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Subject: Container or Brass? rss

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Cole Wehrle
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Hey everyone,

So I am at a crossroads about which game to get next. I currently have a very large and tightly knit gaming group composed of very smart students studying everything from music to mathematics. Agricola, Age of Steam (Liberte as well), Puerto Rico, and Diplomacy enjoy fairly regular plays.

To this end I am looking for a new economic game and I think I've narrowed my choices to Container or Brass: Lancashire. What are your thoughts on these games?


So far, beyond wargames, I have never had to worry about a game being "too complicated" for my group. However it's equally unlikely folks will want spend more than 3-4 hours on one game unless it's Titan or Diplomacy.

Thanks a bunch,

Cole

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Melissa
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I I have played both and enjoy container a lot more. Brass has a lot of elements I enjoy, but just never really had any magic for me. Container is unlike a lot of other games, it makes you build an economy in a pretty hands off way so you can crash it if you are not responsible. The need to buy from each other and the auction, as well as the secret cards keep things interesting and play varies a lot with different players and strategies, to my mind this is the one that says fresh longer.
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I'd go with Copper.
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Breno K.
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Container is truly an economic game: it provides a model for interaction between goods and cash and the player with the most money in the end will win (goods are turned into cash near the end).

Brass is more of a building game. Money earns very little Vps in the end, it really is a matter of what you built with your money. The interaction happens between buildings and connections placed, which can be quite variable.

Brass has crazier rules, but I like it much better. They`re completely different games, though.

(if it helps, brass is good with 3 or 4 players, container requires 4 or 5).
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Daniel Corban
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Up until this point, anytime someone has made a post saying "this game or that game?" the answer was already very clear cut.

Asking if you should get Container or Brass is like asking if you should get pizza or chocolate chip cookies. They are both excellent and currently in my top 5 favorite games. Container continues to amaze and Brass is much, much deeper than I originally thought.

Your question is just mind blowing. It sounds so damn cliche, but get both. Now.
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Einmal ist keinmal
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I found some previous threads that you should take a look at that discuss these games:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/309309/page/1
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2391508#2391508

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2591477#2591477
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Dave Eisen
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I think Brass is great. One of the top 10 games of this genre, or close. And that Container is less great. Enough less great that I will not play it.

But that isn't very helpful. Obviously others disagree.

Brass intrigues me for a number of reasons:

1. The network building/card management is interesting. Growth depends on geometry in kind of a new and unique way. Container has no geometry/network building component.

2. The system where building industries (game's term for buildings) which provide you no value at all at build time, but generate income and VP once they have proved themselves useful to the game. So for instance, you build a coal mine which provides coal to one and all. It provides you as builder both income and VP once all of the coal is claimed.

3. Loans. Here it is interesting that you never pay the loan back and the interest is manageable, but a loan takes an action and actions are precious.

4. Turn order management. There is a tricky tactical element here. Unlike most of the game which is highly strategic, here it is tactical. One wants to go first on key turns to get quick access to a game opportunity --- space to build or specific action to take --- and this is controlled by whoever spent the least money on one turn goes first the next one. This must be managed.

Really strong game.

On the other hand, Container didn't do a lot for me. Here are a few reasons:

1. Fragile economic system. If players don't play quasi-cooperatively, all of the money can be sucked out of the game. This leads to a pretty horrible experience for everyone.

2. Blind bidding as a core mechanic. Bidding for the VP-producing containers at the final stage is blind and while it is possible to understand what a shipment is worth to other players, one can never be sure. Secret VP valuation, different for each player, doesn't help this.

3. The decisions are just not ones that I find very interesting. You are frequently deciding exactly how much to price things you are putting on the market. A difference of a dollar can easily matter in terms of your ability to consummate a sale. Or not. Seems hard to know.

I hope this helps. It's not like either is a bad game. More a matter of which fits your preferences. And my preferences are clear and strong here.
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Guy Riessen
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dcorban wrote:
Asking if you should get Container or Brass is like asking if you should get pizza or chocolate chip cookies.
....
Your question is just mind blowing. It sounds so damn cliche, but get both. Now.


Precicely my thoughts as well, dcorban! But if you cannot afford both right now, the easiest answer is flip a coin and then get the other as soon as you can.
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Daniel Corban
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dkeisen wrote:

On the other hand, Container didn't do a lot for me. Here are a few reasons:

1. Fragile economic system. If players don't play quasi-cooperatively, all of the money can be sucked out of the game. This leads to a pretty horrible experience for everyone.

2. Blind bidding as a core mechanic. Bidding for the VP-producing containers at the final stage is blind and while it is possible to understand what a shipment is worth to other players, one can never be sure. Secret VP valuation, different for each player, doesn't help this.

3. The decisions are just not ones that I find very interesting. You are frequently deciding exactly how much to price things you are putting on the market. A difference of a dollar can easily matter in terms of your ability to consummate a sale. Or not. Seems hard to know.


1. Container is hard. If you like games such as Age of Steam with make-or-break decision making, then Container is the game for you. I will say that your description is only really possible in a game completely filled with first time players.

2. Blind bidding encourages "correct" bids. If you try to get a deal by bidding too low for what it is worth to you, you can get hosed. See games such as Power Grid or Amun-Re where this also applies. It's a risk.

3. The decisions of price in the factory and harbor are relatively small. It is more about what you choose to buy and sell, not the price you sell them for. Pricing is just another method of encouraging/discouraging the sale of specific goods (or any goods at all).
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Mike Kollross
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Quote:
1. Fragile economic system. If players don't play quasi-cooperatively, all of the money can be sucked out of the game. This leads to a pretty horrible experience for everyone.


New players can suck the money pout of the system leaving everyone to take loans. Once the first auction takes place new money is introduced and things get better. When teaching I would point out the fact the money leaves the economy and reenters through the auctions (bank matches bid) and everything shoudl go OK.

I have only played once and I'm looking forward to more plays.
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james napoli
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i've played both games at least twice and enjoy them both.

most of my gamer friends do not like container.

for me, i loved Brass after each play it left me thinking about the game for days after.

i have read some of the flack that people give it, and it could be warranted...but for me...it's one of those 'special games'. That feeling could wear after many plays, but if i were chosing between container and brass then i would choose Brass no questions.
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Jesse McGatha
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I love Brass, but I didn't really like Container at all. I felt Container was much harder to grok and didn't seem like the process of doing so would be at all enjoyable.
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J C Lawrence
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Of course I sit on the other side of the fence from Dave (and we play together regularly). I play Container regularly (see my games-played history) and have no interest in playing Brass again.

dkeisen wrote:
1. The network building/card management is interesting. Growth depends on geometry in kind of a new and unique way. Container has no geometry/network building component.


There is something of an implied (and ever-changing) virtual phasing network formed by the intersection of factory players with stock, warehouse players with stock, positions of ships (sea/harbour/island) and each player's scoring card. It is weak though and much more of a phase position than a network, though I often think of it as a network of relationships during play.

Quote:
1. Fragile economic system. If players don't play quasi-cooperatively, all of the money can be sucked out of the game. This leads to a pretty horrible experience for everyone.


I find this an advantage of Container. Each player needs the other players to be healthy in order to buy and sell with them. The result is a very original process of players pushing the boundaries and thus effectively forcing the other players to rescue them. Done well the pusher can gain position and advantage in the process.

Quote:
2. Blind bidding as a core mechanic. Bidding for the VP-producing containers at the final stage is blind and while it is possible to understand what a shipment is worth to other players, one can never be sure. Secret VP valuation, different for each player, doesn't help this.


Yeah, this bit is hard, just hard. I've gone backwards and forwards with other bidding methods in the game and finally come back to blind bidding as the actual correct choice. Blind bidding specifically affords a significant information passing opportunity that allows the players to determine each other's scoring cards (usually) by the mid-game.
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Cole Wehrle
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Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses.

I realized that this topic might provoke some conversation due in part to the nature of recommendation posts like this one. I have been reading about both games and thought the best way to evaluate my preference further might be through such a discussion, regardless of how different the compared games might be.

Container seems to offer something much closer to the high interaction economic game that I feel my collection needs. In this instance, my draw towards Brass might come from a loyalty to Wallace and his games as well as an interest in the period covered. I have several of his titles (AoS, Liberte, SoE, Perikles, and Byzantium) and all but Byzantium enjoy regular plays.

If I had the funds (or could find willing folks to trade with) I would love to have both, but, given my current predicament I am far more inclined towards Container.
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Ed Park
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See below for biased recommendation due to not having played Container before:

Another vote for Brass! It is a complex game that can be picked up quickly. A hit with my group.

With that said Container does look like it would be fun to play and hope it is picked up by myself or a friend in the next few months.
 
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Peter Mumford
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Boardgames incorporate economic themes in highly stylized and symbolic forms, usually simplified to the greatest possible degree. Games such as Wealth of Nations, that give a more accurate market through more pricing negotiation, simply become tedious. I can't speak to Container because I have not played it yet.

Brass may not have realistic commodity markets - they are far to crude to be realistic - but they do interact in a deeply interconnected fashion. Brass combines a transportation network, technological development, and supply and demand in a diverse spectrum of commodities. It may be "economic", or not, but I haven't found any other game to do this. Plus, Brass has a rich historical flavor. For me, it is one of the most satisfying games.
 
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