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Subject: Is the game broken? rss

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Bryant Hudson
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To answer last question, you do get 1 point for every 10 gold at the end.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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I don't think Vesta was ever intended as a strategy, and I'm not surprised it failed. It's just like a whole bunch of games that give you some weak partial points for leftover money/resources. It's more of a consolation prize.

There are focused strategies though. My wife and I typically make a big use of the Minerva cards, especially cloth and wine. I've also surprised her by rushing the brick buildings and buying the appropriate Minerva cards. I also love to gobble up the Mercury cards because those can yield huge points. It combos well with a cloth heavy strategy since I usually have to overpay to ensure I get those cards.

I don't think this is the type of game that is too balanced. Our scores can be close, but we've also get big wins and losses often as well...

There are other strategies than just spamming Saturn. Vesta just isn't one of those...
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Gillum the Stoor
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You do add your cash value (1/10 of it) to your final score - that is what Vesta does. And Vesta also has you sell everything in your storehouse first.
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Derry Salewski
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My explanation of scoring:

All the cards except money-- these are important, here's how you get points for them.

Vesta: you also get 1/10th of a point for each gold you get. Your score should be about 100-150. Don't worry about getting gold to score with.

So . . . sorry you didn't have me teaching you.

But no, not broken.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Saturn is not the only viable strategy at all. Mars and Jupiter with Smith and Farmer can bury a very fulsome Saturn.
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Jeff Thornsen
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The Vesta card is meant to be a way to score a small number of points for leftover resources at the end of the game. The primary focus of the game is to earn more cards and/or build more houses, not to hoard resources.

As a general rule, every card you buy or house you build is worth 8-12 points at the end of the game (assuming you build somewhat evenly). Anything you do that isn't a Senator/Consul or Architect action is basically worth 0 points until you can again use Senator/Consul or Architect again.

With 185 gold (or even 30 gold), you should be using Senator or MercatorArchitect, not calling more Prefects.

Option 1: Prefect + Mercator for (best case - 5 Cloth) earn 35 gold (3.5 points)
Option 2: Mercator + Senator for (best case) 2 cards (~20 points)
Option 3: Mercator + Architect for (best case) 4 houses (~40 points)

It's just an inherent design of the game, the goal is to buy cards (Senator) and build houses (Architect). Whichever player does this more efficiently and faster than the other players will get the most points and win.

There are a small number of niche strategies or sub-strategies that sometimes can work (house rush, card rush, MARS/colonist strategy, etc) but the general goal of the game is to build houses in every region and buy more cards.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Also: Vesta is the goddess of the hearth. If you focus on Vesta, you might as well stay home.

Players with the most cash on hand at the end of the game are routinely the losers at Concordia.
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Geeky McGeekface
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There have been several good responses to your concerns already. However, even without them, you could have reasoned as follows:

Premise A: The people on the Geek are pretty smart.
Premise B: The people on the Geek have rated Concordia in the top 50.

If you accept both premises, then you would have to conclude...

Conclusion C: Concordia is not broken.

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Russ Williams
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(Even if what you said was true, I'm not sure how that means the game is "broken". To me, "broken" suggests that there is some simple trick to win easily, or that e.g. if everyone plays defensively then the game never terminates. But overuse of the word "broken" is perhaps a terminological tangent...)

Belevoix wrote:
First of all, there are only single Vesta cards meaning that a focus on efficient production and trade is seemingly broken by end game multipliers which outweigh the vesta card. Tonight I tried building in a region, then perfecting that region and using mercator to sell goods, sometimes using diplomat to achieve those actions without excessive use of tribune, and thereby reached in excessive of 185 gold.

Focusing on making lots of money seems clearly a bad strategy to me, and I don't think it was intended that that should be a viable strategy. The Vesta card just seems intended to throw you a bone for any money you might have left over at the end, but hoarding money seems obviously not the best use of your resources and actions in this game.

Like the saying in real life, I think money is meant to be spent and used.

Quote:
The result was my wife destroyed me by simply building everywhere and buying up a few Saturn cards. I know Concordia really wants to push you to a balanced strategy but the problem then is that each game's strategy is somewhat well... Meh. Just build and buy Saturn cards. Done.

"Done"? If you are both balanced in Saturn points, then not "done" because points from the various other cards will determine the winner. E.g. 15 points from Weaver is often very important in our games.

It seems a bit like complaining "Chess is broken. Just have more material and a better position. Done."

Quote:
The multipliers aren't balanced to allow anyone to specialise in a couple of areas. But if everyone is pushed into buying a similar card spread and expanding everywhere they can cheaply, the point differences become quite small, leading me to suspect that there are deeper problems in the game being hidden by the obtuse final scoring system.

What do you mean by "quite small"? My wife and I see differences sometimes of a dozen or so dozen; other games are closer; so it's a mix for us.

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As it stands you just need to spam colonists, build everywhere in a mix of production cities and collect region focused scoring cards. That leaves a sour taste to me. It's a shame as I love the game otherwise. It is so clean in design and beautifully made. It's just a wonky scoring system. Am I missing something silly

Sounds like you are not missing any rules, but rather that you just don't like the way the game plays. You seem to be complaining that you need to get some city and province cards and build cities in various provinces, and you want to do some qualitatively entirely different approach, but to me, this seems clearly a core part of the game. (Thematically it is about the Roman empire spreading and colonizing, after all...) So to me, it's a bit like complaining that "to win Go you just need to build a lot of territory, and then Done".


It also seems like you're grossly exaggerating how easy it is to win (suggesting the game is "broken" and that you "just need to spam colonists" makes it sound like it's some mindless activity with no real strategy or tactics necessary to win; well, if both players are following this allegedly trivial "broken" strategy, then who is going to win? Clearly player skill does matter.) If you are deciding that you don't enjoy the gameplay, OK, but it sounds like you're wanting to additionally imply that there is no strategic skill or or no interesting decisions or something like this ("is the game broken?"), which seems clearly untrue to me.
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Mc Jarvis
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Larry Levy wrote:
There have been several good responses to your concerns already. However, even without them, you could have reasoned as follows:

Premise A: The people on the Geek are pretty smart.
Premise B: The people on the Geek have rated Concordia in the top 50.

If you accept both premises, then you would have to conclude...

Conclusion C: Concordia deserves a high rating even if it is broken not broken.



Fixed your logic for you.
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Craig Roberts
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I'm always surprised by how sarcastic some responses get here on the geek. I raised a legitimate concern. Saying the game isn't designed to be a merchant game is fair enough, but as The game features merchants and uses the term house (as in trade house) and features no military aspect, I don't think my interpretation of the game was fundamentally erroneous. It should not be forgotten that the Roman Empire was built on trade as much as expansion of territory.

I'm also disappointed that some have said I don't like the game. Look at my post and I state very clearly I do. In fact it's almost my favourite game. I just don't like the developing impression that I'm getting that there are a handful of very advantageous strategies and some less balanced ones. Would it be so bad to have additional vesta cards to buy so people can choose a trade strategy? All the other God cards without exception have duplicates and can be purchased, why not vesta? Indeed I think it is a consolation prize as some have noted.

I'm going to keep playing and learning this one. I really like it, but there have been games before I've loved and then discovered unbalanced strategies which lessen the pleasure from thence forward. I was simply hoping to hear from players with more experience in the hope my impression was mistaken.

To those who say the word broken is overused, I concede that one. I used it ill-advisedly, but then my post was written as a gut feeling rather than a scientific analysis and was merely my expression of genuine concern that a game I enjoy feels unbalanced to the point that I was seeing similar strategies win all the time.

To those who have avoided sarcasm and simply offered sage advice, thank you. I'll be trying out your suggestions for alternate strategies in future games. I wonder too if the salsa expansion and its forum cards opens things out? What do people think?

Thanks to those who offered constructive ideas and comments.
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David Jones
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Larry Levy wrote:
There have been several good responses to your concerns already. However, even without them, you could have reasoned as follows:

Premise A: The people on the Geek are pretty smart.
Premise B: The people on the Geek have rated Concordia in the top 50.

If you accept both premises, then you would have to conclude...

Conclusion C: Concordia is not broken.



I believe that Few Acres of Snow was in the top 100 before the Halifax Hammer was discovered. Your first two premises do not support your conclusion. I would also point out that somewhere there is a post showing that a couple of the player boards for Castles of Burgundy are horribly unbalanced, but that doesn't keep the game out of the top 10.
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David Jones
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Belevoix wrote:
I wonder too if the salsa expansion and its forum cards opens things out? What do people think?


I think you've missed the point of everyone else's responses. You seem to be faulting the game because one specific strategy - amassing money - does not win the game. Concordia has several viable strategies that offer a diversity of play. The fact that one specific strategy does not work does not invalidate the half dozen other strategies you can choose from. The simple fact is that Concordia is a game meant to be won via building a trade empire rather than by simply wealth collection. You don't need Salsa to give you more options. That said, Salsa will open up more options for you, but again, amassing wealth still won't be one of them.
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Andy Szymas
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I don't believe the game is broken, but I can also say that I was disappointed in my first game by the Vesta card. I didn't realize there weren't more Vesta cards coming, so I banked my strategy on getting a ton of money and eventually planning to buy more Vesta cards, and it wasn't until 75% of the game was done that I asked why I hadn't seen any more Vesta cards.
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Greg
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It's been awhile since I've last played Concordia, but I definitely recall telling people I've taught to not worry about money at the end. Except for a couple times playing 2 player on Britannia, I've mostly played 4 or 5 player games, where people may finish with 50-90 coins. So 5-9 points is only a small portion of the whole score, though in a tight game, a couple extra points can make a difference.
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Craig Roberts
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Indeed A Few Acres and Burgundy were the two games I was alluding to when I mentioned that I had played games I loved before and then discovered unbalanced strategies that lessened my joy in the games.

I still like A Few Acres but now I can only play it with inexperienced players or those who avoid Hammer. It feels off though, to avoid a strategy that works: after all strategy is about optimisation and efficiency.

In Concordia, I just wish I could buy more vesta cards so that trade becomes a viable option, perhaps not the most effective strategy I concede, but a strategy rather than a consolation nonetheless.

In hindsight I should have realised trade was not the focus of the game simply because the game does not come with enough coins to support 5 players and coin being treated as a resource rather than as a means to build.

I'm going to explore the other strategies outlined by other users and see if they bring more viable competition against the Saturn path.

Thanks again all, I feel more confident now.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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AndySzy wrote:
I don't believe the game is broken, but I can also say that I was disappointed in my first game by the Vesta card. I didn't realize there weren't more Vesta cards coming, so I banked my strategy on getting a ton of money and eventually planning to buy more Vesta cards, and it wasn't until 75% of the game was done that I asked why I hadn't seen any more Vesta cards.


Now that's a fair cop. Derry's tip about teaching the game (upthread) speaks to the same issue. But there's no fundamental reason that Vesta should be "balanced" against the other god-scores. And Concordia is just not a game about building a treasury, it's about building a trade network, with the locations (houses) and political influence (cards) to make that network dominant.

Trade is the focus of the game. (Not accumulation.)
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Russ Williams
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It seems worth explicitly noting that the Halifax Hammer in A Few Acres of Snow is a completely different thing: that's an asymmetric game in which one player has a simple "trick" strategy which (more or less, depending on whom you believe) guarantees an easy victory no matter what the opponent does. (And this is clearly a problem which indeed arguably justifies calling a game "broken".)

But that is not at all the same as the situation in Concordia. Somebody who decides to go for collecting many cities and city cards is in no way guaranteed victory - especially if the opponent does the same thing!
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Fernando Robert Yu
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No. As simple as that.
 
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Craig Roberts
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Carthoris that's a very nice distinction- separating the idea of a trade network and building a treasury. It speaks to my thematic mind. I was previously irked by the separation: isn't the purpose of trade to accumulate wealth? But now I see that Concordia is threading the needle between running a trade network and managing imperial politics. I guess the abstractions in the game were working at odds with the theme for me when it came down to vesta, but your shrewd distinction of building a trade network rather than building a treasury has made me view the game differently. I guess at some level you are both an individual trader and concurrently an imperial politician too, with the two roles mechanically integrated even if thematically it could be argued there is a disconnect between who you are and what your goal can be. By viewing it through your lens it's easier to embrace the thematic side, something my mind needs to enjoy the game. I'm grateful for your post - and to those who've offered sage advice with teaching the game. I will now use that explanation, as well as the warning that vesta is not a strategy, when teaching the game next month at our meetup. Many thanks
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Walther Gerdts
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You can see it directly on the board:
The Pantheon (in the upper right corner on the board) shows how many new gods are available during the game, depending on the player count (= how many stacks II - V you use). Vesta is clearly not beyond them! (And the Pantheon omits Minerva cards as there are always 5 at all player counts). This information should usually help to develop a strategy.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Belevoix wrote:
First of all, there are only single Vesta cards meaning that a focus on efficient production and trade is seemingly broken by end game multipliers which outweigh the vesta card.
I'm not sure how this qualifies as broken. Sure, there's only a single card that gives points for money. And even worse, the exchange rate isn't that good. All that tells me is that trying to make points through money isn't a viable option.

Belevoix wrote:
Tonight I tried building in a region, then perfecting that region and using mercator to sell goods, sometimes using diplomat to achieve those actions without excessive use of tribune, and thereby reached in excessive of 185 gold.
Even a cursory analysis should have told you that wasn't a good plan.

You seem to be under the illusion that just because there's a way to score points via X that X should have to be a viable path to victory. I have no idea why you'd think that though. In almost every game there's choices that are obviously better than others. Insisting that every possible choice should be potentially as good as any other is just odd.

As a game player you're expected to evaluate all the possible paths and pick the best one. You should have been able to figure out that spending your resources and money building cities and buying cards would be much more efficient than hoarding money. Claiming that the game is broken because you couldn't figure out that you were following a bad path is just silly.

Do you believe Five Tribes (a game you own and rate a 9) is broken because sometimes the distribution of blue tiles and blue meeples makes scoring blue meeples an impossible path to victory? Or do you recognize that you have to evaluate the game state and pick the best path, rather than insisting that the blue meeples must be a viable path to victory.

Do you think San Juan (a game you own and rate an 8) is broken because the crane is almost never a good card to play? Or do you insist that every card must always be good?

Wait! You rate Concordia a 9? Even though you think it is broken?
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Sean Geraghty
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Belevoix wrote:
Look at my post and I state very clearly I do. In fact it's almost my favourite game.


I'm sorry. I can't look at your post because YOU DELETED IT!!! Why do people do this?!? So annoying.
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Antonia
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tkpope wrote:
Belevoix wrote:
Look at my post and I state very clearly I do. In fact it's almost my favourite game.


I'm sorry. I can't look at your post because YOU DELETED IT!!! Why do people do this?!? So annoying.

Yeah, either delete the whole thread or just leave it be.

By the way: Heaving read the whole thing when it was posted I want to second most of the things said here. Just because a money strategy does not work does not mean that the game is broken.

Had a similar problem with a stubborn friend once playing Village. He tried a strategy to concentrate on one location and of course this did not work either. And he kept complaining that the game is broken.
These people whistle
 
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A Huynh
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Belevoix wrote:
Saying the game isn't designed to be a merchant game is fair enough, but as The game features merchants and uses the term house (as in trade house) and features no military aspect, I don't think my interpretation of the game was fundamentally erroneous. It should not be forgotten that the Roman Empire was built on trade as much as expansion of territory.


This game is definitely themed around being a merchant, there's a card that is literally "merchant" (Mercator). However you think that 'merchant' seems to apply to just money? It's a resource management and action selection game, and therefore the focus of the game is buying, selling and trading the different types of resources. Merchants deal in trade.

It would be a dull game if you just gained a bunch of cloth and sold it all each other turn and expected that to be a good strategy. The game is balanced so that even if you own a bunch of cloth production you still need to buy or make bricks and other resources in order to expand your trade network. You ideally want to score in multiple ways and use the multipliers to your advantage, most of the cards have synergy with other scoring cards (ie. a single wheat city can score you on Jupiter and Saturn and a Minerva card).
 
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