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Subject: Winning strategy rss

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Christian K
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Hi all.

In this type of game, I am always interested in if there is a simple winning strategy for the players. Of course, you could cheat, but is there a way to always win (no chance of losing) that stays within the rules.

In Hanabi (another coop with hidden rules) I have not been able to find such a strategy. We have tried defining lots of conventions before we started player (it could even be weird stuff like "if I say you have a blue card, you play the card all te way to your left). It has been a lot of fun and made the game a lot more interesting.

Back to the point, the strategy to always win is the following:
The ghost places between 1 and 5 cards for each payer. If he places 1 card, the correct card is the one to th left. 2 cards means second from left etc.

Since you have 7 cards in your hand and refill between giving clues to each player, this strategy will work, right? Can someone find something in the rules which does not allow this? I would be quite happy if it does not work because of some oversight on my part

Of course, we can discuss what this means. I imagine this post will get a lot of responses like "you are playing it wrong, dude" or "I am glad you are not in my gaming group". However, I beg you to not fill up this thread with these comments.

Instead I think we should discuss what this means. The obvious conclusions seems to be that this game still works as a casual game but not if you are competitive and doing everything you can (within the ruleset) to win. Some players have the latter mentality and it is nice to have a game that still works when players are trying to win (it does not seem unreasonable to ask from a quality game)

For me, it is a shame. Of course it would not be interesting to do the above strategy in practice, but this means that you should not try your hardest (as I have done in for exmple hanabi) to win. I would call this a weakness in design, although the game is still highly enjoyable.

 
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Yani
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You are certainly breaking the spirit (pun intended) of the game, if not the rules. The Ghost cannot communicate unless via dreams, so agreeing on any convention beforehand seems kind of lame.

To each their own I suppose.
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Christian K
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You wouldn't have to do it beforehand, you can just do it each time and the players will catch on.

You must understand, it is not something that is meant to be done in practice but simply meant to show that the game does not hold up if the player are doing all they can to win.

If that is a dealbreaker or not is up to you. For me it is not a dealbreaker, but I know plenty of competitive players who for whom this would make them pick up another game instead.
 
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Maurizio Briosi
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Simply: yes there is such strategy, and if this is a dealbreaker to you do not buy the game. Unless you straight up rule out such kinds of strategies, you will have this problem. One thing you can do, is up the number of cards to guess from to 15 or so...

In my opinion, it is not a "design weakness" that the rulebook does not explicitly rule out such strategies.
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Treebeard
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I got to play this at BGG Con, and it was my understanding they the ghost only gets to play one card per player. Did we miss something in the polish rules that we could not read?
 
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James Clarke
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treebeardtheent wrote:
I got to play this at BGG Con, and it was my understanding they the ghost only gets to play one card per player. Did we miss something in the polish rules that we could not read?

During the intial investigation rounds in all versions of the rules, the ghost may play up to as many cards as they hold, (i.e up to 6 or 7).


 
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Silver Robert
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Depending on the hand size (6 or 7) and the number of players and difficulty, you might not have enough cards in hand to indicate the right answer this way.
 
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James Clarke
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Mysterium is a game, which by most definitions of the word "game", is a form of competition that has an unknown outcome.

Muemmelmann wrote:
Back to the point, the strategy to always win is the following:
The ghost places between 1 and 5 cards for each payer. If he places 1 card, the correct card is the one to th left. 2 cards means second from left etc.

If you did this, you aren't playing a game.

If you aren't playing a game, it is illogical to refer to the rules of a game.

If you aren't playing a game, you cannot be winning.

Ergo, this thread doesn't exist.

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James Clarke
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Muemmelmann wrote:
For me, it is a shame. Of course it would not be interesting to do the above strategy in practice, but this means that you should not try your hardest (as I have done in for exmple hanabi) to win. I would call this a weakness in design, although the game is still highly enjoyable.


What you have devised is co-operative jigsaw making. The ghost hands over the pieces, and the other players fit them straight in. That isn't a game, and there aren't any winners.

I'm delighted to see that the rules don't even attempt to second-guess any such short-cutting, because it is clearly the interpretation of the artwork that lies at the heart of this game.

I therefore don't accept your assertion that this represents a "weakness in design".



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sometimes rules leave out what is pretty obvious, i.e. "don't show your cards to your neighbour". they leave it out, because it's... well, obvious, and including all obvious issues would blow up even the simplest ruleset.

and sometimes, picky people complain about this, since "showing the cards is not forbidden, and this would break the game".

in this case, the obvious but missing rule would be "the ghost may only give hints via the content of the cards, not via meta-information like # of cards etc.". fixed.
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Christian K
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I am a little surprised that people dont see it as a weakness that the game does not work when you try to win.

You can try to fix it but most fixes are very squishy.
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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I suppose you could have the investigators slowly flip-thru the 7 dream cards and the Ghost could use 'spirit sounds' (knocks, ghostly moans, etc.) to indicate various moves to supply clues to the investigators; ; "That one, keep going, keep going, new card, next investigator, flip, flip, THAT one, flip That one, new cards, next inve......"

but man - would the game be slow!

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James Clarke
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There's really no need to count cards or to make ghostly noises.
The ghost just needs to select any one card and hand it to the investigator, making sure it travels above the target card en route.

I'd hate to be an umpire at the Inaugural World Mysterium Championships!

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Christian K
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I understand where you are coming from but I think the ghost in only allowed to communicate with the players via the cards. Note that the strategy I suggest would work in any online implementation as well, it does not use anything from the physical world that is not within the system. Do you see that this is not possible in for example Hanabi?
 
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James Clarke
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I understand where you are coming from but I think the ghost in only allowed to communicate with the players via the cards. Note that the strategy I suggest would work in any online implementation as well, it does not use anything from the physical world that is not within the system.

True, but in an online implementation, you would surely scramble the card layout so that no such positional information could be deduced.

Perhaps physical card scrambling could be a solution to your competitive players' dilemma, but I've no interest in going there.
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Zoe M
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I am a little surprised that people dont see it as a weakness that the game does not work when you try to win.

You can try to fix it but most fixes are very squishy.


It's a hollow victory if you win only by violating the spirit of the rules. You said yourself that it's not meant to be done in practice, which is why people generally don't care that it's possible.

You could always make the ghost choose cards first and only then lay out the middle cards, picking them up and shuffling each day. Or you could put the ghost behind a screen and not let him see the players and their cards at all, except for showing him the individual player selections at the end of each round.

Or you could just play the game as intended and not worry about meta-gaming it.
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Sean McCarthy
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Clearly the ghost should treat the cards under investigation as being unordered and in fact having no spacial relation to each other at all. Then, depending on how bent your players are on stretching the rules, you may also need to restrict your ghost to a smaller range of numbers of cards.
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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isn't "table talk" possible in many other games? mostly in games with partners, I'm thinking about some domino games and maybe some card games. (I stopped being interested in learning Moon/42 when I learned that table talk was a 'feature' of the game - doesn't seem to diminish its popularity though)

just because some form of cheating is possible, doesn't mean a game can't be enjoyable.

I can see how some folks may view it as a weakness - I personally might just bow out of the game if I detected information that is meant to be hidden is being divulged.

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Christian K
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I think shuffling the cards is the best suggested solution. Of course you don't have to do it in practice in most games but it is a nice idea to combat this use of spacial information and could be inforced if players insist on doing everything they can to win.
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1 Lucky Texan
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Muemmelmann wrote:
I think shuffling the cards is the best suggested solution. Of course you don't have to do it in practice in most games but it is a nice idea to combat this use of spacial information and could be inforced if players insist on doing everything they can to win.


shuffling would work for the device you mentioned, but others have suggested playing dream cards overlapping, such that a certain image is -uh- accentuated/indicated, or playing dream cards sideways or in some other way that is an attempt to convey more specific information.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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From the aspect of a single game, I actually wouldn't mind if a Ghost attempted to communicate that way provided there hadn't been any communication of the fact beforehand. If a group continued to do this, then I agree with Highland Cow. It would cease to be a game.

In my group, it wouldn't really work very well. I don't generally align the cards in a single row so there isn't really a 3rd from the left. I move the cards into an area where whoever is on that level can best see them. There are usually multiple rows and columns, and not every column/row is equal. Sometimes some cards are placed halfway between a row or column as well...for whatever reason. We rotate the cards around as we play as well, often to keep track of what guesses have been made.

I think it's silly that this is even a discussion though. 99.9% of people would play this game correctly, and I think it would be difficult to find an entire group that would be willing to collaborate like this. It is a theoretical possibility, but not something that would happen in practice. I realize that people do things like this in Hanabi, but that's a different beast. There is still room for it to be a game with those conventions....not so with your Mysterium "strategy".
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Gian Marco Guiducci
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Provided you assign the proper meaning to, let's say, the different cards of a suit, you could even "play" mysterium with a standard deck of poker cards, for what is worth.
 
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Maurizio Briosi
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Shuffling or other means will not be useful because of : "Ghost can listen to investigators"...So they can basically list the possibilities and the code required for them to choose the right card (ex. "Give me one card if you want me to choose the knife, etc...).

You can always house-rule and put emphasis on rules that makes you have fun, not win only (especially because it is cooperative).
 
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Moose Detective
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Muemmelmann wrote:


Of course, we can discuss what this means. I imagine this post will get a lot of responses like "you are playing it wrong, dude" or "I am glad you are not in my gaming group". However, I beg you to not fill up this thread with these comments.



Beg all you want, its not working.


You are playing it wrong, dude.

I am VERY glad you are not in my gaming group.


This is cheating because the rules say the ghost is not allowed to communicate to the players other than with the cards. That means no speaking, no sign language, no morse code tapping on the table, and no pre-game discussions of specific codes (or as you say "defining conventions")

To pretend this isn't cheating just shows a total lack of ethics, intelligence, or social awareness.

Ugh on you sir.
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Christian K
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Wow what a rude post, I will answer the on topic parts. Please be nice or at least neutral if you post again

You don't have to agree ahead of time, you can just do it and see if people catch on.

Merry Christmas, sounds like you need it buddy.
 
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