Games where you MUST complete X before end of game or you LOSE regardless
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I've recently noticed a nice condition in some games which interested me. The condition is that a player must complete a certain action before the game ends or is automatically eliminated at the end of the game. So you can finish with the most points or whatever, but because you neglected to do a certain thing, you're out. This is not the same as being eliminated during the game, or losing because you cannot do a thing (I'm thinking of Forbidden Island where you lose if both temples are lost before you get that treasure, or the helipad is lost before you escape, or a player drowns). It's also not the same as being eliminated at the game end because you were too something (see the Hab & Gut entry below).

The condition rule interests me as it is a form of balance and control. It forces a player into performing certain actions that they may not want to do, thereby spending resources including opportunity which they may have used to better advantage. It seems to me to be balancing in that way, in that it can break a cycle and give other players an opening or opportunity.

I also wonder if it appears in the form where you must give something to another player or help them, rather than just cross a hurdle yourself, which is the only form I can think of.

Please add valid examples.
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1. Board Game: Edo [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1011]
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This is where the rule struck me recently and made me notice it elsewhere.

In EDO, you must build a house in EDO, the central city, before the end of the game or you automatically lose.
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2. Board Game: Fortuna [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2369]
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In Fortuna, you do stuff but you must progress along a path into the city. If you fail to get inside the city gates before the game end, you automatically lose.
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3. Board Game: Mississippi Queen [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1586]
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In the advanced race, you must collect two passengers, each one from a different station, before you finish, otherwise you automatically lose.
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4. Board Game: Hab & Gut [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:976]
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I feel this one fits the condition. I was wrong. As advised below, this rule guarantees a player will be eliminated. It does control behaviour, but one player can never complete X in this case, so breaks the condition. Likewise for High Society and Cleopatra and the Society of Architects.

*****

In Hab & Gut, you buy and sell shares to make money for yourself, most money wins. But during the game, you book shares for your client, and sell them at the halfway point, and then sell the next lot at the end of game. The player that makes the least money for their client is eliminated.

I like this because the client cash amounts are declared at the halfway point, and so it forces players into concentrating more on their client, at cost to their own gain. So if Player A made 400, B 300, C 200 and D 100 for their client, then clearly player D must do a lot of work to avoid being eliminated. But player A cannot just rest on their laurels and do nothing, they still have to work for their client as the share prices haven't peaked out yet, and so A could end up last by the end of game. But putting a lot of valuable shares into your client's book will get you over the hurdle but cost you the game! Every penny your client makes could have been in your pocket!
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5. Board Game: Crown of Roses [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:4633]
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On a limb here, but they were playing this yesterday and I'm sure they said you had to do something before the end game or you lose. Will check but this might get deleted.

After some discussion, it seems that...

In order to win, you must have the support and votes of Lords in Parliament. These Lords will abandon you if you have no heir. You gain a senior heir and later may gain a junior heir (and you may gain a replacement but we're unsure).

If your senior heir is killed (in combat for example) or leaves, and you have no junior heir in place, your Lords defect and so you cannot be King and so cannot win.

So I think it scrapes past the rule on the basis that you can satisfy other winning conditions, but without an heir, you lose.

But I think the rule I'm thinking is that you have to take a specific action or achieve a specific threshold, rather than retain a resource to satisfy a win.

So I'm undecided.
 
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You must have one of your politicans advanced to the Senate by the end or you're not eligible to win, no matter how many points you have.
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We played this for the first time a couple of weeks ago so this is what came to my mind.

Unless you complete both your Doomsday Machine AND an Escape Plan you are not even eligible to win. The guy who we thought was winning was at the end one short of something or another and therefore actually lost.
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8. Board Game: Ladies & Gentlemen [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1875]
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If you go to the ball without a dress it doesn't matter how many points you make. You do not get to go.
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Doesn't matter how fast you go; if you don't stop to Hail Caesar, you cannot win the game.
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In this Yahtzee type game you bid to be able to roll and win the card and win the money for completing the card. Also each player who is not rolling bids on whether or not the roller will be successful.
You can win a lot of money just from betting on whether the roller is successful or not but to be able to win the game you must have won a card.
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11. Board Game: Down Under [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:10528]
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When playing Down Under with the animal scoring, (as you should) if you have not played your dingo tile by the end of the game, you automatically lose.
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12. Board Game: Livingstone [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2084]
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You must have more money donated to the queen at game end than the least donated by any other player or else you automatically lose.

Edit: Posted this without reading the discussion on Hab and Gut above. My bad
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13. Board Game: Augsburg 1520 [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2047]
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You cannot score more than 25 points unless you first build a church (if you score more than 25 points but you do not have a church first, the points beyond 25 are forfeited). Likewise, you are capped at 45 points unless you have a cathedral.

It's been a long time since I played, but I recall there are not as many cathedrals available as there are players, so somebody's guaranteed to have his/her score capped at 45 and probably lose.
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14. Board Game: Antiquity [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:220]
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In Antiquity, you only check for victory conditions if you have built a church (the saint patron you pick then defines your victory condition).

While this will probably never happen in a game, not having a church automatically prevents one from winning.
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15. Board Game: Utopia Engine [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2566]
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You must find and assemble all 6 parts of the Utopia Engine, and then activate the engine, before time runs out.
 
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16. Board Game: Android: Infiltration [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1242]
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You're raiding a corporate lab and seeking to loot as much valuable information as you can, but the game ends when the facility goes into lockdown, and if you fail to get out before then, you're arrested and eliminated.
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17. Board Game: The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1083]
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On the above basis, players must escape from the temple before the boulder blocks the exit. Any player not killed but trapped behind the boulder is eliminated since they starve to death. So you must escape before the exit is blocked, and your escape is before the game end, so it fits the condition.
 
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18. Board Game: Hare & Tortoise [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1072]
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I'm not sure if this counts, but I'll go ahead and add it anyway.

Each player starts with 3 lettuce cards, and must skip a turn to eat a lettuce. A player cannot finish if thay are still holding a lettuce card. Obviously, 'cannot finish' isn't the same as 'you lose' but it was the line 'It forces a player into performing certain actions that they may not want to do, thereby spending resources including opportunity which they may have used to better advantage.' in the header that made me think this might have a place on the list?
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19. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:85]
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The game ends immediately after either three sucessful or three failed quests; if the Loyal Servents of Arthur sucessfully complete three quests but fail to protect Merlin's identity from the Minions of Modred then they still lose.
 
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20. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1076]
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If a player doesn't return to Greenland before the end of the game, they automatically lose.

Players know exactly how much time they have before the end of the game, so there is no lamenting "but I didn't know the game was going to end".
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21. Board Game: Fallen City of Karez [Average Rating:4.54 Overall Rank:15184]
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If players cannot make Karez into City state at the end of the game, all players lose.
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22. Board Game: DungeonQuest [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1282]
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If a player doesn't make it to a castle tower before the end of the game's 26 turns they lose regardless of how much treasure they have.
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23. Board Game: The Cave [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1687]
Russ Williams
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In the spirit of Dungeonquest and Expedition: Northwest Passage:

In The Cave: "A team which does not return to the home base
automatically loses and receives no points."

The phrasing is interesting and raises a linguistic/semantic issue: you could argue that The Cave is not appropriate for the list because with the rules as written, you simply receive 0 points if you don't return to the base, and so you lose "naturally" by a low score, instead of losing regardless of the points you gained. But the effect seems indistinguishable from losing because you failed to do X even though you had many points.
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