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Subject: How to avoid domination games? rss

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Mark J
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I recently played a 4 player game where once again I found the game falling into domination by one player, he had control of the top 4 positions. One player couldn't get control of a single politician because he just got unlucky. I don't like these types of games so what's a way to mitigate it from happening? I do have the extra politicians from the KS so if I add them that increases like likelihood that someone has their own politician to control. This doesn't help the domination situation though. Now I usually don't play with the intrigue cards and haven't looked them over all that closely. But would playing with the increase the chances a domination game could be tilted out of favor for that player?


 
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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Obviously, it's not possible to completely mitigate the possibility of a single player dominating (or alternatively being locked out) in Kremlin. But some thoughts.

How are you using the extra Politicians? If you're still giving them out individually to players, that is less likely to ease the possibility of domination. (It makes them very easy to target). I just add them in the same numbers as I have players and allow people to start with a 10+

Cards can definitely give a chance of unseating domination if they come out right. Assassinations or flu epidemic can damage a leader pretty substantially. They can also have the opposite effect and increase domination. That's less frequent though.

I find that the random influence placement of Historical/Modern reduces the chance of domination, because it means influence tends to be spread out more.

One possibility is to go back to AH Revolution rules and allow the placement of four new IP in the Influence Declaration phase. That makes it more likely a Politician will change hands. I only use that in Historical, partly because of the younger Politicians. (I also revert to "two influence or a card" rule across the game).
 
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Mark J
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Abiezer Coppe wrote:
Obviously, it's not possible to completely mitigate the possibility of a single player dominating (or alternatively being locked out) in Kremlin. But some thoughts.

How are you using the extra Politicians? If you're still giving them out individually to players, that is less likely to ease the possibility of domination. (It makes them very easy to target). I just add them in the same numbers as I have players and allow people to start with a 10+

Cards can definitely give a chance of unseating domination if they come out right. Assassinations or flu epidemic can damage a leader pretty substantially. They can also have the opposite effect and increase domination. That's less frequent though.

I find that the random influence placement of Historical/Modern reduces the chance of domination, because it means influence tends to be spread out more.

One possibility is to go back to AH Revolution rules and allow the placement of four new IP in the Influence Declaration phase. That makes it more likely a Politician will change hands. I only use that in Historical, partly because of the younger Politicians. (I also revert to "two influence or a card" rule across the game).


I don't use the extra politicians. I haven't given my exclusive politician idea a try. (more on that at the end).

It would be awful to have your high IPs assigned to someone elses 10+ but I get the idea.

I have tried the blind influence assigning, where you don't see the positions they are in when you assign. I fear though this could lead to dull starts if no one controls someone in the top 3 positions because inactive and uncontrolled are different things.

I think I'll just start using cards and see if that helps. I tend to not like them in games with new players as it seems just another thing to have to refer back to and slows the game down a bit. Also, the added chaos I'm not a fan of.

The 4 IPs would help as long as the other players collectively went after the dominating players politicians. Otherwise the dominating player can just cover it when it's his turn, assuming a 10+ wasn't declared.

I wonder if a coup rule could be added to the game to help counter domination situations. It would be something like at the end of the parade all 2nd level politicians get to cast their confidence vote if no wave was achieved. If there's ever a unanimous no-confidence vote then the party chief suffers 5 stress points. Of course any 2nd level politician making a no-confidence vote would suffer 1 SP. This would add an extra value to the 2nd level and make players holding the top 4 spots wanting to have one of their own on that level. How thematic is it? Did "junior" members of the politburo ever voice their displeasure of the PC in communist Russia? And did the PC ever care?

Here's my idea for an exclusive politician guarantee. After putting politician A in his party chief position all the politician cards are shuffled blindly by a player. He takes the top card and makes a note as that one being his exclusive politician. He then removes that card from the deck and keeps it hidden. He then looks at the next nine cards and makes a mark on his sheet for these are the politicians he's allowed to put influence on. He then blindly hands it to the next player who blindly shuffles the deck and repeats the process. After this is complete the exclusive cards are returned to the deck where they are all shuffled and distributed into their positions. This should ensure that no one would have much of a clue as to who each others exclusives are. It's also a slower start and has some logistical issues. But it would make it interesting I think.

 
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Under the paving stones, the beach
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DiploGuy wrote:
It would be awful to have your high IPs assigned to someone elses 10+ but I get the idea.


It actually sucks less than a 10, because you get your declared influence back at least.

Quote:
I have tried the blind influence assigning, where you don't see the positions they are in when you assign. I fear though this could lead to dull starts if no one controls someone in the top 3 positions because inactive and uncontrolled are different things.


I think we've only ever had an entirely uncontrolled 1st level once. But we do normally play with 5 or 6.

It's a fair concern though. If you're using blind influence, you might want to bring in the Modern rule that any uncontrolled 1st level politicians get sent to Siberia at the end of the Defense phase.

Quote:
I think I'll just start using cards and see if that helps. I tend to not like them in games with new players as it seems just another thing to have to refer back to and slows the game down a bit. Also, the added chaos I'm not a fan of.


My experience is that new players pick them up quickly; most of them are self explanatory. The issue of added chaos is more significant though. That definitely is the case with them. (And more "take that" play if you dislike that).

Quote:
The 4 IPs would help as long as the other players collectively went after the dominating players politicians. Otherwise the dominating player can just cover it when it's his turn, assuming a 10+ wasn't declared.


It's the possibility of getting a 10+ from a start of 7 I find makes the difference. It makes a switch in loyalties far more likely at the top level.

Quote:
How thematic is it? Did "junior" members of the politburo ever voice their displeasure of the PC in communist Russia? And did the PC ever care?


It's probably not that thematic in the Cold War era the standard game aims to create. With the removal of Khrushchev (which is one of the main models for the removal of a PC in the era), it's certainly the case that several of the plotters were top level. Same with the moves against Kosygin, where Brezhnev was crucial.

So I think a plot made up entirely of junior members would have been doomed to failure.

It's arguably more thematic in the latter part of the Modern game era. There's actually Intrigue Cards to reflect some of that.

Quote:
Here's my idea for an exclusive politician guarantee.


That's an interesting idea and I agree it would work better than what I thought you were doing.
 
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Michi Hostettler
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I think this is at least partly a problem introduced by the rule changes of the various English editions with respect to the original Fata Morgana rules. Among other things, there is small, but very important difference in the victory condition. The original (Fata Morgana) victory condition is the following:
If a PC waves three times successfully, the game ends and all hidden influence is revealed. Now if two or more players tie on influence on the PC, the player(s) who do NOT currently control the PC win.

This can lead to the nasty situation that someone (mostly novices ) reveals all of his or her influence to completely dominate the game, puts up his politician with 10 influence revealed as the PC, only to find out in the end that some opponent also had 10 influence hidden on that very politician (which will make the guy with the hidden influence win, NOT the dominating player).

The practical impact of this is that it can be a perfectly valid strategy to do little and wait for the whole game. In doubt, let other players do your job. Do your best to keep your influence hidden till the very end. If you really need to get something done, use one of your low-influenced politicians (i.e. some guy with 1 or 2 influence points assigned) if possible...
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T. Dauphin
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michi4242 wrote:
I think this is at least partly a problem introduced by the rule changes of the various English editions with respect to the original Fata Morgana rules. Among other things, there is small, but very important difference in the victory condition. The original (Fata Morgana) victory condition is the following:
If a PC waves three times successfully, the game ends and all hidden influence is revealed. Now if two or more players tie on influence on the PC, the player(s) who do NOT currently control the PC win.

This can lead to the nasty situation that someone (mostly novices ) reveals all of his or her influence to completely dominate the game, puts up his politician with 10 influence revealed as the PC, only to find out in the end that some opponent also had 10 influence hidden on that very politician (which will make the guy with the hidden influence win, NOT the dominating player).

The practical impact of this is that it can be a perfectly valid strategy to do little and wait for the whole game. In doubt, let other players do your job. Do your best to keep your influence hidden till the very end. If you really need to get something done, use one of your low-influenced politicians (i.e. some guy with 1 or 2 influence points assigned) if possible...


This is a good observation, and looks like a much more interesting game, with more subtle strategies--rather than the house clearing events of multiple purges.

 
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I recently played a 1928 game and we ended on a similar situation of domination.

One player ended on the first turn controlling the PC and KGB head.

Both were under 50 years.

No one had more IP on those politicians, so we played through three turn completely unable to do anything (defense minister was useless because he always have his own two "innocent" votes from PC and KGB Head.

And being young the chances of getting even sick was too low, KGB aged by purging, he purged just for fun in fact and ended sick, but PC did not (<=4 is a so difficult chance)

Does it seems we played something wrong? Or it was just luck the first politburo random arrangement gave him the KGB and another 1st (so when Lenin died on health phase he got the PC for his second 1st rank)?

We got confused we ended on such lock-down situation so easily, with nothing to do as we got no card for demote, no time to get "extra IP" or cards as he waved for 1st, 2nd and 3rd turns.


Is there a way to break the KGB + PC top IP combo?

The Defense minister ability seems to be too weak as with just two innocent votes anyone gets free of trials.

Also 1928 politicians seems to be so young so this situation seems to be easily achieved.

It seems the game have a "I'm winning on IP on PC and KGB, if no one can contest that I WIN, save time and pack the game", it's that true? :-/
 
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T. Dauphin
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I'm not sure if there are specific rules within the '28 version that you may have violated, as I haven't played that one, but in general, this kind of thing does happen periodically.

If you really want to avoid these situations you could introduce a house rule to the effect that you can't put IP on the PC or the KGB (or both?) depending on the scenario. We've talked about applying this to the KGB head, but never got around to actually trying it.

Otherwise, yea, if it's over quickly at least you've got time for another one.

 
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Mark J
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SpaVampyre wrote:
I recently played a 1928 game and we ended on a similar situation of domination.

One player ended on the first turn controlling the PC and KGB head.

Both were under 50 years.

No one had more IP on those politicians, so we played through three turn completely unable to do anything (defense minister was useless because he always have his own two "innocent" votes from PC and KGB Head.

And being young the chances of getting even sick was too low, KGB aged by purging, he purged just for fun in fact and ended sick, but PC did not (<=4 is a so difficult chance)

Does it seems we played something wrong? Or it was just luck the first politburo random arrangement gave him the KGB and another 1st (so when Lenin died on health phase he got the PC for his second 1st rank)?

We got confused we ended on such lock-down situation so easily, with nothing to do as we got no card for demote, no time to get "extra IP" or cards as he waved for 1st, 2nd and 3rd turns.


Is there a way to break the KGB + PC top IP combo?

The Defense minister ability seems to be too weak as with just two innocent votes anyone gets free of trials.

Also 1928 politicians seems to be so young so this situation seems to be easily achieved.

It seems the game have a "I'm winning on IP on PC and KGB, if no one can contest that I WIN, save time and pack the game", it's that true? :-/


One reason not to play by assigning before seeing what position they are in.

One thing you guys may not have done is the Defense Minister can intensify the investigations. By the 3rd turn the PC and KGB should be at '???'. That's 3 age increases in the Cure phase. 4 ages for the PC.

Other than that you're dependent on the luck of the dice.
 
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