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Subject: JC's insta-production variant rss

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Eugene
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Played my first game of AoS tonight, one night after my first game of Steam. It'll take a few more of each one before I can decide which I prefer. But I do know this: The dice-driven Goods Growth in AoS doesn't sit well with me.

JC has mentioned his insta-production variant to address this concern:
Quote:

3) Immediately upon each delivery the active player removes the top
cube from the matching space on the Goods Production Chart for
either the city the cube was delivered from or the city it was
delivered to and places it in that city on the board. The new goods
cube is immediately available for delivery. If there are no more
cubes on the Goods Production Chart to remove for the desired city,
then a random cube is drawn from the cup and placed on the Goods
Production Chart for that city in the normal fashion.
...
6) There is no Production action or Production Phase.

Does this variant enjoy much acceptance? As it stands, the uncertainty of cube appearances on awaiting cities makes this aspect of AoS almost a deal breaker.



 
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John Paul Sodusta
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Main reason I ditched AoS for Steam.
 
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Eugene
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Now now. Let's not have this devolve into another tiresome AoS vs. Steam advocacy thread. I will say this though: 2nd Ed. AoS is gorgeous. Visually, a delight to play.
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Mik Svellov
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I like Ted Alspach's variant for his Europe map:
Quote:
Production Action: At the beginning of the Goods Growth phase, the player with the Production action
must place the number of cubes equal to the number of players onto cities from each side of the production chart
(i.e. in a 4 player game, the player with the Production action must place 4 cubes on white cities from the white side
and 4 cubes on black cities from the black side).

The standard Goods Growth phase of dice rolling does not occur, even if no players have chosen the Production action.
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John Paul Sodusta
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garygarison wrote:
Now now. Let's not have this devolve into another tiresome AoS vs. Steam advocacy thread. I will say this though: 2nd Ed. AoS is gorgeous. Visually, a delight to play.


I am not advocating anything. I am just sharing that I prefer the Steam version of the production action and production phase. I am agreeing with you that the AoS production phase/action was a deal breaker for me.
 
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Bruce Murphy
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Are you upset by the sound of dice or was the very high level of information the problem?

B>
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Eugene
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Sorry if I came across as snippy then.
 
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Eugene
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Now now, let's not have this devolve into another Bruce-flings-bile thread.
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Nick Pitman
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I too dont like the dice based production in AoS and find it a niggle in what is probably my favourite game.

This is not due to the lack if information, which I actually favour - there is already more than enough complex information on the board without being able to plan out subsequent moves based on predictable good production.

I found that the imbalance was the issue. I have seen a few games where players have been stuck with cities which never produced the whole game because that number was never rolled on that side of the production chart.

I use a draw bag filled with the correct quantity of chips numbered 1-6 and draw one for each dice roll. This adds my desired randomness but allows the luck to 'balance out'.

One concern might be that you could predict which cities for urbanisation were due to produce more than others based on numbers previously 'rolled'. In practice this does not happen - no-one can remember and the colour of the city is usually much more important the the slight statistical advantage in good production.

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Costas
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We use JC's instaproduction on maps that call for it. We use regular production on maps that call for it.

Many people hate the original production rule because of the roll of the dice. However, it is not meant to be a valuable action; it's supposed to stink and be a crap-shoot. There's a reason why some actions are more valuable than others: the auction round. The auction is a crucial part of Age of Steam.

On the base rust-belt map, depending on the initial goods setup, with 4-players, we may play the whole game without anyone selecting production. With 6-players, it obviously becomes more popular with the shortage of cubes and actions available.

If production was a lucrative action, it would break down the auction.

My suggestion is to play the game with the rules as written. You'll find your auctions are more exciting.

Or play Railroad Tycoon and sing kumbaya...

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J C Lawrence
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garygarison wrote:
Played my first game of AoS tonight, one night after my first game of Steam. It'll take a few more of each one before I can decide which I prefer. But I do know this: The dice-driven Goods Growth in AoS doesn't sit well with me.


The cube production probabilities are often rather better, and thus rather more predictable, than many recognise. The trick is to never depend on a single specific cube, but rather on any of several cubes.

Quote:
JC has mentioned his insta-production variant to address this concern:
Quote:

3) Immediately upon each delivery the active player removes the top
cube from the matching space on the Goods Production Chart for
either the city the cube was delivered from or the city it was
delivered to and places it in that city on the board. The new goods
cube is immediately available for delivery. If there are no more
cubes on the Goods Production Chart to remove for the desired city,
then a random cube is drawn from the cup and placed on the Goods
Production Chart for that city in the normal fashion.
...
6) There is no Production action or Production Phase.


I've played Insta-Production on many Age of Steam maps other than just mine and think it works fairly well However it has some far-reaching effects. The rate at which cubes come onto the board is considerably slowed in the early game, and extends at higher volume later into the game than with the normal Production rules. This has a few effects, several interesting. The biggie, or at least the one I found most fascinating, is a tendency to move the game towards always being modestly tight in the cubes. Brutal cube distributions are (usually) rapidly softened and overly rich cube distributions are also usually rapidly hardened into a somewhat more consistent range. Another effect is to smooth out the game's arc, flattening some of the very high tension spots and filling in some of the richly relaxing spots, and so distributing player focus a little more evenly over the course of the game. It also promotes a slightly more track-focused game. That all said, insta-production can also deliver some of the more shockingly brutal endgames I've ever seen in Age of Steam, with one or two players left with quite literally nothing left to deliver anywhere on the board, and I'd love it for that even if it did nothing else.

Quote:
Does this variant enjoy much acceptance? As it stands, the uncertainty of cube appearances on awaiting cities makes this aspect of AoS almost a deal breaker.


Having been far down this path, I suspect that this is more allergic reaction than reasoned conclusion.
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Costas
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rockusultimus wrote:
We use JC's instaproduction on maps that call for it. We use regular production on maps that call for it.

Many people hate the original production rule because of the roll of the dice. However, it is not meant to be a valuable action; it's supposed to stink and be a crap-shoot. There's a reason why some actions are more valuable than others: the auction round. The auction is a crucial part of Age of Steam.

On the base rust-belt map, depending on the initial goods setup, with 4-players, we may play the whole game without anyone selecting production. With 6-players, it obviously becomes more popular with the shortage of cubes and actions available.

If production was a lucrative action, it would break down the auction.

My suggestion is to play the game with the rules as written. You'll find your auctions are more exciting.

The RRT tree-hugging love-fest comment stands though.
Or play Railroad Tycoon and sing kumbaya...

After re-reading everything here and having another coffee, my post doesn't make too much sense in context. I seem to have confused the Goods Growth phase with the Production action (yet again). Perhaps we should refer to JC's insta-production as insta-growth.

I will say though, that insta-growth works very well in JC's London map where the focus is more on network building and it's common to move goods over others links.

The RRT tree-hugging comment stands. laugh

 
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J C Lawrence
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None of my Insta-Production maps have either a Production Action or a Production/Goods Growth Phase. the whole idea is to entirely scrap those parts of the game and to move new cube production directly into the delivery process.
 
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Eugene
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clearclaw wrote:
I've played Insta-Production on many Age of Steam maps other than just mine and think it works fairly well However it has some far-reaching effects...

On first impression, all very intriguing effects. I hope my fellow AoS players won't take it as arrogant if I suggest trying out your I-P variant on my second game. I'll be sure to emphasize that it has the JC Seal of Approval.

clearclaw wrote:
Quote:
Does this variant enjoy much acceptance? As it stands, the uncertainty of cube appearances on awaiting cities makes this aspect of AoS almost a deal breaker.


Having been far down this path, I suspect that this is more allergic reaction than reasoned conclusion.

Oh, absolutely. But rather than make my own way through these stinging nettles, I'm willing to first give your nicely cleared and cobblestoned path a try.


 
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Teacher Fletcher
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I do not mind the dice-driven Goods Growth, in fact I even like it.

It lets you see the future of the game, yet you can't depend entirely upon it.

Look at the probability chart JC linked to. There is a near-certainty that the first two cubes in each column will appear during the game. For the third cube, it is something like a 96% certainty that the cube will appear by the final round!

I this aspect of contingency planning. It forces you to keep options open when track building.

I have played JC's London map and I think the insta-growth action works there, but I would not seek to include that rule to other maps.
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Eugene
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Hmm...maybe the dice just didn't smile on me my first game. I got no goods cubes into any of my linked cities or planned connections the first four rounds. Hence, I resorted to a 3-link movement that could have been a 4, and another 4-link that could have been a 5. Given that the winner of this game exceeded my score by a mere three points, these delinquent goods really proved pivotal.
 
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EGG Head
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You do have to keep in mind that just because a city receives a good, it doesn't mean it is useful for a delivery ie. giving a 1 or 2 link delivery late in the game. I think the challenge of the dice driven game is making contingencies if your goods don't come up.
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rui conde
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After a few plays you'll find out that Age of Steam is much Better than Steam.

I'll try to give you my opinion on the production question.

I have to say in the first place that I don't like Dice, and when I opened the Box and saw Dice, I had a bad feeling.
After my first play I still didn't like the dice, but with a few more plays, I started to like the effect it gives. You know what goods are going out, but you can't be sure when, but they are going to come out, you may be sure of that, in every game I've played, we end the game without Goods in the Goods Growth Chart, the only Goods left are always some of the Goods that belong to the New Cities.

18 Goods White Citys and 18 Goods Black Citys, that will make 36 Goods, and by game end you have 1, 2 or 3 Goods left, not more than that.

With New Cities, you have 8 White and 8 Black, 16 Total, you end the Game with 2,3 or 4, not more than that.

I never tried Insta-Production, but I have a Map that works with Factorys (Chesapeake & Ohio), and I'll try as soon as possible.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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Rui Conde wrote:
After a few plays you'll find out that Age of Steam is much Better than Steam.


I'd love to hear why. I looked for your comments on Steam to see your reasoning, but didn't find any.
 
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Morgan Dontanville
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JC's production with the London map is fantastic. I love AoS, but if I were to criticize it, I would say that the obvious failing for my taste is the production. JC's solution on that map works, and works well. There are many great decisions to be made.
 
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Bruce Murphy
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The insta-production rules are actually fascinating because they do permit cube-lookahead that Steam lacks while removing the dice. One downside I'd see is that they don't increase the attractiveness of untouched areas of the board.

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J C Lawrence
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thepackrat wrote:
The insta-production rules are actually fascinating because they do permit cube-lookahead that Steam lacks while removing the dice. One downside I'd see is that they don't increase the attractiveness of untouched areas of the board.


Citing London specifically, you do realise that the imbalance in interest across different parts of the board is by express design, right? Try urbanising Forest Hill or Putney or Deptford in the early game and see how that changes where the game's interests and thus development patterns lie...
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thepackrat wrote:
The insta-production rules are actually fascinating because they do permit cube-lookahead that Steam lacks while removing the dice. One downside I'd see is that they don't increase the attractiveness of untouched areas of the board.

B>


In London, the advantage to this system is that it encourages long spokes where we built track outward to undesirable areas as you can deliver to a city to activate its production leaving you with sole ownership of a long ship that you planned and control. More importantly, by delivering a cube to a city you activate the production immediately so that you can pick up the cube with the next shipment.

London is very expensive, and your debt just skyrockets. Cubes are easy to come by with this system, so the great thing is that there are some good choices to make, but you don't have to stress out about having things to ship. In the basic game, if you want a high goods demand with a low supply this may not be a good system, for certain people's taste.
 
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clearclaw wrote:
Citing London specifically, you do realise that the imbalance in interest across different parts of the board is by express design, right? Try urbanising Forest Hill or Putney or Deptford in the early game and see how that changes where the game's interests and thus development patterns lie...

I've watched ill-advised (or at least deeply unusual) builds and urbanise pull a slightly unexpected track shape out of London but don't feel I have enough experience with the map to know the boundaries of 'usual'.

I was speaking more about applying insta-production to other AoS maps.

B>
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sisteray wrote:
In London, the advantage to this system is that it encourages long spokes where we built track outward to undesirable areas as you can deliver to a city to activate its production leaving you with sole ownership of a long ship that you planned and control. More importantly, by delivering a cube to a city you activate the production immediately so that you can pick up the cube with the next shipment.


This is one of the reasons I see more good players on London making more deliveries over other players track more often than on any other map. Sometimes almost half of all deliveries in the late game involve other player's track. The opportunity cost of securing all the track is simply too large.
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