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Subject: Abstract economy? rss

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Ururam Tururam
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In 2012 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Acquire. Is it the age when a game that is still alive may be called a classic one? I think so.

Acquire is a clever marriage of two game genres: economic games and abstract strategies. From a mechanics point of view it can be recognized as a three-dimensional area control game. Yes, 3D, no kidding here. The first two dimensions are simply length and width of the board. The third one is virtual – it is money invested in a given fragment of the board.

As for an economic game the rules are very simple and easy to learn. As for an abstract strategy they are just of average size and complexity. The game plays fast and the rules become intuitive to the players after just one play.

The gameplay goes as follows: players put square tiles on the board. Each tile has its own board square where it may be positioned, so each player has their choice limited to the squares marked on the tiles they own. As the game progresses, clusters of adjacent tiles appear. Those clusters represent hotel companies. Players are then allowed to buy shares of those companies effectively building the third dimension of the clusters. When two clusters touch each other they merge, bringing bonuses to the players who had most shares of the merging companies. Once a cluster becomes large enough it can only attach smaller ones to itself but it is immune to being “devoured” by bigger companies. The goal is to acquire (!) most wealth by buying right stocks in right time taking profits from merges and growth of the companies.

There are two drawbacks of this game: First – there is no possibility of trading stock between players. Second: sometimes a player has no good tile to play in their hand just because of bad luck. Fixing the first issue by a kind of house ruling pushes the game from the realm of abstract strategies more to the domain of economic games. Fixing the second one (which I strongly recommend for more advanced players!) reduces the luck factor.

Yet all in all even in its standard version it’s a very interesting, challenging and entertaining game. I wish it next 50 years of prosperity!
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David Bush
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Urtur wrote:
...
There are two drawbacks of this game: First – there is no possibility of trading stock between players. Second: sometimes a player has no good tile to play in their hand just because of bad luck. Fixing the first issue by a kind of house ruling pushes the game from the realm of abstract strategies more to the domain of economic games. Fixing the second one (which I strongly recommend for more advanced players!) reduces the luck factor.

Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?
 
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Tim
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Urtur wrote:
There are two drawbacks of this game: First – there is no possibility of trading stock between players. Second: sometimes a player has no good tile to play in their hand just because of bad luck. Fixing the first issue by a kind of house ruling pushes the game from the realm of abstract strategies more to the domain of economic games. Fixing the second one (which I strongly recommend for more advanced players!) reduces the luck factor.


Nice review and I agree with your overall accessment and a truly great classic. But, I would disagree a little with what you claim as drawbacks. The first one you mention, trading stocks between players, would add another dimension but I personally think it may not be a good one in that it could add a "king maker" factor to the game, which I would not like. In addition, in "real" life it is not possible to trade stocks among private citizens so I think that the game should not reflect this either.

As for your second point, many people would agree with you and state that the draw of the tile has a significant play in the game. Yes, it can play an important role but I still contend that a good and knowledgeable player can still make the game competitive by knowing how to play those "bad" tiles. For me, that is the skill of the game and rewarding when you get into those situations.
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Ururam Tururam
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twixter wrote:
Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?


For example: at the end of turn if a player has one or more tiles that cannot be played any more, they can show one of them to other players, discard it and draw another one. (Only one such move per turn is enough.)
 
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Urtur wrote:
twixter wrote:
Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?


For example: at the end of turn if a player has one or more tiles that cannot be played any more, they can show one of them to other players, discard it and draw another one. (Only one such move per turn is enough.)


Are you talking about a permanently dead tile (that touches two permanent companies?). Our group has always played that you can lay that face up and draw an additional tile at the end of your turn. I believe that was in the rules of our old 1960s something edition.
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Urtur wrote:
twixter wrote:
Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?


For example: at the end of turn if a player has one or more tiles that cannot be played any more, they can show one of them to other players, discard it and draw another one. (Only one such move per turn is enough.)

Huh? Exchanging permanently unplayable tiles is already a rule in all the rule versions I've seen!
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Russ Williams
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Phytoman wrote:
The first one you mention, trading stocks between players, would add another dimension but I personally think it may not be a good one in that it could add a "king maker" factor to the game, which I would not like.

Good point; it would add a negotiation element like Settlers of Catan.
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In addition, in "real" life it is not possible to trade stocks among private citizens so I think that the game should not reflect this either.

Uh... huh? Am I missing something? Private citizens can give each other stock.
E.g. see http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/07/giftofstock.asp
 
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Although dated 62, The game was not actually for sale until the end of 63. Sackson did not sign a contact with 3M until 10/9/63. Sackson got his first copy the day after I was born, 12/10/63.

However, 2012 will be the 10 year anniversary of Sackson's passing.

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Edward Kendrick
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Phytoman wrote:


... in "real" life it is not possible to trade stocks among private citizens so I think that the game should not reflect this either.


Huh? Isn't that exactly what your stockbroker does for you? Finds someone (a corporation or private seller) who wants to sell stock at a price you are prepared to pay? Or did you mean "trade directly between private citizens"?

However, I agree that trading between players would make it a different game. Better or worse, I'm not sure. But different, certainly.
 
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Urtur wrote:
When two clusters touch each other they merge, bringing bonuses to the players who had most shares of the merging companies.


Just to clarify, when 2 companies merge, it is only the shareholders in the company being taken over who receive anything. Shareholders in the company taking over receive nothing at this time.
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Barbarossa wrote:
Phytoman wrote:


... in "real" life it is not possible to trade stocks among private citizens so I think that the game should not reflect this either.


Huh? Isn't that exactly what your stockbroker does for you? Finds someone (a corporation or private seller) who wants to sell stock at a price you are prepared to pay? Or did you mean "trade directly between private citizens"?

However, I agree that trading between players would make it a different game. Better or worse, I'm not sure. But different, certainly.


Yes, obviously I meant trading between private citizens as you do need a strockbroker to trade the stocks for you. The "stockbroker" in the game sense is just that, the game, or "the bank" as is sometimes referred too.
 
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russ wrote:
Urtur wrote:
twixter wrote:
Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?


For example: at the end of turn if a player has one or more tiles that cannot be played any more, they can show one of them to other players, discard it and draw another one. (Only one such move per turn is enough.)

Huh? Exchanging permanently unplayable tiles is already a rule in all the rule versions I've seen!


Under the rules contained in the latest release players are only allowed to swap their entire hand if none of the tiles can be played any more. I think it's a bad solution. I'm glad to hear that in some versions of the game more reasonable rules were applied.
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Urtur wrote:
russ wrote:
Urtur wrote:
twixter wrote:
Okay, so how would you propose fixing the second problem?


For example: at the end of turn if a player has one or more tiles that cannot be played any more, they can show one of them to other players, discard it and draw another one. (Only one such move per turn is enough.)

Huh? Exchanging permanently unplayable tiles is already a rule in all the rule versions I've seen!


Under the rules contained in the latest release players are only allowed to swap their entire hand if none of the tiles can be played any more. I think it's a bad solution. I'm glad to hear that in some versions of the game more reasonable rules were applied.


Yeah that sounds painful.
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Urtur wrote:
Under the rules contained in the latest release players are only allowed to swap their entire hand if none of the tiles can be played any more.

Weird, that seems like it would be a major gratuitous change. (Is it possible you're reading from an incorrect Polish translation of the rules?)

Are you talking about the version with this cover:

?

I don't have that rulebook at hand to check. Maybe it has a more recent paper version than is available online for download, but going to avalonhill.com (which redirects to wizards.com) to find the current official rules available online, I see:

1. At the official publisher's download page http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/downloads
I see an Acquire rules PDF (from Avalon Hill / Hasbro) which lets you exchange permanently unplayable tiles at the end of your turn.

2. Looking at the online rules at http://www.gametableonline.com/gameinfo.php?gid=22 (which was linked from the current version's product page http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/prod/acquire ), I see:
"The computer automatically replaces the tile that you placed at the beginning of your turn, automatically replacing unplayable tiles currently in your hand."
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russ wrote:
Urtur wrote:
Under the rules contained in the latest release players are only allowed to swap their entire hand if none of the tiles can be played any more.

Weird, that seems like it would be a major gratuitous change. (Is it possible you're reading from an incorrect Polish translation of the rules?)

Are you talking about the version with this cover:

?

I don't have that rulebook at hand to check. Maybe it has a more recent paper version than is available online for download, but going to avalonhill.com (which redirects to wizards.com) to find the current official rules available online, I see:

1. At the official publisher's download page http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/downloads
I see an Acquire rules PDF (from Avalon Hill / Hasbro) which lets you exchange permanently unplayable tiles at the end of your turn.

2. Looking at the online rules at http://www.gametableonline.com/gameinfo.php?gid=22 (which was linked from the current version's product page http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=ah/prod/acquire ), I see:
"The computer automatically replaces the tile that you placed at the beginning of your turn, automatically replacing unplayable tiles currently in your hand."


I found this other thread which seems to discuss the same issue, which seems to indicate that there has been a change, although I don't know if it was intentional. I would always play with the previous rules as in the 1999 PDF.
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DaveD wrote:
I found this other thread which seems to discuss the same issue, which seems to indicate that there has been a change, although I don't know if it was intentional. I would always play with the previous rules as in the 1999 PDF.

Interesting indeed. The rule quoted at the beginning of that thread seems to be talking about a different issue (what to do at the start of your turn before you place a tile if all of your tiles are unplayable) instead of what to do at the end of your turn when drawing a new tile if you have any unplayable tiles.

Reading later comments, it sounds like there was no intent to change the original rule, and that perhaps they accidentally left out the part about exchanging unplayable tiles at the end of your turn when drawing a new tile...?
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russ wrote:
Reading later comments, it sounds like there was no intent to change the original rule, and that perhaps they accidentally left out the part about exchanging unplayable tiles at the end of your turn when drawing a new tile...?

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russ wrote:
Reading later comments, it sounds like there was no intent to change the original rule, and that perhaps they accidentally left out the part about exchanging unplayable tiles at the end of your turn when drawing a new tile...?


Perhaps!
 
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