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Subject: Is it (almost) a multiplayer solitaire? Where's the interaction? rss

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Bartosz Popow
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I read almost the entire Intro pdf file that shows the basic 2-player game. To be honest, I only read the first two years, because I already had an idea how the game played.

The only interaction (so far) I see in this game is the fact that if I try to perform an action on a non-Market tile on which another player ended his movement I need to pay him certain resources. There's also tile placement at the end of each year, but it is a very subtle interaction. Period. Is there anything else?

If not, well, this is *almost* a multiplayer solitaire. A simultaneous optimization puzzle for numerous players. What differs my actions from yours? Well, we drew different cards that grant us different abilities.

You know, in action drafting games back in the days (say Agricola) there were few actions. And there was competition for them. Now it seems like designers give you bazillion actions (A Feast for Odin suffers from the same problem), so that nobody cries too much about limited accessibility. Notice that the number of actions grow in here, so potential interaction dilutes over the course of the game. Whereas in the mentioned Agricola yes the number of actions grew, but at the same time players gained more workers, so it balanced itself out, competition remained more or less constant. In here it seems like you do not need other players to play, just throw a die to determine a random spot that needs to be paid for and randomize placement of new tiles, there you go.

Now, it is possible that the advanced game introduces actual interaction, some clever euroish competition for resources, actions, tiles, whatever. Looking forward to hearing that.
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Jose Juan Llanos
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I hope it remains as it looks, a multiplayer solitaire

I was more worried about AP, three actions each, gives you a lot to think. You could house rule this using action points or 1 action to each player though. Fortunately, in a 2P game shouldn't be a problem

My main concern is about price, many games in Essen, and not much money to spend across them cry
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S. R.
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...so...
...is your intention to ask whether this is different in the full game...
...or rather to complain that what it actually IS isn't to your liking, and you want it to be to your liking?
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Chris Funk
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A great deal of traditional euros have little player-to-payer interaction. They want as much pure strategy as possible to determine a winner, not who interfered with another person's actions more.

The main interaction is figuring out what the other player might need and end your turn on the same space, in hope of forcing them to give you resources to use the Place. Like most games where you need to maximize your actions to do the best, this kind of mindset rarely yields benefit unless you also need that same Place to benefit from.

This may not be the game for you if you're looking for more than that.
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Clyde W
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Being "pure strategy" doesn't equal lack of player interaction. And many of the euros from the 90s had tons of player interaction. We've been slowly losing interaction in euros since then.
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Bartosz Popow
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I came to both complain and ask whether this is what it is in terms of interaction in the full game as well.

And yeah, I do agree with Clyde. Any drafting mechanism introduces interaction. So does area control, bidding, route building (you can't build on the same spot), race to a certain achievement... literally almost anything.

In my opinion it's bad when a game doesn't have interaction. Just like I don't like when games have kingmaking. I'd rather interact when I meet with people by the table. Lack of interaction makes me bored when it's not my turn.
Now, don't get me wrong, just because I think it's bad, I don't mean it's bad for everybody. Just like certain people enjoy kingmaking in their games, I do know some people love minimal interaction, because they'd rather play their own game and not bother with anybody else's actions that much.

There are plenty of other games, I'm not overly worried, just genuinely interested.
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S. R.
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BartP wrote:
... because they'd rather play their own game and not bother with anybody else's actions that much...


See, that is still a little derogatory, even if somewhat underhandedly so...


But I can see your point.
Mostly, because I also prefer games with higher ratios of player interaction. But I dabble on both sides of the line, and try to swim in many pools...


I would not say that games with less or little player interaction are on the rise, or have been throughout the last few years. There have always been multiplayer solo games. However, the game market has expanded into crazy dimensions over the last few years, aswell, so the number of games on offer has become greater and greater. Also, due to the growth of the market and the bigger impact of customer interest (Kickstarter, Patreon and whatnot), supply has fractioned and diversified. More niche products become available, but that also means that tastes diversify...
What I'm saying is - I think the perspective of the customer has changed significantly due to influx of a broader spectrum of supply. Also, due to widely available data on what is available everywhere and anywhere (especially the extensive supply of reviews and playthroughs), perception can be askew.

Anyways.
I don't think there are more games with multiplayer solitaire aspects, if we talk percentage of new games published per year (or something similar).

What I agree on, though, is that there have been a few games in the last year or two that offer an abundance of possible actions to take, with multiple paths to victory. And I mean that in a point-salady way (the negative connotation), not in the variety way (the positive option). But then, this is also only true for a small portion of the market, and my own view might be askew, aswell.

I guess everyone can hope that a game that will be published is to one's liking in most or even all aspects, but noone should expect to have an opinion that is of higher value than any other...


But for what it's worth, I would have loved (or would love - we still don't know about the full game) to have more interaction, also, as long games (and especially long thematic games in the vein of this one) are one part of my preferred game...
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Hanno Girke
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There's one thingyou should not forget: It is the Starting Player who can choose where to place the new tiles. And if your opponent is the lucky one, it can really screw up your plans... or vice versa.
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Tim Puls
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I do not want to spoil everything but there will be more aspects of interaction.
- more stewards per person. Up to 4.
- the ability to change the position of hex tiles.
- along with colonies new special stewards that are set by all players together.
- what hanno explained above.
- reversion of the effect (no payment instead a reward) if you visit a hex file where a steward of another player is standing.
To name some.
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S. R.
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wredo wrote:
I do not want to spoil everything but there will be more aspects of interaction.
- more stewards per person. Up to 4.
- the ability to change the position of hex tiles.
- along with colonies new special stewards that are set by all players together.
- what hanno explained above.
- reversion of the effect (no payment instead a reward) if you visit a hex file where a steward of another player is standing.
To name some.


...aaaaaand it just rolled back onto my shopping list...


To be honest, I thought about the situation that Hanno explained, but then, placing tiles too far out of reach always includes the possibility that you will place them out of YOUR reach, aswell (further down the line), so there might be less incentive, had this been the "only" other interaction catalyst...
...and then Tim came by and dropped a few more hints...

cool
 
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Bartosz Popow
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wredo wrote:
- more stewards per person. Up to 4.

That's particularly interesting to me, because it means that more spots will have to be paid for when entered.

Staying posted.
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wilky
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BartP wrote:
I came to both complain and ask whether this is what it is in terms of interaction in the full game as well.

And yeah, I do agree with Clyde. Any drafting mechanism introduces interaction. So does area control, bidding, route building (you can't build on the same spot), race to a certain achievement... literally almost anything.

In my opinion it's bad when a game doesn't have interaction. Just like I don't like when games have kingmaking. I'd rather interact when I meet with people by the table. Lack of interaction makes me bored when it's not my turn.
Now, don't get me wrong, just because I think it's bad, I don't mean it's bad for everybody. Just like certain people enjoy kingmaking in their games, I do know some people love minimal interaction, because they'd rather play their own game and not bother with anybody else's actions that much.

There are plenty of other games, I'm not overly worried, just genuinely interested.


Why? Life is to short. Play/buy something else.
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Michael W.
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One thing I wanted to mention:
You have to understand that interaction can be
- direct (for example in typical workerplacemet games you take an action so nobody can get in anymore this round and that hurts you really)
- indirect interaction (for example you could take a specific action but you are not going to take it because it would not benefit you enough. The reason doing this is because you react of a strategy of you opponent)

Only reading the rules it is really hard to say how much indirect interaction the game has. But in the most cases if people say the game has low interaction the reason is because they don't think about the indirect interaction.
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Max
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snikla wrote:
One thing I wanted to mention:
You have to understand that interaction can be
- direct (for example in typical workerplacemet games you take an action so nobody can get in anymore this round and that hurts you really


Actually, most people would say that is pure indirect interaction, while using an action to mess with a given player resources or workers, as with the Caylus provost or Carson city duels, would be rather considered more direct interaction.

Keyflower bids, displacing markers in Hansa Teutonica, or, gasp, Wars in Tigris and Eufrates or Through the ages are really more direct interaction, anyway.
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Bartosz Popow
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snikla wrote:
One thing I wanted to mention:
You have to understand that interaction can be
- direct (for example in typical workerplacemet games you take an action so nobody can get in anymore this round and that hurts you really)
- indirect interaction (for example you could take a specific action but you are not going to take it because it would not benefit you enough. The reason doing this is because you react of a strategy of you opponent)

Only reading the rules it is really hard to say how much indirect interaction the game has. But in the most cases if people say the game has low interaction the reason is because they don't think about the indirect interaction.

Believe me that I played enough games to understand the difference, although I personally name interactions differently, as Max pointed out.
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snikla wrote:
One thing I wanted to mention:
You have to understand that interaction can be
- direct (for example in typical workerplacemet games you take an action so nobody can get in anymore this round and that hurts you really)
- indirect interaction (for example you could take a specific action but you are not going to take it because it would not benefit you enough. The reason doing this is because you react of a strategy of you opponent)

Only reading the rules it is really hard to say how much indirect interaction the game has. But in the most cases if people say the game has low interaction the reason is because they don't think about the indirect interaction.


There is a colony that grants you the ability to use occupied locations without paying. As soon as all players got this (start of age II), rest of the game will tend to zero (even indirect) interaction and 80% of the playing time will be solitaire.
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Richard Dewsbery
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If you like lots of interaction between the players, this probably isn't the game for you. The game is about collecting and juggling resources and tiles in order to build up your colony, with most of the interaction being indirect.

But two players cannot easily execute the same plan in the same way - they'll be tripping over one another on the action spots, plus the improvements drawn will be different. It's about making the best of your plans without needing to slavishly follow someone else - or follow any particular route.
 
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Michael W.
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RDewsbery wrote:
If you like lots of interaction between the players, this probably isn't the game for you. The game is about collecting and juggling resources and tiles in order to build up your colony, with most of the interaction being indirect.

But two players cannot easily execute the same plan in the same way - they'll be tripping over one another on the action spots, plus the improvements drawn will be different. It's about making the best of your plans without needing to slavishly follow someone else - or follow any particular route.


That's totally right. We are very big fans of Uwe Rosenberg games, especially Fields of Arle and Caverna). I think fans of these games (or similar games) will enjoy The Colonists. If you like punch in your face worker placement you have to play another game (but there are enough alternatives since essen)
 
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Andy Leighton
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RDewsbery wrote:
If you like lots of interaction between the players, this probably isn't the game for you. The game is about collecting and juggling resources and tiles in order to build up your colony, with most of the interaction being indirect.

But two players cannot easily execute the same plan in the same way - they'll be tripping over one another on the action spots, plus the improvements drawn will be different. It's about making the best of your plans without needing to slavishly follow someone else - or follow any particular route.


Yes and also the OP seems to have judged on the introductory game walkthrough. Which to be fair does its purpose. The full game has a bit more to it. However the game isn't a high interaction game. But then neither are a lot of other highly rated games.
 
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Bartosz Popow
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Saying that this game is not a high interaction game is an understatement. On the other hand saying that this game doesn't have direct negative interaction is an overstatement. Based on the full rules (I have not played the game) I assess this is an exceptionally low interaction euro game, it's primary focus is on solitaire optimization, your private riddle solving with the cards you're randomly dealt. Similar in this regard to Fields of Arle, A Feast for Odin, The Networks. It's got even less interaction than Terraforming Mars, and to me that was not enough.

Yet again, I'm not saying it's not a good game. I came back to this thread, because I wanted to disagree with posters implying that there is a normal euro amount of interaction in it, the level is not merely "not high". It's not bad to say that there's minimal interaction in a game, that the emphasis is on your playground and you do not need to pay much attention to what other players are doing, since there clearly is demand for such games.
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