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Great Western Trail» Forums » Variants

Subject: Garth 3.0 - Rails to the North rss

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Steve Schlepphorst
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The Specialized Automa (Garth) has been updated in the files section.

The new version incorporates the Rails to the North expansion with updated action cards, rules for placing branchlets, and rules for making deliveries once branchlets have unlocked new locations. The new version is fully backwards-compatible (you can use the same cards with or without the expansion) and the rules pertaining to the expansion are blue text, so they're easy to find (if you're familiar with the automa) or ignore (if you're playing with the base game).

I also included a couple movement/balance changes that will hopefully make the automa more consistent (and slightly harder), and added balancing for 3-4p games, which is as fiddly as it sounds but more fun than I expected. For players familiar with Garth, the changes are almost entirely clear from the cards, and you don't need to comb through the document looking for rules adjustments, with two minor exceptions:
- Garth's train movement will now always stop at stations (previously 1 of the cards would ignore them).
- Two of the cards move Garth's cattleman based on the player buildings on the board. Whichever player (including Garth) has built the most buildings, move the cattleman that many spaces.

On branchlets:
I have seen, considered, and tested lots of options for branchlet placements. They're clearly imperative for the AI deliveries and competition over hot spaces, and hard to simulate a human player. I wanted to give the ability to race Garth to the bonuses and station tiles (like with train engine movement), but not add huge rules overhead or flow charts for his decision-making, and not "cheat" by giving him random placement decoupled from his deliveries and other branchlets. He can make use of the bonus tiles, but not at the same level, and not competitively.

In the end, I decided to have Garth place branchlets working toward 4 fixed goals (the station tiles and the big two deliveries) in an order that changes slightly with the difficulty, and to ignore the bonus tiles entirely. This means that Garth's branchlet placements will progress in an identical order every game (with varied timing). This prioritizes consistency, scripting sensible actions, and enabling interesting races above dynamism, but I think it's the right balance of simplicity and challenge, the closest to a human opponent, and more fun than alternatives. (There's one other more complex system that I may try to work on later, and could easily fold in.)
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Brian Jubilation Martin
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Looks great! I like how you've adapted it for multiplayer. I'll give it a whirl this weekend!
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Vladimir
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anwei, NoelMagentaShag, thank you for solo variants (Garth, Shane, Morgan)!

I have a question. If I want to play against 2-3 automas, how many automa's decks I need? 1 common deck of 15 cards to control all automas or 2-3 separate decks of 15 cards each?
 
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Brian Jubilation Martin
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For Morgan and Shane, you'd want a separate deck for each one, as you wouldn't want each one doing the same thing every turn.
 
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Steve Schlepphorst
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Su4nost_ wrote:
anwei, NoelMagentaShag, thank you for solo variants (Garth, Shane, Morgan)!

I have a question. If I want to play against 2-3 automas, how many automa's decks I need? 1 common deck of 15 cards to control all automas or 2-3 separate decks of 15 cards each?


Up to you. The most consistent experience will come from separate decks and different specialization, but using a single deck and randomizing specialization might create some more interesting games/narratives.
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Jimmy Hensel
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Thanks for the updated Garth.

I'm hoping that
Roberto Ritter
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Brasilia
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will either update his online version of the cards or make a set of these new cards.
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