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Subject: Secret Claim tiles concern rss

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Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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Most secret claim tiles revolve around characters, though there is a secondary focus on special buildings. The characters make for an interesting tug-of-war, but the special buildings are a one-and-done that can easily get purchased from underneath you. This makes any secret claim with a special building extremely risky, since you can get shut out in round 2 (as happened to my brother). The type of competition over routes in Ticket to ride is fun and nerve-racking because you can predict what people are going for. Instead, in Saloon Tycoon it can blindly cut you off and actually puts some people in contention for the same buildings as you because of the characters they need. I do feel that some of the tiles require a lot of telegraphing for the most part, making them less blind. All in all, there are about 5 cards that I plan to remove to avoid players being hurt so severely and suddenly.
 
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Randy D

Wyoming
Michigan
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I've only played a few times so far and have definitely felt and enjoyed this tension. It really makes the game for me. You can determine how risky you want to play right from the beginning when you choose your Secret Claim cards -- Do I diversify my objectives as a little insurance for such a thing or do I put all my eggs in one basket by selecting claims that can both be met with the same tile purchase and race to get it first? If your tile is purchased, then switch gears and get points other ways or focus on hurting your opponents or preventing them from acheiving open claims... there just seems to be so many great options and tension throughout the game.

But in the end, the ultimate goal is to have fun. If removing a few tiles will give you an enjoyable experience, take them out and have fun.
 
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mike D
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The library can save the day on occasion.

Completing your claims and sabotaging the claims of others are both viable strategies. If your opponent takes the Whiskey Still you needed and someone else grabs the Library, you can build the Scorpion farm and get Calamity Sam to eliminate one of the characters that your opponents need to complete open claims.
 
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Joe Sallen
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Boone
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I thought so too on the library but it's only for open claims. Not much help for your secret claim, which otherwise is an easy 10-12 points. With characters not only can you bribe them to/away from yourself, but we also get Jack Ofaltrades who can count as anyone you need him too. Once that tile is taken for the tile goals, you are SOL. I also don't see the risk being rewarded as the point amounts are fairly comparable to the people goals.

I understand the idea that there is tension, but tension needs to build to be noticed. That's why I think some of the tile goals are ok. The luxury suite, Whiskey still, very expensive buildings, etc. all create tension as you see your opponent gearing up to buy them. When my brother had the stables taken 2nd round by my wife, who needed the character for her goal, for an easy $8 and a free plot he asked if there was anything he could do. Unfortunately, nope. There's no way to get more secret claims or trade the ones you have.

There are many things I really enjoy about Saloon Tycoon, but some of the objectives are flawed by design.
 
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Joe Sallen
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Dirk2112 wrote:
The library can save the day on occasion.

Completing your claims and sabotaging the claims of others are both viable strategies. If your opponent takes the Whiskey Still you needed and someone else grabs the Library, you can build the Scorpion farm and get Calamity Sam to eliminate one of the characters that your opponents need to complete open claims.



I don't know my opponents secret strategies. I totally agree and appreciate the presence of buildings on open claims. Your attempts at sabotaging their secret objectives are shooting in the dark.
 
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Robert Couch
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Hey! It's awesome hearing your detailed thoughts on this stuff. I love the analysis!

On the topic of predicting Secret Claims, I think the more you play, the better you'll get at predicting what claims your opponents have. Especially if you play with people who know the game. If you watch what they're doing, and which Open Claims they're picking up, you can often make some good educated guesses about what they want. But you're right, there's no way to know for sure.

Players buying the unique tiles before you have the chance can be frustrating. I like to try to pick Secret Claims that leave me open for strategy changes when such things happen. One that is room focused, another that is character focused, for example.

And don't forget, you can always build. Build more rooms. I played a game the other night where a friend totally ignored their claims and just built as much as possible. He used his gold and his Tycoon cards to focus on that alone. He got second place at the end. But if he'd curated his Secret Claims better to get rewards for building anything at all, he would've won.

Thanks!
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mike D
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josefsallen wrote:
I thought so too on the library but it's only for open claims.


I was totally unaware of that. We have played with it as being good for one of any type of claim.

I'll see what others think, but we may continue to play that way. Otherwise nobody will take the building specific secret claims.
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Joe Sallen
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Boone
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It's great to hear from the designer himself! Thanks for joining the discussion. I have narrowed the problem cards down to the 5 from the boomtown expansion and 4 from the base game (which aren't really that bad because the tiles involved require some preparation/hoarding to achieve).

Unfortunately my wife has refused to play anymore after the last game, when she had her character stolen out from under her in the last round. That same person ended the game so she couldn't retaliate. It's unfortunate that I won't get her to play anymore, but it got me to thinking. I really like the building of Saloon Tycoon and haven't seen anything like it before. The open claims, purchasing plots, and simple tiles are really fun to pull off. It's like Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but even better. Where I take issue is with the Characters and secret goals. I like the outlaws since they can be moved around and are first acquired by people who take in-game actions. However, the characters let me down. They're all functionally the same; it's just different tiles that are used to bring them in the game. Did you ever play with the idea of all the citizens giving a permanent ability while in the game? That's the case with the expansion citizens, which makes them my favorite ones. That would make the design feel varied and unique and would bring that part of the game up to match the amazing art. You could also make the citizens give an income of points/supply/gold each round. As stands, it's simply too swingy in the late game secret goal shenanigans especially since that's the only real use of the citizens beyond the base 5 points each. It just bothers me that so much of your points in the game are determined by the secret goals and citizens. So much of the game feels so amazing. It's not often that a game has so much that I love but has other parts that keep me from recommending it. It's like 90% of a game I love is here, but that other 10% clashes so much with my taste it makes it unplayable. The same goes for the Tycoon cards. I enjoy comboing them and making an action tree of the cards I played that reminds me of Dominion's card play. But then there are a few cards that just make the game go on longer (I'm looking at you Outlaws "steal a card from another player's hand")

It feels so cool to build tiles, expand my saloon, and snowball my income. Acquiring and keeping characters is awesome for the Open claims. I love those claims. You did a great job designing them and I really enjoy the tension of trying to get one before it gets snatched from under you. There's not much tension that can develop with the secret claims because it won't be known til the end, and if I guess wrong it's all for nought. The outlaws are cool with their own negative abilities; the citizens deserve ones too!

I'm not saying that people can't enjoy the game as it is, but I would love to see a "Rahdo" version that makes the interaction a bit more directed instead of player chosen. For example, when you move an outlaw s/he could go to a certain player based on their current tiles/gold/supply. That way you are taking a risk and in a way have earned it.

Edited to clarify a thought
 
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Robert Couch
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Kalamazoo
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Again, it's so cool to hear new perspectives on the game. Thank you so much for how much thought you've put into it. I hope your wife comes around and plays again. But if it's not her kind of game, no hard feelings!

During the development we (the publisher and I) worked on characters and special tiles giving ongoing bonuses. There was some fun to be had there, but ultimately we agreed that there might be too much upkeep for each player on their turn. We felt like the core fun of the game was building your saloon and scoring points. Adding more variable stuff to track every turn on top of your gold income just didn't feel fun to us for the core game, considering the experience we wanted players to have.

That said, who knows what the future might hold for expansions! whistle

Thanks for playing!
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Joe Sallen
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Boone
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The idea of adding those mechanisms in expansions would be great! I appreciate your attention and will keep an eye out for them in the future. I guess I fall just outside of the target audience for now.
 
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