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Subject: Impressions rss

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Great Falls
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1. It is very hard to tell what other players are going to do, and not in a good way.

The Badge of Honor is a good tool, because whoever you give it to has to fight for Scotland. However, I too often found myself sitting around the table thinking, "With the amount of units in his camp, he could win for Scotland. But he could also win for England, and I have no idea which way he is going to go." This makes it too random for me. I need some more tools to help determine how a person could vote; the Dagger cards gave me next to no information. Perhaps I just don't know how to read them yet. Yes, one COULD say that a small number of dagger cards means it is more likely that a person will fight for England, but there is no way of knowing if they will or not; it is still just a guess with no other information. At least in one of the expansions for The Resistance, you were able to gain cards that allowed you to look at other player's votes/character cards. I would find this game much more fun if it had some way to gain partial information about other player's votes/decisions.

2. One person having a lot of units will allow others to fight for England.

If one person puts a lot of units in their camp AND others think they will fight for Scotland, other people might think, "Hmm, I can fight for England and Scotland will still win".

3. Getting 5 more daggers than other players is really tough.

One problem I had was with the lose condition: in our games, you really, really needed to fight for England in a big way in order to lose.

If it were easier to calculate who would probably fight for England/Scotland, it would be much more fun. I would then give this an 8. As it stands, it seems like it is a coin toss each round to determine who's fighting for which side, and that makes me rate this a 5, which makes me verrrrrrrrrrah sahd (Scottish accent?) because I Kickstarted it and wanted to like it!
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Denis Davydov
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Wow, that's a deep and very nice analysis! Generally, your conclusions look right.

The trick is that Swords and Bagpipes emphasis is not in the field of guessing. The game stands on the edge between strategizing and bluffing. You don't play the "guess it!" game. Instead, you maintain your own interests AND try to understand what others will do.

You really never know how other players will act. Maybe, everyone will betray in the current round, maybe, none. Calculating your resources, looking what resources other players have (and how many daggers they have) and summing it up with their behaviour, you can make estimations what will happen.

Sometimes other players show themselves by obvious actions during Replenishment phase. Sometimes you understand that "this guy won't betray, as he has too many daggers", or "she has nothing to loose, most likely she will betray now!". It's a strategy part. Or you look in other player's eyes and somehow you think you know what he will do (bluffing part). Or, maybe, you just don't know! And that's how the game is intended to be.

The final result is not totally predictable (else it would be dull), but you can make the best choice _for yourself_, based on what you know, what you want and what you think you guessed. Yes, your choice may prove to be right or wrong, however making it consistenly will often lead you to victory.

That's how Prisoner's Dilemma works - in real life. Both prisoners are unaware of decisions each of them will make. They don't even see each other, as they are kept in different cells. They can make estimations, they can analyze everything they know about the other one, however they never get "the 100% decision". It's a risk, it's close to reality, it's not about "I know what you will do!" - you don't. You never know what he or she will do! However you can do your best, following your own interests (that somehow appear to be linked with interests of Scotland, because all players are sailing in one boat).

One more thing - it's very hard to win without betraying (only if all players are going this way... hm... inject one wolf in this herd of sheep, please, and the game will change!), and it's very hard to win, if you betray too much (that wolf will get shot). The game is about reallife balance. If we look at wars, politics, a lot of spheres of our society - it will be the same.

Maybe it will work if you look at Swords and Bagpipes from this point of view?

P.S. Just remember that the game is fun too. Maybe I'm too serious about this!
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