Recommend
51 
 Thumb up
 Hide
24 Posts

Endeavor: Age of Sail» Forums » General

Subject: Designer Article: Reevaluating the opening of the game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Endeavor: Age of Sail is now live on Kickstarter! Click here to visit the campaign and see why thousands of backers helped it fund in only 4 hours!


For those that have played Endeavor before they may have noticed we have made a couple of changes to the setup of the game. One is a fairly minor change, but both have a significant impact on the opening stages of the game. In this article I will give you some insight into why we made these changes, and how you might be able to use them.


Beginning the game with a worker on your starting building

This is such a minor change, I’m not surprised we didn’t see the positive effects when we first designed the game. We wanted to limit early growth so coming to the original number of two workers to start the game was something that took some time.

This change starts as a way of walking players through *all* phases, rather than skipping one on the first turn. We always wanted Endeavor to teach players how to play as you play. Having a worker start on your opening building helps with that. Now each player steps through the phases:
1. Build a building
2. Grow two population into their harbour
3. Pay one worker from their starting building into their harbour

As this was a major design goal of Endeavor it ended up feeling really right once we started talking about it. Why were we talking about it in the first place - because of the Market.

In the original version of Endeavor the Market is a useful building and balanced right for the level it is at. Unfortunately in the first turn it feels like a trap building for newer players. Players do need to use the draw action to gain cards but it was never essential on the first turn. In addition, because of population limits, taking the Market meant that you had to choose between the draw action on the Market and the much more significant occupy action on the Colonial House. There were definitely ways to make a first turn Market work for you, but it was generally limited to one player having that opportunity and they really needed to know what they were doing.

If our original design goal was to teach but not disadvantage over the first couple of turns then the Market was a failure. We started discussing ways to fix that failure.
-Should we add a coin or an influence? It makes it more like the Shipyard then, but also makes it much better than the Guild Hall which doesn’t provide the same kind of boost to your asset tracks.
-Should it come with a free worker attached when you build it? That is useful early but rather problematic in the end game when you might need to use the draw action but your Wealth limits you payment phase and could prevent you from clearing the building for use.

In the end the solution was simple - each player’s starting building is already occupied. Then you build, grow 2, pay 1 and have 3 workers to use on your first turn. If you built a Market you now have the population to occupy Europe and draw a card. Additionally, the extra population means any player could pick up a blue token and use it to occupy/ship on the opening turn or if you build a Workshop and then Guild Hall you will have 4 workers available to use it for either of its two actions and the occupy action.

The first turn Market was a play people would identify as a trap after a few plays. There was another play that mattered, but this time players often didn't see it. A first turn Workshop into Guild Hall is an obvious building path for many players, but it never felt as strong as two early shipyards in the first few turns. With the extra population this play also has more immediate utility.

In the end the flow on effects of this simple change brought more balance to the various openings which make the early game more diverse for all players.



The Merchant Dock

Adding a new building in Endeavor is a big deal. As you can probably see from my notes above, there is a delicate balance between the buildings. The buildings in Endeavor give each player an action palette that they choose for themselves. At the end of a game no player will have the same set of buildings, which means they have a different set of actions to choose from when trying to achieve their goals. Each building provides a small piece of the puzzle but together they build up into strategies. Choosing one building over another can have a dramatic effect on how the whole game plays out.

There is a little bit of room to fiddle, but for the most part, changing the buildings means changing all the buildings. This changes the actions and flow of the game, and is something we will bring you in a future expansion.

The Merchant Dock is born from the idea then that changing the starting building is okay as long as it is balanced with the original. Players can’t have both; by choosing one they give up the option of having the other for the rest of the game. The choice impacts which actions you start with and which buildings will be valuable to each player.

The Colonial House provides the occupy action - an action that is in very limited supply on the other Building tiles - so giving it up is a big deal. To counteract that we gave the Merchant Dock a coin to immediately improve the Wealth track, one of the most valuable tracks in the game.

The Merchant Dock changes the goals of the players that take it. On the new boards they won’t be locked out of Europe because there are still “ship” spaces to take, but they do forgo the early European landrush. There is another downside - without blue tokens to occupy or a rapid ascension up the Industry track to gain access to the Fortress or Docks, the Merchant Dock player will find themselves opening up new regions for the other European powers to benefit from.

The Merchant dock brings a new layer to Endeavor, one that I hope you will enjoy. If it is your first game you are probably best sticking with the Colonial House, but if you have played the game quite a few times maybe you can unlock some of the secrets and power of the Merchant Dock.


If you enjoyed this article let me know what other changes or additions you are interested in hearing about and I will endeavour to write some thoughts on those.


63 
 Thumb up
5.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hilda Lirsch
Australia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Jarratt,

I would enjoy you discussing the new double-sided map.

Best wishes,

Richard Hills
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Richard James Hills wrote:
Hi Jarratt,

I would enjoy you discussing the new double-sided map.

Best wishes,

Richard Hills


Oh cool. I will think about that. There are definitely some interesting things there.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael
United States
Hawaii
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a very helpful article that I can use to introduce the game to our group. Thank you!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Clarke
United Kingdom
Caithness
Scotland
flag msg tools
Avatar
jarratt wrote:
For those that have played Endeavor before they may have noticed we have made a couple of changes to the setup of the game. One is a fairly minor change, but both have a significant impact on the opening stages of the game. In this article I will give you some insight into why we made these changes, and how you might be able to use them.


Jarratt. I am currently undecided about backing the new version. As a satisfied owner of the current version however, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the following queries in respect of the two particular changes you mention?:

Beginning the game with a worker on your starting building
Is this a recommended rule change for the current version, or is it specific to the new version?

The Merchant Dock
Is there a way to simulate this new building if playing with the current version?

Finally, are there any other recommended rule changes which can now be implemented by players of the current version?

Thank you.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pa van den Eijk
Netherlands
Elburg
flag msg tools
mbmb
Nice reading from the author/designer.

* How did you come up with the Exploits? What reasons were behind the current ones available/unlocked?

* Any thoughts on making this a 6 player version? What about adding an additional board, like in The Village, which allows you to add one or more additional regions, including connections from either Europe, Africa and/or Asia?
Or just providing a 6th player, and make it a very tense game, with quite some war.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Highland Cow wrote:

Beginning the game with a worker on your starting building
Is this a recommended rule change for the current version, or is it specific to the new version?


Yes you should definitely use this rule. One thing to consider is that you are not limited by the supply of workers the game comes with, so having spares from a different game can be useful.

The other rule you should use is double actions being usable in different regions rather than just one.

Beyond that there are a couple of rules you could use like adding the Discard Phase, discarding to a Europe discard pile, and moving the Governors to the side of the board to enable toe drawing of cards while the shopping lane is still being completed.

You can look for information on these in the Working Rules for Endeavor Age of Sail.

I actually like that the original board plays differently to the new ones but if you have played the game a lot you might want to see how those change up your strategies.

Many of the other changes - cards, boards and buildings - are pretty exclusive to the new version. If you get the new version the old board will be all that you need to use from the original.


Highland Cow wrote:

The Merchant Dock
Is there a way to simulate this new building if playing with the current version?


This is more difficult and kind of depends on how you feel about proxies. You can just make something up so you can use it. The rules are pretty simple, each player in player order decides which starting building they will use. The Merchant Dock has a Ship Action and a Coin.

I will add that it is designed and tested to work with the new boards and the new rules. The original board has so many cities in Europe (and the Mediterranean) that the Merchant Dock is a very risky option.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Bigmore
England
Abingdon
Oxon
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarratt wrote:
One thing to consider is that you are not limited by the supply of workers the game comes with, so having spares from a different game can be useful.

Am I reading this right? The Growth Phase part of both the original rulebook and the new rulebook (under development) says you only gain as many workers as you can if you run out.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bigland wrote:
jarratt wrote:
One thing to consider is that you are not limited by the supply of workers the game comes with, so having spares from a different game can be useful.

Am I reading this right? The Growth Phase part of both the original rulebook and the new rulebook (under development) says you only gain as many workers as you can if you run out.


This is probably more a function of trying to keep a game self contained. In the original Endeavor you shouldn't actually run out, but the 30 workers is pretty tight, especially if you lose one. There are more workers in Age of Sail so it shouldn't be a problem, but using the rule that you start with a worker on your starting building does mean that the original 30 workers might sometimes not be enough.

It was never really intended to be a hard limit but we also wanted to provide the necessary number to never actually run out.

pavdeijk wrote:
Nice reading from the author/designer.
* How did you come up with the Exploits? What reasons were behind the current ones available/unlocked?


I will definitely talk about this in a future article.

pavdeijk wrote:
Nice reading from the author/designer.
* Any thoughts on making this a 6 player version? What about adding an additional board, like in The Village, which allows you to add one or more additional regions, including connections from either Europe, Africa and/or Asia?
Or just providing a 6th player, and make it a very tense game, with quite some war.


I don't want to get too deep into this. I personally have pretty strong feelings about 6 player games. If they are not keeping players involved at all times, or are moving so swiftly that it doesn't matter then they probably shouldn't be 6 player games. Even though Endeavor can move pretty quickly around the board it would still bog down a lot with 6 players.

Yes you could add more space, and we did do that from our 3-4 player prototype to the final 3-5 player version when we released the original, but that wouldn't solve the actual problem of longer turns and longer wait times between actions.
12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamey Stegmaier
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just wanted to chime in to say that I think it was really clever of you to think about the teaching/learning process while designing (and redesigning) the setup for Endeavor. This is brilliant.
22 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jameystegmaier wrote:
I just wanted to chime in to say that I think it was really clever of you to think about the teaching/learning process while designing (and redesigning) the setup for Endeavor. This is brilliant.


Obviously not all games can do this and I wouldn't ask them to, but Endeavor is a ramping Engine Builder so stepping through the process early, while not punishing for poor choices, was something we could achieve.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
Windham
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Is there a list of all the changes from first edition to second edition somewhere? I'd love to see them all with some minor commentary behind the logic for each. It doesn't have to be as in depth as this, but just having a small snippet would be awesome.

I've been enjoying the game for a long time and I'm looking forward to seeing how the new version plays out. Glad it is finally getting into people's hands again!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nico
Germany
Germany
flag msg tools
But I don’t want to go among mad people
badge
Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stexe wrote:
Is there a list of all the changes from first edition to second edition somewhere? I'd love to see them all with some minor commentary behind the logic for each. It doesn't have to be as in depth as this, but just having a small snippet would be awesome.

I've been enjoying the game for a long time and I'm looking forward to seeing how the new version plays out. Glad it is finally getting into people's hands again!


https://www.endeavorgame.com/updated-rules
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stexe wrote:
Is there a list of all the changes from first edition to second edition somewhere? I'd love to see them all with some minor commentary behind the logic for each.


Updated Rules
There isn't really commentary on why we made these changes on this page, but feel free to ask questions once you have had a look.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
Windham
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarratt wrote:
Stexe wrote:
Is there a list of all the changes from first edition to second edition somewhere? I'd love to see them all with some minor commentary behind the logic for each.


Updated Rules
There isn't really commentary on why we made these changes on this page, but feel free to ask questions once you have had a look.


I'm looking them over now and have a few questions formulating, but just wanted to point out a typo you have with "Staring Population Market" -- unless it is a star and not a starting one. :-P

Anyway, here's one question I have right now. Would it be a balanced game, in your view, if owners of the original edition included a few of these changes that don't need new components?

Specifically:
- Governor Cards on the side / Early Card Draws from regions
- Starting Population Marker
- Population Growth from Level 1 Cards
- Discarding cards, and drawing discarded cards (maybe not this because of less areas in Europe in the original game?)
- Double Actions

Any others that can be done with the original game to improve the experience in your view?

Note: I was actually talking to Carl de Visser about expansion content a few years ago and he kept putting it off and then said he would have some big announcement. Glad this is it! Wish there was a better "upgrade" pack option for original owners, though. Really big fan of the game and it will be great more people will be able to get a copy of this into their collection.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
@Stexe

You can use all of those rules on the original board. I would definitely recommend using the double action and starting population rules.

The pop growth from the level 1 cards is slightly trickier as you won’t hace it printed on your cards and we changed the Slavery deck as well so the two things were more balanced but fell free to try it anyway.

The governors go the side, draw early and discard rules are great if you have played Endeavor a lot on the original board and want a change of pace. However my personal feeling is that the best way to keep the original board more unique is actually to keep the Governor, Draw and Discard rules from the original Endeavor. The only change would be to add in the Discard phase at the end of the round.

As for Expansions, they will come. We really wanted to get the game back out there first. The Exploits are definitely like an Expansion but there will be more.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
Windham
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarratt wrote:
@Stexe

You can use all of those rules on the original board. I would definitely recommend using the double action and starting population rules.

The pop growth from the level 1 cards is slightly trickier as you won’t hace it printed on your cards and we changed the Slavery deck as well so the two things were more balanced but fell free to try it anyway.

The governors go the side, draw early and discard rules are great if you have played Endeavor a lot on the original board and want a change of pace. However my personal feeling is that the best way to keep the original board more unique is actually to keep the Governor, Draw and Discard rules from the original Endeavor. The only change would be to add in the Discard phase at the end of the round.

As for Expansions, they will come. We really wanted to get the game back out there first. The Exploits are definitely like an Expansion but there will be more.


Oh, the Slavery deck was changed? Were any of the other decks changed?

What do you mean by "The only change would be to add in the Discard phase at the end of the round."
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Cappel
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stexe wrote:


Oh, the Slavery deck was changed? Were any of the other decks changed?


There are a few changes to the card decks.

First, since players can now draw cards from any deck as soon as they have presence, we found that the Slavery deck became almost entirely ignored in testing. We added some value to each card so that its relative value stayed the same as before.

Second, each Value-1 card in every Region deck has had a +1 population gain on it. This motivates players to crack those decks open even later in the game.

Third, the value-3 card in the Europe has been changed from 3 Influence to 2 Influence and 1 Culture.

That's it!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stexe wrote:
Oh, the Slavery deck was changed? Were any of the other decks changed?



Josh missed one. The first card in the Caribbean deck is now 2 Wealth and an immediate population.

The main reason for these changes was because many of the cards created roadblocks to taking cards which in turn made the Market less valuable. We changed the Slavery deck after that to give it more balance in comparison to those cards.

Quote:
What do you mean by "The only change would be to add in the Discard phase at the end of the round."


The original game has players discard when the pass. Age of Sail adds an endphasr where players discard their cards. I would add this rule in no matter what you choose to do with discard piles and govenor placements.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
Windham
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarratt wrote:
Stexe wrote:
Oh, the Slavery deck was changed? Were any of the other decks changed?



Josh missed one. The first card in the Caribbean deck is now 2 Wealth and an immediate population.

The main reason for these changes was because many of the cards created roadblocks to taking cards which in turn made the Market less valuable. We changed the Slavery deck after that to give it more balance in comparison to those cards.

Quote:
What do you mean by "The only change would be to add in the Discard phase at the end of the round."


The original game has players discard when the pass. Age of Sail adds an endphasr where players discard their cards. I would add this rule in no matter what you choose to do with discard piles and govenor placements.


What were the Slavery decks changed to?

The discard phase I've actually used for years since it seemed to improve the game a lot.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Gray
New Zealand
Upper Hutt
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Stexe wrote:

What were the Slavery decks changed to?

The discard phase I've actually used for years since it seemed to improve the game a lot.


We had this idea (from an earlier iteration of the game) that players would have to dig into the card decks to get the good card and that players would draw a few and then discard some, which would create another buffer to getting to the good cards. That was why the discard when you pass rule was there.

In hindsight, the cards are too balanced across the board for this. If you spend multiple actions draw down to a top level card you need to gain more in replacement value than the value of attacking a city on the board. Additionally if we want this to work well we probably should have gone with immediate discard, but that made the digging to top level cars much harder.

A discard phase is simpler and works really well with the new discard rules, and just as well with the old rules where you discard back to where the card came from.

As for Slavery, the first 4 cards have been changed, mostly to balance them against the level 1 regional cards, some of which can offer the same reward without the drawback. It's not necessary to make this change because it is balanced around other changes in the cards, so using the original deck is just fine. I have done a lot of testing with both sets of slavery cards. Either works fine.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Lopuszanski
United States
Windham
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So hear me roar! RAWR! (Or ask me about it)
badge
Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jarratt wrote:
Stexe wrote:

What were the Slavery decks changed to?

The discard phase I've actually used for years since it seemed to improve the game a lot.


As for Slavery, the first 4 cards have been changed, mostly to balance them against the level 1 regional cards, some of which can offer the same reward without the drawback. It's not necessary to make this change because it is balanced around other changes in the cards, so using the original deck is just fine. I have done a lot of testing with both sets of slavery cards. Either works fine.


Ah, gotcha. Still a bit curious on the changes. I was thinking about adding the +1 population to the first region cards. Would want to try that combination of the two together. Do you have the list of changes to the slavery cards?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joseph Arthur Ellis
United States
Ashland
Ohio
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've always loved teaching this game since I could just show 2 quick practice rounds.

Sounds like the teaching portion can now be reduced to 1 round, wonderful!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiggo Morrison
United Kingdom
Bridgnorth
Shropshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Quote:
If you enjoyed this article let me know what other changes or additions you are interested in hearing about and I will endeavour to write some thoughts on those.


Nice spelling here. I approve and I think perhaps James Cook would have too!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.