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Subject: Even Stevens order rss

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David Kiehnhoff
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This order requires equal amounts of meat, cheese, sauce, and salad. Does this then exclude veggie patty and fried egg?

Can the equal amount be zero (i.e. a single middle bun or veggie patty/egg with none of the named ingredient types)?
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Matt Parkes
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I'm actually putting together a bit of an errata, and these two questions has been asked before, so I have something prepared:

Can I place Egg, Veggie Patties, etc on Even Stevens?
As with all other top buns/burgers, you can place ingredients not required (so long as they aren’t specifically denied).
So long as it has equal amounts of the listed ingredients (1 of each, Meta/Salad/Cheese/Sauce, 2 of each, etc, any extra ingredients that aren’t of those types are legal.

However...

Can I score the Even Stevens burger with zero ingredients of the listed types (but using other ingredients)?
That’s a good question! The rules as they are written suggest that you can, however the spirit of the card and rules as intended suggest that you can't.

The official stance is that you must have at least 1 or more sets of equal amounts of Meat, Salad, Sauce and Cheese to claim this Top Bun (and you may also have other non Meat/Salad/Sauce/Cheese ingredients, as per the previous question).

Please let me know if you have any other questions.
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David Kiehnhoff
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Thanks for the quick reply Matt. That's exactly how we saw/played it. Seemed against the spirit of the card not to have at least 1 of each of the required ingredient types.

Do you have an estimate of when the errata will be posted and are there any other big questions? Other than this single card, the game has been highly intuitive and the only questions that have come up in our games have been:

1. Are Middle Buns too powerful?
Though clearly stated in the rules, I wrongly thought that Middle Bun cards didn't count as ingredients since they weren't one of the 4 things I thought were ingredients (the 4 colored symbols). This was probably an unconscious attempt to counter-balance how useful a middle bun is. Since bigger is almost always better (with a few top bun exceptions), they seem incredibly powerful to be able to get the needed ingredients onto your burger.

2. Can the market be refreshed?
We had a game where the ingredient market was stagnant for multiple rounds. Players asked if there was a mechanism to refresh/restock the market, and the only way that I can see is to buy an unwanted card, discard it, and have a new one come out. Unfortunately this doesn't help the player spending the money since everyone else gets a turn to buy before his/her next turn. Have you tried any variants in which a player can pay X to clear out the market and restock it? What about a variant to buy an ingredient blind from the top of the deck? Would there need to be a "once per turn" limit on these things if available?

3. Is the Spatula ever useful?
In our limited number of plays, nobody has ever even considered using their spatula because it generally seems like a doubly losing proposition. You lose 2 points immediately for using it, and you potentially lose additional value from trashed ingredients if they can't be relocated. The top bun requirements are generally loose enough that you can make something out of a giant burger since there are more positive than negative requirements on them. If the requirements were stricter, I could see situations arising where a towering stack would be irrecoverable, but with the top buns in the base game that doesn't seem like an issue. After finishing a burger, I've never been worried that I'll hurt myself by dropping spare ingredients on my other bun. Any thoughts regarding a "hard mode" set of top buns which are more challenging to complete and force players to plan more carefully? I think it would be interesting to see situations where I might not want to play all 3 of my ingredients or where I need to use my spatula. Neither of those situations has arisen in our plays so far.
 
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Matt Parkes
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I hope to post the errata within the next 2 weeks.

It's really only that clarification about Even Stevens and a correction for The Vegan top bun.

To answer your questions

1. Are Middle Buns too powerful?
Just to clarify, Middle Buns count as ingredients for all purposes other than counting the height of the Burger. This means they can be moved with the spatula and even count as an ingredient for cards like the Deluxe Toppler (which requires no duplicate ingredients, so having 2 Middle Buns would not be legal on a Deluxe Toppler).

With the above in mind, you'll see that Middle Buns aren't overly powerful. They're useful when you're stuck, but their trade off is that they don't contribute any meaningful way to the requirements of Top Buns they and they take up a spot in your hand, (which could be better filled by an ingredient which is needed for a Top Bun or better yet, a perfect ingredient).

Interestingly enough, I've seen the opposite too where people complain Middle Buns aren't very useful (especially if they somehow manage to draw two Top Buns in one turn.)

Burger Up is all about experimentation with, so if you still think they are too powerful, feel free to try simply removing the 5x Top Buns and see what you and your group thinks.


2. Can the market be refreshed?
No. We explored that during the design/playtesting, but ultimately decided against it, to keep the focus on the player's hands. A couple of things I can point out are:
- The intention is that a player only buys from the market every 3-4 turns, to keep the game quick and snappy.
- Perfect ingredients in the Market are essentially "free" (other than cashflow concerns in the first few rounds) and the benefit of playing an extra ingredient when you otherwise wouldn't be able to can regularly be enough to push your burger into the next size tier (+2 to +5 coins, depending), so should be bought reasonably regularly.
- The market is very useful not just as a source of ingredients, but as a source of cards with the correct colour you need (to bridge between a card on your burger and one on your hand).

Once again, I'd be interested in any variants or house rules you try. Adding the ability to wipe the market, or maybe making an ingredient card fall off the market when a Top Bun is scored, could be fun with more strategy oriented players.


3. Is the Spatula ever useful?
Good question. During playtesting, when the spatula was free or even $1, it got "overused" and so $2 seems to be the perfect spot where players don't feel obligated to use it, but tactical players can still have some satisfying and clever moments with it.

The Spatula serves 2 purposes:
- first of all it allows people to toss ingredients into the discard pile, which is designed as a "safety net". It's helpful if you have a burger with meat on it and the other players have finished 2 or 3 Top Buns and now, through no fault of your own, 3 Top Buns are out which require no meat (or small burgers). You can use the Spatula in that scenario to fix things up and not feel "robbed."
- Secondly, it allows a player to combine two smaller burgers into one bigger burger (or part thereof). In that case, sacrificing 2 coins to take a burger from Gorumet to Colossal is a worthwile investment (as well as taking that Top Bun from your opponents). This move often catches your opponents by surprise, because it's rare for them to be able to fully understand the combinations of the burgers on the table, the cards in your hand (which they don't know about) AND the spatula.

Let me know if you'd like clarification on the above, or anything else.
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David Kiehnhoff
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torteth wrote:
Just to clarify, Middle Buns count as ingredients for all purposes other than counting the height of the Burger.

Got it! I think that it makes perfect sense for them to have a drawback by not counting toward height when scoring since they are potentially so useful.

In our initial play at BGG.CON I read it as Middle Buns not counting for scoring, but overlooked that disclaimer when questioned about it in subsequent games and chalked it up to misinterpreting rules at the con. I think the confusion arose because players not looking at the rules directly only see the player aids which score burgers by "ingredients" and that the middle buns are part of the "ingredients" deck and count toward the limit of 3 "ingredients" played per turn.

The wording "are not counted as ingredients" in the rules is a bit confusing since the scope isn't explicitly restricted to scoring. It sounds contradictory to the rest of the game which defines Middle Buns as ingredients. I think I'd prefer to think of it as two separate ideas. "Middle Buns are ingredients" and "No buns (Bottom/Middle/Top) count toward burger height when scoring."

For the future, it might be clearer to modify the passage as below. Maybe adding a symbol to each half of the Middle Bun cards as a visible reminder (similar to what's on Perfect Ingredients) could be handy? The player aid indicating "No Buns" would certainly be a helpful reminder. Maybe a little bun icon with a slash through it?
Quote:
Next, count the total number of ingredients to determine what type of Burger you have constructed. Buns (Bottom, Middle and Top) are not counted as ingredients, and therefore do not contribute towards the total.

 
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