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Subject: No loans on the first turn? rss

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Rahn
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I think I remember seeing a comment here about a recommendation, a variant, or a considered rule that was no bond actions allowed on the first turn. But when I went searching for it I couldn't find it. Has anyone else come across this or did I just imagine it? Or was it something else similar that I've got my wires crossed with?


In our 5 player game players further down the turn order had a real hard time winning plane auctions because the earlier players all took bond actions.
 
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Arlyn Janssen
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In our 5p game, the winning player didn't win a plane auction either of the first two rounds (and our auctions weren't elevated nearly to the levels you're implying). My gut reaction is that players down in the turn order are in a position to take advantage mid-game when better planes are available and collective cash has leveled out or dropped, but I haven't played enough to say anything definitely.

I certainly haven't played enough to start using house rules or variants.
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Aaron Silverman
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TumbleSteak wrote:
In our 5 player game players further down the turn order had a real hard time winning plane auctions because the earlier players all took bond actions.


What was stopping them from taking bond actions as well?
 
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Arlyn Janssen
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DJ Kuul A wrote:
TumbleSteak wrote:
In our 5 player game players further down the turn order had a real hard time winning plane auctions because the earlier players all took bond actions.


What was stopping them from taking bond actions as well?


The implication is that players early in the turn order are cash strong going into the later auctions before the 4th and 5th players had opportunity to take a bond action, potentially limiting the strength of their position.
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Rob Stevenson
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If you don't allow bond issues on the first round, then surely you are just pushing the perceived issue into the auctions in the second round?

There is an opportunity cost to issuing bonds in terms of other actions foregone and a VP deduction at the end of the game. If your opponents pay over the odds for fleets in the first round, you should be pleased that they have frittered away their cash to do so, leaving them more exposed subsequently.

If you are worried that winning a fleet early in the turn order will leave you exposed until your own turn and this leaves you unwilling to bid the appropriate amount, consider that you can always make an early discard of the unproductive investments condition to increase your cash reserves by $30.

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Rahn
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Some more info:
By our calculations a new fleet was almost always going to be worth a $40 investment.

If you hit a major destination with 1 of the planes that pays out $20 at the end. If you hit an international destination, that pays out $25-35 depending on the connection cost of the specific city + any potential bonuses for connecting to more cities than other players. Plus there are any bonuses to revenue that are gained by connecting to cities with demand tokens as well as the income payouts from these connections. On top of that each condition card that is covered up is easily worth $20 by the end of the game in terms of the benefits it provides.

We played an event heavy game with each player auctioning off 4 or 5 planes only. We used the even deal variant at the back of the rule book that ensured each player had 1 event per age.

Our fleet auction prices were consistently in the 40s and 50s in our first game and there was a shortage of fleets. All players wanted more and all but one player made use of all of their plane tokens. Most players had 4 or 5 bonds. Bonds are point neutral at the end of the game as long as you don't have to take one as an emergency bond. It gives you 40 points for the cost of 40 points. Investing 40 points in a fleet lets you turn that investment into more points as outlined above.

There is obviously some group think involved and it's only my first play but I see a very strong case for high priced auctions with low margins of return as our game saw.

Any more thoughts on this issue? And was I dreaming when I remembered I saw something about no bonds in the first turn?
 
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Rob Stevenson
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TumbleSteak wrote:


We played an event heavy game with each player auctioning off 4 or 5 planes only. We used the even deal variant at the back of the rule book that ensured each player had 1 event per age.


I thought perhaps it might be a supply/demand issue, either real or perceived. If a lower number of fleets enter the game, then their cost will be inflated.

In a five player game, with every player holding 1 event card per era there will be at most 30 fleets auctioned (if nobody plays any of their events on the first 6 rounds) and at least 15 fleets auctioned (if everyone plays all of their events and all the late 40's events are played on round 6, such that no late 40's fleets enter play).

Both the extremes are pretty unlikely, but the lower end seems particularly unusual given the required round 6 behaviour, so I would hazard that a typical number of fleets auctioned is 21-25. It sounds like you were at the lower end of that range, so not necessarily an atypical number.

I suspect that it is more of a group think issue than not - if all your opponents leverage themselves with bonds to increase early cash-flow, then you are compelled to either do the same to compete or try and pursue an alternative strategy.

EDIT

As for the ban on bonds in the first turn, I don't recall seeing anyone mention it, although I haven't gone through the forum with a fine-tooth comb to see if I missed it. Could it be remembered from a similar game?

I'm of the opinion that banning bond issues on the first round would not address the perceived problem because it would surely just push the leveraging and high-bidding into the second round instead. It would also prevent a player who had made a high bid for an airmail route from issuing a bond to replenish initial cash reserves and that could have a knock-on effect of preventing them from playing a round 2 event that they felt unable to afford. It just seems unnecessarily restrictive.
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Scott C
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TumbleSteak wrote:
There is obviously some group think involved and it's only my first play but I see a very strong case for high priced auctions with low margins of return as our game saw.

Any more thoughts on this issue? And was I dreaming when I remembered I saw something about no bonds in the first turn?

If I were seeing auctions in the 40's and 50's, I'd be gleefully passing, especially on small fleets.

Why would I feel okay passing?

Because I can get the benefit of serving demand and scoring large cities from extensions. I'll miss out on international destinations, but you can ignore those and win in a lot of board positions.

I'll save my money and punish big-spending fleet expanders with events, or marshall my cash and snipe those critical medium ships from them, instead. It's the medium fleets that let you skip over unprofitable low demand sections strategically, and put you in a position to expand your network efficiently to get in on more large city scores, or to nab some of the more profitable international destinations.

I think it was my second game that I had the revelation -- extensions are essentially equal in hazard/oil efficiency to (I think it's) the Boeing 247, the 2 hazard/2 oil fleet. The thing you're paying for in the golden age in particular (before the size or stats efficiency of smalls ramp up) is getting rid of your condition cards, not getting planes. Even if all 9 crashes get played and you never get a sixth fleet, for instance, covering Irregular Safety Procedures is only worth $36 in direct fines -- I suppose if you're constantly the most hazardous fleet, you're in trouble, but surely the players building Lockheed Electra fleets will outpace you.
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jbrier
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Kaffis wrote:

Because I can get the benefit of serving demand and scoring large cities from extensions.


Yup! The OP's calculus ignores extensions, which bring the value of plane cards down quite a bit.
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Rahn
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verandi wrote:
Kaffis wrote:

Because I can get the benefit of serving demand and scoring large cities from extensions.


Yup! The OP's calculus ignores extensions, which bring the value of plane cards down quite a bit.


Excellent point. Very few players used this in our game. I had the least planes and did the most extensions and won. I can't believe I didn't factor it into those calculations. It has to earn the bid price more than what you could get doing plane-less extensions. The things a plane still gets you: ability to hit an international destination, potentially better fuel and risk ratios (or at least more favourable to the even cards you are holding), further distance (when Med and Large planes show up), and the ability to remove a condition. Still very worthwhile things but not $40 worth when you factor in opportunity cost and using the plane-less extensions instead.

Thanks for that last post. Finally made it click.
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