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Subject: New York 1901 Game Mechanics Basics rss

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Chenier La Salle
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Designer’s Notes

The skyscrapers
- The drawings for all the skyscrapers tiles are based on actual turn-of-the century New York skyscrapers, most of which are still standing today. The footprints of the tiles, even the more “Tetrisy” ones, are also inspired by the actual footprints of the structures.

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/120747/skyscrapers-designe...

- The different sizes of skyscraper footprints and their allocation to Bronze, Silver and Gold technologies, were designed to both: (1) limit the over-exploitation of the build-demolish cycle and to (2) keep beginners (and weaker players) in the game until the end.

The 2 and 3 lot combination
- The combination of 2 and 3 square lots makes the landscape more irregular. If the board was made up of only 2 square lots, the regularity and predictability of the space would make it likely that players would use point maximizing patterns, making gameplay less interesting.
- Since the combination of lots forms various complex shapes (rather than simple rectangles and squares) the irregular landscape makes the exploitation of the demolition-reconstruction pattern much more difficult, which forces players to be creative each time.
- There are many 3 square lots available on the board and their distribution among players over the course of a game is generally even and all players experience the pleasure of building a few BIG skyscrapers.
- The game was designed to make the accumulation of too many 3 square lots of land counterproductive. The 3 square lots are spread evenly across the streets and districts.
- When a player accumulates too many 3 square lots, his options generally become more limited and he will find it harder to accomplish the Street Bonuses and Bonus Challenge in play.

Varying Bonus and Replayability
- The 5 Street Bonus (3 selected out of 5) and the 5 bonus challenge (1 selected out of 5) give the game considerable replayability.
- The 10 possible Street combinations coupled to the 5 possible bonus challenges add up to 50 different game scenarios. All these scenarios require players to make small, medium or major changes in their game strategy. Additional bonuses (the small expansion pack is an example) add to this variety.
- The allocation of points across (1) the demolition-construction cycle (2) the 3 Street objectives (3) the Bonus Challenge in play make it very difficult for players to routinely fall back on a pattern/strategy that ensures regular victory. When a player ignores even one of these three aspects completely, it becomes much more difficult to win.

The 4 Legendary Skyscrapers
- The 4 legendary skyscrapers - The Woolworth (1913), Metropolitan Life (1909), Singer (1908) and Park Row (1899) - add an aura of authenticity to the game. The 4 legendary skyscrapers really did exist and each one was at one time the tallest in New York City and the World. This element of authenticity is light and elegantly supports gameplay.
- The presence of the 4 legendary skyscrapers also adds some tension to the game. At some point in the game (which can be fairly early for experienced players) players will have their eye on one of these four skyscrapers, the one that works best with their strategy and their position on the board. The fear of seeing an opponent snatch the one they wanted from under their noses adds some enjoyable tension to the game. This tension also helps strengthen the NY1901’s “end game”, an important element of any quality game.

Demolishing and Rebuilding
-Demolishing and rebuilding makes it possible to score points fairly easily, so it’s tempting for players to use it as soon as they cross the Silver (6 points) or Gold (18 points) thresholds. The only problem is that on turns where a player chooses to demolish, he cannot acquire a new lot of land, which limits the expansion of his territory.
-When a player has less territory, it becomes harder for him to take control of the streets in play and to accomplish the bonus. It’s always a question of balance.
Players have to learn to choose the best moments to demolish and rebuild. When a player does it too often or too soon, he risks giving his opponents a free hand to expand which could come back to haunt him…

Understanding your Bonus and your Streets
-There are 5 scoring streets in NY1901 of which 3 are in play each game. There are therefore 10 possible combination of streets. There are also 5 different bonus challenges of which only 1 is in play each game. The 10 possible street combinations combined with the 5 different bonuses means there are a total of 50 possible scenarios in NY1901. Needless to say this makes it almost impossible to master them all.
-However, since certain bonuses encourage the use of specific skyscrapers, it’s always a good idea to change and adapt your strategy to meet the streets and bonuses in play.
-For example, the 2 streets that are not in play are generally less popular since they don’t deliver bonus points at the end of the game. However, since they’re not as popular, they can make it easier to accumulate land which could allow someone to build big high scoring skyscrapers.
-Another example is the Bronze Baron Bonus that rewards players for having older Bronze Generation skyscrapers on the board. Bronze skyscrapers are on average smaller and easier to build. When that bonus is in play, there will likely be a greater number of small skyscrapers on the board by the end of the game. The abundance of smaller easier to place skyscrapers will often mean that taking control of the 3 streets in play should be a bit more challenging. Players will have to pay more attention to what they build and at what time. It’s up to you to discover the tricks of the trade!

Best Use of Space
-It’s natural for NY1901 players to THINK BIG! In order to build grand skyscrapers, you need a lot of space. Therefore players have a tendency to acquire lots that are in sections of the board that are still undeveloped, in the hopes that it’ll be easier to accumulate many contiguous lots of land. But it’s good for players to use this same tendency against their adversaries...
-It’s often a good strategy to make sections of the board that interest you less attractive to other players. When lots that interest us are less attractive to other players, it becomes easier to expand without being hindered by pesky opponents. It’s up to you to discover the tricks of the trade!
-In the same spirit, lots of 3 squares will seem very attractive but you have to remember one thing: a lot of 3 squares is worth very little on its own. You need to acquire 2 or 3 contiguous lots of land to truly get the most out of a 3 square lot and that can take a lot of time… It can be a good idea to fight the temptation and to let your opponents get some of these 3 square lots. These lots might keep them busy for a long time and give you a free hand somewhere else…

I speak no more and let you discover…
Thanks for playing the game!
Chénier
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Peter Grapsopoulos
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A brilliant game! Thanks for the notes!

I'm still waiting for the Goons and the painted figures to become available in the geekstore! Fingers crossed they will be available soon!
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Chenier La Salle
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Thanks Peter! They will come up eventually!
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