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Subject: Market Forces Variant rss

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Jack Neal
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This is completely untested. Proceed at your own risk.

I like all sorts of train games. This variant brings in some of the novel market mechanics from Silverton (and yes, my Bindle Rails does something very similar with this idea as well).

Prep

- Make a Market Value Chart on a piece of paper with the following rows - $0, $0, $0, $1, $1, $2, $3 and $5.
- Grab an extra unused cube of each color and put it on the lowest $1 value on the chart.

Game Play

- Each time a player delivers a good, the good's value on the Market Value Chart is added to the delivery. This value is added to the standard value of the delivery per normal Steam rules. The good is placed to the side of the board in plain view of other players.

- At the end of the turn (after all players have moved their cubes), the value for each good is moved down one space for each good delivered. If a cube color was not moved, it moves up one point on the Market Value chart. All delivered cubes are finally discarded.

- An optional Turn Order called "Market" with a value of '8' in the basic game can manipulate one cube's value either up or down one space. It costs $1 from the player's treasury to complete this action.

* * * *

The idea behind this game is to crudely simulate market forces in Steam without destroying the initial game. It is possible (though unlikely) that a cube would garner the $5 bonus, but I can't really see other players standing around waiting for this to happen. There is also a breaking point for waiting to deliver a good in hopes that it is worth more versus immediate gratification. It also gives means for a player with a modest locomotive level to make a good delivery on shorter routes.

Whether any of this works is another matter entirely and I just thought of it this afternoon.

And yes, you can probably try this with Age of Steam as well if you were up for it. It might even work better in that game. Who knows.

Have fun, kids. Let me know how it works or shoot holes in it.
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jim b
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Is this similar to the market forces in Silverton? If so - how does it play there?

It seems it would force players to fight over specific cities more (eg, to develop a drop-off for goods that could otherwise be monopolized); that's intriguing. Also, interesting with an unbalanced demand (eg, no initial gray cities as-is, or a scenario with either little demand for a good, or only isolated and remote demand in the mountains, etc).

The mechanic itself sounds easy, which is cool ... it would be nice to use one of the existing board tracks for the cubes though ... anything except the Supply Area or the Turn Order track might work ok? (loco-track is right by the supply area with only 6 spaces anyway - but others like vp, game-turn-track, or income are somewhat of the way, and goods cubes mightn't be too confusing there. probably the game-turn-track is the best, but maybe you just prefer it on a separate sheet...)
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Jack Neal
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Yep - this is modelled after Silverton.... Here's that chart...



... that basically uses dice rolls to determine how much a commodity (gold, silver, copper, etc.) is worth when you deliver it. The dice roll is added to a modifier (IDN) for how late in the game you are plus the number of goods delivered.

The chart I threw together off the cuff basically does the same thing with existing cubes in Steam without the additional dice rolls found in Silverton.

The one off-putting thing about this variant is that it would tack on more points and cash quickly. It would be a powerful variant.

As for using existing components or turn order, you could do it - but the rungs that I proposed would make it harder to add these bonus points because the curve starts slow and rises somewhat exponentially. At first blush, the ladder stops the additional points from being too powerful. You could put it on an index card.

And, you're right about gray cubes - those would be worth more later in the game simply because they aren't available right away. Hadn't thought about that one.

 
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jim b
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This is tangential to your idea, but it's inspired by it -

-- use a little pile of identical tokens as 'demand markers' (pennies, extra player tokens, whatever);

-- at the beginning of every turn, add a new marker to each city;

-- whenever you make a delivery, score +1 track-point for each marker on the city; also, remove one marker from the city.

In this case the demand would vary with the geography - remote cities would pay more for the same good. Just brainstorming...
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Jack Neal
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I like this idea as well - might work well for a future Steam expansion.

You could also blindly draw different colored markers for different cities.
 
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