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Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star» Forums » Rules

Subject: Economy Wheel Rule Concern rss

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Kain Phalanx
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Specifically the rule that buying from Smuggler's Den still has you removing cubes from the economy board. I'm leaning towards that it shouldn't and would like it thought over again.

From my understanding there are two distinct types of merchant, lawful and unlawful. This is important because they should have actually played differently before, but there was no reason to since both could just go back and forth between two planets. The economy wheel finally fixed this issue and I love it. Now what it has the lawful merchant doing is the same as the merchant npc, going to each planet in order. This way the economy board doesn't have any other negative effect to you. But since that route involves two lawful planets, you really don't want a bounty. Even with the smuggler setup (Ghoststalker>Lone Drifter>Long Haul) it's still a needless headache for a number of reasons.

So what the unlawful merchant is good at actually was going back and forth between two planets. Smuggler's Den exemplifies this by being a one-way trade post. With the aforementioned setup you'd be able to exploit a short trade route from Smuggler's Den even to a lawful planet longer and potentially quicker than others. But here's the problem now, you can't do this unless other players supply the appropriate economy.

Perhaps you still think going to the same two planets is still too boring or whatever to be allowed, but another rule from the economy wheel brilliantly already alleviates this. When one type of cube is in demand, there's a 1k credit incentive to trade to that planet. What this would allow the unlawful merchant to do is repeatedly return to Smuggler's Den and follow in the wake of lawful merchants, who should be buying 6 cubes at a time, and get that extra bonus. This is actually fine because the ideal amount of cargo for the unlawful merchant is 4 cubes instead of 6 (Long Haul's shuttle's cube limit is evidence of this), which is 1k less profit. Being an unlawful merchant is already inherently riskier since a bounty means you're a bigger target and sometimes you'll have to risk a planetary shield run.

Also it doesn't make sense thematically since Smuggler's Den is basically the black market. It shouldn't play nice with the economy like Loathe doesn't.

tl;dr Please change the official rules so that buying from Smuggler's Den takes cubes straight from the supply.
 
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Derek Dyer
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Quote:
Specifically the rule that buying from Smuggler's Den still has you removing cubes from the economy board. I'm leaning towards that it shouldn't and would like it thought over again.
It's been thought over, and extensively playtested. For most of playtesting goods from Smuggler's Den were "counterfeit", did not come from the economy board, and could not be sold at Loathe.

The final print stuff is pretty close to wrapping up, if not done already. This isn't something that is likely to be changed (again).
 
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Ira Fay
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Kain Phalanx wrote:
tl;dr Please change the official rules so that buying from Smuggler's Den takes cubes straight from the supply.
Thanks for your thoughts, Kain. Out of curiosity, have you playtested the current rules? Please keep in mind that I have personally playtested XIA ~40 games, and I'm sure Cody has done way more than me. Furthermore, we have listened to feedback from dozens of playtesters who have played many more games. I mention that just to remind you that we're making pretty informed choices at this point. That's not to say the game is going to be perfect for everyone, but simply that we've done our homework.

Regarding your suggestion, I'm not sure I understand what problem you're trying to fix. You want Smugglers' Den to be even more powerful than it already is? By buying from the Economy Board, players who use Smugglers' Den are limited in some way. If they could buy from the supply instead, then they could by any type of cargo, only limited by the storage space in their ship. With the new Cargo Pod outfits, that can get pretty large, easily 10+ for a Tier 3 ship, even after accounting for a good engine and shields.

We certainly made an intentional choice to limit the power of short trade routes in the expansion, because that was one of the most consistent critiques of the base game. As is, Smugglers' Den is still one of the most powerful sectors, since many of the new missions can start there, and you can buy any cube that's available. I certainly wouldn't want to make Smugglers' Den even more powerful by letting players buy unlimited cubes of any type directly from the supply.
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Kain Phalanx
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At no point did I suggest that informed choices weren't being made. I merely stated things from my theoretical perspective and how one particular decision seemed strange to me, therefore needing a change.

Cargo pod outfits are a big consideration that I had forgotten about because I don't like them and don't intend to use them. I can see how that changes things. Thank you for explaining your reasoning.

I suppose my suggestion as simply stated wouldn't work, but it wasn't my intention to simply allow unlimited bulk purchases from Smuggler's Den. I just don't want it to be part of the same economy as the five normal planets. Something additional like even just sharing economy with Loathe would have to be added. There just doesn't seem to be anything particularly interesting about being an outlaw merchant as is, and no incentive to do it, when it seems to me like it's supposed to be an intended play style.

I had offered one scenario where it could take advantage of the in-demand rule if it weren't part of the same economy. Since it is, the cubes necessary to fulfill it will be exhausted. I had also thought that maybe there would be interplay between merchants, cutting ahead to exhaust supply to mess up routes, but that doesn't seem to work. I like the economy wheel and think it's necessary, but it seems like potential is being wasted. There's no point in an economy if the only purpose to limit the actions of one ship.
 
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Derek Dyer
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There just doesn't seem to be anything particularly interesting about being an outlaw merchant as is, and no incentive to do it, when it seems to me like it's supposed to be an intended play style.
There's no "intended playstyles", or maybe a better way to phrase it is that all playstyles are intended. Either way it amounts to the same thing. Xia is a sandbox game that lets you play however you want.

If you're trying to metagame the system, dissect it, and look at what are the most effective ways to win... That doesn't really work with Xia. For starters, the board state is going to be fundamentally different from game to game, and what is best in one will not be in another. Also as the board is revealed, missions get easier and become a more effective route to FP than in the early game. So always being fluid is the best strategy.

Further, take into account that when Cody started designing Xia he did not have a lot of experience with boardgames. He modeled the game off some of his favorite video games, and developed it from there. Honestly this may be one of my favorite things about the design of Xia. It was designed from the ground up to be a sandbox, not from the outside in as a game.

Quote:
I had also thought that maybe there would be interplay between merchants, cutting ahead to exhaust supply to mess up routes, but that doesn't seem to work.
What makes you say that?
 
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Ira Fay
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Kain Phalanx wrote:
There just doesn't seem to be anything particularly interesting about being an outlaw merchant as is, and no incentive to do it
OK, I think that's the crux of your concern, right? If so, we should understand what you mean by "outlaw merchant," and then consider if there are rewards for going that route.

If "outlaw merchant" means "a merchant strategy that involves an outlaw planet," then I can tell you with confidence that there are many reasons to go that route. The new explore tokens, as well as the new Tier 1 ship, often give you 1 of a random cargo cube. You can pretty easily get 2, but it's likely they'll be different. In that case, going to Loath to sell both and get a FP is great.

As you mentioned earlier, cargo types can go in demand, and there's an event that's particularly relevant to Cyber. If you want a particular type of good and the planet that sells it hasn't been discovered or isn't in a convenient location, go to Smugglers' Den to buy it or Kei to trade for it.

Also, there are cargo missions that require a diversity of goods. Stop by Kei to trade or Smugglers' Den to buy what you need, and then get a financial reward and a FP from the cargo missions.

Overall, I encourage you to play a few games, and then I'll be curious to know if your opinion has changed at all. It's one thing to analyze theoretically; it's another to play and see how it actually feels. That said, one of the wonderful things about Xia is that you can make the sandbox your own, so if something doesn't work for your playgroup, of course feel free to make house rules to improve your experience!

Thanks again for the discussion.
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Kain Phalanx
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I consider the economy wheel to be a fix to the base game, but those are interesting enough points I suppose. Thanks for the input.
 
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