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Escape from Colditz» Forums » General

Subject: Rolling doubles to escape solitary is too punishing? rss

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Kristo Vaher
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I wonder why didn't they change that? It should be possible to skip your turn to take one pawn out if solitary. Having turns in the game where it is not optimal to move and can't roll doubles, are a really weak and frustrating.

Odds of rolling doubles are 1 in 6. This is massive! It may mean that you will skip 5, 10, or even more turns just by bad luck.
 
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Everything between now and the next game is just killing time
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No, it doesn't.
It means that particular pawn will not move for the 5, 10 or even more turns you do not roll doubles, every other pawn of yours can move around the board.
If all your pawns are in solitary then yes, you will miss turns but if that is the case then the German player has been playing excellently.

As for non-optimal moves? Yeah, you're going to have to make some. This game is about escaping from a Prisoner Of War Camp, you're going to have to take risks to win.
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Kristo Vaher
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But let's take two players. 6 player game, so they have 4 pawns each. If many get arrested, guard plays excellently indeed.

But then one rolls well, the other doesn't. And thus nothing but randomness decides if a player can continue or not.

It is not fair for a game, even if it may be 'realistic' for real life - oops you lose because you cannot roll dice. Which is a bad feature for a game to have. You don't want another player to get an edge over you just because of randomness.

Otherwise randomness dominates skill. And losing turns is the worst thing possible.
 
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Stuart Holttum
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Otherwise randomness dominates skill.


My personal feeling is that if you are Ina position where your turns are effectively null because you have too many pieces in clink, then perhaps "skill" at the game isn't really an issue....

Is it just getting out of jail where you want to remove randomness, BTW? Do you also intend to remove diced movement, gaining cards for certain rolls, do or die cards.....in fact, forget cards as well, you draw them randomly so either remove them, have identical hands, or let players always choose which one they get.
 
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OK, I am going to say this and I know how horrible it is and I apologise for it but I don't say it lightly- You are playing it wrong.

This is not a game where you win individually. This is a game where either the Germans win or the Allies win, that is the nature of the game. Cooperation, sharing resources, having other players make feints, getting your people captured to remove a guard from your/the other player's escape path and keeping the Commandant guessing as to who is ready to make an escape attempt is absolutely vital to the game.

If you have a series of rolls that you think you cannot use then the nature of your play must change, don't look for what you can do to escape, look for what you can do to help others escape.
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Kristo Vaher
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Matchstickman wrote:
OK, I am going to say this and I know how horrible it is and I apologise for it but I don't say it lightly- You are playing it wrong.

This is not a game where you win individually. This is a game where either the Germans win or the Allies win, that is the nature of the game. Cooperation, sharing resources, having other players make feints, getting your people captured to remove a guard from your/the other player's escape path and keeping the Commandant guessing as to who is ready to make an escape attempt is absolutely vital to the game.

If you have a series of rolls that you think you cannot use then the nature of your play must change, don't look for what you can do to escape, look for what you can do to help others escape.


Wrong, first player to escape with 2 wins. The rest lose. You're talking about a variant.

And so what? It's no excuse to have turns where player is unable to do anything for many turns in a row There is no need for that to be in the game, it only adds randomness to balance

And movement with dice is perfectly fine. But if your options get limited, you will be more and more dependent on luck of dice.

Anyways, I'll use this variant in my group.
 
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Jonathan Warren
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I feel the same:

Solitary
 
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Thark Warrior
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It's even worse than you think.

Wait until your guard player learns he can legally block the exits from solitary re-arresting POWs as soon as they exit. He is allowed under the 2016 rules as written to keep every POW that goes into solitary locked up virtually FOREVER.

And he can also block you from ever collecting an escape kit.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1658449/rules-questions-2016...

 
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Adam Rees
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If getting out of solitary is seen as a problem, then perhaps you could widen the rolls that allow exit from solitary. So, for example, have release come with a double, a 3 or an 11.

If you were to go down that route I might also make this rule only kick in when you have over 'x'% of your POWs in solitary - maybe over 50%+ or something. Alternatively have it operate when a player has only 2 or fewer POWs outside of solitary. I am not sure if this penalizes the German player too much, however, and it is something you would have to remember to apply, as it would only be operating some of the time, so is slightly complicated.
 
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Kristo Vaher
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To be honest, it really surprises me that some consider the original system as alright in this day and age

But if two players play exactly the same way and just as well, but one is lucky with solitary release rolls and another one is not, then this is unfair between these two players ENTIRELY due to randomness.

Yes some make an argument that 'oh no you say this but movement rolls are also random', but this is entirely misguided. Moving badly - under 5 - means that you still get a card. This makes it far more balanced, as cards are options and you need options.

But. Problem is with solitary.

Every pawn you lose to solitary loses the effective value of every movement roll - especially bad movement rolls - because you have less pawns on the board. So if you have just a couple of pawns remaining, you may roll in a way that you cannot make a move that at all advances your goal. Not because you're playing badly, but because you are rolling badly. And this can have a snowball effect of losing even more pawns that you cannot get out of solitary. Leading even to skipping turns.

Playing badly and rolling badly are not the same thing. Yes, punish players for bad plays, but not for bad rolls.

Also, this is not a cooperative game by default. Only one player wins. So one player being punished for losing their people to solitary and unable to get them out is effectively out of the game, unless they suddenly start rolling doubles like there's no tomorrow - chance of this happening is very unlikely. At an average in a 40 turn game you only get ~6 turns where you roll doubles. And this is an average, some players will definitely roll notably less.

You lose your pawns rarely because of randomness. You usually lose a pawn to solitary because you miscalculate or take a risk that is too dangerous. But you get out of solitary only through randomness. This is bad and it is not balanced.

Skipping a roll to get 1 pawn out of solitary is fair. You skip your entire move and dice roll (so you won't have a chance to get cards either), but you will get a pawn out.

This won't even impact the balance of the game for security officers. As security Officers gain most by POW's who will skip turns and not move at all.
 
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Stuart Holttum
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Slashdoctor wrote:
...some make an argument that 'oh no you say this but movement rolls are also random', but this is entirely misguided. Moving badly - under 5 - means that you still get a card. This makes it far more balanced, as cards are options and you need options.


And cards are gained equally randomly - both in the chances of getting them in the first place, and also in the usefulness of what you actually draw.

To paraphrase your first point: "if two players play exactly the same way and just as well, but one is lucky with cards drawn and another one is not, then this is unfair between these two players ENTIRELY due to randomness."

Do you have a similar problem with how cards are gained? If not, what is the difference? I can make a similar comparison to the problem of "less pawns on the board means less options" - true. But equally "less cards means less option", and cards are just as random in their implementation. So why the issue with ONE aspect of randomness, but not another?

After all, if you don't get the cards, then the problem is "Not because you're playing badly, but because you are rolling badly (to get to draw cards). And this can have a snowball effect....." Absolutely. Random card availability and type is a TERRIBLE thing for the game....no? If not, why not?

"Playing badly and rolling badly are not the same thing. Yes, punish players for bad plays, but not for bad rolls" Agreed. So give everyone a card every turn, and stop making them dependent on die rolls, yes?
 
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Kristo Vaher
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Stu Holttum wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
...some make an argument that 'oh no you say this but movement rolls are also random', but this is entirely misguided. Moving badly - under 5 - means that you still get a card. This makes it far more balanced, as cards are options and you need options.


And cards are gained equally randomly - both in the chances of getting them in the first place, and also in the usefulness of what you actually draw.

To paraphrase your first point: "if two players play exactly the same way and just as well, but one is lucky with cards drawn and another one is not, then this is unfair between these two players ENTIRELY due to randomness."

Do you have a similar problem with how cards are gained? If not, what is the difference? I can make a similar comparison to the problem of "less pawns on the board means less options" - true. But equally "less cards means less option", and cards are just as random in their implementation. So why the issue with ONE aspect of randomness, but not another?

After all, if you don't get the cards, then the problem is "Not because you're playing badly, but because you are rolling badly (to get to draw cards). And this can have a snowball effect....." Absolutely. Random card availability and type is a TERRIBLE thing for the game....no? If not, why not?

"Playing badly and rolling badly are not the same thing. Yes, punish players for bad plays, but not for bad rolls" Agreed. So give everyone a card every turn, and stop making them dependent on die rolls, yes?


Because every card is still useful. If not immediately, then down the road since you can build towards it. In fact, in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving.

5x card that gets you out of solitary
23x getting any equipment card without having to gather it or getting a specific equipment card or part of escape kit. Five of those cards actually prevent items from being stolen from you, which is technically the same effect.
7x remove a guard or guards or discarding opponent security cards
3x opening an otherwise inaccessible escape route

Cards that give you equipment can then be exchanged with others, meaning that they are useful for everybody. And then there is also 8 cards cards that allow to move a long distance. In fact, odds of drawing this kind of card from the deck is bigger than rolling out of solitary. Same with getting new equipment cards without having to gather them.

Most of these cards are all about reducing the amount of actions you have to do. So, while you may not be able to move much, you get compensated by a card that is worth just as many, if not more action points you could move with the downside that you cannot move all that much.

So cards, even if you draw them randomly, are balanced.

Staying stuck in solitary because you don't have luck with rolling? Is not.
 
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Adam Rees
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I think if you find the solitary rules unsatisfactory, then you should obviously change them. The miss a turn variant seems like it would work and be simple, though the POW may be quite vulnerable after getting out, being unable to move away from the solitary exit space until the following turn.

Having doubles along with a 3/11 roll obviously makes it easier to get out of solitary, but is still quite random. If the rule change is driven by the desire to reduce randomness, rather than just making the required roll easier to achieve, then I can see adding a 3 and an 11 may well not cut the mustard.

You could make the discarding of opportunity/equipment cards a currency to buy a POW out of solitary, but I not sure what the price should be. This would take a bit of balancing, so is probably more complication than it is worth.
 
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Stuart Holttum
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Stu Holttum wrote:


"Playing badly and rolling badly are not the same thing. Yes, punish players for bad plays, but not for bad rolls" Agreed. So give everyone a card every turn, and stop making them dependent on die rolls, yes?


In fact, in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving.....Cards that give you equipment can then be exchanged with others, meaning that they are useful for everybody.


That was a lot of text to avoid answering my question. In fact, you extol the virtues of cards....and cards are gained randomly. Yet you don't feel that these wonderful cards - that may be gained by some players and not by others entirely due to their luck, is not a similar problem?

"in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving", you say. Well then - how TOTALLY UNFAIR that some players won't get any cards, due to their unlucky rolls! Why, such a thing could "have a snowball effect", could it not?

How terribly, terribly unfair.
 
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Kristo Vaher
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Stu Holttum wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Stu Holttum wrote:


"Playing badly and rolling badly are not the same thing. Yes, punish players for bad plays, but not for bad rolls" Agreed. So give everyone a card every turn, and stop making them dependent on die rolls, yes?


In fact, in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving.....Cards that give you equipment can then be exchanged with others, meaning that they are useful for everybody.


That was a lot of text to avoid answering my question. In fact, you extol the virtues of cards....and cards are gained randomly. Yet you don't feel that these wonderful cards - that may be gained by some players and not by others entirely due to their luck, is not a similar problem?

"in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving", you say. Well then - how TOTALLY UNFAIR that some players won't get any cards, due to their unlucky rolls! Why, such a thing could "have a snowball effect", could it not?

How terribly, terribly unfair.


I don't know why I am even replying as you're obviously way too convinced that anyone saying this game has balance issues are wrong, but it is 16% odds to roll doubles, yet it is 28% chance of getting a card on each turn and if you don't get a card, you will get a lot of movement points. It's completely different

Having randomness in getting something useful is MUCH better than having randomness to stop you from doing anything.
 
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Stuart Holttum
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Slashdoctor wrote:
in the beginning of the game getting cards is actually even more useful than moving?


...yet that's not unfair to those who don't get one?

Cards>moving.
Chance of getting cards=random.
Imbalance leads to snowball effects.

All your words. Can you explain to me why random cards are NOT a problem? Because based on what you have said there, I don't understand why.

Incidentally, I'm not denying the game may have balance problems. My problem is that you appear to be saying "this is random - random is bad" for one aspect, yet for another aspect you appear to be saying "this is random - random is fine". The only difference I can see between the two is that you are against random when things go against you, but happy to accept it when you get a benefit?
 
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Adam Rees
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I think there is a difference, to be honest. While both are obviously random, the chance of getting a card is almost double that of getting out of solitary, and when you don't get a card you will still have 6+ movement to spend. So I can see the difference, even if both are random. Having said that, unless all your POWs are in solitary, then failing to get out of solitary still allows you to move any of your other POWs.

Out of interest, if you had solitary release on a 3 and 11 as well as doubles, the odds of getting out of solitary every turn would be the same odds of getting a card every turn. Not sure how important that is, however.
 
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Kristo Vaher
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Iorwerth wrote:
Out of interest, if you had solitary release on a 3 and 11 as well as doubles, the odds of getting out of solitary every turn would be the same odds of getting a card every turn. Not sure how important that is, however.


It would make cards that say release from solitary less significant, if these odds are the same.

I still think that intentionally skipping a turn is easiest to explain to players. Makes thematic sense too, promising to behave as POW's thus not being able to move or do other actions.

And it doesn't tip balance either. As experienced players have said, you should not get into that situation in the first place. So this helps players that just get unlucky or are still learning the game without making things even worse for them.

Anyways, I've made up my mind for my own group. I hope some who encounter similar balance issue now have an option to discover when reading this.

Thanks everybody!
 
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Walts
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Rem that rolling doubles allows you to release a prisoner and roll
again, as per the standard "Rolling Doubles" rules, so do you really
want to give up a round of possible doubles?

Also, just in case players don't get the theme of the game, it's a
prison, things are supposed to be difficult for the prisoners?

Walts
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Kristo Vaher
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Gorlab wrote:
Also, just in case players don't get the theme of the game, it's a
prison, things are supposed to be difficult for the prisoners?


Same argument is used by diehard fans to explain that Monopoly is a realistic game of economy.

There are many games with realistic and difficult mechanical implementations of theme that don't need randomness to be what makes it difficult. Randomness is NOT what makes serving time in prison difficult. So why should it be in a game?

Anyways, my group really enjoyed the game with my tweak and it was entirely on the toes for both sides the entire game

I recommend this variant personally and it is really easy to explain to players.
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Adam Rees
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Did you find that missing a turn and coming out made the POW vulnerable to re-arrest that turn? It would seem to me that if there is a nearby German guard when you use the miss a turn to get out of jail, you run a big risk of just being arrested again immediately.
 
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Filip Falk Hartelius
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Iorwerth wrote:
I think if you find the solitary rules unsatisfactory, then you should obviously change them.


Our thoughts exactly
 
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Kristo Vaher
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Iorwerth wrote:
Did you find that missing a turn and coming out made the POW vulnerable to re-arrest that turn? It would seem to me that if there is a nearby German guard when you use the miss a turn to get out of jail, you run a big risk of just being arrested again immediately.


This is not really a problem. If you think about it, then the same thing can happen anyway with this variant or not. It's an additional option given to players, but at least this time guard player has to do it intentionally rather than with the luck of dice.

Note that cards can harass players with Equipment cards anyway.

Also, this game has a rule that when released from outer solitary you can move towards inner solitary without guards arresting you as long as that is your whole move. And we are using the same rule for inner solitary that when released form Solitary, if you move as much as possible towards Appel, you cannot be arrested. Neither rule matters much as arresting someone without equipment cards is usually a waste of guards time anyway.
 
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