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Subject: Why It's on My Shelf rss

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Rick Spray
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So why is this game on my shelf? Well let me start this discussion by saying that Imperial Settlers is my second favorite game, right behind Blood Rage and right in front of Terraforming Mars. My favorite part of Imperial Settlers is just when you think you can't do any more you find 5 more things to do. Makes me feel smart cool.

Some might say 51st State MS is a lot like Imperial Settlers and they would be right. But there are three differences that make it worth me having both, especially since the Imperial Settlers system is so high on my list of favorite games.

First, Imperial Settlers' art looks like a Facebook app. Not the end of the world, but sometimes I like to go a little more hardcore and look at some post apocalyptic art, not that post apocalyptic is my favorite theme or anything either, but the 51st State universe is alright with me.

Secondly, 51st State MS is a race, which means I don't have to play five rounds every time, I can just get to 25 points first to trigger end game. Nice change of pace sometimes. Gives you a similar feel to Race for the Galaxy but allows you to build your engine and utilize it a bit longer than RftG, which I like a lot.

And finally, (let me get a little philosophical here) I usually like it when resources flow abundantly. You know when you feel like you are doing so much, and it's just about whether you did as much as your opponent or not. Imperial Settlers makes you feel quite accomplished. 51st State MS is much tighter, and adds an extra step to get things done with the control tokens. More than ever, the balance of getting the right resources to get the contact tokens which are needed to accomplish anything is a real challenge. This game is so much tighter than it's big brother that I didn't like it the first couple times I played. But I pushed through and even played the solo version, and became much more proficient. Now I feel quite accomplished to do as well as I do, and I absolutely love this game to the point that it is tied with Imperial Settlers on my list of favorite games. Imperial Settlers does get a slight edge because it gets played a lot more.

The reason for this is my wife doesn't like the extra contact token step in 51st State MS which means it's hard to get to the table. I usually play with people who have never played which means I don't get the challenge I am looking for to fully enjoy the game. I'm really looking forward to that challenge with this one one day. Nevertheless, I still occasionally throw the "You really got to give this one another chance" line out there with the wife. But I can't complain. Imperial Settlers is one of my wife's favorite games as well, so it hits the table a couple times a month. No matter what happens, 51st Master Set will not leave my shelf. It's great and makes me happy when I look at it and Imperial Settlers cuddling up together on my shelf.

Anyways, I got off on a little tangent there. Great game that plays in 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, which is one of my favorite time frames for a game if it has this level of strategic/tactical decisions.

What about you? Why is it on your shelf? What do you think about 51st State MS?

Check out other games on my shelf at my geeklist.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/236719/why-its-my-shelf
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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I don't care for the theme of Imperial Settlers, which actually derived from the original version of 51st State, making this the parent and IS the child. But the expansions were hard to get for the original 51st state, so I jumped on this one when it was released. Have yet to get it to the table in this version though, hope to soon.
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Jack Francisco
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51st State is my #1 post-apoc game and I love the way they streamlined the mechanics from the first one. IS also fell flat for me.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Us as well .... probably the #1 hit in the last few months for our group. I liken this game to Terraforming Mars as far as the card-engine-building aspect, but I like the post-apocalyptic theme so much better. The game is not only challenging, but a joy to play. The cards are so immersive and each is slightly different, but yet matches the theme of what the card represents. And we haven't event tackled the "Winter" or "Scavengers" sets yet! Lots of great playing hours still left to go in this - just a wonderful game design.

Herm
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Rick Spray
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So what had Imperial Settlers fall short for you, but make this one a success. Like I said, I like them both, but I'm interested in hearing from you guys on this because they are pretty similar in game play.
 
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Kevin L. Kitchens
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Redd85 wrote:
So what had Imperial Settlers fall short for you, but make this one a success. Like I said, I like them both, but I'm interested in hearing from you guys on this because they are pretty similar in game play.


Theme.
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Jack Francisco
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For me, I think it was how some of the Civs were dramatically different. I don't mind (balanced) asymmetric gameplay, but I don't want to feel like different factions are making me play a dramatically different game.
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Rick Spray
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I can see that point about the asymmetry. The last 7 games, my wife has played barbarians and I have played the Romans. I'm not the kind of who ever screams unbalanced, ever. But I have literally played the Barbarians and the Romans so many times, and I truly believe the Barbarians are stronger than the Romans. I could be wrong. I wanted to test so I played the Romans over and over again, and lost a bunch. I haven't really minded because my wife loves to win, and I love a good challenge. Now I don't want to end without putting out the disclaimer that maybe I cannot figure out the Roman strategy, while the barbarians and Egyptians I can. But I can't put up more than 65 points with the Romans, and it is usually closer to 50. While I consistently put up 75+ points with the other two. That being said, I still enjoy the asymmetrical aspect of IS and that is actually another difference between the two games that makes them both worth having for me. Thanks for sharing.

How many players do you guys usually play 51st State MS with? Both games are basically two player games for me. I did have fun when I have played them 3. But I like the hour game length at 2 and how fast the turns go back and forth really quick.
 
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Hey Rick! We've played with four max and it still maintains the good gameplay flow. I do have to say that if you have a newbie in the group, it will really slow down. The first time you play the game - especially if you're not used to this kind of engine/resource-building dynamic - the input overload and brain-lock syndromes will kick in and that player's turn will take a while. We had one guy who just couldn't "get it" and that can detract from the experience. But when you have players who know how to plan during their turns and realize how their decisions snowball from one to another, it can move at a nice clip. And I love the factions and how they subtly play and feel different from one another.
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Rick Spray
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Sounds about right. have any of you played the Scavenger expansion yet? Which of the two included expansions do you prefer? How often do you guys play with them and how often do you just play base set?
 
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Jack Francisco
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What I read about the Scavenger expansion made me not want it. I've only played it vanilla so far.
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Karl Lachance
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Redd85 wrote:
Sounds about right. have any of you played the Scavenger expansion yet? Which of the two included expansions do you prefer? How often do you guys play with them and how often do you just play base set?

SCavenger!
For the interaction and the multiplication of possibilities!
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Randall Monk
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Call me shallow, but I can't get past the Disneyesque art of Imperial Settlers. The artists are no doubt skilled, but the art says "cutesie kid's game".
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Jack Francisco
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I don't mind the cute art at all. Same as in Manhattan Project or Seasons. The gameplay in IS was just meh.
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bryden
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First off, I am a first generation 51st State player. I have played Imperial Settlers.

I get why IS might be better for the general population but when I was playing I kept thinking how simple this is compared to my "beloved" 51st State. And that small text on the cards was even more of a turn off. I won very simply against experienced IS players but it was not satisfying at all.

I love the depth of the play in 51st State. It is confrontational if you want it to be and when you can put a combo together and it fires it is very satisfying. I play with the 6 turn rule from the Winter expansion and it feels right.

I don't think I would ever play IS again. I will take large icons over tiny text any day of the week. I am old school.
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Rick Spray
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So what about 51st State Master Set though. Would you play that one, or is it too streamlined for you as well?
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bryden
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Redd85 wrote:
So what about 51st State Master Set though. Would you play that one, or is it too streamlined for you as well?

From what I have seen, it would be fine. I had an issue with the original game (before expansions) where it was the first to reach a score. I don't favor that idea. I like to play around in the sand box a while.

I will play and am curious about how much different it is. If this is all there is, I would choose it over IS but not over my "boy". He is a complicated soul but I love him anyway.
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Damien Cosgrove
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IS felt bland and each faction felt very heavily scripted, which in the end made it into a deck prep/builder.

51st state MS never felt that.
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