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Subject: Revisiting the balance of the extra action... rss

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UA Darth
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There was a huge thread on the balance of the extra action. http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/580113/3-player-problem-does...

Now that time has gone by, do you still feel that this is a problem? Whenever I play(and I only ever play it 3 player), I purposely choose to go last in the starting order. It really is an uphill battle. Getting that extra action is such a huge advantage. Your thoughts?
 
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Einmal ist keinmal
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What do you mean by extra action? Just one? Or more? Because even the rulebook suggests that players quickly get a 3rd action.
 
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Geoffrey Ulman
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My feeling is that getting the third action is absolutely necessary.

Getting the fourth and/or fifth actions, not so much. They take longer to get (two upgrades each) and even if your opponents aren't taking them, they should be blocking them to make them expensive and give them time to do other things.

When you go later in the turn order, you start with more cubes. If you really highly value the extra actions, use those extra cubes to bump people.

Or go for the "remove 3 cubes" special action and use that to get in on the action track.
 
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UA Darth
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Well, of course everyone will be trying to get that third action.. but whomever gets it first can relatively easily block and/or get more actions before others can, with their only 2 actions.

 
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Joseph Cochran
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shadow9d9 wrote:
Well, of course everyone will be trying to get that third action.. but whomever gets it first can relatively easily block and/or get more actions before others can, with their only 2 actions.


I've had pretty good success late in turn order upgrading my bag. The actions saved in pulling cubes across often more than makes up for the lack of the action, giving me the chance to get the action while the other person is spending time restocking.
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David W.
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I used to play with a very good player who experimented with taking the third action and then trying to keep others off of the action track. Our experience was that although he could frustrate the hell out of everyone, eventually he would have to give up blocking the track. At that point, other players who would have lots of cubes on the board from being bumped so much and they would swoop in an gain their action improvement.

I don't believe it provided him any long term strategic advantage. We would simply score points and make other improvements until it became unmanageable for him to continue blocking.
 
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UA Darth
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runelord wrote:
I used to play with a very good player who experimented with taking the third action and then trying to keep others off of the action track. Our experience was that although he could frustrate the hell out of everyone, eventually he would have to give up blocking the track. At that point, other players who would have lots of cubes on the board from being bumped so much and they would swoop in an gain their action improvement.

I don't believe it provided him any long term strategic advantage. We would simply score points and make other improvements until it became unmanageable for him to continue blocking.


True, although even if that one person gives up on it, the remaining players will be competing with it...plus, the players without the extra action will have to use up extra cubes to push into that space as well.
 
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Andrew
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I've played mostly 4p and 5p, so I can't speak directly to the 3p format. However I haven't seen the first 3-action player completely suppressing the others.

There is usually a fight for the 3rd action and the "Remove 3" bonus (for use in getting the 3rd action) - a common move for later seats is to elbow into a Goettingen route so that no one has 2 pieces there. Usually the first to 3 actions is not the person with the "Remove 3" marker, which allows a second person to get 3 actions.

When I tried it in an obstructionist 5p game, all my blocking left me behind in scoring (incidentally the person last to get 3 actions won with a huge network).

There's less incentive for the 2-action players to fight each other when someone else is running around with 3 actions; additionally the other upgrades and bonus markers can partially make up the gap or help break a deadlock.
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I too usually play 4-5p games.

The last game was 5p with relatively experienced players. Strange game, lots of blocking and careful bumping. At one stage we had 3 different colors each on both Action tracks and the Move and Bag tracks.

In the end 1st and 2nd places went to the last 2 players to get the 3rd action. Both scored with a mix of Coellen, city control and plates.
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Neil Christiansen
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The Eastern expansion pack helps considerably. The new map has an additional road into the city that gives extra actions and with the original board there are bonus cards that incentivize northern cities.
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UA Darth
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chris1nd wrote:
The Eastern expansion pack helps considerably. The new map has an additional road into the city that gives extra actions and with the original board there are bonus cards that incentivize northern cities.


Ah. I own the expansion but have yet to try it. Looks like I will have to now. Thanks!
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Neil Christiansen
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You might also consider trying this variant I proposed before the expansion was released. I have tried it twice and was satisfied. Results in less scripted opening.


********************
First, extra actions gained are not available until the next turn, although the extra trader is.

Second, when an extra action is actually gained (but not at the second of the two 3 and 4 spaces), the trader removed from that space must be placed on another track on the player board. This can be the space that started as open at the beginning of the game, but this will limit the player in future turns until it is removed.

It does require some additional rules to deal with covering up a space in other actions that normally is open. They are pretty straightforward though.

Town Keys: Covering the 1 space means that no bonus points are gained at game end for each office in the longest chain of connected cities.

Privileges: Covering the white office space means that players may no longer place any offices in cities (with the exception of using additional office bonus marker). Routs can be completed, but no office is gained.

Books: Covering the 2 book space means that only one piece can be shifted when a Move action is taken.

Money Bags: Covering the 3 space with a trader from the freed action space means that only 1 trader or merchant may be moved from the general stock into the personal supply when the Income action is taken.

*************************************

The play testing so far has been very interesting. Players still compete for Gottingen, but less intensely and more attention is played to the starting bonus markers and other advancements. Typically, players rushing for extra action to increase to 3 will cover the first key space as this has no current effects on game play, but it does create a whole that one must dig out of or suffer a significant endgame scoring penalty. Some have covered the white privilege temporarily, focusing on gaining advancements and bonus markers rather establishing offices until it can be uncovered.


It certainly opens up the beginning of the game in terms of strategy and decreases how critical it is to get 3 actions. It also makes the bag about equally attractive.
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Al Washburn
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chris1nd wrote:
You might also consider trying this variant I proposed before the expansion was released. I have tried it twice and was satisfied. Results in less scripted opening.


********************
First, extra actions gained are not available until the next turn, although the extra trader is.

Second, when an extra action is actually gained (but not at the second of the two 3 and 4 spaces), the trader removed from that space must be placed on another track on the player board. This can be the space that started as open at the beginning of the game, but this will limit the player in future turns until it is removed.

It does require some additional rules to deal with covering up a space in other actions that normally is open. They are pretty straightforward though.

Town Keys: Covering the 1 space means that no bonus points are gained at game end for each office in the longest chain of connected cities.

Privileges: Covering the white office space means that players may no longer place any offices in cities (with the exception of using additional office bonus marker). Routs can be completed, but no office is gained.

Books: Covering the 2 book space means that only one piece can be shifted when a Move action is taken.

Money Bags: Covering the 3 space with a trader from the freed action space means that only 1 trader or merchant may be moved from the general stock into the personal supply when the Income action is taken.

*************************************

The play testing so far has been very interesting. Players still compete for Gottingen, but less intensely and more attention is played to the starting bonus markers and other advancements. Typically, players rushing for extra action to increase to 3 will cover the first key space as this has no current effects on game play, but it does create a whole that one must dig out of or suffer a significant endgame scoring penalty. Some have covered the white privilege temporarily, focusing on gaining advancements and bonus markers rather establishing offices until it can be uncovered.


It certainly opens up the beginning of the game in terms of strategy and decreases how critical it is to get 3 actions. It also makes the bag about equally attractive.


This sounds like a really interesting variant, except that I fear it might draw out the game that I think has a really good length as it is...has that been your experience?
 
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Neil Christiansen
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Not really. It gets the meat faster, in my experience. That is, there is less time spent on the inititial fight into Gottingen but players have a bit fewer actions. So seems to balance out.
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