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Alien Frontiers» Forums » General

Subject: more workers balance rss

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Sapo Hipnotico
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Hi all.

Im thinking about purchasing this one, Im not much of a fan of the theme and art style but the game looks very solid and enjoyable. I`ve read the rules and Im under the impression that the action to get new workers is too powerful. In many worker placement games whomever gets more workers usually win. Some games try to remedy that with an upkeep (like agricola and even then there is a rush for more workers).
The way the worker placement in this game works seam to make this worst since the once you get the 4 dice the spot will be yours again to get the 5th. Assuming you have the resources you have the 72% chance of rolling another pair with 4 dice making it very likely that one player will get the 5th dice before the other get his 4th. The 6th dice would be even more likely, of course there are the resources but if one looks the other spots on the board getting more workers is not that expensive.

Im looking for comments of the more experienced gamers, does this problem arises? Do you consider other spots early in the game if you roll two of kind?

Im not saying that this makes the game bad, Im just curious about it.
 
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Fred Heis
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I've played once and you're correct in what you say - more workers means more power. But AF does have a very clever balancing mechanism which we found (albeit on only one play!) limits things effectively.

There is a rush to get colonies down onto the planet, because if your are undisputed owner of a region you get some tasy benefits - VP's and skills.

There a few ways of getting colonies, but the quick and dirty one is to Terraform your ship. You can only do this if you have more than the minimum of three ships (i.e. workers).

The balance though is the cost of new ships. They are on an steep cost gradient so that the more ships you own the higher the price in resources. Consequently we found an effective tactic was to limit to 4 ships try and terraform, and then work towards building the 4th ship back up - at a far cheaper cost than having building your 6th ship, This is even taking into account the greater resource that you would garner having two extra ships. Therefore there is a valid tactic in the early to mid tactics of limiting your number of ships.

Hope that makes sense?!

All four of us thought it was a great game despite the dice implying oodles of luck. Well balanced, well paced, good length of play with enough decisions (but not too many), and we were all involved the whole way though without a runaway leader.

In short superb! All looking forward to the next one.
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Jonathan Powell
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AF is a great game, but if your not a fan of the theme or the art, why don't buy something else that AF gets compared to? Kingsburg? Troyes?
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Sapo Hipnotico
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ukraineboo wrote:
AF is a great game, but if your not a fan of the theme or the art, why don't buy something else that AF gets compared to? Kingsburg? Troyes?


I`ll buy Troyes for sure, yet as far as I can tell AF and Troyes are very different games. Both are euros that use dice but I think their similarities end there. The workers in Troyes produce dice that can be bought by opponents while the dice in AF are the workers themselves. Not only the flow is different but I also think Troyes is a bit heavier then AF.
The theme in Kingsburg fits my taste better but the rule set and game flow in Alien Frontiers sounds better to me, also I don`t despise the heme in AF.
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午餐先生
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Mr. Heis above is correct.

I played with my wife and daughter the other day. I had all six ships going, but a lack of resources. My wife had enough resources, and only 4 ships and in the end she beat me 10 to 5. My daughter was tied with me.

She took advantage of the Terraforming Station more than once, but also was able to rebuild ships cheaply from a territory bonus and pull extra resources due to an Alien Tech and another Territory bonus. My lack of resources kept me from exploiting the Colony Constructor or the Terraforming Station, even though I had rolled 3-of-a-kind more than once, or could manipulate the dice as I needed.
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Brandon Freels
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sapo_hipnotico wrote:
Hi all.
Im looking for comments of the more experienced gamers, does this problem arises? Do you consider other spots early in the game if you roll two of kind?


Well being 1st player almost guarantees you won't get your 4th ship on turn one.

However, this is not an issue in our games. I plan to write a "Galactic Law" strategy article for this game soon (been too busy playtesting my home-grown AF expansion though). But one of the rules of thumb is:

If not in endgame, your goal when you have only 3 ships is to get a 4th ship.

So yes, there is a mad rush for the shipyard at the start of the game. It tapers off later. If you are left behind at the shipyard, there are other strategies to set up for and use. One game I did not get there for the first 3 turns, but still won the game.

And of course, all your ships don't mean beans if you are blocked out of an area and/or don't have the right numbers.

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Sapo Hipnotico
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Thx for the replies, they were very informative.
Nice people in the community of AF. In the forums of some other games you are attacked by a pack o rabid jackals if you dare to mention something that can remotely be thought as a critic to the game.
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Fred Heis
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sapo_hipnotico wrote:
Thx for the replies, they were very informative.
Nice people in the community of AF. In the forums of some other games you are attacked by a pack o rabid jackals if you dare to mention something that can remotely be thought as a critic to the game.


Haha it's still too new to have attracted it's loyal jackal following - try asking the same question in 6 months time

I jest of course - I've 99% of the time found BGG to be helpful and friendly - sometimes to extremes. There's always someone who can be a bit hyper-sensitive but no more so than the real world.

Glad our answers helped - and as Kingsburg has been mentioned my 2p is that AF is a far better game imho. The path to victory is more non-linear (although the KB expansion helps correct this), and KB is more multi-player solitaire than AF. The screwage in AF is not too nasty but enough to give it an edge when you're sat on a bunch of resources and see someone roll sequential dice to access the Raider's Outpost!

It depends on the type of game you like and how much player interaction but imo KB without exp. is way less a game than AF, and even with (and therefore extra cost) it's still sub-AF.

Edit:Clarity!
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Richard Dewsbery
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I'm reasonably impressed with both the game's replayability and also the lack of any imbalance caused by having more workers than anyone else.

As an example, in the game I played last night I was the first player to 6 dice, I had 7 dice for most of the game, and never had fewer dice than any other player. And I came third. One player made the same mistake over and over - almost as soon as he'd get his fourth dice, he'd sacrifice it for terraforming. Occasionally he got up to 5 dice, but he spent most of the game with just 3 or 4. He didn't even have the territory bonus allowing him to build new ships more cheaply. This was such poor tactical play that he won the game.

Something else I picked up from last night's game was the way that territory bonuses that I had previously regarded as week, or had been underused, were game-changers; others that had been the key to victory in other games were of very limited benefit. The difference is partly down to the way the dice are rolling (some games seem to generate triples, another game will see more runs), but even more to do with which alien technology cards are in play and in use.

PS - in a four-player game where two other players both start with a holographic decoy, and you can't roll a run of three consecutive numbers on 6 dice to save your life (in order to steal one), the game is unlikely to go well for you. At least, that's what I found. Almost every time I managed to grab 3 ore, they'd been pirated away before the start of my next turn. Still, after spending most of the game dead last in terms of score, I had managed to gain the lead just before "Mr. Three Ships" plonked down his last colony, stole my +1VP field and claimed the win for himself.

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