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Subject: 2 Player with Dummy 3rd Player rss

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Andrew Pillow
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Firstly I haven't played Seafall yet but I will test these rules during "fake games" (i.e. games that simulate a real game but don't affect the board permanently) once I have the game. Any recommendations to adjust these rules would be helpful.

In this variant a third faction exists and is controlled by both players.

Rule 1)
The player who plays first controls the dummy player for the first two turns and the final two turns of each year. The second player controls the dummy player in turns 3 and 4.

During the first year this means that the player who is losing the campaign has an advantage, and afterwards it will be the losing player of the current game. The reason the turn order doesn't change each round is that it stops players usefully controlling the dummy player especially near the edge of the known world.

Rule 2) The Dummy player always goes last each round.
This is partly to help simplify the turn order and partly to allow players to trigger the end of the game without the dummy player delaying it a round.

Rule 3) If the dummy player loses the game by 4 or more glory, the winning player loses the glory equal to the difference between the second place player and the dummy player minus 3.

E.g. if the winning player got 11 glory, second place got 7 and the dummy player got 2 glory, then the winning player would end the game with 9 glory. (7-2 = 5 glory difference - 3 = 2 glory lost).

This is to stop players avoiding using the dummy player or just using it as a farming tool.

Rule 4) The player controlling the dummy player chooses all permanent changes that the dummy player would make. At the end of the game, the player who is losing the campaign chooses any upgrades.

Rule 5) IF the dummy player ever needs to roll against another player, the player not involved rolls the dice for them. If they are rolling against both players the player who controls the dummy player rolls the dice.

Rule 6 During Winter, the controlling player is the player who will control the dummy player next turn.




If you can see any problems with these rules let me know. If they occur after unlocks, please use spoilers and let us know which box they relate to outside of the spoiler box. If say it relates to something unlocked otherwise, use double spoiler boxes to hide the milestone they relate to as those are also spoilers.
 
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fortheloveofdice
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What is the reason for the dummy player? Daviau said that while they didn't play test it with two players it should be fine although it might be a little bit multiplayer solitaire since players wouldn't be forced to interact as much.
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Becq Starforged
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Some good ideas here.

In general, I'm a little hesitant to have a third faction controlled by either of the actual players. It looks as though you've come up with ways to try to minimize the potential problems. But here are a couple of sample scenarios that concern me:

1) While I see how Rule 3 encourages the winning player to maximize the dummy's score, doesn't it do the opposite for the losing player? Every glory the dummy player gains is a glory that the winning player doesn't lose, so it seems like there's a strong motivation for the losing player (who controls the dummy most of the time) to play the dummy to lose as badly as possible. So while the winning might want the dummy player to upgrade his ships (more glory for the dummy equals less penalty), the losing player would rather sink the dummy's ships, so that it increases the penalty for the winning player. (The exception to this is if a close game, and the current loser feels he has a chance to become the winning player.)

2) Continuing, how does Rule 3 motivate the losing player to not use the dummy player as a farming tool? For example, the rules indicate that at some point factions will be able to raid each other's ships; why wouldn't the losing player want to use the dummy to trade for resources with its weak ship, then raid the dummy ship. Depending on how the ship raid rules work, I would expect that this would gain the player a glory and some free goods at least (and this would increase the glory penalty against the winner -- so win-win). If the dummy ship sank as a result, the dummy might lose upgrades on the ship, and the resulting lost glory would further increase the glory penalty for the winner.

3) When it's the winning player's turn to control the dummy, how is it not that players optimal move to raid the losing player's province, if possible? At the very least, this would gain the dummy glory (reducing the winner's penalty). If the dummy manages to burn a structure, then this also costs the losing player glory, as well (which reduces the winner's penalty even more). It also weakens the losing player, AND makes it harder for the losing player to use the dummy as an attack dog (by sapping the dummy's enmity counters).

4) Regarding the Rule 3 penalty, what if the losing player games the system well. Let's say the game ends with the players neck-and-neck; the scores are: A (11), B (10), D (2). Does that mean that the winner actually falls to 4 glory behind the other player? I'd recommend revising it so that the penalty points can't take you to less than the losing player's score plus 1.

Other than the last one, I'm not sure how these issues can be mitigated. Like I said, I'm a little hesitant to add a full-fledged dummy, because it seems guaranteed that there will be ways to game the dummy.

For an alternate view on how to beef up two player games, take a look at https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1620398/seafall-automa-v10. Rather than have a full-fledged dummy player, I opted to recommend an automa that consumes resources (in a way intended to simulate a player) but who can't interact directly with the players, to avoid some of the above issues. But feel free to poke holes in it and offer (constructive) criticism!

Note that like you, I haven't played the game yet. So I could be wrong on some or all of these comments. Also, I don't actually plan on playing two-player; I'm just enjoying the theorizing!
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Becq Starforged
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fortheloveofdice wrote:
What is the reason for the dummy player? Daviau said that while they didn't play test it with two players it should be fine although it might be a little bit multiplayer solitaire since players wouldn't be forced to interact as much.

I think that's why. The main difference between a lower player count and a higher player count is the tightness of the board, which encourages more interaction at higher player counts. By faking having more players somehow, you might be able to bring the feel of the two-player game a little closer to the larger player count games.
 
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Andrew Pillow
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Thanks everyone for the feedback


Becq wrote:

1) While I see how Rule 3 encourages the winning player to maximize the dummy's score, doesn't it do the opposite for the losing player? Every glory the dummy player gains is a glory that the winning player doesn't lose, so it seems like there's a strong motivation for the losing player (who controls the dummy most of the time) to play the dummy to lose as badly as possible. So while the winning might want the dummy player to upgrade his ships (more glory for the dummy equals less penalty), the losing player would rather sink the dummy's ships, so that it increases the penalty for the winning player. (The exception to this is if a close game, and the current loser feels he has a chance to become the winning player.)


That is a little what I wanted, but I understand it causes problems for the winning player. I wanted to avoid the possibility of the winning player playing perfectly and the losing player being unable to catch up due to no mechanism to gang up on them. From Risk Legacy, the only way to catch up on a winning player was either teaming up, or an unlock changing the way the game plays. With a 2 player game, the winning player could be far enough ahead that they could take the hit of the change in rules and then steamroll the other player again

Becq wrote:
2) Continuing, how does Rule 3 motivate the losing player to not use the dummy player as a farming tool? For example, the rules indicate that at some point factions will be able to raid each other's ships; why wouldn't the losing player want to use the dummy to trade for resources with its weak ship, then raid the dummy ship. Depending on how the ship raid rules work, I would expect that this would gain the player a glory and some free goods at least (and this would increase the glory penalty against the winner -- so win-win). If the dummy ship sank as a result, the dummy might lose upgrades on the ship, and the resulting lost glory would further increase the glory penalty for the winner.


The losing player using the dummy to farm is fine, as a catch up mechanic, but I guess it could be taken too far.

Rule 7) Dummy Ships with goods travel to the nearest location with either a market or a friendly warehouse. At the start of the dummy player's turn, if there are any goods in a friendly warehouse or a ship is docked at a market, the dummy player must use an action that consumes or sells those goods.

That should stop ships sailing around with items, and also allow the controlling player to buy goods/raid goods again later.


Becq wrote:
3) When it's the winning player's turn to control the dummy, how is it not that players optimal move to raid the losing player's province, if possible? At the very least, this would gain the dummy glory (reducing the winner's penalty). If the dummy manages to burn a structure, then this also costs the losing player glory, as well (which reduces the winner's penalty even more). It also weakens the losing player, AND makes it harder for the losing player to use the dummy as an attack dog (by sapping the dummy's enmity counters).


Actually this is one of the worse moves for a winning player. Yes if the dummy succeeds well enough you can steal treasures/advisors/raise buildings and get permanent glory. However the other player can then raid back with the increased dice rolls getting more glory and refill the enmity. Also the losing player controls the dummy for 2/3s of the turns so they will be able to reuse the dummy as an attack once its been attacked.

Becq wrote:
4) Regarding the Rule 3 penalty, what if the losing player games the system well. Let's say the game ends with the players neck-and-neck; the scores are: A (11), B (10), D (2). Does that mean that the winner actually falls to 4 glory behind the other player? I'd recommend revising it so that the penalty points can't take you to less than the losing player's score plus 1.

Thats sensible. I did wonder about it doing something like that, but couldnt see the obvious solution.

Rule 3) If the dummy player loses the game by 4 or more glory, the winning player loses the glory equal to the difference between the second place player and the dummy player minus 3. The lowest the winning players glory can be reduced to is the second players score +1


 
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Any one test this further, really would like to play this one with two..
 
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Justin G
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I am playing 2 player with the standard rules. We are on game 9 and we think it works perfectly. We also have eliminated all PVP raids - so it is an economic/exploration game with light raiding and attacking AI/game territories. It has worked great for us and we are really enjoying it. Our only complaint is the game has a very strong luck component - but given the theme and the story we happily ignore this downside.

Spoiler (click to reveal)

There was one event that forced you to fight your opponents -the ghost ship- and we came up with a work around for that - we just assumed the battle took place at a particular hex and added the x sticker and event card.
 
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jgunnz wrote:
I am playing 2 player with the standard rules. We are on game 9 and we think it works perfectly. We also have eliminated all PVP raids - so it is an economic/exploration game with light raiding and attacking AI/game territories. It has worked great for us and we are really enjoying it. Our only complaint is the game has a very strong luck component - but given the theme and the story we happily ignore this downside.

Spoiler (click to reveal)

There was one event that forced you to fight your opponents -the ghost ship- and we came up with a work around for that - we just assumed the battle took place at a particular hex and added the x sticker and event card.


So you are playing with the rules as written?
 
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Justin G
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Rules as written with one change (but that is our preference) we eliminated pvp raids. You can play with them if you like but its up to you.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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I think if I wanted to play with two players but keep competition for resources high, I'd give each player two provinces to control and consider the winner of a game to be the player who didn't have a province come in last in game glory. Apply winner bonus to that player's highest scoring province. (So if one player comes in first and fourth and the other player comes in second and third, the province in second is considered the winner for that game.)

Seems simpler, but I'm sure there are problems with this approach too.
 
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Dexter345 wrote:
I think if I wanted to play with two players but keep competition for resources high, I'd give each player two provinces to control and consider the winner of a game to be the player who didn't have a province come in last in game glory. Apply winner bonus to that player's highest scoring province. (So if one player comes in first and fourth and the other player comes in second and third, the province in second is considered the winner for that game.)

Seems simpler, but I'm sure there are problems with this approach too.


I despise doing that in games with two.. There are much more elegant solutions like the one the OP proposed.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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I don't think "elegant" is the word I'd use to describe OP's seven-point proposal that convolutes province control, scoring, and forced actions. It might be more balanced or more fun (who knows?), but not more elegant than my suggestion.
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Dexter345 wrote:
I don't think "elegant" is the word I'd use to describe OP's seven-point proposal that convolutes province control, scoring, and forced actions. It might be more balanced or more fun (who knows?), but not more elegant than my suggestion.


No offense, this post is pertaining to this variant.. There are others as well. I'm Looking for feedback from anyone that has tried this one
 
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