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Subject: Analysis of the game and comments after playing it thrice rss

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Pascal Cadot
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Hello,

we have played it for the third time, and we have somme comments on this game.
- First of all, I will not engage in a fight about the duration, but I would just like to say that the duration mentioned on the box is unrealistic. Let's say: it lasts much more longer than you will foreseen if you want to think and play well. If you want to play without thinking, then take a Monopoly. This is a game for which you are expected to think at least a bit before your turn. With this in mind, play the game.


The other comments are:

- We think that it is possible to block the game. What would happen if one or two players, being first player, place the new tiles in only one direction, further and further from the markets ? It is well possible by following the rules. The newly placed tiles would be unreachable. We find this at least strange. This possibiliy should not exist.

- During our last game, we found a certain situation that I would call a bug. One player reached the Trader embassy level IV, so that he could exchange one tool for one steel. At the same time, it was possible to exchange 1 steel for 3 dollars on the Market card. Actually, it is not so difficult to have tools with the blacksmith or the ironsmith. Anyway, this player had 18 tools. He jumped once to a market and exchanged 18 tools for 18 Steel. He jumped to a second market and sold all the steel bars for 54 dollars. Next to this second market he could make a new stock of tools by exchanging 1 Wood + 1 Iron against 2 tools for each combination. It is not difficult to have plenty of wood and plenty of iron with some factories, so he could obtain again 12 tools. Ready for the next half-year ! One jump to a market, and thus 12 steel bars; a second jump to another market to sell this steel, and he could get 36 dollars. Thus in total 54+36 = 90 dollars in one year.
And he was lucky later because the second Market card that allows you to sell steel was drawn. He could do it again for 51 dollars this time ! In total for 1.5 year: 141 dollars ! Impossible for the other player to compete. The final scores were 298 and... 466 ! He would have won even without this "bug", but in a more "normal" range, I think.

- In the rules, it is said that going to the market is always possible, as it always gives a possible action (remember that you cannot go on a tile if you cannot perform the action in full). On the other hand, it is said that you cannot take twice the ressources in case you jump on two different markets during a half-year. Right ? So, we think it is possible that you jump on a market, take the resources, and that no action around the market is possible for you, so you jump to a second market on which you are not allowed to take resources, but on which none of the two other possibilities is possible for you. SO what ?

- We found that the buildings of the last era or let's say the ones that necessitate a merchant to be activated, are not worth buying. WHy? Because they need too many manufactured resources (steel, brick, planks, etc.). They appear late in the game and their bonus will not be used many times. Their almost only benefit is that they give 16 points because you place a merchant on them. But you can place a merchant also on a factory ! And a factory is much easier to build, only with resources that you produce. It is worth only 4 dollars, in contrast with other buildings for merchants (10 or 13 dollars), but the difference in dollars is not compensated by the number of moves that you are obliged to do to obtain manufactured resources to build these fourth era buildings. Only the Stables were found to have a valuable bonus. We think you can forget all the others and build factories instead to place your merchants.

- Finally, we think that being the first player is too advantageous. If he plays well, he must end up on the storage shed construction tile so that the second player is obliged to pay a fee to have extra storage space. On the next turn, the second player shuld do the same to block the third one, and the poor fourth player will be blocked for the third time if the thirs player does the same. He cannot do much other things, cannot build an embassy for example, as it requires 5 resources and can only store 3. What else? farms ? Very nice.... We have the impression that the poor fourth player will stay some half-years behind. He gets no compensation for that.

Please tell me what you think of these comments. Maybe have we missed something in the rules ?


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Grzegorz Kobiela
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1. You may not place tiles in a single direction. Each tile must share at least 2 edges with an exisiting one.

2. Interesting strategy, but you have to admit, there's a lot of things that have to happen to get to a situation like this. That player obviously played pretty well since he had such a great infrustracture. He had to had a lot of storage (at least storage houses, meaning he had working citizens, meaning he had a good food production). He had to had a lot of forester's houses and iron mines (even more employed citizens). Factories ... so he had factories with farmers (for the forester's houses) and with citizens (for the iron mines) to produce that many resources. And all of that with insane space efficiency on his board. Getting to level IV of the Trader embassy is also costly. I say he deserved that win. On the other hand, I am a little concerned that this may be a dominant strategy with the trader colony and era IV in particular. I'll look into it; Tim will probably look into this too.

3. There's no such rule. Each market gives you the same selection of three possible actions. You can jump from market to market and always choose resources, if you want to.

4. These buildings require you have an efficient infrastructure. If they seem too costly, you're probably not doing things efficiently at this point.

5. Remember you can use a place even if it is occupied - just pay the fee. Everyone starts with 1 food; spending this and an extra wood to pay another player isn't that bad. True, the starting player has a slight advantage over the other players but that has never been an issue. (If you think otherwise, use it as sort of a handicap - let the weakest player be starting player.)
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Pascal Cadot
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Hello.

Thanks for your reply.

My comments back

1. I said that it is possible to extend in one direction only while following the rules . I know that the newly placed tile must share at least two edges with other tiles. Still it is possible to extend in one direction.




Etc. etc..

And you end up wih a structure like this:



It may look stupid to do this (maybe not, it has to be analyzed. Maybe it is advantageous for one or two players and they just kill the two others?)Stupid, maybe,but possible anyway.


2. The other player also add all the rest: forester's houses with factories, iron mine (one is enough actually). Food, not so much food is needed with citizens, one per guy. Thus, the other player had alsmost the same, except the trader colony level 4. He developed another embassy to level 4 (The storekeeper), but it was much less advantageous, of course... This combination with the trader colony is much too powerful in our sense. Next time I see that it is in place, I surely develop this one, hoping that the same Market cards are drawn during the fourth era.

3. On page 7 (English rules), it is said, when describing the market: "You may only take the offered goods once per turn". SInce at several places in the rules, there is some mistake between turns and half-year, we understood this as "you can only take the offered goods once per half-year." Indeed, we did not understand, otherwise, why would this precision be added.Why would someone go to the market and take several times the offered goods? When we go on a river grove, we take only once the resources that are indicated. It is the same. But Ok, if you say that we can take the resources at every jump, even during the same half-year, then it can be easier. Thanks for the precision.

4.What I said is: even with a good infrastructure, and we had good infrastructure, they are not worth building. The demanded goods for these buildings cannot be produced. You have to walk around and stop on the tiles that makes steel, on one that makes bricks, etc.. You lose a lot of time just for that while you have already produced the resources that are needed to make a factory. You can build factories directly and with the saved moves, you can do things that are more lucrative than searching to make steel. Your merchants, you do not use them, so that you do not have to pay for them. AT the end of the last half-year of the last era, you just place them one per factory, and you just have to pay at this moment for their sustenance.

5. Of course, we can use a place that is occupied, but if you pay the fee, you have already lost resources but not the first player. We have identified three interesting actions to make what we think is a relatively good start. If the first three players end up their moves on these three actions, the poor fourth has a very bad start, and I think that this will necessarily happen with experienced players. Hope we are wrong.
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Chris Funk
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You may not be able to reach those tiles in one turn, but you could move part way there, on the next half-year, move towards them again. Nothing says you can't build it that way. No rule that a tile has to be placed within walking distance of a market tile, only that it must be touching two edges of existing tiles.

In fact, it might be a decent strategy if you are placing the tiles and one of them is incredibly useful for another player. Make them waste their actions travelling that far to get to those places.
 
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Anthony Rubbo
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Remember you get three "turns" per half-year.
 
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Pascal Cadot
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LemonyFresh wrote:
Remember you get three "turns" per half-year.


Yes I know, but I do not forget that we have to perform each action in full, on each tile.

Thus, placing essential tiles after a whole path of others that demand a lot of resources or manufactured resources for building, for example bricks or planks, can prevent the players to reach these essential tiles to develop the infrastructure.

I was just wondering whether it is possible that the game be blocked, just being unplayable in certain situations due to the tile construct.

 
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Mikko Saari
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Well, you do add markets to the game, so if somebody started to build a long stretch like that, it would be a nice spot for a market.
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Annemarie Post
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Paasca wrote:

- During our last game, we found a certain situation that I would call a bug. One player reached the Trader embassy level IV, so that he could exchange one tool for one steel. At the same time, it was possible to exchange 1 steel for 3 dollars on the Market card. Actually, it is not so difficult to have tools with the blacksmith or the ironsmith. Anyway, this player had 18 tools. He jumped once to a market and exchanged 18 tools for 18 Steel. He jumped to a second market and sold all the steel bars for 54 dollars. Next to this second market he could make a new stock of tools by exchanging 1 Wood + 1 Iron against 2 tools for each combination. It is not difficult to have plenty of wood and plenty of iron with some factories, so he could obtain again 12 tools. Ready for the next half-year ! One jump to a market, and thus 12 steel bars; a second jump to another market to sell this steel, and he could get 36 dollars. Thus in total 54+36 = 90 dollars in one year.
And he was lucky later because the second Market card that allows you to sell steel was drawn. He could do it again for 51 dollars this time ! In total for 1.5 year: 141 dollars ! Impossible for the other player to compete. The final scores were 298 and... 466 ! He would have won even without this "bug", but in a more "normal" range, I think.

...

- We found that the buildings of the last era or let's say the ones that necessitate a merchant to be activated, are not worth buying. WHy? Because they need too many manufactured resources (steel, brick, planks, etc.). They appear late in the game and their bonus will not be used many times. Their almost only benefit is that they give 16 points because you place a merchant on them. But you can place a merchant also on a factory ! And a factory is much easier to build, only with resources that you produce. It is worth only 4 dollars, in contrast with other buildings for merchants (10 or 13 dollars), but the difference in dollars is not compensated by the number of moves that you are obliged to do to obtain manufactured resources to build these fourth era buildings. Only the Stables were found to have a valuable bonus. We think you can forget all the others and build factories instead to place your merchants.


On the 'bug': I reached 452 points in a 2-player game era IV, so this strategy does not seem very overpowered to me.

On the buildings of the last era: I partially agree. In our last game the Envoy colony was in play, so I had no use of Stables or Boardinghouses. I did find it a good deal to buy Storage Halls, since these are worth quite some points. But my first plan was also to go for factories and employ the Merchants there. I think it depends a lot on which colonies are in play. Some help you to make cheap steel, so then it is more achievable.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Paasca wrote:

1. I said that it is possible to extend in one direction only while following the rules . I know that the newly placed tile must share at least two edges with other tiles. Still it is possible to extend in one direction.




Etc. etc..

And you end up wih a structure like this:



It may look stupid to do this (maybe not, it has to be analyzed. Maybe it is advantageous for one or two players and they just kill the two others?)Stupid, maybe,but possible anyway.


If players wish to make the game harder on themselves, they are welcome to do so. This won't break anything. The game may be less fun but if all players wish it to be that way, that's their choice. Otherwise take starting player and place tiles differently ...
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Richard Dewsbery
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That was my thought - "why would anyone do that?" It might secure a small early advantage, followed by some real long-term pain. And it would slow the game down horribly, I would think.
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Vincent Lacroix
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RDewsbery wrote:
That was my thought - "why would anyone do that?" It might secure a small early advantage, followed by some real long-term pain. And it would slow the game down horribly, I would think.


Unfortunately, some people tends to only see how they can hurt others, without thinking how the would suffer themselves later. I know some people like that, that prefer play suboptimaly least they give even a slight help to others...
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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couic wrote:
Unfortunately, some people tends to only see how they can hurt others, without thinking how the would suffer themselves later. I know some people like that, that prefer play suboptimaly least they give even a slight help to others...


True. Almost all if not every euro game can be destroyed by players like these, IMHO.
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Kenrick Fearn
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couic wrote:
RDewsbery wrote:
That was my thought - "why would anyone do that?" It might secure a small early advantage, followed by some real long-term pain. And it would slow the game down horribly, I would think.


Unfortunately, some people tends to only see how they can hurt others, without thinking how the would suffer themselves later. I know some people like that, that prefer play suboptimaly least they give even a slight help to others...


Hmmm...not the sort of folk I would choose to game with ...not intentionally anyway...

Cheers

Ric
 
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Steven Durst
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RDewsbery wrote:
That was my thought - "why would anyone do that?" It might secure a small early advantage, followed by some real long-term pain. And it would slow the game down horribly, I would think.


Well in a competitive game, you don't need a high score; you just need a HIGHER score than the other guy. I win just as much if I win 5-4 than if I win by 509-508.


So if I do an action that costs me say "5 pts/resources/etc" but it costs everyone else "10" then it is practically the same as scoring +5 since that is how far ahead I am. I haven't played this yet (still waiting for my copy to arrive) but we'll see how much screwage it has.
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Pascal Cadot
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Ponton wrote:
couic wrote:
Unfortunately, some people tends to only see how they can hurt others, without thinking how the would suffer themselves later. I know some people like that, that prefer play suboptimaly least they give even a slight help to others...


True. Almost all if not every euro game can be destroyed by players like these, IMHO.


Well, I do not fully agree.

The designer must design the game so that it is never blocked, even with players having bad will and who are willing to block.

If you say that the imaginary situation I drew will slow down the game but not block, that's OK.

The eurogames I know and like to play cannot be blocked and cannot be destroyed by such players. They just destroy themselves in the game if they try to do it, but they do not destroy the game, and it is not the same.

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Grzegorz Kobiela
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As I said, if the players want to have a bad experience, it is entirely possible for them to have it. The game would still work.
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Josh
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Paasca wrote:
Ponton wrote:
couic wrote:
Unfortunately, some people tends to only see how they can hurt others, without thinking how the would suffer themselves later. I know some people like that, that prefer play suboptimaly least they give even a slight help to others...


True. Almost all if not every euro game can be destroyed by players like these, IMHO.


Well, I do not fully agree.

The designer must design the game so that it is never blocked, even with players having bad will and who are willing to block.

If you say that the imaginary situation I drew will slow down the game but not block, that's OK.

The eurogames I know and like to play cannot be blocked and cannot be destroyed by such players. They just destroy themselves in the game if they try to do it, but they do not destroy the game, and it is not the same.



Saying designers must design a game that mitigates ill intentioned players is fairly ludicrous.

Kingmakers can ruin some of the best games out there, are those games bad? Power Grid, Peurto Rico, Agricola, etc.?
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Donny Behne
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When someone builds out a long arm of tiles like that, they're hurting themselves as well. Sure, one or two tiles may come up that specifically benefit one player, but it requires a lot of tiles to get the peninsula that far out. And the tiles used to do it will be useful for the person doing it as well. That's called "cutting off your nose to spite your face".
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Eddy Rae
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Shadrach wrote:


Saying designers must design a game that mitigates ill intentioned players is fairly ludicrous.

Kingmakers can ruin some of the best games out there, are those games bad? Power Grid, Peurto Rico, Agricola, etc.?


Certain games you don't play with certain people.
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