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Subject: Negotiating only at the beginning of tower player's turn rss

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Togu Oppusunggu
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JC Lawrence has advocated for the following variant and elaborated on it on a geeklist:

The whole route is sold at once rather than step-by-step.

There's no obligation for the moving player to accept the largest net offer, and frequently a good player won't when someone is getting something too valuable to them too cheaply.

A standard negotiation will run something like, "Okay, I'm starting here and I'd like to hit a market. Who wants to go where?" At which points people will start making offers for various locations, counter offers, offers in other directions, yet more directions etc, and eventually it will all settle out, the moving player will pick one offer for each passed through location in one of the negotiated movement paths, announce his choices, and the turn will happen.

....................

I think JC Lawrence's idea is very promising after all, and the following contains my question for JC (perhaps it's easier to find the question here than on the geeklist):

JC, this does sound very promising as way to streamline the negotiating process. One question: after you finish all your negotiations and start moving the tower, what do you do when you land on building spaces that no-one offered anything for? Do you simply rule that no-one can take an action in those spaces, except for the tower player if he's able to?

Just to be clear about I'm saying: suppose I've consolidated bargains to move to spaces 1,2,4 and 5 but not to space #3. What happens when the tower disk is placed on space #3? Do we rule that nobody can take an action there (except the tower player if he has actions available) or can the other players start offering something at that point, perhaps in the hopes of being able to offer something low (i.e., taking advantage of the regular rule that an action must be taken at a building if somone has offered something)?

Anyway, I think your suggestion has merit, because the interest of the game is really in the bargains that you can make, and I for one would be willing to let go of the small intricacies of the tower movement process if it helps speed up the game.


 
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Jeff Brown
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This is actually what many of our negotiations end up sounding like. I didn't know this wasn't a common practice.
 
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J C Lawrence
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toguopp wrote:
JC, this does sound very promising as way to streamline the negotiating process. One question: after you finish all your negotiations and start moving the tower, what do you do when you land on building spaces that no-one offered anything for? Do you simply rule that no-one can take an action in those spaces, except for the tower player if he's able to?


In this area we follow the game rules as written without change. IIRC per the ToG rules if at least one player makes an offer for the action at a building passed through then that action must be sold. You refuse to sell an action at a building while not taking it yourself. If nobody offers for a building then it can be passed through without the action ebing performed.

Quote:
Just to be clear about I'm saying: suppose I've consolidated bargains to move to spaces 1,2,4 and 5 but not to space #3. What happens when the tower disk is placed on space #3?


I don't have the rules in front of me, but as I recall if a player offers me as little $1 for that action I have to sell it, otherwise nobody does it. Note in this case as the entire route is sold up front, that offer would have to be made while the route is being sold.

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Do we rule that nobody can take an action there (except the tower player if he has actions available) or can the other players start offering something at that point, perhaps in the hopes of being able to offer something low (i.e., taking advantage of the regular rule that an action must be taken at a building if somone has offered something)?


Nope, once the route is sold and agreed there is no further negotiation.
 
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Robert Martin
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clearclaw wrote:
I don't have the rules in front of me, but as I recall if a player offers me as little $1 for that action I have to sell it, otherwise nobody does it. Note in this case as the entire route is sold up front, that offer would have to be made while the route is being sold.


Almost but not quite. If someone wants to buy an action, that action must be taken by someone, but that someone could be you. You're never forced to sell an action unless you've already taken your own action.
 
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Togu Oppusunggu
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>>This is actually what many of our negotiations end up sounding like. I didn't know this wasn't a common practice.<<

Perfectly understandable, Jeff. My friends tried it three times and they never quite got the procedure completely right. See my posting titled "rules clarifications to speed up negotiations" for a precise account of what the tower player should do, given the written rules of the game.
....................

JC - just thinking about your response and possible loopholes vis a vis the regular rules, here's the procedure I've come up with that follows all that you've said:

Negotiations take place only at the beginning of the tower player's turn. As the negotiations proceed and get readjusted, the tower player should *lay out* the tower disks and readjust them as needed, so that by the end of the negotiation process, the whole path is clearly outlined and has been negotiated for. Players then simply perform the actions, starting from disk 1 and proceeding sequentially up to disk 5.

So basically, you're negotiating for the entire path (rather than one by one), following regular rules, before people take actions at the various buildings.

This implies that: (1) if there's a disk along the path where no offer had been made and no indication had been made by the tower player to take the action himself, then *no* action is taken at that disk's location.

Following regular rules also implies that: (2) if someone makes an offer (during negotiations) for an action on a disk along the (final designated) path, and no higher offer is made by anyone else, you must accept that person's offer, no matter how low it is, unless you are willing and able to take the action yourself.

............................

I think that clears it up for me. It sounds workable. It takes away some of the drama and intricacies of a space-by-space bargaining process, but the main interest of the game is really in the trades that you make, and so the space-by-space intricacies are probably not worth the extra time involved.

Update: As I look at (2) again, I think the procedure is still a little problematic given the regular rules that you can change your offers up or *down*. There really is a reason why the space-by-space written rules are the way they are - it gives some scope for someone to bargain low and prevents a continual downward revision of offers that could go on when you're negotiating for the whole path at once and see what other players are getting.

To use the procedure outlined here, one has to either (1) rule out any downward changes to an offer (hard to implement because of the different kinds of things to offer) or (2) allow the tower player to refuse an offer if it's not high enough and declare no action at such a disputed disk or (3) figure out a process that prevents a continual downward revision of all the offers along the final path. I suspect that there's some sort of "gentleman's agreement" about the whole process as used by JC's group, and perhaps that might be enough.
 
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J C Lawrence
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toguopp wrote:
if someone makes an offer (during negotiations) for an action on a disk along the (final designated) path, and no higher offer is made by anyone else, you must accept that person's offer, no matter how low it is, unless you are willing and able to take the action yourself.


False. You can accept one of the lower offers if there are any. There is no mandate that you must accept the most valuable offer.

Quote:
Update: As I look at (2) again, I think the procedure is still a little problematic given the regular rules that you can change your offers up or *down*.


In practice this is not a problem. Yes, it happens, but as soon as the motion becomes significant the other competing routes, and there are usually at least three under discussion, start becoming more lucrative. Also, the active player closes the deal before this can happen.

Quote:
(3) figure out a process that prevents a continual downward revision of all the offers along the final path.


There is no single final path. There are multiple potential routes that the various players are contesting for actions on. At some point the active player says "Okay, I'm doing this route and accepting this this this and that offer, and taking these action(s) for myself. One. Two. Three. Done! Okay first step is you,, next step is you, this step is me, next step is..."

Quote:
I suspect that there's some sort of "gentleman's agreement" about the whole process as used by JC's group, and perhaps that might be enough.


Not at all.
 
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Togu Oppusunggu
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>>False. You can accept one of the lower offers if there are any. There is no mandate that you must accept the most valuable offer.<<

That's not what I meant. I'm refering to the written rule that if someone makes an offer for a space and he's the *only* one making that offer, you have to accept his offer, no matter how *low* it is, unless you're willing and able to take the action yourself.

I think this is one aspect of the standard gameplay that's missed a little by your procedure, and if one carries forward the implications, it may create a problematic for the sell-the-whole-route-together procedure, because in the end, there is only one (winning) bidder at each disk, so each bidder would claim the right to lower their bid as much as they want.

Anyway, it's a bit of an esoteric point, so I still have hope that your procedure works fine in practice.
 
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