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Brass: Birmingham» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is this game balanced? rss

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Jarbol Maricka
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I was thinking on buying this game, but now when I finish reading some of the threads regarding strategies, I am not sure will I buy this game. It seems that the rails - beer strategy (supported with coal) is OP compared to other strategies. And that developing towards high level industries (cotton, manufacture, pottery) has little to no value. I don't like games where one strategy is dominant compared to others.

SOURCE;
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2079057/strategic-impact-ra...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2079003/game-balance-develo...
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2076073/bic-strategy/pa...

What do you think guys? Help me decide should I buy this game or not.
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Read the threads fully.
The current answer is : no, there is absolutely no game balance issue identified at the moment. We are actually going through the exploration process very much as expected from what Roxley can see.

My main take away from these discussions is that it is even harder than expected to set us free from our Lancashire experience and expectations when playing and analyzing Birmingham.
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Chris D
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It would also require opponents who let you get away with that strategy.

I’m just waiting for the AAR where someone cleverly screws over a BIC player with strategically placed 0 link point manufactured goods, the people can start complaining how unbalanced the manufactured goods strategy is
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Joshua Schutte
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I'd buy it. Original Brass was an amazing game. Birmingham just changes that model slightly making for an incredibly fresh game.

At this point I could throw all my other euros in the trash and live happily playing Brass for a long long time. It's that good. Even if one strat is better you have to play to the cards you are given while out foxing everyone else. You simply can't do the same thing every game or force a hand to do something it isn't good for. Brass is 2 hours of the most intense mental gymnastics you will ever find.

I'd skip the deluxe version unless you really want poker chips. Otherwise they are the same.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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I won't stress it enough : the situation exposed in the various thread is not a out the BLIC strategy itself. Which is not dominating the game by all means.
These threads are about the consequences of keeping this strategy in check, which was a way for us to realize that Birmingham swapped somewhat the relative value of low vs. high level industries compared to Lancashire.

In that sense, I would argue about the slightly in the post above.
Birmingham seems to be very close to Lancashire and at the same time as different as it can be.
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Carla
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All I know is we played this game every night for a week and would have played more if pesky sleep and work didn't get in the way. It's an instant classic as far as I'm concerned.
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Steve Schlepphorst
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Solanum wrote:
All I know is we played this game every night for a week and would have played more if pesky sleep and work didn't get in the way. It's an instant classic as far as I'm concerned.
Lucky. I’ve been playing multi-hand solo, as my group isn’t that available.
 
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alan beaumont
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Is this game balanced? It is if my opponents are on the alert!
Jarbol wrote:
It seems that the rails - beer strategy (supported with coal) is OP compared to other strategies. And that developing towards high level industries (cotton, manufacture, pottery) has little to no value. I don't like games where one strategy is dominant compared to others.
I just beat a heavy Cotton + Goods strategy with a maximum canal Iron + Rails in a 4 player game, but at no time was I confident I had the Cotton player beaten, so I know I haven't hit on a master strategy. You have to maintain concentration at all times and be prepared to adapt if somebody swipes the location/links you were about to take.

It is the only game I've ever given a straight 10.
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Björn Hansson
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I have won this game with different strategies and I have lost the game with the same strategies.

Stop reading speculative strategy articles and just start discovering and enjoying an amazing game for yourself. You will not regret it.
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Carla
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anwei wrote:
Solanum wrote:
All I know is we played this game every night for a week and would have played more if pesky sleep and work didn't get in the way. It's an instant classic as far as I'm concerned.
Lucky. I’ve been playing multi-hand solo, as my group isn’t that available.
My group is my husband and me and he's available as often as I can persuade him to play.
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Gustavo Goncalves
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https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/67094/would-your-father-e...
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Steve Schlepphorst
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GusG4Real wrote:
It’s an important post and point, and I think the caution against such cavalier criticism is a reasonable boundary for OP’s question.

BUT, it should also be clear that the threads being discussed are coming from dozens of plays, mostly from OG Brass fans, and are humbly discussing high level strategy. I think it’s fair to (at some point) ask whether the nature of the changes have led to a system that doesn’t strategically live up to the promise of the ancestry and the full set of high level buildings, and it’s reasonable for prospective buyers to ask experienced players that question.
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Barry Miller
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taragalinas wrote:
Stop reading speculative strategy articles and just start discovering and enjoying an amazing game for yourself. You will not regret it.
Amen to this!
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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GusG4Real wrote:
Game balance is a very delicate art, even more so today with the amount and average quality of games that get released each year.
Your balance has to provide a great experience for both beginners to the game and experienced players to the game. Screwing either will likely hurt your sales. Balancing for each individually is already quite difficult, balancing for both requires an insane amount of efforts worth many praises when achieved successfully.

This is why we see a breed of games which are mostly (only?) balanced for beginners. That is, fall somewhat flat after 10 games or so.
The efforts may easily be seen as not worth it when players can (and most often will) easily switch from one new game to the other.

So even more kudos to Roxley.
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Zerth
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GusG4Real wrote:
Quoting Ignaczy as a reliable authority on the matter...shake
Remember, this is the guy who never listens to the feedback of his own playtesters and rulebook writers/editors. Also, if you read the whole thread, you realize that he effectively misrepresents the original post of the guy (Jakub) from Twitter.
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Chris J Davis
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kissgg wrote:
GusG4Real wrote:
Quoting Ignaczy as a reliable authority on the matter...shake
Indeed.
 
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Steven Hall
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taragalinas wrote:
I have won this game with different strategies and I have lost the game with the same strategies.

Stop reading speculative strategy articles and just start discovering and enjoying an amazing game for yourself. You will not regret it.
I agree with your advice taragalinas! Reading about, or even worse, following someone else's strategy can ruin a game experience. Explore and learn about this delightful game on your own!
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Alexandre Limoges
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tublefou wrote:
Read the threads fully.
The current answer is : no, there is absolutely no game balance issue identified at the moment. We are actually going through the exploration process very much as expected from what Roxley can see.

My main take away from these discussions is that it is even harder than expected to set us free from our Lancashire experience and expectations when playing and analyzing Birmingham.
Palferso,

I follow with great interest your posts in TricTrac, but you do seem to suggest adamantly in them that there actually is a balancing issue in Birmingham, like you exposed in your post on game balance, being that a 4-player game will turn repetitive because at high level, a strategy based on creating the best industries is not viable. Have you changed your mind?
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Steve Schlepphorst
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Solipsiste wrote:


Palferso,

I follow with great interest your posts in TricTrac, but you do seem to suggest adamantly in them that there actually is a balancing issue in Birmingham, like you exposed in your post on game balance, being that a 4-player game will turn repetitive because at high level, a strategy based on creating the best industries is not viable. Have you changed your mind?

mopeymatt wrote:

So, I will just clear the air a bit:
-Several strategies that are strong at high level are recipes for disaster against unskilled players, and several strategies that destroy unskilled players are ineffective against high level play.
An interesting question would be, "What if high-level buildings reward the first person to develop in a group of new players (Cotton III/IV beats Cotton I/II), but have no strategic merit for advanced players?"

 
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Dave C
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Solipsiste wrote:
tublefou wrote:
Read the threads fully.
The current answer is : no, there is absolutely no game balance issue identified at the moment. We are actually going through the exploration process very much as expected from what Roxley can see.

My main take away from these discussions is that it is even harder than expected to set us free from our Lancashire experience and expectations when playing and analyzing Birmingham.
Palferso,

I follow with great interest your posts in TricTrac, but you do seem to suggest adamantly in them that there actually is a balancing issue in Birmingham, like you exposed in your post on game balance, being that a 4-player game will turn repetitive because at high level, a strategy based on creating the best industries is not viable. Have you changed your mind?
I would hesitate to call it a balance issue. If it's true that BLIC is something everyone needs to pursue, it's very possible that the design is such that beer/links are designed as a focal point of competition and the strategic variety comes from how to leverage additional points using industries and controlling the beer supply.

Also, if it were considered a balance issue, that would imply that lancashire also has a balance issue since there are very few overall strategies for the game and spamming rails and developing through low level industries is very important to do well. I think it would mostly be considered a balance issue against a hypothetical game that allows a more sandbox approach to strategy similar to many popular modern euros.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Solipsiste wrote:
Palferso,

I follow with great interest your posts in TricTrac, but you do seem to suggest adamantly in them that there actually is a balancing issue in Birmingham, like you exposed in your post on game balance, being that a 4-player game will turn repetitive because at high level, a strategy based on creating the best industries is not viable. Have you changed your mind?
You are mistaking me with my brother
I'm T-Bow on Tric-Trac.

Each of us has a slightly different take on the situation.
I don't think that my brother says that there is a balance issue. To me, he says that high level industries (and the develop action more generally speaking) have little to no point at 4 players, and that the game is insanely tactical as a result. He is concerned that Birmingham may feel repetitive much earlier than Lancashire.
Even in this context, he seems to find the game very enjoyable.

On my side, I'm much more cautious, as exposed multiple times on BGG and Tric-Trac.
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Olli Juhala
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I heard the game is actually utterly broken and the box is filled with spiders.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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PROJ wrote:
I would hesitate to call it a balance issue. If it's true that BLIC is something everyone needs to pursue, it's very possible that the design is such that beer/links are designed as a focal point of competition and the strategic variety comes from how to leverage additional points using industries and controlling the beer supply.

Also, if it were considered a balance issue, that would imply that lancashire also has a balance issue since there are very few overall strategies for the game and spamming rails and developing through low level industries is very important to do well. I think it would mostly be considered a balance issue against a hypothetical game that allows a more sandbox approach to strategy similar to many popular modern euros.
Exactly my current position.
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Alexandre Limoges
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tublefou wrote:
Solipsiste wrote:
Palferso,

I follow with great interest your posts in TricTrac, but you do seem to suggest adamantly in them that there actually is a balancing issue in Birmingham, like you exposed in your post on game balance, being that a 4-player game will turn repetitive because at high level, a strategy based on creating the best industries is not viable. Have you changed your mind?
You are mistaking me with my brother
I'm T-Bow on Tric-Trac.

Each of us has a slightly different take on the situation.
I don't think that my brother says that there is a balance issue. To me, he says that high level industries (and the develop action more generally speaking) have little to no point at 4 players, and that the game is insanely tactical as a result. He is concerned that Birmingham may feel repetitive much earlier than Lancashire.
Even in this context, he seems to find the game very enjoyable.

On my side, I'm much more cautious, as exposed multiple times on BGG and Tric-Trac.
Oh!
Mes excuses...
I was certain because of the name and the post on balance, but yes, T-Bow works too.
shake

Alright. The discussion there is quite fascinating I must say. I keep looking for the next post and the next game session report!
I really love Birmingham, but I don't have that much experience in Lancashire.
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I've finished 3 games now, won my last though I've made a good showing in every game. It's interesting to me when folks state that there is one strategy that unbalances a game, when all strategies in said game are available to all players, and numerous people going in one direction tends to minimize the effectiveness of that path, thus providing other paths to victory. In my experience, this is a game where the importance of beer cannot be ignored by any player. This is not a flaw, it just seems to be a fact for now, though I look forward to the day when a savvy player proves it untrue. I see this game as having much more cohesion than imbalance. You have to pay attention to what your opponents are doing and try to see a few moves ahead with the cards you have in your hand, while always trying to make the most out of whatever move is in front of you. Sometimes the game will cooperate and you will wind up with the right cards to complete your plans, sometimes you won't and you have to scout or wait for new ones. You can always do a little scouting to give yourself some flexibility, which will come in handy, especially around the end of the game, but you have to waste a move to do it. This is not a game entirely without luck. Sometimes, the best (or what you believe to be the best) build action will be denied you based on the cards in your hand. Still, a skilled player will make the most out of the hand they are holding and work with what is available to build a victory. Like in many games, in Birmingham, all players are co-painting the same canvas, and every avenue is just as available to all other players right up until the moment it isn't.

An instant 10 for me. My current go to game. I get to play again on Thursday and cannot wait.
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