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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Prisoner dilema question rss

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Steram Shaw
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Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat? We were in the 2nd to last round, I thought well we are going to struggle to complete the main objective, so I went for my betrayal, therefore I started attracting zombies, not paying food and killing off survivors on purpose to lower the morale, therefore I won,as I fulfill my objective, but my wife had no time to start on her betrayal goal, it just fell a bit flat those last couple of rounds as it was so obvious what I was doing, it lost the suspense of are we going to achieve the main goal or not. Is there a way of penalising the player who is obviously going for the betrayal,if the other player knows? maybe it's just us, we should stick to the normal 2 player rules, ie try to win coop? Thanks.
 
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My wife and I have played this game dozens of times with only her and I. We have tried many different variants (some we have made up) to get the betrayal mechanic to work properly with only 2 players, but it always seems to end up bad. We always play on "Hardcore," because we feel that the "Normal" mode is a bit easy.

Once you have all the items to complete your objective, it is simple enough to just tank the game as the betrayer. Every single 2 player betrayer game we have played, it has come down to the last round and the betrayer just kills off their Survivors, uses up food tokens and adds bogus cards when contributing to the crisis. Without more players to help contribute to the colony, these betrayer actions easily drops moral down to 0.

I think with more players it is harder to get away with tanking the game, since more players can help contribute to the colony. But, the fact still stands that if the Betrayer has the last turn, they are still able to do enough damage to mess things up for everyone.

IMO, I would stick to Co-op until you have more players to play with or experiment with other variants (if there are any that work) =).

EDIT: Maybe we should experiment with a variant that allows each player to only perform 1 action before allowing the next player to act. Some free actions will still force a player to pass the buck such as: Contributing to the Crisis, Using a card, moving to a location, etc. With the players working together at the same time, it might allow the non-betrayer to have a chance at defending the colony.

I don't know... I really like this game and have been trying to figure out ways to make the betrayal mechanic work properly with 2 players.
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Rood Bird
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Stevieram wrote:
Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat?


cableinggg wrote:

I don't know... I really like this game and have been trying to figure out ways to may the betrayal mechanic work properly with 2 players.[/i]


If you come up with any solutions I too would love to hear them.

I also play this most often with just my wife (who else would you want to be there in the event of the zombie apocalypse? )

We play co-operatively but each also draw a secret objective. It does give a little mistrust (are you sure you don't have any medicine?)

We also play that an outsiders card must be played as soon as it is drawn. It makes searching a little trickier because the colony can rapidly be overwhelmed with mouths to feed.

Don't get me wrong, we both love the game but it would be good to occasionally have a betrayer.

RB


Edits: So many typos, sorry. What's wrong with me today?
 
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James
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Stevieram wrote:
Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat? We were in the 2nd to last round, I thought well we are going to struggle to complete the main objective, so I went for my betrayal, therefore I started attracting zombies, not paying food and killing off survivors on purpose to lower the morale, therefore I won,as I fulfill my objective, but my wife had no time to start on her betrayal goal, it just fell a bit flat those last couple of rounds as it was so obvious what I was doing, it lost the suspense of are we going to achieve the main goal or not. Is there a way of penalising the player who is obviously going for the betrayal,if the other player knows? maybe it's just us, we should stick to the normal 2 player rules, ie try to win coop? Thanks.


First of all, for other responders: Stevieram is specifically referencing the Prisoner's Dilemma two-player variant, as described here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fYAkm-SE_9BV3cXI19h4h2Yx...

In this variant, each player gets two secret objectives - one loyal and one betrayal. If morale drops to zero and BOTH players have completed their betrayal objectives, neither wins - hence, the prisoner's dilemma. Do you go for the "easy" win and tank morale, knowing that there is a risk that your opponent is doing the same?

This variant is ALL ABOUT the meta game. If it's falling flat in a single game session, treated as an island with no context, that's not surprising. What makes this variant shine is that it evolves your play style over many iterations of the game. If one player is going straight legit for one game and the other easily tanks, the losing player will probably play betrayal next game, which might mean that both lose.

It also simply makes the game harder, as each player tries to complete two different secret objectives. Will you realize that you can't finish the game if you keep focusing on both objectives, and then decide to "go straight", or do you think your "partner" has been going for the betrayal over the last few games, so you go for the betrayal too, taking them down with you?

This variant is about providing context. You can essentially force each other to play legit with the threat of the prisoner's dilemma, but then throw a curve ball out every few games to do something unexpected.


If you only play one or two games with this variant, you're missing out on the main source of its fun. If you play each game in a vacuum, ignoring the "tells" that the other player has developed, you're really missing out.
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Nicola Zee
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roodbird wrote:
Stevieram wrote:
Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat?


cableinggg wrote:

I don't know... I really like this game and have been trying to figure out ways to may the betrayal mechanic work properly with 2 players.[/i]


If you come up with any solutions I too would love to hear them.

I also play this most often with just my wife (who else would you want to be there in the event of the zombie apocalypse? )

We play co-operatively but each also draw a secret objective. It does give a little mistrust (are you sure you don't have any medicine?)

We also play that an outsiders card must be played as soon as it is drawn. It makes searching a little trickier because the colony can rapidly be overwhelmed with mouths to feed.

Don't get me wrong, we both love the game but it would be good to occasionally have a betrayer.

RB
Edits: So many typos, sorry. What's wrong with me today?

I do lots of edits - my typos are frequent.

Can I suggest playing outsider cards immediately makes the betrayer option a lot more attractive. In fact, we play the opposite and don't allow a player to play more than one outsider card in a turn. This stops the potential betrayer move of flooding the colony with mouths to feed, or adding lots of followers to a location so they get eaten.

Just a suggestion.
 
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Rood Bird
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Nicola Zee wrote:
roodbird wrote:
Stevieram wrote:
Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat?


cableinggg wrote:

I don't know... I really like this game and have been trying to figure out ways to may the betrayal mechanic work properly with 2 players.[/i]


If you come up with any solutions I too would love to hear them.

I also play this most often with just my wife (who else would you want to be there in the event of the zombie apocalypse? )

We play co-operatively but each also draw a secret objective. It does give a little mistrust (are you sure you don't have any medicine?)

We also play that an outsiders card must be played as soon as it is drawn. It makes searching a little trickier because the colony can rapidly be overwhelmed with mouths to feed.

Don't get me wrong, we both love the game but it would be good to occasionally have a betrayer.

RB
Edits: So many typos, sorry. What's wrong with me today?

I do lots of edits - my typos are frequent.

Can I suggest playing outsider cards immediately makes the betrayer option a lot more attractive. In fact, we play the opposite and don't allow a player to play more than one outsider card in a turn. This stops the potential betrayer move of flooding the colony with mouths to feed, or adding lots of followers to a location so they get eaten.

Just a suggestion.



I mean we always play co-operatively in a 2 player game. i.e. not the prisoners' dilemma variant. Making the outsiders compulsory makes the challenge harder because there are no betrayers. Sorry. I should have been clearer.

RB
 
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roodbird wrote:
Stevieram wrote:
Hi,I was wondering if there is a way to solve our problem which made this variant fall a bit flat?


cableinggg wrote:

I don't know... I really like this game and have been trying to figure out ways to may the betrayal mechanic work properly with 2 players.[/i]


If you come up with any solutions I too would love to hear them.

I also play this most often with just my wife (who else would you want to be there in the event of the zombie apocalypse? )

We play co-operatively but each also draw a secret objective. It does give a little mistrust (are you sure you don't have any medicine?)

We also play that an outsiders card must be played as soon as it is drawn. It makes searching a little trickier because the colony can rapidly be overwhelmed with mouths to feed.

Don't get me wrong, we both love the game but it would be good to occasionally have a betrayer.

RB


Edits: So many typos, sorry. What's wrong with me today?



We play this way too but I just had an interesting idea! How about custom-made Secret Objective cards, instead of a traitor. With cards that bite! Objectives that hurt to complete. Dark objectives for one or both players. Secret betrayer/hero missions in addition to the main mission.

I haven't thought this through yet, just brainstorming, but this gave me an idea that maybe we can all run with... creating custom Secret Objective cards for a two player game rather than trying to fix the betrayer OP problem.

Example of two-player mode, new custom objective text, on Secret Objective cards:

You must kill three survivors belonging to the other player to win.

You must contribute no more than five food during the entire game to win.

If your survivors suffer more than three bites during a game, you automatically win (becoming the zombie ruler?)

If four of the other players' survivors die you win.

If the game ends with ten or more outsider tokens, you win.

If you infect another survivor after one of your survivors has been bitten and died during the game, you win.

If three of the other players characters die in the Hospital, you win.

I don't know,

...anyone see where i'm going with this? There is no actual betrayer, but there are extreme betrayer-like or heroic-like missions in addition to the main mission... to win. Could this be the answer to the two-player game?













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Rood Bird
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Mystical_1 wrote:
... How about custom-made Secret Objective cards, instead of a traitor. With cards that bite! Objectives that hurt to complete. Dark objectives for one or both players. Secret betrayer/hero missions in addition to the main mission.

I haven't thought this through yet, just brainstorming, but this gave me an idea that maybe we can all run with... creating custom Secret Objective cards for a two player game rather than trying to fix the betrayer OP problem.

Example of two-player mode, new custom objective text, on Secret Objective cards:

You must kill three survivors belonging to the other player to win.

You must contribute no more than five food during the entire game to win.

If your survivors suffer more than three bites during a game, you automatically win (becoming the zombie ruler?)

If four of the other players' survivors die you win.

If the game ends with ten or more outsider tokens, you win.

If you infect another survivor after one of your survivors has been bitten and died during the game, you win.

If three of the other players characters die in the Hospital, you win.

I don't know,

...anyone see where i'm going with this? There is no actual betrayer, but there are extreme betrayer-like or heroic-like missions in addition to the main mission... to win. Could this be the answer to the two-player game?


I like this idea. Obviously we'd have to come up with the right secret objectives. I realise your suggestions are just off the top of your head. Some may work. Some may not. Definitely worth thinking about.

RB
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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I like the idea of having a Prisoner's Dilemma variant for two players, but this one doesn't quite capture the meaning of "Prisoner's Dilemma". In a real prisoner's Dilemma, you should have to make a choice as to what you're going to do without being able to communicate in any way with the other person.

In this variant, once you see the other person obviously trying to lower Morale, it's obvious that they have switched over to going for their Betrayer objective.

Maybe the players should be forced to choose one of their objective cards secretly at the beginning, and not have the opportunity to switch back. This would mean that you'd have to make your choice just based on what you think the other person would choose.
 
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Dennison Milenkaya
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randomlife wrote:
Maybe the players should be forced to choose one of their objective cards secretly at the beginning, and not have the opportunity to switch back. This would mean that you'd have to make your choice just based on what you think the other person would choose.

Isn't this more like flipping a coin than playing a game?
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Joel Carson
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randomlife wrote:
I like the idea of having a Prisoner's Dilemma variant for two players, but this one doesn't quite capture the meaning of "Prisoner's Dilemma". In a real prisoner's Dilemma, you should have to make a choice as to what you're going to do without being able to communicate in any way with the other person.

In the real Prisoner's Dilemma, you'd also never play this game again, and the players will never speak to each other again either. That's quite the variant

And under these circumstances, there's is no rational reason to pick anything but the betrayer card, so... I think pushing the variant towards true Prisoner's Dilemma will kill the gameplay aspect of it.

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JonnyRotten
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Yes, I should state somewhere that it is only inspired by the PD, not a true representation of it.

I also like the idea of coming up with some custom Secret Objectives and betrayals to only use in this variant.
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James
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jgilmour wrote:

I also like the idea of coming up with some custom Secret Objectives and betrayals to only use in this variant.


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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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FlatOnHisFace wrote:
randomlife wrote:
Maybe the players should be forced to choose one of their objective cards secretly at the beginning, and not have the opportunity to switch back. This would mean that you'd have to make your choice just based on what you think the other person would choose.

Isn't this more like flipping a coin than playing a game?


Only if you think that rock-paper-scissors is like flipping a coin.

With prisoner's dilemma, there is a mind game going on where you're trying to see if you can correctly guess which path the other person is going to take. Basically, your reward depends on the combination of which path you choose and which path the other person chooses. You could try to go for a big win, but if your opponent does, too, neither of you will be rewarded. Or you could try to go for a lesser reward, but if your opponent goes for the big reward, he gets everything and you get nothing.

So it all comes down to you figuring out how they're going to play. Totally not like flipping a coin if you know anything about the other person at all.

This variant is definitely inspired by Prisoner's Dilemma, but allowing people to change what they're going for after seeing how the other person plays kind of takes that initial blind choice out of it.
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Joel Carson
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jgilmour wrote:
Yes, I should state somewhere that it is only inspired by the PD, not a true representation of it.

I also like the idea of coming up with some custom Secret Objectives and betrayals to only use in this variant.



Devoted

You can only win if the other player passed their agenda and did not pick the betrayer agenda

Selflessly assisting the other player, keeping the mission in check, only to be backstabbed at the last minute, or rewarded by loyalty from the other.

Do you trust the other enough for an easy win?
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