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Subject: Acquire experts, got a minute? rss

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S W E E T !
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My friend Tadd and I have played this Acquire twice now. Once with three, and once with four. In both games he never got tiles to create any chains (well, I think he did create one chain in our first game, but none in the second). He was quite disheartened by this, and by the end of the second playing he swore never to play Acquire again. Tadd sees it as a serious flaw in the game--that there was nothing that he could have done to protect himself against that sucky a tile draw. Because Acquire is so highly thought of on the geek, my guess is that there must be an explanation for this seeming unbalancedness. Maybe this is statistically a very rare occurance, and Tadd was just really unlucky two times in a row. Or, maybe we just don't have enough experience with the game to know what to do in a situation like that. Whatever, I hope someone will have something to say on the matter. (I'll note here that I've read a few session reports, especially by Chuckles, and I think I'm getting the idea that both of the hypotheses are probably partially correct. "I often like to comment that Acquire is much more skill than luck, but when bad luck hits, it can hit hard."--Chuckles)

One idea Tadd brought up in the discussion that followed the game was trading tiles a-la Tigris & Euphrates. We wondered what effect that would have, and what would be the best way to implement that rule. What possible negatives could it foster? My general opinion is that I'm not a game designer, and especially with a game as highly regarded as Acquire, I'm hesitant to think I know how to make it better. On the other hand, if it would get Tadd to play, I wouldn't really care. On another other hand, with all the great games we have to play, I won't feel totally deprived if we don't get Acquire out again. But on the fourth hand, I'd hate for us all to miss out on a great game if it really is THAT GREAT, knowwhatImean?

So, if any of you Acquire experts can shed any light on our dilemma, please chime in here.

 
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Gary Heidenreich
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hmmm
You don't need to create a chain to be competitive, or even win, the game. You just have to be #1 or #2 in holding shares. This is where deception and manipulation comes into play. As well as patience.
 
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Scott A. Reed
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Founding chains is an element in Acquire, but one can be quite successful in Acquire without ever founding a chain. The bonus for the player that founds a new chain is only a single free share in that chain -- a minor advantage, but not insurmountable by any means. From my Acquire ventures, a strategy that yields success is to buy into chains that are small-ish but are close to larger chains. Build the small chain up to increase the stock value, and then merge it with the larger chain to rake in the profits by selling shares. In the mid-to-late game, as more chains merge into Global-Tetrahedron (or whatever you dub the monster chain that will most likely dominate the board) it is advisable to use some mergers to gain stock in the big company for the endgame payout. The key to Acquire isn't founding chains, it's realizing where the money is to be made, and using your plays to make the money come to you.
 
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Steve Bachman
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First off, I'm impressed by your four hands.
Secondly, I think that when you play this enough, you and Tadd will realize that chain-starters aren't required to win at all. The advantage of starting a chain, besides the free stock cert, is that you can decide which chain to start which can be pretty strategic. However, the advantages end there. I feel that merge tiles (ones that create a merger) are just as important, if not more. By knowing which chains you can get to merge, you can buy up the right stock aheadd of time to get the major or minor bonuses and maximize your profits.
I'm by no means an Acquire expert, but I have played it enough to realize starting a chain is important, but not all-important.
 
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Scott A. Reed
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Also, the question arises as to whether you and Tadd are playing the game correctly. You do know that you keep six tiles in front of you as a "hand", from which you can play any one and then draw to replace it at the end of your turn. Also, players can purchase stock in any company on the board, not just the ones they found. That's where the key to the game lies -- your tile placement can be completely unimportant so long as you are investing correctly. Also, stock from companies that have been merged off can be retained in the instance that a new company is formed, and someone selects that chain again, giving a stategic advantage to the player that held onto the stock to be likely to be majority shareholder should that company be merged out again.
 
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Brandon Richards
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Consider Counting Cards
I am going to have to agree with all the other posts. In order to win the game, investment is the key, not creating new chains. The whole point of the game is knowing what to buy and when to buy it.

I find it more important to focus on card counting. Knowing who has which stocks in their hands and playing accordingly. And usually, whoever holds the majority stock of the largest chain in the final round (when the game is over) has a shot at winning the game.

BTW: I have won many games where I have minimal amounts of hotel building. Merging tiles are more valuble because its gives an upper hand into which stocks to purchase.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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imho, merger tiles are five times as valuable as founding tiles.
 
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Danny Webb
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Luck in Acquire
I've played about a billion (possible exaggeration warning) games of Acquire online one year and the nature of the interface and general obscurity of the software meant I was nearly always playing people with tons of experience. I still managed to win many games in which I didn't found a company, and I even sqeaked out a victory one night against four of the regulars in which I neither founded a corporation nor place the tile that merged two. That is a rarity, however. I wouldn't be too worried about founding companies, but I always make sure I use my pieces in a way that gives me a chance to decide on at least one merger during the game. Of course, sometimes luck of the draw does decide that for you--at which point you just have to concetrate on staying in the top two in one or two smaller companies and hope for the best.

 
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S W E E T !
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Well, as usual you geeks are quick with the help. Thanks for your replies, and keep 'em coming as you so desire. Now to get Tadd to see this thread.

Oh, and yes we are playing the game correctly, at least as far as the rules go (our strategies probably need some tweaking).

Thanks again, and I award all y'all the coveted

lemoncamel GOLDEN CAMEL lemoncamel

(or should that be)

orangecamel GOLDEN CAMEL orangecamel
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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I will echo what everyone here's already said. Merger tiles are much more important to have than chain starters. Also, one of the keys to this game is the 'churn' effect. You absolutely and positively need to be somewhat involved in the first few mergers of the game, or you will be dead. Getting over the initial lack of liquidity is your first goal of the game, with position for stock value eventually trumping those concerns. Great game tho. I need to play it more.
 
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Joshua Miller
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What Derk said is spot on, and I agree with those who've emphasized the importance of merger tiles rather than chain-starters.

However, the chain starters are important, and if you think it would help, here's a variant that's sometimes used:

Starting hand size in 9 tiles. When you start a chain, you don't draw a replacement. Thus, those who start several chains will be crippled with a smaller hand for the rest of the game.
 
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Chuck Uherske
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More from the Chorus
Clayton,

I have minimal value to add because I agree with the others here. I feel, however, compelled to respond because you were kind enough to quote me. Thanks for the citation.

Founding chains is helpful, and it does confer an advantage. But the advantage is slight -- an occasional extra share of stock here and there.

The game is really won or lost on the mergers, not the foundings.

Having said that, it's not even necessary to hold the merger tiles. The merges are the pivotal events, and it is great to be able to control when they occur. But is not strictly necessary. The key is to be in the best position share-holding-wise when the mergers do occur, whether you force them or not.

If you play well, you should ultimately be in a position to profit no matter who plays the merger tile.

I've long been of the view that who holds which tiles is not that big a deal in Acquire. Sure, it's great to feel a sense of control and to make the merger happen when you want. But a skilled player will be in a position to profit no matter who causes the merger to occur.
 
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Ray
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chain tiles
The chain creating tiles have their most value when you also have a merger tile and can create it next to a large hotel. First you create the chain get a free share and then buy 3 shares. Then the following turn you merge the two hotels and are guarenteed to be the majority holder in the merger with your 4 shares (unless someone left shares uncashed in a prior instance of that hotel).
 
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John So-And-So
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Yes indeedy
I'd like to add that we play with what I thought was a common variant, and I was suprised that nobody here listed it yet. If you so desire, on any turn, instead of buying stocks, you may trade in any or all of your tiles for a new batch of tiles from the draw bag.

I've found that this variant is deadly neccessarry sometimes. A for-instance: last time we played (me and the same group of two other guys play often), I was shut out of not only the first merger, but the second as well. Now, I've been thinking lately that in a 3-handed game, you MUST participate in the first merger, or you are too cash poor to really by competitive for the rest of the game.

Well, that's exactly what happened to me. These other two nimrods were rich beyond dreams, and I was dead broke for a LONG TIME. There was literally nothing I could do for about 4 or 5 turns, no money, and no hope of making a beneficial merger. So I turned to the trade-in tactic. I did it FOUR TIMES IN A ROW, but lo and behold, on the last one, I got a merger tile that would let me grab second place in a merger. I played it, got the cash, traded in my stock (nabbing first place in the corporation that had taken mine over), and with sound investing, I went on to win the game by a smashing margin of $400!

It was literally the best game of Acquire I've ever played. Anyways, a long ramble pretty much just to say, yes, everyone is right, merger tiles are much more important. Also, never give up, and also, try the 'trade your tiles' option.

 
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