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Subject: How do you guys handle the trade phase? rss

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Dan Freedman
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I recently bought and played my first game. We were all novices so I got the task of explaining the rules. I tried to explain the information (#, value, 1 type) that must be truthfully given when exchanging trade cards. However, the trades degenerated into a "I'll give a, b, and c, for d, e, and f". No one showed the cards so no rules were broken. I don't think we ever used the "truthful" information formula more than once. It was just too cumbersome for us. Brown-backed calamities were rarely traded...and if someone was not specific about what they were trading...you were getting a calamity. No one really lied because of the damage it causes the player in future trade rounds.

I was wondering if anyone had some house rules regarding protocol in trades. Maybe it is supposed to evolve into a "settlers of catan" type trading (just with the possibility of lies being thrown in). It just felt like we were doing it wrong.

Thanks!
 
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Alvin Chen
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Double Dan (#27822),

I believe Advanced Civilization switched it to truthfully naming two of the three cards you are trading, so there's always room for a calamity. Of course, people would be get around this by naming the third card with their "word of honor" or even letting the recipient specify which two were formally guaranteed. I think it's mostly a function of the people with whom you are playing.
 
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Fraser
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Double Dan (#27822),

You really should trade the calamities. They help balance the game. If they are not traded some players are suddenly going to get ahead.

We always play the # of cards, total value and including 1 of X. If feeling nice we would say 1 of X and 1 of Y, or 2 of X. If feeling extra honest you may specify all 3 cards, but if people get used to that and then you don't specify all cards they won't trade with you. Where as with the official trading, you know to an exent what you are getting and you also have an idea that you may get a calamity. However if they are being freely traded no grudges can be held!
 
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Nate Sandall
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Double Dan (#27822),
Players who insist on knowing all three trade cards in a trade should be mocked and boycotted. You have to be a hard nose about this. This also goes true for Advanced Civilization if someone asks for gurantees of no calamities. Calamities are very much a balancing mechanism in Civilization. If a leader never gets hit with a calamity and is not getting hit with secondary effects of epidemic or other spill over calamities then you'll be out of luck.

Generally trades are a 1-for-1 affair like cloth for grain. Sometimes they're 2-for-2 like cloth and grain for bronze and salt. Trades of three or four cards should be broken down into two separate trades, with the calamity being traded in the second trade.

And the best way to pass on a brown backed calamity is with a salt card. If you're trading grain and you state three cards worth 7, your friend will think it's a grain and a iron/papyrus and a ochre/hides. Works every time!
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Fraser
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Cavedog_pdx wrote:
Players who insist on knowing all three trade cards in a trade should be mocked and boycotted. You have to be a hard nose about this. This also goes true for Advanced Civilization if someone asks for gurantees of no calamities. Calamities are very much a balancing mechanism in Civilization. If a leader never gets hit with a calamity and is not getting hit with secondary effects of epidemic or other spill over calamities then you'll be out of luck.


Couldn't agree more!

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Dan Freedman
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Karlsen (#27832),

Thanks for the responses. I think it just comes down to a matter of ease. If you say what you have, you don't have to add up the value of the cards. If I'm spending time doing that...revealing only partial info...and another players are making quick trades revealing all...then it's easy to get left in the cold.

We did only play with 4 players and 3 of them revealed all info...so I felt I had to do the same in order to get in on the action.

 
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Roger McKay
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Double Dan (#28811),

I really think it's up to the group to decide on this. My group has always played it by the book, but I can see advantages to total disclosure. The calamities ARE fun, but they also slow the game down. Directly (through harmful effects on units and cities), but also indirectly (by imposing a chill on trading sessions).

I'm going to try to teach some friends to play the game this week, and in order to speed up the game, I'm considering removing the calamities altogether.

As for slowing down the leader, there are still the military and trade boycott options.

PS - My first post to BGG. Great site!
 
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Nate Sandall
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
RogMcK (#30515),
Sure, play without the calamities. Also, play Settlers without the robber while you're at it. Play some Carcassonne without the meeples. How about some Acquire and only be able to sell stock after a merger and not keep it or trade it for new stock? How about Poker without money?

Otherwise all players will have 9 cities. Trade boycott? How's that gonna work if all players are more or less equal? Military options are expensive at best and don't really knock someone down unless they're being picked on by at least two other players. Calamities are the best equalizer in the game and removing them will remove a lot of what makes the game special. Why bother buying Medicine, Philosophy, or any other calamity prevention civilization cards if you're not using calamities?

In my opinion, the trading rules in Advanced Civilization are an improvement over the trading rules in original Civilization for the simple fact that they make trading a lot easier. You only disclose two cards and the third is a mystery. Calamities can be traded multiple times, and there are more of them. This encourages players to trade to get rid of their calamities and calamities cannot be held on to for multiple turns - they come into effect the turn they're drawn!

Have you ever seen someone go from 9 cities to zero in one turn? I have. It was pretty amazing. Most of the rest of the players got whacked pretty good too. It was most fun!
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Roger McKay
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Cavedog_pdx wrote:
RogMcK (#30515),
Sure, play without the calamities. Also, play Settlers without the robber while you're at it.

I've never played that one.

Play some Carcassonne without the meeples.

Or that one.

How about some Acquire and only be able to sell stock after a merger and not keep it or trade it for new stock?

Never played that one, either.

How about Poker without money?

Now THAT I have done. Ever hear of matches?

Otherwise all players will have 9 cities. Trade boycott? How's that gonna work if all players are more or less equal?

If they are equal, then there's no need for a boycott.

Military options are expensive at best

Not as expensive as recurring calamities.

and don't really knock someone down unless they're being picked on by at least two other players.

Not a problem, unless you're playing a two player game. Which I wouldn't do with 'Civ'

Calamities are the best equalizer in the game and removing them will remove a lot of what makes the game special. Why bother buying Medicine, Philosophy, or any other calamity prevention civilization cards if you're not using calamities?

Have yopu never used a simpler form of a game to teach it to new players?

In my opinion, the trading rules in Advanced Civilization are an improvement over the trading rules in original Civilization for the simple fact that they make trading a lot easier. You only disclose two cards and the third is a mystery. Calamities can be traded multiple times, and there are more of them. This encourages players to trade to get rid of their calamities and calamities cannot be held on to for multiple turns - they come into effect the turn they're drawn!

Have you ever seen someone go from 9 cities to zero in one turn? I have. It was pretty amazing. Most of the rest of the players got whacked pretty good too. It was most fun!


Such events ARE fun, sure, but they also slow the game down considerably. I'm trying to teach the game to new players who might not appreciate taking four hours to get a third of the way through the game.
 
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Fraser
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
RogMcK wrote:
I'm trying to teach the game to new players who might not appreciate taking four hours to get a third of the way through the game.


Then just run through some turns until you get a few Civ cards, a few calamities and some interesting trading happening as a sample game. Then play it properly, either then or some other time depending on the time. My wife and I often run through a few turns of a game to get the hang of it then start again for a proper go at it.

I'm with Nate, there's no point in sanitising it. You are not playing the same game. If you are going to teach them Civilization, teach them the proper thing. It seems pointless to spend a few hours running through it and then when they play it properly it is suddenly substantially different.
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Roger McKay
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Karlsen wrote:
I'm with Nate, there's no point in sanitising it. You are not playing the same game. If you are going to teach them Civilization, teach them the proper thing. It seems pointless to spend a few hours running through it and then when they play it properly it is suddenly substantially different.


I'm guessing you're not a fan of programmed instruction.

Mine IS the AH version, after all.
 
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Nate Sandall
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
RogMcK (#30613),
Well, just about everyone I've taught Civilization or Advanced Civilization to really liked the game. The experience is quite immersive.

I've also played a lot of two player. The last few times using three and four countries each. It pales compared to a full compliment of players, but we still had fun. Haven't done that in at least five years though.

And how much longer does each calamity really take? Unless there's a civil war calamities will be done in five minutes. The first civil war will take 15 minutes including explanation and after that probably five minutes. The calamities aren't game breakers and the mechanics of the game allow most players to bounce back pretty fast.

You probably know your friends better than the rest of us so programmed instruction might be the way to go. I just hope that nobody ends up asking "what's the point?" and doesn't give the full version a chance because you've removed just about all the tension from the game.

 
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Chris Farrell
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
Although the rules are not super-explicit, I've always considered that extra information provided in trading is extremely dangerous. "I'll give you a hides, spice, and gold" could be just hides, since you are only required to name one commodity truthfully. Be sure to get the total value. The "total value" thing also means that to whack you with a calamity usually the instigator will have to pad the trade with somthing good.

As I've always said, you can play the game however you want ... but I think removing calamities is a Really Bad Idea. This isn't Eurorails, how much of the game is balanced on the presence of calamities? Who would buy Democracy now instead of Philosophy? Or Medicine? Coinage seems like it would become far more powerful. AST order would become huge, because the big-valued commodities will run out immediately because everyone has 7-9 cities all the time, instead of the 5-6 they usually hover at, with people late in the AST order getting routinely screwed. At least in the "regular" game, people with large numbers of cities can usually count on getting somthing, because the drain on the 7-9 stacks usually isn't high; now you could have 9 cities and get no cards at all! And I don't even want to think about the turn-order manipulation, with people overstacking their own units to reduce their support to kill off cities, that you might have to do just to get trade cards. Nations like Egypt and Babylon will become much more powerful because they no longer have to worry about floods. And so on.

Calamities do not add significant complexity to the game, and taking them out has all kinds of problematic repercussions.

I think you'll enjoy the game more if you play the game the way it was designed. And warn people that more information in trading is actually less information. Sure, you can trust your trading partners all you want, but somebody will get screwed eventually.
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Chris Farrell
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
As an addenda to the above, the routine we got into when we actually played this game was to say "three cards, total value 9, including Cloth, plus salt and ochre" so it's clear that you are guarenteeing the cloth, while the salt and ochre are optional information that may or may not be truthful. The ACiv variation was 4 cards, cloth and salt, plus ochre & hides".

If you get into a highly-competitive group, you have to be a little careful. If, for example, sombody "forgot" to specify the number of cards in an ACiv trade, instead just specifying 3 or 4 cards and then actually passing you 4 or 5 with the extra being a calamity (or course), what's the legality of the trade? Same question with Civ, if I just specify "ochre, salt, gold", conveniently forgetting to mention the total value, can I palm off an ochre, hides, and iron? I'd think both of these trades are in fact illegal and the victim could demand the trade be undone - but I think a "caveat emptor", you forgot to ask then it's your problem interpretation would also be valid. In ACiv, though, beware of extra information. If I say "gold, gems, iron, hides", it's clearly legal for me to give you iron and hides plus a couple other low-valued commodities. And in basic Civ, "gold, grain, total value 15" could be a lot of things, although you at least know it's probably valuable.
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John Stimson
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Re:How do you guys handle the trade phase?
cfarrell (#30642),
In ACiv it is a requirement to trade three cards or more cards, with the rules requiring that exactly two cards honestly disclosed.

I'll admit my experience with trading is limited, but it seems to me many people dislike this treatment. It must be easier than trying to cross reference three cards worth "13", but I'll admit I have never played Civ.

In either case, agreeing not to trade calamities is a surefire recipe for imbalancing the game.
 
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