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Subject: Is the tech/income track too powerful? rss

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John Rogers
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hgcoleman wrote:

I think where we disagree can be summed up as follows:
- You think that the tech track is the main strategy in the game to get VPs, where everything else is incidental.
- I maintain that building plants is the key to scoring via UN cards and end game region control, and that the tech track is an incidental bonus of normal game play.


Yes I believe you are correct on where we disagree. As Ben pointed out earlier, CO2 is not a multiple paths to victory game. Therefore, the most be a focal point, a linchpin if you will, and I believe it to be the tracks not the plants.

hgcoleman wrote:
Let me ask you this - how do you propose to concentrate your strategy on the tech track...Unless you magically place your scientists on summits and no one competes with you for the bonuses and you are the only one doing summits, I just don't see how you can advance far enough over the other players to make a huge difference.


Let me tell you what happened and perhaps you'll understand where I am coming from. We wrongly (strategy wise) played focused on our co. goal cards. The goals were 1) to build a variety of plants (lost), to control as many regions as possible (lost), to be first/tied for first on the tech expertise tracks (won).

The losing players viewed the track as thematically enhancing their abilities to build power plants and score UN cards (a perception similar to yours yes) and went to summits only when it suited such needs. The winning player pursued the tech in precisely the manner in which you described, not because he knew of its vital importance but because it was his company goal to do so.

If you believe regional control and power plants are more important then one of the losing players should have won the game; however, the third player won going away. How was this possible? He had few power plants, less diversity in power plants, equal number/power un cards, equal number of controlled regions, and one more CEP than everyone else (which didn't equate to the huge scoring spread at the end). What did he (the winner) have? The lead in every expertise track, $65 in cash, and the only person to fulfill his co. goal completely.







 
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Harold Coleman
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I still don't get how your income player ran way with the game as you described. How could he have less diversity in power plants and an equal number of UN goals as other players? Did they forget about paying a research cube to collect the UN cards? How could the winner collect any with no diversity? If one player concentrates on diversity and can build 3 or 4 different plants during the game, he should be able to score 4-5 UN cards for about 20 points plus the 3 bonus points for most UN cards. How does this not balance out pure income? And how come other players ignored getting tech track bonuses for completing summits, just letting the winner complete them? I've never seen anyone come close to dominating all 5 tech tracks, but then I've only played 4 and 5 player games. I still you think you played something incorrectly to have your game play out the way it did. Also, if you play again, it will be interesting to see how a player fares concentrating solely on the income track without the company card for leading in four tracks. The company cards play a bigger factor in defining your strategy than you think, as do the lobby cards you are dealt.
 
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John Rogers
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hgcoleman wrote:
I still don't get how your income player ran way with the game as you described. How could he have less diversity in power plants and an equal number of UN goals as other players? Did they forget about paying a research cube to collect the UN cards? How could the winner collect any with no diversity? If one player concentrates on diversity and can build 3 or 4 different plants during the game, he should be able to score 4-5 UN cards for about 20 points plus the 3 bonus points for most UN cards.


The other players bought some but not all of the UN goal cards as they were busy using tech cubes to build power plants. The winner may have had one less UN goal card though the difference in pts generated therein was quite minor. Likewise he had built 3 different types of power plants (solar, cold fusion, and recycling as I recall) the other players built 4-5 different types. Our lead in these areas was insignificant compared to his lead in income (which he led in for the final two decades).

hgcoleman wrote:
And how come other players ignored getting tech track bonuses for completing summits, just letting the winner complete them? I've never seen anyone come close to dominating all 5 tech tracks, but then I've only played 4 and 5 player games.


The losing players rarely engaged in summits only doing so when it suited there needs to accomplish goals pertaining to building power plants. As I've stated we (wrongly) perceived them to be the focal point of the game. Perhaps we will try the game with more players though are current observations may not generate sufficient enthusiasm.

hgcoleman wrote:
I still you think you played something incorrectly to have your game play out the way it did.


Correct. We didn't all score for income at game's end. That would have closed the gap though not likely enough to change the outcome.

hgcoleman wrote:
Also, if you play again, it will be interesting to see how a player fares concentrating solely on the income track without the company card for leading in four tracks. The company cards play a bigger factor in defining your strategy than you think, as do the lobby cards you are dealt.


I don't think anyone will focus solely on the expertise tracks with or without that particular card; however, I do believe we will all strive to remain equal in them in order to block someone from dominating them. That being said, the prospect of spending 1/3 of our free actions blocking is already beginning to discourage our group. As for the lobby and co. cards, we did work to complete them. I completed all of my lobby cards except one, which I pitched for $ (I think).

I think our biggest issue was a fundamental misunderstanding of the game's focal point. The prospect of that point being a struggle over the expertise tracks has us less than thrilled.
 
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Ben
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John Rogers wrote:
What did he (the winner) have? The lead in every expertise track, $65 in cash, and the only person to fulfill his co. goal completely.


Just in case: don't forget that you can and should, where possible, take income as points. $65 is way more money that you'll usually have/need. Finding ways to earn cash through your actions so that you can take points income, rather than cash income, is another key element of playing well.
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John Rogers
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chally wrote:
John Rogers wrote:
What did he (the winner) have? The lead in every expertise track, $65 in cash, and the only person to fulfill his co. goal completely.


Just in case: don't forget that you can and should, where possible, take income as points. $65 is way more money that you'll usually have/need. Finding ways to earn cash through your actions so that you can take points income, rather than cash income, is another key element of playing well.


The player who came in 2nd never took income, opting for vps and in-game income instead. Of course both the winner and 3rd place player did the opposite.

Thanks for the suggestion Ben. I'll endeavor to be more balanced in the future.
 
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Daniel Corban
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newrev wrote:
Hi, John, you are defending that the game is unbalanced because to build power plants are not a good way to get the victory, and the scientists are the secret after all. Did you notice how many threads are defending the oposite and saying the game stalls in the end, because building power plants is to powerfull and nobody wants to install, and also notice others saying that the secret to the victory are the CEPs? So whos right and whos wrong?

I won't say that the game is "unbalanced", but I do believe that both statements are correct.

In the early game, you want to build as few power plants as necessary, both to keep the world from dying and to gain control of regions (primarily to use their CEP as you desire). The opportunity cost in money, actions, and tech cubes is high. However, near the end of the game, when tech cubes become worthless, money becomes strictly worth VP (has no investment value), and region control is critical (for VP from CEP), power plants are the primary objective.

I suppose an important skill for this game would be to know when the conversion from anti-plant to pro-plant is best, and to execute it before the other players.
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John Rogers
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Okay so it has been about 9 months since I last played this and with new blood coming to our game nights I'm going to try and break this out Saturday. Any suggestions?
 
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John Rogers
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Played again, this time with a full boat of five. We almost lost at the beginning of the third decade (499 ppm) but we're able to get our act together. This time there was no run away leader on the tracks and everyone took opportunities to manipulate the CEP market; the struggle was more over regional control which was interesting. First and second were separated by a single point and third-fifth were only behind by 9-15 points.

Having played it with 2,3,5 I'm interested to see how it goes with four. So far each player count feels very different.
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Steve Carey
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hgcoleman wrote:
I have seen a player gain 10 CEPS at game end worth $6 apiece, which was worth 30 VPs while another player got zero CEPs. This dwarfed any possible differences in income from the tech track.


This is exactly what happened in our 4P contest yesterday. The winner ended the game with a construction in Africa, which gave him control of the region (and its 2 CEP's) thus providing the margin of victory (he also had 6 CEP's in Asia and 2 CEP's in hand).

It was a fine play to conclude an enjoyable session of a great design.
 
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