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Subject: Rationale for cards as goods, vs. using tokens rss

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Andrew Chang
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Hey all, just bought Race for the Galaxy and am enjoying it! However, as I'm sure may have happened for many of you, upon realizing that you were using CARDS to represent the goods produced on planets, it seemed to beg the question: why not use some kind of chit? Glass beads? Anything at least a little smaller than a playing card.

I read the rationale posted on BGG, and if my understanding is correct, aside from the benefit of reduced game-production costs, it is a kind of built-in mechanism that removes different, random cards from the deck in order to produce a "different" game every time you play. So if I always hunt for a particular card when I play, maybe this is a good thing to keep me on my toes.

But my question: doesn't the fact that you're playing with other players already accomplish this? Your opponents get to draw cards, which you never see, and which can subsequently be discarded, without your knowledge. Doesn't this also (and to greater effect, at least strictly by comparison) keep the game "different" for everybody, every time?

Sure, if those Terraforming Robots you always use get placed as a "good" instead, then NOBODY gets to use it, which maybe produces a different kind of game... but... really? It kinda seems like a superfluous randomization element, over-and-above the already-existing mechanic to randomize card deals. Like, if it's so important, why not just remove 20 cards from the deck at the beginning of every game?

Why don't we do that for EVERY other board game where players draw from a face-down supply pile? (Shadows over Camelot comes to mind, among many, many others)

Insights appreciated!

Thanks,
Andrew
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Chun Ping
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one of the main reason is to cycle through the deck of cards so that every card in the deck have a possibility of appearing in every game.

imagine with all the expansion, there are 200+ cards. without the goods to cycle through the deck faster, there'll probably only half the deck that will be drawn each game.

at least now, most of our games will end after at least one shuffle.
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Lacombe
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Although that explanation works, I tend to think the real reason is for meta-game elegance. Using cards as goods just solidifies the "this is a card game, make no mistake" feel of the game. The cards are your wealth, your goods, your buildings, your military might, everything. It's kind of a shame they couldn't come up with a way to make the goals and VP chips part of the card mechanics, honestly.

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ErikPeter Walker
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A) Imagine, if you will, a future expansion that lets you consume the good, and instead of discarding it you place it in your hand.
Hey, cool! It's a good thing we used cards instead of some other token. Now we have another interesting mechanic to play with.

B) Tokens aren't free. Using the cards as goods is a clever way to save on production costs, and means there's one less pile of tokens to worry about.
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Jeff L
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Covering up the right half of a card is not a big deal, because the information you need is on the left.
 
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Some cards are better than others. If the "key" cards showed up every game (at least to some players hand) the game would start to feel the same every time. When part of the cards are cycled out without anyone seeing them the game field is different every time.

Also, the system works very well and extra bits cost money and make the game more fiddly.
 
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Randall Bart
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andrewchang55 wrote:
But my question: doesn't the fact that you're playing with other players already accomplish this?

Yes it does.
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Matthew Hurst
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Voxen wrote:
A) Imagine, if you will, a future expansion



Ah...if only. I suspect that this may be too much to hope for.
 
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andrewchang55 wrote:
Hey all, just bought Race for the Galaxy and am enjoying it! However, as I'm sure may have happened for many of you, upon realizing that you were using CARDS to represent the goods produced on planets, it seemed to beg the question: why not use some kind of chit? Glass beads? Anything at least a little smaller than a playing card.

I read the rationale posted on BGG, and if my understanding is correct, aside from the benefit of reduced game-production costs, it is a kind of built-in mechanism that removes different, random cards from the deck in order to produce a "different" game every time you play. So if I always hunt for a particular card when I play, maybe this is a good thing to keep me on my toes.

But my question: doesn't the fact that you're playing with other players already accomplish this? Your opponents get to draw cards, which you never see, and which can subsequently be discarded, without your knowledge. Doesn't this also (and to greater effect, at least strictly by comparison) keep the game "different" for everybody, every time?

Sure, if those Terraforming Robots you always use get placed as a "good" instead, then NOBODY gets to use it, which maybe produces a different kind of game... but... really? It kinda seems like a superfluous randomization element, over-and-above the already-existing mechanic to randomize card deals. Like, if it's so important, why not just remove 20 cards from the deck at the beginning of every game?

Why don't we do that for EVERY other board game where players draw from a face-down supply pile? (Shadows over Camelot comes to mind, among many, many others)

Insights appreciated!

Thanks,
Andrew
Short answer as it appears is it was an arbitrary judgement call.

Shadows Over Camelot does have something like that. When you discard a white card (face down) into the discard pile for the Excalibur quest, the card you discarded could've been a really nice special card, or a 5-fight card that someone's desparately looking for.

As far as games with goods go.... it wouldn't make sense for some of them....

Puerto Rico, the game doesn't even use cards at all. Cuba, the only cards are the action/role cards in hand, so the game really doesn't use cards either. At least not in the sense of a card game where cards are drawn and discarded in some fashion

Glory To Rome uses cards as material and clients in addition to buildings, but all the discards are face up. When they do go somewhere face down, they're done so intentionally since they're not supposed to be made known to anyone.

.... so we're looking for card games that also have goods of some sort.
 
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Jeff L
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ackmondual wrote:


.... so we're looking for card games that also have goods of some sort.


San Juan, which uses cards as goods and which is cited as a source for RFTG here:

http://www.boardgamenews.com/oldsite/index.php/boardgamenews...
 
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baturkey wrote:
ackmondual wrote:


.... so we're looking for card games that also have goods of some sort.


San Juan, which uses cards as goods and which is cited as a source for RFTG here:

http://www.boardgamenews.com/oldsite/index.php/boardgamenews...
Yeah, I didn't mention San Juan since that and RftG have similar origins, so their design philosophy would be the same anyways.
 
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andrewchang55 wrote:
But my question: doesn't the fact that you're playing with other players already accomplish this?


By having face down goods, you are:
1) cycling through the available cards faster, allowing you to get to the opportunity to see what other's have already seen on the second/third/fourth draw.

2) Removing about 50% of a typical player's draw from anyone's view. If everyone is hunting for NGO and no-one's found it, it passed through someone's planet as a good.

What I find fascinating is that no-one really questions this mechanic in San Juan, but it routinely comes up about once a month for Race for the Galaxy. I had to go back to 2007 for the most recent question about 'cards as crops' for San Juan:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/242503/why-take-new-card...
Further, a casual flip through the 64 pages of forum topics in San Juan didn't really reveal any others about the 'cards as crops/goods' mechanic.

Yet for Race for the Galaxy, I can find a plethora of queries:

The following threads turned up with a search of 'cube & counter'.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/226979/ressources-why-no...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/247527/using-cubes-inste...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/323556/what-if-there-wer...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/330486/questions-for-the...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/344352/why-use-cards-as-...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/344352/why-use-cards-as-...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/416085/am-i-missing-some...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/424468/is-deck-cycling-i...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/462570/small-annoyance-w...-
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/479247/cubes-as-goods

Which is the same list I posted in this thread:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/5038857#5038857
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Jeff L
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ackmondual wrote:
baturkey wrote:
ackmondual wrote:


.... so we're looking for card games that also have goods of some sort.


San Juan, which uses cards as goods and which is cited as a source for RFTG here:

http://www.boardgamenews.com/oldsite/index.php/boardgamenews...
Yeah, I didn't mention San Juan since that and RftG have similar origins, so their design philosophy would be the same anyways.


Ah, I see. As a total aside, I wish the trading house sticks in San Juan were cards to make them easier to shuffle.
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I find it very elegant to produce goods with cards. Just my 2 cents.
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Tom Lehmann
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andrewchang55 wrote:
it is a kind of built-in mechanism that removes different, random cards from the deck in order to produce a "different" game every time you play

No. The intent is not setup variety; it's to ensure that the unique 6s are not all seen by players during the first cycle through the deck. Otherwise, exploration after the first reshuffle becomes a lot less useful due to 6-hoarding by experienced players.
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
andrewchang55 wrote:
it is a kind of built-in mechanism that removes different, random cards from the deck in order to produce a "different" game every time you play

No. The intent is not setup variety; it's to ensure that the unique 6s are not all seen by players during the first cycle through the deck. Otherwise, exploration after the first reshuffle becomes a lot less useful due to 6-hoarding by experienced players.
Proportionally, that sounds about right. There are 4 different types of 6-cost buildings in San Juan (SJ) at 2 each. 2 of them are considered polarized between one path or the other. The Palace is generally decent, but better combined with the other ones, and the Triumphal Arch is dependant on monuments.

The expansion adds 3 more (the Cathedral at cost 7 is practically a 6-cost), which depends on your tableau, but also of others as well.

In RftG, there is such a huge variety of 6-cost devs that not being able to see potentially more of them makes for a good offset.
 
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NateStraight wrote:
It's kind of a shame they couldn't come up with a way to make the goals and VP chips part of the card mechanics, honestly.


Turning the goals and VP chips into cards is trivial. What is not so trivial is convincing certain players that they are getting their money's worth when the only thing in the box is a bunch of cards.
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Lacombe
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onigame wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
It's kind of a shame they couldn't come up with a way to make the goals and VP chips part of the card mechanics, honestly.


Turning the goals and VP chips into cards is trivial.


Turning the components into cards is trivial.

Turning the mechanic into something such that the way you gain VP is somehow by using up game cards isn't.

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Jeremy Arcus-Goldberg
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
andrewchang55 wrote:
it is a kind of built-in mechanism that removes different, random cards from the deck in order to produce a "different" game every time you play

No. The intent is not setup variety; it's to ensure that the unique 6s are not all seen by players during the first cycle through the deck. Otherwise, exploration after the first reshuffle becomes a lot less useful due to 6-hoarding by experienced players.


This interesting comment seems overlooked in the recurring discussion about using cards as goods. As I read it, this would support the idea of using a token as a good, along with passing a card to the discard pile unseen. It would be a little different in the reshuffle but have a similar effect to Tom's goal of avoiding 6-hoarding.
 
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p00ya Doe
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Archvile wrote:
Also, the system works very well and extra bits cost money and make the game more fiddly.


I actually find the card-goods mechanic more fiddly, and the system does not work well in my (beginner's) experience.

You can have up to 13 worlds + developments in play. If you line them up, this is very wide (for reference, the summary sheets fits 4 cards side by side). Even using two rows I find myself impinging on my RHS player's tableau if we're playing close together. So with many cards in play, I inevitably have them cramped up. Also because of the many cards in play, I need to tap them each phase to remind myself which powers I've used.

As a beginner, you need to be able to read the text for cards with special powers. When using cards as goods and placing them as described in the manual (on the "lower right portion" of the world), you have to move them to look at the power description. This is very unwieldy as you end up disturbing your other cards (due to the cramping). It's especially annoying if you 'tap' cards: you can accidentally tap an adjacent card, or the card the card underneath the good itself.

Tokens (e.g. glass gems) are much easier to pick up than a card: you can grab them without disturbing anything, they don't glide two cards over when you knock them thanks to airflow finishes, and best of all they are small and translucent so you can actually read what's on the card underneath! You can even get colours to match the different kinds of goods they represent!

As for the randomisation mechanic, you can replicate that perfectly by creating a new, common or per-player "goods" pile. Every time you gain a good you move a card from the supply to that pile at the same time as dropping a token, and whenever you spend a good you move a card from the "goods" pile to the discard pile.

P.S.: sorry to revive a dead thread (especially one with so many duplicates); couldn't resist my 2c. Also all of what I said is obviously from a beginners perspective, I just got the game for xmas! Maybe we're doing too much settle/development but the card-as-good really is a problem!
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p00ya wrote:
As for the randomisation mechanic, you can replicate that perfectly by creating a new, common or per-player "goods" pile.

Note that's not actually a perfect replica. Imagine for e.g. a military player with a blue good that sits ignored for the entire game, through 3 reshuffles. Now imagine that good is New Galactic Order. It could theoretically remain inaccessible the entire game when using cards-as-goods.
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p00ya Doe
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entranced wrote:
Note that's not actually a perfect replica. Imagine for e.g. a military player with a blue good that sits ignored for the entire game, through 3 reshuffles. Now imagine that good is New Galactic Order. It could theoretically remain inaccessible the entire game when using cards-as-goods.


Both using the original rules and the "per-player goods pile" will be equivalent in that case; the card will be inaccessible either way, as there's no gameplay difference between being in the "goods" pile or on top of a world (neither can be drawn until it is consumed). The kind of good doesn't matter because in terms of withholding New Galactic Order from the general supply pile, it's just an unknown card the same as any other good (caveats below).

The simplifying assumption is that all goods cards are probalistically equivalent. This isn't quite true---there's a little bit of information leakage insofar as if you only have one good and you don't see New Galactic Order through a reshuffle and every other player's actions imply they haven't seen New Galactic Order, and you know that card can't be in any body else's goods (perhaps they've never even had a good), then you can infer that your good is New Galactic Order, and that inference will hold after you acquire other goods. Your confidence in that inference would be negligible in practice, unless you're a very good player that's counting cards.
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First off, let me say that I agree totally with p00ya.
p00ya wrote:
there's a little bit of information leakage insofar as if you only have one good and you don't see New Galactic Order through a reshuffle and every other player's actions imply they haven't seen New Galactic Order, and you know that card can't be in any body else's goods (perhaps they've never even had a good), then you can infer that your good is New Galactic Order, and that inference will hold after you acquire other goods.

And so you will call trade next turn in order to move NGO into the discard pile ready for you to find after the NEXT reshuffle. devil
 
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