Friday, July 15, 2016

Quick AMA on Reddit! Yokohama Deluxe and other stuff...

I'll be on Reddit for an AMA between now and 11:00am MST.

Yokohama is blowing up on Kickstarter, but it ends tonight! If you've got questions about that game or anything else, come ask them on Reddit!

Old news... a comment on Reddit about Eminent Domain (and a little Under The Hood about EmDo)

  About a year ago Eminent Domain was featured on Reddit as "game of the week", and I answered a bunch of questions there.

  I don't spend a lot of time on Reddit, but I logged in just now to set up an AMA about Yokohama (TODAY, 7/15, at 10am Mountain time!) and I noticed a reply in one of those threads that I never saw.

  That thread has been archived, and I don't think I can reply anymore, but it was a good question and I feel bad for not responding. Also, the person asking the question (Alex Churchill) is a friend and fellow game designer, with whom I worked developing Steam Works for TMG. Alex reads this blog sometimes, so I wanted to take a moment and respond to his old comment.

  In reference to my saying that Colonize and Warfare are early game actions in Eminent Domain, and that the point of the game is to hustle into the mid-game, Alex replied:

How can Survey and Colonize/Warfare be the early game? Getting points from planets is more effective than getting points from Produce/Trade 90% of the time, so people are doing it right up until the final round. I'm guessing the "mid/late" game you refer to must be Produce/Trade? But by the time you've got more than 1 or 2 symbols, your deck is full of Colonize/Warfare/Survey cards, diluting the Produce/Trade, which makes it much more natural to continue to focus on points for planets rather than try to switch focus and lose out on the follows.
  Alex has a point, if you invest (and especially if you over-invest) in Colonize or Warfare int he early game, then it looks like changing to a Produce/Trade or Research path mid-game would be inefficient, and so there's a temptation to just continue flipping planets. Indeed, this could be your strategy, and if you do a good enough job with it you might pull out a win. I'll note however that "doing a good enough job" against good players will likely involve targeting specific technologies to support your strategy (things like Survey Team, Fertile Ground, War Path, Improved Warfare...), as well as good timing of plays and correctly reading and reacting to your opponents' roles (as well it should).

  Therein lies the rub. That point of view is kind of a "n00b" outlook, and even if it sounds counter-intuitive, you can do better by minimizing the number of times you call Colonize or Warfare, making good use of following your opponents, and setting up a research or trade engine as quickly as possible. Level 1 technologies help you do this, as they have 2 different role symbols on them, which helps combat the dilution effect Alex mentioned. Using research to keep your deck slim is also a potential strategy there.

  The thing to note is that once you get 3 or 4 resource slots in play, a Produce/Trade cycle is actually more efficient than a Survey/Colonize/Settle or Survey Warfare/Attack cycle. Once you get a trade engine going, the longer the game goes on the more you'll outpace planet flippers. Mix in a well timed Genetic Engineering, Specialization, or Diverse Markets, and you can really pick up those Influence tokens in a hurry, possibly curtailing the game before your opponents get a chance to make their big endgame play (researching a level 3 tech, or flipping that last planet).

  Eminent Domain is not just a Role Selection game with Deck Building in it, it's a Deck Management game as well. The whole point is to find a way to make your deck perform better :)

  I hope that answers Alex's question, and I hope some players still find this kind of thing useful. It warms my heart to think that people are still playing Eminent Domain!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Big life changes! New house, and games for sale.

I've got a lot of big life changes coming up, the most immediate of which is that I'm buying a house. It's a nice, big house with a dedicated game room, across town from my current house. I'm pretty excited about the new house, especially the game room, for which I went in on one of those Duchess gaming tables :)

I'll talk more about my big changes later, but in packing up to move to this new house, I decided to catalog my games and maybe sell some of them. I didn't do it in the most efficient or effective manner, but long story short, if you're local and want to buy some of my games, take a look at this list:

Seth's Giant List of Games, Some Of Which Are For Sale At Good Prices

I intended this to make moving easier, so I don't want to be making trips to the post office or finding boxes to ship things in, and I don't want to be selling things and waiting until some future time to actually hand them off. Ideally we can make the transactions at the RinCon fundraiser game day this weekend.

Email sedjtroll at gmail with "Games For Sale" in the subject line if you're interested in anything, are local, and can make the exchange with in the next week.