Work and local testing is continuing apace. I’ve gotten in several games with the new rules (and scores of simulated games) and so far it is all looking good. The big surprise was today’s two player game which worked far better than I expected.
I shouldn’t be so surprised. Muck and Brass, unlike Wabash Cannonball / Pampas Railroads etc is not primarily an auction game, but is much more about positional and timing advantages than auction values. As such with only two players the auction becomes a linear extension of that two player tactical battle and really works quite well. Of course eventually one player will tend to run away and be simply uncatchable, but that’s to be expected in any two player zero-sum perfect and certain information game, and this should be recognised when it occurs and the game conceded at that point. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger though: there’s an awful lot of ground that can be recovered with careful exploitation of the default turn order. Still, it is a pleasant surprise and I’ve added two player support to the map and rules (a small change in all).
The last change, and this is a small one, is that I added another port to Liverpool and London with costs around $100. The current distribution of ports and their costs is a mix of guesswork and inspiration. So far it has mostly seemed about right in our games. I’ve added the very expensive ports for Liverpool and London simply to allow trimming back late game behemoths with egregiously expensive (and historically accurate) ports, thus providing a dramatic and welcome turning point in the late game.