Joe Stude
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So I taught this game to 4 people last night, all new players except myself. I had 2 plays under my belt before the game.

It was a rather weird game in that one of the players put 3 contraband past me on the first round (which was supposed to be a test round, except the players decided to keep it AFTER they put a bunch of contraband past me), then followed up 2 turns later by declaring AND actually having 6 apples (which I had been discarding and drawing trying to find myself). She never looked back and there was a gap of almost 90 points at game end.

What left a bad taste in my mouth with this one was that the second to last player, my buddy Jove, made a verbal claim 2 turns before his final Sheriff stint that he was going to do his best to equalize the scores a bit for everyone and that he wasn't going to inspect any bags during his Sheriff turn. On his Sheriff turn I loaded 3 cards, an apple and two contraband, and claimed 3 apples. I figured loading it up light was a fair exchange for him offering to let people through unhindered because I figured he was going to follow through. He spent about 30 seconds on the inspection phase letting everyone but me go, then opened my bag without even initiating any dialogue. I took a 9-gold hit and the point loss shot me down into fourth place, which is where I finished. We had one more round after that where I think I shipped 2 apples legitimately just to get it over with and yeah, the last player inspected me too. The cherry on my sundae, as I briefly gave Jove the "are you serious? stare, was when Jove admonished me that it was okay because it's "just a game". This game usually leaves you with a really good feeling even if you don't win, but this exchange left me feeling pretty shitty and I wasn't even really interested in talking about the game afterward.

I'm not sure that there's much room for discussion about the "etiquette" of bluffing games because frankly I'm not sure there should be any. What I do feel should be there, though, is an underlying layer of sportsmanship in the spirit of everyone at the table enjoying themselves. Frankly, I didn't feel like the decision to inspect me and let everyone else (including the runaway winner) go without so much as a glance or even an attempt at entertaining dialogue in a runaway game was particularly sportsmanlike or entertaining for anyone.

There's another aspect to this, though. I've realized this game falls into the category of those that depend on their players to not "break" them in the spirit of having an entertaining experience. In the case of this game, I feel like the fact that winners generally find ways to ship more legit goods than other players (based on a number of forum threads I've read here) means the players have increased responsibility to maintain a competitively interesting and fun play environment. When you have players making choices that affect the game based not on context but on whim instead I feel like it potentially lessens the game experience for everyone. This is a game of moments that you want players talking about, laughing over, and remembering long after the game is over, but I'd much rather remember how someone swindled me out of my shoes and won the game because of it than how someone who couldn't care less made a random decision that altered the game state unpredictably.

So yeah, despite possible appearances I actually really enjoy this game and I absolutely can't wait to get it to the table again. I guess the moral of the story is be selective about who you bring to the table.
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Matt Hindmarch
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Ha ha! I don't think YOU did the teaching.
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Joe Stude
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Well I did, but I also learned something I would have rather I didn't.
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bort
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I think thats getting close to unsportmanlike (if not over the line). If he had just said "I'm letting everything thru on my last turn" - ok. But saying he was going to equalise the scores...
 
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D.M. Jones
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I don't know dude, I don't see it as being a huge deal. I mean, I very well might have checked everyone's bag (assuming I thought everyone loaded them up). And I certainly wouldn't be above trying to con people into thinking I would be kindhearted...precisely so that I could hold their feet to the fire. My only real issue would be if the Sheriff had ceased to play with 'self-interest.' So, I guess I would have to know why he/she let the others (and especially the leader) through. Did the sheriff think the leader had actually been truthful and had some particular reason to suspect you? If that is the case, then I don't see a problem here, and in her/his mind this may have been the best play. If it is a case of the sheriff playing only to hurt you (without any regard for his/her own score), then I think it was a sub-par play...but even then, it is one which gained the person points. Ultimately, the responsibility was yours when you snapped the bag shut and made your declaration. Anything that happens after that is beyond your direct control, hence the enormous power of the sheriff. You can't bank on negotiations or fair play. You may get those things, but they are entirely at the discretion of the Sheriff.

I have only played this once, but I had several cases where, as the sheriff, I didn't negotiate. This was mainly because I had such a good read on the player that I knew what I was going to do ('not open' or 'open for sure'). Other times, I felt less sure, so I negotiated. Sometimes I negotiated simply to gather more info, and other times I did it in good faith. It really depended on the situation. The bottom line is that each Sheriff is different, plays differently and he/she is beyond your direct control. So, when you had over your bag be prepared to be disappointed. I think you learned a lot about your friend's style through your last game. I suspect there are even some points you can takeaway from this experience and exploit in the future. My advice is to learn from this experience and...serve him a cold dish in the future.

devil

Cheers

P.S. Bort, I friggin' love your mini-dancing Arnold Rimmers!
 
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bort
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haha - cheers ;-)

I feel like its negotiating with something "outside" the game
 
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D.M. Jones
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bortmonkey wrote:


I feel like its negotiating with something "outside" the game


Sorry, what is outside of the game?
 
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bort
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Equalising the scores (or , saying you're going to)
 
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Carl Enns
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Human Nature. You can never really know what another person will do.
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D.M. Jones
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bortmonkey wrote:
Equalising the scores (or , saying you're going to)


But if I say that in game, I can use it for in game purposes. I mean, I could talk to you about mowing the lawn, and it might actually help me figure out if I should open your pouch or not. So, for me, if it comes up during the game it is, by nature, 'in game.'
 
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Max Lampinen
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That's bluffing, that's point of the game! Why did he pick you without second thought, I don't know, revenge or you looked suspicious?
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Clyde W
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Why didn't he attack the leader instead?
 
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Joe Huff
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I would play with this guy Jove. He used a very interesting tactic, but not as effectively as he should have. I would have inspected everyone in the hopes that they took me seriously and loaded up all their bags with contraband.

I'm glad you still enjoy the game, but Jove is exactly who I would always want to bring to the table in these kinds of games, especially Cosmic Encounter! Do you want to negotiate and go for a shared victory?...sure! Bam, I play a negotiate card, he plays an attack card, I lose the encounter, he wins the game! Nothing wrong with that
 
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Joe Stude
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See that's the whole thing - I don't know if it was a tactic at all, really. Other things I failed to mention (the post was getting long):

1. It was a friendly enough game that other than the runaway leader there was no real sense of what the scores were.
2. Jove is not really a boardgamer. As a matter of fact most of the time he's not very interested in boardgames so I was a little surprised he agreed to sit down and play this one.
3. Jove has this mildly antagonistic thing with me because he knows I'm pretty competitive. This doesn't really come out that often, but see #4.
4. Jove was pretty drunk by this point. It was New Years Eve after all.


And, as Joe Huff said, it would have felt right had it been clearly self-interest, but with him just letting everyone else go immediately... I genuinely have no idea what he was thinking.
 
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bort
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Jowjow wrote:

3. Jove has this mildly antagonistic thing with me because he knows I'm pretty competitive.


Sounds like he did it just to piss you off then
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michael ray
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You can't place 6 items in a bag, so the person with 6 apples was playing incorrectly (not that it really matters for the game, but it is the rules)
Per the rules
"You can place from one to five Goods in
your Merchant Bag. You cannot place zero Goods or more
than five Goods in your bag."

Also, what your buddy did is totally valid. That's part of the game. And also in the rules(kind of):
"Normally, all deals you make must
be honored! However, there are a
couple of exceptions:
• Promises of future favors, which take place after the current
inspection phase, are not binding!"
EDIT: And an even better example
"In a later round, Sir Guy makes a deal with the Sheriff: “If you don’t
inspect my bag this round, I won’t inspect your bag next time I’m
Sheriff.” The Sheriff agrees and lets Guy into the market. But, when
Guy is the Sheriff during a later round, he could decide to betray his
honor and inspect the (former) Sheriff ’s bag!"

He said it one round, did something else in another round. That's on
you.


And finally, a bit of strategy I've realized.
It's easy to inspect a bag with less items, because it's less of a penalty for the sheriff. It's the fuller bags (4/5) that start to really hurt the sheriff, so sure, 5 apples is more suspect than 3, but it's a higher risk to open. So, if you're doing 3 items (in our group), it's a higher chance for being inspected than 4.
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Joe Huff
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Jowjow wrote:
4. Jove was pretty drunk by this point. It was New Years Eve after all.


Point #4 would frustrate me, too. It is one thing to be antagonistic towards someone, I tend to welcome it, but it is another to be drunk and possibly obnoxious...

I suspect if he isn't a gamer then he won't really care if he plays games in the future. If he does care, well then he should probably leave the alcohol at home.
 
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Ashley Kennedy
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Consider that you were the one who taught the game. I think it is a part of our nature to be more willing to attack the person teaching the game.
 
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Joseph Arthur Ellis
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It sounds like in this case the game wasn't close... I can imagine playing and knowing someone is WAAAAAAY ahead and just screwing around the last round, no big deal. Why did you care what happened, it's the last round of a game you can't win. Also, the person was drunk.
 
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Joe Stude
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Needless to say I'm over this now, but it felt like a dick move which I wasn't expecting from a close friend. Onward and upward...
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Apollo Andy
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I hear what you're saying. I can't stand to play with people who would rather kingmake than have a legitimate shot at winning the game themselves. It defeats the purpose of the game itself for one of the players to intentionally sabotage their own effort in order to kingmake someone else. While such moves are legal, I prefer to only play with players who are trying to win. For example, if, on the very first turn, someone offered their entire treasury to a sheriff as a bribe for no good reason (i.e. they had only what they declared in their purse), even if I were the sheriff, I would think that's kind of BS and probably stop playing with them.

My assumption when we're playing a game is that everyone around the table is doing their best to win for themselves.
 
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