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Subject: Replayability--does Automobile begin to feel "samey" quickly? rss

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Michael Noakes
United Kingdom
Redhill
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Hiya,

So, I played my first game of Automobile last night--and loved it. This may because I won--a first for a Wallace game for me, I think--and am considering buying it. I enjoyed the relative simplicty of the game (if you're familiar with pushing cubes around a Wallace-designed board) and relatively-short playing time, and the tight economic model it portrayed.

But it's also been suggested that the game suffers from a lack of replayability... one guy at the pub felt that after a number of games it all started feeling a bit the same. Without any kind of random seeding (a la Wensleydale) and with the market demand tiles often seeming to veer towards the median, I can kind of see the possibility for it to feel a bit repetitive--but don't really know with a single game under my belt.

What do those who've played it several times feel? Infinite replay value or much-of-a-sameness?

Cheers!
-M.

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Henri Harju
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I think "much-of-a-sameness" is a more accurate description of the two. I have played it 5 times and wouldn't mind if I don't play it ever again.
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Bruce Murphy
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Kicked in earlier for me, and later (around 5 games) for others here.

B>
 
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Agustin Kapuno
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Fort Wayne
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Replayability is quite often directly proportional to the player's imagination, IMHO.
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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Brossard
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Played it six times so far, and I'm far from getting tired of it.
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Ian Fleming
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I've played it 11 times and every game has been different. Although I have won the majority of those games, I have varied my own play dependent on board position and turn order. It may also help that I have played it with different groups of people, although games within my normal group have also varied.

It is easy to dismiss the game as a 'thinky' or 'stats-driven'. I find it is often quite confrontational - the secret to winning being to know when to back down and when to front-up. As usual, in addition there are subtle tactics that you start to spot after 2-3 games.
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Rich P
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Weloi Avala wrote:
But it's also been suggested that the game suffers from a lack of replayability... one guy at the pub felt that after a number of games it all started feeling a bit the same. Without any kind of random seeding (a la Wensleydale) and with the market demand tiles often seeming to veer towards the median, I can kind of see the possibility for it to feel a bit repetitive--but don't really know with a single game under my belt.

As the aforementioned guy in the pub, I'm interested in the replies you get here. I've had three plays with three different groups and they've all felt very similar. I've been the rules explainer for each game, so there is perhaps a bias there.

Note that I don't think it's a bad game, and I would play it again, just not regularly. I feel like I know what I'll get when I play it and I'd have to be in the mood for that exact thing in order to choose it.
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Jim Temple
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I haven't played Automobile (and so I'm interested in this thread). But I own other games that feel kinda "samey" whenever I teach them, yet vary quite a bit when all players have played the game before.

Maybe that's the case here?
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Randall Bart
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I think it's a good game, but the scenario doesn't vary enough. The demand tiles provide a little randomness, and seeing tiles gives you a little knowledge of that little randomness, but it's all very little. This game could use some variants to spice it up.
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Anthony Simons
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IanF wrote:
Although I have won the majority of those games...

*YAWN!* ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

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Anthony Simons
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The trouble with this aspect of "replayability" is that it is grossly affected by the time factor. Sure, some games may feel a bit repetitive, whereas others change from game to game; however, leave enough time between plays and you won't have any trouble returning to any good game.

Automobile's replayability is arguably limited; but there is clear variance in approachable strategies, demand, and how the number of players affects the gameplay. There is easily more replayability here than, say, Chess; but obviously something like, say, Twilight Imperium 3 will outdo it in this respect.

It would be fairly easy to introduce variants into the game; dummy competitors, foreign markets, bonus actions or executive decisions. However, I find the game is still challenging as it is.
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Scott Ferrier
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I find it has a high replayability but if you have a small group that don't vary their tactics it could suck and be a "solved" game. I usually try to play with 5 players and I find the players inventive with their strategies so I have to adapt and change my approach as well. With this game you are really effected by what other players are doing or not doing. meeple
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Harold Coleman
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Although I have played only 4 times and am not yet tired of the repetitiveness, I agree with Randall. I think perhaps the game (or expansion?) should come with maybe 40-50 tiles for each of the 3 classes of cars, with various models and factory prices. You would shuffle them together and draw 26 to fill the board, arranging them by factory price or some other mechanism. This could be done with some type of overlay on the current board or a new board with holes in which the tiles would fit. Of course, consideration may be needed for the salesmen and what types of cars they sell and maybe even for the demand chart. There might even be a 4th or 5th class of car to "spice things up" as Randall puts it.
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Chris Linneman
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I don't always play with the exact same group but many of the same people. We always play with 5 and it doesn't feel samey at all. Some games, no one spends R&D to jump on the first turn and it's hard just to get to Thomas Flyer. In my last game, one player spent 6 cubes (?) just to reach Thomas Flyer. EMF was built on that first turn!
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Michael Noakes
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Wow, quick responses! I've got a feeling I'll inevitably end up buying the game anyway, as I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. I wonder when I'll get tired of Wallace games and of sliding little wooden efficency cubes around a board whilst performing mental arithmetics in my head...?

I have to admit that I really did enjoy the game, and see the potential for many different approaches to play... another question, then: having only played once and with four players, does it feel significantly different with only 3? Or 5? I imagine far more conservative play with three, as the supply market would be smaller--maybe Hoover gets more play? Easier to risk large production with more players and larger markets and hope to scoop the competition with bonus sales and cuthroat prices?

-M.
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David Einstein
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I find that it plays very differently between 3 and 5 players. I know some who definitely prefer it with 5, but I like the aggression that a 3 player game can unleash. With 3 players overproducing when you have a more advanced factory combined with discounting and marketing can wreak havoc on the other players, as during selling you cycle through the factories more often than you do in 5 player, dramatically increasing the number of additional cars you can sell through discounting/marketing.


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Francis K. Lalumiere
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deinstein wrote:
I find that it plays very differently between 3 and 5 players. I know some who definitely prefer it with 5, but I like the aggression that a 3 player game can unleash. With 3 players overproducing when you have a more advanced factory combined with discounting and marketing can wreak havoc on the other players, as during selling you cycle through the factories more often than you do in 5 player, dramatically increasing the number of additional cars you can sell through discounting/marketing.


Well put.

That said, I love the game with any number of players.
 
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Huzonfirst
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I've played this about a dozen times and no two games have felt alike. It's a great design.
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John Weber
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Played about 50 times, every game is different. Automobile is #6 on my all-time list after less than two years. I rate it high on replayability as each game develops differently based on number of players and what each player decides to do, the high number of variables that go into each player decision (as well as the demand tiles variable) make each game unique and different.
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