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Subject: Thoughts after reading the rules? rss

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The mechanisms in the game seem very clean and interesting. I like the look of everything, and really appreciate the degree of set-up variability.

But there seems to be very little player interaction, aside from (1) racing to be first to build in various places that provide minor bonuses for being first, (2) not knowing when other players will trigger "deals," and (3) *possibly* not getting all of the "train" tiles that you want, if other players take them first.

There's no blocking of rail or building construction, and no exclusive powers or positions.

And there seems to be almost no luck in the game after the initial set-up; The only exception that I see is the semi-random draw of "milestones."

So what keeps this from being a mostly solitaire optimization puzzle? What's to stop you from just figuring out your best path and then largely ignoring what the other players do?

I'm guessing that's why the game has variable "start tiles," so everyone will start from a slightly different position in the game. Otherwise, players could all wind up following the same optimum path?

I don't mean to be down on the game. I've preordered and I'm hoping that it will be great. But the rules left me feeling a little unsure of what the overall thrust of the game will be. I'm a little worried that it will be a touch too deterministic for my taste.

I would love it if people could convince me that I'm wrong.

Also, I recognize that a cold read often doesn't give you an appreciation for how the game feels in play. The whole may be more than the sum of the parts.
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Darrell Goodridge
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I swear I just read this post under The Colonists.

Another point of possible interaction is competition over the different worker types.

But personally, I enjoy Euros BECAUSE there is limited to no screwage. If I wanted to play a take that game, I would. And yes, in my experience, "interaction" is just another term for screwage.
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Kenny Barrese
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There is some rush to be first in a telegraph spot or a city location, especially if you need the worker from the founder bonus to complete a milestone. I guess you could also be frozen out of the type of train you want to acquire if others snap them up. You might also keep an eye on the share levels of your opponents when considering whether to trigger a deal, or whether you need to rush to get stocks because a really useful deal might be triggered soon.

That just covers my impression of "interactivity". Regarding variable courses through the game, the initial bonuses and type of milestones you draw can really push you in one direction or another. You can then double down on those directions by manipulating your end game scoring multipliers. I haven't had a chance to play with the randomized station and telegraph bonuses, but I'll bet those help alter the flow of the game too.

This feels like a very elegant chaotic system. Small differences in streamlined choices up front help players' experiences diverge as the game goes on.
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Jake Blomquist
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So, first of all, I'll echo you in saying all I've done is read the rules so who knows to what degree anything I'm about to say is going to make sense, but here goes.

Hobbes wrote:
But there seems to be very little player interaction, aside from (1) racing to be first to build in various places that provide minor bonuses for being first, (2) not knowing when other players will trigger "deals," and (3) *possibly* not getting all of the "train" tiles that you want, if other players take them first.

There's no blocking of rail or building construction, and no exclusive powers or positions.


I mean, it seems to me somewhat subjective to say whether this is very little, a lot, or somewhere in between. To me it seems like enough to prevent the game from going into the "solitaire optimization" realm. But everyone has their own line in that regard. It seems to me that rather than the kind of game where one or two key blocks can destroy someone's position, Railroad Revolution will be the kind of game where a poorly timed block will really slow you down, but you'll still have ways to work around it. Though likely it will also be a game where efficiency is very important, so getting slowed down even a bit could end up making a big difference.

Hobbes wrote:
And there seems to be almost no luck in the game after the initial set-up; The only exception that I see is the semi-random draw of "milestones."


This seems like a unilaterally good thing, but in context it seems like you're presenting it as a negative? Is this a problem in Hansa Teutonica? In Terra Mystica? I guess I just don't entirely understand what you're worried about. The milestones should hopefully give you enough direction to push you toward slightly different things each game, plus the variable oard setup should do the same.

Hobbes wrote:
So what keeps this from being a mostly solitaire optimization puzzle? What's to stop you from just figuring out your best path and mostly ignoring what the other players do?


Well, any best path ought to include getting some key first builder bonuses (none of which would I call "minor"), which means to achieve that you'll have to make sure you can be ready and able to get the bonus actions you need in the proper order before anyone else takes them. Similarly if you need a particular deal, you'll need to be looking to your opponents to figure out if they're going to trigger it before you're ready to take advantage.

Hobbes wrote:
I'm guessing that's why the game has variable "start tiles," so everyone will start from a slightly different position in the game. Otherwise, players could all wind up following the same optimum path?


Well, again, there's also the issue that the second someone builds in a city other players will probably be in much less of a rush to get to that city. Plus, there looks to be enough setup variability that each time you play you'll be dealing with a different board and thus it'll probably take a while before anyone necessarily even agrees what the "optimum" strategy should be, if there even is only one.

All this said, it's very possible that this isn't the game for you. You don't appear to be the biggest fan of this publisher's other recent games, and this looks to mostly be more of the same from my reading.
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David desJardins
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Cardboardjunkie wrote:
But personally, I enjoy Euros BECAUSE there is limited to no screwage. If I wanted to play a take that game, I would.


That's not really part of the definition of "Euro". For example, Caylus is a classic Euro with a huge amount of negative play ("screwage"). I could name a bunch of others.
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And there are lots of kinds of interaction that are meaningful without being negative.
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Jake:

I'm usually fine with little or no luck in games. My worry is if there's too little player interaction and determinable best paths, then luck would be a way of making things a little less calculable.

But I think you might be right that the first-place bonuses are more important than they appear from my first read of the rules.

Like I said, I've preordered and am hopeful. I just wanted some reassurance.
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David desJardins
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jblomquist wrote:
Hobbes wrote:
And there seems to be almost no luck in the game after the initial set-up; The only exception that I see is the semi-random draw of "milestones."


This seems like a unilaterally good thing, but in context it seems like you're presenting it as a negative?


I'm not sure what "unilaterally good" is supposed to mean. Obviously, some people want games with more luck; otherwise there wouldn't be any games that have more luck.
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John Rogers
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Cardboardjunkie wrote:
I swear I just read this post under The Colonists.

Another point of possible interaction is competition over the different worker types.

But personally, I enjoy Euros BECAUSE there is limited to no screwage. If I wanted to play a take that game, I would. And yes, in my experience, "interaction" is just another term for screwage.


I view screwage/take-that as types of interaction but not interaction itself. I view screwage as largely deceptive, under-handed, back-stabbing. Take-that is largely direct, in your face, and often zero-sum. I'm not a huge fan of either; however, there are exceptions.

That being said, I love highly interactive affairs like Container, Indonesia, The Great Zimbabwe, Kaivai etc none of which feel particularly under-handed, deceptive, or directly zero-sum in nature.
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Read the rules today and had a similar reaction. Typically the board in a train game offers a good amount of interaction as the routes are typically blocking in some fashion. That aspect was removed in favor of more friendly non blocking development of the map.

Another aspect of the game that was lost with this choice was mutual incentives. Working with your fellow players to develop the map before cutting them out of well paying routes.

Even the worker placement contention was watered down by giving each player their own board to place their workers.

It does come down to whether the race aspect of the game carries it. It does seem like it will be significant. That another player's choice will influence where I decide to build if another player gets in there first. This works well in Voyages of Marco Polo.

Overall though, it does week like they took a train game and stripped out most of the interaction between the players. Could still be interesting, as the race aspects do look like they will prevent the game from being entirely a solo puzzle.
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Jake Blomquist
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DaviddesJ wrote:
jblomquist wrote:
Hobbes wrote:
And there seems to be almost no luck in the game after the initial set-up; The only exception that I see is the semi-random draw of "milestones."


This seems like a unilaterally good thing, but in context it seems like you're presenting it as a negative?


I'm not sure what "unilaterally good" is supposed to mean. Obviously, some people want games with more luck; otherwise there wouldn't be any games that have more luck.


You know, neither am I. I wrote that pretty quickly and it's been a long day. I can think of a few possible interpretations, including at least one where I don't know what the word unilaterally means. But I think my point was that taking a quick look through the OP's ratings he mostly seemed to like low luck games so it struck me as odd for him to be concerned that this game appears to have low luck. But yeah, I almost certainly could have written something that was more clear.
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Bartosz Popow
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Lack of meaningful interaction would normally make it a pass for me (like it does for A Feast for Odin, La Granja: No Siesta and probably more this year). However bearing in mind publisher's and designers' pedigree I'll gladly give it a try.

And no, euro game =/= lack if interaction or solo optimization puzzle. There are euro games with variable amounts of interaction, there are the ones with zero interaction, there are the ones which are super highly interactive with no negative interaction, there are the ones with negative interaction and a lot in-between. I'm all for the ones in-between. Drafting resources, drafting actions (worker placement), majorities, route building - all those provide nice interactions in euro games.

And in my book making solo optimization puzzles is going the easy route. It is difficult to make a game where interaction interlocks with the rest of the mechanisms. It's less tricky to just throw in a bunch of actions and let players freely choose what they can do independent of each other. But that's just me.

Btw, I was the one complaining about lack of interaction in The Colonists thread ;]. Although that was a basic game described, supposedly the standard one has more to offer.
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Morten K
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WYG? used to be autobuy for me but either my taste has changed or their output has because recently I have soured on them. Either too little player interaction or the game has been complex for complexity's sake instead of having thematic complexity. This looks very much like another pass for me.
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Garry Clarke
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Having read the rules I was dismayed with the lack of interaction. Everyone has their own boards, workers and resources. I've already crossed it off my list.

It's disappointing as train games are quite often very interactive with the spatial element forcing people to fight for the best routes or the share shenanigans from the 18xx games.

Funnily enough I started playing Euros purely because of the interaction, I bought Alaska back in the late 70s and you can step in and start dismantling your opponents routes over the ice - great stuff. El Grande more interaction, love it, and so on. If I want to play a solo optimisation puzzle (and I don't) I can do that on a computer without having to wait for others to take their turns.
 
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I played the game a few times and I can tell you there is quite a bit of interaction.

The "being first" bonuses tend to very important, so there is a lot of competition for them. Since reaching those sometimes requires more than one turn, there is a good bit of anticipating another player's moves, for example to avoid placing an expensive rail etc.

My favorite part is the shares/deals mechanic, where there is one open tile with yummy effects. Many people can trigger it, so we tended to look at other people's shares tokens to see who can get the deal. Triggering it at the right moment is a lot of fun.

Also, limited train tiles in the endgame can be quite interesting.

And yes, the rail placement is not blocking like in other "interactive" train games. It's different, new and you should try it. Just reading the rules does not do it justice.
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Marco Canetta
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Tigrillo wrote:
WYG? used to be autobuy for me but either my taste has changed or their output has because recently I have soured on them. Either too little player interaction or the game has been complex for complexity's sake instead of having thematic complexity. This looks very much like another pass for me.


You know what? At a certain point, during the development of this game, for some reasons, something has spontaneously happened.

As a gamer, I am a fan of the excitement given by savage interaction, and I found myself experimenting that same feeling in a game with apparently very limited interaction. Unexpected.
I believe it is the same that happens when you pass months and months mixing a potion. If it doesn’t blow up in your face, you obtain gold.

The explanation I gave to this, is that, even if it is in fact a solitary race, you are actually always skating on very thin ice, so even the slightest interference with your "perfect plan”, might heavily affects your strategy.

I really hope you’ll find it as exciting to play as it was exciting for us (me and Stefania) to develop it.

Ciao

Marco
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Travis Hill
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Just a couple of thoughts after reading the rules a number of times:

1. You can't compare this to a 'train game,' despite it having route building, etc... While it has aspects of a Winsome, that's not what it is. I don't think we can expect the same cutthroat nature you get out of Age of Steam coming out of this one. It's very 'euroified,' if I might say so. That doesn't mean there is no player interaction, just different.

2. First arrival bonuses seem the most important. Granted, they're not as game hanging as you see in Food Chain, it there's a similar sentiment here.

3. I love my multiplayer solitaires with limited and indirect player actions. This is my wheelhouse.
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Morten K
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It's still on my list of games to have a look at and try - just not on my autobuy

Capo Oro wrote:
Tigrillo wrote:
WYG? used to be autobuy for me but either my taste has changed or their output has because recently I have soured on them. Either too little player interaction or the game has been complex for complexity's sake instead of having thematic complexity. This looks very much like another pass for me.


You know what? At a certain point, during the development of this game, for some reasons, something has spontaneously happened.

As a gamer, I am a fan of the excitement given by savage interaction, and I found myself experimenting that same feeling in a game with apparently very limited interaction. Unexpected.
I believe it is the same that happens when you pass months and months mixing a potion. If it doesn’t blow up in your face, you obtain gold.

The explanation I gave to this, is that, even if it is in fact a solitary race, you are actually always skating on very thin ice, so even the slightest interference with your "perfect plan”, might heavily affects your strategy.

I really hope you’ll find it as exciting to play as it was exciting for us (me and Stefania) to develop it.

Ciao

Marco
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Marco Canetta
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Tigrillo wrote:
It's still on my list of games to have a look at and try - just not on my autobuy


Thanks. Hope you will play and enjoy. Waiting for you in Essen?
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Morten K
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I'll come by the WYG? stand
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Jimmy Okolica
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So, coincidentally, I picked up Marco Polo about a month ago. I loved Grand Austria Hotel and had heard good things about Marco Polo. What a frustrating game! With Grand Austria Hotel, there's all these cool combos that come up... if I do this and this, then I can do this other things which lets me do this third thing. Super cool. Then, I played Marco Polo. What a slog! I mean, each turn you accomplish so little as you feel like you're struggling to make any progress. Then it finally hit me. It's a front-loaded game! You play this game by sitting down, staring at the board, figuring out what your strategy for the game's going to be, and then taking your set up stuff. An hour or two later, you see how successful you were. It's Terra Mystica but a little less complex or Kingdom Builder but a bunch more complex.

Reading the rules for Railroad Revolution, I had the exact same thought. It's a mostly front-loaded game with some need to adjust during the game based on the direction other players go. Terra Mystica is the same way. So is Marco Polo and Kingdom Builder. In all of those games, you may need to adjust based on other players, but for the most part, you're doing what's best for you and hoping no one else accidentally messes with you. The only "interaction" is trying to anticipate what someone else is going to do and then changing your sequence of actions so they don't mess you up. If you're lucky, maybe once a game there's a chance for negative interaction (e.g., I'm doing this just to mess with you because it doesn't hurt me -- again, think of the number of times in Terra Mystica or Kingdom Builder, you do something primarily because it hurts someone else). In that case, I don't think moving the action selection from the shared board to a private board will have much affect.

Is it going to be worth getting? :shrug: If you like Marco Polo, I think you'll like it. If you like Terra Mystica but hate spending 30 minutes teaching this and another 2 hours staring at the walls while people AP, I think you'll like this. If you like Kingdom Builder but want something with less chaos, I think you'll like this. There are probably more examples (someone mentioned Scythe which I haven't played).

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Scot Duvall
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travisdhill wrote:
1. You can't compare this to a 'train game,' despite it having route building, etc... While it has aspects of a Winsome, that's not what it is. I don't think we can expect the same cutthroat nature you get out of Age of Steam coming out of this one. It's very 'euroified,' if I might say so. That doesn't mean there is no player interaction, just different.
My son and I are train enthusiasts, and frankly, an 18xx game is beyond us at this point. Railways of the World sits unopened. This game actually appears well-themed and accessible (though perhaps on the heavy side, which is fine). So for us, "Eurofied" is a GOOD thing. We are not ready for a Winsome or a cutthroat stock market simulation.

Hopefully we are the type of gamers the designers had in mind.
 
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Scot Duvall
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Is it going to be worth getting? :shrug: If you like Marco Polo, I think you'll like it.

Jimmy to the rescue! These types of insights are extraordinarily helpful. (So looks like we'll be buying this!)
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Jake Blomquist
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Terra Mystica is the same way. So is Marco Polo and Kingdom Builder. In all of those games, you may need to adjust based on other players, but for the most part, you're doing what's best for you and hoping no one else accidentally messes with you....If you like Marco Polo, I think you'll like it. If you like Terra Mystica but hate spending 30 minutes teaching this and another 2 hours staring at the walls while people AP, I think you'll like this.


Interesting observation. Though, just as a counterpoint, I'll mention that there's a line somewhere in there. I personally quite like Terra Mystica in spite of disliking Marco Polo for basically the exact reason you seem to. In my experience of Terra Mystica just because there aren't a lot of instances of explicit negative interaction, there's still a reasonable amount of space for tactical adjustments to your overall strategy, which makes me feel like I'm actually doing something and there's a reason I'm sitting there playing the game. Whereas in Marco Polo it feels like almost complete autopilot. I suspect this game will land closer to Terra Mystica than Marco Polo. In fact actually it seems to me like it will be more interactive than Terra Mystica. But again I'm just speculating here just like most of us.

But also, maybe I'm dense but I'm having a hard time understanding what people are getting at with a lot of their blocking comments. Let's say we're playing a game where you take a connection that I wanted. Now I have to go around or find myself a new target. Fine. In this game let's say you take the first build bonus of a city or trigger the current deal tile before I'm ready. Now I have to find a different way to get whatever I was working toward or decide to work toward a different thing. These seem basically the same to me.

Are people just too fixated on the fact that this is a game whose theme is about building a train company, and so they're convinced that their physical network must be a good measure of success at the end of the game? Are they just saying that they wish the penalty for someone beating you to a first builder bonus was higher? It seems to me like as long as there is a penalty then if you're playing with people close enough in skill to you the person who loses out most often will probably lose. Do people just really like decisive wins?

I sort of suspect that what's happening is people are expecting the interaction to live in certain places (this is a train game so there should be route blocking, this is a worker placement game so the action spots should be exclusive, etc.) when actually it lives in others that have been pretty well documented on this page but that many people seem to be happy to overlook.
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Michael Alexander
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ScottNotSteve wrote:
Railways of the World sits unopened.


Do yourself a service an open it up, it's really not as hard as it might look from outside the box and I've even taught it to non-gamers and they've enjoyed it.

I think it could be the most broadly accessible / appealing train game around.
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