are reading, that any future expansion or promotional material should try to address this issue.
 
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Jonathan Schindler
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salva wrote:
I have just read the whole thread amd my jaw is now on the floor! Such a lovely game is (even if only partially) broken! Just yesterday I told some friends I liked it more than Carcassonne! It is really a very big pitty that such a nice game has this flaw. I just would like to say, if the author and/or publisher are reading, that any future expansion or promotional material should try to address this issue.


I don't think the lesson of this thread is that this is a big flaw in the game. I think the lesson is that, upon further inspection, sometimes the "one path to rule them all" strategy is best; many times it is not. It depends on the competition, the starting placement, and the order tiles are revealed in. All of this to say, to me, there's nothing for the publisher to address.
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Tony Go
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I try this strategy from time to time and theory craft it in my mind during games in which I'm not trying it. My personal conclusion is that it isn't dominant at all.

As an aside, even when I won from it, it felt the least rewarding way to win because I rarely happened upon an interesting tile combination.
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A J
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salva wrote:
I have just read the whole thread amd my jaw is now on the floor! Such a lovely game is (even if only partially) broken! Just yesterday I told some friends I liked it more than Carcassonne! It is really a very big pitty that such a nice game has this flaw. I just would like to say, if the author and/or publisher are reading, that any future expansion or promotional material should try to address this issue.


Yeah I don't think there's any definitive conclusion that it's broken.
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