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Age of Steam» Forums » Rules

Subject: Producing New Goods rss

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Matt Uhrich
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Played my first game solo to familiarize myself with the rules. I just want to confirm one thing. Is the only way to add cubes to the production chart for someone to select the production action?

Thanks.
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J C Lawrence
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Campbell
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Yes.
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Robert Zaleski
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This is one place Steam vastly improved on the rules. It might be nice to read the rules in Steam and use that method for putting new goods out.
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J C Lawrence
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rzaleski wrote:
This is one place Steam vastly improved on the rules. It might be nice to read the rules in Steam and use that method for putting new goods out.


No, Steam's Production implementation greatly reduce the strategic depth of the game. Where is far more important than when for cubes. If such a change where to be made (it is not necessary), then use something that preserves the where, like say the insta-production rules I use in Age of Steam Expansion: Sun / London.
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Brian
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Strongly agree regarding the effect on the game. Changing from AoS to Steam production:

(1) Smooths the relative values of different possible track builds -- since goods growth locations are no longer preprogrammed, there's less well-defined difference in location qualities. A clear decrease in strategic depth.

(2) Increases the importance of urbanization/goods growth. It's important to make sure you get the cubes you need where you need them before someone else puts the goods you need on the wrong place or goods you don't want in the place you wanted goods. This is an expansion/addition to the tactical element of the game quite similar to what already exists in AoS for urbanization

You can like either method better and I wouldn't think you were totally nuts, but I prefer the AoS production -- AoS has plenty of tactical depth as-is without needing to sacrifice strategic depth for more.
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Richard Young
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NotJeff wrote:
You can like either method better and I wouldn't think you were totally nuts, but I prefer the AoS production -- AoS has plenty of tactical depth as-is without needing to sacrifice strategic depth for more.
Thanks for that Brian. Most of these issues come down to a simple matter of personal preference. I'm not sure that a lot of strategic depth is lost here but I do agree that the game becomes a bit more reactive (tactical?) with the Steam implementation.

I think of it as a perfect information game in the following sense: everything there will be in the game is on the board at the outset - no blind cube grabs (AoS Production) or die rolls for appearance. The game presents a totally level playing field at the start. What then evolves is the network of tracks and growth of towns to cities - the reactive part which is really not all that different from AoS to Steam other than in the details. Assessing the batches of cubes available is just another part of the overall puzzle as is which areas of the map will be available to connect to as the game progresses.

A lot stock is put in the "where" as opposed to "when" (cubes appearing) which I can understand but can't agree with the impact this has in the overall scheme of things. I like games that continually force decision points on the players at each step rather than unfolding like a script. Victory points vs Income? I really like that. Which role to pick from several valid choices (versus only one or two)? I really like that too. Balancing actions which involve cubes requires choices as well, perhaps more so in Steam than AoS, but again that suits my preferences.

The one thing that Steam did not correct was the end game rush to build track just for the few extra VPs it might garner with no thematic rationale whatsoever other than to get rid of otherwise meaningless cash. I think it would have been better for Steam to have abandoned that altogether in favour of having end game money mean a bit more- after all, end game income is given credit why not cash on hand as well?

In any event, personal preferences being what they are, the debate will continue with no real expectation that opinions will change all that much unless they were lightly held to begin with...
 
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J C Lawrence
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Bubslug wrote:
A lot stock is put in the "where" as opposed to "when" (cubes appearing) which I can understand but can't agree with the impact this has in the overall scheme of things.


When the where of cubes is known, the game's track development can be largely read from the initial setup all the way through to the final track network, before the first player makes the first bid in the first auction. When the where is not known, this can't be done with even modest reliability. Whether or not you do this, or you find it important to game-play, this is a significant difference between the games.

Quote:
I like games that continually force decision points on the players at each step rather than unfolding like a script.


It actually isn't a difference of unfolding a script, but of realising the downstream commitments of early decisions, of the requirement for planned coherence between early decisions and later decisions, and of working with that in terms of long-term strategy.

If you do THIS on this turn, that means that in three more rounds you'll have to either do THAT or OTHER and will have problems with THAT, but if you instead do SOMETHING ELSE on this turn, then on the next turn you'll have to do THAT and THAT in three rounds and be setup for SO AND SO at the end of the game...etc.

As such the sense is of steering a large ship. There are a lot of fast things that can be done, and must be done, but turning the ship isn't one of them. The crew can run about quickly on the deck of the ship, but the ship moves and turns slowly while they do. So pick your directions, and your changes in direction carefully, because you're going to have to live with them for the rest of the game...and support and pay for them with your detailed tactics as well.
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