Ralph H. Anderson
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Eagle-Gryphon Games will run a Kickstarter for a new deluxe edition of Martin Wallace’s Struggle of Empires August 15, 2019 with art and layout by João Tereso.

A highly regarded strategy game, Struggle of Empires has long been a candidate for a deluxe edition - and Eagle-Gryphon Games is known for its expertise in creating deluxe quality game editions.

We envision the deluxe edition of Struggle of Empires to share many of the characteristics of our recently-published Vital Lacerda games (Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa, Escape Plan, and On Mars) including box size and component quality. We are creating new art, a large and re-imagined game board, enhanced cardboard components, new wood components, and a larger box with a complete storage solution. Most importantly, we have also developed an updated rule book!

We will be posting updated art and components on BGG for the game and have begun with a draft of the new deluxe edition box cover. We will post the updated rules draft and game board soon. The updated rule book clarifies the original rules and examples and also provides several variant rules.

We are very pleased to include 2 new variants just passed on to us from the designer, Martin Wallace.

Other variants are based on designer and fan suggestions. Some address issues of “balance” and “luck” in the game and others provide new ideas for setup. We have reviewed the many discussions, comments, and files on BoardGameGeek.com including discussions and comments by Martin Wallace and members of the Warfrog team who originally produced this excellent game. We have developed those suggestions we felt best integrated with the game and have presented them as variants so that players may choose those that best enable their own personal play preferences.

GAME OVERVIEW
Struggle of Empires is set in the eighteenth century: the age of discovery and sail, a period of colonization and the beginnings of industrialization, and a time of almost constant warfare in Europe and its far-flung colonies.

You will assume the leadership of one of the seven European major powers of that time and direct its military, economic, and political development to compete with your rival major powers. You will make alliances, build armies and fleets, establish colonies, improve your economy, wage war, and manage unrest among your citizenry.

You will decide whether to expand in Europe or take control of colonies in the Americas, Africa, and the Far East. If well made, your choices will guide you to victory in the upcoming struggle of empires!

Draft Cover for Deluxe Edition of Martin Wallace's Struggle of Empires
We chose to use ships of sail for the Struggle of Empires cover as they were the defining symbol of empire and power in the 18th century.

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Mike Oberly
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I hope there is a rules rewrite. Love the game, but have always detested the rules.
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Josh
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SoE
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deluxe edition

So, so many complex emotions
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Karl Hoche
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I really enjoyed the original game but always disliked the map and the coins, I hope this one improves that.
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Dave G
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Looking forward to it. I disliked the map/board size & design so much so, that I designed a new one myself (& printed it onto a 36” square playmat). Hopefully the new version will have decent updated rules & art.
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Tom Cannon
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Fuzzcrumbler wrote:
Looking forward to it. I disliked the map/board size & design so much so, that I designed a new one myself (& printed it onto a 36” square playmat). Hopefully the new version will have decent updated rules & art.

I like this idea. How about a playmat instead of cardboard for the deluxe game board?
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DragonCat wrote:

Eagle-Gryphon Games
We envision the deluxe edition of Struggle of Empires to share many of the characteristics of our recently-published Vital Lacerda games (Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa, Escape Plan, and On Mars) including box size and component quality. We are creating new art, a large and re-imagined game board, enhanced cardboard components, new wood components, and a larger box with a complete storage solution. Most importantly, we have also developed an updated rule book!


Great game, reprint, great news.

But, does SoE really need a Lisboa size box? Are the new wooden components the size of Indonesia? Can these questions be read literally? ninja
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As a long time SoE player, I’m glad to see a new deluxe edition coming soon. It’s great that it’ll have new art, but I’m also especially pleased to see that Martin Wallace has been involved in the revision process.

Below are somethings I would recommend, but Struggle of Empires is an Amazing game and should NOT be substantially changed.

Rulebook
The rules need to be rewritten, for clarity and accessibility. Rule confusions are bad. A bad rulebook makes it hard to learn/teach the game.

Player Aid
I’m always flabbergasted when a game doesn’t come with good player aids. This seems obvious. Again, this is something which makes the game easier to play and easier to learn.

Improvement/Alliance/Special Cards, not tiles
This is another ‘ergonomic’ suggestion. If the tiles were cards, they could feature/explain their effects. I mean, sure, they could be 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch cardboard tiles… but either way they should be made big enough so that players aren’t as reliant on a the long sheet which details what does what. The card/tile should just explain what it does.

Dice
Dice are an excellent inclusion in the game. And the way 2 dice are used is a great luck mitigator. But I always found the ‘roll 2 and find the difference’ to be a bit too mathy. I mean, it’s not hard to work out, but it’s not fun either. Feels like homework and just a hassle. And even with this method, the outcome can be pretty swingy.

My strong suggestion here would be: roll 3 dice and take the middle result. E.g. if you rolled a 1, 3, 5, it would be the 3. If you rolled ad 1, 6, 6, it would be a 6. There’s a nice bell curve to the likely results using this. It’s random, but less random and more reliable. And easier than doing math.

Better With Lower Player Counts
The original SoE is really only worth playing with 5-7 players. (Ok, maybe 4, if you have the right group.) It’d be great if the new edition was more playable with fewer players. While the SoE re-implementation – Age of Reason – is a worse game than SoE, it does include a few great differences. And this is one of them:

In AoR, all 7 empires are played in every game. All are set up the same the at the start (i.e. draw tokens, place empire control markers). And the non-player empires are part of the alliances -- if in your alliance, you can pay them (the bank) to assist you in your military endeavours. There’s a bit more too it, but hopefully you get the idea (take a look at the AoR rulebook to learn the details). It works great, and this should be ported into the deluxe SoE game.

Conquest of the Empire, the other SoE re-implementation, made some other tweaks which helped it play better at different player count -- e.g. varying the number of province (country) counters drawn and added to the board each war (that is, instead of just drawing 10 country counters each round, you would draw a number equal to twice the number of players).

Negotiations?
Whether or not SoE is meant to be played as a negotiation game has been opaque to a number of people. I can see why some like to play it as a negotiation game, but it doesn’t need to be played as a negotiation game. SoE provides a better experience as a no-negotiations game. At the end of the day, with 5-7 players, it’s long enough as it is (and is too long if negotiating is allowed). And there’s plenty of player interactions anyways, and ways for the players to balance against a runaway leader.

The other great thing about AoR is how it moves away from negotiations: When you enlist the military might of your allies, you just pay that player $1. It’s streamlined, and it works since money is so tight in the game (assuming you’re avoiding unrest).

So I think the core rules for the deluxe edition should explicitly avoid allowing negotiations. But different strokes for different folks. So, either way, the other option should be included in the rulebook as an official variant (i.e. if the normal rules allow for negotiations, there should be a no-negotiations variant included.)

Hidden Money, Hidden Unrest
In SoE, money was open and unrest secret. In AoR, unrest became open as well. This was one (of a number of the things) which made it a worse game. (In fact, aside from this and the ‘always play with all 7 empires’ change discussed above, I would say every other change incorporated into AoR made the game worse, relative to SoE.) The best experience, in my mind, comes from both money and unrest being secret hidden info. It brings the risk management to another level, and deepens/intensifies the decision space the players operate it, all without adding an additional random element to the game.

Empires should be Equal/balanced (pre-setup)
Unfortunately, in SoE, the empires which players control are not equal in terms of adjacency to areas within Europe. As a consequence, some players are just in a better/stronger position from the get go. This sucks. SoE should be changed, one way or another, to make sure that everyone start on a more even footing. The pre-setup map state should be historically driven. But it’s important that everyone playing has a fun experience, and part of this means no one should be specifically disadvantaged even before the game has been set up.



But, again, as a long-time fan I look forward to this new edition. These are just the key things which sprint to mind.



PS: Love the new cover!
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Max
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Of course it’s a negotiation game, Eagle has already clarified players will be free to negotiate and give money to other players at any time, not just before battles. I have played like that lots of times and makes for intense alliance auctions, higher than usual unrest and even more backstabbing. devil
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alan beaumont
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The struggle for Struggle of Empires
prd1982 wrote:
Rulebook
The rules need to be rewritten, for clarity and accessibility. Rule confusions are bad. A bad rulebook makes it hard to learn/teach the game.
Yep, one of the few rule books to contain actual lies about subsequently described mechanisms! (Naval combat - I'm looking at you.)

Quote:
Player Aid
I’m always flabbergasted when a game doesn’t come with good player aids. This seems obvious. Again, this is something which makes the game easier to play and easier to learn.
The tile display as posted to the game entry is a good start. (Even if it is a watered down version of one I devised and was 'borrowed' without acknowledgement.) Make sure the continent layouts and colours match up with the board.

Quote:
Improvement/Alliance/Special Cards, not tiles
This is another ‘ergonomic’ suggestion. If the tiles were cards, they could feature/explain their effects. I mean, sure, they could be 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch cardboard tiles… but either way they should be made big enough so that players aren’t as reliant on a the long sheet which details what does what. The card/tile should just explain what it does.
Hmmmm. Not a fan of spreading the game footprint. Would settle for slightly bigger tiles to help visibility across the board and a play sheet per player to explain the rules for each tile.

Quote:
Dice
Dice are an excellent inclusion in the game. And the way 2 dice are used is a great luck mitigator. But I always found the ‘roll 2 and find the difference’ to be a bit too mathy. I mean, it’s not hard to work out, but it’s not fun either. Feels like homework and just a hassle. And even with this method, the outcome can be pretty swingy.
I think that's you. +2 attacks will usually get the job done +3 or more if it is critical.

Quote:
My strong suggestion here would be: roll 3 dice and take the middle result. E.g. if you rolled a 1, 3, 5, it would be the 3. If you rolled ad 1, 6, 6, it would be a 6. There’s a nice bell curve to the likely results using this. It’s random, but less random and more reliable. And easier than doing math.
Interesting take on less random. No, just no.

Quote:
Better With Lower Player Counts
The original SoE is really only worth playing with 5-7 players. (Ok, maybe 4, if you have the right group.) It’d be great if the new edition was more playable with fewer players. While the SoE re-implementation – Age of Reason – is a worse game than SoE, it does include a few great differences. And this is one of them:

In AoR, all 7 empires are played in every game. All are set up the same the at the start (i.e. draw tokens, place empire control markers). And the non-player empires are part of the alliances -- if in your alliance, you can pay them (the bank) to assist you in your military endeavours. There’s a bit more too it, but hopefully you get the idea (take a look at the AoR rulebook to learn the details). It works great, and this should be ported into the deluxe SoE game.
If you say so. Never played AoE.

Quote:
Conquest of the Empire, the other SoE re-implementation, made some other tweaks which helped it play better at different player count -- e.g. varying the number of province (country) counters drawn and added to the board each war (that is, instead of just drawing 10 country counters each round, you would draw a number equal to twice the number of players).
OK, but I'd also scale the Improvement tiles available. I also strongly believe more are needed for a 7 player count.

Quote:
Negotiations?
Whether or not SoE is meant to be played as a negotiation game has been opaque to a number of people. I can see why some like to play it as a negotiation game, but it doesn’t need to be played as a negotiation game. SoE provides a better experience as a no-negotiations game. At the end of the day, with 5-7 players, it’s long enough as it is (and is too long if negotiating is allowed). And there’s plenty of player interactions anyways, and ways for the players to balance against a runaway leader.
Radically disagree and how can you ban negotiation anyway? There's a brilliant alliance system system from which diplomacy arises naturally.

Quote:
The other great thing about AoR is how it moves away from negotiations: When you enlist the military might of your allies, you just pay that player $1. It’s streamlined, and it works since money is so tight in the game (assuming you’re avoiding unrest).

So I think the core rules for the deluxe edition should explicitly avoid allowing negotiations. But different strokes for different folks. So, either way, the other option should be included in the rulebook as an official variant (i.e. if the normal rules allow for negotiations, there should be a no-negotiations variant included.)
How would you penalise negotiation? "I wasn't negotiating - I was thinking out loud!" Can't be done unless you make alliances hard, so alliance units automatically back each other.

Quote:
Hidden Money, Hidden Unrest
In SoE, money was open and unrest secret. In AoR, unrest became open as well. This was one (of a number of the things) which made it a worse game. (In fact, aside from this and the ‘always play with all 7 empires’ change discussed above, I would say every other change incorporated into AoR made the game worse, relative to SoE.) The best experience, in my mind, comes from both money and unrest being secret hidden info. It brings the risk management to another level, and deepens/intensifies the decision space the players operate it, all without adding an additional random element to the game.
But this information is pretty much open if you can count and have a good memory. Leave it to individual groups, but I don't really want to pay for a player shield.

Quote:
Empires should be Equal/balanced (pre-setup)
Unfortunately, in SoE, the empires which players control are not equal in terms of adjacency to areas within Europe. As a consequence, some players are just in a better/stronger position from the get go. This sucks. SoE should be changed, one way or another, to make sure that everyone start on a more even footing. The pre-setup map state should be historically driven. But it’s important that everyone playing has a fun experience, and part of this means no one should be specifically disadvantaged even before the game has been set up.
And this is why diplomacy is an automatic response. If someone has a brilliant opening set up they should find friends hard to acquire. This sort of thing should be self balancing.

PHaving said that, perfectly happy to have historical scenarios.

Quote:
But, again, as a long-time fan I look forward to this new edition
As do I, although I'd rather have card standees or minis instead of wood, unless we also get a tile set anyway. Some spaces might get badly crowded unless the board gets to a silly size.


Quote:
PS: Love the new cover!
Hate the new cover. laugh
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misteralan wrote:


Improvement/Alliance/Special Cards, not tiles
Hmmmm. Not a fan of spreading the game footprint. Would settle for slightly bigger tiles to help visibility across the board and a play sheet per player to explain the rules for each tile.

Dunno if I get this, as the game foot print isn't actually that bad at all. I would rather have more user-friendly components, even if it comes with a greater footprint.

misteralan wrote:


Improvement/Alliance/Special Cards, not tiles
OK, but I'd also scale the Improvement tiles available. I also strongly believe more are needed for a 7 player count.


See, I've always found there to be the right amount for 7 -- certainly not too few -- but there are too many with 5 or fewer players. Either way, we agree the number available should scale more with the player count.


misteralan wrote:


Dice
Interesting take on less random. No, just no.


You haven't convinced me with your detailed argument here I'm all for a random element, but I just think it's better if it's more predictable.

misteralan wrote:

Negotiations?

Radically disagree and how can you ban negotiation anyway? There's a brilliant alliance system system from which diplomacy arises naturally.
How would you penalise negotiation? "I wasn't negotiating - I was thinking out loud!" Can't be done unless you make alliances hard, so alliance units automatically back each other.
.

It's fine that you disagree. Again, to each their own. But not everyone is willing to play negotiation games. And SoE takes long enough without negotiating, and again the longer a game is the fewer players there are who are willing to play it.

EGG -- like everyone -- should want to make SoE as accessible to as many players as possible. Keeping the playtime to a reasonable 3hrs and rules to accommodate players who don't want to have to haggle and deal-make is part of that.

I mean, I don't get your 'how do you ban negotiations anyways?' ... Do you play Dominion or Agricola as a negotiation game? The rules don't strictly allow it (or prohibit it), so players could do it, but obviously don't have to and the game plays great without it. But that doesn't mean the introduction of negotiations to the game make it better. By agreement, players just accept that they won't bog the game down trying to make deals.



misteralan wrote:


Quote:
But, again, as a long-time fan I look forward to this new edition

As do I, although I'd rather have card standees or minis instead of wood, unless we also get a tile set anyway. Some spaces might get badly crowded unless the board gets to a silly size.


Minis are overrated and too expensive. Player screens as an addition would be cheap, just a few sheets of card stock, and they could double as player aids anyways. But you’ll happily pay heaps for oversized plasic? That just sounds insane, but that’s mean. Especially since you said you didn’t want a greater footprint on the table. Wood is definitely nicest, cardboard standees the worst. But again, this who discussion just shows how radically people’s tastes and preferences can be.


misteralan wrote:

Quote:
PS: Love the new cover!
Hate the new cover. laugh




Now I know you must be joking!

surprise
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Vince Alvarez
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MikeOberly wrote:
I hope there is a rules rewrite. Love the game, but have always detested the rules.


prd1982 wrote:

Rulebook
The rules need to be rewritten, for clarity and accessibility. Rule confusions are bad. A bad rulebook makes it hard to learn/teach the game.


Five sentences into the post EGG literally says that the most important improvement is the new updated rulebook.
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Mike Oberly
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heyvince wrote:
MikeOberly wrote:
I hope there is a rules rewrite. Love the game, but have always detested the rules.


prd1982 wrote:

Rulebook
The rules need to be rewritten, for clarity and accessibility. Rule confusions are bad. A bad rulebook makes it hard to learn/teach the game.


Five sentences into the post EGG literally says that the most important improvement is the new updated rulebook.


People say a lot of things. We shall see.
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Quote:
Quote:

Hidden Money, Hidden Unrest
In SoE, money was open and unrest secret. In AoR, unrest became open as well. This was one (of a number of the things) which made it a worse game. (In fact, aside from this and the ‘always play with all 7 empires’ change discussed above, I would say every other change incorporated into AoR made the game worse, relative to SoE.) The best experience, in my mind, comes from both money and unrest being secret hidden info. It brings the risk management to another level, and deepens/intensifies the decision space the players operate it, all without adding an additional random element to the game.


But this information is pretty much open if you can count and have a good memory. Leave it to individual groups, but I don't really want to pay for a player shield.


Yes, there is no point in verifiable hidden information unless it's changing rapidly (amount of coins in Spartacus for example). But for things like gain flat amounts of Unrest? It should be open OR randomizes a bit (1-3 instead of 2). That way you can't be sure what player 'x' has hidden.
 
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Ralph H. Anderson
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Thanks for all the excellent discussion.

I am reading and taking notes. I won't reply with my thoughts at the moment so as not to discourage further discussion.

Please continue!
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DragonCat wrote:
Thanks for all the excellent discussion.

I am reading and taking notes. I won't reply with my thoughts at the moment so as not to discourage further discussion.

Please continue!


I'm really happy that this game is getting attention. Thanks for working on this.

However, i'm not a fan of the large boxes that you have used. I would gladly pass up fancy packaging and super components for a smaller, more transportable box. Thanks!
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Re: Kickstarter Struggle of Empires
DragonCat wrote:
Thanks for all the excellent discussion.

I am reading and taking notes. I won't reply with my thoughts at the moment so as not to discourage further discussion.

Please continue!
If you are looking for outside play testers I'm all ears myself.
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misteralan wrote:
DragonCat wrote:
Thanks for all the excellent discussion.

I am reading and taking notes. I won't reply with my thoughts at the moment so as not to discourage further discussion.

Please continue!
If you are looking for outside play testers I'm all ears myself.


ditto!
 
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Struggling on...
prd1982 wrote:
misteralan wrote:


Dice
Interesting take on less random. No, just no.


You haven't convinced me with your detailed argument here I'm all for a random element, but I just think it's better if it's more predictable.
But battles weren't predictable and they were horribly expensive so only undertaken sparingly as professional armies were hard to replace.
You have also removed the loss of a unit on a 7 mechanic, which can turn a setback into a headache or take the shine off victory. Too predictable is too game-y.

Quote:
misteralan wrote:

Negotiations?

Radically disagree and how can you ban negotiation anyway? There's a brilliant alliance system system from which diplomacy arises naturally.
How would you penalise negotiation? "I wasn't negotiating - I was thinking out loud!" Can't be done unless you make alliances hard, so alliance units automatically back each other.
.

It's fine that you disagree. Again, to each their own. But not everyone is willing to play negotiation games. And SoE takes long enough without negotiating, and again the longer a game is the fewer players there are who are willing to play it.

EGG -- like everyone -- should want to make SoE as accessible to as many players as possible. Keeping the playtime to a reasonable 3hrs and rules to accommodate players who don't want to have to haggle and deal-make is part of that.

I mean, I don't get your 'how do you ban negotiations anyways?' ... Do you play Dominion or Agricola as a negotiation game? The rules don't strictly allow it (or prohibit it), so players could do it, but obviously don't have to and the game plays great without it. But that doesn't mean the introduction of negotiations to the game make it better. By agreement, players just accept that they won't bog the game down trying to make deals.
Well (Settlers of) Catan is a negotiation game played properly, because a trade boycott is the best way of dealing with a runaway leader. If you do have that guy who won't let it rest when no one wants to cut his deal you can settle that within your group; it is seldom an issue with mature gamers.

Quote:
misteralan wrote:


Quote:
But, again, as a long-time fan I look forward to this new edition

As do I, although I'd rather have card standees or minis instead of wood, unless we also get a tile set anyway. Some spaces might get badly crowded unless the board gets to a silly size.


Minis are overrated and too expensive. Player screens as an addition would be cheap, just a few sheets of card stock, and they could double as player aids anyways. But you’ll happily pay heaps for oversized plasic? That just sounds insane, but that’s mean. Especially since you said you didn’t want a greater footprint on the table. Wood is definitely nicest, cardboard standees the worst. But again, this who discussion just shows how radically people’s tastes and preferences can be.
The fleets would look better standing and there are seldom large concentrations of them. I'd rather have pretty counters than blocky wooden units. (Hate the units in Wallace's Waterloo) Wouldn't mind some Vauban star forts though.


Quote:
misteralan wrote:

Quote:
PS: Love the new cover!
Hate the new cover. laugh
Now I know you must be joking!

surprise
Not really, it's really bland (all that blue) and is emphasizing a very minor element of the game (you seldom get naval battles, because there is little reason to fight at a disadvantage). If you want something spectacular let's have Plassey where two Indian Armies were fighting for and against two European powers. At best you've only got 25% of the cover sorted. whistle


I think the back of the box is more important. Take Concordia as an example. Most people say they were/are put off by the cover. Me, I had the brilliant idea of turning it over and having seen the components and read the blurb took it straight to the shop counter. Not a decision I've ever regretted.
 
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misteralan wrote:
prd1982 wrote:
misteralan wrote:


Dice
Interesting take on less random. No, just no.


You haven't convinced me with your detailed argument here I'm all for a random element, but I just think it's better if it's more predictable.
But battles weren't predictable and they were horribly expensive so only undertaken sparingly as professional armies were hard to replace.
You have also removed the loss of a unit on a 7 mechanic, which can turn a setback into a headache or take the shine off victory. Too predictable is too game-y.

Quote:
misteralan wrote:

Negotiations?

Radically disagree and how can you ban negotiation anyway? There's a brilliant alliance system system from which diplomacy arises naturally.
How would you penalise negotiation? "I wasn't negotiating - I was thinking out loud!" Can't be done unless you make alliances hard, so alliance units automatically back each other.
.

It's fine that you disagree. Again, to each their own. But not everyone is willing to play negotiation games. And SoE takes long enough without negotiating, and again the longer a game is the fewer players there are who are willing to play it.

EGG -- like everyone -- should want to make SoE as accessible to as many players as possible. Keeping the playtime to a reasonable 3hrs and rules to accommodate players who don't want to have to haggle and deal-make is part of that.

I mean, I don't get your 'how do you ban negotiations anyways?' ... Do you play Dominion or Agricola as a negotiation game? The rules don't strictly allow it (or prohibit it), so players could do it, but obviously don't have to and the game plays great without it. But that doesn't mean the introduction of negotiations to the game make it better. By agreement, players just accept that they won't bog the game down trying to make deals.
Well (Settlers of) Catan is a negotiation game played properly, because a trade boycott is the best way of dealing with a runaway leader. If you do have that guy who won't let it rest when no one wants to cut his deal you can settle that within your group; it is seldom an issue with mature gamers.

Quote:
misteralan wrote:


Quote:
But, again, as a long-time fan I look forward to this new edition

As do I, although I'd rather have card standees or minis instead of wood, unless we also get a tile set anyway. Some spaces might get badly crowded unless the board gets to a silly size.


Minis are overrated and too expensive. Player screens as an addition would be cheap, just a few sheets of card stock, and they could double as player aids anyways. But you’ll happily pay heaps for oversized plasic? That just sounds insane, but that’s mean. Especially since you said you didn’t want a greater footprint on the table. Wood is definitely nicest, cardboard standees the worst. But again, this who discussion just shows how radically people’s tastes and preferences can be.
The fleets would look better standing and there are seldom large concentrations of them. I'd rather have pretty counters than blocky wooden units. (Hate the units in Wallace's Waterloo) Wouldn't mind some Vauban star forts though.


Quote:
misteralan wrote:

Quote:
PS: Love the new cover!
Hate the new cover. laugh
Now I know you must be joking!

surprise
Not really, it's really bland (all that blue) and is emphasizing a very minor element of the game (you seldom get naval battles, because there is little reason to fight at a disadvantage). If you want something spectacular let's have Plassey where two Indian Armies were fighting for and against two European powers. At best you've only got 25% of the cover sorted. whistle


I think the back of the box is more important. Take Concordia as an example. Most people say they were/are put off by the cover. Me, I had the brilliant idea of turning it over and having seen the components and read the blurb took it straight to the shop counter. Not a decision I've ever regretted.




Dice
Apologies for not connecting all the dots in my original post. I wanted to give the flavor of what I had in mind -- what would ensure the game is streamlined and more accessible to a wider audience. (Rather than detailing all the minutiae about how it might be covered in the rulebook for clarity, but I'd be happy to spell out all the detail for EGG if they're keen!)


With the suggested 3d6 method, battles still aren't predictable. The results are just less swingy, and so since games of SoE can often come down to key battles in the final round(s), something like the 3d6 will leave the players more satisfied that they played well and the winner wasn't so driven by luck/random elements (something a lot of contemporary gamers hate). And 3d6 doesn't eliminate the risk management, excitement, and uncertainty that comes through combat. It does, however, mean die results of 2/3/4 are much more common -- i.e. there are fewer extreme blowouts, but they can still occur.

But the thing you're worrying about here is easy to manage:

The odds of rolling a 7 on 2d6 is 16.7%.

The odds of rolling a 7 or less on 3d6 is 16.2%.

This is statistically close enough.

So switching to 3d6 can be used to while maintaining the same risk of additional casualties. i.e.: After you roll the 3 dice, if they total is 7 of less, +1 casualty. (And add the value of the middle die to your strength.)

Now you might think, 'well with 2d6 the range of possible outcomes is 0-5 but 1-6 with 3d6!'. But this doesn't matter, since both players roll dice and the relative outcome of our rolls is where the effect lies. i.e. with either the 2d6 method or the 3d6 method, if we both get a result of, 3, we both get a +3 to our strength and so the dice haven't had any impact on the combat outcome. But with 2d6 there's only a 41.5% chance of having a relative result of +/- 0-1, whereas with the 3d6 it's a a 48% chance (i.e. cases where we have the same outcome, or where your outcome is one higher than mine, or one less than mine). If we look to relative results of +/- 0-3 it's 80%.5 with 2d6 and 85% with 3d6. Clearly, these aren't huge differences, so this recommended change won't widely change how SoE plays. But these differences aren't trivial either and the impact of the dice is more stable and the game/battles are less swingy when using the 3d6 method I outlined instead of the 'classic' 2d6 method.


Either way the use of dice here is still a bit of an extreme abstraction of combat for this era, but they both mirror the historically realities equally well. Going with 3d6 is easier on the players, and less swingy. In fact, I would argue 2d6 is much more "gamey" just because the outcomes can be much more swingy.


----

Negotiations
Sure, I agree Settlers of Catan is a negotiation game. But not every game is, and not every game is better is better if played as a negotiation game. My point in bring up Dominion and Agricola was just in response to your "how do you ban negotiations anyway" and "how would you penalise negotiations" -- games like Dominion and Agricola are rules neutral on negotiations. People don't play these as negotiation games, and there doesn't need to be an explicit mechanism to ban/penalize negotiations -- the players do this themselves by managing their expectations and play styles when they sit down to play the game. 'No-negotiation' games don't need to include rules on banning/penalizing negotiating.

Play Time
Circling back to a key point here, SoE takes 3-4hrs with 5-7 players who aren't playing it as a negotiation game. When played as a negotiation game, SoE takes close to 1hr per player -- that means, with the ideal complement of players, it's a 6-7hr affair. For me, that means it's something which might get played at most once a year. As a 'no-negotiation' game, it's playable in an evening and can hit the table more often. So, again, since contemporary gamers today seem to be more keen on games which are playable in an evening, making SoE 'no-negotiations' will again make the game more accessible and more appealing to a wider audience. Surely EGG wants to get the game into as many grubby gamer hands as possible.

At the end of the day, there's no harm at all in including 'variant rules' for people who want to play it as a 'no-negotiation' game. Since there are people who want to player a shorter game (i.e. less than 4hrs) and people who don't want to haggle as part of their gaming experience, the inclusion of rules for this just expands the reach for the game.


---

Talenn wrote:
Quote:
Quote:

Hidden Money, Hidden Unrest
In SoE, money was open and unrest secret. In AoR, unrest became open as well. This was one (of a number of the things) which made it a worse game. (In fact, aside from this and the ‘always play with all 7 empires’ change discussed above, I would say every other change incorporated into AoR made the game worse, relative to SoE.) The best experience, in my mind, comes from both money and unrest being secret hidden info. It brings the risk management to another level, and deepens/intensifies the decision space the players operate it, all without adding an additional random element to the game.


But this information is pretty much open if you can count and have a good memory. Leave it to individual groups, but I don't really want to pay for a player shield.


Yes, there is no point in verifiable hidden information unless it's changing rapidly (amount of coins in Spartacus for example). But for things like gain flat amounts of Unrest? It should be open OR randomizes a bit (1-3 instead of 2). That way you can't be sure what player 'x' has hidden.


Hidden Info
Agreed: when you take unrest, you should get a random 1-3 value token and keep it secret. This is just more interesting for the players as it creates more endgame tension and uncertainty about who might actually win.

But I think that, in reality, with 5-7 players over 3-4hrs, it's hard to keep track of how much money everyone has (if people are, e.g., keeping their money/unrest behind a player screen). And there's no harm explicitly stating in the rules that unrest/money is to be kept secret. People who prefer open info games game will just ignore that rule.

Cyclades is an excellent example of an excellent game where money is hidden -- even though everyone knows how much money everyone gains when money is gained, it's sufficiently tricky to track over the course of the game for all players (even if you have good memory). It just creates more tension for the players, which is what you want in a game: tension and difficult decisions, some of which are derived from such uncertainty -- even though the amount of money a player gains is never random.


I feel like this is another thing which largely comes down to different player preferences. And, again, there's no harm in designing the game with 'optional rules' to accommodate both those groups who want to play with open money/unrest and hidden money/unrest. Again, this just makes the game more appealing to more people. And the more people there are who feel like SoE is a game that fits with their gaming preferences, the better. This is another accessibility issue, and EGG should want the game to be as accessible as possible to get the most people on board with their KS.


---

Ultimately, SoE can be played as a negotiation game or not. And it can be played with hidden info or not. Both options in both these cases can easily be incoroproated into the rules as clear variants. And their inclusion isn't harmful or onerous, but does widen the appeal of the game.

I mean, it seems like arguing against this comes across as a bit elitist. That sounds harsher than I what I'm trying to convey, and I don't mean it to be antagonistic, but there's no need to dogmatic about it. In fact, since what I've suggested might give the game a wider audience, it would make sense to include them as the core rules and the way you favor as the 'classic variant'. So there's no reason to argue against this, even if you would would personally only ever want to play SoE a certain way game.


 
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Geoff Speare
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DragonCat wrote:
We envision the deluxe edition of Struggle of Empires to share many of the characteristics of our recently-published Vital Lacerda games (Gallerist, Vinhos, Lisboa, Escape Plan, and On Mars) including box size and component quality.


Will this be KS-only and priced in the range of the above games?
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For anyone still with us...
prd1982 wrote:
Dice
Apologies for not connecting all the dots in my original post. I wanted to give the flavor of what I had in mind -- what would ensure the game is streamlined and more accessible to a wider audience. (Rather than detailing all the minutiae about how it might be covered in the rulebook for clarity, but I'd be happy to spell out all the detail for EGG if they're keen!)


With the suggested 3d6 method, battles still aren't predictable. The results are just less swingy, and so since games of SoE can often come down to key battles in the final round(s), something like the 3d6 will leave the players more satisfied that they played well and the winner wasn't so driven by luck/random elements (something a lot of contemporary gamers hate). And 3d6 doesn't eliminate the risk management, excitement, and uncertainty that comes through combat. It does, however, mean die results of 2/3/4 are much more common -- i.e. there are fewer extreme blowouts, but they can still occur.

But the thing you're worrying about here is easy to manage:

The odds of rolling a 7 on 2d6 is 16.7%.

The odds of rolling a 7 or less on 3d6 is 16.2%.

This is statistically close enough.

So switching to 3d6 can be used to while maintaining the same risk of additional casualties. i.e.: After you roll the 3 dice, if they total is 7 of less, +1 casualty. (And add the value of the middle die to your strength.)

Now you might think, 'well with 2d6 the range of possible outcomes is 0-5 but 1-6 with 3d6!'. But this doesn't matter, since both players roll dice and the relative outcome of our rolls is where the effect lies. i.e. with either the 2d6 method or the 3d6 method, if we both get a result of, 3, we both get a +3 to our strength and so the dice haven't had any impact on the combat outcome. But with 2d6 there's only a 41.5% chance of having a relative result of +/- 0-1, whereas with the 3d6 it's a a 48% chance (i.e. cases where we have the same outcome, or where your outcome is one higher than mine, or one less than mine). If we look to relative results of +/- 0-3 it's 80%.5 with 2d6 and 85% with 3d6. Clearly, these aren't huge differences, so this recommended change won't widely change how SoE plays. But these differences aren't trivial either and the impact of the dice is more stable and the game/battles are less swingy when using the 3d6 method I outlined instead of the 'classic' 2d6 method.


Either way the use of dice here is still a bit of an extreme abstraction of combat for this era, but they both mirror the historically realities equally well. Going with 3d6 is easier on the players, and less swingy. In fact, I would argue 2d6 is much more "gamey" just because the outcomes can be much more swingy.
So anyway, I wrote out the 216 possible outcomes, then wrote them out again reordered in ascending value and then looked at the results.
I fear I must disagree that taking one number from another is any more tedious than putting three into order. snore

You've done yourself a disservice, if my sums are correct. There is a 36/216 chance of rolling 7 or less, so there is still 16.7% chance of losing a unit.

Other news: 7.4% each for +1 and +6. 18.5% for +5 and +2 and 24.1% for +4 and +3.

At this point my brain has begun to melt and I'm not as yet going to go through the additional permutations, with one minor exception. (There are some keen maths brains out there who can actually do this stuff who might help us out at some point, but the fact they are needed is a point against 3d6 I think.)

With the current 2d6 system you have a 16.7% chance of a +0 (rolling doubles) with a 5.56% chance of facing the dread +5 (for about a 2% chance for this occurrence).

3d6 gives 7.4% chance of +1, facing a 7.4% +6 (which is about half a percent for either side so a 1% overall.
This does look good if you are trying to reduce extremes, but it isn't the whole story.

In the 2d6 system getting a +5 result kills a unit, if present. (I like to think of it as your army pressing an attack with great success, despite savage casualties, or a grim defender going down fighting rather than giving ground. In effect a nice bit of chrome.)
You can of course also lose a unit at +3 and +1, but I'll let that alone here.

In the 3d6 system rolling an overall +5 is very very rare, but it guarantees not being killed by a low total. Low rolls in the 3d6 system mean you probably lose the battle and that is where the additional losses cluster; there are no additional casualties over +3, which is only a `1% chance in any case. I think I prefer the current situation.

Quote:
Negotiations
Sure, I agree Settlers of Catan is a negotiation game. But not every game is, and not every game is better is better if played as a negotiation game. My point in bring up Dominion and Agricola was just in response to your "how do you ban negotiations anyway" and "how would you penalise negotiations" -- games like Dominion and Agricola are rules neutral on negotiations. People don't play these as negotiation games, and there doesn't need to be an explicit mechanism to ban/penalize negotiations -- the players do this themselves by managing their expectations and play styles when they sit down to play the game. 'No-negotiation' games don't need to include rules on banning/penalizing negotiating.
But SoE is a power politics game, with actual alliances so negotiation arises naturally. That genie is out of the bottle. We don't have any formal diplomacy periods and with no simultaneous actions it can all happen at the table in play. Not seeing a problem here.

Quote:
Play Time
Circling back to a key point here, SoE takes 3-4hrs with 5-7 players who aren't playing it as a negotiation game. When played as a negotiation game, SoE takes close to 1hr per player -- that means, with the ideal complement of players, it's a 6-7hr affair. For me, that means it's something which might get played at most once a year. As a 'no-negotiation' game, it's playable in an evening and can hit the table more often. So, again, since contemporary gamers today seem to be more keen on games which are playable in an evening, making SoE 'no-negotiations' will again make the game more accessible and more appealing to a wider audience. Surely EGG wants to get the game into as many grubby gamer hands as possible.

At the end of the day, there's no harm at all in including 'variant rules' for people who want to play it as a 'no-negotiation' game. Since there are people who want to player a shorter game (i.e. less than 4hrs) and people who don't want to haggle as part of their gaming experience, the inclusion of rules for this just expands the reach for the game.
Seldom play with any number other than 5 (sometimes 6) and 3 hours is doable assuming no newbies; negotiation, trash talk and all.

Quote:
Talenn wrote:
Quote:
Quote:

Hidden Money, Hidden Unrest
In SoE, money was open and unrest secret. In AoR, unrest became open as well. This was one (of a number of the things) which made it a worse game. (In fact, aside from this and the ‘always play with all 7 empires’ change discussed above, I would say every other change incorporated into AoR made the game worse, relative to SoE.) The best experience, in my mind, comes from both money and unrest being secret hidden info. It brings the risk management to another level, and deepens/intensifies the decision space the players operate it, all without adding an additional random element to the game.


But this information is pretty much open if you can count and have a good memory. Leave it to individual groups, but I don't really want to pay for a player shield.


Yes, there is no point in verifiable hidden information unless it's changing rapidly (amount of coins in Spartacus for example). But for things like gain flat amounts of Unrest? It should be open OR randomizes a bit (1-3 instead of 2). That way you can't be sure what player 'x' has hidden.


Hidden Info
Agreed: when you take unrest, you should get a random 1-3 value token and keep it secret. This is just more interesting for the players as it creates more endgame tension and uncertainty about who might actually win.

But I think that, in reality, with 5-7 players over 3-4hrs, it's hard to keep track of how much money everyone has (if people are, e.g., keeping their money/unrest behind a player screen). And there's no harm explicitly stating in the rules that unrest/money is to be kept secret. People who prefer open info games game will just ignore that rule.

Cyclades is an excellent example of an excellent game where money is hidden -- even though everyone knows how much money everyone gains when money is gained, it's sufficiently tricky to track over the course of the game for all players (even if you have good memory). It just creates more tension for the players, which is what you want in a game: tension and difficult decisions, some of which are derived from such uncertainty -- even though the amount of money a player gains is never random.


I feel like this is another thing which largely comes down to different player preferences. And, again, there's no harm in designing the game with 'optional rules' to accommodate both those groups who want to play with open money/unrest and hidden money/unrest. Again, this just makes the game more appealing to more people. And the more people there are who feel like SoE is a game that fits with their gaming preferences, the better. This is another accessibility issue, and EGG should want the game to be as accessible as possible to get the most people on board with their KS.
I've always fancied an unrest system with tokens valued 3,4 or 5 being drawn from a bag and held in secret with you getting to discard your worst when you buy government reform tiles. If you think that too fiddly, you could record an unrest level then draw tiles to generate a total at the end leaving everyone in suspense, but I like to think a reform would address the worst grievances so I prefer an in game draw.
Can't get my group to bite though.

Quote:
Ultimately, SoE can be played as a negotiation game or not. And it can be played with hidden info or not. Both options in both these cases can easily be incoroproated into the rules as clear variants. And their inclusion isn't harmful or onerous, but does widen the appeal of the game.

I mean, it seems like arguing against this comes across as a bit elitist. That sounds harsher than I what I'm trying to convey, and I don't mean it to be antagonistic, but there's no need to dogmatic about it. In fact, since what I've suggested might give the game a wider audience, it would make sense to include them as the core rules and the way you favor as the 'classic variant'. So there's no reason to argue against this, even if you would would personally only ever want to play SoE a certain way game.


I'll be happy to see it back in print and even happier to help get it there. meeple
 
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If your 6-7 player games are taking 1 hour per player, that’s not the games fault, it’s a group issue. Our play times are half that if not less.
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Naval Battles
DragonCat wrote:

We chose to use ships of sail for the Struggle of Empires cover as they were the defining symbol of empire and power in the 18th century.


misteralan wrote:

Not really, it's really bland (all that blue) and is emphasizing a very minor element of the game (you seldom get naval battles, because there is little reason to fight at a disadvantage).


What are your thoughts of the idea that the naval supremacy in an area provides a +2 advantage in the subsequent land battle? This variant would place more emphasis on the importance of the naval battles and naval power.
 
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I JUST bought a second copy of this a few months ago because mine was getting pretty beaten up after 20+ plays.

Guess I'll be getting a third. Love the box art.
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