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The Curse of the Black Dice» Forums » General

Subject: Sea wolf and Captain rss

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Thanee
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After playing this game once and looking at the available quests, there seems to be one serious problem with this game.

Essentially, the left side of the board is usually benefiting the crew as a whole, while the right side is for the greedy pirates (i.e. the gold rewards are here; and other important quest-based things).

Whoever puts the most dice into the right side (i.e. getting gold) becomes the sea wolf (i.e. getting even more gold).

So, the game supports those who are already on the up and winning.

Therefore, the best strategy seems to pretty much always involve putting all (if possible) dice on the right side of the board, and let the others handle the left side (or simply ignore it, nothing truely bad can happen there, anyways; and if it does... everyone suffers from it, so not a problem for you specifically).


I feel, that if that part was switched around (i.e. left side highest becomes sea wolf and right side highest becomes captain), the game would be a lot more interesting.

Maybe worth a try, if you feel the same?

Bye
Thanee
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Nushura
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That is clearly intentional and the main core of the game. I think that the point you are missing is that this game is NOT a cooperative game.

The thing is if all players go greedy towards rewards (which all want to do), then the ship sinks and all players lose the game.

So, the trick is to be greedy enough so that other players are forced to place their dice on the benefiting the crew side... But of course they won't want to do it and they plan the same as you do...
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Thanee
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Nushura wrote:
That is clearly intentional and the main core of the game. I think that the point you are missing is that this game is NOT a cooperative game.


Not really. I am looking at it as a competitive game... which is why I see the problem there. If it was cooperative, there was enough reason to put dice to the left side. But since it is not, there is no reason to do so. There is no benefit whatsoever.

Because the game is competitive, you will try to make choices that benefit you over the others. Putting dice on the left is the opposite of that.

All the negative things that can happen hit all players equally.

So what, if the ship sinks. Everyone loses. No problem.

But if I put dice on the left side, only I lose. That is a problem.

Solution: Do not put dice on the left side... ever (unless you really, really have to).

Ideal outcome is always all dice on the right side with all three columns covered (or as many as are open).

Quote:
The thing is if all players go greedy towards rewards (which all want to do), then the ship sinks and all players lose the game.


I don't know the quests inside out (not my game), but at least in the first one this is not true (the damage to the ship is all on the right side of the tableau).

Also, it is the second best outcome for the game (from an individual player's perspective) if all players lose. The best being, of course, that you win. So, if another player is too far ahead, it is even beneficial to sabotage the ship and actively aid in it sinking by not placing any dice in the corresponding columns.

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Thanee
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Nushura
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It seems to me you are getting several rules wrong:

Thanee wrote:
[...]
Not really. I am looking at it as a competitive game... which is why I see the problem there. If it was cooperative, there was enough reason to put dice to the left side. But since it is not, there is no reason to do so. There is no benefit whatsoever.

Yes there is. You want to win the game, right?

Thanee wrote:

Because the game is competitive, you will try to make choices that benefit you over the others. Putting dice on the left is the opposite of that.

Again...unless you have the very last round and if you don't do so you will lose the game. Wouldn't you rather have a chance of winning than certain loss? In that case you place the dice there, right? Now, can you force that situation into the opponents?

Thanee wrote:

So what, if the ship sinks. Everyone loses. No problem.

But if I put dice on the left side, only I lose. That is a problem.

No, you do not lose. You do not gain anything which is very different. It allows you to fight one more round and hopefully gain more points.

Thanee wrote:

Also, it is the second best outcome for the game (from an individual player's perspective) if all players lose. The best being, of course, that you win. So, if another player is too far ahead, it is even beneficial to sabotage the ship and actively aid in it sinking by not placing any dice in the corresponding columns.

In here you are ignoring two things. First of all, who is winning is a secret. People have doubloons that could have 1VP or 5VP...so it is never certain who wins.

Second, what you say is a bad thing is in fact a balancing rule: imagine even the winning player is known because by some reason he has 10 more doubloons than the rest. Then the other players will won't help the ship survive. He will be forced to put all die into making the "useless" missions, allowing other players to catch-up.

In general it won't be that clear, but surely those players that are on the advantage will end up putting more dice into the locations that make sure we do not lose...whereas the losing players will go 100% greedy
 
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Alexander Lauck
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Hi, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
First I have to say: This game doesn't seem to fit for you. Thats ok, but (and there is always a huge but) that doesn't make the game or the mechanic broken. You think that sinking the ship is ok, I personally see this as a last option against selfish players. The gold coins are numbered between 3 and 5 (don't know why everybody thinks it's 1-5, same with the uploaded podcast, where they said its a flaw to have such a huge difference, in fact 3-5 is good enough to win with 2 or 3 coins less, but the probability is still low enough and depends on the mission, in some missions, the winner will not get more than 5-7 coins, double this amount at the treasure hunt).

First let me guess: You played the treasure hunt mission, were the Captain for a huge part of the game and lost with a high difference, right?

Then SINK THE F***ING SHIP arrrharrrharrrh

Its a semi-coop (thats the first thing you may get wrong, its not competitive and you HAVE TO play for the team or the ship will sink in >80% of your games). If some players play selfish, punish them, if all players play selfish, the game will punish them. You're a crew on one single ship, so take this mood to the game and the game will end with a victory in 70-90% (depends on the mission).
I've always talked about the second, interactive, layer of this game. You talk while gaming, so threatening them is possible. I even had one game where two players were far behind the other two players and worked together to sink the ship. It was hard and worked at the last turn but it brought so much tension to the game, the group immediately played a second game (and avoided an early lead then).

Second, it's only the treasure hunt that works this way, try another mission and you will see, that the group is forced to play different (don't just look at the board, read the special rules for the other missions, some adventures are blocked, may reopen, may punish the players in other ways).

But you are totally right with one thing: Having the Captains marker is more a punishment (except for the last round, where it's a huge advantage, especially at the treasure hunt), the only advantage is: Captain chooses the negative effects like which crew member gets kille and such things.

And thats the next thing: If you dont care for the first half, the ship will sink or the crewmembers get killed, it's nearly impossible to avoid that!


One last thing: It is intended to have the captain left and the sea wolf right, players see who participated most for the team and who's greedy and can react the next round.

I hope you will try it a second time with another scenario and see, that you will need a totally different play to win. But that's something I really love with this game: The mechanic is the same but you have to use and react to it in a different way every time you play the game.
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Thanee
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Angrax wrote:
First I have to say: This game doesn't seem to fit for you.


Might be. I mean, it is fun as a whole, it is just that part that we did not like (supporting the ones that are ahead already, instead of a catch-up mechanism... in fact, the one who gets the captain gets punished for playing "for the team" even more by having to place dice first).

Just to be clear. I'm not writing here to say the game sucks. I am writing here to see if either we did something wrong (seems not to be the case), or there is something we missed, or there is more to it we havn't seen, yet.

Quote:
You think that sinking the ship is ok, I personally see this as a last option against selfish players.


Of course, that is not something you try to achieve from the get go (but, like, in the second half of the game, when it is clear that you cannot win anymore).

Quote:
The gold coins are numbered between 3 and 5 (don't know why everybody thinks it's 1-5 ...


Yep, 3-5, which is also why you can see quite well who is in the lead (one coin = 4 points on average with minor variation).

Quote:
First let me guess: You played the treasure hunt mission, were the Captain for a huge part of the game and lost with a high difference, right?


You guessed wrong.

Quote:
Then SINK THE F***ING SHIP arrrharrrharrrh


I know. Just... that part is extremely unthematic. From a strategy point of view it is the best course of action for everyone not in the lead, once there are not enough rounds left to try to catch up.

But, quite obviously, noone would actually do that if they were on that ship for real. That would be an utterly stupid thing to do.

Unfortunately, there is no way to "punish" selfish players. You can only "punish" the group as a whole.

Quote:
Its a semi-coop (thats the first thing you may get wrong, its not competitive and you HAVE TO play for the team or the ship will sink in >80% of your games).


And that is precisely the problem I see there... there is no incentive to cooperate. The only reason to cooperate is when you are winning, because otherwise you will lose with the rest (assuming everyone is willing to sink the ship just because).

Quote:
If some players play selfish, punish them, ...


How? You can threaten to take down the ship... but what else is there?

Quote:
Second, it's only the treasure hunt that works this way, try another mission and you will see, that the group is forced to play different (don't just look at the board, read the special rules for the other missions, some adventures are blocked, may reopen, may punish the players in other ways).


That might be, I only looked at the boards to see if they all have this left/right side split with all the good stuff on the right and only "prevent bad stuff" on the left, which they seem to do in general, while the damage to the ship is also on the right side, and that is the one that you really have to prevent, if you want to see the end of the game.

Quote:
And thats the next thing: If you dont care for the first half, the ship will sink or the crewmembers get killed, it's nearly impossible to avoid that!


At least in the Treasure Hunt, I don't think so. If all dice are on the right side, you have plenty of buffer to avoid losing by getting more black dice there, when the others are being re-rolled. But it is only 50/50 that they end up there.

Quote:
One last thing: It is intended to have the captain left and the sea wolf right, players see who participated most for the team and who's greedy and can react the next round.


Again, how? Short of verbal abuse, there doesn't seem to be much you can actually do (maybe some of the crewmembers give options here?).

Quote:
I hope you will try it a second time with another scenario ...


Oh, don't worry. It's not like I have written off the game or something.

We will probably also try it with Captain and Sea Wolf switched just to see how that works.

As I said, that part "seems to be a problem" with the game (and so far, at least, I havn't seen anything to convince me to think otherwise)... it does not absolutely have to be. I'm quite aware, that I havn't seen it all, yet.

Bye
Thanee
 
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Alexander Lauck
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ok, lets take a short look at the first half of the board:
First the anchor, you could use the extra die to boost your strength in the second half, if you lose this part, the dice will be replaced in 5 of 6 cases.
Then in the second part you get rum. without rum it's impossible to place all the dice at the second part of the board (and you can use the rum to make some of the crew drunk), if you lose here, the captain kills a crewmember, just kill the crewmember that benefits the greedy players.
And the third and in my opinion most important part is the third adventure. If you lose here, the next adventure is much harder!!!
So, what can you do: Choose the right pirates, kill the "wrong" pirates. Get two rum or none.

So, normally you don't have a leader (=more than 2-3 goldcoins difference) in the first 2-3 rounds, that's half of the game.
So my tips: try to find combinations with the rum, play like the other players (especially if someone seems to win after being selfish) and sink the ship or play like the others (but then the ship should sink, too). In this game you have to cooperate or other players have many, many opportunities to sink the ship. Some are visible in the first game (get damage), some need to be found (use your crew and try another strategy!).

And it's interesting to see how some players like more randomness with the coins and other players would love 1 coin = 1 gold... we tried several things and 3-5 really is the best. with 7-8 coins it's not uncommon to have half of the coins as 3's or 5's. At Sunday a player won with only 8 coins (5x5 and 3x4), all other players had more coins! The probability is low, but high enough to not sink the ship if you have fewer coins.

Oh and you lose, if all crew members are killed! maybe you have suicide sam (the one-use pirate) in the setup and one of them will have an additional death in one round...

So, there are many ways to get to the victory, just adapt your strategy to the gameplay! Oh and black dice can be rolled and rolled and rolled if a part is not fulfill, and the next part and the next... once you have the +4 black dice (and in other missios the -4 player dice) it's impossible to fulfill everything and coop is essential!

I hope you will try all 4 missions in one session (maybe as a campaign, add the gold or give some victory points to the players...) and see, how different they are. Maybe the treasure hunt is just not optimal for your group and/or style of play, maybe it's the whole game (I'd wish it's just the treasure hunt because after 4 days of demoing it, it got better and better and I hope to give some people just an evening of fun!).

Last, I have an expansion (ok, I have many ideas but I guess it will be the first expansion for this game). If we will do it the way I have in mind, it could solve a huge part of your "problem" (and the planned mission would help there, too!). Personally, I like it harder and I will write down some variants we tested and kicked them because they were mean or made the game harder to beat, but some of them make the interaction different. Maybe you will take a look at them and try it (and give some feedback to get them in the next edition or as an expansion in some ways).
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Thanee
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Yeah, we will definitely try the other scenarios and see how those go.

Thank you for the insightful replies!

Bye
Thanee
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Ireneusz Huszcza
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Thanee wrote:
Yeah, we will definitely try the other scenarios and see how those go.

Thank you for the insightful replies!

Bye
Thanee


Have fun playing.
Arrrr!
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