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Mysterium» Forums » Variants

Subject: Some tweaks to prevent players to abuse the game mechanics and break immersion rss

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Aurélien Defossez
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This game is really great, but some rules leave too much room for players to abuse them and break the immersion.

The ghost may not give more than 3 cards
If you enable the ghost to give the entirety of his hand to a player, he can do so to redraw any card he wants without using a crow to do so. It's anti-thematic and breaks the immersion.
A solution is to limit the number of cards the ghost can give to 3. I've never seen a ghost give more than that anyway, except to mulligan his hand.

When all the mediums found their triplet, they all gain points depending on the current hour
If the last medium found his weapon, but there is still some hours to finish the game, each player gain one point for each hour remaining.

Imagine a perfect scenario:
- Hour 1: All mediums find their killer and they all use their green vote on other valid choices, they get 3 points each.
- Hour 2: All mediums find their location.
- Hour 3: All mediums find their weapon, they gain 4 points each.
- Result: They all have 7 points, but in 6-7 players game, it's not enough to have 3 cards dealt during the final phase, even though they all found all their cards and never voted wrong.

To prevent this scenario to happen, a player can intentionally vote for the wrong target so the others can use their invalid token and gain points. Also, it leads the game to the 4th hour, during which all players get back their valid token.

This breaks the immersion, because a medium intentionally chooses a wrong character just to maximize the points of the group.

The solution is quite easy, when the last medium arrives at the end, each player gain one point for each hour remaining. In our scenario, each player would gain 4 points (7 - 3), having 11, which is enough for the end-game.
 
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Trevor Schadt
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Didjor wrote:
The ghost may not give more than 3 cards
Given that the ghost can't "dump" cards on a player that has already finished identifying all three cards, I would imagine that this tactic would lead to confused players, as they would be getting information that is not actually relevant to where the ghost is trying to lead them.

Didjor wrote:
When all the mediums found their triplet, they all gain points depending on the current hour
I started using this variant after a couple of games, and I agree that it not only eliminates the "strategically wrong guess" phenomenon, it also encourages people to help "stragglers" because their success is not only integral to the team as a whole reaching Phase 2, but also to theplayer's own personal Clairvoyance score.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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ryudoowaru wrote:
Didjor wrote:
The ghost may not give more than 3 cards
Given that the ghost can't "dump" cards on a player that has already finished identifying all three cards, I would imagine that this tactic would lead to confused players, as they would be getting information that is not actually relevant to where the ghost is trying to lead them.

You only do it if one player is way ahead, and players understand pretty quickly what you're doing. I thought I was being tricky the first time I did it, but then everyone wanted too do it in subsequent games and I realized the mess I created.
 
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Aurélien Defossez
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ryudoowaru wrote:
Didjor wrote:
The ghost may not give more than 3 cards
Given that the ghost can't "dump" cards on a player that has already finished identifying all three cards, I would imagine that this tactic would lead to confused players, as they would be getting information that is not actually relevant to where the ghost is trying to lead them.

It can confuse players, I've seen persons not understanding why they received 5+ cards, but as soon as one medium understands (or have already seen this situation before), it's clear to everyone that the ghost discarded his hand to draw a fresh one, so the medium just pack these cards together and ignore them.
 
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Mikkel Øberg
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Why not just have a rule that you must play the game, how to say it, without breaking it? The rules state that the Ghost must give cards that relate to the clue, and dumping your hand is therefore against the rules as written.
If the ghost does this anyway I would just ask them, directly, if this was a true clue - and if they stated it was, I would save the cards for an explanation.
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Victor Lesperance
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There are some issues with the OP. The additional rule that Mikkel suggested is, in fact, already a rule.

The first time I played, I used "the strategy" mentioned above. Why not? Around game 3, I actually was able to read the rules for myself. I found 2 sections, both on page 9:

"...the ghost's task is to help the psychics to guess the character card assigned to them behind the game screen. He does this by projecting a vision...consisting of one or more vision cards."

So, note that his primary task is handing out visions that lead to a correct guess at that moment. The metagame would like you to dump useless clues at every chance. But your primary mission requires that every card handed out is still an honest attempt to guide a correct guess at that moment.

"Each psychic must place his intuition token on the psychic card to which he believes the ghost is guiding him..."

So, intentional false guessing for the purpose of running up a score is actually against the rules.

All that said, yes, there is the stated scoring hiccup and the proposal would address it.

As for the 3 card vision limit:
I just had a game this past weekend where I was trying to get the player to guess the Ice Skates. I gave them the card with the black pond of water surrounded by trees at night with the tiny frog in the middle. I had other water based cards in my hand, but I honestly thought that one card was perfect and the others had misc. details that might distract. Unfortunately, she guessed wrong.

So, for the next round, I saved the other water cards for her. And to my surprise, drew 2 more water based cards and penguins. So, I checked each to see if they were useful at all for another player. Nope. Further, I honestly felt that I just needed to hammer home the water theme of the first card. So, I had zero reservations handing my entire hand over to that player.

Sure enough, she looks at the first and goes off on a tangent. 2nd card: another tangent. 3rd card: Hey, all 3 of these have water. Hey, more water. Water. Water. Penguins! The whole table in unison yelled out, "Ice skates!" for the win.

And so, an example of what I would consider a legal hand dump.
 
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Aurélien Defossez
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You're both right to underline the fact that the rules are saying players should give correct visions and choose their best choice, that's enough for most players I think. Nonetheless, in my group, we play a lot of mechanics-heavy games, in which every rule is important and we try to find (and most of the time fix) these gaps when they break the experience we think the designer intended to offer.

So for us, we need something that says "You can't do that", not "You should do that, but there's really nothing stopping you from doing that immersion-breaking thing".

For the 3-cards rule, of course there'd some moments when you'd want to give more cards, but I think 3 is enough. If you gave 3 water cards along with the 1st you gave, the reaction would have been the same.
That's indeed a 'legal hand dump', but it's only one card you'll not be recycling, it's not too much, and you still can keep the best water card for the final phase!
 
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Victor Lesperance
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Re: Some twks toea prevent players to abuse the game mechanics and break immersion
I'm somewhat confused.

The rules are not mild suggestions. They use the word "MUST" which you repeatedly replaced with "SHOULD."

Maybe the disconnect is in PROVABILITY? Your players know the rules but will not follow them (which I call cheating) if nobody can PROVE that they are cheating? So you want provable number mechanics to keep them honest?

Like the 3 card limit? No one can prove that you're dumping your hand, but they can prove that you handed out more than 3 cards?

Sure. If that's the issue in your group, then the 3 card limit forces the ghost to be (mostly) honest. On the flip side, your scoring adjustment still doesn't stop a player from running up scores with fake guesses as long as he's not in last place.

I just have to note an irony. You talk about diligence in fixing rules in order to get back to a designer's intent. Yet, here you can preserve a designer's intent simply by following the official rules, but your group is opting not to... then is unhappy with the result.

You're 100% correct about a scoring flaw in 6-player games with 36 perfect guesses. There are a few posts where others have also offered suggestions to fix that anomaly. I'd only note that your fix addresses the corner case, but it does make all "non-perfect" games higher scoring (thus easier) than intended. Not a criticism, just a data point.

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Aurélien Defossez
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Yeah, maybe point out the "MUST" word when explaining the game can be enough, it's true. It's just that a hard rule seems clearer to explain than a soft rule specifying that the player must give "good" cards and make the "best" choice, both of these words relying on personal feeling instead of precise rules.

Quote:
You're 100% correct about a scoring flaw in 6-player games with 36 perfect guesses. There are a few posts where others have also offered suggestions to fix that anomaly. I'd only note that your fix addresses the corner case, but it does make all "non-perfect" games higher scoring (thus easier) than intended. Not a criticism, just a data point.

The perfect game is a corner case we might never see, but I added this rule because we made once a nearly-perfect game (at hour 4, medium difficulty) and all had 2 cards to see even though we succeeded pretty well.

The scores can go higher, I agree, but I'd like to test a variant found on BGG, which will make the game more difficult, therefore balancing these high scores: It was him/her all along!.

Edit: I just re-read the rules (in french) and it's really not clear the ghost must give valid cards and mediums must go on the best choice. It's open to interpretation from my point of view. But maybe it's more clear in the english version.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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Didjor wrote:

Edit: I just re-read the rules (in french) and it's really not clear the ghost must give valid cards and mediums must go on the best choice. It's open to interpretation from my point of view. But maybe it's more clear in the english version.

It's not clear in English either.

From the above quoted text:
"...the ghost's task is to help the psychics to guess the character card assigned to them behind the game screen. He does this by projecting a vision...consisting of one or more vision cards."

The Ghost's task is to get the psychics to guess the cards. IMO, if he/she feels that none of the available cards are going to help accomplish that task, then he/she can legally use the 'dumping' loophole. That is the best way for him to accomplish the task. He is still projecting a vision, and it completely falls within the limits of the rules.

I completely agree that it's against the spirit of the rules, and I regretted introducing the idea to my group.

I actually proposed this variant just prior to the new U.S. release:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1407013/variant-minimize-gh...

 
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Mathue Faulk
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Gregaria wrote:

If the ghost does this anyway I would just ask them, directly, if this was a true clue - and if they stated it was, I would save the cards for an explanation.

The clue cards are meant to be vague. I bet I could come up with connections 99% of the time...plus it's just as big of a jerk move as the 'dumper'....
 
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Chris Merritt
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Your second "fix" is already a rule.

Pg 10 of the rulebook:

If a psychic has just obtained his three psychic cards
When a psychic has successfully identified his combination of psychic cards, he places his intuition token on the mission accomplished space on the epilogue progress board. On the clairvoyancy track, he moves his marker forward one space for each hour remaining on the clock. Thereafter, he continues to take part by helping the other psychics to interpret their visions, and may still play any remaining clairvoyancy tokens.

Additionally, I don't understand why anyone would do this dumping of vision cards on a player. There are already rules for dumping your hand using the crows, or if you don't want to deal with that, then play on Easy mode where the ghost can discard their hand once a turn. And if that's still not enough, just house rule a Very Easy mode where the ghost can dump their hand at any time. If your players are dumping their hands too much, then I would think the inclusion of the entire rule section on page 9 involving the discarding of vision cards would show that dumping your hand in the described method is against the rules.
 
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Aurélien Defossez
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COMaestro wrote:
Your second "fix" is already a rule.

Pg 10 of the rulebook:

If a psychic has just obtained his three psychic cards
When a psychic has successfully identified his combination of psychic cards, he places his intuition token on the mission accomplished space on the epilogue progress board. On the clairvoyancy track, he moves his marker forward one space for each hour remaining on the clock. Thereafter, he continues to take part by helping the other psychics to interpret their visions, and may still play any remaining clairvoyancy tokens.


It's not this rule, my fix is that everyone gains points a second time when all mediums found their combination. Gaining points only once (as in the original rules) does not fix this "perfect game" problem.

Quote:
Additionally, I don't understand why anyone would do this dumping of vision cards on a player. There are already rules for dumping your hand using the crows, or if you don't want to deal with that, then play on Easy mode where the ghost can discard their hand once a turn. And if that's still not enough, just house rule a Very Easy mode where the ghost can dump their hand at any time. If your players are dumping their hands too much, then I would think the inclusion of the entire rule section on page 9 involving the discarding of vision cards would show that dumping your hand in the described method is against the rules.


Why not doing it if it's feasible? It's more satisfying for a player to finish the game in medium or hard difficulty rather than easy or super-easy. We want to play in medium or hard, but I don't want this difficulty coming with ways of breaking the game.
 
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twl corinthian
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Gregaria wrote:
The rules state that the Ghost must give cards that relate to the clue, and dumping your hand is therefore against the rules as written.


Maybe - it's a rather thorny question (ontologically speakin') whether a clue can "relate" to an answer by being irrelevant to it!

imho when the ghost "dumps" their hand it is the most interesting move of the round. My group will pore over all the dumped cards, because we can infer that none of those cards have a clear link to any answer currently being sought. In some circumstances it can eliminate half the board. Or it can backfire and make players dismiss the right answers.

Seems a shame to disallow all these subtleties, and they are hardly against the spirit of the puzzle, as it just another type of cryptic sign from the ghost.
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You can't handle the truth?
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twl_corinthian wrote:
Gregaria wrote:
The rules state that the Ghost must give cards that relate to the clue, and dumping your hand is therefore against the rules as written.


Maybe - it's a rather thorny question (ontologically speakin') whether a clue can "relate" to an answer by being irrelevant to it!

imho when the ghost "dumps" their hand it is the most interesting move of the round. My group will pore over all the dumped cards, because we can infer that none of those cards have a clear link to any answer currently being sought. In some circumstances it can eliminate half the board. Or it can backfire and make players dismiss the right answers.

Seems a shame to disallow all these subtleties, and they are hardly against the spirit of the puzzle, as it just another type of cryptic sign from the ghost.
The game has a mechanic for the ghost to dump any cards they want. It's the Raven. Dumping your hand and not using a Raven seems like you are working outside the intended rules.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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crambaza wrote:
twl_corinthian wrote:
Gregaria wrote:
The rules state that the Ghost must give cards that relate to the clue, and dumping your hand is therefore against the rules as written.


Maybe - it's a rather thorny question (ontologically speakin') whether a clue can "relate" to an answer by being irrelevant to it!

imho when the ghost "dumps" their hand it is the most interesting move of the round. My group will pore over all the dumped cards, because we can infer that none of those cards have a clear link to any answer currently being sought. In some circumstances it can eliminate half the board. Or it can backfire and make players dismiss the right answers.

Seems a shame to disallow all these subtleties, and they are hardly against the spirit of the puzzle, as it just another type of cryptic sign from the ghost.
The game has a mechanic for the ghost to dump any cards they want. It's the Raven. Dumping your hand and not using a Raven seems like you are working outside the intended rules.
He's arguing that the lack of clues is the real clue. It seems that the intention in his group's case is not to get new cards (although I'm sure that's a nice benefit), but to give an indirect and clever clue.
 
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twl corinthian
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crambaza wrote:
The game has a mechanic for the ghost to dump any cards they want. It's the Raven. Dumping your hand and not using a Raven seems like you are working outside the intended rules.


No. The rules say:

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
The ghost's task is to help the psychics to guess the character card assigned to them

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
He does this by projecting a vision to each psychic

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
Chooses a psychic and places one or more vision cards face up in front of him or her

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
Each psychic attempts to interpret it and discover the character/object/location to which it refers


None of that constrains the ghost's choice for how the vision indicates the correct answer.

I expect that it's intentional, otherwise there might be a limit on cards-per-vision. The tactic is not mechanically the same as Ravening anyway. Dumping cards on a player is a high-risk alternative.
 
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P. oeppel
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twl_corinthian wrote:
Gregaria wrote:
The rules state that the Ghost must give cards that relate to the clue, and dumping your hand is therefore against the rules as written.


Maybe - it's a rather thorny question (ontologically speakin') whether a clue can "relate" to an answer by being irrelevant to it!

imho when the ghost "dumps" their hand it is the most interesting move of the round. My group will pore over all the dumped cards, because we can infer that none of those cards have a clear link to any answer currently being sought. In some circumstances it can eliminate half the board. Or it can backfire and make players dismiss the right answers.

Seems a shame to disallow all these subtleties, and they are hardly against the spirit of the puzzle, as it just another type of cryptic sign from the ghost.


Minus the players who already got their cards before. The dumped hand may contain (better) hints for players who already received their vision because the ghost only got the good/bezzer/matching cards after refilling his hand....
 
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Aurélien Defossez
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twl_corinthian wrote:
I expect that it's intentional, otherwise there might be a limit on cards-per-vision. The tactic is not mechanically the same as Ravening anyway. Dumping cards on a player is a high-risk alternative.

Once a player knows the trick, it's really a low-risk alternative. In our group, in a few games, giving more than 3 cards was received as a signal clearly saying "I'm discarding my hand, don't bother to look at these cards".
 
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Aaron Velox
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Just make it a rule to only use the ravens as a means to dump your cards. If you're out of ravens, and you still feel you can't use any of the 7 cards in your hand in any way, then you probably need to broaden your imagination.

 
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You can't handle the truth?
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twl_corinthian wrote:
crambaza wrote:
The game has a mechanic for the ghost to dump any cards they want. It's the Raven. Dumping your hand and not using a Raven seems like you are working outside the intended rules.


No. The rules say:

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
The ghost's task is to help the psychics to guess the character card assigned to them

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
He does this by projecting a vision to each psychic

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
Chooses a psychic and places one or more vision cards face up in front of him or her

Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
Each psychic attempts to interpret it and discover the character/object/location to which it refers


None of that constrains the ghost's choice for how the vision indicates the correct answer.


lol, you know, except for the last one you quoted
Mysterium rulebook p9 wrote:
Each psychic attempts to interpret [the vision] and discover the character/object/location to which [the vision] refers

So the rules say to determine which item the vision refers to. Not which items it doesn't refer to.
 
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