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Subject: Policy Peek Frequently Gives Free Liberal Policies rss

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Steve Jerkle
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In a six-player game last night, the (liberal) President used the Policy Peek power to look at the top three cards of the policy deck. He told us they were all three liberal policies, so we should just refuse to elect a government and get three free policies. It dawned on us that a liberal President should, if true, always say "the next x policies are liberal" and get them into play this way.

This seems like quite a design flaw to me. A fascist has no argument against this course of action, and even a fascist President can get at most one policy enacted by lying about the order of the cards (after which they are unequivocally identified as fascist).

Have other groups encountered this problem? Are we overlooking something? If not, then a simple fix is to shuffle the policy deck with the discard pile every time a policy is enacted through the Election Tracker. Do you have other ideas?
 
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Carl G
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Re: Policy Peek Always Gives Free Liberal Policies
We just play where the prez doesn't get to say anything until after the next policy has been enacted. Then he/she can confirm or deny the play, possibly creating more doubt among the players.
 
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Chris Stoner
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Re: Policy Peek Always Gives Free Liberal Policies
At the game state you're describing the best case scenario for liberal policies in the draw deck is 6 out of 8 cards (3 fascist policies enacted to get Peek, no liberal policies discarded by the first three governments). That is obviously incredibly unlikely since it would require the game to start with 9 fascist policy cards on the top of the deck. If that scenario occurs, and the current President is a liberal, and the top of the deck is three liberal policies, then at best you will have a state after the failed election spree of three liberal policies enacted, three fascist policies enacted, and very little useful information about who at the table is a fascist.

There is also the case where the above occurs except that two liberal policies are in place already, allowing the forced elections to win the game, but the odds of having three liberal policies on top of the deck are much lower in that situation (you've probably triggered a reshuffle by then, so best case is something like 4 out of 12 cards in the deck are liberal, so you'll be lucky to have even one on top).

So in an unlikely scenario this can win the liberals the game, and in other scenarios it can give the liberals a couple free policies, at the price of less information about people's voting patterns/policy decisions in a game state where the game can now end instantly with a Hitler election.

I think the scenario you encountered was an outlier that the liberals played correctly, but it's unlikely to ever come up again.
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Steve Jerkle
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Harl wrote:
We just play where the prez doesn't get to say anything until after the next policy has been enacted. Then he/she can confirm or deny the play, possibly creating more doubt among the players.


This is a nice approach. Thanks.

Mystrandir wrote:
At the game state you're describing the best case scenario for liberal policies...


I didn't mean to suggest that three liberal policies was common, but that there will be many games where the Liberals get at least one "free" policy using this metagame tactic. (I did mistakenly use "always" in the title.)

Mystrandir wrote:
in other scenarios it can give the liberals a couple free policies, at the price of less information about people's voting patterns/policy decisions in a game state where the game can now end instantly with a Hitler election.


I think this is a good objection. The policy is not entirely free; it comes at the cost of less information. Only the Liberals would have come closer to victory by using this tactic, however, so I think the balance always falls in favor of the free policy. More experience could change my position on this, however.
 
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K
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The policy peek does tend to lead to some boring (IMO) plays, though not the majority of the time. It's sort of an awkward power anyway, but at least it's absent when playing with more than 6 players.
 
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I believe the best way to use the policy peek power, in a fair way for fascists & liberals, is for a shuffle of the three cards be done after the peek. This opens the way for fascist bluffs and also closes the door on auto top-decking the liberal policy.
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Steve Jerkle
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SirHandsome wrote:
The policy peek does tend to lead to some boring (IMO) plays, though not the majority of the time.


Not a majority of the time, but it's still quite frequent.

dalleck wrote:
I believe the best way to use the policy peek power, in a fair way for fascists & liberals, is for a shuffle of the three cards be done after the peek.


Interesting idea, if a little chaotic.
 
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Taylor Sabbag
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Under the ideal odds for your scenario (8 Fascist policies [to fill out the required policy slots to acquire a policy peek] and a full 6 Liberal policies), the odds of there being 3 Liberal policies in a row off the top is only 5.49%. If you've passed even 1 Liberal policy prior, that drops down to 3.50%. Given a scenario which, at max, could only occur 1 in 20 times, I'm not sure that such an edge case counts as "quite a design flaw". In fact, seeing as the game and its' players by extension are meant to embrace its' semi-chaotic nature, I don't see why this can't just be a funny coincidence which happens in a really small percentage of games. You go, "Oh wow, that was unlikely. Let's win now." And boom, you're playing another game.

By the way, "at most one [more Fascist] policy" after 3 Fascist policies have already been passed is a decently reasonable trade-off for becoming a known Fascist, especially when that first assasination can't even be used to kill you since an election tracker defaulted policy means no power is used. Again, in the ideal game for your scenario to work and be worth it, the Fascists will now have 4 policies and the Liberals will have 0. Certainly, the deck is now more stacked in the Liberal's favour. However, there are still 7 Fascists policies to 6 Liberal policies, and if the Fascists have played smart, you still don't have a good idea of who Secret Hitler is. Assuming after such a betrayal of trust in your group's meta you go back to normal elections rather than a stall tactic, Hitler still has a chance to be elected chancellor for an easy win too - unless Hitler was the president who got to peek, in which case, he should claim the exact makeup to remain unsuspicious (or, alternatively, he could claim that they're 2 Lib, 1 Fas when they're actually 2 Fas, 1 Lib and so on and so forth, and allow, in a 5-player game, the assassination of 1 Liberal thereby allowing the Fascists to stall the game with a stacked deck).

In other words, this game, like many others of its' kind, is surprisingly deeper and more nuanced than many will give it credit.

As a disclosure of potential bias, this is my favourite of the social deduction genre. Still, I have tried to present an objective rebuttal using statistical support. As such, I have tried to present not just a counter-argument regarding the statistical value of your "quite a design flaw" claim, but also one which presents valid, alternative strategic options.
 
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Red Five
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Hey All. Im glad I found this thread. This happened in our game tonight and it completely turned the game for the liberals. It was a 6 player game, I was a liberal and president when the 3rd fascist policy was enacted. I looked at the top 3 cards and they were two liberals and 1 fascists. The next election failed and I suspected the next player as a fascist, so I told the group that I had seen the next two cards were liberal and that on my oath as a liberal I can promise two Liberal Policies if we just vote "nien" on the next 6 elections.

After the game was over the fascists complained that we were cheating and that this should not be allowed because it unfairly gives the liberals and easy out to get their policies enacted.

They also referenced the rules stating that since it state the president "Secretly" looks at the top three policy cards . .. . . And thus it was not meant to be shared.

So. I would like to know what the official stance is on this issue.

Regarding the Policy Peek. Is the president allowed to say what he saw or not?

Our final ruling for the evening was that you as the president could choose to share what you saw, or lie about it or choose to keep it secret. It was up to the player.

However we did make the house rule that under no circumstances could you tell other people how to vote. One of the other liberal players was saying "if you are a liberal you need to vote "Nien"" - trying to get policies enacted.

I do like the suggestion of making the president wait until after the next presidents turn to say what he say. .. .

Very interested if there is an official stance on this.

Thank you.

 
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Bill Koens
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One solution that comes to mind is this: after a peek, if Anarchy forces a policy to be played, immediately shuffle the draw pile. This allows a Liberal to get one free policy enacted, but that is all. It is a kludge, but it seems in spirit with what the peek intends. And it doesn't force any awkward no talking about what you saw rules.
 
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