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Subject: Is this a refined version of "The City"? rss

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Martin Juhl
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Reading the rules this sounds very similar to "The City" also by Tom L.

So is this just a refined (better) version of The City?
I partly think the City is somewhat flawed and cardbalance could easily have been better, so very exited if this game fixes this and is indeed The City v2 with better balance and gameplay all around.

Fingers crossed.
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Tom Lehmann
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This is not The City. Only things in common are scoring every turn, 50 VP target, and paying for cards with cards.

Two card types, conquest of military worlds, plus different cards, icons, placement rules, theme, art, etc.
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Brent Mair
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I have played The City forty times and Jump Drive four times. There are plenty of similarities but this isn't a refined version of The City.

If you think the card balance was flawed in The City, I believe you will find the same issue here. There are wildly powerful cards. A good game position on turn four will likely translate into a great game position on turn five since income (card draws) and scoring trigger every turn, leading to a snowball effect. Since this is a card game, the cards are going to just fall together sometimes for some players.

Also, I really got more of a Race for the Galaxy vibe with Jump Drive. Two types of cards, Developments and Worlds (including military worlds), and similar iconography. This is in no way a retheme of The City, although Jump Drive does resemble The City more than it does Race for the Galaxy.

I hope to do a more detailed comparison/review in a month or so, after more plays of both. I do recommend both games.
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Eric Brosius
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As Tom says, some elements of The City appear in Jump Drive, but they are different games. (I have played Jump Drive 13 times now, and they feel quite different.)
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Eric Knauer
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Are there still plans for a "The City" reprint?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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I'm in discussions with a publisher. Nothing signed, yet.

FWIW, I'm quite happy with The City and the balance among its strategies. You can win with an income of 1; you can win with an income of 15+. If I get a chance, I will tweak just a few cards. Saving for the next turn (via Architect, Survey, or simply building something cheap) is more important in the The City than Jump Drive, while assembling combos is more important in Jump Drive. I think both games, while obviously having a fair amount of luck, do offer quite a few opportunities for skillful play.
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Schema Man
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
I'm in discussions with a publisher. Nothing signed, yet.


Count me in for a few copies: 1 for myself and a few for friends!
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Luigi
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
I'm in discussions with a publisher. Nothing signed, yet


Yes!!!! Keeping fingers crossed.
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brenton t vallade
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I would like to see an English edition of The City.
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Brent Mair
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brentont wrote:
I would like to see an English edition of The City.

So say we all.
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Richard Dewsbery
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My desire for an English-language version of The City has been extinguished by Jump Drive. I'm not sure why people are so keen to insist that they are different games. They are different in the sense that 1830 is different to 1835, or Settlers of Catan is different to Starfarers of Catan. Very, very similar mechanisms and gameplay, but with subtle differences that mean the decisions aren't exactly the same. There are perhaps some extra synergies to pursue in Jump Drive, and fewer restrictions on playing certain cards. Plus it's played over fewer rounds (as you can build two cards a turn). But that doesn't make it a radically different game. Frankly I think that Jump Drive being a "tweaked" The City offers no slight to either game. One advantage of Jump Drive is that it might offer an easier route into playing Race For The Galaxy.
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Tom Lehmann
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RDewsbery wrote:
They are different in the sense that 1830 is different to 1835, or Settlers of Catan is different to Starfarers of Catan.

On BGG, 1830 and 1835 are regarded as two separate games (in the 18xx family), while Starfarers is treated as a "re-implementation" of Settlers (in the Catan family).

So, while this "sense of similarity and difference" may seem clear to you, it isn't as clear cut to others.

For some, a "refined" version of a game means that there are strong analogues between the two versions (despite a new theme), so that The City's Car, Cart, and Fountain icons should somehow map to Jump Drive's Explore, Military, and Chromosome icons. But, they don't. The Car and Chromosome icons behave in similar ways, but there is no real analogue to the City Park/Civic Center pair (the core cards of the Fountain strategy) or the Mall (the core card of the Cart strategy) in Jump Drive.

I also believe the two games, while being similar in some ways, really do play differently. Jump Drive is more about finding combos, while The City is more about saving up at one or two crucial points.

In my experience (based on testing), many people who like one also like the other and enjoy the experience of exploring the different decks and combinations in each game (in much the same way as many people enjoy exploring various 18xx games).

This may not be true for you or players who only want "one game" in a given game category. I understand that. But, I don't want to discourage people who would quite possibly enjoy both games from trying them both by presenting one as a "tweaked version" of the other, particularly when I designed each game's cards completely independently.

Why interfere with their fun? Why not let people decide for themselves whether they want to explore two games of this type? I'm certainly not hiding the fact that similarities exist between them (see my Designer Preview where I bring up The City).

Keeping each game as distinct while sharing a few mechanisms is also important when I'm in discussions with a publisher re: a possible English version of The City! I'd like to see that happen not only for selfish reasons, but because I truly believe many players would enjoy playing both games.
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brenton t vallade
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If no one picks up the English edition, why not a Kickstarter?
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Tom Lehmann
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brentont wrote:
If no one picks up the English edition, why not a Kickstarter?

The overhead in time and effort to do a KS, if I did it, is huge.

It is both far more economical and I would much rather spend that time and energy designing new games.

If someone else wants to do a KS, perhaps we can work something out. Are you volunteering?
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brenton t vallade
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I'm afraid I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Good luck and keep us posted on any news of a reprint.
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Richard Dewsbery
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To go back to the original post, this game is not The Cuty. But I will continue to see it as a refined version of The City. In precisely the same way that 1830 is a refined version of 1829. They're not the same game, but they are very, very closely related. Which is precisely why I (and other friends) have already bought our copies.
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Wei-Hwa Huang
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I find the current thread similar in several ways to this thread from 10 years ago: Better than San Juan?

Tom Lehmann wrote:
This may not be true for you or players who only want "one game" in a given game category. I understand that. But, I don't want to discourage people who would quite possibly enjoy both games from trying them both by presenting one as a "tweaked version" of the other, particularly when I designed each game's cards completely independently.

Why interfere with their fun? Why not let people decide for themselves whether they want to explore two games of this type? I'm certainly not hiding the fact that similarities exist between them (see my Designer Preview where I bring up The City).


I think it causes some cognitive dissonance in the minds of fans when you claim "similarities exist" and "designed each game's cards completely independently" at the same time. Yes, Galactic Trendsetters and Stadtvilla (Luxury Homes) have different payoff charts and interact with the rest of the deck differently, but they have enough of a same "feel" between them that it's hard for people to believe that they don't at least have a common ancestor. Same goes for SETI vs. Park 'N Ride, etc.

Here is some speculation by me (it could be completely off-base -- if so, I apologize): The general way you designed the game is that you chose some strategies you want the game to have and then you create the cards needed to tactically support those strategies. The City has a very different mix of strategies than Jump Drive, so the card design is "completely independent." The fact that individual cards may seem tactically similar between the two games is more like convergent evolution as a result from realizing the strategy space, even though players might see that differently when just looking at the end product.

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Tom Lehmann
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onigame wrote:
Here is some speculation by me (it could be completely off-base -- if so, I apologize): The general way you designed the game is that you chose some strategies you want the game to have and then you create the cards needed to tactically support those strategies.

Completely inaccurate.

For the City, I initially thought about how cities grow, how they are being revitalized, how suburbs began as housing tracts, the car culture around cities, malls, etc.

Thinking about city centers led me to consider how some cities are built around a civic center or a central park. I was specifically thinking about Central Park in NYC and Golden Gate Park in SF (both designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of modern American city landscaping) as well as civic centers with Opera Houses, Symphony Halls, Government buildings, Museums, Monuments, which provide "happiness and civic pride" (VPs in the game), and which are often next to Office Buildings and Restaurants.

From that came the idea that the civic center itself would provide income based on "fountains", which would intersect with Office Buildings and Restaurants, while costly cards with fountains and lots of VPs would represent the cultural buildings and the skyscrapers of the business district. The civic center itself would not provide many VPs, while Central Park would.

This gave me a "fountain" strategy and one icon. The card ideas came first, driven by my theme.

Next came three cards together, the Freeway Intersection, the Mall, and Housing Tracts. These three cards capture the essence of suburbia with low-cost Housing Tracts providing 1 VP and icons for the other two cards. You build them not for their intrinsic worth but for their icons. That gave me my other two icons: the car and the shopping cart.

The car icon captures how, in many (American) cities, autos and Freeways have dictated how modern cities evolve and sprawl, while Malls don't provide any VPs, just income.

Since Restaurants and Department Stores appear in both suburban malls and downtown business and civic areas, they got both carts and fountains, connecting up the cart income strategy with the fountain VP strategy (so you don't have to have a civic center for income to make fountains work). The capstone VP cards for the cart strategy by itself, the Emporium and Shopping Center, are a nod to Tyson's Corners in Virginia, one of the first really big "Prestige" shopping centers.

Next came the Factory, a card removed by Amigo due its negative VPs, which was both a nod to how many cities started as Factory towns and an attempt to (abstractly) represent pollution causing industries.

Here is where I started to think more about strategies in terms of game play, about how a card that gave lots of income but negative VPs would provide a "rabbit" to set the pace for how quickly players need to build their cities.

Finally, suburbs are more than housing tracts, they also have schools and wealthy areas. Luxury Homes provide a "low income" strategy (with schools), a medium income strategy (without them), and a late high-income "catch-up" strategy (with the Construction Gang). Good games need these things and games with "snowball" growth effects really need them.

The weird "requires the other first but then provides a discount for it" relationship between Schools and Luxury homes is theme-driven. A good school district will attract high-end housing, and wealthy parents tend to demand good school districts, but schools aren't just built by themselves in isolation to attract wealthy home-owners.

So, The City wasn't built from me choosing strategies and then designing cards for them, the strategies emerged from the theme and the three icons and 12 core cards I started with (knowing there would also be high VP "capstone" cards such as Opera House, Skyscraper, Subway System, Shopping Center, Airport, etc.): Civic Center, Central Park, Office Building, Restaurants, Department Store, Mall, Housing Tract, Freeway Intersections, Freeways, Factories, Luxury Homes, and Schools.


The Jump Drive cards mostly come from Race, so they are adapting Race's strategies. Most cards are direct "ports" of Race cards to a system without goods and scoring every round. Here I took specific Race cards like Replicant Robots and Drop Ships and adapted them. I didn't start from The City's cards, I started from Race cards!

Having made the decision that I wanted to represent Explore, Develop, and Settle in some way (the build options) and that I would have military worlds and conquest, I initially thought I would have just two "side" icons: the eyeball and the +Military icon, plus the dev diamond and four world colors.

This worked pretty well for capturing Novelty and Rare strategies, plus Big Military with Alien and Rebel worlds. But, A) Genes didn't feel distinct enough and B) I was concerned that there wasn't a good "link" between the non-military and military strategies.

The Chromosome icon fixed both these issues, with Uplift Researchers being able to drive a Genes strategy with either a Contact Specialist or a small amount of military, or complement a Big Military strategy with one or two chromosome worlds by providing some extra income and VPs.

I increased player interaction by adding War Propaganda and Trade Pact, two cards that don't exist in either Race or The City.

1 and 1/2 cards in Jump Drive come from The City. The "1/2" is the Survey Team, which is doing some of the same things as the Architect in The City, but is also standing in for the missing Race start worlds by providing a small amount of military and income.

The other card is Galactic Trendsetters, which is obviously inspired by Luxury Homes. Here, I tried to do something different by spreading a smaller discount to one card (Galactic Advertisers) and giving a large discount and a tempo effect to a one-shot card, the Colony Convoy. I believe this works better for a shorter game and it conveys more of Race's flavor where many developments are "helpers" for placing worlds.

Claiming cognitive dissonance based on a single card, albeit one that does loom large in play, is a bunch of hooey.

Every other card in Jump Drive is either brand new or is ported from Race, adapting it to a system with score every turn and some end-game VP leeching. That's what I mean when I say I designed each game's cards independently. I didn't start with strategies; I started with theme (for The City) or Race cards (for Jump Drive).
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Kevin B. Smith
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RDewsbery wrote:
To go back to the original post, this game is not The City. But I will continue to see it as a refined version of The City. In precisely the same way that 1830 is a refined version of 1829. They're not the same game, but they are very, very closely related. Which is precisely why I (and other friends) have already bought our copies.

I take issue with the word "refined", as it implies the later one is better than the former. From what I have read, I would much prefer 1829 over 1830, because 1829 is more about *operating a railroad*, whereas 1830 is more about stock shenanigans.

I view Jump Drive (which I own and love) and The City (which has been on my wishlist forever) as being similar designs, as far as both being quick engine-building card games, using cards as income/costs, and earing income and VP every round. I certainly accept Tom's statement that they *feel* different when you play them. And also that neither is a "refinement" of the other.

It would be great to have The City in English, even though we now have Jump Drive. First, some people are going to prefer one theme over the other. Second, some might dislike the combo focus of Jump Drive. Third, it's just nice to have variety.

Despite similarities, I'm happy that Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu all exist (and in English!), because each serves a different audience, and having more options on the shelf is a good thing.
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David desJardins
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onigame wrote:
Here is some speculation by me (it could be completely off-base -- if so, I apologize): The general way you designed the game is that you chose some strategies you want the game to have and then you create the cards needed to tactically support those strategies. The City has a very different mix of strategies than Jump Drive, so the card design is "completely independent." The fact that individual cards may seem tactically similar between the two games is more like convergent evolution as a result from realizing the strategy space, even though players might see that differently when just looking at the end product.


If you think about convergent evolution, it happens even though species don't decide which strategies they want to have and then evolve to implement those strategies. It happens simply because the external constraints and the feasible approaches are similar and so there are only a relatively small number of possible hilltops for the species to climb towards.
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Richard Dewsbery
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peakhope wrote:

I take issue with the word "refined", as it implies the later one is better than the former.


Petroleum is refined from crude oil. Yet crude oil still has many, many other uses that petrol cannot substitute for. That one thing is a refined version of something else doesn't necessarily invalidate the purpose of the "raw material", or even imply that the refined product is better. It may well be, or it may be for some purposes, or it might not be better at all.

For me, Jump Drive probably has a greater appeal than The City. But that's partly down to subjective factors which won't be universal (I prefer the artwork, for example); partly down to objective factors which won't be universal either (I'm a big fan of Race/Roll, and anything that helps me to ease people into Race is extra useful); and partly down to things that ought to be non-factors (I don't speak German, so The City has a "barrier to entry" that Jump Drive doesn't have). I'm also thinking that it has quite different synergies and pathways - I'm not sure whether I think that based on my early experiences with the game or whether I'm unconsciously influenced by what Tom has posted above - but I think I prefer the sort of decisions that Jump Drive presents more than I do the decisions in The City. But again that could be my unconscious biases against the artwork and language in The City coming through. Even though it's a great game.

I've not actually played 1830 or 1829 face-to-face. I remember playing 1830 in an old PC implementation, but don't think that was against real people. I sold my copy of 1829 before I ever get around to playing it. Though apropos of nothing very much, I am planning on playing 1846 tomorrow. I gather it might be a good fit for the sort of games I like to play during Sunday gaming sessions, and apparently it was designed by a chap who knows a thing or two about games design - whether those designs consist of refinements or reimplementations, or whether they are completely new.
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Schema Man
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
[q="onigame"]
<SNIP>

...For the City, I initially thought about how cities grow, how they are being revitalized, how suburbs began as housing tracts, the car culture around cities, malls, etc.

<SNIP>

...The capstone VP cards for the cart strategy by itself, the Emporium and Shopping Center, are a nod to Tyson's Corners in Virginia, one of the first really big "Prestige" shopping centers.



This write-up gives wonderful insight to The City and gives me an even greater appreciation for it in general. However, the Mrs. and I also now have a specific appreciation for this gem of a game - I did not know until reading this post that some of the cards were inspired by Tysons Corner. With the game being in German, we had no idea that the Emporium and Shopping Center are based on something down the road from our place. I am happy to say the game is often played in very close proximity to Tysons and I hope that somebody publishes this one in English soon so more people in the area can enjoy it as well!

PS: I don't know if you have been to Tysons recently, but that area has been booming for the past several years and is turning into a small city in its own right
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
I didn't start with strategies; I started with theme (for The City) or Race cards (for Jump Drive).


Fantastic! A Designer Diary for The City (and Jump Drive). Is there a way to link (or repost as an article) to The City BGG page? Good cross promotion, no doubt.

RDewsbery wrote:
For me, Jump Drive probably has a greater appeal than The City.


I'm quite the opposite. I've played enough Race that the theme and card art of this universe have lost some of their lustre imho. The City's urban building theme, for a quick engine building game, works better for me.

Interesting that Tom highlighted there's more interaction in Jump Drive. I'm eager to try Jump Drive now.

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DaviddesJ wrote:
The fact that individual cards may seem tactically similar between the two games is more like convergent evolution as a result from realizing the strategy space, even though players might see that differently when just looking at the end product.


If you think about convergent evolution, it happens even though species don't decide which strategies they want to have and then evolve to implement those strategies. It happens simply because the external constraints and the feasible approaches are similar and so there are only a relatively small number of possible hilltops for the species to climb towards.[/q]

Yes, that's pretty much the point I was trying to make (a point albeit now superseded by Tom).
 
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Wei-Hwa Huang
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
onigame wrote:
Here is some speculation by me (it could be completely off-base -- if so, I apologize):


Completely inaccurate.


I did try to make it clear that I was speculating and could be completely wrong, and it turns out I was. So, I apologize. I hope you aren't too miffed that I got you to spend time writing a long insightful post that shows everyone some more insight into your design practices and got people to be more excited about the game. laugh
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