Cud cyclotrons

Somehow I seem to keep returning to the action selection and turn order mechanism in Muck & Brass. The current Pampas Railroads and Wabash Cannonball is a little unstable when employed for the very cash and share-sensitive Muck & Brass. I’m not convinced it needs changing, but I’m also not convinced it doesn’t. An unpleasant kettle.

I’ve been looking at a variation on the previously discussed and dismissed model, but losing the sliding concept and using a fixed tie-breaker for collisions.

  • There is a grid of action squares, one row per player. 7 columns long
  • Players start with a marker in the first column of one the rows of the chart, ordered by increasing personal cash going down (this could change, see below)
  • The player whose marker is furthest to the left and closest to the top (tie breaker) has the current turn
  • There are three action tracks (Expand, Develop, Capitalise) but likely with a different distribution: 7/5/3(?)
  • On their turn a player selects an available action, moves the cube on the track in the standard manner and does the action (not optional?)
  • Upon completion of the action the player’s cube is moved forward on the action chart per the cost of the action (Expand: 2, Develop: 1, Capitalise: 3?)1
  • The next/same player (leftmost/top) now takes their turn, etc etc
  • When two actions are exhausted or two players reach or pass the end column of the chart dividends are paid in the normal fashion and the action tracks reset

Possibly the turn order tie-breaker, after the first round, can instead of cash be the reverse order of total action points used in the last round; the implications aren’t obvious to me.

An example opening round using the format Player-ActionCost/ActionTotal followed by a summary of how many of each action are left is listed below, one line per re-ordering:

  • (E7/D5/C3)
  • P1-E2/2 P2-E2/2 P3-E2/2 P4-C3/3 (E4/D5/C2)
  • P1-D1/3 P2-D1/3 P3-C3/5 (E4/D3/C1)
  • P1-D1/4 P2-C3/6 P4-D1/5 (E4/D1/C0)
  • P1-E2/6 P3-E2/7 P4-E2/7 (E1/D1/C0)

Total actions performed: 13

Typical total actions per round in Wabash Cannonball: 8

Typical total actions per round in Pampas Railroads: 9-10

Total actions per player: P1:4 P2:3, P3:3, P4:3

I’ve made little attempt to make action choices logical. This is just a thought model. Most noticeable is that the rounds is longer (more actions done in the round). This may be acceptable, albeit at a cost in game length. My surface sense is that the tactical choices in this ordering are interesting and rather tweaky.

  1. Yes, Develop is cheaper than Expand: this creates both temptation and tempo.