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Subject: Any opinions from those who played at the recent GOF ? rss

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james napoli
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I noted some players who attended the GOF played Automobile and i was wondering if anyone had any opinions to share ?

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James
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Jason Miller
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There's a few geeklists about GoF Automobile experiences. They're only a couple of days old, so they shouldn't be hard to find.
 
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Geeky McGeekface
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It was easily my favorite game from the Gathering, James. I played it three times and liked it better each time. It has the depth of Brass, but once you get the basic concepts down, is much more intuitive. It's the best game so far of the very strong Treefrog series and I might even like it more than Brass, which is really saying something. It takes 2.5-3 hours to play (maybe less with experience), but there's little downtime due to the interveaving actions. I loved it with both 3 and 4 players; it'll probably work with 5, but, I suspect, only with players familiar with the system. I plan to post a review in the next few days, so I'll have plenty more to say about this, but for now, I'm licking my chops waiting for this to be released to the general public!
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J C Lawrence
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Eric Brosius's comments seem good:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/41594/item/915834?comm...

Quote:
Automobile has quite a bit in common with Lokomotive Werks. I played Automobile twice last week, and as I played it I was thinking "this is like Lokomotive Werks, but with more flexibility."

Later in the week I played Lokomotive Werks and found the lack of flexibility to be an attraction in itself.

Both are members of the "economic engine" family, though, so may not appeal to people who don't like such games.


I own and have played a fair bit of Lokomotive Werks (see my review) and I like the game, in part for its very austere simplicity and directness, and the fact that it can be compleated in 45 minutes. I suspect Automobile won't make the grade for me.
 
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Geeky McGeekface
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Maybe I need to play Locomotive Werks again (it's been a good while since my last session), but despite a couple of folks claiming the games are similar, I gotta say I don't see it. Some surface thematic similarities, sure, but very little in common mechanically. If nothing else, the level of control in Automobile is far greater than I ever recall experiencing in LW. Automobile does draw on some elements in Wallace's Tinners' Trail, but again, the two games feel quite different, with the newer game being deeper, more complex, and longer.
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Snooze Fest
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Larry Levy wrote:
It takes 2.5-3 hours to play (maybe less with experience), but there's little downtime due to the interveaving actions. I loved it with both 3 and 4 players; it'll probably work with 5, but, I suspect, only with players familiar with the system. I plan to post a review in the next few days, so I'll have plenty more to say about this, but for now, I'm licking my chops waiting for this to be released to the general public!


I've played it 5 times so far, with play times (actual play, not rules explanation) below:
1. 5er, 4 newbies: 100min
2. 5er, 4 newbies: 98min
3. 4er, 1-2 newbies (I think): 77min
4. 4er, 2 newbies: 96min
5. 4er, 1 newbie: 80min
I think your 2.5-3 hours is way out of the ordinary ... did you play with some really slow players? Is it _you_?

And I think it works well with 4 and 5; hoping to try a 3er some time, once I have my copy back (on loan in CA)!
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Snooze Fest
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Larry Levy wrote:
Maybe I need to play Locomotive Werks again (it's been a good while since my last session), but despite a couple of folks claiming the games are similar, I gotta say I don't see it. Some surface thematic similarities, sure, but very little in common mechanically. If nothing else, the level of control in Automobile is far greater than I ever recall experiencing in LW. Automobile does draw on some elements in Wallace's Tinners' Trail, but again, the two games feel quite different, with the newer game being deeper, more complex, and longer.


My comments (after returning from GoF) below...
me wrote:
If you liked Tinner's Trail but thought it was too light, this might be for you: it feels like TT with added depth/complexity. It's a good economics game ... I just wish I could figure it out!

Compared to TT:
- 4 Turns, multiple steps each turn.
- VERY true to the theme: you face decisions about how many/what type of cars to make, when to make them, how to sell them better and beat the competition, how much effort (actions) to spend on research, how to minimize losses (from inefficient factories and dealerships/distributors), etc.
- turn order changes, based on when you pass the previous turn
- produce stuff. It's cars vs. copper/tin, and you have more control -- build exactly how many cars you like, and of the type you like.
- sell stuff. But not all that you produce -- only what is determined by the demand tiles. And you may not get to sell everything -- you _are_ competing with other players directly here. Also, demand is somewhat random (although you do have limited partial knowledge) so you need to take steps to ensure you can sell what you produce.
- all of the above is modified by which Character/Role you choose, which are also true to theme.

Compared to Lokomotive Werks (which I've only played once):
- cars vs. trains
- similar premise: build factories of varying technology levels, produce stuff, sell based on (randomly determined) demand. But there's a lot more stuff going on here (roles, extra actions, etc.).
- I think this is more forgiving?

Actually, having played Automobile several times now, I think I need to go back and try Loko again!
 
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Geeky McGeekface
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snoozefest wrote:
I think your 2.5-3 hours is way out of the ordinary ... did you play with some really slow players? Is it _you_?

It could be, as I'm not the fastest player in the world. But in my last two games, I think I was actually the quickest player at the table (not too surprising, as I was the only one who had played before).

Honestly, I think your games may be the aberation, Ravindra. Martin lists the duration as 2 hours and if anything, he tends to underestimate his times, at least for the first few games. Your 80 minute games mean that each turn takes only 20 minutes, which seems pretty fast for a game with this much going on. I'll be thrilled if this turns out to be a 1.5 hour game, but right now, I suspect you were playing in Huber time!

Quote:
And I think it works well with 4 and 5; hoping to try a 3er some time, once I have my copy back (on loan in CA)!

My 3 player game worked very well. You have a little more control with the demand, since you now have 1/3 of the information, not 1/4, but weird things can still happen. I think I prefer it with 4, as judging the game situation is more challenging, but I'd never turn down a 3-player game. I also suspect the best way to learn Automobile is with 3. I think I'll still try to discourage 5 player games until everyone has some experience with the game, but since you think it works so well with that number, I won't be afraid of suggesting it with a group who has played before.
 
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Patrick Korner
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Larry Levy wrote:
snoozefest wrote:
I think your 2.5-3 hours is way out of the ordinary ... did you play with some really slow players? Is it _you_?

It could be, as I'm not the fastest player in the world. But in my last two games, I think I was actually the quickest player at the table (not too surprising, as I was the only one who had played before).


I'd peg the length at between 1.5 to 2.5 hours once players know what they're doing. The game that I played with Sterling and Larry took quite a while, but that's partly due to Gathering Syndrome (i.e. downtime while folks wander by and chat), partly because Sterling and I had never played, and partly because I was nursing a monster headache that eventually turned turned my stomach and scrubbed the rest of the day for me.

It's a wonderful game, though, as I said in my GoF summary geeklist. Easily one of the weekend's highlights for me.

pk
 
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Jeff Anderson
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Automobile was the hit of GoF for me. Played it twice and really loved it both times. I'm generally a fan of Martin Wallace games, but this one has got me the most excited since Age of Steam.

Immediately after my first playing of Automobile, I played Locomotive Werks for the first time and it was night and day (or I should say day and night respectively). I don't say this lightly, but LW is a broken game, or at least can become so through unfortunate demand dice rolls.

Because I was randomly chosen to go last that first turn, and because the first two demand roles were so poor I had no chance to do better than a distant 4th. I stuck it out and played through 2/3rds of the game before dinner to see if there was any chance to do something interesting, and at every decision point every else at the table agreed I was making the best decision possible. These were veterans of the games, btw. It was clear to all that I was out of this game from the start through no fault of my own or poor decisions on my part.

Sorry to be so harsh, but I had a fairly visceral reaction to this game after having just played a similar economic game (Automobile) that provided options and control over your own fate. I have no problem coming in last if I've made mistakes as I explore the game - that was my first experience with AoS, but I still loved the game. Being randomly dealt the "you will lose" card before the game even starts - that's no fun, and until some fix is applied so such an event isn't possible, I will never play it again.
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Geeky McGeekface
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We played Locomotive Werks about 4-5 times when it first came out. In our last session, one of the players made the following pronouncement: "Locomotive doesn't werk." We all agreed and that was the last it was seen in our parts.

Our issue wasn't the start of the game (although that certainly has the potential to be problematic), but with the end game. Because of the way that player order is determined, you frequently have the situation where if the game ends on turn N, Player A will win easily, while Player B will finish last, but if the game ends on the next turn, B will win and A will finish down in the pack. Unfortunately, it's hard to predict on which turn the game will end and player choices have little to do with this. So despite some interesting play, the winner can come down to a crap shoot.

Several years after its release, LW has had a surprising renaissance of sorts and the game has a number of enthusiastic fans. Consequently, I have a mild interest in trying it again, to see if our original opinion was somehow flawed. Experiences like Jeff's tend to dampen this a bit, but if the opportunity arose, I'd like to give the game another shot.

But regardless of if and how that experience turns out, it won't affect the original question. I'm sorry, Locomotive Werks; I have known Automobile, I have played Automobile, and you, sir, are no Automobile.
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J C Lawrence
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I don't know what happened in your game, but players often feel compelled to invest lightly in that case and this is an almost guaranteed losing move. Instead the right action is to buy enough production (and likely the red factory) to guarantee yourself an early turn order next round given the fact that none of them wil earn a nickel & you'll have no income. If the roll is bad next turn, you'll get the most of it & likely be in fair shape. If the roll is good,you'll not be great but will still be in the running. In positions like you describe, the trick is to use excess capacity to force the turn order you want for next round. Later you either employ or upgrade those workers as needed on your fight for turn order.

This is not to say that the dice can't throw the game, they clearly can, but it takes several rounds of the game before that's true. In the early game you still have liquidity and turn order to fight with.
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John Weber
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I wasn't at GoF, haven't tried LW (yet) but I think Automobile is probably Wallace's best game and my favorite 2009 game thus far. Played about 10 times with a handmade prototype (based on some detailed rules summaries posted here at BGG and on a prototype I saw at PrezCon). Each game developed differently, and while you don't have that many decisions to make, each one seems to be excruciating. Do you open a new factory, risk losing money on an old one, which character to choose each turn, etc.? Also, the game seems to fit the theme perfectly. Anxiously anticipating for the Mayfair/Phalanx US edition due to come out later this year.

(Edit/addition): Plays a bit differently with different numbers of players, seems best with 5, less interesting with 3.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Automobile was also my favorite game of the GOF by far. It's much more intuitive and cleaner (yes Tom, cleaner I said! )than Brass.My last 3 player games with two newbies was less than an hour and a half. Also I have to reveal that snoozefest and I started a game at GOF after Larry started his, and we were on our fourth turn while they were in the middle of their first, so I do think it may just be something with Larry laugh
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