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Subject: Four player test sessions rss

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Nic Chilton
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At StabCon I managed to persuade a couple of groups to have a quick game.

The first group, who know AoS well, played it as a play test.

The first round had everyone going for 3 shares, after which people started varying.

We amended one rule early on, and that was to play until 15 shares rather than 20 shares, as it was felt that it needed to be a shorter game as you are essentially just rolling dice and matching sets (so fits more in line with a short filler game).

After each round the scores were close, with players either mostly scoring 1 each round or going for high scores so you'd get 2 and 0 the next. The end-game share accumulator tactic became apparent by mid-game and could well prove a winner or force everyone else to adopt it too.

The other strategies seemed to either be going for a safe delivery point each round (usually just issuing two shares), or the high-stakes gamble. The HSG really does require a perfect roll to get the 3 or 4 points, but in practice it seemed you were getting an average of 1-2, but then you suffered by burning shares fast.


Some thoughts:

Goods Delivered - points variation. It was felt that there needed to be a greater differential in the points scored for goods delivered. If someone going for the single share each time it was hard to beat by trying to get high goods delivered score.

Longer track options. In AoS scoring starts off slow but as you build your network then this speeds up - this isn't replicated here. The group wasn't sure how to replicate it. One possibility was to have the Town be able to act as a station to join links (though it was thought that if a town was declared to be a station, it couldn't then become a town in a later roll that turn (to negate mountain/river)).

The First Move Special action wasn't used in the game, as deemed too weak. In AoS this role is the one the last player is left with. So it may be interesting to play the game with a 5th player to see if it works similarly. One possible suggestion was to make it a "first move" by adding the feature that it moves the players counter to the back for next turn (so they get priority when shares are tied)


The second group hadn't played AoS before, and consisted of only 3 players. This didn't seem to play as well because it was easy to get the special action you required. So you could adopt a strategy and stick to it, though the players varied which special they took each turn (mainly to see how they worked). I guess this would be different on subsequent plays.

Since with 3 there wasn't really much conflict over the special powers it was thought that maybe there should be less powers available dependent on the number of players. It was suggested that this could be the power of First Move to choose which ones are unavailable for the next round. I've not tested this out yet.
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Jack Neal
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I keep thinking that maybe there's a way to keep adding dice to create longer routes - or having a global tray of dice and goods that just "build out" in a manner similar to the regular AoS map. Combined with a true Locomotive action to deliver cubes/links, it might add something to the game - or make it too complicated.
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Excellent! I'm glad you were able to give the game a go with some fresh groups.

nicch wrote:
The first group, who know AoS well, played it as a play test.

The first round had everyone going for 3 shares, after which people started varying.

We amended one rule early on, and that was to play until 15 shares rather than 20 shares, as it was felt that it needed to be a shorter game as you are essentially just rolling dice and matching sets (so fits more in line with a short filler game).

This has been what I've heard the most about the game so far, with the people who have played it. It's a lot of the same thing, without a lot of narrative taking place during the game. Every time I try to think of ways around it, I wind up developing a Railroad Dice 2 clone, and I get stymied. But I'm still working on some ideas.

Quote:
After each round the scores were close, with players either mostly scoring 1 each round or going for high scores so you'd get 2 and 0 the next. The end-game share accumulator tactic became apparent by mid-game and could well prove a winner or force everyone else to adopt it too.

The other strategies seemed to either be going for a safe delivery point each round (usually just issuing two shares), or the high-stakes gamble. The HSG really does require a perfect roll to get the 3 or 4 points, but in practice it seemed you were getting an average of 1-2, but then you suffered by burning shares fast.

This is another issue I've seen with my solitaire plays. It seems like everyone is moving along at about the same rate, with the turn order being a central issue to who wins. Was that the case with this game?

Quote:
Some thoughts:

Goods Delivered - points variation. It was felt that there needed to be a greater differential in the points scored for goods delivered. If someone going for the single share each time it was hard to beat by trying to get high goods delivered score.

Longer track options. In AoS scoring starts off slow but as you build your network then this speeds up - this isn't replicated here. The group wasn't sure how to replicate it. One possibility was to have the Town be able to act as a station to join links (though it was thought that if a town was declared to be a station, it couldn't then become a town in a later roll that turn (to negate mountain/river)).

This is something else I've struggled with. I would like to add something to the game to make it so that the choices you make early in the game will affect the choices you make later in the game. Allowing for longer deliveries would be a good way to do it, but I'm not sure how to do that, either. It's another aspect of the game I want to develop more.

Quote:
The First Move Special action wasn't used in the game, as deemed too weak. In AoS this role is the one the last player is left with. So it may be interesting to play the game with a 5th player to see if it works similarly. One possible suggestion was to make it a "first move" by adding the feature that it moves the players counter to the back for next turn (so they get priority when shares are tied)

Good suggestion! I'll have to think of that as I work on future development.

Quote:
The second group hadn't played AoS before, and consisted of only 3 players. This didn't seem to play as well because it was easy to get the special action you required. So you could adopt a strategy and stick to it, though the players varied which special they took each turn (mainly to see how they worked). I guess this would be different on subsequent plays.

Since with 3 there wasn't really much conflict over the special powers it was thought that maybe there should be less powers available dependent on the number of players. It was suggested that this could be the power of First Move to choose which ones are unavailable for the next round. I've not tested this out yet.

That's a good point, as well, and something I didn't take into account with the initial design. The smaller-player maps for the base game have similar issues, where you're never really stuck with bidding high for certain actions, since there's almost always something powerful for you to take.

Thanks again for playing and offering your feedback!
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Nic Chilton
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Verkisto wrote:

nicch wrote:
... as it was felt that it needed to be a shorter game as you are essentially just rolling dice and matching sets (so fits more in line with a short filler game).

This has been what I've heard the most about the game so far, with the people who have played it. It's a lot of the same thing, without a lot of narrative taking place during the game. Every time I try to think of ways around it, I wind up developing a Railroad Dice 2 clone, and I get stymied. But I'm still working on some ideas.
I like the number of dice the game has, and wouldn't want many more that would turn it into a RrD2 clone. An engine die used if there was an alternative to shipping goods in a round?

Quote:
It seems like everyone is moving along at about the same rate, with the turn order being a central issue to who wins. Was that the case with this game?
I believe so, but it could be because those issuing less shares were higher up the turn order so had a larger end-game bonus.

Quote:
I would like to add something to the game to make it so that the choices you make early in the game will affect the choices you make later in the game. Allowing for longer deliveries would be a good way to do it, but I'm not sure how to do that, either. It's another aspect of the game I want to develop more.
Initially I thought the forgoing shipping good to increase locomotive engine as a multiplier, but then thought how about making the different goods relevant? At present it doesn't matter what colour you roll so long as the goods match the city, instead a player could aim for particular colour rather than sticking with the first match if its worth more cumulatively over a number of rounds.

Not sure if it should be simply the more of a particular good you ship over the game the greater the value or some form of delayed scoring - build links to a specific colour city each turn and when you do score receive a higher value depending on link length. The latter would mean a mountain wipes the un-scored accumulated links in that colour. The former could be simply mean specialisation in one good creates rewards (or you could have a Tigris & Euphrates like tactic to encourage an even spread - e.g. an end-game bonus linked to which colour you've shipped the least of).

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Jack Neal
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Any updates, Isaac?
 
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No, nothing yet. I tried two different approaches toward making the game have more of a narrative, but both of them were ... well, pretty bad. But I still have something else I want to try, when I find the time for thinking it out and testing it.
 
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Nic Chilton
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Isaac, (to repeat jack's earlier enquiry), any updates?

Haven't seen posts in a while, so thought I'd ask.

Did you try anything with the longer track idea? I was wondering whether there could be a marker track on the score sheet and each turn a player could choose to move a marker along (effectively bank a successful track roll) to allow longer runs for more points (higher risk if mountain causes it to zero). Maybe the player has to announce whether they want to use the longer run before they roll 9so risk losing points if unable to get a successful roll that turn).
 
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