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Subject: Bribing - Potential Infinite Loop? rss

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Keith B
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So, my daughter and I played ST for the first time tonight. As she was wiping her Saloon floor with my behind, I realized that she was on the verge of getting yet another Claim card that required three specific characters. She had two of them. Additionally, there were only two more cubes in supply and she had no need for them. We were both collecting more than 6 income per turn. So, seeing the opportunity she had, I bribed one of her citizens required for the claim card. She bribed her back. This went on for about 4 turns, then I said "forget it" and took a different action. Seems to me, this is a potential game breaker, particularly if this one claim or citizen could swing the game one way or another.
 
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Matt Smith
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IIRC, buying supply cubes is a free action. So you should have bribed the citizen, then bought the last two supply cubes on the same turn. Once the supply cubes are gone and the current player's turn is complete, no characters can be moved at all, so your daughter could not bribe the citizen back on her final turn of the game.
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Keith B
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Problem is

- I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe

- she was generating 10, but had no free spaces for the two remaining cubes.

She could have bought another tile, but that would have allowed me to bribe a second character, possibly denying her some other game ending points.
 
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Randy D

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If they are collecting more than 6 income every turn, then your suggestion would be viable, but it would take a few turns to build up enough gold to buy both supply cubes after bribing the character, depending on how much over 6 gold they are collecting. However, in the very specific and unique scenario whereby both players are collecting exactly 6 gold every turn, then it would seem like a stalemate could be reached in this regard. If that were the case, though, then I think both players know who played the better game and one player could simply be seen as delaying their impending loss.
 
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Randy D

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texascpa wrote:
We were both collecting more than 6 income per turn.

texascpa wrote:
Problem is I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe


huh?
 
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Matt Smith
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texascpa wrote:
Problem is

- I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe

- she was generating 10, but had no free spaces for the two remaining cubes.

She could have bought another tile, but that would have allowed me to bribe a second character, possibly denying her some other game ending points.

For the exact situation you described, you and your daughter were in a staring contest. As in all staring contests, someone eventually has to blink.

However, I don't see that situation developing very often. Players usually have some other way to generate gold/actions on their turn, either through completing a building or through card play. Also, I've rarely seen players use all of their gold every turn, so having only 6 gold each turn is pretty rare.

Finally, depending on the point value of the claim card, you may have been better off using your action to do something to your saloon to score as many or more points as you were trying to deny your daughter. Again, the situation will dictate your best action, so it's possible you and your daughter stumbled into a rare corner case where each player's best action at that time was to bribe the citizen. I wouldn't label a rare corner case as being a "game breaker" unless it occurs frequently, or it's easy and beneficial to manipulate the game state such that this corner case often occurs.
 
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Randy D

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There are many other factors that could prevent being backed into such a rare corner, such as "extra action" Tycoon cards or entering that round with extra gold to begin with, or having extra spots to place supply cubes, ... etc. However, given that this is possible, albeit very rare, I would tend to agree with Matt's assessment of the situation.

texascpa wrote:
So, my daughter and I played ST for the first time tonight. As she was wiping her Saloon floor with my behind, I realized that she was on the verge of getting yet another Claim card that required three specific characters.


As for your specific case, it sounds like your daughter was beating you pretty badly and so, rare loop or not, I think you knew who the winner was. If I ever found myself in this situation, I would congratulate my opponent and immediately play it again hoping to return the favor!

 
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A.J. Porfirio
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texascpa wrote:
Problem is

- I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe

- she was generating 10, but had no free spaces for the two remaining cubes.

She could have bought another tile, but that would have allowed me to bribe a second character, possibly denying her some other game ending points.


You were at the disadvantage. She could easily accumulate gold 4 per turn until she had enough to buy and complete a tile that would give her an extra action (I'm going to guess all 8 had not been taken. She could buy the tile, 3 (or 4) cubes and then use the extra action to Bribe back the character. So continuing to bribe was not in your best interest as she would gain more points and eventually lock down the character.

Having said that, I see how there is a possible situation (however minute the possibility) where a true infinte loop could occur in a 2 player game. Both players would have to be earning exactly 6 gold and both believe they could not win without the character in question - which technically you can never know given each player has Secret Claims.

If this is something that you find to be an issue, implementing the following simple rule should resolve it...

Optional rule for 2-Player: If a character is bribed, the same character cannot be bribed on the next turn.

 
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Randy D

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vanrydergames wrote:
[q="texascpa"]Optional rule for 2-Player: If a character is bribed, the same character cannot be bribed on the next turn.

Nice, I like it. I play this game with my wife and we'll have to try this. Has this optional rule been considered for the game and playtested at all?
 
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Ryan Feathers
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I see the responses in here have largely wrapped things up. I too agree that the stalemate situation could arise, and if it does I like the rule that AJ suggested as that cleans things up neatly enough. I just hope that I never get into that position though.

With that being said, I just learned something--we had been playing that as soon as the supply cube was purchased that the game end restrictions activated on that players turn.

But after carefully reading the rulebook again, I see that the restrictions on moving characters only triggers at the end of the players turn. That would have been good to know in my last game! I thought I couldn't buy the last few supply cubes, finish my tile, then use my extra action to bribe a character. But apparently I could have!

Ah well, you live and you learn. Will be glad to know for future games.

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Keith B
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randyd42 wrote:
texascpa wrote:
We were both collecting more than 6 income per turn.

texascpa wrote:
Problem is I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe


huh?


Sorry, misworded. My income marker was actually at 7, but I was only collecting 6 because of the outlaw that gives you -1 income.
 
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Keith B
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vanrydergames wrote:
texascpa wrote:
Problem is

- I was only generating 6 income, so all of it had to go to the bribe

- she was generating 10, but had no free spaces for the two remaining cubes.

She could have bought another tile, but that would have allowed me to bribe a second character, possibly denying her some other game ending points.


You were at the disadvantage. She could easily accumulate gold 4 per turn until she had enough to buy and complete a tile that would give her an extra action (I'm going to guess all 8 had not been taken. She could buy the tile, 3 (or 4) cubes and then use the extra action to Bribe back the character. So continuing to bribe was not in your best interest as she would gain more points and eventually lock down the character.

Having said that, I see how there is a possible situation (however minute the possibility) where a true infinte loop could occur in a 2 player game. Both players would have to be earning exactly 6 gold and both believe they could not win without the character in question - which technically you can never know given each player has Secret Claims.

If this is something that you find to be an issue, implementing the following simple rule should resolve it...

Optional rule for 2-Player: If a character is bribed, the same character cannot be bribed on the next turn.



She could buy another tile, but would not have been able to finish it because there were only two cubes left. And her doing so would not allow her to bribe back the initial character I took

Play 1: I bribe character
Play 2: She buys tile
Play 3: I bribe second character
Play 4: She bribes one of the two back
Play 5: I bribe that character back to me
Play 6: Seeing the potential loop, she bribes one of the two back, then buys the remaining two cubes triggering game end
Play 7: I do something
End game: I end up with one of the characters, potentially keeping her from fulfilling a claim or bonus.

Alternatively,

Play 1: I bribe character
Play 2: She buys tile, then buys remaining cubes, triggering end game
Play 3: I doing something
End game: Same as above scenario

That said, I like your optional rule and it's one I thought of myself. That said, I don't usually like house rules. Games should be played as intended by the designers, IMHO.
 
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Robert Couch
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I got to this thread too late to help. I agree 100% with AJ's assessment and rule suggestion!
 
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Ryan Feathers
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Alright, so I'm hoping we can get some clarification here.

To begin with the situation as we understand it is that there are only 2 supply cubes left in the stack, there is one character being bribed back and forth, and the only player is accumulating excessive gold.

AJ's response seems to suggest that the player with more gold could:

Purchase a Tile
Purchase 3 or 4 supply cubes to finish that tile, and claim the bonus action for finishing said tile. The supply cubes would have been exhausted at this point, and the ones set aside at the start of the game would be used to complete this.
Then you could use the extra action to bribe the character back.

Then at the end of their turn, end game conditions were met, meaning character can no longer be bribed, and all other players get one more turn (in this case just the one other player).

Keith seems to think that as soon as the cubes are purchased the end game conditions are triggered, and that the player could not take the bribe a character option with their bonus action at that point. I would have said the same thing given the rulebook states "At any point during a player's turn if the general pile of Supply cubes is depleted, the end game has been triggered". It goes on to explain the restrictions during the end game. Given the wording "At any point" I think it was reasonable to conclude that end game restrictions could trigger during a players turn.

However, after carefully reading the example turn part of the rulebook that makes me think AJ's explanation is the way the rule is supposed to work, as in the example turn a player buys the final supply cubes to complete a tile, then claims a citizen card for completing a tile. Then, the last step in the example turn is to check to see if the general pile of supply cubes was depleted. As it was, end game restrictions then go into effect for the other players, who each have one turn.

I'm just asking if we can get clarification from AJ or Robert that end game conditions don't take effect until the end of someone's turn, never during the middle of someone's turn. I believe that the game is intended to only have you check for end game at the end of a player's turn, never during, but the wording in the rulebook does leave it ambiguous, and in contrast to the sample turn section.


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A.J. Porfirio
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Correct.

1) The end game technically does not trigger until the end of the turn when the STARTING cubes were depleted (see below for why I say starting) although the triggering event is when the "last" cube is purchased.

2) Cubes are NOT (ever) limited. So even though there are 2 cubes in the supply for the purposes of the end game trigger, the person triggering the end game can purchase as many cubes as he/she pleases. You simply take them from the reserve.

One advantage of triggering the end game is that you can still move characters! But it takes timing and careful planning otherwise someone else could trigger it. Or maybe you prefer the extra turn and DON't want to trigger the end game. Experienced players will try to manipulate the endgame and when/who triggers it works to their advantage.

I agree that the part of the rulebook stating "at any point" can be misleading if you only read that part of the rulebook. Something for us to try to word better if/when there is a reprint.
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Randy D

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Ryan,

The final round is triggered when the initial supply cube pile has been depleted. The person who placed that last cube may still bribe a character and continue to buy more supply cubes from the set aside supply cube surplus pile on their turn. However, when their turn is done, then everyone else gets one more turn and no characters may be bribed at this point.

This was discussed in a previous thread and the publishers have weighed in on the matter.
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1618351
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Ryan Feathers
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Thank you both for your quick responses!

Glad to have that matter resolved, sad that I missed that previous discussion. Ah well.
 
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A.J. Porfirio
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texascpa wrote:


She could buy another tile, but would not have been able to finish it because there were only two cubes left. And her doing so would not allow her to bribe back the initial character I took


Just so it is clear (since I sort of tried to cover this in my last post), she is not limited to the 2 cubes that are left. She can also purchase cubes from the reserve of cubes you set aside at the beginning of the game. Thus my point stands.
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Randy D

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vanrydergames wrote:
[q="texascpa"]Just so it is clear (since I sort of tried to cover this in my last post), she is not limited to the 2 cubes that are left. She can also purchase cubes from the reserve of cubes you set aside at the beginning of the game. Thus my point stands.


No worries, I thought you made that point very clear. Also, I recall it was quite clear in the rulebook as well that the supply cubes are not meant to be limited. The starting amount of supply cubes is only used to determine the end game trigger, but you should always be able to buy cubes whenever you want no matter if the end trigger has been reached or not or even if the surplus supply pile is also depleted. When I last played this game with 4 players and the end game was triggered, we also used up all the cubes from the supply pile as well, so we started using gold nuggets to take the place of supply cubes!
"There's gold in them thar walls!"

 
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A.J. Porfirio
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randyd42 wrote:
vanrydergames wrote:
[q="texascpa"]Just so it is clear (since I sort of tried to cover this in my last post), she is not limited to the 2 cubes that are left. She can also purchase cubes from the reserve of cubes you set aside at the beginning of the game. Thus my point stands.


No worries, I thought you made that point very clear. Also, I recall it was quite clear in the rulebook as well that the supply cubes are not meant to be limited. The starting amount of supply cubes is only used to determine the end game trigger, but you should always be able to buy cubes whenever you want no matter if the end trigger has been reached or not or even if the surplus supply pile is also depleted. When I last played this game with 4 players and the end game was triggered, we also used up all the cubes from the supply pile as well, so we started using gold nuggets to take the place of supply cubes!
"There's gold in them thar walls!"



Yeah that can happen on occasion if several players have big final turns and the extra 20 cubes provided isn't enough. I like the re-purposing of gold idea!
 
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Keith B
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vanrydergames wrote:
Correct.

1) The end game technically does not trigger until the end of the turn when the STARTING cubes were depleted (see below for why I say starting) although the triggering event is when the "last" cube is purchased.

2) Cubes are NOT (ever) limited. So even though there are 2 cubes in the supply for the purposes of the end game trigger, the person triggering the end game can purchase as many cubes as he/she pleases. You simply take them from the reserve.

One advantage of triggering the end game is that you can still move characters! But it takes timing and careful planning otherwise someone else could trigger it. Or maybe you prefer the extra turn and DON't want to trigger the end game. Experienced players will try to manipulate the endgame and when/who triggers it works to their advantage.

I agree that the part of the rulebook stating "at any point" can be misleading if you only read that part of the rulebook. Something for us to try to word better if/when there is a reprint.


Ahhhhhh, this clears it up. I took the rules to indicate that the starting supply was finite, and only after the end-game trigger occurred were any players (after the person triggering the end) allowed to use cubes in the extra supply. Thanks for the clarification.
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