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Coming the Week of November 18th (18 Nov 2019)

We have reviews of Horrified, Kingdomino Duel, Dragon Market, Flesh & Blood, and Rolled West. "Why Do I Own This" and "Beyond the Veil" returns. And more TBA

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When the Finish Line is in View

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23 Sep 2019 10:18 - 23 Sep 2019 11:55 #301924 by Shellhead
I was playing my unpublished prototype game the other day with friends. An early leader in the game got taken down hard, but was steadily rebuilding. I lost focus after a couple of setbacks required me to switch strategies. The third player steadily advanced towards victory, but we were too preoccupied with our own challenges to take decisive action before it was too late. Finally, the third player declared at the start of a turn that he was going to win and didn't see any way that we could stop him. We played it out, but he was correct (EDIT) and won that same turn. It was a good game overall, and everybody was satisfied with the outcome, but it got me thinking.

When is a good time for players to see how the game will end? Too soon, and some players may find finishing the game to be a waste of time. Maybe it would be better to keep everybody in the dark until the end. But it would be nice for the winner to enjoy the sensation of winning for a bit before the game actually ends. I personally dislike games that artificially keep the game close. But an obvious leader might invite leader-bashing if the game interaction level allows it. What do you folks think?
Last edit: 23 Sep 2019 11:55 by Shellhead. Reason: last turn
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23 Sep 2019 11:12 #301929 by hotseatgames
I tend to like it when there is at least the perception of someone in the lead. Especially if players can try to influence other players into attacking someone for that purpose. This can create a player-enforced game balancing mechanism, when it works. If people see someone in the lead and they ignore it to continue their own agenda, well that usually doesn't work out unless they can make that agenda work before the leader wins.

Games that immediately come to mind that use this player-enforced leader policing:

Root
Lords of Hellas
Cosmic Encounter

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23 Sep 2019 11:28 #301931 by fightcitymayor
And here I was thinking this was going to be a thread about someone receiving a Stage-4 terminal cancer diagnosis or something. Whew! Game design questions are way better than dying.
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19 Oct 2019 16:24 - 20 Oct 2019 09:02 #302584 by southernman

hotseatgames wrote: I tend to like it when there is at least the perception of someone in the lead. Especially if players can try to influence other players into attacking someone for that purpose. This can create a player-enforced game balancing mechanism, when it works. If people see someone in the lead and they ignore it to continue their own agenda, well that usually doesn't work out unless they can make that agenda work before the leader wins.

Games that immediately come to mind that use this player-enforced leader policing:

Root
Lords of Hellas
Cosmic Encounter


Lords of Hellas is a great example. Our first game (4 players) had one player get a large force of trrops down south and was close to getting two regions early in the game (he had a perfect storm of artifacts and blessings), one of the other guys then decided to take half my areas and hem me in instead of going a bit further south and block the leading player. I pointed out to him that if he had done that instead then that would have left me strong enough to attack anothe rof the leaders' borders, and also said to the 4th player he could also threaten a border. They both said they were too weak and would get beaten, I said well you won't win the game if you don't - neither did and both lost along with me. I still couldn't believe after that they had not recognised this basic mechanic.
Our second game was a bit more balanced until the guy with the 'strong' hero suddenly went nuclear in monster hunting over a couple of turns and was one monster away, that was already on the board, from winning. The other made no real effort so I sent my hero in on a possible suicide attack on the monster before the leader had a chance to show them how the game should be played, with a good use of abilities I managed to draw enough cards to get the six or seven hits required to take the monster out. As I pointed out to them not only did my action give the other three of us a chance of winning it also put me in a better position to win so it was the best move for me (even if the leader thought I was picking on him, my simple answer was I was doing my best to win and that meant stopping him from winning at that point in the game).

Twilight Imperium 3/4 is another good example. I played a 4-player game a few months back with one guy experienced with those types of games, a eurogamer and an ex-wargamer turned eurogamer. Short story the two eurogamers played their own game (one played virtually solitaire doing her thing but did go for VPs, the wargamer just attacked stuff witout checking what VPs were required) with little diplomacy or interaction and when it was getting close to the end and the final objectives were being revealed the experienced guy had good position to pick up points to win there had to be a bit of interaction between players to fiddle around with the objectives to keep the other three of us in the running to get the win - but no, by the time they realised this and stopped ignoring my suggestions there was nothing we could stitch together to prevent the leader powering on for the win.
Last edit: 20 Oct 2019 09:02 by southernman.
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19 Oct 2019 16:41 #302585 by Gary Sax
Interesting thread... I wanted to mention that I have no problem with seeing the writing on the wall pretty far in advance with 2 player games because I think resigning is a feature, not a bug, of 2 player games.
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