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Camel Up» Forums » Rules

Subject: Stalemate rss

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Alex McDunna
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I had an interesting situation in a 3 player game where I realized afterwards that the ideal strategy would make the game go on forever. Here is a simplified version of what happened:

4 of the camels are stacked up with yellow on top, and then green, blue, and red. They are all one spot away from the finish line. The white camel is way behind and is also the only camel that has not moved this leg. The yellow and green betting chips have all been gained and everyone has bet on yellow to win and white to come in last.

It is player 1's turn. If they choose to roll the last die they get one point. Then the next leg, player 2 will take the five point card for yellow and player 1 will not be able to catch up. Thus the best move for player 1 is to place their +-1 card somewhere, because this gets them zero points while verything else would lose points. Now the situation is the same for player 2 and the game will continue on indefinitely.

You can fix this pretty easily with a house rule that you can only reposition your +-1 card a fixed number of times per round. However, I thought this was an interesting situation, especially because it actually happened. I was in the position of player 1, and without thinking hard enough, rolled the final die. I ended up losing to player 2 by one point.
 
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Flavio Santos
Brazil
Brasilia
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You can fix that pretty easily by having the 3rd player roll the dice. Something that will not allow the game to end is far from being the best strategy.
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Alex McDunna
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Flaviorbs wrote:
You can fix that pretty easily by having the 3rd player roll the dice.


How would you justify that though?
 
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Flavio Santos
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Making the game simply continue should be a good enough reason.
 
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Jamie Specht
United States
Downers Grove
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I hadn't realized moving your oasis was an option!!
But sure enough...
 
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Andi Hub
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In such a rare case and if you really care that much aboout not making a suboptimal move, you can all just declare the game to be finished and count your money.

If you however also compulsively adhere to the rules, than you will be moving your oasis for eternity.
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Brandon Brockway

Austin
Texas
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It's a lighthearted game and should be played as such, with that said, I've also run into this problem... played with a min/maxer once and he was doing everything possible to delay the dice rolls in general. Perhaps we could brain storm some variants that provide more incentive to push the round forward (when playing more "competitively"). Some ideas to explore:

(1) Currently, the player who rolls the final die of a round will play last in the next round, perhaps they should play first instead.

(2) Currently, you get 1 coin for taking a pyramid tile, independent of how many dice have been rolled previously. Perhaps this should increment along the way, for example, 1 coin for the first 2 dice, 2 coins for the next 2 dice and 4 coins for the last die (or something similar).

(3) Currently, you get 1 coin for taking a pyramid tile, independent of the number of other actions taken since the last pyramid tile. Perhaps the number of coins received should increase as the number of actions between dice rolls increases, for example, you get 1 coin up through 2 actions, 2 up through 4 actions, etc. (this would have to scale depending on player count.
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Jamie Specht
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Or simply take out the "move an oasis" option if it proves problematic to your group
;-)
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Mike M
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Edgecrusher100 wrote:


(1) Currently, the player who rolls the final die of a round will play last in the next round, perhaps they should play first instead.


I thought the start leg marker just moved around clockwise, regardless of who played last?
 
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Gilbert Quinonez
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Backlash27 wrote:

I thought the start leg marker just moved around clockwise, regardless of who played last?


No.

From the PDF of the official rules:

Quote:
Start by giving the Leg Starting Player marker to the player that sits to the left of the player
who just took the last Pyramid tile (so you will remember who will start the next Leg).
 
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Adrian Schmidt
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Flaviorbs wrote:
You can fix that pretty easily by having the 3rd player roll the dice. Something that will not allow the game to end is far from being the best strategy.


Well, that depends on your definition I guess. From a human perspective (which is fair to be honest, since we're humans), you will probably want to sacrifice the win sometime before you starve to death.

But from a game theory perspective, the best strategy for each player is clearly to not end the game, since neither winning nor losing is better than losing (with a game theory definition of "better").

I think the most reasonable thing to do in this situation would be to call the game, and count your points. Or, if you really want to hard core, you could decide beforehand that this would end the game in a chess-like stalemate, meaning no player wins. It would then become a viable strategy for someone who is about to lose to try to achieve this game state. I guess it would be rather unlikely to happen, but still.

Anyway, I think it's interesting that this can happen, and I want to thank the OP for taking the time to explain it and even create a reduced example for us!

Also, it makes me wonder how many games have these kinds of stalemates hidden somewhere in their mechanics. And, if you would go about finding them in a mathematical fashion, how hard would that be? P or NP?
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Koolin
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Veghel
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It would not surprise me that it is NP, since it can probably be reduced to detecting live lock.
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