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The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire» Forums » General

Subject: Two design questions rss

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Chuck Angelini
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I've noticed the designers are pretty active here so thought I would take advantage and ask a couple design related questions.

1. The dice for power plants are a limited resource, but you don't get out fewer of them when there are fewer players to form the supply (like you would in, say, Deus). Was this on purpose to make 2-player feel a little less cutthroat than it would otherwise be?

2. In 1 and 2 player, there are two pollution tokens per player per one of the 6 phases. Why is it fewer per player with higher player counts (like 5 for 3 players, or 1.7 per player)? Was this just to cut down on playtime or is there another nuance there that I'm overlooking?

Fantastic game by the way. My wife and I have played it every day since we bought it and have been having an absolute blast. The theme, the engine building, the balance of all the things you're trying to accomplish, the variance in buildings available, achievements, and starting nations. So, so good.
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Luke Laurie
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These are great questions - I'll try to answer them soon.
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Luke Laurie
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Chuangelo wrote:


1. The dice for power plants are a limited resource, but you don't get out fewer of them when there are fewer players to form the supply (like you would in, say, Deus). Was this on purpose to make 2-player feel a little less cutthroat than it would otherwise be?


There are a few considerations for this choice. One - we wanted the game to be as easy as possible to set up, and we didn't want fiddly restrictions that you'd have to remember or check for every player count. So we didn't add rules that would have limited the available dice for fewer players. In reality, because of the diverse approaches you can take in The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, running out of dice is uncommon. So, there is the possibility of a player getting all of the green dice, or yellow dice in a two player game. The same is possible in a five player game, though far less likely. None of the dice strategies are "broken," so it's not important to prevent any player from hoarding one type of die.

Chuangelo wrote:
2. In 1 and 2 player, there are two pollution tokens per player per one of the 6 phases. Why is it fewer per player with higher player counts (like 5 for 3 players, or 1.7 per player)? Was this just to cut down on playtime or is there another nuance there that I'm overlooking?


The pollution counts are 4 per stack in a two player game, and 5 for 3, 6 for 4, and 7 for 5. The Solo version is a slightly different animal - only 2 per stack. In the Solo version, you can make very gradual moves without the worry that the clock runs out because of another player polluting.

But the game length and pace of the game for multiplayer is established by the number of tokens in each stack. If you think of the ratio of players to stack height as the pace, you get this:
4/2 = 2.0
5/3 = 1.7
6/4 = 1.5
7/5 = 1.4

So there's a gradual pace difference as you add more players, which means players will be able to accomplish slightly less with each increase in player count - on average. This allows for the game length to be kept in check. But, where MPEE differs from many games in this genre, is this pace is largely the result of player's choices. So a very polluting game might be much quicker and a very clean one might have more turns (but likely less production).

Thank you so, so much for the compliments! I hope you continue to enjoy this game for a long time.
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Chuck Angelini
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Thanks for the reply! I figured that was the case with the dice as even if we limited to two per color for our two player games, we're not likely to hit any limit (haven't so far).

With the pollution stuff, I'm excited to try with 3 people and see what it's like. I imagine you normally can't get as much done unless everyone is avoiding pollution (fat chance). I'm totally ok with that though. It's good to have games where you can only ever do some or most of what you want to.
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Chuangelo wrote:
In 1 and 2 player, there are two pollution tokens per player per one of the 6 phases. Why is it fewer per player with higher player counts (like 5 for 3 players, or 1.7 per player)?


FWIW, this is being discussed in this thread.
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Georg D.
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zombie Another tread-necro by me zombie

I had a look at the dice and don't understand the logic:

The black/brown/yellow dice are clear: you either have high income (energy) and a high chance for pollution or low income and a low chance for pollution. So there is no real stinker - each advantage comes with a disadvantage.

The blue/green die work the other way round: you have a high income and a good chance for no pollution or you have low income and a higher chance for pollution. So here a low number is a clear stinker. This way the results become more swingy.
Wouldn't it be better if the higher energy with blue/green were on the lower numbers? So you will have some luck with the dice but each advantage comes with a disadvantage?
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David A
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I don't have an issue with the Blue and Green dice layouts. My reasoning is that I feel it's well thought out, thematically. Let me explain.

The Blue and Green dice represent the more eco-friendly power sources (Hydro and Wind). With the lower energy levels having the higher chance for pollution, to me that represents perhaps an inefficiency or maintenance issue during that energy generation period.

Additionally (and I feel this is the biggest reason), remember that the highest value die result drives whether you gain pollution during that particular generation. With the pollution on the lower numbers on these dice, it reduces the chances that that particular die is the one that causes you problems. By having the higher numbers being pollution free, it increases the chances that you don't gain pollution during that period.

I hope I explained my thought process sufficiently.
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Georg D.
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Thud105 wrote:
I don't have an issue with the Blue and Green dice layouts. My reasoning is that I feel it's well thought out, thematically. Let me explain.

The Blue and Green dice represent the more eco-friendly power sources (Hydro and Wind). With the lower energy levels having the higher chance for pollution, to me that represents perhaps an inefficiency or maintenance issue during that energy generation period.


That is a great thematic explanation. But I think this is a case where I would priorize mechanics over theme.


Quote:
Additionally (and I feel this is the biggest reason), remember that the highest value die result drives whether you gain pollution during that particular generation. With the pollution on the lower numbers on these dice, it reduces the chances that that particular die is the one that causes you problems. By having the higher numbers being pollution free, it increases the chances that you don't gain pollution during that period.
I don't understand your argument. The green/blue dice have no pollution whatever side you look at. The question will you give a player who rolled an high income the additional benefit of having a better chance to get no pollution or do you want to balance these aspects against each other?

I hope I explained my thought process sufficiently.
 
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Luke Laurie
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The design considerations and logic for how pollution works is not by individual die- it's about the choices players make as they build a full energy portfolio and how they select their overall compromises between pollution and potential energy production.

Every die you choose has some kind of trade off or risk.

It's true that with yellow, black, and brown dice, higher rolls increase the probability that you will get pollution or nuclear contamination. That's the compromise you make by including them in your rolls.

The yellow nuclear die is very expensive, and has by far the best energy output. The risk of very damaging nuclear contamination is always there.

The black coal dice are relatively cheap, moderate in production, but come with the pollution risk.

Brown dice have most variability in production, which isn't 100% thematically appropriate, but helps represent a somewhat inconsistent resource. Brown dice can be obtained rapidly in large numbers, but are only used once, and risk pollution.

The blue die has a different set of trade offs. It is relatively inexpensive, but it pollutes immediately- the only die that does so, which can be costly. Once the blue die is part of your energy portfolio, it reduces the risk of future pollution. Remember, another liability to the blue die is that you can only have one.

The green dice are expensive. To buy one you need plastic. Most of the ways to get plastic in the game require you to pollute. The green dice are not limited, the reduce your chances of pollution, but they have the lowest energy production.

So- each die has trade offs, and it's not just about the sides of the dice.



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David A
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Fluxx wrote:
I don't understand your argument. The green/blue dice have no pollution whatever side you look at. The question will you give a player who rolled an high income the additional benefit of having a better chance to get no pollution or do you want to balance these aspects against each other?

I hope I explained my thought process sufficiently.
[/q]
I went back and re-read your original question and I realize I misread what you were getting at. I retract that part of my answer
 
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Michael
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LL Games wrote:
The design considerations and logic for how pollution works is not by individual die- it's about the choices players make as they build a full energy portfolio and how they select their overall compromises between pollution and potential energy production.

Every die you choose has some kind of trade off or risk. ...


Thanks for the peek behind the curtain!
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