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Subject: Madeira second play observation rss

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Bob Long
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Ok, just finished my second game and was wondering if this game has a run away leader prob? If players make a few errors early in the game lets say turn 2 or 3...is there a mechanism that I have not discovered that assists the player that is behind.

Seems that guilds are very strong ways for extra points.

Also need wood and food to be successful.

Any comments on this would be helpful.
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Jose Smith
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I have played this once and observed two game plays and I have seen the runaway leader problem each time. It appears that the leader on turn 3 seems to continue to lead through the end unless players actively block that player.

So I think that if players are not bashing the leader then they will suffer a runaway leader.
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Andrew J
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buseyhead wrote:
Ok, just finished my second game and was wondering if this game has a run away leader prob? If players make a few errors early in the game lets say turn 2 or 3...is there a mechanism that I have not discovered that assists the player that is behind.

Only their own skillful play, really. I've played games where one person has taken a lead early in the game based on the virtue of the tiles they were able to score early (e.g., the 'Urbanization' or 'Wealth of the Nations' Crown's Requests), but then has gotten royally screwed over in later rounds through the clever play of opponents. Passing order can be extremely important because it dictates the order in which Crown's Requests are drawn at the beginning of the next turn, so particularly in rounds four and five, I've seen a leader get stuck drawing Crown's Requests of the same type, both of which had to be scored in round five (the rules require that if multiple of the same type of Crown's Request are being scored in the same round, then you can't use the same boats, guild favors, or city majority to score both). I've been the leader in some games where I've passed early in round four just to make sure I wouldn't get stuck with a repeat Crown's Request in round five--getting 15-20 points on a single 'Market Routes,' 'Colonization,' or 'Influence of the Guilds' tile can be difficult enough, forget about even trying to do it twice in the same round (which would require six boats, up to 8 guild favors, etc.).


buseyhead wrote:
Also need wood and food to be successful.
Wood is definitely valuable, both for its use to launch/maintain ships and to purchase guild favors. You can get a fair amount of wood in connection with positioning to score the 'Urbanization' Crown's Request (because the 'wood city,' Machico, provides the greatest amount of points for having a majority of workers there).

Bread is important, though less critical than wood, in my opinion. I rarely keep workers tied up in the 'bread city,' or use the Mayor action to collect bread. Granted, you'll get a lot of pirates for not feeding workers, but sometimes it is more efficient to take actions that remove pirates than it is to take actions that give you bread (e.g., you can lose pirates by sending workers to the City Watch, where they will provide future flexibility to utilize more pirate dice for extra actions, or where they can ultimately be retired for additional prestige points). I'll get bread through the occasional use of the Moinho (Mill), if I have workers in Region 2 and if the price happens to be right.

However, you should keep at least a little reserve of bread on hand to give you the flexibility to place your guild dice with lower values in higher valued regions--in my view, you are better to take a few extra pirates in a feeding phase (since you are allowed to choose your own combination of pirates you will take versus bread you will use to feed, it isn't an all-or-nothing decision) to keep that bread on reserve. Otherwise, if you get stuck with a bunch of low valued guild dice, you'll be forced to waste an action on the Mayor just to get bread to place some of your dice (assuming that the Mayor is in a region you can access with your current guild dice values or a pirate die) or, worse yet, you'll have to drop a level in the windmill to get a bread during the action phase (which will in turn compound the number of pirates you are taking for not feeding).
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Bob D
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Andrew pretty much summed it up. A game can most certainly be lost after a few successful rounds but everything comes down to skillful play (or not). Like most heavy Euros, the game doesn't offer any mechanisms to handicap players who are better than others.
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David desJardins
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bobbyrayiam wrote:
Andrew pretty much summed it up. A game can most certainly be lost after a few successful rounds but everything comes down to skillful play (or not).

Does it come down to skillful play or does it come down to negative play by the others against the leader? Those are pretty different, imho. I hear suggestions of both. Certainly some "heavy euros" have more or less of the latter.
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Bob D
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DaviddesJ wrote:
bobbyrayiam wrote:
Andrew pretty much summed it up. A game can most certainly be lost after a few successful rounds but everything comes down to skillful play (or not).

Does it come down to skillful play or does it come down to negative play by the others against the leader? Those are pretty different, imho. I hear suggestions of both. Certainly some "heavy euros" have more or less of the latter.

Good point. I'd need more plays to feel confident but I'd think both are possible. The other player(s) could use pirate dice to attempt to negatively impact the leader and/or intentionally grab crown requests with an eye to limiting the leader's options but these might not be the most optimal moves. The players could also just try to play the best game they can, independent of the leader, and hope their long game is more effective.

Now that I've typed all that out, I feel like the best play would combine both (which makes sense to me). But, either way, I don't think the game is lost within the first two rounds or so.
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Andrew J
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bobbyrayiam wrote:
Now that I've typed all that out, I feel like the best play would combine both (which makes sense to me). But, either way, I don't think the game is lost within the first two rounds or so.

This. Make a move based on the totality of the circumstances, accounting for the positive gain to you as well as the positive gain/negative detriment to other players.

Overall, I don't think pure 'denial' moves in Madeira that provide no other benefit to the player making them other than the harm they inflict on other opponents would be particularly effective in attaining victory as a general rule. That and, depending on the group, this type of play can be irritating in the extreme as it can reek of poor sportsmanship (e.g., it is apparent that I will not win, so I will now make it my goal to arbitrarily cripple another opponent who I simply don't want to win, either, even though by so doing I will not beat them). We have sort of an unstated agreement in our group that we don't play that way.

However, accounting for the totality of the circumstances, if I can choose between a move that nets me 15 prestige points and a move that nets me 12 prestige points and denies the leader 6 prestige points, then that's actually a conceivable way for me to catch up.
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Bob Long
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Thanks for the comments.

This game is def a heavy Euro, I want to teach it to my students for design purposes. I really like the aspect of multiple games going on at one time with Madeira.

I like the decision making process too. This one requires players to really make tough decisions that will effect you a turn or two in the future.

I just picked up a cheap copy of Vinhos on ebay so want to give that one a spin too.

I do believe (of course I havent played Vinhos only watched a few vids and read the rules ) that Madeira allows players multiple options where Vinhos only gives players 12 actions to do what they need to do to pick up points. Both are heavy Euros but both offer different game play options.

By the way Jose love your avatar Gary Busey
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Darci S
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Bob,

I was wary of Madiera because it kept getting compared to Vinhos. They are completely different games! - for example, Vinhos sucks, Madiera is fun. OK, to be less pithily obnoxious - Vinhos seems to demand that you find the ideal strategy to beat the game, while Madiera offers multiple paths to beat your opponents. And that is why I prefer Madiera. (mileage may vary)
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Jose Smith
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Bob,

Thanks, I fell in love with this avatar some time ago.

I agree with Darci about Vinhos somewhat. I enjoy playing Vinhos but it is a much tighter game than Madeira. I think it comes from the everyone having the same scoring conditions throughout the game and everyone has to do a little of everything to be successful with everything coming down to timing. In Madeira you choose your scoring options for the most part (that last turn could force you into something you don't want to score) and that allows you more freedom and less AP.

I would still pick up a copy of Vinhos because it looks really nice next to Madeira.
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Robert
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I think skillful play includes hindering the leader. If you can make a play to hinder an opponent that also benefits yourself, then that seems quite skillful to me.

In Madeira, you can:
- occupy/fill a space that you think an opponent needs
- pass and take a scoring chit that you think an opponent needs or leave them with a selection that is less than helpful to them
- place a pirate die in a location, thus increasing the probable cost for an opponent and/or odds of a pirate

You can't:
- steal resources, scoring chits from an opponent
- remove workers, ships or guild favors from an opponent
- directly give pirates to an opponent

Anyhow, call it 'skillful' play or 'negative' play, Madeira allows players to deny opportunities and/or increase the cost of doing actions for others. This seems like a pretty common concept, in worker placement games especially. If you enjoy games like Caylus, Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads, then the level of 'leader bashing' in Madeira shouldn't bother you.

Maybe it's just a matter of semantics, philosophy or some other concept I'm not familiar with, but Madeira doesn't seem even close to the leader-bashing that is possible in games like: Eclipse, Risk, Shogun, Twilight Imperium and so-on.
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Mike Geller
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Back to the OP, is there a runaway leader problem?

I usually associate this problem with some sort of snowball effect, where the leader gets some advantage by virtue of his leading position. For example, in Outpost having more plants than everyone else gives the player more money than everyone else which allows him to buy even more plants than everyone else, etc.

Is there a similar mechanism in Madeira? I can't remember one.
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Andrew J
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Shmello50 wrote:
Back to the OP, is there a runaway leader problem?

I usually associate this problem with some sort of snowball effect, where the leader gets some advantage by virtue of his leading position. For example, in Outpost having more plants than everyone else gives the player more money than everyone else which allows him to buy even more plants than everyone else, etc.

Is there a similar mechanism in Madeira? I can't remember one.

No, I wouldn't say there is a similar effect in Madeira. Prestige Point count (which determines the 'leader') is not determinative of other mechanics in the game (i.e., it doesn't determine turn order, act as any sort of tie-breaker, etc.).

Turn order certainly plays a critical role in Madeira, but turn order changes quite a bit (even within the same round), and is not influenced by prestige point count but rather by what Crown's Request tiles a person wants, what the values on the Guild Dice are, which favors (if any) the person wishes to reset, what passing action a person wants, etc. Since Madeira is largely scored in ascending blocks of points (i.e., 12-15 at the end of Round One, 30-33 at the end of round Two, 45-53 at the end of Round Three), the person leading after one or two rounds isn't indicative of particularly anything. Sure, if a person totally flubs Round One and scores less than 10 points on their first Crown's Request they may have to make an extra effort to get maximum scores on both requests scored in Round Three, but it is certainly possible to pull out of a bad first round.

If you have a bad scoring bout in both Round One and Round Three, you probably won't pull it out for a victory in Round Five, but that's not because there is a runaway leader problem, it is because the person scoring poorly in both Round One and Round Three doesn't know how to play the game very well.
 
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David desJardins
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P.O.G.G. wrote:
If you enjoy games like Caylus, Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads, then the level of 'leader bashing' in Madeira shouldn't bother you.

I can't stand Caylus, for this reason among others, so that doesn't really answer it for me. I am surprised to hear the reference to Russian Railroads---while it's not my favorite game either, I don't think it has nearly as much negative play as Caylus.

It's interesting to hear the comparison of Caylus to something like Twilight Imperium. TI doesn't really have that much negative play, I think---you have specific goals you have to pursue to win, and resources dedicated to challenging a perceived leader are generally best spent pursuing your own goals. Also TI deliberately makes it hard to tell exactly who is winning, through hidden goals and victory conditions---this is one of the main ways of reducing negative play, that games like Caylus lack.

Of course, you *could* stop trying to pursue your own goals, and just take on the perceived leader, in TI, if you wanted to. And maybe that happens more in some groups than in others---I can see that there could be some groupthink involved.
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Robert
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You know, the more I think about it, the less I see leader-bashing being an issue here.

Opponents cannot block you out of your first choice move. There is always at least one vacant action space per player for any given action. This doesn't mean the pressure is off though, but at least you will have the chance to take the most important thing to you each round.

It's not like Agricola, Lords of Waterdeep, Russian Railroads or whatever, where there might be room for only one of the players to take the action each round. Granted, in those games there is usually more than one way to get the same thing (not always, I realize).

The big problem is if someone takes the scoring tile that you really "needed". BUT: why did you let them? Why did you play so as to create the situation where needing that one and only tile was so vital to you? Why didn't you pass sooner if it was so important?

Anyhow, if you're playing with a group of players that focus on leader-bashing then maybe you're not in the right group?
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