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Subject: First Impression in Comparison to Orleans rss

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Tony Chen
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I played one game of Altiplano at Essen. These are my initial impressions of the game in comparison to Orleans. Specifically, the differences:

I. Discard Pile
This is a subtle but huge difference. In Orleans, used discs go straight back to the bag. In Altiplano, they go to a discard barrel and are not reshuffled until the draw bag is empty. This ensures, just like Dominion does, that every disc in the deck is drawn exactly once before the deck is reshuffled, thereby fixing the “problem” of uneven draws in Orleans. This new mechanism (old mechanism from Dominion?) makes sense.

II. Location & Movement
Probably the most obvious difference. Players now have to move their marker (worker) onto a location, before they can execute the actions corresponding to said location. However, the location mechanism doesn’t add a whole lot of interaction between players. The greater effect is, perhaps, simply forcing players to focus on fewer types of actions on each turn (since changing action types on the same turn can be costly). Not sure this extra layer of complexity is necessary, or implemented as well as it could have been.

III. Garden Deck
To me, this is actually the biggest difference: players are rewarded for the size of their decks (endgame scoring is based on the number of discs each player has). To use Dominion terms, if Orleans is a Chapel Deck setup, then Altiplano is a Garden Deck setup. The Garden Deck is harder to play, and also slower. This change is much more interesting than the added movement mechanism, in my opinion.

IV. Trashing Method
To reinforce the Garden Deck style of play, trashing is harder in Altiplano than it was in Orleans. In Orleans, you can almost trash whenever you want. In Altiplano, you need to time your trashing in order to maximize scoring in your warehouse (mainly due to the way Corn storing works). More planning is required for trashing.

V. Random Initial Action Tile
Each player starts with a random and different action extension in Altiplano. An imperfect solution to Orlean’s “problem” of every game being samey. I’ll take it though.

VI. Limited Availability of Extensions
The action extensions now appear one by one, and drop in price from round to round. This adds replayability through randomization. Not a perfect solution, but overall an upgrade over the deterministic nature of extension selection in Orleans.

My Take
Points I, V, and VI are small "improvements" to Orleans, but I think the biggest difference comes down to the style change effected by points II through IV. The warehouse and location mechanisms force players to take more steps, and plan out their actions over a series of turns. The scoring per disc encourages players to buy more discs, which remain in the players' pools and/or are stored slowly into their warehouses. Think Garden, Bureaucrat, Dukes, Duchies, and Islands; not Chapel Lab. Personally, I like the challenge of managing a larger and slower deck, so I very much enjoyed Altiplano.

I've heard very good things about the Intrigue expansion for Orleans, but based on just the base games which I have played, I have a slight preference for Altiplano at the moment.
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Juan Crespo
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
I played one game of Altiplano at Essen. These are my initial impressions of the game in comparison to Orleans and Dominion.

Fixed that for you!
Joking aside, thank you for your thoughts!
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Markus A.
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drunkenKOALA wrote:

VI. Limited Availability of Extensions
The action extensions now appear one by one, drop in price from round to round, and are categorized by type wherein each player can only get one type of each extension. This adds replayability through randomization. Not a perfect solution, but overall an upgrade over the deterministic nature of extension selection in Orleans.

Just a clarification: You may buy for example more than one harbour-extension, but you are not allowed to buy 2 extensions that offer the exact same "action" or "resource-conversion".
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Felix Rodriguez
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This is fascinating. Point 3 to me was not my experience. Because one of the major ways to get points is "trashing", I find myself continuously doing that.

In my single play of Altiplano, which I won by a significant margin, I never had more than 2 more goods over what I could draw and most turns I had the exact amount. despite the difficulty, I "trashed" chips nearly every turn.

Not sure if its the most optimal way to play (Again, one play), but I find this discrepancy interesting.
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Tony Chen
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Thorin2001 wrote:
drunkenKOALA wrote:

VI. Limited Availability of Extensions
The action extensions now appear one by one, drop in price from round to round, and are categorized by type wherein each player can only get one type of each extension. This adds replayability through randomization. Not a perfect solution, but overall an upgrade over the deterministic nature of extension selection in Orleans.

Just a clarification: You may buy for example more than one harbour-extension, but you are not allowed to buy 2 extensions that offer the exact same "action" or "resource-conversion".
Oh wow, we played that wrong then. It should make the game less slow...

Thanks for the catch.
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Tony Chen
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Kaelistus wrote:
This is fascinating. Point 3 to me was not my experience. Because one of the major ways to get points is "trashing", I find myself continuously doing that.

In my single play of Altiplano, which I won by a significant margin, I never had more than 2 more goods over what I could draw and most turns I had the exact amount. despite the difficulty, I "trashed" chips nearly every turn.

Not sure if its the most optimal way to play (Again, one play), but I find this discrepancy interesting.
A. My efficiency will probably increase upon further plays.

B. I'd still group ongoing trashing on the slow+big side of things. Like Island Garden instead of Chapel Adventurer. For me, a lean and fast deck adds points without clogging the pool with stuff that needs to be continually trashed. In Orleans, many of the VPs are outside the pool (i.e. you can take actions that earn points without adding discs). In Altiplano, you are continually adding clogging pieces to your pool, albeit also continually storing them.
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Peter Strait
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Hmm... you know, this makes me consider whether houseruling (or optional-ruling) Orleans to have each player start with a I building would make the game more fun. Similarly, having folks set aside used characters until their bag is empty would be super easy to implement.
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Randy Espinoza
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Oh man..Now I have to go learn how to play Dominion to understand this review? Darn it...
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Alessandro Mongelli
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That's also the way I played my first (and only) game, using the warehouse and order cards to get rid of tokens and keep my 'deck' thin.

Re #2 I enjoyed the added complexity of having to move my worker to the corresponding location to execute actions but that became trivial after a while.
Once you have 2/3 carts and you 'hand' size is big enough to guarantee that you have the food needed to move you can pretty much go anywhere.
And, towards the end of the game, I found myself repeating the same 2/3 actions over and over, much like a 'rondel' game where, once your engine is up and running, some actions become useless and you only use the ones that feed your engine.


Kaelistus wrote:
This is fascinating. Point 3 to me was not my experience. Because one of the major ways to get points is "trashing", I find myself continuously doing that.

In my single play of Altiplano, which I won by a significant margin, I never had more than 2 more goods over what I could draw and most turns I had the exact amount. despite the difficulty, I "trashed" chips nearly every turn.

Not sure if its the most optimal way to play (Again, one play), but I find this discrepancy interesting.
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Arthur Cormode
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Espinoza wrote:
Oh man..Now I have to go learn how to play Dominion to understand this review? Darn it...


Agreed. I enjoyed the review but there was too many Dominion references and I have never played the game nor know how it works.
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Chris Nash
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I think the 'thin pool' would be my natural way of playing the game, but I can see how a thick pool might work.

In particular, because you're limited to what actions you can take, and once you move round the rondel once you're 5 away from the action you were just on, having a thick pool with a variation of discs means, whichever space you're on, you could do something.

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Alessandro Mongelli
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Nashman88 wrote:
once you move round the rondel once you're 5 away from the action you were just on

You can move in any direction, not just clockwise, so with a cart you can reach any location.

From page 7 of the English rulebook:
Quote:
A cart allows you to travel up to 3 steps – each from one location to an
adjacent location; this way, you can reach any location

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sal conz
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I don't fault him for referencing the most popular deck building game (it's been so for almost 10 years). It is a very helpful reference. If you haven't played Dominion yet and you liked the idea of deck/bag building enough to research Altiplano, then I think you would like Dominion a lot. It's fast-paced, extremely simple (elegant) and it super fun. What's more, you can learn to play in 5 minutes and play for free online.

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john newman
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Thormodr wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
Oh man..Now I have to go learn how to play Dominion to understand this review? Darn it...


Agreed. I enjoyed the review but there was too many Dominion references and I have never played the game nor know how it works.


In Dominion, the Chapel allows you to "trash" or destroy up to your entire hand of four cards. This allows you to get rid of many inefficient cards from your deck at one time. The other option referred to are the Island cards. In Dominion, point cards provide no actions and no money, but obviously you need point cards to win. Island cards are point cards that can take another point card out of your deck, so those two cards doesn't Mr bog down your deck.

So the comparison is the difference between thinning your bag/deck at one time vs thinning your bag one item at a time from your bag.

Garden Cards, Dutchies Dukes, etc are point cards that clog your hand, but are necessary to win.
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Walter Gottlieb
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johnpnewman wrote:
Thormodr wrote:
Espinoza wrote:
Oh man..Now I have to go learn how to play Dominion to understand this review? Darn it...


Agreed. I enjoyed the review but there was too many Dominion references and I have never played the game nor know how it works.


In Dominion, the Chapel allows you to "trash" or destroy up to your entire hand of four cards. This allows you to get rid of many inefficient cards from your deck at one time. The other option referred to are the Island cards. In Dominion, point cards provide no actions and no money, but obviously you need point cards to win. Island cards are point cards that can take another point card out of your deck, so those two cards doesn't Mr bog down your deck.

So the comparison is the difference between thinning your bag/deck at one time vs thinning your bag one item at a time from your bag.

Garden Cards, Dutchies Dukes, etc are point cards that clog your hand, but are necessary to win.


Add to that, that Gardens in Dominion are worth more points the more cards you have in your deck, so if you're playing a Gardens deck you would want lots of cards in your deck (no matter if they were junk or not), while in an Island or Chapel deck you would only want a few but very strong or valuable cards in your deck.
 
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