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Subject: How is Planet Steam like MULE? rss

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Richard Hutnik
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The buzz behind Planet Steam is that it is like MULE. Outside of the theme involving settling of a new planet, and some input and output of goods, I don't see much here. It doesn't look a lot like MULE? Why do people say it is like MULE? It looks as much like MULE as Wealth of Nations is. At least Wealth of Nation involves players buying and selling of goods.

For me, the driving thing in MULE was the auction for good, and land, and forming the right mix of property owned, and cornering the market. I do see an auctioning of roles, but not the active market.

By the way, I ask this after reading through the rules that I downloaded.
 
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Dan Blum
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Planet Steam has a considerably more active market than Wealth of Nations.
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Richard Hutnik
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tool wrote:
Planet Steam has a considerably more active market than Wealth of Nations.


Ok, I noticed the sales range chart they have. Also, it appears people can barter resources with one another.
 
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Tim Harrison
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docreason wrote:
tool wrote:
Planet Steam has a considerably more active market than Wealth of Nations.


Ok, I noticed the sales range chart they have. Also, it appears people can barter resources with one another.


Not sure how the poster meant it, but bartering is permitted in WoN, but not in PS.
 
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Chester
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Its like MULE in that you have a customizable production capacity and a supply-dependent market available, with the opportunity to either buy/sell to the market or spend combinations of resources to upgrade your production capacity.

Both Wealth of Nations and Planet Steam include this. There are three major differences between the two games.

1) Planet Steam does not involve any direct player/player interactions. Wealth of Nations does, and it breaks down under the weight of these finely negotiated transactions....to the point that many people suggest a house rule where you ONLY sell for the suggested values rather than negotiating. It can get painful.

2) Planet Steam has a much more dynamic and responsive market. The prices fluctuate more broadly, but completely in response to the supply and demand.

3) Players' production specialization is much more dynamic in Planet Steam also, at a price. In Wealth of Nations once you've committed to a type of good, you're pretty locked in. You can add new items by building further, but its difficult to change your specialization. Planet Steam (although there are expert rules where its less flexible) allows you to spend cash to change the specialization more fluidly. This results in a lot more ability to play the market than WoN.

You can probably tell, I think Planet Steam is the superior game, to say nothing of the amazing components. But both games employ the basic engine behind MULE.
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David desJardins
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I don't know how the MULE economic markets work, but in Planet Steam, supply and demand determine not the price, but the derivative of price. I.e., if the supply of a good on the markets is low, that doesn't necessarily mean the price will be high, it just means that the price will start increasing. This is very different from markets in games like Power Grid, where a resources in scarce supply automatically has a high price, and resources that are plentiful automatically have a low price.

Playing a game where energy can be very cheap (for now) and yet unavailable on the market is a strange experience. No one wants to sell, since the price is low, so the low price can mean you can't get any at any price, while if the price were higher, people would be more willing/interested in selling. Rather counterintuitive.
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Matt Smith
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The main gameplay difference between MULE and PS is how the market works. In MULE, all players trade each resource with the market and each other simultaneously. If multiple players want to buy from the market, the player in last place gets to buy first (a la Power Grid). If one player wants to sell and another wants to buy, the seller can only sell for the market price, unless he waits for the market to sell out first. Then the seller can wait to see what any remaining buyers are willing to pay.

In PS, each resource is traded by each player in player order, as determined by which character each player selected for that turn. The action each player performs (buy/sell/pass) could affect the supply and price of the resource currently being traded. So, if you select character #4, you can't be certain what the supply or price of each resource will be when it's your turn to trade with the market. If players 1-3 sell enough water, for example, the supply will be high and the price will be heading down. However, if players 1-3 buy water, there may be little or none available, and the price will be heading up.

Also, players can't directly trade resources with other players in PS. However, they can indirectly trade resouces through the market. For example, if you are player #1 and you see player #2 needs water, you can sell water to the market, making it available for player #2 to buy. Of course, if you don't need the money, you may not want to do this.

The Land Auction in MULE is present in PS via the Venturer character. His special ability is to auction off one shaft.

Other similarities between MULE and PS:
- Synergy bonus for adjacent tanks producing the same resource.
- Water in PS is equivalent to food in MULE. The 1-water activation cost prior to buying/outfitting tanks is equivalent to needing food in MULE to have enough time to outfit and deliver your MULEs.
- Free water production on the central column. In MULE, the central column was the river, which was great for producing food.
- In both games, a lack of energy means you won't produce as much. In MULE, your overall production is diminished. In PS, a tank won't produce without energy, unless it's an energy tank, or a water tank on the central column.

There are more similarities listed in another thread somewhere, but I don't have time right now to look for it. IMO, PS is a good boardgame version of MULE, and should be sought out by any diehard MULE fan.

EDIT - Typos.
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Gil Hova
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Here's my comparison of the three...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/358420
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