The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

The Brink of War

Now that The Brink of War has been out for a while, a few thoughts:

  1. I have two sets of Race, a fully expanded set, and a base-set (for teaching). The thought of teaching new people the full game gives me the willies. I’m in the same position I was in a decade ago with 18xx … I’d like to have opponents, but I’m way up on the learning curve so everyone involved has to accept that The crushing will commence if I play. An odd situation. Not terribly pleasant.
  2. I have been playing Keldon’s AI, though. I enjoy the game (any game where I can play in 10% of the time? Done.) and I think I’ve got my hand around the prestige issue. That being said, I’m mainly playing the AI at “Look at my tableau, glance at the Opps and ignore them). The AIs have their groupthink, to be sure.
  3. Prestige, like military, is a path. You just have to recognize it. It’s an interactive path (much like takeovers), which does lead to the “I’ll play my prestige world on turn 1. Oh noes! So did you!” In that case, the player who didn’t play a prestige world may be winning. I suspect this (indirect) interaction annoys people, but it’s always been there. (“I played mining conglomerate with my two mine worlds … and hey, you just played Lost Species Ark World.”) It’s implicit collusion (leaching) and implicit competition (prestige fights). An odd dynamic.
  4. I agree that the game can’t be expanded. Even now, many wins are vast crushinations.  You’ve always been able to get a big “Engine” but just to keep each engine running you have to have a few complementary cards. Getting an 8+ military in the base game lets you take an outpost, but now you could get the outpost, monolith, etc etc. There are now 3 “Green” 6 devs, two “Blue” 6 devs. A few Alien triggers, etc. (And that’s not counting the goals). Yes yes, planning helps. But the variance. I think searching and exploring reduce it, but still.
  5. Between the variance and the learning curve, I think a new arc of expansions is a good idea. Reset everyone, build a new strategy space.
  6. But I’m in no hurry.

Written by taogaming

October 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm

4 Responses

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  1. You should play online against others using Keldon’s program. Quite fun.


    October 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

  2. I really think the prestige path dominates. The worst offender is the 6-dev that scores 1 point per prestige AND gives prestige for all future devs, but really any card that generates one prestige per round seems better than any card that doesn’t, and most cards that give prestige are better than cards that don’t.

    It’s true that if someone else gets significantly ahead in prestige, then these cards aren’t very good, but that’s only because someone else got them before you did…

    You may notice that the AI tends to dig for uplift worlds, probably because there are two uplift worlds that spam prestige.

    Fred Bush

    October 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

  3. Prestige shapes your choices, but I wouldn’t say it dominates and I definitely wouldn’t say that all cards that can generate a prestige a turn are better than ones that don’t. Prestige does raise the stakes of each play and force changes in aggressiveness at various moments of the game.


    October 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

  4. Fred: re uplift worlds, there is only one Chromosome world that spams prestige (which is what the search looks for). gene breeders cannot be searched for.
    and Pan-Galactic Affluence is strong, but as a development that makes you want to play develop, but doesn’t give you any advantage in doing so (GalFed gives discounts, Bankers gives cards) it isn’t trivial to play.


    October 5, 2010 at 5:45 am

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