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Subject: issue with placing palaces in the center of the board early in the game? rss

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Leonardo Martino
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I read some reviews and it seems that placing on the very first turns palaces in the busiest intersection in the center of the board may provide a big income for the first players doing that: this income could so big that may put the other player out of competition and therefore it could a big flaw of the game. Is it true?
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Karis Shem
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Re: issue with placing palaces in the center of the board early in the game...
Hi Leonardo,

Alway the same problem nowadays "i've read some reviews..."

Those players usually play the game once, and then issue a review. Fine BUT

The Ystari team spends a lot of time to deliver well balanced games. Usually, we play hundreds of games. So do you think we could really miss such flaws ?

So here's my answer : the two palaces in the middle are quite powerful, but you can win the game without building them and you can even win without a single palace.

Regards,
Cyril
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Chris Linneman
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Re: issue with placing palaces in the center of the board early in the game...
Karis wrote:
Alway the same problem nowadays "i've read some reviews..."


To be fair, with so many new games being released each year, reading reviews is the best way most of us have of determining which are worth purchasing. With only a few local board gaming meetups and conventions, opportunities to try before I buy are rare indeed.

If a game seems to have "false choices", that is, certain decisions that are automatic because they are clearly better than the alternatives, I think it's a valid concern. I've only played Bombay once, with 2 players, and with 2 I didn't deem the palaces much use at all since my opponent would simply avoid them. But in a multiplayer game if there are 2 or 3 "high traffic" spots to place palaces, I would certainly think this could give advantage to the first players and create automatic decisions in the early game.

I think the palace tokens aim to balance that. As far as I remember, the best spots for palaces do not have tokens on them. So yes, you get a good place for your palace, but you get no bonus reward for building it. And I can certainly see merit in not building any palaces. This game is short, really short, and I'm not sure the palaces are worth the silk and actions they cost even with many players. I would say it is probably balanced but a valid concern nonetheless.
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Leonardo Martino
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Re: issue with placing palaces in the center of the board early in the game...
Karis wrote:
Hi Leonardo,

Alway the same problem nowadays "i've read some reviews..."

Those players usually play the game once, and then issue a review. Fine BUT

The Ystari teams spends a lot of time to deliver well balanced games. Usually, we play hundreds of games. So do you think we could really miss such flaws ?

So here's my answer : the two palaces in the middle are quite powerful, but you can win the game without building them and you can even win without a single palace.

Regards,
Cyril


Actually it was a review (a positive one) and a rating (a bad one) which refered to palaces placing. I'm just shaping my opinion (a positive one) about the game referring to what I can read on the net
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Gerrit Dirkmaat
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I can answer that question through some experience. I play Bombay about 10 times a week and have been ever since I got it. I have two friends whose ultimate goal in life is to build a palace in one of the two prime locations where there are not palace tokens in the setup. It is ALWAYS their first move...buy a silk, place a palace there if they can. However, neither one of these guys wins an inordinate number of times, and in fact, I usually win the game more often than either one of them.

The thing is, while having that palace is nice, you have to remember that costs you your initial silk you bought, which not only is worth some money, but most importantly it is worth the city token from whatever city you sell it at. It is nice to get that palace built there, but in so doing you also put yourself behind the 8-ball in getting the city tokens collected. An 8 rupee bonus at the end of the game, on top of whatever you sold the first silk for at the city is enough to make up for much of whatever money that palace will make during the game. Last night, in a 5 player game, the person who went last, and therefore had last shot at the silks, and last shot to build palaces, won the game, because she deftly collected clients, sold silk for high prices, and got all 4 city tokens. That is not to say you can't still get all 4 city tokens if you build in those areas, but it is a much more difficult task, only made slightly easier by the fact that another player will also forego the early sale to build a palace.

The genius of the designers of this game was to make the city tokens a scarce commodity and then give a hefty bonus at the end. Sure you can build palaces a plenty and try to become regular slumlord of the Indian jungle, but the odds are, if you do, you won't even end up with the minor bonus for having 3 city tokens.

I have introduced the game now to over 10 people, and none of them has commented that they felt the starting player had a ridiculous advantage with the palace placement, though there are always groans when that first palace in the prime location goes up.

I have not played this game with anyone yet, hardcore gamers/total newbies, that has not enjoyed themselves while playing and wanted to play again. I think that is the best testament to a game there can be.
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Karis Shem
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Thank you for your comment

REgards,
Cyril
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Chris Linneman
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Update: I played a 5p game. I aimed to test the choice palace spots and built a palace on each. My game was slow at first but soon the rupees started rolling in. Nevertheless, I finished second behind a player who had the same number of rupees as me (34) but more client tokens--the tiebreaker. So, it seems the game is well-balanced. We would expect nothing less from Ystari.
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Leonardo Martino
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Karis wrote:
Thank you for your comment

REgards,
Cyril


Bought the game arrrh
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Karis Shem
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Thanks too
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Jonathan Degann
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Cyril,

Even for you to say (as you essentially did) "Please! Trust us! We've playtested this considerably and are aware of your concerns." is a welcome addition. I agree that many people play a game once and immediately believe they have found a problem that needs fixing, ignoring the fact that the designers have spent much more time with the game. But your presence and commentary here are always welcome.

I enjoyed my playing of Bombay last night - but also did have questions about the power of the central palaces. We'll see. As it turns out, I did *terribly*. I went for some good scoring trades early on, nearly avoided palaces, and yet only made drops in two cities. I'm not sure where things went so wrong - as other players thought I was leading half way through! Must try again...
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Karis Shem
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Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for your comment.

Central palaces are quite strong, but not always.
There's also 2 other good spots (i let you find them). Considering, that there include a palace token, i would say there as good as central palaces, and sometimes better.

On top of this, palaces, even if they earn you 5 coins, are not that big. If you want to be sure to build a central palace, then you'll probably have to do it instead of one early sale. First, you'll lose coins for this sale (probably 3 or 4). Second, you'll be in a more complicated situation for the city tokens (some tokens will disappear). Third, you'll need another silk bale (and mayube some money) in order to make a sale, so you're gonna lose some more time...

Believe me, we tested this carefully. The same way we tested the passing option. The same way we ensured there was no handicap for playing last.

Unfortunately, i think now there's more "expert reviewers" than "players" on the internet. Sometimes i wonder if those people play for the simple pleasure of playing, or for being the first to point a so called "problem". Or maybe i'm getting to old for this business

Regards,
Cyril
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Mitch Willis
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Kathleen
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I've won games when placing no palaces and I've won games by placing a couple of palaces...I've also lost a game when placing no palaces. However, I think you'll need to adapt your play depending upon the number of players, which I think is a good thing. My first few plays were with 3 players and palaces, while important, were not all powerful, even when placed in the center; I concentrated more on getting city tokens and clients and was pretty successful. With 5 players there's a lot more traffic on the board and, accordingly, palaces placed early can generate more rupees...I failed to adapt to this, and while the final score was close among the leaders, I finished a distant fourth...

We've found the game fairly well-balanced thus far; in most of our games, the final scores have been tight, with a couple of games decided by the tie-breaker...I'll also add that doing nothing for the whole game and having a competitive score is definitely a myth...in all of our games, any one doin' that would have either finished last, or in one game (our very first), tied for last...
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