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Subject: Player can't win rss

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Hello
We play a game with void card and 6 cubes. After a few rounds and placing some cubes we see that one player can't win because he had not enough planets to place his last cube. That was a little disappointed because until that we didn't find any "bugs" in this balanced game.
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Thiago Aranha
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Did you use one of the official board setups? It should be impossible for that to happen on any of them. If you're creating your own board setup, it's important to follow the instruction detailed by the designer, otherwise you create these problematic boards.
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I use the "The Empty Center" from the official layouts for 3 player maps with 6 cubes. I try to rebuild our situation to check it and to see what we maybe make wrong. With that layout you have just 19 Places for cubes in a game where 18 cubes used. The three left 8th planets looks wrong for me and maybe two of them should be 9th. Because in our game the left three 8th planets belongs to the same players and so the third player can't contructed cubes on 6 different planets anymore. Then we tried to find a answer for it. Our only way out where that the third player must attack and attack and attack to get the card to move a cube from one planet to another but that should not be the normal way or?
Please can someone check this layout and clear the situation.
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Thiago Aranha
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Ok, now you've got me worried.

I set up The Empty Center and ran the test the designer proposes, and you're right! One player can be easily shut-out. On a normal distribuition one player was unable to place his last cube. And when I distributed it so that two players went for the same planets, then the last player had nowhere to place his TWO last cubes!

This is really worrysome, so I started testing all the other 3-player maps. Turns out one player is shut-out if the other two go for the same planets in the Beta Sector, String Theory, Origin of Thought, Foundation, Pivot Point and Edge of Oblivion.

But by far the most problematic is Quandary. Even just following the standard test, without trying to have two players go for the same planets, the last player was unable to place THREE of his cubes, that's half of all his cubes.

I'll test the 4-player maps later on to see if this also comes up. I'm confident the 2-player maps are safe from that. But anyway, I think Eric better take a good look into this!
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Germany
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Hello
Did i read right that the standard basic map without void could go that someone can't win and 6 other layouts are unplayable?. That could be a desaster. We played that basic layout some times and never had that problem. Maybe because you just need to place 5 cubes. But what you mean with "following the standard test"? Is there a easy quick check for the layouts?
 
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Thiago Aranha
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I'm not saying they are unplayable, I'm just saying that it can happen, if the game flows in a very specific way, that by the end of the game one of the players might realize he has no way of winning unless he gets the card that allows you to move cubes around.

On the little sheet with the maps there are some instructions for creating your own maps. The most important aspect of this, and something the designer has mentioned he struggled quite a bit with, is making sure this "shut-out" situation is not going to happen. However, it would seem he didn't take into account the absolute worst-case scenario that can happen in a 3-player game, where two of the players go for the same planets, blocking them for the 3rd player, who eventually can end up with no planets to explore.
 
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Thiago Aranha
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So, I tested the 4-player maps...

I was sad to see that there are still some shut-outs possible in the 4-player maps, though it would usually take some deliberate game-breaking playing to create these situations. But it can happen in Spiral Nebula, Galactic Rotation, Gordian Knot, Suprcollider, Doppler Effect and Helix (on these last two I was able to shut-out TWO cubes of the last player).

And Nexus proved a bit of a problem, seeing as I don't have enough tiles to set it up! It asks for six 9-planets, but I only have four. Is that perhaps a problem with my package, or was the mission created without taking into consideration what tiles actually came in the box? My box contains:
- Eight 7-planets
- Eight 8-planets
- Four 9-planets
- Four 10-planets

And this issue could have been very easily avoided by making both sides of each tile not identical, but with different values.
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Germany
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Ok
I see there are many layouts which can run in shut-outs. Did someone have some ideas to bring this risk near zero? I think many player who like the game stop playing it when it happen to much in there games.
Btw: i have the same contains and i wonder too why the plantes tiles have the same number .
 
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Thiago Aranha
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I've yet to test it, but I think most of those maps can be fixed simply by raising by 1 the number of one of the lower planets.
 
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Eric Zimmerman
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Hi everyone. Thanks for the feedback.

Just to calm everyone down a bit, there may be a misprint or two on the map sheet (yes, Nexus unfortunately requires more 9 planets than come with the game) but I just did some quick checks on some of the map layouts mentioned here and the shut-out situation isn't happening.

Remember when you check for shut-out by following the guidelines in the rules, begin by putting Quantum Cubes in the proper starting planet locations. Also - and this is a little tricky - remember that every player doesn't need to place *every* cube. Only one player (the winner) will end up placing their final cube. The others in a worst-case scenario would place all their cubes but one. So try and follow the steps *exactly* as outlined on the map sheet. I imagine that this may be causing the appearance of shut-out the maps that are mentioned in this thread when in fact there is no risk of shut-out.

That said, it certainly is possible that there may be a misprint or two on the map sheet - it is known to happen in first editions. Also, on a couple of the maps, I was able to make a simple assumption or two about where players would initially place planets which let me skate right up to the line of risking shut-out.

But given the concerns here I am happy to re-check all of the published game maps. I just spent the weekend running the PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail conference here at the NYU Game Center and I am leaving for BBG Con in a couple of days, so my schedule is a bit of a shambles as a result - so it may be a week or so before I have time to get through them all.

Please be patient in the meantime and know that the situation - at least for the maps I checked this afternoon - is totally fine.

And thanks again everyone for your continued involvement! You are all making Quantum better.
-eric
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Thiago Aranha
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Hi Eric, I'm really sorry if my comments came across as doomsday preaching. I love the game and greatly respect your work.

But trust me when I say that in all those maps I mentioned, shut-out situations are possible. However, that doesn't mean it's LIKELY in many of the cases. As I mentioned before, I tested out absolutely worst-case scenarios, and specially in most of the 4-player maps, it would require some extremely odd and counter-intuitive playstyle for such a situation to occur.

So for many of the maps I mentioned, I don't consider this possibility of a shut-out to be a problem. If a player ends up shut-out in such an unlikely way, he probably deserved it. However, there are some maps where shut-outs do seem to be possible in a more "normal" game.
 
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George Leach
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2p Maps

Wave Function (6 cube map) - If player one takes all the 7s he has 5 cubes in play while player two can only achieve max 5 cubes.

Terra Major (7 cube map) - If player one takes all the 7s he has 6 cubes in play while player two can only achieve max 6 cubes.

3p Maps

Critical Density (5 cube map) - If player one and player two each take a 7 and two of the 8s (the same two) player three can only reach max 4 cubes.

String Theory (5 cube map) - If player one and player two each take each other's 8 spot, share another 8 spot and one of them takes the 7 spot then player three can only reach max 4 cubes.

Origin of Thought (6 cube map) - If player one and player two take each other's 8 spot, a 7 each and share two more 8s then player three can only reach max 4 cubes.

Equinox (6 cube map) - If player one and player two each take two 7s and share two eights then player three can only reach max 5 cubes.

Ouroboros (6 cube map) - If player one (starting on an 8) takes two 7s and shares two 8s with player two who also takes the last 7 and the 8 that player one starts on then player three can only reach max 4 cubes.

Outer Reaches (7 cube map) - If player one (starting on a 7) takes two 7s player two's 8 and shares two 8s with player two who takes three 7s as well, player three can only reach max 6 cubes.

Foundation (7 cube map) - If player one (starting on a 7) takes player two's 8 and shares four 8s with player two who takes the 7 player three can only reach 5 cubes.

(I'll leave the four player maps for another day)

Not being able to access the winning number of cubes is an issue that might be best remedied by allowing the player to double up on a planet that they already have a cube on (if they can prove that restriction). Otherwise you'll be restricted to fairly boring open maps. Further, to be in that position the other players must be just about to win so you won't experience much pain before the game end. The situations described are fairly specific and if you have let things get to this position you may have yourself to blame. This doesn't seem game breaking but something for more experienced players to be aware of.

The maps where you can be restricted to more than one cube of victory might be worth fixing.
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George Leach
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So, I got interested, here is a review of all 4p maps with issues from the base game and then all maps using the expansion. I'll list the map title; then the number of cubes required for victory ; then the number of cubes short a player can be restricted to; then the number of cubes the other players need to create the restriction {x,y,z}.

4p Maps
Nexus____________ ; 1 ; {5,5,5}
Spiral Nebula____ ; 1 ; {3,3,3}
Tesseract________ ; 1 ; {4,5,5}
Galactic Rotation ; 1 ; {5,5,5}
The Great Expanse ; 1 ; {4,4,5}
______________or_ ; 2 ; {5,5,5}
Event Horizon____ ; 1 ; {4,5,5}
Gordian Knot_____ ; 1 ; {4,5,5}
______________or_ ; 2 ; {5,5,5}

2p Expansion Maps
From Dust to Dust ; 1 ; {3}
The Great Plan___ ; 1 ; {5}

3p Expansion Maps
Pivot Point______ ; 1 ; {3,3}
Quandary_________ ; 3 ; {4,5}
The Empty Center_ ; 2 ; {4,5}
Edge of Oblivion_ ; 1 ; {6,6}

4p Expansion Maps
Super Collider___ ; 1 ; {3,3,3}
Brownian Motion__ ; 1 ; {3,4,4}
______________or_ ; 2 ; {4,5,5}
Doppler Effect___ ; 1 ; {3,4,4}
Helix____________ ; 1 ; {4,4,5}
______________or_ ; 2 ; {5,5,6}


I then tried to play a solitaire 2p game in which one player tries to take the key planet to reduce the opponent's opportunity for a victory to getting the 'Relocation' card. I failed and it would have required very very bad luck on the defending player's part to turn out differently.

That's not to say it's the case for all the maps that have issues and there is the problem of a new player getting caught out by experienced players. Though it would involve each of the experienced players targetting that new player. That wouldn't make for a fun game in any case.

I'd posit that this isn't a major issue for most maps. This list does highlight a couple of maps that are more susceptible, 'Spiral Nebula' in particular.

Nonetheless I'm a little surprised at the gaps in map design, thorough rules and the unbuildable map (Nexus). I really like the game but does this really represent the product of Eric the Game Design Theorist?
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Jugular wrote:
Not being able to access the winning number of cubes is an issue that might be best remedied by allowing the player to double up on a planet that they already have a cube on (if they can prove that restriction).

How about using an automatic Relocation?


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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Home made rule we used: If you can't place anymore cubes, if you get 6 domination, you are allowed instead to place a cube to Relocate a cube from a planet to any other planet.
 
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George Leach
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I think a better option might be to have an invisible 'Relocate' card always as part of the research card array. That way you can always use a research action to relocate.
 
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Tom Vandeweyer
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For those who haven't seen it yet: there's a thread with official rule changes right here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/14271035#14271035

One of those changes is called QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT, which fixes the 'player gets shut out' scenario.
 
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