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Subject: Turn order variant -- it worked for us rss

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Tim Richter
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So I opened Factory Fun tonight while three friends were here tonight. We looked over the rules and began to wonder, "why the spoons aspect?" Since one of our players was holding a 2 month old baby, we decided to see if a modification of the rules might make things better.

The first thing we thought of was a bidding mechanic. Start the money at 10 or so, and allow the high bidder first pick of the factories available. Next highest bidder, etc. etc. etc.. Too much time.

Then we thought. "what about a turn order?" That's what we decided on. Randomly choose a first player. Turn over a number of machines equal to number of players plus one and choose in clockwise order, starting from first player. With 4 players, there weren't enough machines to allow for 5 stacks of 12 (each player getting first choice 3 times) with an extra machine in the choice. We instead, played with 5 stacks of 8 machines each. The game would last 8 turns and each player chose first 2 times, and going last was minimized by having 5 total choices rather than 4.

We considered a Catan like first player order 1-2-3-4 then 4-3-2-1, but agreed on a plain clockwise First Player rotation.

Two games cme out with tight scores, so it worked (as far as we were concerned). We had lots of fun.

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Steve Duff
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This is a game that needs to be tried. Before I played it, I thought the "speed grab" aspect of the game was something I wouldn't like, and would house rule away.

When I did play it, it didn't bother me at all. It wasn't a speed thing at all, we turned them up, then studied them for a while before choosing.
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Jake Raitt
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We played normally twice, and then for the third game, we were all dissatisfied with the grabbing mechanic. For instance, people would pick up the counters, moving them closer to their board, etc, and I really got tired of calling people on it and forcing them to take that piece when they really hadnt thought about it, or asking them to move their hands so I could see the pieces.

We also had 3 people and flipped 4 tiles with a rotating turn order. This seems better for learning the game, but I think we will go for 3 tiles with 3 people to try to retain a bit of the original flavor in the long run. The only thing I can see this breaks is the whole "you took a tile, now pay 5 dollars to not have to place it" rule, which I would like to think of some way to bring that back. Playing this way turned one player who only played begrudgingly into a fan of the game.

The other alternative picking strategy we were thinking of was flipping a number of tiles in a row, say 3 rows of 3, then you pick a row and have your next 3 choices laid out. That gives a bit of pre-information that would make planning more effective. We decided against it simply to preserve the lack of information in play concept and makes the first player choice too powerful.
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Bruce Murphy
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Jakenator wrote:
We played normally twice, and then for the third game, we were all dissatisfied with the grabbing mechanic. For instance, people would pick up the counters, moving them closer to their board, etc, and I really got tired of calling people on it and forcing them to take that piece when they really hadnt thought about it, or asking them to move their hands so I could see the pieces.


This is why (the original) rules were quite finicky about the use of just one hand for grabbing, to make the action more conscious.

B>
 
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Corné van Moorsel
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Jakenator wrote:
... people would pick up the counters, moving them closer to their board, etc, and I really got tired of calling people on it and forcing them to take that piece when they really hadnt thought about it, or asking them to move their hands so I could see the pieces.

I often emphesize to the players that the picking rules in the rulebook are important:
- Taking hand is not your turning hand.
- No hands above the tiles.
- Touching is taking.
- Not placing it is 5 penalty money.
And I tell that you normally don't build in a few rounds. (In fact it is that what makes that the picking phase doesn't go so quick when players play 'rational'.)
But choosing a machine too quick happens to me too, yesterday again. Then you regret your machine and try to solve 'the problem'. And that is important for the game. When you can take your time to choose each turn a good fitting machine, then the game is not so interesting/fun, and will take long with much thinking. Such a game will stay on the shelf I think. The prototype worked like that for some time. Everyone said it was good, but I did feel that it would get praised but not played much that way.
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Jake Raitt
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The problem we had was really only one player, who was determined to make everything exactly perfect and was very unhappy when he couldnt do so. To make the game palatable to him, and by extension to those of us playing with him, we switched to the turn order mechanism. He wasnt guaranteed a perfect fit every turn, game play sped up considerably when he could think about a piece before moving half his board and realizing he was confusing inputs and outputs, and we were all much happier without the stress of enforcing tile touching rules and listening to complaints about him always getting the left over piece we didnt want. He actually went from disliking the game to wanting to play another round, and our scores did not vary much between grab mode and turn order mode.

I find the game perfectly playable both ways and I know I can introduce the game to many more people with a turn order than I can as a fast grabbing game, meaning it will get more play and longer life in my groups. Perhaps the turn order variant will simply be our way of learning the game before we move to the faster paced as written rules. Sort of like how the galaxy trucker first map is a simpler ship before you move to the crazy expansion boards.
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Corné van Moorsel
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Fine with me, but it brings up bad memories of such rules. Or players were staring at machine tiles, trying to figure out by staring how to implement them. At that time the title was not Factory Fun. Or players were trying out several machines on their factory floor before choosing one of them. At that time the name was Factory Chaos.
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Tim Richter
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As the original poster, I want to make it clear that in no way was I disparaging the original rules as written. One of the factors that made me try to see if a turn based option would be better for us is that I play on a large dining room table and if the 4 of us playing had to play the quick grab method, it would have made all of us stand up and bend over the table to get into position to grab all the tiles available. Also, I had one player who was not really thrilled with the mechanic because he is a puzzler/planner and would not have had fun if solely left to deal with either a hasty choice, or whatever was left.
I think that the variant (turn order) DEFINITELY leads to analysis paralysis at times and the game slowed to a grinding halt several times in our picking phase.
I think this is a great game with lots of replayability and I praise the designer for this gem. I am sorry if my offer offended.
Cheers
Tim



cwali wrote:
Fine with me, but it brings up bad memories of such rules. Or players were staring at machine tiles, trying to figure out by staring how to implement them. At that time the title was not Factory Fun. Or players were trying out several machines on their factory floor before choosing one of them. At that time the name was Factory Chaos.
 
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Corné van Moorsel
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No offend at all.

WeTheMeeple wrote:
Also, I had one player who was not really thrilled with the mechanic because he is a puzzler/planner and would not have had fun if solely left to deal with either a hasty choice, or whatever was left.


But reading the rules about picking a machine often leads to the misunderstanding that that phase takes seconds. I wish I could forecome that misinterpretation. In practice the picking often takes minutes. And not because of playing friendly, but playing rational. The main reason is that you normally don't build each round and get a penalty for discarding a picked machine. You can take a machine quick each round, but then you don't have much chanche to win. If 4 of 5 players know that the other player has the quickest overview, then picking all quick still doesn't help because you will get many penalty points. A boardgame in which each player picks a tile each round is a different thing.
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Steve Duff
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WeTheMeeple wrote:
One of the factors that made me try to see if a turn based option would be better for us is that I play on a large dining room table and if the 4 of us playing had to play the quick grab method, it would have made all of us stand up and bend over the table to get into position to grab all the tiles available.


Again, I have to emphasize that this isn't a "quick grab" game.

My wife and I played 3 games last night, on most turns there was a good 30 seconds before the first player grabbed a tile.

Once, we both were studying for about three minutes before we both declared we didn't want either of them.
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Jake Raitt
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This game really rests on the borderline of right brain / left brain people or something. I'm astounded by how "shell shocked" some people are when confronted with this game, and how others just take to it like a fish to water. Some people are easily able to keep track of their open inputs and outputs and can choose quickly. Others need time to evaluate their board. I never know when I introduce a new person if they are going to be struck by AP or if they are going to rapidly develop a value determining system.

To me, one of the most interesting things about this game is hearing how people determine value of tiles. Personally, I keep a running tally of my unconnected pipes and choose tiles based on what best fits my current need. Other people have methods like "check all 3 value pipes for board compatibility, then all 2s, etc". And another player would determine maximum value for each tile and choose the highest one nearly every time.

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John Fiala
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I'm not a fan of a grabbing game, but was quite happy to play the other day with this variant - we put 5 tiles down for 4 players and picked in turn. We didn't have any problems with analysis paralysis.
 
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To keep some of the excitement of the quick grab, you could play the turn variant, but with a timer, say 30 seconds. This also evens out turn order as going first, you get to select from all the tiles but you only have 30 seconds to choose. Second guy has less choice but has already had 30 secs plus another 30 to make his choice, and so on.
 
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Corné van Moorsel
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I think one already replied Factory Fun is not a quick grab game in practice. You often have more than 30 seconds without a timer. Do you want to make it a quick grab game?
 
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Stephen Tavener
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cwali wrote:
you regret your machine and try to solve 'the problem'

That's the fun bit for me. I also make a point of using every piece
 
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cwali wrote:
I think one already replied Factory Fun is not a quick grab game in practice. You often have more than 30 seconds without a timer. Do you want to make it a quick grab game?

I was just using 'quick grab' for lack of a better term for adding back in the sense of urgency in the original rule set. How much time do you normally take without a timer? Only the 1st player would have 30 seconds, which is the trade-off of going first. 2nd player would have a total of 60 seconds, 3rd player 90 seconds, etc.
 
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Geoffrey Ulman
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cwali wrote:
I think one already replied Factory Fun is not a quick grab game in practice. You often have more than 30 seconds without a timer. Do you want to make it a quick grab game?


A large portion of the skill which the game tests is the ability to quickly recognize high scoring tiles which will work on your board. When I play I always take a few seconds before the flip to come up with a few simple criteria for choosing my tile ("avoid red inputs at all costs, but I can make any other inputs work, really need green and blue output at value 2 or more"). If anything meets or is close to my ideal tile, I'll grab within seconds.

My point being simply that as players get better at the game analysis gives way to pattern recognition and it does becomes more and more of a quick grab game.

See the excellent Dice Tower blog post by Geoffrey Engelstein on the changing role of intuition versus analysis in amateur and pro level Shogi players: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/1430/your-brain-on-sho.... I think the same analysis applies here, only more so, because intuition allows you to come to an answer much faster than analysis.

Of course, this isn't very fun for newer players, so I can completely understand the need for balancing mechanisms to slow the game down when playing with people of different experience levels.
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Corné van Moorsel
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cwali wrote:
- Touching is taking.

As soon as you don't use that rule ... then better stop the game!

I made an optional adjustment to the Pick-a-Machine phase which seems to be liked by players who had doubts about that phase in the game, see Machine Costs.
 
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