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Subject: Am I the only one underwhelmed by this game? rss

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Chris Wood
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I went into this game thinking it may be a Uwe Rosenburg or Puerto Rico game with a nice auction. I was hoping to generate a sweet optimized engine. What really bugged me was the endless buying and selling in the market place.

It really seemed to devalue the functionality of the resources, instead just making them a straight number value. Each turn just seemed like it was playing with the market, (and ultimately just converting goods to higher value goods) and as a result the diversity of the buildings became less valuable. (Contrast to Puerto Rico, where I get the feeling that the buildings provide a essential synergistic system that is unique to each player). It seemed that it didn't fully matter what settlement and town buildings I purchased, since the market would allow me to freely perform the functions of the buildings.

I've been reading some reviews to see if there are similar feelings to what I have, but most of them seem to be singing praises. Towards the lower rating of comments there is a smattering, in between the complaining of the 1st edition component quality.

So am I the only one who feels like this?
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Travis O'Connor
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I'm not sure if your the only one but when my buddy bought it I had no idea about it, but when I played it I thought it was an amazing game, it had a quick playtime for what it was. It had a great theme, and it was an awesome take on worker placement. I just can't say enough good things about it.
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Chris Wood
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TravmacDaddy wrote:
I'm not sure if your the only one but when my buddy bought it I had no idea about it, but when I played it I thought it was an amazing game, it had a quick playtime for what it was. It had a great theme, and it was an awesome take on worker placement. I just can't say enough good things about it.


So you're saying you like it?
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Mathue Faulkner
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I'm kind of curious to see some responses. I started to write a reply, but it's late, and it wasn't making much sense.

I love the game.

Having said that, I can see how you may feel the way you do on your initial play. The trade chits are a bit fiddly, and they do appear to dilute the diversity of the buildings at first glance.

In my tired state, all I can say is that the game becomes much more interesting as you learn the different buildings, and learn how there is synergy between the buildings which creates some diverse strategies. The trade chits are not always involved, and some of the stronger strategies produce very few trade chits.

Again, I see where you may feel that way initially. But, I encourage you to give it a few more plays...
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Chris Linneman
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Being able to be flexible is important, since it is an auction-driven game for low player counts. You need to have the ability to be flexible so you can drive up the prices in the auctions.

There are definitely buildings that are better or worse, depending on the circumstances a player finds himself in. All buildings are certainly not identical, as you suggest.

Remember that trades are a resource, too. So in order to get a resource you don't produce, you have to spend something you have in limited supply, i.e., you can only buy so many resources.

The game is about timing, efficiency, recognizing combos, and reacting to your opponents. I think it is a really good one, especially for its relatively short play time.
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Loren Cadelinia
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I share your sentiment quite a bit.

I love resource collecting/management in games like Agricola. For homesteaders, the management is there, but it's just less interesting and more convoluted. I never truly feel an accumulation of resources, because I am constantly turning them into something else, and perhaps for some, that is a strength to the game.

I also enjoy a good theme integration. I don't feel like I am "building" a settlement/city, which was what I was hoping for in Homesteaders, and I certainly don't feel I'm building by turning in a cow to the general supply. The actual trading with trade chits seems like a forced but necessary resource/mechanic.

I've still enjoyed my experiences with each play, but I was definitely underwhelmed.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Unless you really focus on getting trade tokens, your ability to just "play with the market" is pretty limited. That said, a lot of the game does revolve around converting things into other things, so if that's not your bag, well, probably not a fit. I think it's pretty clever.
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Jeff Wood
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As another 'Wood', let me say hello.

I love Homesteaders. Yes, the market is important, but to use the market you must have Trade Chits/Markers. Given your wording, I'm wondering if your group is aware of that limitation of the Market. Yes, you can get what materials you need, but the market is not free to use...those who go for buildings with Trade Income can use the market, which will be a different route than those who go for VP income and high-value resource income.

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The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
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I have nothing new to add from what others have already posted really. I can say in my last game winning came down to the very last turn of the game. I was so completely using every resource I made each and every turn that I only narrowly skimmed in a victory. In fact I had planned on passing the final round as I would have to take another to bid above 3...and in this game everyone was trying to keep their chips fairly low. It was my fortune that a player ahead of me decided to pass first though and I could win a building permit for only 3 silver...My biggest struggle in this game was trade chits though. I focused on buildings that had VPs as income. I had 2 cowboys working in the meat packing plant as well as one on my 1vp spot of my homestead for about the last 4 turns...and another building that I forget the name of that gives 2vps income. So I was churning through VPs for income leaving me resource scarce...especially trade chits. It all concluded and it was a narrow victory for me that IF I had not won that last auction for only 3 silver I would have taken 2nd place instead...all in all it was a very tense and exciting game of Homesteaders.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Cinnibar wrote:
Yes, the market is important, but to use the market you must have Trade Chits/Markers. Given your wording, I'm wondering if your group is aware of that limitation of the Market.

I had the same thought. Having read the reviews, when I had the chance to do a little sample solo game I made sure to build some buildings that game me trade chits. By the end of the game, I had a boatload, and ended up converting them to VP[1].

But I can imagine that if you overlook the need for trade chits, you could end up without them, and suddenly the marketplace would be worthless to you. Stories of woe along those lines have been posted here. And looking at it from the opposite angle, if you can construct an engine that produces exactly what you want, you might not need to trade hardly at all, allowing you to avoid producing trade chits, and (as was said) producing even more "real" stuff.

I definitely hope to play this game (with opponents).

[1] As long as you also have money or a good, you can buy/sell repeatedly, effectively converting 2 trade chits to 1 VP. I wonder how often this trick is overlooked.
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Justus
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Myoman wrote:
I went into this game thinking it may be a Uwe Rosenburg or Puerto Rico game with a nice auction. I was hoping to generate a sweet optimized engine. What really bugged me was the endless buying and selling in the market place.


I don't know...I guess I was told the game was an auction game with a little resource conversion. And as that it was perfectly fine.

But to think of it as a resource conversion game with some auctions....I could see that being a bit disappointing.

Neither PR nor Uwe are the first things I think about when trying to find comparisons for the game. I'd suggest a more complicated Knizia auction as my first way of describing the game.

I'm a bit meh on the game in general, but I think its because I'm not a fan of resource conversion games...but I didn't think it was underwhelming when I played it, though I could see that happening now that it seems to have the hype of a cult classic.
 
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Josh
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I guess this will be moved to the "General" forum?

I'm curious if you were playing correctly? If you were, and were loading up on trade chits, then I don't see it being a very competitive strategy. It has been mentioned many times in the forums by Alex and Seth that trade chits offer flexibility, but at a cost. Producing the correct resources that you need is more efficient. But if the shoe doesn't fit... use a trade chit and trade homesteaders to the marketplace for something else
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Chris Wood
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You know, I had intended that it be in the General forum; I must have accidentally put it in the rules forum.
 
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Steve Duff
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Sounds like a case of misplaced expectations. Homesteaders is pretty clearly a resource management game.


Although as noted above, without generating trade chits (and I've been in that situation), some games you can hardly use the market at all.
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Kevin B. Smith
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I finally got to play Homesteaders today for the first time. It was fun, but my head sure hurt afterwards. I had to do far more mental work than when I played Agricola, to take just one example.

The winner set up a couple sweet combos, and cranked on VP's early. I was eternally short of silver but made up for it in other ways (workers and high-value production buildings). Early on, I lacked trade chits to do what I needed, so around round 4 I chose a building that would give me more. That's a good example of making the trade-off of forgoing getting "stuff" directly because I needed the flexibility of the trade chits. (EDIT: I came in second.) I would have come in 3rd if another player had realized that I was going to use Auction #1 to grab the Circus that he also wanted.

To the OP: There is no shame in disliking the game. As others have said, it might not be your thing. I do suggest trying it at least one more time, recognizing the opportunity cost of having enough trade chits to freely trade anything any time.
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Alex Rockwell
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If you dislike resource manipulation then its probably not for you. For those who like swapping things for other things, its awesome!

Its about auctions and resource management/manipulation.
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Matthew M
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Moved to Homesteaders >> General
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Pasta Batman
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My initial rating after 1st play was an annoyed '5'. It has grown over two subsequent plays to an affectionate '8'. Agricola is too heavy for some (even me, much of the time), and I think Homesteaders is a great shorter & lighter alternative, that still gives me a similar feeling. So, perhaps worth another try?
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Brian Jones
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Yes, considering the short play time it may come as a surprise that Homesteaders doesn't reveal itself in the first play or two. Give it another couple games, preferably with the same group of players, and it will show itself as a great strategy game.

That said, if you do not enjoy the resource manipulation, this may be the wrong game for you.
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Jens Hoppe
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I think it's a fantastic game, and for me the marketplace mechanism is central to that awesomeness. It takes the usual "get resource-producing buildings, use resources to get even more buildings" formula and adds a whole new layer of complexity on top of it, meaning you are constantly faced with tough mini-puzzles you have to solve. It's just great!

As others have pointed out, don't forget that you need trade tokens to use the marketplace, so you can't just trade up (or down) freely all the time.
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Chris Wood
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Hello to you too, Mr. Wood!


Cinnibar wrote:
As another 'Wood', let me say hello.


 
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Kester J
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A bit late here, but just to say that I was a bit underwhelmed too. There are some parallels to Vegas Showdown in the style of the auctions and in the building "tech tree" - but the interaction in the Vegas Showdown auctions is more interesting just because it's much easier to look at someone's board and see what they can spend and what they really want to buy: you know how to screw them up. Homesteaders is much more opaque in that sense and I think the interaction between players suffers a bit for it. The "resource shuffling" would be much more interesting to me if there was some player interaction there - buying and selling to each other, for example, although I can see that that would've introduced a whole bunch of new problems to be developed out, not least of which would be a much increased playing time, negating one of the game's current strengths.

I'm still fairly happy with the game and will suggest it occasionally, but usually I'd just rather play Vegas Showdown if that's available. I was expecting I'd love Homesteaders a lot more.
 
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