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Medici» Forums » Variants

Subject: Medici rules modifications rss

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wimpy burger
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Illinois
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I think there is a great game there somewhere, but I'm not convinced that the game as presented is it. While it's true that there can be a great deal of strategy in deciding how many lots to present for auction and how much to bid on them, I feel that eventually, the game breaks down to the luck of what's left for the players with room on their ships. I recognize that if great lots present early, that lesser lots will necessarily remain, but it's too easy (after a few players have made purchases) to present lots that many players are disqualified from bidding on.

I would suggest a variation, where buyers could purchase a lot which exceeded their cargo hold. This would require hiring a dockworker to dispose of the extra good(s), and paying a fee/tax for the privilege. The real issue would be determining how much to charge a player for (a) discarding a good from a purchased lot, and/or (b) discarding a good already in the ship's hold. The fee for (b) should clearly be more than the fee for (a) and there should be a much stiffer fine/tax for doing it a second time.

These numbers could be worked out so that the action is possible, but not easy. I think the benefits are obvious. A player could no longer put up say, a lot of three knowing they could get it for 1 Florin, when other players could at least bid them up. The tax would make it difficult/impossible for a player without space to make a prohibitive bid on a strong lot. At least the player with room might (especially if bidding before someone with the money - but not the cargo space - to compete for it) have to make more than a token bid to acquire a desired lot.

Again, it't the numbers that would need honing, but not the concept. I think it would work really well, and make Medici a much better game. I'd like to seem some beta testers try some different tax/fee combinations to work out the best tax structure.

I'd put forth the following possibility - but freely admit I haven't tested it, nor given a great amount of time into getting it perfect:

Discarding 1 good from a lot: 8 Florins
Discarding 1 good from a hold: 12 Florins
Discarding a 2nd good from a lot: 12 Florins
Discarding a 2nd good from a hold: 16 Florins

The fees for discarding a 2nd good would be retro-active to the current round, so discarding 1 now, and then another one later would incur the higher fee. If you purchased a lot of say, 3, you could discard one NOW and save 4 Florins from choosing to discard it later. If you discarded a good from a lot early, and then later wanted to discard a good from your ships hold, it would incur the 16 Florin penalty.

I'd like to hear what others think of this. I feel the numbers I suggest are probably not ideal, but are in the ballpark. I am convinced that this rules modification can turn a good game into a great one.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Florence
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wimpyburger wrote:
While it's true that there can be a great deal of strategy in deciding how many lots to present for auction and how much to bid on them, I feel that eventually, the game breaks down to the luck of what's left for the players with room on their ships. I recognize that if great lots present early, that lesser lots will necessarily remain, but it's too easy (after a few players have made purchases) to present lots that many players are disqualified from bidding on.
Filling your ship to the point where other players can deny you the opportunity to bid by offering lots greater than your remaining capacity is a strategy decision. By taking more goods early on you're opening yourself up to being shut down. If you don't like that outcome then don't fill up your ship so quickly... of course that also risks not getting as much stuff as competition later in the round gets higher and risks letting something good go and not finding anything better to replace it. But that's the game.

When you make it easier to fill your ship and not get penalized for it, you're unbalancing that option. It would make the decision of how many goods to put up for auction less important and make bidding on lots of items a lot less risky. Basically you'd be making a softer, kinder variant. This is a cut throat game with painful choices.

I think you've been misvaluing goods. If you take too much stuff then you risk getting screwed out of later bounties. If you take that into consideration when you're bidding then the relative worth of those earlier goods is less than you think.
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wimpy burger
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I somewhat agree with all of that, but these inherent risks mostly serve to randomize later rounds for players with room on their ships.

If you fill too many holds early, you can get shut out. If you fill too few, bad lots can come up when you are in an advantageous position to get them cheaply.

You can paint this as strategy, but I see luck as the far greater factor. If I buy early, I have to hope that great things don't present themselves easily for opponents who gamble to wait. If I take the opposite approach, I am the one gambling. Either way, if the gamble succeeds, the gambler will enjoy a prohibitive (unearned) advantage over his opponents. More simply, if good lots don't present themselves when I have a positional advantage, I have a slim chance to win the game.

By allowing players to possibly participate in later auctions despite not having space, it makes even worthless lots of 3 goods much more valuable. Anyone picking up a lot of 3 for a song would enjoy great flexibility later.

I agree this changes strategies, but I believe it changes them much for the better. You don't have enough money to use this modification recklessly, but careful play should serve to minimize much of the luck of the draw.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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And yet, better players consistently do better. Somehow they've figured out how to mitigate those risks and estimate what the best option is.

I suggest you play the game more and try to get better at playing what the game is before you change what the game is to fit your current play style.
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