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Subject: Preferred Player Count rss

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I'm up to four sessions in eight days, trying to figure out what to make of this bolt-from-the-blue. Once with four, twice with three, once with five.

3P: Conventional wisdom is already that three-player lacks some tension. The board can hold 23 distributors, and only 24 can be placed with three players. However, I think with more experienced players, you'd see production ramp up very quickly and break demand anyway. Still, the early game might feel a bit narrow with distributors a must. I think the character selection is more of a weakness with this number of players. Going last you still get your pick of four. Kettering's R&D award doesn't scale, and seems much less important when you've got five cubes to start out. Durant is probably more attractive, since his factory is less likely to be left in the dust within a single turn. Perhaps it is only a cosmetic difference, but for me it's a buzzkill to see only half of the models produced over the whole game.

4P: Seems solid. You've got 32 distributors for 23 spaces, tightening up that part of the game. Character selection is tighter, Kettering gets a bit better, Sloan (and Chrysler?) both become more attractive with higher obsolecense losses all around. Durant becomes less of a no-brainer - probably a good thing, since you have to think more carefully about which model to snap up with his award. It seems (although I'm out of my depth here) that reaching the highest model (Willys Knight) in the mid-range is likely. Not sure about the other markets. Production becomes more calculated and less all-out (although maybe in 3P, initial ramp-up scales for this if players know what they're doing).

5P: I really enjoyed this. For some reason the concern was that "multiplayer chaos" might detract from the experience, but instead I thought the game was firing on all cylinders (sorry, couldn't resist). Seeing the whole board in use was a plus. Distributors were very tight, so choosing how many to place became really tough - you certainly don't want to waste an action on just one (!), but it could be the right thing to do. Juggling losses comes more into the foreground, and this is an aspect of the game I appreciate above several others. Suddenly Kettering doubles your initial R&D. Durant seems like a real risk on turns one and two, but can be powerful on turns three and four. The parts factory is also trickier here, since in my limited experience that's not often a space you want to close down.

Conclusion: Needs experienced players with three, but still might feel lacking, especially with so many unloved models. Four is solid, but I'm leaning towards five, particularly because it enlivens the character selection and intensifies losses across the board.

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Andrew Young
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"multiplayer Chaos" is a term used by those that can't reconcile more players in their way. What a lame term.

I've played the game once. This game is for 5. Its obvious.
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Geeky McGeekface
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I suspect that 4 is the sweet spot, but I've enjoyed it with all three player numbers. If I had to rank them, I'd make it 4, 5, and then 3, but I'll enthusiastically play this with any of those numbers.
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Andrew Young
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Why do you think 4 is the sweet spot?
 
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Thies Kolln
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I've only played with 5 so far, but it seems that the full complement provides the most tension around distributor placement and the most pressure on obsolete factories. I think I'd miss some of this with fewer players.
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J C Lawrence
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Thies wrote:
I've only played with 5 so far, but it seems that the full complement provides the most tension around distributor placement and the most pressure on obsolete factories. I think I'd miss some of this with fewer players.


The strenuous and vocal local complaint after a 5 player game was that the game was so chaotic as to make planning pretty much irrelevant. They weren't sure where the preferred player count would be, 3 players or 4 players, but were quite convinced that it wasn't 5.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
Thies wrote:
I've only played with 5 so far, but it seems that the full complement provides the most tension around distributor placement and the most pressure on obsolete factories. I think I'd miss some of this with fewer players.


The strenuous and vocal local complaint after a 5 player game was that the game was so chaotic as to make planning pretty much irrelevant. They weren't sure where the preferred player count would be, 3 players or 4 players, but were quite convinced that it wasn't 5.


So, to clarify, you weren't in the game in question?
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Dave Eisen
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He was not. I was. His recollection is correct, although to be fair, it was the first play for 4 of us. Some of the shortcomings we felt the game had might go away once we get a little better at it.

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Daniel Corban
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My first play also few chaotic. The second and especially third play clarified things. Players are still honing their production choices after 5(?) plays. New players seem to either vastly overproduce or underproduce, both of which aren't very exciting.

My vote is for five-player as the best. Four seems fine as well, although Chrysler is mucho strong on the first turn due to the selecting player having a total of 6 cubes right away. I like how you have to take Kettering in a five-player game if you want to jump 3 models up.
 
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dkeisen wrote:
He was not. I was. His recollection is correct, although to be fair, it was the first play for 4 of us. Some of the shortcomings we felt the game had might go away once we get a little better at it.


The major shortcoming for me isn't going anywhere: namely, radically low action count. But the game has emerged as a pretty good one nonetheless.
 
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medievalbanquet wrote:
"multiplayer Chaos" is a term used by those that can't reconcile more players in their way. What a lame term.

It's a pretty appropriate term for Tongiaki: Journey into the Unknown, but not here.
 
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Why do you think 4 is the sweet spot?

It's a bit shorter than with 5 and the players have a little more control. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed my 5-player game (even though I was the only experienced player), so it might be just as good with that number. If I was given a choice, though, right now I'd pick 4 players.
 
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Andrew Young
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clearclaw wrote:

The strenuous and vocal local complaint after a 5 player game was that the game was so chaotic as to make planning pretty much irrelevant. They weren't sure where the preferred player count would be, 3 players or 4 players, but were quite convinced that it wasn't 5.


Who are these people? I continue to marvel at players that play Wallace games in numbers that don't, IMO, come close to a Wallace experience... they play Age of Steam (standard map) with 4 players and claim its a 'game'. They think Brass plays great with 3... they insist that Liberte is good with 4. What? Are you even experiencing Wallace?

Sorry, its just fascinating to me.
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J C Lawrence
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Actually, most of the Brass I see played locally is 3 player.

(Corrected after OOB mail to 3 player)
 
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clearclaw wrote:
Actually, most of the Brass I see played locally is 2 player.


Is this using Michael Schacht's map?

EDIT: Ah, I see.
 
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Daniel Corban
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Brass with three? We usually wouldn't even bother.
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dcorban wrote:
Brass with three? We usually wouldn't even bother.


Apart from that we obviously disagree on how much poorer Brass is with three compared to four (though we agree it's better with four) there are two different issues

- How does Brass with three compare to Brass with four?
- How does Brass with three compare with other games for three?

And in most practical cases it's not the first of these questions that matters, it's the second. Typical scenario (at least it's typical for me, and I suspect for mant other people). You have a limited number of games with you (we play in a pub) and one you have with you is Brass. You were hoping for four players, but you have three (in your game - maybe you divided into two groups of three). So, although not as good as with four, Brass with three is an option. What else do you have with you for three? (Did you plan for three? - and even if you did, three is a tough number for a game that all agree is good.)
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Andrew Young
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dcorban wrote:
Brass with three? We usually wouldn't even bother.


AGREED.

Play Agricola if you have 3. Play San Marco, play Age of Steam with a tight 3 player map... play Le Havre, etc.

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Daniel Corban
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John Weber
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I say the game is best with five, also good with four. Three does lack tension and seems too easy.
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2nd Play with 5 this evening. One more play this good will just about clinch it. 3 is right out. I'm not sure I'm even willing to go down to 4.
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