Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My review and playthrough of Tesla vs Edison: The Powering Up Expansion

Hello again,

I am Jason Elliott (PaladinElliott) and here is my first review and commentary (publicly) on the Tesla vs Edison: Powering Up! Expansion. Please note that this session excluded Robots, which allow there to be more players (such like bots in computer games) that adhere to a strict set of instructions, if you choose to include them (which you can choose from anyone of the six). The six inventors (to remind everyone) are Nikola Tesla, Thomas A. Edison, Elihu Thomson, Charles F. Brush, Sir Hiram Maxim, and the latest addition is Madam C.J. Walker.

This expansion and a major focus on introducing the females of the time. Ones who contributed, ones who play some role in the War of Currents. The stats on Madam Walker's card put her right in step with the rest of her counterparts, so right from the get go that is a great thing to have.

To go back to the robots, they will play before the players do during the six turns. I am not going into too much detail here, as I am treated everyone as if they are familiar with the base game at this point. All of this allows a solo player to have a lighter or heavier difficulty game against the other inventors as robots.

Changes with this prototype expansion include:Events are introduced to the game, Events can now occur right after the bidding but before the rest of the turn, the adjustment of cards to be drawn from for the game (number of Propaganda, Luminary, and Event Cards, with the main reason being the addition of a possible sixth player.Each Inventor now has their personal Headquarters in play, and with this is allowed to be built up to four parts to support the Inventor. These are the Laboratory, Works, Office, and Studio. To build one of these you must dedicate one of your Luminaries or Head Inventor to building one that shares the same icon (bolt, gear, dollar sign, or horn). In doing so you can increase your point total, and gain additional powers to last for the rest of the game. The new step list as follows is 

-bidding on the Luminaries that are out
-resolve a new event card, and adjust stock prices as necessary
-take robot actions first, otherwise players take their actions in order from the fame track, choosing from claiming 1 project, advancing 1 technology, engaging in Propaganda, or expanding their Headquarters.
-Bookkeeping, adjust the fame track, and the highest player receives a gain in stock equal to the phase (1,2,3), player or players with the highest level patent in the leading technology get a stock gain equal to the phase, move the AC/DC gauge one step back towards center (if it is not already on center), players take cash equal to the profit listed on the board for their stock price, and then in reverse fame order, you may trade one stock for another, paying or receiving the difference, then you may buy any one share of stock (except of the brand you traded, if you traded) and you reduce or increase stock accordingly (unless it is turn 6, the end turn).
-Refresh, where you flip all the Luminaries face up, discard the event card, advance the turn track, after the second and fourth turn refresh the Propaganda cards and have a Luminary auction
-After turn 6 the game is over

Final Scoring:

Stock holdings work as the highest price company stock value will receive 6 points for each of their stock. Second place is 5 each, Third place is 4 each and so on. Your Final Cash holdings is whoever has the highest receives 6 points, the second highest receives 5, and so on. For completing parts of your Headquarters scoring is as follows, by building one part you receive 1 point, building two parts gets you 3 points, building three parts gets you 6 points, and building all four gets you 10 points. Not building any of your parts results in receiving 0 point for this category of scoring. There will be bonus points for you to collect through the game through the use of the parts of your Headquarters, so pay attention to what your options are, and plan ahead for building them to have maximum effect for the rest of the game! In the case of a tie breaker, the company with the highest value of stock is the winner.

Session summed up:

Played with the following: all luminaries, projects, and propaganda was from the Powering Up Expansion.
Did not include robots.
A two player game between Rob (as Sir Hiram Maxim) and myself (Thomas Edison)
Rob had 71 to finish on the stock track, I had 65.
Rob and I both completed all of our Headquarters (all four parts)
Rob had $33,000 cash at the end, and I had $32,000
Rob had Propaganda 1 James Garfield, Propaganda 2 Death of Ulysses S. Grant, and Propaganda 3 Benjamin Harrison. I had Propaganda 1 Rutherford B. Hayes, Propaganda 2 Chester Arthur, and Propaganda 3 Grover Cleveland.
Rob had Luminaries 1 Sarah E. Goode, 2 Mary Anderson, 2 Bertha Lamme Feicht. I had for Luminaries 1 Fannie Farmer, 1 Edmonia Lewis, and 2 Samuel Insull.
There was an unused Luminary 2 Josephine Cochrane.
Rob had 6 points for cash, 10 for his headquarters, 3pts for groups, 1 Edison share for 5 points, and 7 Maxim shares for 42 points, giving him a final total of 66 points. I had 5 points for cash, 10 points for headquarters, 6 shares of Edison stock for 30 points, and 4 points for Level 1 and 2 projects. This gave me a final total of 49 points.

Some thoughts to share:

What we both liked: The new thing was cool. The women were balanced and equally powerful in comparison to times we had played before with the male characters. The headquarters option along with building to it, giving those new options incorporated more strategy into the game. The speed and balance of the game seemed to be unaffected by this new expansion. It played smooth with it, and there wasn't anything wrong with how it added to the game play.

What we both disliked: We both didn't like how the stock value was only to be used in determining the 6, 5, 4 and so on scoring of points. We liked how if you ran the stock you got that value, and so it felt like it nerfed the "run with stock" option.

In closing:

I love this prototype expansion and the base game! It satisfies the Science and History love that I have. It also allows for many more options and strategies to take place in the game. It adds a sixth player to the field so games can be increased. It grants the robot features, so now their is an excellent solo/many players option which in my opinion greatly increases the replay ability of this game! I think if you like Inventor games, games where you can build something and reap benefits over the long term, want to enjoy a great with a STRONG and accurate theme covering Science and History for the United States, a game where every decision matters, then look no further, because all of this is for you! 10 out of 10 for me!

Please like and share to help promote me going forward. I am Jason Elliott (PaladinElliott) with my first podcast of Ready To Game starting Friday, May 6th, 2016, and offer my services to demo, record, play, improve, test, and teach games as a Game Consultant!

Thank you for your time in reading this report!

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