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Subject: Metalcasting: Is it too strong? rss

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El-ad David Amir
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I am wondering what is the forum's opinion of Metalcasting. In our experience, Metalcasting is always being researched as the first level 3 tech; a combination of unit upgrade, powerful Incense ability and a coin tips the scales to that technology.

1) As far as unit upgrades go, Metalcasting is probably the best- the special abilities on Railroad and Gunpowder are very situational:
1a) By the time you get level 3, you rarely want to invest in your cities' infrastructure (=Iron Mine).
1b) Two resources for destroying a building is expensive (there are exceptions for the occasional wonder, such as Himeji, but again- situational).

2) Burning incense for seven culture is an extremely valuable ability, for both Culture oriented players and to those who want to buy the first four-five stages in order to get a bunch of cards and two Great People (even more crucial in FaF).

3) And finally, the gold coin seals the deal; this is the only tier 3 tech that gives a gold coin.

With that said, we're considering "errata'ing" Metalcasting on our future games. Right now, the easiest change I can think of it to move the gold coin to Railroad. I would love to hear opinions as to why Metalcasting is not as all encompassing as I currently believe.

Edit: I've just been sifting through the PBF games to gather some more concrete evidence; Metalcasting is indeed the most researched Level 3 tech, not to mention the most researched first Level 3 tech. The exception is Steam Power, which pops up every once in a while, and very rarely a smattering of other techs (Communism, Banking...).
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Joshua Chen
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I agree
 
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Timothy Pride
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Metalcasting is the most favorite first lv3 tech, there's no denying it. Partly because it helps all of 3 victory path:

Culture: To advance on track, also easy way to improve defense.
Military: it helps with lv3 cannon and easy culture cards too.
Economy: Coin, and fuel for printing press.

However, the more I play the less obvious is this. Steam Power sometimes better as first lv3 tech, if you need speed. Getting Communism or Gunpowder first sometimes necessary if you want to be reactive for your opponents. And there are other situations when Metalcasting is not really that valuable, for example if you already have Civil Service Chivalry or Mathematics.

And also if you have no access to Incense. This should be obvious, but some people are stubborn ("I was hoping to get the incense later"). I know since I've been into that trap before.

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El-ad David Amir
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I agree that Steam Power is sometimes better, but Communism or Gunpowder is rare (again, the exception being a fast Himeji). Furthermore, Civil Service and Mathematics are not popular Level 2 techs- people usually take Democracy, Chivalry, Irrigation and Sailing, in my experience, leaving Civil Service for late game (and Metalworking could supply you with much of the benefit of Mathematics).

The question is, is it too favorite? Should it really help three victory paths?

I'm wondering if that is the case, or whether we've just fallen into another Irrigation trap (where everyone always researched Irrigation; took us a while to figure out how to counter that and why Irrigation is often a deleterious first Level 2 tech).
 
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Timothy Pride
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In my own probability, this is the chance I took for first lv3 tech:
- Metalcasting : 70%
- Steam Power : 20%
- Communism : 5%
- Gunpowder : 5%

I agree that those probabilities a little bit too much imbalance for my comfort. But there are 2 things that makes it okay for me. One, it is not 100%. Two, Fame and Fortune fix this. Really, there's lot of other options to get culture now, so Metalcasting isn't always be the 1st choice.

As for Civil ServiceChivalry and Mathematics, having played a lot of games, I somewhat can predict when I'd get my first 3rd tech. Sometimes it'll be quite late, and I need culture fast, that's where Civil ServiceChivalry coming in. And Mathematics, sometimes you just get a lot of iron without incense, and there's no iron consuming tech in lv3. So Mathematics is the best you can get. I also agree these situations happen rarely, but it's not 0%.
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El-ad David Amir
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Darkmot wrote:
Two, Fame and Fortune fix this. Really, there's lot of other options to get culture now, so Metalcasting isn't always be the 1st choice.


I know that some Great People give Culture- but which other new FaF mechanics give Culture...? (Right now our Culture strategy sticks to base game ideas- usually one city is Incense+Metalcasting, the other is Libraries/Wonder/Great People, and a third has a variety of usages). FaF makes things easier with Endowment and Ecology, of course.

Quote:
As for Civil Service and Mathematics, having played a lot of games, I somewhat can predict when I'd get my first 3rd tech. Sometimes it'll be quite late, and I need culture fast, that's where Civil Service coming in.


I'm guessing you mean Chivalry, not Civil Service...? We do get Civil Service occasionally, as a late game Level 2 tech (for cancelling Culture events, mostly, and the Coin is always good).
 
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Timothy Pride
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IirionClaus wrote:

Quote:
As for Civil Service and Mathematics, having played a lot of games, I somewhat can predict when I'd get my first 3rd tech. Sometimes it'll be quite late, and I need culture fast, that's where Civil Service coming in.


I'm guessing you mean Chivalry, not Civil Service...? We do get Civil Service occasionally, as a late game Level 2 tech (for cancelling Culture events, mostly, and the Coin is always good).


Doh! yuk yes of course! Silly me.

Mind and fingers were not synchronized! Previous post edited.



IirionClaus wrote:
Darkmot wrote:
Two, Fame and Fortune fix this. Really, there's lot of other options to get culture now, so Metalcasting isn't always be the 1st choice.


I know that some Great People give Culture- but which other new FaF mechanics give Culture...? (Right now our Culture strategy sticks to base game ideas- usually one city is Incense+Metalcasting, the other is Libraries/Wonder/Great People, and a third has a variety of usages). FaF makes things easier with Endowment and Ecology, of course.


Sorry, to clarify, what I meant was, to advance in culture it is easier now, doesn't mean it's easier to get the culture tokens.

In the base game, the norm for culture player is to have 3 cities with at least 7 culture per turn. Or 2 cities with 7 culture per turn and 1 with access to incense. But with endowment of arts and great people cards, these requirements are quite lessened. Making Metalcasting less necessary.
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Michael Bomholt
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Metalcasting is pretty damn awesome. This of course makes Railroad a good meta choice because it gives you trump in combat against all the metal casting players if you go for a military victory

I don't think metalcasting needs changed but I agree it is pound for pound the best value at its tech level.
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El-ad David Amir
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blarknob wrote:
Metalcasting is pretty damn awesome. This of course makes Railroad a good meta choice because it gives you trump in combat against all the metal casting players if you go for a military victory

I don't think metalcasting needs changed but I agree it is pound for pound the best value at its tech level.

The problem with Railroad is that it doesn't give you much beyond the Mounted upgrade... And with Diplomacy being a popular Level 2 tech, I doubt it will be as powerful a choice as one would hope.
 
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Ian Kelly
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IirionClaus wrote:
And with Diplomacy being a popular Level 2 tech, I doubt it will be as powerful a choice as one would hope.


You mean Democracy, right?
 
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El-ad David Amir
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Peristarkawan wrote:
You mean Democracy, right?

Gah, of course. Chivalry became Civil Service, Democracy became Diplomacy...

What's your opinion of Metalcasting, Peristarkawan?
 
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Daniel Hammond
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It is powerful enough that it is usually my first level 3 tech. If I had to say one tech that was too powerful, this would be it as it helps with many things, not sure how I would recommend the fix though.
 
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Jan Siwanowicz
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I'll tenatively say that based on my experiences I'd like to see the coin from Metalcasting moved to Railroad. Metalcasting is very tempting to me every time I play, no matter what civilization I have, no matter what victory condition I am going for, and no matter what the strengths of my units are in my battle hand. The incense exchange is just that good, and when combined with the military unit it is enough to value this tech highly.

Even if you have access to the other incense exchanges you want this one, in case one gets cancelled, or simply to move faster. SMC is a race game, and one of very few turns. If you are going for a culture victory you really want to have the culture exchange available, as you can't afford spend so many actions building up your cities to give you a lot of culture, you need to build flags, units, a or give you ammunition for the time your neighbors come to visit. Other armies will come knocking, science cultures to steal tech, coin cultures to place tokens on Code of Laws, and Military cultures just to say hi. With missiles.

Metalcasting is an incredible action saver. Any city with access to incense, or any city with a Wagon figure in the field, becomes a real culture city, without the need to spend a few turns to buy appropriate buildings.

If you have a lot of culture you want more to navigate the race as quickly as possible. If you have little, you want to use up those excess incense to coast two spots at a time, or even to generate coins.

All this while advancing my military and giving me a coin? Sign me up.

I do accept that all level 3 techs are strong, but Metalcasting is on or near top of my priorities no matter what the game situation is, and I think statistics agree.
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Jeff Long
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I completely agree with nearly all of the reasoning so far, and in my experience, Metal Casting is definitely the best level 3 tech. The problem with the Railroad counter is that Railroad is just SO bad that even if it gives you a slight military edge over the Metalcasting players - let's even presume that's EVERYONE except you, which is not unrealistic - you lose so much in terms of culture cards and the coin that overall you don't really come ahead.

Then again, it's not SO broken that it's unplayable, just one of those things were some small tweaking would make for a slightly more interesting game.
 
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El-ad David Amir
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The_Immortal wrote:
Then again, it's not SO broken that it's unplayable, just one of those things were some small tweaking would make for a slightly more interesting game.

Hence my suggestion to move the Coin from Metalcasting to Railroad. I think Metalcasting will still be a much more popular tech; burning Incense for 7 Culture is a big thing, and with some external Culture source allows players to get their two Great People and five level 1 cards. But it would make Railroad slightly more interesting.
 
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Jeff Long
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Yep, it's a perfectly good suggestion. I think it even makes more sense thematically for those who care about such things - the development of Railroad was a HUGE economic revolution. It would be a good change if a new edition of the game was ever printed.

For me, the only problem is that house-rules that muck with printed cards are the worst kind for confusing people (not that I haven't been known to use them) - thus my comment of 'not SO broken.' In this case, I don't think that confusion is worth it.
 
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Sebastian Valmont
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A few months ago I wrote something about metal casting: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/713258/suggestions-to-ba...

Metal Casting:
Metal Casting is one of the strongest lvl 3 techs, giving a unit upgrade, a coin and the ability to trade incense for culture. Metal Casting is strong for Economic and cultural victory. My grief is the fact it upgrades artillery and not cavlery like its lvl 2 counterpart chivalry. Any military player can increase his infantry to gain an edge against cavlery, but the first lvl 3 tech any culture player is going to invent totally counters infantery, so he basically has no other choice as to go the same route (with Railroad next to useless). My suggestion would be to make Railroad +1 Coin and Artillery 3 and give Metal Casting "only" Incense:7 Culture and Cavlery 3.
 
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Jfkoski
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I downloaded the FAQ and it says Railroad gets the coin, not Metalcasting, so I've changed my cards accordingly.
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Ian Kelly
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Sandal_Thong wrote:
I downloaded the FAQ and it says Railroad gets the coin, not Metalcasting, so I've changed my cards accordingly.


This change was introduced in Wisdom & Warfare, which provides replacement cards for this purpose, so there's no need to go marking up the original cards if you plan to buy the expansions.
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