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Subject: How to avoid stealing back and forth? rss

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Zakimos Kleidos
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Hi,

Pickomino (il Verme è Tratto here) is one of the games that my group of "non gaming" friends like the most; but after several plays (especially with, as I said, people not used to "gaming") I noticed a pretty big flaw in the stealing mechanics: stealing the 21 tile and the other low ones is incredibly easy, and there aren't enough reasons to go for the big tiles when the game starts going towards the end.

Sometimes it happens that, as soon as one of the players gets the 21 tile (or another low one), the others start to steal it to avoid going bust as soon as they reach 21 with their dice. This can go on and on almost indefinitely until someone finally decides to "push his luck" - sometimes with bad results!
I thought about a way to prevent this, but I couldn't come up with anything good. Any thoughts? Has this happened to anyone else?

(I know that this was addressed in Sushizock, which isn't as well suited to large groups, unfortunately)
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Billy McBoatface
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With more people we usually house rule that all tiles are flipped and un-stealable when you cover them. That way once somebody steals from you, you're immune to a 2nd stealing until you acquire a new tile; this limits thefts enough to keep things moving. With smaller groups this isn't really a problem.

Edit - I vaguely remember another rule, that with bigger groups you should always flip a tile in the middle when you go bust. We do that too, even with smaller groups.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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You do realise you have to hit the number exactly, not just exceed it, to steal?

I ask because I've never seen this as a problem, partly for this reason, and partly because it's not the best play, there seems to be some groupthink going on here.

There is one problem with the game in my opinion, the maximum number of players is too high. Better with no more than about 5. (I did once play with 8, above the official maximum. You can deduce whether I thought that was a success.)
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Zakimos Kleidos
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Dearlove wrote:
You do realise you have to hit the number exactly, not just exceed it, to steal?


Yes, I know it. As you point out, it's definitely not the best move, but it happens a lot with my friends towards the end. It's very easy to stop at 21-22-23: you just have to get close to 20 (2 worms and 2 fives, for example) and then just take the dice that let you stop at that number.

I forgot to add that this happens when there are two or more players with a stealable tile in that range: in that case, it's easier to end with a number that lets you steal something instead of risking.


 
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Zakimos Kleidos
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wmshub wrote:
With more people we usually house rule that all tiles are flipped and un-stealable when you cover them. That way once somebody steals from you, you're immune to a 2nd stealing until you acquire a new tile; this limits thefts enough to keep things moving. With smaller groups this isn't really a problem.

Edit - I vaguely remember another rule, that with bigger groups you should always flip a tile in the middle when you go bust. We do that too, even with smaller groups.


We always use the second rule you mention. The first one is good too but doesn't address my problem, as it's not about a single player suffering two or more steals, but the repeated stealing of the same, low value tiles between the players.
It's a "stall" situation that can happen when there are a lot of stealable low level tiles in play.

I was thinking about making the tile under a certain value (25 maybe?) unstealable, as they aren't as important as the high ones to win, and they can push more the other players to try to go for the higher ones.

Of course, the player can still lose this tiles if they go bust.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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If everyone else is spending all their effort on stealing bad tiles back and forth, great. Just go for higher value tiles. The success rate you'll have will be quite high enough to win.
 
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