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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

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× Talk about the latest and greatest AT, and the Classics.

John Company

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30 Dec 2020 19:25 #317595 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic John Company
I'm finding the "removing promises" thing weird as well, but don't feel like I have sufficient grounding in 2e to say much (not that that's stopping most of the testers so far).

It's like promises are getting chopped because they don't play effectively with Prestige, but Prestige in itself seems just like a secondary VP system. I'm not understanding why that isn't on the chopping block.

I always felt in 1e like VP to some extent was your prestige, as you built it up by acquiring stuff like manors, Scottish islands, and seats in Parliament. Seeing them split but complementary in 2e has created a lot of crazy knock-on effects.

I'll actually be pretty surprised if that dichotomy doesn't get addressed at some point.
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30 Dec 2020 22:05 - 30 Dec 2020 22:16 #317597 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic John Company
Yeah, the prestige stuff (without playing) is kind of cold for me. The money/VP inequality was the heart of the game imo, and in other parts of the game they're playing *into* that (e.g. factories that improve when the company sucks. If you're a factory magnate and the company sucks you make money but how do you score?). Similarly, I'm mixed on the elimination of ranks of positions when paying to retire.
Last edit: 30 Dec 2020 22:16 by Gary Sax.
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31 Dec 2020 01:19 - 31 Dec 2020 01:20 #317600 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic John Company
The thing I like about the Prestige cards is that they adapt and expand the "Family traits" system that disappeared from the family cards, but I don't like the point chasing aspect or the "draw prestige for office" part all that much. It seems like a rich-get-richer snowball to me. It's also a separate currency that's pretty ill-defined.

I thought the prestige leader being immune to promises was a clever wrinkle, but also opened up the door for the promise problems the game is in now.

Removing "prestige points" and recasting them as "perquisites" or something might be more along the lines of what I'd expect. I think they also absorbed some of the fun of the old prize cards, with "big or bigger houses" being the prize track now. I know we had to houserule the prize cards a bit so there was a reasonable mix on offer, but that was really minor and could be handled easily in the components.

(also this is armchair speculation, based on reading and watching game reports. not firsthand)
Last edit: 31 Dec 2020 01:20 by Not Sure.
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31 Dec 2020 05:45 #317602 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic John Company
I’m reserving judgment until we see some firmer evolution of the post deregulation game. I’ll also note that Cole is quite transparent that he is evolving some core elements of the game and as of such it puts development into wild country where lots of things unravel and expose problems in 1e that he patched over instead of addressing with good design.

On a more observational note the problem with the early game scenario in 1e is that the endgame is weak. The early goal is to amass family wealth ready for deregulation where there will be family firms and forced attrition to manipulate and take advantage of (and which for me is the real game), but the problem for the early scenario is that there is no way to force cash into VP so you are not rewarded for meeting that goal unless you manage to luck out on attrition rolls. Sensible long term strategic moves such as investing in writers and officers also becomes a dead end in the early scenario if attrition doesn’t open up opportunities. Bearing all that in mind I can cut some slack for the current 2e early game scenario leaning into “cash is king” and cycling attrition at a higher and more predictable rate as it is something needed and missing from 1e. It’ll only be a problem in my view if it disrupts the far superior full scenario to the point of people riding the entire eight rounds on family wealth and prestige alone.
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31 Dec 2020 12:08 #317604 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic John Company
Agreed, I'm not rushing to judgement on it. I also agree that the endgame is weak in 1e. The early game is definitely a "end-of-the-world" scenario that's pretty forced, but so is the full game "this turn we ship VP!"

I think that's really the crux of the issue in 2e, and it's been tweaked a few times in the last week. I don't think endgame assets scoring is a net benefit, as one of the most unique parts about JC to me has always been the limited scoring opportunities. Messing with promises and prestige and conversion ratios has all been about endgame counting.

And I think you're also completely right that doing this only in the early scenario is going to make adjusting the deregulation game even harder. There's a note somewhere in the rules (maybe not today) that the company cannot fail after deregulation, even by having an empty court of directors. Knowing that a deregulated game is exactly 8 turns is going to bring "end-of-the-world" moves right back to the forefront.
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01 Jan 2021 17:23 #317627 by Count Orlok
Replied by Count Orlok on topic John Company
I watched the little rules demo having not played the first edition. I'm extremely intrigued as I've been enjoying Pax Pamir (hopefully getting a group for TTS tomorrow for that).

How are you veterans feeling about trying it out? Plan on letting the pieces fall into place a little more first? What is this new edition look like it's losing?

I seem to remember a similarly grumbling when Pax Pamir v. 2 came out, but once again, I wasn't on the train for the first edition. I'm really impressed by the handling of these historical themes from a not-strictly-wargame design.

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01 Jan 2021 17:50 #317629 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic John Company
We've been talking about this on Discord (let me know if you'd like the info for that) and I think we're all of slightly different minds. I'll probably wait a month or two, but I know Mezike has been following a little closer (see upthread too).

We've been playing a lot of TTS 1st edition, let us know if you'd be interested in a game of that, we've mainly been playing with 3p so it'd be a pleasure to play with 4 or 5.

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01 Jan 2021 20:30 #317632 by Msample
Replied by Msample on topic John Company
Like PAMIR, will buy the new edition, but hold onto the first edition and compare. . Given the somewhat limited print run of these types of games, some FOMO at work. Esp given Wehrke’s higher profile with ROOT .
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02 Jan 2021 09:09 #317639 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic John Company
I joined in on a 4p playtest last night. The main differences to 1e are a simplified company structure with additional combative edges for negotiation, a cash-up of wealth into VP that is linked to a slightly iffy ‘prestige card’ mechanism and vulnerable to exploits, and the removal of family cubes as a resource economy (instead of a limited supply that is quite tense at times to manage you have more than you could ever need). The latter is also impacted by the removal of promise cubes and nepotism costs (for nepotism you have to get assent, you can no longer just do the thing and pay the cost).

The loss of the promise cube economy was felt most keenly as I had a terrible starting position without any leverage. I was a spectator to the extent that I wandered off to make a cuppa and had a chat with my spouse while the other guys were playing as there was literally no way for me to be involved in any meaningful way. Mid game I lucked into a role where I could press down hard on the game as a bad actor and caused it to spiral out of control. The company collapsed on top of my opponents and I squeezed out into victory despite doing absolutely sweet FA for around 70% of the playing time. If those guys were paying attention though they could have closed me out completely - and in my view any game where one player can be shut out from taking part is failing in its core purpose of group entertainment. This change needs a lot of balancing work as promise cubes and forced nepotism in 1e enables those opportunities to claw your way out of a hole, and when they are gone only the rich can afford to get richer.
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03 Jan 2021 09:11 #317663 by Count Orlok
Replied by Count Orlok on topic John Company

Gary Sax wrote: We've been talking about this on Discord (let me know if you'd like the info for that) and I think we're all of slightly different minds. I'll probably wait a month or two, but I know Mezike has been following a little closer (see upthread too).

We've been playing a lot of TTS 1st edition, let us know if you'd be interested in a game of that, we've mainly been playing with 3p so it'd be a pleasure to play with 4 or 5.


Sure, I think the video rules explanation won me over. It helps that I've been playing Pax Pamir on TTS and finally feel like the group was getting a handle on it. I sort of ordered it on a lark and was worried about a shelf toad, but my persistence has paid off.

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11 Feb 2021 06:59 #319100 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic John Company
Interesting article by Dan Thurot on the perspectives of John Company and An Infamous Traffic: spacebiff.com/2021/02/10/infamous-company/
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13 Feb 2021 10:29 - 13 Feb 2021 10:30 #319198 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic John Company


Still in "very interested, holding on to my old copy" territory.

I still just don't understand getting rid of promise cubes, but the promisory notes from TI are pretty similar. Except that the promisory notes add more reading and are more opaque in their value, I have no idea if this is good or not.

Changing prestige cards to a prestige track needed to be done, still on the fence but interested in the prestige card display draft. Think it's probably a good idea. I think adding incentives to score early is really, really good. A reason Mezike was so good at this game beyond his skill is his early realization that you really shouldn't be scoring anything for the first like 3 turns. That money is better off in your bank.

Building structures. Not sure the game needed this, but I'm open to it. There wasn't much for governors to do and their automatic pocketing but reckless invasions worked pretty much as intended?

Anyway, I think the game is getting more complicated with more card reading. I'm happy enough with that for such a long game. It's just a different design aesthetic for sure, you can tell Cole just designed Oath.
Last edit: 13 Feb 2021 10:30 by Gary Sax.
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14 Feb 2021 11:37 #319207 by mezike
Replied by mezike on topic John Company
I'm not so much on the fence any longer as sitting in my deckchair enjoying a good book and occasionally glancing at the fence under the nagging suspicion that it is occasionally moving when I'm not looking at it.

I think that my favourite part of JoCo is the promise cubes because it creates a second economy in the game that gets super tight toward the end. You cannot ship or hold positions if you don't have cubes so the opportunity cost of doing anything is always front and centre.

I only had two games of 2nd Ed while it was under development but was underwhelmed. The political statement behind the game might have been sharpened but the gameplay felt less interesting. Then again, all the things that I zeroed in on as being problematic have all had a lot of work done on them since. I can foresee that the chance of getting this played will be close to zero anyway so will likely wait for the TTS mod to stabilise and play whichever version I can whenever I can online.
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14 Feb 2021 11:59 #319208 by Msample
Replied by Msample on topic John Company
The times I've played 1st edition I've rarely given Promise cubes so I'm not that upset that they are going away. I haven't really paid much attention to the new edition but will def hold onto my 1st edition til this gets published. If they can smooth out the transition from everyone in the company vs every man for himself after deregulation that could be a good thing IMO. We rarely played the long game because for new players, the privateer late game is so different and mechanically strange vs the first part of the game its disorienting.

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01 Mar 2021 17:24 #319892 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic John Company
Kickstarter preview page for second edition is up: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1243243962/...mpany-second-edition
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