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Subject: 018 Coal Trader fixed rss

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Grzegorz Kobiela
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I've found out recently in a game of Le Havre that the Coal Trader special building was broken. One player was lucky to have tons of food and could convert 54 food (mostly meat and bread) to a whopping 27 coal! Another trip to the cokery and then shipping line made him win the game within seconds. Therefore Uwe promised to think about the building and introduce a limitation. Here it is, the fixed coal trader:



This image was shopped by myself, so excuse any quality issues. Maybe there will be an offical fixed image soon. I've thought I'll share it with you as I needed to fix the image myself to include it with the Le Havre computer game I'm designing. It will follow the limitation.
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Steve Duff
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Ponton wrote:
One player was lucky to have tons of food...


No such thing in this game. He had tons of food by taking it, or making it. If he had all the food and the other players had little, it was because they let him have it all.
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Did the player in question have many ships so as to be able to ship that many goods? Could you share how the player managed to get so many food and still be efficient enough to build that many ships.

Sounds like it might have been an end-game situation where perhaps the other players allowed the grain and cattle to pile up excessively, as Steven suggested.

This official change seems to reinforce the impression that a coke shipping strategy might be overly dominant in this game. Wonder if the cokery will be the next target of any official changes.
 
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One might argue its not this card that is broken but rather the
cokery that needs to be limited.
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Steve Duff
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houjix wrote:
The special cards certainly feel like they sometimes will randomly help out a player simply by being synergistic with the strategy they're already running or the situation they're already in. I'd prefer if they were public knowledge from the outset of the game.


True, that is one aspect that can be a bit of luck. But, the game does give you a mechanism to peek ahead at the future and re-arrange it, so it's not completely luck.
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Scott Agius
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Ponton wrote:
I've found out recently in a game of Le Havre that the Coal Trader special building was broken. One player was lucky to have tons of food and could convert 54 food (mostly meat and bread) to a whopping 27 coal! Another trip to the cokery and then shipping line made him win the game within seconds. Therefore Uwe promises to think about the building and introduce a limitation. Here it is, the fixed coal trader:



This image was shopped by myself, so excuse any quality issues. Maybe there will be an offical fixed image soon. I've thought I'll share it with you as I needed to fix the image myself to include it with the Le Havre computer game I'm designing. It will follow the limitation.


This new card is now just pointless, why would i pay 10 food to get 5 coal when i can go to Colliery and get 4 coal for just the entry fee.

The coal trader is a game changer but it's not necessarily a game breaker. if people are looking in the marketplace like they should and know which specials are coming out then they can plan ahead, this applies to all specials, quite a few of them can provide easy wins if only one person takes advantage of what the good special buildings provide.

And if you don't like how the special buildings operate then don't play with them, most of them are quite useless to be honest so if you're worried about what might come out just ignore the specials completely, it doesn't change very much at all except the game may get boring a little bit quicker with nothing new to spice it up (or just take out the specials which you think break the game)
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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The marketplace is never used after the first half of the game as you don't need many different resources, but rather more of one kind to achive your goals in the middle to end game. So, there was nobody to know which special building came last.

The player in question had just two ships and therefore piled up cattle and grain to feed himself this way. The whole game he was in this sense inefficient that he had to struggle for food more than the others did. Once the card came into the game, he could coke it - making 27 francs of profit btw, buy a steel ship I was going to build (!!) and then ship the coal efficiently. Nobody could have ever done anything against this.

I don't think the building is pointless now. 5 coal is more than the usual 3 ones from the colliery (or 4 if you own a hammer symbol, but - hey! - you must have achived this earlier, so see it as the additional cost to get the 4th coal). Also, you get one charcoal cheaply. With just 11 food input, you get 5 coal and 3 energy extra. This is usually a lot.

In the end, why be upset about this change? It's your game, use the card on the old manner if you think it was OK. I say, it's broken the way it was - this one card made the colliery completely pointless...



PS: Btw, what about the junkyard? Its limitation was 5x from start and nobody complains about it being pointless as you can get 4 iron in the ironworks for less input...
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Anthony Simons
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Ponton wrote:
In the end, why be upset about this change? It's your game, use the card on the old manner if you think it was OK. I say, it's broken the way it was - this one card made the colliery completely pointless...


Well I don't think anybody is upset, they're merely disagreeing with the validity of your reasoning behind it being "broken". You say a player was "lucky enough" to have lots of food; he probably worked very hard to get it and got his just reward.

If you restrict this card on the basis that a player might have enough resources to make it a game winner, then you really ought to do something about the Abbatoir, the Bakehouse, the Brickworks and the Charcoal Kiln. These all allow the unlimited upgrade of goods into another type which might be a game winner in the correct context.
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Julian Steindorfer
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i also think this card is broken ,because the difference here is that you can change money/food to coal(as much as you want) and in other building you also may can change ,as much as you want ,but not money against something or something against money.(junk yard,lumberjack camp,......)

so if you have enough money and ships ,what usually happens during midd-game ,you can quadruple your money in (every) three turns(coal trader, coakery ,shipping line) ,that´s the problem.
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James Klemm
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I personally don't think the quantity should be modified to 5x. That's only one greater than you usually get from the coliery. That's assuming you have at least one hammer symbol. The junkyard is actually 2 greater than the usual take from the ironworks. 6 energy for a fourth is possible though. Maybe people haven't really played with the junkyard enough to comment on it since it isn't in the base set.

How about restrict the use to actual food? No francs allowed.

Is this is a case of one person asking the designer to change the game after one or a few plays? That would seem to negate the massive amount of playtesting that went into the game. Keep in mind that when the coal trader comes up, all players can access it. That's why I don't feel it's broken. The Worker's Cottages, however... :p
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James Klemm
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Nebenerwerbsbauer wrote:


so if you have enough money and ships ,what usually happens during midd-game ,you can quadruple your money in (every) three turns(coal trader, coakery ,shipping line) ,that´s the problem.


The most you could multiply your money would be triple, but you still have to power the ships for the shipping line. For an example, you have 30 francs -> 15 coal at the coal trader. Then you turn it to 15 coke, netting 15 francs. You could ship maybe 13-14 coke and use 1-2 of them to power the shipping line. That would depend on whether you have any other energy around. Let's assume you ship 13. So your total cash went from 30 to (15 + 13*5) = 80.
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MisterBond wrote:
Nebenerwerbsbauer wrote:


so if you have enough money and ships ,what usually happens during midd-game ,you can quadruple your money in (every) three turns(coal trader, coakery ,shipping line) ,that´s the problem.


The most you could multiply your money would be triple, but you still have to power the ships for the shipping line. For an example, you have 30 francs -> 15 coal at the coal trader. Then you turn it to 15 coke, netting 15 francs. You could ship maybe 13-14 coke and use 1-2 of them to power the shipping line. That would depend on whether you have any other energy around. Let's assume you ship 13. So your total cash went from 30 to (15 + 13*5) = 80.


sorry did it wrong, thanks for correcting me, but i thin triple your money is still pretty good!
 
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Yes, tripling your cash is very nice but I think it's very difficult to get yourself in the position to do so. How could anybody be allowed to amass such food and energy and ships to take advantage of this, let alone actually being able to use the right buildings at the right time?

This does seem to be something that would only occur in exceptional circumstances, takes a lot of effort to set up and could still be fairly easily beaten after all that by the player who manages an extra ship build in the endgame. It seems to me it's a gamble that might pay off rather than a strategy that will.
 
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Julian Steindorfer
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the one game we played with the coal trader it happened and broke the game, and i think it can happen quit easily . I don´t know how competitive other people might play ,but in most of my games I own after round 10 more then 3 ships, and if there wasn't enough money ,I would sell all my useless buildings to acquire enough.
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Dave Eisen
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Happened last night. I had 63 coke. Converting the 63 coal to coke gave me 63 francs which I used to buy 2 steel ships so I had shipping capacity of 18. It was only going to get uglier when we called the game.
 
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Anthony Simons
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dkeisen wrote:
Happened last night. I had 63 coke. Converting the 63 coal to coke gave me 63 francs which I used to buy 2 steel ships so I had shipping capacity of 18. It was only going to get uglier when we called the game.


So is that the cokery that's the problem, Dave? I don't get it.
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Jerry Hagen
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The Coal Trader is likely how he got 63 coal in the first place.
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Anthony Simons
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That's what I suspected; it just wasn't clear where the problem lies.
 
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Well, sure. I had spent all game accumulating cows. Turned them into 100 food and then a big pile of coal. I could have gone the shipping->coal->coke cycle from that point on aided by the special building that allows me to boot another player out of a building I need, but really, I was just planning to ship and then buy up all of the buildings to starve the rest of the players of sources of points. Really didn't matter what I did.
 
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fellonmyhead wrote:
Yes, tripling your cash is very nice but I think it's very difficult to get yourself in the position to do so. How could anybody be allowed to amass such food and energy and ships to take advantage of this, let alone actually being able to use the right buildings at the right time?

This does seem to be something that would only occur in exceptional circumstances, takes a lot of effort to set up and could still be fairly easily beaten after all that by the player who manages an extra ship build in the endgame. It seems to me it's a gamble that might pay off rather than a strategy that will.


After one visit of the cokery with 30 coal (you got from the trader) you have the money to BUY a steel ship. I repeat: to BUY a steel ship. One shipment is enough to buy the next ships until you have enough to even ship more efficiently (assuming you had NO ships until that time).

It IS a game breaker.
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fellonmyhead wrote:
dkeisen wrote:
Happened last night. I had 63 coke. Converting the 63 coal to coke gave me 63 francs which I used to buy 2 steel ships so I had shipping capacity of 18. It was only going to get uglier when we called the game.


So is that the cokery that's the problem, Dave? I don't get it.


The cokery is intended to allow a coal heavy strategy, but coal is usually hard to get. I guess, the coal trader is simply an overlook when printing the game - it should never have happened.
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Still not seeing how a building available to all that depends on supplies available to all makes a game broken.

If it's so good, everyone uses it, and we're all stalemated again.
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Ponton wrote:
fellonmyhead wrote:
Yes, tripling your cash is very nice but I think it's very difficult to get yourself in the position to do so. How could anybody be allowed to amass such food and energy and ships to take advantage of this, let alone actually being able to use the right buildings at the right time?

This does seem to be something that would only occur in exceptional circumstances, takes a lot of effort to set up and could still be fairly easily beaten after all that by the player who manages an extra ship build in the endgame. It seems to me it's a gamble that might pay off rather than a strategy that will.


After one visit of the cokery with 30 coal (you got from the trader) you have the money to BUY a steel ship. I repeat: to BUY a steel ship. One shipment is enough to buy the next ships until you have enough to even ship more efficiently (assuming you had NO ships until that time).

It IS a game breaker.


If you're using a good chunk of your cash to buy ships you won't have that much for subsequent visits to the coal trader.
 
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Still not seeing how a building available to all that depends on supplies available to all makes a game broken.

If it's so good, everyone uses it, and we're all stalemated again.


Or the game goes to whoever is in the right place in the turn order.

I agree, anybody could pursue that strategy but it still throws the whole game out of balance if it is truly as easy as seems to be evident.

I really am starting to regret those two hours I spent queueing for this at Essen last year...
 
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A strategy game lives from its various possible strategies, UnknownParkerBrother. If there is one card that makes a certain strategy the only best, the game is broken this or the other way. Why bother to continue the game if there is a scripted way to victory (if achievable at all). Any unbalance of the game breaks it. I don't see, why you don't see this...
 
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