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Louis XIV» Forums » Variants

Subject: Clear and logical Coat of Arms variant - the Acquire variant rss

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Craig Hebert
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Not sure why this was never mentioned before - perhaps no Louie players/owners have ever played Acquire.

To make the Coat of Arms actions still palatable and strategic, simply display all the Coat of arms openly for all to see (just like the pile of Hotel stocks which are always open information). You then choose which coats of arms you want - with no random pull whatsoever.

Just like in Acquire, you will see which "coats" are chosen, and then after that, like in Acquire, you are left to try to remember who has how much of which type.

Often, and in the absence of play with a pencil and paper, you will attempt to get the majority payout position in Acquire just before an acquisition. In Acquire, it is important to diversify and at times have some sort of holding in as many places as possible. Sometimes a lone share will give you the minority payout where other players neglected a particular Hotel chain.

The same thing can work well here in Louis XIV, and can provide some nice last minute strategic scrambling to get a hold in a particular "Coat of arms" that otherwise might cost you the game. In this variant, you at least have control and if you lose by a single point, at least you had "some" options over the situation.

I will try this out soon, and hope it turns out in the manner I envision.
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Pedro Pereira
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Please do try and let us know how it works. I am a great fan of Louis XIV and have never really had any problem with the coat of arms. Kinda like the gambling aspect of it.

But if you say it may make the game more strategic... sure, why not?
 
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Ben Bateson
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We simply ignore the rule about 'most of each type gets awarded a bonus VP'. There's no particular need for it, as far as I can tell.
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Pedro Pereira
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Well... I wouldn't agree with you Ben.

Since the Mission cards are worth 5 VPs each, it's impossible to win the game by coat of arms.

Alternatively though, if you have a bad mission hand you can try investing in coat of arms for a combined victory of a few 5VPs + many coats of arms.

It's still very difficult to win if you are largely outnumbered in mission cards, say a difference of 3 cards is difficult to beat, since that's 15 VPs, and you must assume the leading player will have invested in some coats of arms as well.

Now, the more you invest in the coats of arms, the more likely you are to obtain majorities, and these majorities will make a victory possible by earning those extra VPs... it's still risky, but sometimes it's the only chance you got...

I think the alternative presented here is interesting, but I would never leave out the majority bonus.

It also helps balancing out a few things. For example, you do know that the last player has a great advantage in this game, so theoretically, if the last player of the last round would imitate the leading player in number of missions played and coats of arms collected, he would require only 1 more coat of arms to ensure victory if there were no bonuses! With the majority bonuses though, the victory wouldn't be so certain, so that player would have to put some more effort into winning then just miming...

That's at least how I see it.
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Ben Bateson
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That's fair enough and a good explanation, and you've played more of the game than I have, so I can't really argue.
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Craig Hebert
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Hey guys - thanks for the comments. To be clear Pedro, just like the majority holder in Acquire, my idea is to of course keep the majority bonus for most "coat of arms" as well. I do think that it will the slow the game down a tad as you have to consider which of the Coat of Arms to take, but I don't think it would be too much.

Going to try this soon and see how it works out. The main point was to avoid the 1 or 2 point victory most complain about via the random draw.
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Pedro Pereira
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haha! Yeah did understand that you intend to keep the bonus, hence the strategic aspect. You're tight though, it will surely slow down the game since players will now be counting the number of each of the coats of arms...

Although it now comes to mind... it probably won't work so well, players will try to obtain a majority in any coats of arms that won't have been taken so far? In which case the bonus would be irrelevant...

I will try your suggestion though, I might be wrong about this and it probably will mostly depend on the playing style of each player.
 
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Craig Hebert
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Yes, some counting will happen to an extent. But just like Hidden stocks in Acquire, you keep what you have gotten private. Over the duration of an entire game, in the absence of counting, not everyone is going to know how many of each you have gotten, especially when multiple players are getting coat of arms each turn.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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I think this is a solution looking for a problem, to be honest. So let's start there: what exactly is this variant supposed to solve? Suggested here is the feeling that if you lose by a single point due to the CoAs, you at least had some control over the situation. Now: a) there at most 6 points introduced randomly at the last and b) with CoAs taken in my games to a total number of 25 at least I think it is reasonable to assume that the players had better bring along good memories.

So, with the above in mind...

— You do have some control over the random points, namely by collecting more CoAs. In addition, the rule is that at the end of the game, before the CoAs are tallied, that the players with the least CoAs discard one CoA, and the players with the most take one, thus skewing the odds in favour of the latter a little more. After all, they based a strategy based on them and took the final gamble into account as best as they could.

— 6 random points are not much given the totals at that point. My fellow players and I routinely pass the 30-mark, and on a good day we reach 40. I have never seen all 6 points awarded to just one player; I believe my record stands at 4. That means that the point difference is measured in even less points. That is not a lot, even for a random source. I am hard pressed to disentangle the effect of that point source from the combination of bad and inefficient play and the usual unpredictable player chaos in a statistically significant way.

— Suppose we play your variant completely open so the memory aspect disappears. This is a useful thought experiment, as the memory part only serves to lessen the ideal strategy. What would be a good strategy to follow in taking the CoAs? Obviously the variant was introduced to maximise your chances at winning the bonus points. If players allow themselves to be dragged into a majority race, then the players who avoid it will have their hands free elsewhere, and thus a better shot at the bonus point of a CoA type. In my opinion it therefore doesn't make much sense to try and wrest a small (with few CoAs) majority from another player. The consequence is that in games with 2 and 3 players the bonus disappears (as 6 types can be divided evenly); and with 4 players we would now be talking about 2 bonus points at most (ignoring ties). Burdening a battle for this many points with a memory aspect doesn't seem very useful; the best way would then appear to be to get rid of the bonus points altogether.

— The above assumes that everyone has an equally strong CoA strategy. That is not what I've encountered in my plays, even though CoAs are worth points in themselves: at most 2 players have a sizeable amount of them at the end. So even knowing that 6 bonus points are to be distributed, some players chose to opt for another VP path, read: mission cards. It seems a little far-fetched to assume that more control over those 6 points will now convince more people to give hoarding CoAs a try. The rest of the game itself doesn't really allow this to begin with.

All in all, I repeat: I'm not sure what the variant is supposed to solve. I can understand why a group would want to entirely eliminate the random point bonus on principle, but without changes to the fluctuating quality of the mission cards (which at times are very hard to incorporate into your currect mission path) I tend to think of the retirement of the point bonuses as a case of symptomatic treatment. (If you're interested in thinking about ways in which to tweak the mission card draw, you can start here here.)
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Pedro Pereira
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I'd have to agree with Maarten, and what he wrote was mostly what was glimpsing in the back of my head as I wrote the previous post.

The point bonus seems pointless if players know what other players are running for as in: if A goes fo CoA 1 and 2, then B just goes dor CoA 3 and 4... so that wouldn't make much sense...

All other points seem very valid as well. I will probably still be trying this suggested variant, out of curiosity on whether we were right about this or not, but it certainly points that way, and your very well written arguments strengthen that believe Maarten, thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts.
 
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Craig Hebert
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I have no problem with the mission card draw whatsoever. I am rather puzzled that one poster doesn't get what this is supposed to resolve.

Clearly, I am aiming to reduce wins by a simple fortunate random Coat of Arm pull, that swings the game.

Just as in Acquire, being able to compete for the majority in any particular Coat of Arms, ought to be a strategy a player can aim for, rather than just randomness. If it's worked in Acquire for 50 years, it's hardly a broken mechanic or concept. Sure, missions score a ton of points and coat of arms play can be an afterthought based on individual game situations.

However, choosing to go for Coat of Arms as a last minute play in a close game ought to be a viable strategy. Trying to separate yourself from a close rival by hoping for the "right lucky pull" is not.

If you choose 2 Coat of Arms that were not previously chosen, then good for you, and too bad for the other players who neglected this area.

We are going to try this because I think I am on to something, despite what the naysayers might say

Happy gaming
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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I think my effort to really think about your 'being on to something-variant' deserves more than a little unconvincing handwaving and a designation as 'naysayer'. If all you wanted was praise for your insight, consider it given. I'm out of here.
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Craig Hebert
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Quote:
I think my effort to really think about your 'being on to something-variant' deserves more than a little unconvincing handwaving and a designation as 'naysayer'. If all you wanted was praise for your insight, consider it given. I'm out of here.


"Praise - handwaving" - and someone actually thought your retort was thumb worthy - really? I can assure you I didn't bring this idea out for praise, so I rather resent the implication.

You come in here and blast the idea without even trying, and do so not in what I consider a constructive manner. I used "Naysayer" not intended in an ugly way, followed by an emoticon, suggesting I was taking it all in stride.

You are free to play anything you want and castrate new ideas that you haven't tried, if that makes you feel better. Sorry you feel you had to let me know you were "out of here".
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Kevin
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so did anyone play it in the end with the new suggestion?

what did they think?

I've just bought the game (haven't played it yet) but could see instantly the random factor coming into the final scoring rules, which might upset my game group.
 
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