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Subject: 4-Player Game of Homesteaders Last Night rss

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Michael Mindes
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***It is important to note for this report that Gold is a resource in the game, whereas silver is money. You do not get gold by trading in 5 silver.***

I Played a game of Homesteaders last night with Seth Jaffee (head of development at Tasty Minstrel Games), Jason, Brad, and myself (Founder of Tasty Minstrel Games).

It has been a long time since I played a game of Homesteaders, and this was my first play with finished art, custom bits, and all of the works. As the publisher of the game, I was skeptical of how much depth and play enjoyment would be realized by the custom bits. However, after my first game with them, I am a convert to the cult of custom bits.

Not only did the resources sort themselves by color, but also by shape. There was little to no confusion about what to take. My only disappointment with the bits was that the wooden planks did not fit inside of the steel I-beams. This severely limited my ability to build stuff with the bits.

So, onto the game.

Round 1: I passed on taking an auction, which let me advance the railroad track and get a trade token. The first round is one that I do not mind not buying land, since it opens up so many options for buildings to build on the second round.

Round 2: I had 2 wood and a trade token with which I could make purchases of buildings. This meant that with the application of debt, I could buy anything that had a cost of Wood, Wood, Other (non-livestock, non-copper) building. So I payed for my auction, took on some debt and built a steel mill for Wood, Wood, Gold. Now I would automatically produce a steel every turn for the rest of the game.

Round 3: I built a general store. I loved having a trade token last turn, so I figured now would be a good time to build a building that would provide me with a trade token every turn worth of income. In addition, it allowed me to get an additional silver whenever I sold goods. I thought this would be great.

Round 4: This is where I make the most aggressive move I made all game. I was quite unsure if I was paying too much for the building the form of taking on debt, but I was in love with trade tokens. So I took on 4 additional debt (bringing me up to 5 debt). 2 debt to cover the auction I couldn't afford and two debt to get 4 silver to use to buy a gold. Then I bought the trading post. Afterall, if one trade token per turn was good, then 3 total per turn would be even better.

Despite winning the game, I did overpay for the trading post. The idea was that I would get another building to make goods with, and combined with the trade tokens and general store I would dominate the rest of the game. The unfortunate thing is that I did not make another building that generated goods. Sitting a 5 debt going into round 5 was unsettling, since at the end of the game 5 debt is worth a total of -15 points. I needed a way to pay off or get rid of a bunch of my debt.

Round 5: Needing to get rid of debt, I decide to build a bank. If you have studied the building files posted by Alex Rockwell, you will notice that this requires a copper ++ to build. You will also notice that I had not yet built a building that gets me access to copper in any way. Ahhh, but the power of the tread tokens shows itself.

Step 1 : Buy a gold for a trade token and 4 silver
Step 2 : Buy a copper for a trade token and a gold

So I buy myself a bank, which by the end of the game will pay off 6 debt chips I had taken. One each for round 6-10 and one for the final income phase. A suggestion for ease of use, is to stack up all of the debt that will be paid off buy the bank till the end of the game. For some reason it is harder to remember to get rid of a debt each income phase.

Round 6: I bought something, I do not recall what 100%. I do think that it was a depot though. Advancing on the railroad track meant that I would be getting a rail line, plus the two automatic silver per turn from the depot. Being strapped for cash money, 3 extra income per turn looked fantastic.

Round 7: I bought something, I do not recall 100% what. I believe it was a forge, which would give me +1 VP per rail line at the end of the game, +1 VP for each rail line at the end of the game, and something else (not recalling). Additionally, the auction allowed me to spend a wood to get a rail line. A powerful option with VPs at the end of the game per rail line.

Round 8: I reluctantly passed on bidding here. It would have cost me an arm and a leg to build anything since I was short on resources, and money. I was however VERY long on trade tokens. It is very difficult to find a use for 3 trade tokens per turn. Passing here helped me prepare for the game buildings and auctions.

Round 9: I build the city hall and get 2 VPs for giving up some food (aka a trade token and 2 silver). If my memory serves me correctly, City Hall is worth 10vps on its own +1 per commercial building. At the end of the game I would have 5 commercial buildings.

Round 10: ACK! I do not remember the name of the buildings. I built the one which advances the rail track and lets you build another building. After which I proceeded to build another commercial building that gave +VPs for rail lines at the end of the game.

Final Income: After the final income phase, I am able to pay my debt all the way down to only one remaining debt chip. I think over the course of the game I took a TOTAL of 11 debt chips, and I could have afforded to take a couple more.

At the end, I got 60 points, Seth got 54?, and Jason/Brad both got 47?

An excellent showing, and a fun time for all. This play once again made me happy with the choice to publish these games.

Michael Out!
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Jeff Mays
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I know some people don't like when people involved with a game, review, session report, etc., but fortunately, I am not one of those people. Excellent session report. I am very interested in this game and the more info. I can get, the better (even if a slight bias by the one supplying the info needs to be figured in).

I think you guys might have something here. I am hoping this game turns out to be what it looks like it can be and you guys have success with this and are able to produce more games in the future. Best of luck!
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Michael Mindes
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GrrBlarg wrote:
I know some people don't like when people involved with a game, review, session report, etc., but fortunately, I am not one of those people. Excellent session report. I am very interested in this game and the more info. I can get, the better (even if a slight bias by the one supplying the info needs to be figured in).

I think you guys might have something here. I am hoping this game turns out to be what it looks like it can be and you guys have success with this and are able to produce more games in the future. Best of luck!


Hence for the majority of the game I just talk about what I did. It helps to give more of a feel for gameplay.

Rather than talking about how AWESOME it is. Which, by the way it was. ninja

These are the games you are looking for... :jedi mind trick:

We need a jedi mind trick emoticon
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Alex Rockwell
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DrMayhem wrote:

It has been a long time since I played a game of Homesteaders, and this was my first play with finished art, custom bits, and all of the works. As the publisher of the game, I was skeptical of how much depth and play enjoyment would be realized by the custom bits. However, after my first game with them, I am a convert to the cult of custom bits.


I am so glad we got the customer bits. They are worth it!! Just look at how crazy everyone was over the Agricola animeeples, which were limited edition.

I think your description of the game does a good job of showing how your choice of buildings drives your strategy through the game.

Your turn 1-3 is very strong: Pass -> Steel Mill -> General Store is a nice start. I love that passing turn 1 is viable. I worked hard to ensure that this was the case. But it definitely isnt 'too strong', if you do it by letting your opponents get cheap builds its bad.

Turn 4 is the mistake, as you pointed out. Why is it a mistake? Its not that you spent too much, its something else! But I'll leave that to everyone to figure out.

The game is forgiving enough that one mistake shouldnt derail your entire game (unless your opponents are perfect, which is very difficult), and you were able to carry on to win the game!


Rounds 5s and 6 fix your income problem with Bank and Depot. You are cube short, but at least you have the actions and cash to buy the ones you need, so versatility covers up that weakness.

Quote:

Round 7: I bought something, I do not recall 100% what. I believe it was a forge, which would give me +1 VP per rail line at the end of the game, +1 VP for each rail line at the end of the game, and something else (not recalling). Additionally, the auction allowed me to spend a wood to get a rail line. A powerful option with VPs at the end of the game per rail line.


I think youre mixing together two buildings here.
Forge is: 1VP per building you build for the rest of the game (Rail lines arent buildings), the ability to make 2VP a turn with a worker, and a free RR Track advance (which can provide a rail line).

You did have one "VP per Rail Line" already from the Depot.

Quote:

Round 9: I build the city hall and get 2 VPs for giving up some food (aka a trade token and 2 silver). If my memory serves me correctly, City Hall is worth 10vps on its own +1 per commercial building. At the end of the game I would have 5 commercial buildings.

Round 10: ACK! I do not remember the name of the buildings. I built the one which advances the rail track and lets you build another building. After which I proceeded to build another commercial building that gave +VPs for rail lines at the end of the game.


That would be Train Station and Terminal.
You finished it off by getting a ton of synergy in your scoring buildings, with VP/Commercial with many commercials, and another VP/Rail line, with many rail lines!

Quote:

At the end, I got 60 points, Seth got 54?, and Jason/Brandon (name?) both got 47?


Good scores for everyone, especially the 60! The synergy in your scoring buildings probably put you ahead.
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Michael Mindes
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Quote:

Quote:

At the end, I got 60 points, Seth got 54?, and Jason/Brandon (name?) both got 47?


Good scores for everyone, especially the 60! The synergy in your scoring buildings probably put you ahead.


Yeah. I had 15 points worth of scoring synergy and 21 VP chips from Forge income and selling lots of goods VIA trade tokens, etc.

Turn 4 was definately a problem, but 5,6,7,9,10 were all made for large points. I just had too many trade tokens to deal with optimally!

The two new players both went with a worker based strategy.
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Sheamus Parkes
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Gah. Now I want my copy to get here sooner
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Alex Rockwell
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DrMayhem wrote:
The two new players both went with a worker based strategy.


Note to everyone: Of course this doesnt imply that worker heavy strategies lead to less points. Worker heavy strategies can produce a ton of stuff with the right buildings, and then have the potential for good scoring synergy as well.
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Seth Jaffee
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Another good thing about Trading Post + Bank is that the Bank has another ability (which I don't recall your using - did you notice it?) It allows you to spend Trade tokens like Silver.

Good game, Mike - I think you managed to synergize very well by getting 5 Rail Lines and multiple "vp/rail line" buildings! Unfortunately for me I was competing with you for those same buildings at the end, and I wasn't too rich! Maybe I should have bid up that last round Industrial auction - it would have meant more Debt for me (probably 3 or 4, which is a lot), but it probably would have scored me more than that - and would have kept points away from you!

"Brandon" is actually Brad - and I think he and Jason both had a great first game with 47 points! They both picked it up really quickly, and scored well despite the "jump right in" explanation style I used, only telling them the rules they needed to begin, and explaining more as we went along. I think they would do much better next game, especially now that they have an idea what kinds of buildings come up!

I hope there's not TOO MUCH strategy posted for these games before they're even out - give people a chance to learn the game for themselves!

- Seth
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Seth Jaffee
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Alexfrog wrote:
DrMayhem wrote:
The two new players both went with a worker based strategy.


Note to everyone: Of course this doesnt imply that worker heavy strategies lead to less points. Worker heavy strategies can produce a ton of stuff with the right buildings, and then have the potential for good scoring synergy as well.

In fact, I had a worker based strategy, and I was 2nd (with 52 points). It was Jason and I who had 5 workers each.

I love that you can approach the game by getting a lot of workers, or by going with very few, and in either case can assemble a winning score.
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Alex Rockwell
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sedjtroll wrote:

I hope there's not TOO MUCH strategy posted for these games before they're even out - give people a chance to learn the game for themselves!


I dont think there will be. In this and a couple other posts we've really only scratched the surface of initial strategy learning. There really is so much depth that I could play it 100 more times and I would still be learning things.
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Michael Mindes
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sedjtroll wrote:
Another good thing about Trading Post + Bank is that the Bank has another ability (which I don't recall your using - did you notice it?) It allows you to spend Trade tokens like Silver.

Good game, Mike - I think you managed to synergize very well by getting 5 Rail Lines and multiple "vp/rail line" buildings! Unfortunately for me I was competing with you for those same buildings at the end, and I wasn't too rich! Maybe I should have bid up that last round Industrial auction - it would have meant more Debt for me (probably 3 or 4, which is a lot), but it probably would have scored me more than that - and would have kept points away from you!


- Seth


Seth, you were not winning that last round auction. I was swimming in money! I has an income of 9 silver/turn toward the end and only had two workers to pay. Plus I specifically passed on round 8 so I would have extra money for the big city buildings.

And I did not notice that ability of the bank. I was only looking to get rid of tons of debt
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Seth Jaffee
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DrMayhem wrote:
Seth, you were not winning that last round auction. I was swimming in money! I has an income of 9 silver/turn toward the end and only had two workers to pay. Plus I specifically passed on round 8 so I would have extra money for the big city buildings.

And I did not notice that ability of the bank. I was only looking to get rid of tons of debt

That's one thing that makes this game so cool... It's not clear who would have won if I HAD bid you up.

If I bid you up and you pay too much, it might cost you some points in Debt (taking more, or paying off less, however you want to look at it). If I bid you up "too much" and you end up passing, I end up more or less at a wash (maybe plus or minus a few points), but you don't get to have a 16 point turn... instead you use those same resources to get maybe 8 or so points.

In our 8 point game, that ends up being a really interesting difference! But as you say, swimming in cash is a noce position to be in!

You got me that game, but next time I'm sure I'll think more about what you might get out of the auction before I let you have it that cheap! ;-)

Good game!
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Alex Rockwell
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DrMayhem wrote:

Seth, you were not winning that last round auction. I was swimming in money! I has an income of 9 silver/turn toward the end and only had two workers to pay. Plus I specifically passed on round 8 so I would have extra money for the big city buildings.


Its awesome when someone gets into a crazy bidding war and uses the top of the auction track. When you bid 12 and feel confident and then they bid 16! I've seen someone bid 21 before just to lock everyone out. (You cant make a higher bid than that). Its fun when youre one of the onlookers, watching someone overpay for something by a rediculous amount, until the loser comes over and outbids you on your item.
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