Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Mall of Horror» Forums » General

Subject: King-Making Problems? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric
United States
Granger
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I played this game for the first time last night. We had four players. In the end, there were five characters alive and the zombies were bearing down on just about every location. Cards were pretty much used up at that point. One room was being overrun by zombies and the occupants had to vote who was going to be eaten. After we looked over the situation, we realized that the vote was going to decide who won or lost, and there was no way to extend the game. The game was going to end (because one person had to be eaten) and there would be only four characters left, one of the two conditions that ends the game. If we voted for the player one, then player two wins. If we voted for player two, then player one wins. In the end, there was a double-tie and the result was determined randomly, per the rules. It was a very unsatisfying ending to the game, which up until that point was really starting to impress, especially as the negotiations started to get lively. Nobody wanted to play the king-maker role in the end, so we just let a random roll of the die decide it.

Has anyone else had this problem? It seems that the endgame conditions are such that this might occur often. Is there, or could there be, a variable ending rule or other rule that would prevent this? I was thinking that once there are five characters, a die is rolled to determine whether the helicopter arrives. With each dying character, the chance of the helicopter coming increases. For example:

5 Characters - 5 or higher, helicopter comes and winner declared.
4 Characters - 4 or higher, etc.
3 Characters - 3 or higher, etc.
2 Characters - 2 or higher, etc.
1 Character - Helicopter comes and lone player is the winner.

It could be possible, too, that nobody wins, if the last players are in the parking lot at the end and are all eaten. Anyway, I haven't totally thought this through; they are just my initial thoughts in reaction to the king-making problem I experienced in our first game. I know there is also the end-game condition that if all players end up in the same location at the same time, then the game ends, but this could also lead to a king-maker problem. I'm not sure how all of this fits in together, but the ending we had in our game was a real bummer. Other than that, the game was really fun. We all enjoyed it immensely. Any ideas about how to fix this problem?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Figgins
United States
Woodland
California
flag msg tools
badge
http://lyrislaser.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You could just say that part of the game is keeping enough points alive that you don't end up in that kind of kingmaker decision. If the best you can do is a 50% chance of victory in the end, then you just have to take your lumps and trust to luck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric
United States
Granger
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
beri wrote:
You could just say that part of the game is keeping enough points alive that you don't end up in that kind of kingmaker decision. If the best you can do is a 50% chance of victory in the end, then you just have to take your lumps and trust to luck.


That is the obvious rebuttal to a complaint about a king-maker problem, but it still does not change the fact that such a result is wholly unsatisfying and disappointing to me and my game group. In my game last night, one other player and I had to decide the winner between two other players. There was no excitement at all and there was no point to negotiations, because the game was over. Why would I ask for anything in return? It was a very empty ending to an otherwise interesting game. All of us felt that way.

The goal of my post is to hopefully figure out a way to avoid this. If you are happy with the rules the way they are, no problem. Those rules, however, left a bad taste in my group's mouth.

I was thinking that a variable, and therefore uncertain, ending would mean that players could not know whether the vote would necessarily pick the winner. With a variable ending, there could be one, two , three or more rounds in which to still try to jockey for position and win. I don't know if the variant I suggest would do that, but I would love to know if someone else has felt this is a problem (and from the game's comments it appears I am not alone) and if there is some sort of reliable fix to it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Figgins
United States
Woodland
California
flag msg tools
badge
http://lyrislaser.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And that's the obvious rebuttal to my rebuttal! While I agree that it can be unsatisfying, why was it? If both players were able to keep themselves in the game, such that it comes down to a final vote, why shouldn't the victory go to the player which is more convincing, or treated his alliances better during the game? And if all that is equal, then the players performed equally, and the victory is, rightfully, a coin toss.

I guess what I'm getting at is, if you want recommendations to avoid kingmaking, then what is it about kingmaking that bothers you? Do you feel that the player who won was not the player who played most skillfully? Do you think that the definite endgame condition (4 survivors calls the helicopter) doesn't fit with the theme of the game?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric
United States
Granger
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
beri wrote:
I guess what I'm getting at is, if you want recommendations to avoid kingmaking, then what is it about kingmaking that bothers you? Do you feel that the player who won was not the player who played most skillfully? Do you think that the definite endgame condition (4 survivors calls the helicopter) doesn't fit with the theme of the game?


I am by no means hyper-sensitive about kingmaking. But, the instance of kingmaking that my group experienced last night was egregious. It was so unsatisfying because it abruptly ended the meta-game and the theme and spirit of the game. At the most climactic moment of the game, the game suddenly stopped being about trying to save your own hide from zombies by screwing over your opponents, and became about a single vote to anoint the player who we thought played the game better (even though it's arguable that either one played better than the other - they both left themselves in a coin-flip situation).

So here we were. For every other vote throughout the game, we voted in our own best interest (and everyone knew it). There was backstabbing, plans of sabotage, and other delectable acts of deceit. That's what made the game fun. But suddenly, we were faced with a vote that went against all of that. What was worse, it was the final, dispositive vote to determine who prevailed after all of that negotiating, backstabbing, etc. That vote abruptly violated the spirit of the game. It came down to the two disinterested parties deciding who should win. I and another player was put in the position of showering one of these players with the glory of victory. WHAT!? I was trying to feed these people to the zombies all game. But suddenly, I'm supposed to give them a prize?

That's the best that I can explain why it bothered me.

Anyway, do you have any suggestions?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Figgins
United States
Woodland
California
flag msg tools
badge
http://lyrislaser.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I suppose you could still vote in your own interest...from what it sounds like, it'd still be a die roll tie for victory, but at least you'd be voting for yourself rather than voting to help someone else, even if the result is the same.

Well, let's see. The only reason the game ends at 4 people is that the votes can get meaningless with less players. I suppose the thing to tweak is the rule for ties...

Nothing elegant is coming to mind yet. I'll keep working on it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Denman
United States
Katy
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't see the problem. I usually DON'T in kingmaker situations though. If my vote was deciding which of two other people would win, I'd just think about which one gave me the most grief during the game and toss him to the zombies. I'm not sure if I see how a variable ending solves anything. If my vote determines that Player A will be winning and the game ends afterwards, am I less a kingmaker because I didn't KNOW the game was going to end?

I've played this game quite a bit and I don't remember having a kingmaker situation come up in it, so this may be an infrequent problem to consider anyway.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric
United States
Granger
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Trump wrote:
I don't see the problem. I usually DON'T in kingmaker situations though. If my vote was deciding which of two other people would win, I'd just think about which one gave me the most grief during the game and toss him to the zombies. I'm not sure if I see how a variable ending solves anything. If my vote determines that Player A will be winning and the game ends afterwards, am I less a kingmaker because I didn't KNOW the game was going to end?

I've played this game quite a bit and I don't remember having a kingmaker situation come up in it, so this may be an infrequent problem to consider anyway.


It's good to hear that this might be infrequent. As far as a variable ending goes, at least at the time of the vote, people are voting solely in their own interest and with the hope of still winning. The problem we had was that the players who could decide the outcome (or send it to a tie) had no interest in the game anymore. We knew that our vote was the deciding vote because we knew, with certainty, that the game was going to end after that vote. We had perfect information. With a variable ending, there would still be uncertainty as to when the game end, thus imperfect information. That's the angle I was thinking of with this proposed variable ending variant.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Denman
United States
Katy
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eh. It's just like Survivor. You wheel and deal your way to the finish and then all of the other players decide the winner based on how you've treated them. As Mike said, it's just a quick light-hearted game and I don't see any reason to stress over how the game sometimes ends.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Miller
United States
Roseville
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It isn't a king-maker problem when it's the whole point of the game. To me, it sounds like your group lacked the social skills to really play out the endgame. So you didn't have any cards to play or trade. Fine. Talk about payback... who betrayed who earlier in the game? Who's your buddy? Are you playing another game after MoH... make offer based on the play of that game. But if you're just going to look around at each other sheepishly and then roll some dice to decide the game randomly, then you shouldn't be playing Mall of Horror.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Kearns
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
Silence is golden.
badge
Your sea is so great and my boat is so small.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
beri wrote:
And that's the obvious rebuttal to my rebuttal!


Not to obviously rebut your rebuttle but this was an obvious rebuttle rebuttle. Obviously. Buttle.

I thought the whole point to Mall of Horror was the kingmaking?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric
United States
Granger
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Shellhead wrote:
It isn't a king-maker problem when it's the whole point of the game.


There are other points to the game surely! And I must disagree that the king-maker problem is even one point of the game.

Shellhead wrote:
To me, it sounds like your group lacked the social skills to really play out the endgame.


I hope you're kidding. That made me laugh out loud.

Shellhead wrote:
But if you're just going to look around at each other sheepishly and then roll some dice to decide the game randomly, then you shouldn't be playing Mall of Horror.


I guess I missed the part where we sat around sheepishly. Where did you get that from?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Chalker
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eric, I've had similar problems with this game. It's almost impossible to keep your babe alive to the end to secure a definite win, and it will often come down to Kingmaker, which bothers me too. I've already made a couple changes to the rules of Mall of Horror for playability's sake; I'll have to think about some alternate endgame stuff.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.