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Subject: Dominant strategy rss

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Evan Francis
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I'm loving the fact that everytime I hear about this game they talk about some different dominating strategy.

Geek all stars talked recently about how if you don't hit the stations and someone else does, you'll lose.

My experience has been so different with cows seemingly the most important.

This is contrasted to Mombassa which I and a majority of others felt that you could completely ignore the Book track in every game and win.

I'm so keen to explore paths and how the heck to make them work because I can see how almost the parts support them. My last play flopped during a train run to the end.

Anyway, game of the year for me.
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Brad Keusch
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Excited to play this. In mombasa you can ignore the books as long as you have enough elsewhere, but in a 3 or 4p game you might have trouble getting enough diamond guys. I find getting through the book track is both rewarding AND lucrative, especially since you might not often have much competition.

I'm curious to see how the burning books mini expansion changes it too!
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Evan Francis
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I'll have to look into that expansion. Thanks.

Edit: It's called Cooked Books and it's a promo. Doesn't look like it changes enough for me.
 
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M V
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"Geek all stars talked recently about how if you don't hit the stations and someone else does, you'll lose."

Here's a thought: don't let one person grab all of those station bonus tiles for herself. It would be one thing if it's very difficult to stop someone from completely monopolizing the train game, but it shouldn't be. There's even a small catch-up mechanic in that you skip over the spaces of trains ahead of you.
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Armand
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That's a common misconception among new players. The truth is, if you ignore BK in Mombasa against experienced players you will absolutely lose every time.

Reason being, diamond cards get you points once, then flip. Cards you use for BK get you points, get you a BK reward, get used for a purchase, stock track advance or exploration, then flip. It's a 'threefer' you can't ignore.

Because BK is so much harder to play well than diamonds, new players assume it's broken. Bottom line: don't doubt Alex Pfister. He's a lot better at game design than you!
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Evan Francis
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The same was true about another part the Geek all stars professed, that you never thin your deck much if at all.

A previous game my train hardly left the station before backing up to trash those cards. I ended up with very concise deck and could have thinned further yet didn't need to.

I understand that he's be a better designer, I'm not saying I am (what if I was). I am not a new Mombasa player. Experience has shown that I can ignore the book track and win. It has been the experience of others also, it's kind of a thing.

In this game I can feel the parts supporting the paths more.
 
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Bart de Vos
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kinkykone wrote:
I'm loving the fact that everytime I hear about this game they talk about some different dominating strategy.

Geek all stars talked recently about how if you don't hit the stations and someone else does, you'll lose.

My experience has been so different with cows seemingly the most important.


In my first game, I mixed a lot of cows, a bit of deck thinning (got rid of 5 cards, I think) with a bunch of great early stations (+2 permanent certificates) and a lot of top deliveries.

Second game, I saw someone being succesful with a heavy building + train advancement strategy (without taking any of the early stations that provide bonuses). He built some of his best buildings as quickly as possible, all of which had an extra move as the 2nd action. Notably, he had the one that maxes out the certificates. Within 2 or 3 moves he would combo-across the board and make a great delivery (who cares about thinning if you have +6 everytime, enough for decent deliveries). Interestingly, he didn't build any of the early stations for rewards. He went straight for the ones that give more points (near the end) and then used a building to take earlier stations (he even ran out of discs before the game was over). Interestingly, he actually paid for most of his train movement with his auxiliary actions, rather than having the worker for it.

So these strategies couldn't be further apart, yet both scored in the 120s.
- a lot of better cows vs. almost no better cows
- early stations vs. late stations
- top deliveries vs. (a bit more) decent deliveries
- hardly any buildings vs. quite a few big buildings
- 4 vs. 1 finished assignments

Really great to see!
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Chris Smith
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doctoryes0 wrote:
Bottom line: don't doubt Alex Pfister. He's a lot better at game design than you!


Or, y'know, most designers.

I find myself endlessly face-palming in this hobby at people playing a game 1-5 times and calling that strategy 'X' is clearly dominant. You'd think people assume no play-testing has occurred =P.

I do rather enjoy it when you hear reviews from different places where people all call out a different strategy as dominant though ;P
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Sometimes designers miss things though because their play test group suffers from groupthink or are not aggressive enough. It's happened to famous designers even (see A Few Acres of Snow). I think people should air their concerns ( politely and respectfully of course) if they have them and then they can be argued against if necessary. The jury is still out on the telegraph track of Railroad Revolution for example, it really may be too dominant.

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