Michael
Canada
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Onatrio & New York
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I appreciated JonGetsGames nearly 2-hour playthrough of GWT. Then yesterday I saw his "Variety Vlog" which brought out two possible problems with the gameplay.

See minute 20:00 to 23:00 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_qLJUb_1Pc

Check it out, and all of you who have played it, what do you think?

GWT is top on my wishlist, but now I'm not sure.

I really appreciate hearing your experiences/observations. Thanks.
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Nick Case
England
Epsom
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I hate blind randomness in games be it dice or card draws but having played this twice now, I'm not seeing the problems that the video reviewer did. There are several ways to mitigate a poor hand;

1/ Like he said you free up an option on your board to burn a weak card and streamline your deck. Sure your train goes back one each time you do this but this calls for clever advancement by leapfrogging other player trains. Alternatively get a few engineers and then roll backwards using them for station bonus's. Yes to start with you will have to pay a little to sell your cattle off to stations to fulfil their potential but money isn't that short seeing how you can get cash for selling off cattle en route and with clever use of buildings (hazard and $2/ wooded building).

2/ It's quite possible to discard up to two cards from your hand in a turn by landing on the right building and clearing the extra space on your board. On the way to Kansas, its easy to be shifting 6+ cards before the game is half way through. All considered, you just have to adapt your speed and route to Kansas depending on what you are dealt. It's only a poor hand if you don't try to prune it.

3/ Not many Buildings at game end? Well not if you don't build them. You just need two craftsmen to build some basic buildings and them the trick is to upgrade the existing ones for better rewards. Too many buildings will slow progress to Kansas.

The 'problems' cited are imho just balancing consequences to stop a particular strategy being over powered.
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alan beaumont
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Major Concerns - Cow Draw Luck and Buildings not Very Important??
I've only played once (4 player), with the vanilla set up and we played some things wrong, such as starting at the start, not on a neutral building of choice.

I never noticed a money shortage for the purpose of station placement; after all you just got paid for your cows, therefore it's when you have maximum cashflow! Winnowing my deck wasn't too hard, but I started too late for decisive benefits.

We didn't go much for buildings, because no one bought the craftsmen, so it became a self fulfilling prophesy that buildings would have little influence. I think I will pay closer attention to them next time.

I found the iconography unintuitive and the rules layout fiddly, but I couldn't get the game out of my head, so I downloaded the rules and read them carefully, which cleared up my issues. Then I went to my FLGS (Leisure Games in N.London) and bought the thing!

I think it's going to be like Marco Polo - not easy to really grasp or master until I have a lot of plays under my belt, but I'm looking forward to that.
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There are several tell tale signs in the video reviewer's comments that he isn't thinking outside the box of one particular strategy among several that are viable (in fairness he wisely admits that he needs more plays to solidify his opinions).

I have won by focusing on one worker type and ignoring the others; three radically different strategies that were all victorious (against good opponents).

Focusing on Cowboys is the most obvious strategy- you get higher value cattle faster and cheaper, focus on the auxiliary action that lets you cull your deck and move through the trail quickly in order to visit Kansas City with those high valued cows as many times as possible. The auxiliary action that lets you draw and discard cards can be very useful in mitigating luck of the draw, and obviously increasing your hand size helps. The best way to hinder this strategy is by placing a lot of buildings on the trail, grinding his movement down.

Focusing on Engineers involves the opposite approach- you want to move slowly along the trail (you don't have high valued cows to deliver!), picking up money here and there and obviously hitting the two neutral buildings that allow you to move your train forward based on # of engineers. I had great success ignoring the early stations and racing to the end of the track, dumping tokens in the 8 and 9 VP stations and then moving backwards to dump in a few more before game end. Goal cards should be easy to fulfill since you'll have a bunch of stations and move slowly so you more consistently pick up tee pees and (funds permitting) hazards.

Focusing on Builders can be very powerful- just look at the abilities on the higher level buildings, they're nuts! A successful builder strategy needs to upgrade to one of those bad ass buildings and leverage its ability ASAP. Builder strategy is the most flexible as it depends on what particular building abilities you are going to focus on. One game I used buildings and the auxiliary action to move up the rails and then killed it with that high level building that lets you move backwards on the rails and claim a destination- I moved a cool 36 spaces backwards to get two tokens in San Fransisco; of course I also had two SF goal cards! Another game I used the high level building that maxes out your ribbons, which allowed me to compete with deliveries without having high level cows.

There are several radically different strategies that can win in GWT; don't get caught up in group think.
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Michael
Canada
Niagara Region & Buffalo
Onatrio & New York
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Excellent info! Very helpful - thanks!
 
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JonGetsGames
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Thanks Michael for posting about this, and thanks to everyone who has given feedback. As I mentioned I am not sure if I see problems with the game or just with me being very poor at it.

From these responses it does seem like perhaps in each game I have been trying to do a bit of everything while prioritizing one slightly more and this is maybe a bad idea. For example, when someone has gone heavy cowboy they didn't cull their deck and tried to get by with just the "draw 2 discard 2" and that seems in hindsight to be a poor plan. They were worried about their train being too far back, but maybe it's ok to end the game with a skunked train if your deck is tiny and amazing.

In my next play I'll for sure try hitting one particular strategy hard and see what happens, specifically the buildings because those LOOK the most interesting and I just haven't seen them come out.

Its likely that the "flaw" I've been seeing is that the game is that it's not obvious how to do well at the game from an initial play or two for some people (me and my friends) and this is why I'm holding off on a review until I get at least two more games in to see if it opens up. I am certainly hoping it will
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Wilkins Chow
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verandi wrote:

A successful builder strategy needs to upgrade to one of those bad ass buildings and leverage its ability ASAP.


Absolutely! Upgrading building is the key!!
I only recognized it after a few games.

The cowboys allow you to buy better cattle with cheaper price.
You will buy cattle as many as possible.

The engineers allow you to move your train further.
You will visit the two neutral buildings as often as possible.

The craftsmen work in a different way. You don't get a discount/bonus for more craftsmen you had. Generally you still need to pay $2 for each craftsman you used for the building. It only allows you to have (earlier) access to the high level buildings, and the unique actions that it brings.
So instead of rushing to build a lot of buildings, we should focus on getting those high level building out asap.
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Shannon Krumick
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VolleyGame wrote:
I appreciated JonGetsGames nearly 2-hour playthrough of GWT. Then yesterday I saw his "Variety Vlog" which brought out two possible problems with the gameplay.

See minute 20:00 to 23:00 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_qLJUb_1Pc

Check it out, and all of you who have played it, what do you think?

GWT is top on my wishlist, but now I'm not sure.

I really appreciate hearing your experiences/observations. Thanks.


I don't think its much of an issue as there are ways to deal with it.

You can use your gear options to cycle cards with draw/discard action as well as the cull a card gear option. In addition to those two options there are numerous stops that allow you to spend your 1's/2's so you can draw more cards at the end of your turn to try and optimize your final hand before KC.

I played my first game this afternoon and finished with a score of 157. I had thinned out every starting card from my deck with the exception of 1 white cow and managed to purchase 1 of each other cow in the game. I ended up with 3 disks on San Fran, and the following 2 stations beyond San Fran in addition to a couple earlier stations. I also managed to end the game with around $60. I'm mentioning the above to show how you can send your train backwards and still move it far enough along the track to gain plenty of points.
 
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Robert
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Regarding the two concerns of the video reviewer:
1) "luck of drawing cards": yes, this is a potential issue. "On average" it will even out, but there will be games when card drawing just seems to permanently work against you, and you'll not win against similarly-skilled opponents with better luck. As usual, you'll only remember the games when you had bad luck, while taking the games with better-than-average drawing luck as "normal" resp. "look at my skillful play".
2) "hard to build a lot of buildings": yes, if you want a lot of buildings out there resp. have a few really valuable buildings out there, you have to focus accordingly. Seeing 10 potential buildings in front of you, and only building two or three does feel like not using the full potential. But so does lagging behind on the train track, or purchasing few cattles while other players buy the valuable ones. Buildings are just one way to collect points and improve your "engine", and building lots of them is just one potential component in winning the game.
 
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