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Subject: Random map setup? rss

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Tahsin Shamma
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I thought I heard somewhere that Scythe has a random map setup. Is this the case? I can't tell from the pics.

If not, how much does it diminish the replayability?
 
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Jimmy Mero
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Sherman Oaks
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The map is always the same. There are however many different starting player power combinations depending on your faction and player mat. Each game also has a random building objective and the encounter cards (the story element of the game) will come out in random arrays depending on the shuffle. But the variable player powers and different factions (each of the five factions starts in its own area on the board and plays a little differently) are the big variety elements.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Well said, Jimmy. To complement Jimmy's explanation, I should add that one of the main reasons we didn't go with a variable board is that we wanted the art to be seamless. A variable map wouldn't have allowed for that. Also, each of the factions represents a specific area in this alternate-history version of Europe--just as countries don't move around from day to day, it wouldn't have made sense for each faction's location of origin to move around either.
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Paweł Bedz
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And do not forget about factory cards - each one is unique, each player can get only one during game that allows him to do unique action. And there is enough factory cards to not see them repeated in each game.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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jameystegmaier wrote:
Well said, Jimmy. To complement Jimmy's explanation, I should add that one of the main reasons we didn't go with a variable board is that we wanted the art to be seamless. A variable map wouldn't have allowed for that. Also, each of the factions represents a specific area in this alternate-history version of Europe--just as countries don't move around from day to day, it wouldn't have made sense for each faction's location of origin to move around either.


Thanks for that explanation Jamey. I appreciate what you're creating here, but one of the things I really enjoy about some of my favorite games is the randomness in the map that adds another dynamic in strategy from game to game. Just to be clear, I have this same concern in Terra Mystica.

I'll give it a try on TableTopia. Thanks.
 
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Tahsin: I think the key here is that variability doesn't necessary equal "better". As Pawel and Jimmy noted, there are many variable elements in Scythe. But each of the factions are designed around the idea that they start out with access only to 3 of the 5 resources (food, oil, wood, metal, and workers). It's an intentional design choice.

Here's how I explain it in the Kickstarter FAQ:

"There are four key reasons why the map isn’t modular. One, the art simply wouldn’t be nearly as cohesive if it were made of modular tiles. The Scythe board tells a story; modular hexes do not. Two, the world of Scythe isn’t modular–this is a specific world we’ve built that’s based on an alternate-history 1920s Eastern Europe, not a random one generated by the players. Three, the map is one of the biggest aspects of the faction-based asymmetry in the game. We’ve designed the Nordic faction’s abilities based on them starting in the north with limited access to certain resources, for example, and all factions have a mech “riverwalk” ability that correlates precisely to their homeland. Same with all the other factions. Four, the board includes three tracks and several places to put cards, which allows for better organization than if these items were floating around the table. There’s already a lot of variability in the Scythe setup (namely, 25 different combinations of faction and player mats and tons of different objective and encounter cards)."
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Chris Laudermilk
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Honestly the game doesn't need a variable map. Between the faction/player mat combinations, and factory cards, there's plenty of variability there. We also have not mentioned the encounter spaces. You never know what encounter you're going to find, so that is different each game as well.
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Russ Temple
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Would Scythe benefit from expansion maps in the future?
 
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Ian Liddle
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That's not a bad idea. It might be nice to have different scenarios, perhaps some supporting team or nemesis variants.

That being said, they would be really tricky to test and develop to the same degree of balance and polish: movement is a critical mechanic which is deeply related to the map's qualities. It's the underpinning to territory control, conflict, and a vast majority of the victory points thereof.

The masterfully designed but unchanging map is precisely what allows so many other novel dimensions of variability and asymmetry to work, ensuring stronger replay value than a random map could ever provide.

For the same reasons, while there's nothing stopping you from using Catan hexes to build a random map, it's almost guaranteed to be an inferior experience.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Yeah, it took us a LONG time to get that map right. Jakub did all the art for it, then I came back to him and told him we needed to change some of again. He was not pleased. I don't think he particularly enjoys map art (though he had fun with some Easter eggs on it).
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Mad Halfling
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jameystegmaier wrote:
(though he had fun with some Easter eggs on it).


Oooo, Easter eggs? The pic I took at Expo isn't high-res enough to look for them, though - damn =8) Still, shouldn't be too long until it's in my sweaty little mitts
 
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Klaus Kristiansen
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jameystegmaier wrote:
We’ve designed the Nordic faction’s abilities based on them starting in the north with limited access to certain resources, for example


Actually the Nordic player can produce any resource they wish, including hireing a worker, on turn two. None of the others can, but the Nordic workers are not stopped by the river.
 
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