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Subject: goa - new version rss

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Rüdiger Dorn
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hello everybody,

i´ve read about the comments about goa.
i hope goa will be republished in 2010 - by filosofia who did i good job with genoa.
i want to take the chance to rework some things about goa, for example less luck in the exploration row by using dice(!!), changing two rows, so that muscat is not too useful, 1 or 2 new tiles and hopefully similar good materials as in genoa.

regards
rüdiger
any comments to optimize "goa" are welcome
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jbrier
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Rüdiger Dorn wrote:
changing two rows, so that muscat is not too useful


For us English speakers, muscat = nutmeg, i.e. the red sacks.

I think this is a great idea!

A couple points to consider...

* the harvest track is greatly strengthened by certain expedition cards, specifically: the one that lets you take a mixture of goods during harvest action & the one that lets you sell spice sacks for 3 ducats a piece. For this reason the 'harvest' track is considerably stronger than the 'build ships' track. I would suggest either removing the card that lets you take a mixture of goods, or adding a card that rewards investment on the 'build ships' track.

* it is very useful to get to level 2 of the 'found colony' track; however, going beyond it is rarely worthwhile (other than for points). The obvious suggestion would be to make the increments greater, such as 2/4/7/10 instead of 2/3/4/6.

* adding more tiles that give you expedition cards is an elegant way of reducing the strength of the expedition track, making a strategy of not pursuing that track more viable.
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William Simonitis
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Dice? Lord no. shake

If you're determined to tinker with it (and as a designer, I would expect you would be), consider changing the cards to address balance issues.
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Drew Spencer
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Rüdiger, I have the following comment.

You ROCK!
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Asa Swain
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I agree. as a heavier game I'd prefer better balanced cards, but not dice. Dice are fun for light games, but they tend to be too random, and I like how the cards can be used for multiple purposes. Goa is one of my favorite games, (I enjoyed Diamonds Club as a Goa light) so I'm curious to see what you can do to improve it.

Does this mean Rio Grande Games won't be doing another printing of it? I thought they currently had the American rights.
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Corin A. Friesen
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quartex wrote:
I agree. as a heavier game I'd prefer better balanced cards, but not dice. Dice are fun for light games, but they tend to be too random, and I like how the cards can be used for multiple purposes.

How are dice more random than cards?
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Corin A. Friesen
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Rüdiger Dorn wrote:
i want to take the chance to rework some things about goa, for example less luck in the exploration row by using dice(!!), changing two rows, so that muscat is not too useful, 1 or 2 new tiles and hopefully similar good materials as in genoa.

Fire away, Rüdiger!
I look forward to other games from you as well!
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William Simonitis
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Ambrose wrote:
quartex wrote:
I agree. as a heavier game I'd prefer better balanced cards, but not dice. Dice are fun for light games, but they tend to be too random, and I like how the cards can be used for multiple purposes.

How are dice more random than cards?

First, there are a finite number of cards, therefore finite possibilities. It is conceivable that, with dice, the same number (or combination of numbers) could be rolled. Unless you're going to turn Goa into a Settlersesque half-breed, there's no reason to add dice to it.
Second, dice *and* cards together are two separate randomizing factors. Combine this with random tile placement for the auction and there are three. As it is, Goa involves a fair amount of strategy and tactics; add dice to the mix and it'll quickly become a game of near-total luck.
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Rüdiger Dorn
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hello again,

now i tell you some things i´m testing currently, because i do not want that you discuss about things you do not know exactlier. so nothing is decided!!

a)
two dice with the values 1-2-2-2-3-3, so you have a better chance.

b)
the change of the rows "tax" and "exploration", because of the nutmeg

c)
the start player must begin on a fix start field (because the start player has an advantage in the actual version) in the first round

d)
1 or 2 tiles to make the tax row attractive, eventually leave out the A-tile, where you get 3 gold each round

e)
optimizing the exploration cards .....

as already said i´m testing, and testing and it´s difficult to find an optimal solution .....

best regards
rüdiger
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Peter Mumford
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Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

c)
the start player must begin on a fix start field (because the start player has an advantage in the actual version) in the first round


This is a good idea. None of the other issues seem very important to me. I love the game.
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jbrier
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Datharaur wrote:
Unless you're going to turn Goa into a Settlersesque half-breed, there's no reason to add dice to it.

... add dice to the mix and it'll quickly become a game of near-total luck.



shake


Dice have a different kind of luck than cards, which have a different kind of luck than multi-player chaos. But to claim dice have an order of magnitude more luck than the other two is hyperbole at best. Under the right implementation, (e.g. Struggle of Empires), the luck can actually be substantially lower with dice than with randomly drawing a card.
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Rick Kimmel
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I'm just happy that it's going to be widely available again and the designer is taking the time and effort to try to make it better. I trust Mr. Dorn to make the right decisions.
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Rüdiger Dorn wrote:
as already said i´m testing, and testing and it´s difficult to find an optimal solution .....

best regards
rüdiger


A-goa-nising decisions...

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Aingeru Malkav
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* Increasing the number of players to 5?
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Jeff Wood
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I'll throw in an idea for others to gnaw on:

Expedition cards cost X Colonist/Ship per card (perhaps per level?)

Expedition cards cost X Colonist/Ship per card in hand.

Depending on number of cards (0/1/2/3/4) this could be (0/1/1/1/1) or (0/1/2/4/7) etc. It could be X Colonist *AND* X Ships, or just a total of X of either, etc.
 
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Peter Marchlewitz
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Great game! Looking forward to a new version!
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Mike K
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As a huge fan of the game (despite my relative lack of success), I offer the following observations:

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

a)
two dice with the values 1-2-2-2-3-3, so you have a better chance

Instead of adding dice, why not just change the distribution on the cards. Right now, it's 10-10-10; maybe change this to 5-15-10 (5 ones, 15 twos, 10 threes). Actually, I think part of the strategy lies in knowing which cards are out and which are in your hand (knowledge that opponents lack).

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

b)
the change of the rows "tax" and "exploration", because of the nutmeg

I've tried a variant where I switched the "tax" and "spice" rows. You can read about my exploits here. I know my cousin uploaded images of the modified player boards to BGG. (By the way ... I mentioned on that thread that the modified board gives a nice order to the spices, when read from left to right; was my modified board, in fact, the original idea?)

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

c)
the start player must begin on a fix start field (because the start player has an advantage in the actual version) in the first round

How about the center of the board, allowing the 2nd player more choices?

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

d)
1 or 2 tiles to make the tax row attractive, eventually leave out the A-tile, where you get 3 gold each round

(It's 4 gold each round, but that's beside the point.)

The biggest problem with cash in a 4player game is that the money usually just changes hands; players rarely buy their own tile. That, combined with the influx of cash that comes with the '5 gold' and 'sell spices' cards, causes runaway inflation and severely limits the usefulness of the cash track.

Would it be going too far to change the 'advance with cash' card by lowering the costs for later rows? Maybe instead of 6-12-18-24, go with 6-10-14-20.

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

e)
optimizing the exploration cards .....


The biggest boost with the cards comes from the symbols at the end. I would rather see a fixed amount of points for a certain number of cards, less severe than the current system. Say, score 1-2-3-5-7 points for 1-2-3-4-5 cards.

Rüdiger Dorn wrote:

as already said i´m testing, and testing and it´s difficult to find an optimal solution .....

Would more posted Session Reports help? My gaming group (EPGS) plays Goa often, but I usually don't post reports from regular gaming days. If it would help, I could be more active with that.

At this August's WBC, a friend of mine (Alex Bove) will be GMing Goa & I'll be assisting. I'll make it a point of keeping tabs on this site.

Thx again for an exceptional game!

Mike K.
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Billy McBoatface
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Coyotek4 wrote:
The biggest problem with cash in a 4player game is that the money usually just changes hands; players rarely buy their own tile. That, combined with the influx of cash that comes with the '5 gold' and 'sell spices' cards, causes runaway inflation and severely limits the usefulness of the cash track.

Would it be going too far to change the 'advance with cash' card by lowering the costs for later rows? Maybe instead of 6-12-18-24, go with 6-10-14-20.
Disclaimer: I have only played the 2p version, where cash was very important (and I liked it that way).

In 2 player, you buy your own tiles fairly often, especially if you have higher income than your opponent. This makes cash leaves the game. In 3p and 4p games, why not have a "tile tax" where for each purchase, some of the money goes to the bank; then only the leftovers goes to the auctioning player? That way cash will steadily be drained out of the game, making money tighter and tax advancement more important. I suspect that even a small tax will do the job, and it could be tuned based on the number of players. Again, though, I haven't played 4p so this is just a guess, and maybe a terrible idea.
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david landes
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Thanks for throwing this out to the community.
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Alex Bove
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I've been reading this thread intently and now have a bit of time to comment.

I think we all agree that the core problem with Goa is the strength of the expedition cards coupled with the harmony of the spice/card tracks. Many of the suggestions already made help to mitigate this imbalance:

1) Switching the spice requirements for rows 2 and 3 is a simple, elegant way to make it much harder for a player to max out rows 2 and 4 early in the game.

2) I don't like the idea of completely removing cards, and I don't like making the "no ships" or "no spices" half-off. That would make them even stronger (if you round down). But those two cards really aren't the problem. The problem is the "harvest any combo of ships/spices/colonists," especially when a player has maxed out row 2. The ability to get 8 items for 1 and 1/3 actions is seriously overpowered.

3) Similarly, the ability to generate 24 ducats with 1 and 1/3 actions further reduces the value of the tax track, which in the original game is already the weakest (at least in 4-player).

4) I don't have as big a problem with the starting flag placement, though it can be an advantage if, for example, the flag auctioneer can go to a corner to force double-nutmeg and double-clove. I like Mike's suggestion of having to place the opening flag in the middle. That allows all players to benefit from the flag placement and could allow the opening flag-seller the minor advantage of taking one tile "out of play" for round 1 only.

5) Minimizing the randomness of the colonizing card draws would, I think, rehabilitate the colony track. And again I like Mike's solution. Why add dice when you can simply put different values on the cards? One of my favorite things about Goa is the elegance of the card design. Each card fulfills three different functions. It's so efficient!

6) Another way to weaken the card strategies, and to remove another frustrating bit of randomness, is to devalue set collecting. I'm not willing to devalue sets quite as much as Mike is--after all, there is some risk in the card strategy, so there should be some possible reward other than the use of the cards themselves--but I've never liked the fact that a lucky 4-of-a-kind draw is pretty much a game-winner, assuming competent play by all players. Perhaps 1-2-4-7-10? Or perhaps nothing for single cards but the same values for sets (0-3-6-10-15)? Or something like Ra, where a hand with 5 or 6 different symbols scores a bonus?

7) Another way to strengthen the tax track is to reign in the inflationary tendencies the current game exhibits. One way to do that is to cap the "sell spices" card (maybe at 4 spices, which makes it the same as a maximum tax action?). Is there another way to give players an incentive to spend money? Right now, I see almost no incentive to buy one's own tile or to advance with money except in extreme circumstances. I like the idea of removing the "4 ducats per turn" tile altogether: perhaps replacing it with a tile which requires one to spend money would be interesting.

8) Perhaps charging 1 ducat per expedition card drawn would solve a couple of problems at once? This wouldn't cripple the player who wants to draw at the 2/3 level early, and it would be enough of a penalty that the late-game card mill strategy would be a bit more costly.

O.K. I need to sleep and think more about this. I'm really excited that Goa may change a bit. It's such a great game, but it is beginning to feel a bit "solved." Let's inject some new life into it!
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Thomas Cauet
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montu wrote:

1) Switching the spice requirements for rows 2 and 3 is a simple, elegant way to make it much harder for a player to max out rows 2 and 4 early in the game.

Totally agree, though I have to play more with this new twist, but the problem could be elsewhere...

montu wrote:
2) I don't like the idea of completely removing cards, and I don't like making the "no ships" or "no spices" half-off. That would make them even stronger (if you round down). But those two cards really aren't the problem. The problem is the "harvest any combo of ships/spices/colonists," especially when a player has maxed out row 2. The ability to get 8 items for 1 and 1/3 actions is seriously overpowered.

3) Similarly, the ability to generate 24 ducats with 1 and 1/3 actions further reduces the value of the tax track, which in the original game is already the weakest (at least in 4-player).

All cards are also fine to me, except for the 2 you mentionned:
- for ships/spices/colonists, the problem is double for me: strong (if used at level 4 or 5) and the third card working with the production line (along with "no ships" and selling goods)
- limitating to 4* for ability to generate ducats by selling is a good idea (better than shaping this into a A card which is not subtle)

montu wrote:
4) I don't have as big a problem with the starting flag placement, though it can be an advantage if, for example, the flag auctioneer can go to a corner to force double-nutmeg and double-clove. I like Mike's suggestion of having to place the opening flag in the middle. That allows all players to benefit from the flag placement and could allow the opening flag-seller the minor advantage of taking one tile "out of play" for round 1 only.

No problem either with starting flag, though opening in the middle is not a big change.

montu wrote:
5) Minimizing the randomness of the colonizing card draws would, I think, rehabilitate the colony track. And again I like Mike's solution. Why add dice when you can simply put different values on the cards? One of my favorite things about Goa is the elegance of the card design. Each card fulfills three different functions. It's so efficient!

I agree and like the multi-purpose cards, but I'm not sure minimizing randomness will rehabilitate the colony track: the problem is more with the points it gave, and the frequency of using it. Honestly, often people manage to do 3 colonies with a minimum investment in the line (moving one step), so most of the time having invested more heavily in the line will "just" give you 4 points, while cards gave you points with collections, ducats only points for richer but potential power on auctions if tense, ships/goods points for development (and duty for goods). If it is "easier" by reducing randomness, then be sure it will be that way all the time. Not sure to be clear I tried twice something which may be not the most elegant solution but it was a start with interesting timing issues for me...
You need 4 new tiles "Office", one for each Colonie type (Quilon, Cochin, Madras and Calicut) scoring respectively 2/2/3/4 for 6/8/10/12 colonists. Constraint is: you need to have built the Colony to build the office of the same type, it requires one action "Found a colony" and works exactly the same way as to do a colony. There is only one office per type so the first to get the tile will score it.
In a 3 player game, remove the office Quilon. In a 2 player game, remove the office Quilon and Calicut).

montu wrote:
6) Another way to weaken the card strategies, and to remove another frustrating bit of randomness, is to devalue set collecting. I'm not willing to devalue sets quite as much as Mike is--after all, there is some risk in the card strategy, so there should be some possible reward other than the use of the cards themselves--but I've never liked the fact that a lucky 4-of-a-kind draw is pretty much a game-winner, assuming competent play by all players. Perhaps 1-2-4-7-10? Or perhaps nothing for single cards but the same values for sets (0-3-6-10-15)? Or something like Ra, where a hand with 5 or 6 different symbols scores a bonus?

I'll prefer to stay on the 1-3-6-10 points and just say that additionnal symbols just start a new collection 1-3... for coherence. So having 4 symbols stay good, more you'll be eager to spend one of them.

montu wrote:
7) Another way to strengthen the tax track is to reign in the inflationary tendencies the current game exhibits. One way to do that is to cap the "sell spices" card (maybe at 4 spices, which makes it the same as a maximum tax action?). Is there another way to give players an incentive to spend money? Right now, I see almost no incentive to buy one's own tile or to advance with money except in extreme circumstances. I like the idea of removing the "4 ducats per turn" tile altogether: perhaps replacing it with a tile which requires one to spend money would be interesting.

Totally agree, I played systematically without for almost a year after having tested a bit "3 ducats per turn". Worked well. Also to work a bit against inflation is by reducing costs on cards: "pay 5/10/15/20 to advance one level". And paying to the bank exactly the best auction (not a better auction) so incitating to pay and take away money from the game.

montu wrote:
8) Perhaps charging 1 ducat per expedition card drawn would solve a couple of problems at once? This wouldn't cripple the player who wants to draw at the 2/3 level early, and it would be enough of a penalty that the late-game card mill strategy would be a bit more costly.

I totally disagree to add a new mechanism to cards (like charging). Anyway, I feel like cards should be part of each game, cause they are the fun/surprise. Cards (and auctions) are the way to make all games different. I agree that cards line is a bit on the strong side though (level 3 and level 5). I tested once to limit the line to 1/1, 1/2, 2/2, 2/4 and 2/6 (draw/hand limit) to give 2 dynamics: the way to level 3 to get an engine of cards (2-cards draw) and the way to level 5 to get comfort (hand limit upgrade). Eventually combine this with more transversal (and opened) way to acquire cards:
- removing one "3 ships / 3 colonists" in tiles A to add "2 expedition cards"
- removing one "mission 2 points" in tiles B to add "2 (or 3) expedition cards"
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For those who already own the game,will there be an "upgrade Kit"?
I just got the game used,never played it,so this is why I ask...

Thx.
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Billy McBoatface
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plong999 wrote:
For those who already own the game,will there be an "upgrade Kit"?
I just got the game used,never played it,so this is why I ask...

Thx.
I have the old version too. While I wouldn't mind an upgrade kit, it's no big deal - the current version is a great game, playing it as-is has never been a disappointment.
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Jim Cote
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If you improve Goa, BGG will have to change its rating system to allow 11! cool
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Todd Sweet
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Change the insert so the board either fits inside or on top! The current size of insert to the board is the only negative I have on the game.
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