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Subject: Does anyone else feel the duelling mechanic is broken? rss

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Karl Fast
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The 3-gun tile is not the only way to get firepower.

When you buy a ranch or a mine you get one gun tile. When you buy a prison you get two gun tiles. Furthermore, you keep those guns for the entire game, whereas the 3-gun tile is only for the current round.

Choosing the mercenary also give you three guns for the current round.

In addition, any meeples that you do not place on the board during the round also count as firepower when you perform the actions and duels. And if you lose a duel, that meeple goes back to you immediately, giving your further firepower for upcoming duels in that round.

There are many ways to counter the 3-gun tile.

And the sheriff is a powerful way to counteract the 3-gun tile, but it must be played proactively rather than reactively.
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karlfast wrote:
The 3-gun tile is not the only way to get firepower.

When you but a ranch or a mine you get one gun tile. When you buy a prison you get two tiles. Furthermore, you keep those guns for the entire game, whereas the 3-gun tile is only for the current round.

Choosing the mercenary also give you three guns.

In addition, any meeples that you do not place on the board during the round also count as firepower when you perform the actions and duels. And if you lose a duel, that meeple goes back to you immediately, giving your further firepower for upcoming duels in that round.

There are many ways to counter the 3-gun tile.

And the sheriff is a powerful way to counteract the 3-gun tile, but it must be played proactively rather than reactively.


This...

Sounds like you have been playing wrong
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Philip Chapin
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Overall, I find the Outlaw one of the weaker personalities to take. You are last in turn order and have a low cash limit...so if you take the Outlaw, you really need to get one of the victory point spots on the worker placement track so you can most efficiently convert the dollars you can't keep for the next round to the most points. Strategy wise, very often the Sheriff Meeple will be placed right away onto the best victory point square (since Sheriff goes first), weakening the Outlaw play (Or the sheriff can take the firepower token right away, and prevent the outlaw from getting it). Additionally, by taking the Outlaw, you weaken your dollar position in the next round, and are forced to dedicated cowboys to money making spots on the track.

So aside from the Outlaw being a deterrent itself, there are other ways to mitigate his effects that haven't been previously mentioned. One way is the church. If you have a high profiting building on the board, place the church right next to it to protect it. Also, in terms of firepower, the Captain can directly compete with the Outlaw. With the Yellow side you can buy up to 3 more cowboys which is equivalent to the three token, plus gives you the flexibility of using more cowboys on the board if needed. The red side Captain lets you buy up to two permanently held gun tokens (red side outlaw only gives you firepower two, temporarily).

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Karl Fast
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The first game I played everyone went for guns. The second game someone worked on figuring out a way to do well without guns, and by avoiding gunfights. They won. I once played a game with the Gold & Guns expansion where I won without buying any buildings in the first three rounds, and only one or two key buildings in the final round.

The point is that Carson City allows for a surprising amount of creative strategies in reaction to what other players do. Yes, this is a worker placement game in which you can challenge (duel) where people place their workers. However, that doesn't mean that dueling is the "correct" strategy.

In this way the game reminds me a bit of Hansa Teutonica. The mechanics, of course, are dramatically different. But what's similar is how people approach the game. There is an assumption about the "correct" way to play. In HT, new players assume that upgrading your actions is the only way to win, when in fact it's quite possible to win without upgrading your actions right away, and never upgrading beyond three actions. Similarly, new Carson City players assume that the obvious path to victory is upgrading your firepower and having gunfights. After all, that is what distinguishes Carson City from similar worker placement games, most notably Caylus. But repeated play will reveal other paths to victory. Don't trust your assumptions about what's the correct way to play this.

Guns can be a powerful strategy, but there are many ways to counteract that. For me, the pleasure of this game is how it rewards creative play in response to what other players do. This is even more true when you play wwith expansion (which, sadly, is extremely difficult to obtain).
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Phil S. Stein
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Muse23PT wrote:


This...

Sounds like you have been playing wrong


Can you elaborate on this? These are all valid rules...

Edit: I misunderstood the "you" referent. I now see it refers to the original poster.
 
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Derry Salewski
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I think if you're imagining the ellipsis as an arrow pointing up you'll be reading it right.
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Paulo Renato
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philsstein wrote:
Muse23PT wrote:


This...

Sounds like you have been playing wrong


Can you elaborate on this? These are all valid rules...


I was saying that all that Karl said is the perfect reply and that the op must have been playing the wrong way if he doesn't see it...
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Rauli Kettunen
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Anjohl wrote:
I think there should be a way to deter duelling.


Ummm, why ? There are already plenty of WP games without any real interaction, dueling is a big reason I finally picked this up.

Also, build a Church and send the dueller against someone else.
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Michael Mesich
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For what it's worth, the near inaccessible expansion adds roles that leverage dynamite that can allow you to play TWO gun tiles, tokens that can avoid duels altogether, and a role card for someone that WILL sell you gun tokens!

How Gold n' Gunsdidn't see broad release is beyond me because it's excellent!

That said though, I wonder if you just haven't played enough yet. Downing cowboys and building up power via defeated cowboys go a long way towards mitigating the three-gun token. Besides, a 3-gun difference doesn't automatically defeat a superior gun tile (or .. *shudder* die roll) among similarly equipped players. Especially if those two players are engaged in several duels where the one without the 3-gun token gets stronger along the way.
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Philip Chapin
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mmesich wrote:
For what it's worth, the near inaccessible expansion adds roles that leverage dynamite that can allow you to play TWO gun tiles, tokens that can avoid duels altogether, and a role card for someone that WILL sell you gun tokens!

How Gold n' Gunsdidn't see broad release is beyond me because it's excellent!


So jealous that you have Gold n' Guns. I've tried to get it...but with no luck. So tempted to make a homebrew version...ninja...but would buy it if it ever became available.
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Anjohl wrote:
We have played it twice now, and I find it odd that the only way to get guns is the 3-gun tile. It really makes it difficult to counter a suddenly aggressive player. I was shocked to discover that there was no way to just buy guns for money. I think maybe there should be a tile where you can trade 5 cash for a gun up to 3 times, or maybe 4 cash and a VP. It just seems weird that there is no deterrent tile, no "nuclear option".

Essentially, if someone picks the bandits role, you need to pick the 3-gun tile, or you are likely at risk.

Additionally, I find it odd that the sherriff cannot be played to counter a dual.


It is not broken. Keep playing this game and you will see the layers of strategy unfold.
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Michael Mesich
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Anjohl wrote:
I dunno, I still think it is broken several plays later. The fact that the sheriff cannot be used to "cancel" a duel really kills the game for me. I should be able to guarantee the safety of a space, it should just cost me.


When the White Sherriff is your first play, you CAN guarantee the safety of a space.

Especially since you are the first player to place a cowboy as a side benefit is being first player going into cowboy placement.
 
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Michael Mesich
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Anjohl wrote:
Not at all. Those options are fine, but if someone picks the three gun tile, you are automatically behind the 8 ball. I think there should be a way to deter duelling.


You might appreciate Gold & Guns if/when you can get your hands on it.

The Entertainer allows you to place non-dueling cowboys onto the Money and VP track.

But then again, if mitigating ever dueling is this important to you, Carson City may simply not be your cup of tea.

 
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Karl Fast
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Quote:
The fact that the sheriff cannot be used to "cancel" a duel really kills the game for me. I should be able to guarantee the safety of a space, it should just cost me.


For me the Sheriff is interesting precisely because you can't cancel a duel. It functions the way workers do in standard WP games and that makes it distinctive within Carson City, which avoids many of the standard WP tropes.

A standard WP game is about prioritizing your choices relative to the choices of other players. The first person to claim a spot gets the benefit, or gets the best version of the benefit (two resources instead of one, or first choice, or something). The second person either can't gain that benefit, or gets a reduced benefit.

Carson City doesn't work that way. It changes the benefit to putting your cowboy on a spot before anyone else. Instead of guaranteeing yourself some benefit, you are signaling your intention to other players about the benefit you want and giving them a chance to respond. You need to weigh the cost of signaling your intention against responding to the intentions of others. And they need to weigh the cost of responding since duels can be costly and they create uncertainty.

For me, this is what distinguishes Carson City from standard WP games. With standard WP games most things are certain once workers have been placed. With Carson City many things are uncertain until the duels are resolved.

The Sheriff is the exception. It functions the way workers do in standard WP games -- get there first and you are guaranteed the benefit. But to get that guarantee you need to choose it before anyone else. It's a proactive guarantee. The sheriff's power fades as the round progresses. You must place it before knowing what other players will do. That creates a lot of tension in picking the sheriff.

If the Sheriff could cancel any duel then it becomes astonishingly powerful. It has a reactive guarantee. It's a veto power. And the strategy is obvious: pick the sheriff and place it last. Just hang back, do a min-max calculation, and pick the best for you. If the Sheriff worked this way his power would only grow as the round progresses, your choice becomes easier, and the tension would evaporate.

To me, that would be broken.
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Karl Fast
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Quote:
And that's exactly what it SHOULD be...I should be able to, at a cost, guarantee that you cannot take my space, or half of the income.


So the Sheriff is weak? My experience is that the Sheriff is strong, and perhaps too strong, especially in the final round.

Your question prompted me to think about why the game works the way that it does, and the designer's intent. I tried to analyze it from that perspective.

The Sheriff does give you a guarantee. Once played, nobody can take that action or parcel or income from you. It's locked. The only way to get that guarantee, however, it to prevent a duel, rather than canceling one. And there is a cost -- committing your sheriff to a spot without knowing if anyone will challenge you.

To me, that is a more interesting decision. To you it's less interesting and possibly broken. Opinions aside, that is how the game is designed.

If you don't like the way the sheriff plays, and you clearly do not, you should probably house rule it and see how it plays. Or get rid of the game.

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Michael Mesich
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Anjohl wrote:
karlfast wrote:


If the Sheriff could cancel any duel then it becomes astonishingly powerful. It has a reactive guarantee. It's a veto power.


And that's exactly what it SHOULD be, both thematically, and functionally. I should be able to, at a cost, guarantee that you cannot take my space, or half of the income. Even if that means the cost is I skip the rest of my turn, whatever. The most logical way to accomplish this is to either make the sherrif a dual canceller, or have a multi-space section on the board where you can just outright buy guns.


I have 24 recorded plays and probably another dozen or so unrecorded ones and I can't disagree more with what you are saying here. There would never be a strong enough reason to choose any role other than the "I get whatever space I want and can wait until people have wasted cowboys on them even!" Sheriff role as the first player.

However.

Flip the Captain over to the red side and see if you feel that helps you out.


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trevor

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Anjohl wrote:
karlfast wrote:


If the Sheriff could cancel any duel then it becomes astonishingly powerful. It has a reactive guarantee. It's a veto power.


And that's exactly what it SHOULD be, both thematically, and functionally. I should be able to, at a cost, guarantee that you cannot take my space, or half of the income. Even if that means the cost is I skip the rest of my turn, whatever. The most logical way to accomplish this is to either make the sherrif a dual canceller, or have a multi-space section on the board where you can just outright buy guns.


If the Sheriff could cancel duels your next post would have been:

"Does anyone else feel the Sheriff mechanic is broken?"
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trevor

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Anjohl wrote:
We have played it twice now


Hmmm, someone who has played the game twice saying something is broken vs people (including myself) who have played it dozens of times and think it is fine..........
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Ken Bush
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No, I feel it is just fine. I often play against people who complain that the rules are broken, some on almost every game we play. They want the rules to favor how THEY WANT to play. Why not figure out how to win the game the way the rules are set up?

Your complaint could be valid if the guns were randomly assigned, but they're not, you have the opportunity to interfere with your opponent, get guns yourself or to counter his guns strategy with something as good (or maybe better).

It's not just the bad guys in black hats that win Carson City .
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Rauli Kettunen
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Anjohl wrote:
problem is with the mechanic being completely out of place in a city building/worker placement euro. It literally rewards someone for randomly selecting an opponent to raid, and since the other players cannot predict who will be the target, it essentially removes all skill from the game.


Huh? Randomly selecting an opponent? Cannot predict? How on earth are you guys playing the game surprise ?

When I choose to duel, I sure as hell don't pick opponent or spot randomly, I pick because A) it'll boost me or B) hinder opponent. Plus, isn't it a skill to pick the best time and opponent to duel? Not to mention, you can make it a guaranteed victory even with dice (we only use the dice-duelling), enough firepower tokens (ranches/mines/prison vs someone focusing on real estate like saloon/bank) and you'll get a +5 or more to your roll. If a player has that much of an advantage over the other(s), they sure as hell should be keeping the possibility of an attack in mind and see it coming a mile away, planning their responses.
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Karl Fast
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The OP asked "Does anyone else feel the duelling mechanic is broken?"

There have been quite a few responses, coming from people with dozens of combined plays (fifty would be a conservative estimate).

Every response has answered in the same way: No, it's not broken.

Question asked. Question answered, many times over, with elaboration and analysis of the mechanics.

So the choices are either:

(a) play the game with the current rules (perhaps try the might is right variant; it sounds like the dice rolling is a big problem for you)

(b) play the game with modified rules you propose and see what happens

(c) keep debating this, which seems to be going nowhere

(d) stop playing the game, and probably sell it, trade it, or burn it to wee little pieces of ash


In this case the best answer would seem to be (d) given the following statement, which indicates a strong belief that the game is at least bad, and at worst, broken.

Quote:
And my problem is with the mechanic being completely out of place in a city building/worker placement euro. It literally rewards someone for randomly selecting an opponent to raid, and since the other players cannot predict who will be the target, it essentially removes all skill from the game.


Option (d), to stop playing the game, would be an excellent way to deal with something so poorly designed "it essentially removes all skill from the game."



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Anjohl wrote:
bigGameGeek wrote:
Anjohl wrote:
We have played it twice now


Hmmm, someone who has played the game twice saying something is broken vs people (including myself) who have played it dozens of times and think it is fine..........


That is irrelevant. You could play a game 400 time and still not get the mechanics. I have taught Caylus to people who then proceed to beat me. Experience does not = proficiency. And my problem is with the mechanic being completely out of place in a city building/worker placement euro.


Sounds to me like any conflict contradicts your predisposition of what a euro should be. Which is your opinion.

Also your equation is not relevant. I'm not saying people with experience should beat a newbie every time. I'm saying people with experience have more familiarity with the game mechanics and balance than people without.

Please understand arguments before making rebuttals
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Michael Mesich
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Anjohl wrote:


That is irrelevant. You could play a game 400 time and still not get the mechanics. I have taught Caylus to people who then proceed to beat me. Experience does not = proficiency. And my problem is with the mechanic being completely out of place in a city building/worker placement euro. It literally rewards someone for randomly selecting an opponent to raid, and since the other players cannot predict who will be the target, it essentially removes all skill from the game. In a euro, you know the phases, the turns, you can plan your next turn. In Carson City, there is such a high element of chance introduced by the dual mechanic, that the game is precluded by its own design from any sort of serious competitive play.


shake

It may be European. It may involve city building. But this premise is probably what is leading to all of your discontent.

Dueling is what elevates this game above dry worker placement euros for me.

Might is Right also gives you limited intelligence on the relative strength of your opponents which along with gun tile management adds more strategy to choosing duels over (what I consider to be) simple dice+token duels. But then you add in the defeated cowboys and their impact of future duels there's just a lovely sub-game in there that certainly rises above "randomly selecting an opponent to raid." And certainly, using a cowboy to steal income from another player is often a really poor usage of a cowboy unless that establishment is pulling in $20+ and even then you could probably get more VP out of it just claiming a mountain or something.

I believe that coming at Carson City as Caylus with a Western Theme has probably influenced your perceptions of the game and I'm not sure there's much that can be done about it unless you can wipe your slate clean and come back at it with fresh eyes.
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Michael Mesich
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Anjohl wrote:

If 4 of us are playing, if I suspect a player is going to choose to duel, now I need to decide which of us other 3 he is going to target.


Is this hypothetical or do you actually play this game?

With the fringe case of someone playing with the expansion with the Doctor/Undertaker role, I can think of no situation where a player would "choose to duel" and then go about picking a player to duel.

Players should be far more interested in "what building should I buy, how can I get more money, how shall I gain victory points?" and then the dueling occurs when the same two (or more) players decide to go for the same thing!

Grousing about experience versus natural ability and experience is fine and all, but I'm having a hard time reconciling the situations you posit with actual play of the game.
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mmesich wrote:


Anjohl wrote:

If 4 of us are playing, if I suspect a player is going to choose to duel, now I need to decide which of us other 3 he is going to target.


Is this hypothetical or do you actually play this game?

With the fringe case of someone playing with the expansion with the Doctor/Undertaker role, I can think of no situation where a player would "choose to duel" and then go about picking a player to duel.

Players should be far more interested in "what building should I buy, how can I get more money, how shall I gain victory points?" and then the dueling occurs when the same two (or more) players decide to go for the same thing!

Grousing about experience versus natural ability and experience is fine and all, but I'm having a hard time reconciling the situations you posit with actual play of the game.


This. Ultimately, it's the same motivation that drives someone to take starting player in Agricola. There are certain spots that are going to be in higher or lower contention at various points in the game. If it's the last round of the game, you see someone with a large pile of cash has taken the bandit, and you've just placed a worker on the points for money space, what do you expect is going to happen? The same goes if you have a really well-paying combo of buildings early on - if you don't expect to be targetted, you really don't understand the duel mechanic.

I've only played this game a dozen times or so, but it's not hard to figure out where the majority of the duels are going to be.
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