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Subject: Too easy to turtle? rss

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Darren Nakamura
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We have only played two games so far, so I am reluctant to start introducing variants already, but both games we have played have gone the same: players cover forests, increase magic early, and then sit on a big pile of mana for the rest of the game, making attacks extremely unfavorable.

I realize that with surplus mana, any of us could have done the last Research to end the game, but after the first game ended that way we kind of wanted to see a game end in one of the other ways. Also, I personally didn't want to end the game via maxing out magic, because I hadn't completed my prerequisite to gain bonus points for it yet. So we had everybody at level 4 magic and enough mana to commit eleven strength to any combat.

Since defenders win ties, it makes attacking really unfavorable. The first attacking player will necessarily lose, even if committing all eleven strength to combat, leaving himself and his target open to a secondary strike from another player. Early on, there is plenty of space to take territory without starting war. Late in the game, everybody has too much mana. Because of this, we saw nobody attacking. Perhaps this is by design.

At any rate, I can come up with a couple of quick, easy things to do that might change things up, but they may have unforeseen consequences.

1. Attacker wins ties. With this in play, an attacker committing eleven strength to a war will necessarily take the territory. Perhaps this should not apply to breaking alliances.

2. Switch the combat effectiveness of mana and ore. Since it takes more ore to complete the tower than it takes mana to max out magic, and since the tower yields straight victory points as opposed to magic's abilities, it introduces a more difficult decision: do I hold onto ore to protect myself from attack or do I keep up with the tower-building arms race?

What do you all think? Is this not even a problem and we just want there to be more war than there was designed to be? Would either of these break the game?
 
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Dexter345 wrote:
The first attacking player will necessarily lose, even if committing all eleven strength to combat, leaving himself and his target open to a secondary strike from another player.


The first attacking player will also lose if he plays a flag, but in this case all he's lost is a meeple.

If you keep spending 11 against people who are throwing flags against you, you're going to find yourself vulnerable very quickly.
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Greg
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At some point people are spending some mana on research, they may be more vulnerable then.

Different races can offer different benefits to help.

Ultimately though, from what I've seen, war isn't the main part or consistent part of TEK. It seems more of an opportunistic/situation thing rather than everyone going to war all the time.
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Darren Nakamura
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Asmor wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:
The first attacking player will necessarily lose, even if committing all eleven strength to combat, leaving himself and his target open to a secondary strike from another player.


The first attacking player will also lose if he plays a flag, but in this case all he's lost is a meeple.

If you keep spending 11 against people who are throwing flags against you, you're going to find yourself vulnerable very quickly.


Right. One meeple, which is worth 3-7 food + 1 Expand action + whatever resources lost through not being able to collect due to being dead. And it still sets up somebody else to attack the player just attacked, so even if it isn't as bad as losing eleven combat strength and still losing, it is still more beneficial to be the second person to attack.

After browsing more around this forum, it sounds like this is all by design, and the game isn't really about war (despite it taking up the largest single chunk of text in the rulebook). That is fine, I guess, but it has made our games kind of dull.
 
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Dexter345 wrote:
Asmor wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:
The first attacking player will necessarily lose, even if committing all eleven strength to combat, leaving himself and his target open to a secondary strike from another player.


The first attacking player will also lose if he plays a flag, but in this case all he's lost is a meeple.

If you keep spending 11 against people who are throwing flags against you, you're going to find yourself vulnerable very quickly.


Right. One meeple, which is worth 3-7 food + 1 Expand action + whatever resources lost through not being able to collect due to being dead. And it still sets up somebody else to attack the player just attacked, so even if it isn't as bad as losing eleven combat strength and still losing, it is still more beneficial to be the second person to attack.

After browsing more around this forum, it sounds like this is all by design, and the game isn't really about war (despite it taking up the largest single chunk of text in the rulebook). That is fine, I guess, but it has made our games kind of dull.


TEK does not indulge heavily into any single element, including war. It covers a lot of space in a little place.
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If there aren't going to be attacks, then a quick win up the tower is easy. Each faction needs to play to their strengths. We put two tokens on each territory also (randomly from all of them). This increases VP or the need to offset someone elses reign lead by attacking.
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Kevin Green
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Why are you bothering to hoard mana if no one is fighting? Why hasn't someone ended the game for the win if they're able to reach the last research? Why isn't any player collecting ore for the tower while everyone turtles? Why aren't you tricking people into spending 6 mana for an attack or defense while you spend nothing? Why is no one aligning to defend themselves from the mana hoarders?

Ultimately, though, combat is not the focus of the game. Sounds like your group has tried to make it more of a focus, but instead has entered a cold war where everyone has nuclear armaments so no on wants to attack.
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Darren Nakamura
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1. Because not hoarding mana would mean being attacked, but also because we were specifically trying to get a different ending. Ending via magic comes much more quickly, at least for us.
2. See above, but I also personally didn't want to trigger the end game via magic because I wanted to achieve my level 5 magic bonus first. Others were obviously losing so they wouldn't want to trigger the end game either. I ended up winning even without the level 5 magic, so I guess I could have.
3. Everybody is collecting ore for the tower victory as this is going on, all at roughly the same rate. We only reached level 4 of the tower.
4. This has been answered earlier in the thread; the best case scenario is that you set somebody else up to attack the person who was just tricked while you are left to recover from a lost meeple. I didn't want to do this in particular, because I was playing as the Goblins, so this would be counterproductive toward my level 5 magic.
5. Everybody was hoarding mana, so I'm not sure I understand this question. In any case, we did discuss some coordinated attacks (and even did one early on), but they just felt hugely detrimental to the first attacker and hugely beneficial to the second attacker, so we couldn't agree to one after that.

I feel like this thread might have gotten a little off track. I did ask if it is just a mismatch between our expectations and what TEK really is, and that seems like the case. However, nobody has really answered if either/both of the proposed variants would break the game in some way. Any insight on that front?
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Ian Toltz
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Someone should be able to calculate that if they built their 5th level of magic right now, they'd win. If they're not doing that, then they're not playing the game to win. And if you're not playing the game to win, then you can't really make any serious claims about how the game plays...
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On the whole it seems like your group is out for blood but not at any sacrifice to themselves. That's not this game, as I think you've figured out. War, as designed, is going to hurt both participants. Strategically combat would tend to be used to either try to lesson the rank of someone in a stronger position than you (typically in first place) or to eliminate a player from contention (if you're nervous to lose 1 meeple you should try losing 2 or 3 from a broken alliance!).

I don't see anything that would inherently break the game with your variants so no reason not to suggest them to the group (keeping in mind I've only played a dozen times so there's sure to be race combinations I'm not considering). But the main crux, that war hurts both players, is still going to be there so I'm not sure the variants are going to help in the way that you want. Why is your group more interested in winning a battle than the game? You don't actually "get" anything and losing 6 mana (which you're suggesting would happen if your group ever fought) is brutal.

For what it's worth reaching the top magic level is how the majority of my games have ended too, which is a little disappointing.
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Darren Nakamura
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kmancheese wrote:
Why is your group more interested in winning a battle than the game?


I think we just felt like the game was kind of samey/dull. Combat often makes things less dull.

Also, meeples are points, so taking others out and then pulling the trigger on winning via magic seemed like the way to end it.
 
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Greg
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Seemed kind of group think. Everyone was doing the same thing, hoarding mana and at the same level on the tower.
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Dexter345 wrote:
After browsing more around this forum, it sounds like this is all by design, and the game isn't really about war (despite it taking up the largest single chunk of text in the rulebook). That is fine, I guess, but it has made our games kind of dull.


I agree. Our small group has only played a handful of times now and we're all pretty bored with this game. I'm actually sorta disappointed I Kickstarted it. Everyone just runs up the magic and - boom. Done. The games are super short and dull. Apparently, we need to be more inclined to go to war? I think in all the games we've played, there have only been 2-3 wars that actually took place.

Help. Someone make this game fun for me. I don't want to dislike it already. I even Kickstarted the MeepleSource campaign and have 100+ Meeples that I look at and am like, "Man, I wish I was actually using those with TEK so they were both worth the investment."
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With this game, players aren't inclined to force war even though they can see another player in the lead.
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salembinx wrote:
Dexter345 wrote:
After browsing more around this forum, it sounds like this is all by design, and the game isn't really about war (despite it taking up the largest single chunk of text in the rulebook). That is fine, I guess, but it has made our games kind of dull.


Everyone just runs up the magic and - boom. Done.


If this is happening there are a few things you might want to look at:

1) Group-think. If everyone is "assuming" that magic is the best (and only ) way to win, I would suggest that is not the game's fault. The tower is the tie-breaker and gives more "bang for your buck" resource-wise (especially at level 6), so I am not sure why your group is focussing on magic only - especially when variable races are figured in.

2) Playing Multi-player solitaire. If your group is simply letting everyone grab manna easily without conflict or confrontation, and letting others win, then sure - the game will end quickly and that will be the experience. I don't understand, however, if everyone presumes that manna is the key to victory, why they aren't stopping others from simply camping out in forests. This should be made even more the case when certain factions are in play.

In our games, when the Elves have a home territory card with 3 manna (Erilor) or 2 and a ruins, I guarantee that one of the first quest actions will have an opponent come visit.

The same holds true for other factions - and trying to deny them their natural advantages.

My point is that if TEK is played with players that are paying attention to opponents resources, magic abilities and the "natural" strategy of the particular factions that are in play, it is a delightfully tense game with war, alliances (and broken ones) some backstabbing and some nice "taking an action that only I can do" strategy.

If everyone is simply looking to avoid conflict and just let whoever's faction matches up with their home territory card win, then it will be a little drab - but that's not the game's fault. It'd be like playing poker, but agreeing ahead of time to not bluff and not go all in. Yep, that's kinda boring...but that's not how the game was designed to be played.

You are warring factions, competing to win dominance of the Kingdom. I don't really see it as an "econmic engine" or "resource collection" or even "VP engine" game - and I think if your group is playing it that way, that might explain why it's falling a little flat.

The point of TEK, imho, is not to win - just to make sure all of the other kingdoms of the realm lose.
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toober wrote:
With this game, players aren't inclined to force war even though they can see another player in the lead.


If players are letting other people win, than this is not the fault of the game.
 
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