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Fifth Avenue Freeze Out

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  • Christopher Lockheardt
    Last up we played Fifth Avenue . . . After all the negative buzz this game has received, I wasn t sure what to expect. However, I enjoyed my first playing of
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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      "Last up we played Fifth Avenue . . . After all the
      negative buzz this game has received, I wasn't sure
      what to expect. However, I enjoyed my first playing
      of it . . . Chris hated it, but readily acknowledges
      that he may have been predisposed to hate it because
      of all the negative publicity the game has received."

      I am a sucker for hype. However, I'm more of a sucker
      for winning. I came in second place and still left the
      table with a bad taste in my mouth. Fifth Avenue just
      seems to go out of its way to suck the joy out of
      playing it:

      - Placing businesses beside your buildings increases
      your buildings' value. Thus, in a game of hard
      choices, this action is often the easiest to make. But
      if everyone makes it, the game ends way before its
      supposed to.

      - If the Commissioner is on your block, you can score
      all the points you've been working so hard to set up.
      But you can't move the Commissioner and score the
      block, so you have to move the Commissioner to your
      block and hope that the next player scores it, which,
      of course, often requires that the next player to have
      an equal or greater point potential than you do in
      that block.

      The lessons of the game are, 1) Don't increase the
      value of your buildings because that will end the game
      too early, and 2) Don't bother setting yourself up to
      score unless your neighbor will score more points than
      you will.

      In essence: Don't bother playing!

      Just in case you are still tempted to play despite the
      game's best efforts to dissuade you, it dresses itself
      in a clunky theme and an ugly board.

      Fifth Avenue is the J.D. Salinger of games: clever,
      but completely uninterested in your company.

      In the interest of balanced commentary, I offer this
      counter point from Chris Farrell:

      I cannot recall ever in my history as a gamer seeing
      such a good game being so widely, unfairly,
      unthinkingly, and unjustifiably maligned. No matter
      where I go, I run into people who know that Fifth
      Avenue is not very good; this is particularly
      infuriating because nobody has played it. Well, I have
      news for you: Fifth Avenue is good. It's a classic
      alea game, with many different game elements
      interacting in interesting ways to produce a lot of
      tension; Fifth Avenue certainly wins the award for the
      best turn angst of the year. And the bidding system is
      quite clever. If you like challenging bidding games,
      or El Grande, you really ought to give this one a go.




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    • J C Lawrence
      On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:18:03 -0800 (PST) ... Does this mean that players need to aggressively zero-sum optimise their moves for the game to come to life in this
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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        On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:18:03 -0800 (PST)
        Christopher Lockheardt <clockheardt@...> wrote:

        > - Placing businesses beside your buildings increases your buildings'
        > value. Thus, in a game of hard choices, this action is often the
        > easiest to make. But if everyone makes it, the game ends way before
        > its supposed to.

        Does this mean that players need to aggressively zero-sum optimise their
        moves for the game to come to life in this regard? ie If the players
        don't fight for relative point maximisation rather than simple personal
        point maximisation, the game falters, badly.

        > - If the Commissioner is on your block, you can score all the points
        > you've been working so hard to set up. But you can't move the
        > Commissioner and score the block, so you have to move the Commissioner
        > to your block and hope that the next player scores it, which, of
        > course, often requires that the next player to have an equal or
        > greater point potential than you do in that block.

        > The lessons of the game are, 1) Don't increase the value of your
        > buildings because that will end the game too early, and 2) Don't
        > bother setting yourself up to score unless your neighbor will score
        > more points than you will.

        This sounds like the necessary approach to succeed by a) collecting a
        host of second-place scores rather than heading for the big payouts for
        yourself, and b) build areas that other players want you to score
        despite the fact that it gives you a tonne of points. Which, if right,
        is rather clever and really enforces some of the nastier aspects of
        differential value calculation.

        --
        J C Lawrence
        ---------(*) Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas.
        claw@... He lived as a devil, eh?
        http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/ Evil is a name of a foeman, as I live.
      • W. Eric Martin
        ... Zzzzzzz-- huh, wha, oh, sorry. With this kind of talk about the game, no wonder Fifth Avenue has never come to life on a big scale. Eric -- W. Eric
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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          J C Lawrence wrote:
          > Does this mean that players need to aggressively zero-sum optimise their
          > moves for the game to come to life in this regard? ie If the players
          > don't fight for relative point maximisation rather than simple personal
          > point maximisation, the game falters, badly.

          Zzzzzzz-- huh, wha, oh, sorry. With this kind of talk about the game, no
          wonder Fifth Avenue has never "come to life" on a big scale.

          Eric

          --
          W. Eric Martin - TwoWriters.net
        • Josh Bluestein
          ... Either that or it s a clarion call to not let JC write promotional marketing literature for anything you want people to actually, um, buy. Not that s he
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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            > From: "W. Eric Martin" <eric@...>
            > J C Lawrence wrote:
            > > Does this mean that players need to aggressively zero-sum optimise their
            > > moves for the game to come to life in this regard? ie If the players
            > > don't fight for relative point maximisation rather than simple personal
            > > point maximisation, the game falters, badly.
            >
            > Zzzzzzz-- huh, wha, oh, sorry. With this kind of talk about the game, no
            > wonder Fifth Avenue has never "come to life" on a big scale.

            Either that or it's a clarion call to not let JC write promotional
            marketing literature for anything you want people to actually, um,
            buy.

            Not that's he necessarily wrong in what he's saying...

            Josh
          • Josh Bluestein
            ... Well, it means that if all you take is a very short-term view of the play of the game, all you get is a very short term. Interestingly, I don t think the
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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              > From: "J C Lawrence" <claw@...>
              > On Tue, 4 Jan 2005 11:18:03 -0800 (PST)
              > Christopher Lockheardt <clockheardt@...> wrote:
              >
              > > - Placing businesses beside your buildings increases your buildings'
              > > value. Thus, in a game of hard choices, this action is often the
              > > easiest to make. But if everyone makes it, the game ends way before
              > > its supposed to.
              >
              > Does this mean that players need to aggressively zero-sum optimise their
              > moves for the game to come to life in this regard? ie If the players
              > don't fight for relative point maximisation rather than simple personal
              > point maximisation, the game falters, badly.

              Well, it means that if all you take is a very short-term view of the
              play of the game, all you get is a very short term. Interestingly, I
              don't think the game actually favors the strategy of putting out lots
              of businesses. In a situation like this I believe that the advantage
              will go to the person who gets in a few good points elsewhere by
              dropping some new buildings or meeting the intermediate scoring
              requirements. Placing lots of businesses quickly does end the game
              fast, but it doesn't *win* the game.

              > > - If the Commissioner is on your block, you can score all the points
              > > you've been working so hard to set up. But you can't move the
              > > Commissioner and score the block, so you have to move the Commissioner
              > > to your block and hope that the next player scores it, which, of
              > > course, often requires that the next player to have an equal or
              > > greater point potential than you do in that block.
              >
              > > The lessons of the game are, 1) Don't increase the value of your
              > > buildings because that will end the game too early, and 2) Don't
              > > bother setting yourself up to score unless your neighbor will score
              > > more points than you will.

              > This sounds like the necessary approach to succeed by a) collecting
              > a host of second-place scores rather than heading for the big
              > payouts for yourself, and b) build areas that other players want you
              > to score despite the fact that it gives you a tonne of points.
              > Which, if right, is rather clever and really enforces some of the
              > nastier aspects of differential value calculation.

              The above paragraph has been officially sanitized. The new version
              follows below:

              "So, dude, the idea is to get other people to make moves that benefit
              you more than your moves benefit them? That's totally AWESOME!!!"

              Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated, citizen.

              Please move along now.
            • Walter Hunt
              ... Sounds like choice two. Of course, that would probably qualify him as a marketing-communications guy, based on what I ve seen. Of course I ve played Fifth
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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                On Jan 4, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Josh Bluestein wrote:

                > Either that or it's a clarion call to not let JC write promotional
                > marketing literature for anything you want people to actually, um,
                > buy.
                >
                > Not that's he necessarily wrong in what he's saying...

                Sounds like choice two. Of course, that would probably qualify him as a
                marketing-communications guy, based
                on what I've seen.

                Of course I've played Fifth Avenue too, and thought it sucked. Just
                like the original post - it sucks the life out of you.

                Walter H. Hunt
                hotc@...
                http://www.walterhunt.com/


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Craig Massey
                ... I had a very similar experience after my first playing of Fifth Avenue. No shortage of groupthink in this game. If you have only played the game once,
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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                  --- Walter Hunt <hotc@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > On Jan 4, 2005, at 3:03 PM, Josh Bluestein wrote:
                  >
                  > > Either that or it's a clarion call to not let JC
                  > write promotional
                  > > marketing literature for anything you want people
                  > to actually, um,
                  > > buy.
                  > >
                  > > Not that's he necessarily wrong in what he's
                  > saying...
                  >
                  > Sounds like choice two. Of course, that would
                  > probably qualify him as a
                  > marketing-communications guy, based
                  > on what I've seen.
                  >
                  > Of course I've played Fifth Avenue too, and thought
                  > it sucked. Just
                  > like the original post - it sucks the life out of
                  > you.

                  I had a very similar experience after my first playing
                  of Fifth Avenue. No shortage of groupthink in this
                  game. If you have only played the game once, give it
                  a second try. Its not going to set the world aflame,
                  but it is not nearly as bad as so many seem to say.

                  Save life sucking hyperbole for things like Tongiaki,
                  JC's post, etc.

                  Craig

                  =====
                  Craig W. Massey
                  cwmassey@...




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                • tool@panix.com
                  ... I agree the game s not terrible. It s got interlocking systems, there are lots of decisions to be made, and there are subtleties to the gameplay.
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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                    > I had a very similar experience after my first playing
                    > of Fifth Avenue. No shortage of groupthink in this
                    > game. If you have only played the game once, give it
                    > a second try. Its not going to set the world aflame,
                    > but it is not nearly as bad as so many seem to say.
                    >
                    > Save life sucking hyperbole for things like Tongiaki,
                    > JC's post, etc.
                    >

                    I agree the game's not terrible. It's got interlocking systems,
                    there are lots of decisions to be made, and there are subtleties
                    to the gameplay. However, for me it just wasn't much fun - why,
                    I can't say, but it wasn't, despite everything. Other people I
                    have played with have had a similar reaction.

                    --
                    _______________________________________________________________________
                    Dan Blum tool@...
                    "I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up."
                  • Craig B
                    ... Fifth Avenue is admittedly very very dry as a game. I mostly felt clueless during it. Not my favorite, but far from the worst I ve played. However,
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 4, 2005
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                      Craig Massey <cwmassey@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I had a very similar experience after my first playing
                      > of Fifth Avenue. No shortage of groupthink in this
                      > game. If you have only played the game once, give it
                      > a second try. Its not going to set the world aflame,
                      > but it is not nearly as bad as so many seem to say.
                      >
                      > Save life sucking hyperbole for things like Tongiaki,
                      > JC's post, etc.

                      Fifth Avenue is admittedly very very dry as a game. I mostly felt
                      clueless during it. Not my favorite, but far from the worst I've
                      played.

                      However, Tongiaki was quite good, I think (It's the Tiki island boats
                      game?). If so, I played twice at UG8 and had a great time.



                      =====
                      Craig Brooks
                      Cheapass Demo Monkey / MIB #0411 email: gilby123@...
                      http://www.angelfire.com/ma/gilby123/index.html

                      "Where would we be without the agitators of the
                      world attaching the electrodes of knowledge to the nipples
                      of ignorance?" - John Lithgow, 3rd Rock from the Sun




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