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Subject: How is this game "broken"? rss

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Adam Adams
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I've heard from quite a few people that the game is broken. I'm not exactly sure what they mean though. Do they mean broken as in unfairly sided? Do they mean broken as in if you preform this FOO Strategy, you'll win every time?

I apologize if this had been covered before, but I'm interested in knowing just how this game's broken.
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Ken Dilloo
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Been covered a few times.

Basically, there is a British strategy that if they execute it flawlessly, or almost so, they will win 100% of the time. In fact, there was a guy who played something like 600 games, and had a perfect record.

Many attempts have been made to balance this, but the game is so finely balanced, otherwise, that it throws off the rest of the game.

If you are new, I can't recommend enough just staying out of the forums, and exploring the game. It is a flawed masterpiece.
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Christopher Dearlove
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Just read the other threads. Please. Another 100+ posting thread just happened, and may not have petered out yet. And nothing new was added, just the same people, making the same comments.

Or, plan B, don't. Some have been genuinely happier not knowing.

But if you really want to know

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There is a way of playing - it has a popular name, but I'm not giving it here - as the British that is essentially unbeatable. It's not a simple strategy, as it has to adapt to French play. And you need to be quite good to pull it off - or very good against the very best French players. It still works with various proposed rule changes, though some necessitate significant changes to it. The only rule changes that have been identified that definitely defeat it turn it into a game where the French become unbeatable. The jury may be out on some proposed rule changes, but that's not completely clear. But despite this, many still rate the game highly, either through not knowing the approach, choosing not to use the approach, making changes that make it too hard for them to execute it, or by playing a cut/choose approach where one player proposes variant rules, and the other player then chooses sides.
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Aaron Bohm
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Without spoiling it for you (since the game can still be fun until you discover how to break it), the British have a series of moves that sets up a certain strategy, known as the Halifax Hammer, and while it's not necessarily the exact same moves every game, a good British player who plays flawlessly will essentially always win against the French player.

IE regardless of what a French player does against this strategy carried out to it's fullest potential, he/she will ultimately lose hence the legitimate "broken" status it tends to receive.

Many people will say it is not an automatic win for the British player however I tend to believe the posts from the late Tim Seitz A.K.A. "Out4Blood" who I believe had a 100% win rating with the British using the strategy. Admittedly he would say he has won with the French against a British opponent using the same strategy however he claimed this was only because the British player used the strategy sub-optimally. At the very least, it puts the British player in a very, very strong position against a French player.

There has since been another game created by Martin Wallace with similar mechanics that doesn't have this issue and many speculate this is the true successor, or "fixed" version, of the game.

This topic has been beat to death ad nausium and has a tendency to start fires so it's best to avoid mentioning it too much since just about everything there is to say on the topic can be found in this games forum history.
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Scott Nelson
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here's the best advice I heard:

If your opponent starts early to place his or her cards into the reserve (or whatever it is called), slap them in the face with a wet fish. (low count of cards in hand is part of the strategy)
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Martin Smith
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Psyga315 wrote:
I've heard from quite a few people that the game is broken. I'm not exactly sure what they mean though. Do they mean broken as in unfairly sided? Do they mean broken as in if you preform this FOO Strategy, you'll win every time?

I apologize if this had been covered before, but I'm interested in knowing just how this game's broken.


Ask yourself this - would you know it was "broken" if you didn't read BGG ? Exactly - so stop reading BGG and go and play the game !
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Austin Andersen
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Adam Adams
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Flamehearted wrote:

Ask yourself this - would you know it was "broken" if you didn't read BGG?


I actually didn't hear it from there. I heard it from a guy I talked to at a board game shop when I was learning how to play Dominion and I told him I learned a bit about deck building games from AFAOS. That's when he said it was broken. I also heard it a few times from some reviews on Youtube.

Thank you guys for explaining to me and I again apologize for asking a question that has been asked countless times.
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Gavan Brown
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Adam, the game is still amazing. I think that's why everyone is so passionately angry about it... If the game sucked, no one would care, and we wouldn't still be pissing and moaning about it over 2 years after it was released. laugh
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Adam Adams
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RoosterJuice wrote:
Adam, the game is still amazing. I think that's why everyone is so passionately angry about it... If the game sucked, no one would care, and we wouldn't still be pissing and moaning about it over 2 years after it was released. laugh


I'm not saying it's bad. I mean, I'm still gonna have fun with it and frankly, I'm not considering trying to preform certain strategies to better my chances any time in the future. Mostly use them as suggestions for what to do.
 
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Steve Wraxall
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I'm a relatively new gamer, but with a fairly healthy collection.

Simple question, if both players agree to not use the HH approach, is this game worth purchasing and playing?
 
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Paulo Santoro
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Please get this file, use it and be happy.

I see this debate as obsolete.

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Clyde W
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heavyriffs wrote:
I'm a relatively new gamer, but with a fairly healthy collection.

Simple question, if both players agree to not use the HH approach, is this game worth purchasing and playing?
I don't believe so, but others disagree. It's really hard to say how you'll feel unless you play it after understanding the broken strategy.
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Steve Wraxall
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PauloSantoro wrote:
Please get this file, use it and be happy.

I see this debate as obsolete.



I don't own the game yet, but have considered purchasing it for a while now. Therefore I have no current desire to download files that give extra rules, or randomize/balance the game.
Don't mean to be rude but your response doesn't answer my simple question, if you were indeed responding to my question.

Again not meaning to be rude, but new people are introduced to board gaming every day, your 'I see this debate as obsolete' doesn't apply to all and sundry.
Simple question, can both players agree to not play the HH strategy and the game isn't 'broken'?
If I'm late to the game and this has been answered previously apologies, yes/no answers to my simple question will suffice.
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Steve Wraxall
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clydeiii wrote:
I don't believe so, but others disagree. It's really hard to say how you'll feel unless you play it after understanding the broken strategy.


Many thanks for a straight answer Clyde.
However I'm coming from the angle of never having played the game and still considering purchasing it. I know the name of the HH strategy, but have never felt the need to research it, nor would I. I play games for enjoyment, if I win then all the better, but I'm not a type that feels the need to search out a dominant strategy and own people through it, nor cry myself to sleep if I lose.

Could you expand on why you think the game is unworkable if you both agree to avoid the HH angle at all please?


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Clyde W
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heavyriffs wrote:
clydeiii wrote:
I don't believe so, but others disagree. It's really hard to say how you'll feel unless you play it after understanding the broken strategy.


Many thanks for a straight answer Clyde.
However I'm coming from the angle of never having played the game and still considering purchasing it. I know the name of the HH strategy, but have never felt the need to research it, nor would I. I play games for enjoyment, if I win then all the better, but I'm not a type that feels the need to search out a dominant strategy and own people through it, nor cry myself to sleep if I lose.

Could you expand on why you think the game is unworkable if you both agree to avoid the HH angle at all please?


If you both know the strategy, is very hard to play the game without implementing the strategy, since it is powerful. You just feel as if you're playing sub-optimally. It's like playing Agricola and forcing yourself to never make babies. It feels wrong to me. Sure, you can do it, but why not play a game that doesn't feel that way?
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Steve Wraxall
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clydeiii wrote:
If you both know the strategy, is very hard to play the game without implementing the strategy, since it is powerful. You just feel as if you're playing sub-optimally. It's like playing Agricola and forcing yourself to never make babies. It feels wrong to me. Sure, you can do it, but why not play a game that doesn't feel that way?


Thanks.

I guess I'm just curious as to whether a game that so many thought was a diamond, then a flawed diamond, could be played if both parties were aware of and avoided the flaw.

Does 'sub-optimally' detract from the game itself that much though, if both parties are playing for the love of the game, rather than a need to win?
(I realise that is quite an individual and personal question however and that the game is designed with a 'win' in mind)

Again thanks for your assistance regardless.
 
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Ken Dilloo
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PauloSantoro wrote:
Please get this file, use it and be happy.

I see this debate as obsolete.



I couldn't disagree more. Most, if not all of these rules just break the game in different ways. Some in utterly ridiculous, absurd ways. Frankly, these were a short cut solution to fixing a problem that might not have a solution. Bah. If you can get a smidge more mileage out of the game with these, great; but none of these in any way solve anything.

I partly agree with Clyde. It is a must play game, as it is enormously innovative, fun, and tightly balanced ,outside HH. Play online, on Yucata. Geekmail me and I will gladly play some non-HH games. Buying the physical copy becomes a race to get value before the HH is discovered, and more importantly, optimized.

As Clyde said, once the cat is out of the bag, it is tough to stay away from. I tried to come up with different strategies, but mostly ended up as a modified HH. Tough to leave that bullet in the gun, when shit gets real. After awhile, I tried to seek out newer players, because you could try different things. I have played somewhere close to 300 games, almost all after HH went horribly public, and I still find it interesting.
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Steve Wraxall
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bigloo33 wrote:
As Clyde said, once the cat is out of the bag, it is tough to stay away from. I tried to come up with different strategies, but mostly ended up as a modified HH.

Would that mean you recommend the purchase, I'm guessing so?

I've wanted to buy/try this game forever, no knowledge of HH and tempted to shell out for it anyway.
A game that has a touch of genius, yet is flawed, is better than a flawed game that touches on genius I guess. Though some would argue at there being no difference...
 
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Ken Dilloo
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Well, people value things differently. I have played a lot of games, mostly online, and still find it interesting. Absolutely feel like I got my monies worth, but I still wish Martin someone would find a silver bullet solution to fix it, once and for all. Make your own mind. As I said, be glad to walk you through a game on-line.......
 
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Paulo Santoro
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That file I showed is not an invention from my head.

It shows MARTIN WALLACE's rules that are used in Yucata as a BALANCING TOOL. Nobody told you that? Also: haven't you downloaded the file just to read it before telling "I won't download", etc? I stopped here to give you a tip, I was not supposed to convince you to be helped!

One player picks 1-6 rules to apply to the game. The other side chooses the side. If the first players picks badly, his problem. If the second one chooses badly, his problem.

So, if the game was broken in a "utterly ridiculous, absurd way", bad play from players.

You are not going to buy the game? You are not going to play the game? I can't care less. I'm very happy with the game with this good change. It's a shame that people insist in keep other people off with this "broken" thing, but I can't rule the world, so each one live as desired.

You can also try to play Caverna.
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heavyriffs wrote:
clydeiii wrote:
If you both know the strategy, is very hard to play the game without implementing the strategy, since it is powerful. You just feel as if you're playing sub-optimally. It's like playing Agricola and forcing yourself to never make babies. It feels wrong to me. Sure, you can do it, but why not play a game that doesn't feel that way?


Thanks.

I guess I'm just curious as to whether a game that so many thought was a diamond, then a flawed diamond, could be played if both parties were aware of and avoided the flaw.

Does 'sub-optimally' detract from the game itself that much though, if both parties are playing for the love of the game, rather than a need to win?
(I realise that is quite an individual and personal question however and that the game is designed with a 'win' in mind)

Again thanks for your assistance regardless.

If what you like to focus on is having fun and not winning at all costs, I'd say the game is good, because I don't think playing sub-optimally detracts from it. Trying new and different strategies is rewarding and interesting.

For me the game is thrilling and agonizing. I like it both when everything works like clockwork and when you have a plan and desperately want to do something but the cards you need don't come up from your deck and you need to cycle through it as fast as possible to defend from your opponent and dammit now he's raided one of my towns where are my natives?! and when they show up I have no money! sell this stuff! now I'll show him!! take this and this and this... and finally you realize you've been all caught in the game and forgot everything else.

From your collection it seems we don't like the same things, though, so I'd try it (on yucata, if you have no chance to play FtF) before buying. If after a couple of games you like it, then it's probably a good choice for you.


I'd still avoid reading strategy and just play, even if you find out how to always win, there's plenty of other choices you can make and they definitely do not feel bad to play.
It is a bit overwhelming at first, though, especially if you're trying to learn it through yucata.
 
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PauloSantoro wrote:
That file I showed is not an invention from my head.

It shows MARTIN WALLACE's rules that are used in Yucata as a BALANCING TOOL.

One player picks 1-6 rules to apply to the game. The other side chooses the side. If the first players picks badly, his problem. If the second one chooses badly, his problem.

What you describe is the metagame, Wallace's RRG is choose three at random by rolling dice.

The choose-rules-at-random random rules generator can throw some nice curveballs and it can definitely be fun. I enjoy it myself. But it's not balancing the game in any way.

The metagame (as you described it, one player decides which rules to apply to the game, the other chooses sides) is an entirely different thing. It can be used to try balance the game a bit, but in reality it is balanced only if both players share the same knowledge and experience, otherwise who chooses the rules usually knows better the new rules system this creates and so can exploit it better. Which would make it unbalanced again, just in a different way.
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Steve Wraxall
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Fede__ wrote:

If what you like to focus on is having fun and not winning at all costs, I'd say the game is good, because I don't think playing sub-optimally detracts from it. Trying new and different strategies is rewarding and interesting.


Think that's sold it for me, many thanks.
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Paulo Santoro
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Fede__ wrote:
PauloSantoro wrote:
That file I showed is not an invention from my head.

It shows MARTIN WALLACE's rules that are used in Yucata as a BALANCING TOOL.

One player picks 1-6 rules to apply to the game. The other side chooses the side. If the first players picks badly, his problem. If the second one chooses badly, his problem.

What you describe is the metagame, Wallace's RRG is choose three at random by rolling dice.

The choose-rules-at-random random rules generator can throw some nice curveballs and it can definitely be fun. I enjoy it myself. But it's not balancing the game in any way.

The metagame (as you described it, one player decides which rules to apply to the game, the other chooses sides) is an entirely different thing. It can be used to try balance the game a bit, but in reality it is balanced only if both players share the same knowledge and experience, otherwise who chooses the rules usually knows better the new rules system this creates and so can exploit it better. Which would make it unbalanced again, just in a different way.


That's the first time I hear that a game is unbalanced because the better player wins.
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