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Subject: Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts? rss

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Brad Miller
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So one of my game groups has been playing a lot of Age of Steam this year, and they have put into place "Dan's Rule" concerning income reduction. Here it is:

"On the last turn of the game, income reduction doesn't occur"

Now I'm not sure why they find it so much more odious than they do during the rest of the game, but they do. So someone give me some good reasons as to why this isn't a good idea. I'm not big on it myself, but can't think of a good reason to not use this house rule, so I'd appreciate others' thoughts.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
Windopaene (#33166),

That variant removes the hosage/screwage value of deliberately putting another player's income up into the next tax bracket so that income reduction hurts them even more. If your group doesn't use that tactic, then this change will have little impact. If your group exploits that tactic at every opportunity where it makes sense, as mine do, then this would be an unwelcome change.
 
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Brad Miller
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
clearclaw (#33208),

Well yes, we do do that throughout the game. But somehow, one person decided that on the last turn of the game, it was just too bogus, and so we shouldn't do that. I don't think it has yet altered the outcome of a game, but I'm looking for unintended negative side effects...
 
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J C Lawrence
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
Windopaene (#33215),

The other kicker as far as I can see is that final round income reduction tends to spread final scores more widely.
 
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John Bohrer
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
clearclaw (#33261),

I believe that it would have to tighten them, if anything.

John Bohrer
 
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Michael Webb
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
If anything I would think that Income Reduction becomes more important in the late game as opposed to less so.

For example: If you've been building up your score throughout the game, and are pushing into the -8 reduction zone, then the game is in effect severely penalizing you for not making monster runs during every shipping opportunity.

This gives other players a chance to thwart your mega ships, and effectively hurt your score, 'trapping' you at a certain income level.

Personally, I like the income reduction aspect of the game, because it can actually reward you for using someone elses track (i.e.: You push them over the brink or keep yourself at the lower level, or both!) and it keeps the scores a little tighter.

I don't think altering it is going to cripple the game by any stretch, but I have to ask why use it at all if you're not going to use it on the last turn, one of the times when it's doing the most damage...
 
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Eric Brosius
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
Windopaene (#33166),

Age of Steam offers a range of strategies. One dimension in which strategies can vary is in the level of share issuance. There are "lavish" strategies in which you take out a lot of shares to achieve a high income, and there are "stingy" strategies in which you take out fewer shares but achieve a lower income. Because shares count as -3 VP while income counts as +3 VP, there's a balance between these, to some extent.

If you eliminate income reduction on the final turn, you are swinging the balance in favor of lavish strategies and against stingy strategies. I tend to find that there's quite an attraction to the lavish strategies, so I'd be reluctant to give them an additional advantage.

Eric
 
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Brad Miller
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
Eric Brosius (#34183)and Michael,

I asked this of the group last time we played, and the consensus was that income reduction on the final turn made the potential "kingmaker" issues greater. Not sure I agree.

As for lavish vs. stingy, I've NEVER seen a super-stingy strategy work. Of course most of our games have been 5 and 6 player games of late, which ramp the difficulty up a notch.
 
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g colhoun
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Re:Income Reduction - House Rule - Thoughts?
In our group's recent game of Age of Steam, the game finished very close, with three players on income 20. The winner was decided by the track length and shares issued.

As I say, it was close, and any of the players in 4th, 5th or 6th could have used any of the three leaders' tracks, thus causing them an income reduction of four, and with it any chance of winning.

I must say, this did seem rather like a serious kingmaking problem. One solution may be to allow the owner of a link to decide if he wishes to take the income increase that is available when his track is used. Yes, this would stop the "screwage" tactics mentioned elsewhere. And while that tactical option seems delicious fun, Id feel happier if a player won by merit rather than by the whims of those out of contention.
 
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