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Subject: Rationale Behind the Tie-Breaker? rss

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Domenic
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In a recent game, two of us ended with exactly 15 points and looked up the tie-breaking rule, expecting to see either 1) most development cards or 2) most gems on hand to be the tie breaker. We were both surprised to see that the winner was the one with the fewest development cards.

I've seen some comments in passing that suggest that this means the winner is the one who bought development cards most efficiently, but that's an entirely different question from being the player who used the available resources (actions) most efficiently.

I saw in another thread that the designer proposed using number of nobles (higher is better) and number of gems on hand (higher is better) as additional tie-breakers, but I don't understand the rationale for switching from lower-better to higher-better in adding those elements. If it is better to have fewer development cards, showing that the player just hit his target without taking anything he didn't need, shouldn't it also be better to have fewer gems left over?

The natural tie-breakers, for me, would seem to be 1) highest number of development cards (permanent resources reflecting ability to buy future VPs), 2) highest number of gems (transient resources for future VPs), 3) highest number of nobles (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs), 4) highest valued card (or number of such cards if tied) (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs), 5) next-highest valued card, etc.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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I think the exact tiebreaker doesn't matter, what matters is that it can be controlled by the players and that they know in advance what it is. So in Splendor, if you're ever trying to decide between "buy lots of cheap cards" vs. "buy a few big cards", and all else seems equal - go for the few big cards, because it will win the tiebreaker. But of course if you think the cheap cards strategy is likely to get you even one more point, then go with the cheap cards.

In your case, the tiebreaker wasn't known in advance, so it felt arbitrary and unfair. I think if you play from the start knowing it, it will feel "right." It does to my table, we've played lots of splendor and seen a fair number of ties.
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Richard Sampson
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Fewer cards = greater points efficiency. It basically means they have more higher point cards / nobles.

I think this is a much better tie breaker than rewarding people who just take a bunch of free cards with no value.
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Bryan Thunkd
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dommer2029 wrote:
If it is better to have fewer development cards, showing that the player just hit his target without taking anything he didn't need, shouldn't it also be better to have fewer gems left over?
It's a matter of achievement. If you get 15 points with fewer cards, then you've done a better job with the resources you had. If you have more resources left over, that's even more you did with what you had (the other guy may have gotten just as many resources, but he was forced to spend his whereas you were so efficient, you had stuff left over).

 
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Morten K
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dommer2029 wrote:
In a recent game, two of us ended with exactly 15 points and looked up the tie-breaking rule, expecting to see either 1) most development cards or 2) most gems on hand to be the tie breaker. We were both surprised to see that the winner was the one with the fewest development cards.

I've seen some comments in passing that suggest that this means the winner is the one who bought development cards most efficiently, but that's an entirely different question from being the player who used the available resources (actions) most efficiently.

I saw in another thread that the designer proposed using number of nobles (higher is better) and number of gems on hand (higher is better) as additional tie-breakers, but I don't understand the rationale for switching from lower-better to higher-better in adding those elements. If it is better to have fewer development cards, showing that the player just hit his target without taking anything he didn't need, shouldn't it also be better to have fewer gems left over?

The natural tie-breakers, for me, would seem to be 1) highest number of development cards (permanent resources reflecting ability to buy future VPs), 2) highest number of gems (transient resources for future VPs), 3) highest number of nobles (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs), 4) highest valued card (or number of such cards if tied) (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs), 5) next-highest valued card, etc.


In my 20 plays I think I've ever had a noble tile once or twice. And I win almost 3 out of 4 games. That would be a silly tiebreaker.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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dommer2029 wrote:
The natural tie-breakers, for me, would seem to be 1) highest number of development cards (permanent resources reflecting ability to buy future VPs)
I disagree that "ability to buy future VPs" is a good tie-breaker. Like many engine building games, this is a race and how much you invest in long-term ability is entirely dependent on the time-frame of the game. The game encourages players to aim for 15 points... trying to set yourself up for anything beyond 15 points is working against the primary goal of the game.

dommer2029 wrote:
2) highest number of gems (transient resources for future VPs)
Again, stockpiling resources for a tie-breaker is against the goal of racing to 15 VP's faster.

dommer2029 wrote:
3) highest number of nobles (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs)
The nobles are already important. I don't think you need to make them even more important. This will skew games towards the people pursuing nobles and make the strategy of ignoring the nobles, or at least going for the off-color nobles (the nobles with colors that don't match the colors on the other nobles) less viable. I think that's a mistake.

dommer2029 wrote:
4) highest valued card (or number of such cards if tied) (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs)
This is going to tie more often than number of cards will.

dommer2029 wrote:
5) next-highest valued card, etc.
Isn't this just part of #4?
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Tigrillo wrote:
In my 20 plays I think I've ever had a noble tile once or twice. And I win almost 3 out of 4 games. That would be a silly tiebreaker.
What player count do you usually play at? And do you always play with the same person/group? I've got 140 plays and nobles are a huge part of the game. I have a pretty high win ratio.
 
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Morten K
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Thunkd wrote:
Tigrillo wrote:
In my 20 plays I think I've ever had a noble tile once or twice. And I win almost 3 out of 4 games. That would be a silly tiebreaker.
What player count do you usually play at? And do you always play with the same person/group? I've got 140 plays and nobles are a huge part of the game. I have a pretty high win ratio.


Usually with 2 or 3 and not the same. I usually end up having 7-9 cards in my tableau at the end which makes it very hard to get a noble.
 
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Unless tie-breakers involve a steel cage and player death, I'm not interested.
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Domenic
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Thunkd wrote:
dommer2029 wrote:
The natural tie-breakers, for me, would seem to be 1) highest number of development cards (permanent resources reflecting ability to buy future VPs)
I disagree that "ability to buy future VPs" is a good tie-breaker. Like many engine building games, this is a race and how much you invest in long-term ability is entirely dependent on the time-frame of the game. The game encourages players to aim for 15 points... trying to set yourself up for anything beyond 15 points is working against the primary goal of the game.

dommer2029 wrote:
2) highest number of gems (transient resources for future VPs)
Again, stockpiling resources for a tie-breaker is against the goal of racing to 15 VP's faster.

Your position seems to be that the goal is to get to 15 VPs, so doing anything more than that - collecting extra gems, developments, or the ability to gain more VPs - should count against you in case of a tie. But if the goal is to get to 15 VPs first, then one way of looking at it is that if two players hit the goal on the same turn, the game is tied and then the primary tie-breaker in the game is that the player with more points wins. It seems like your tie-breakers would be consistent with a rule that the player with the fewest points (but at least 15) is the winner. That could be an interesting variant.

Also, according to the publisher (Re: Additional tie breakers), more gems is a positive for tie-breaking. The rationale for that is not explained. I agree that if having fewer development cards is better, having fewer gems should also be better.

Quote:
dommer2029 wrote:
3) highest number of nobles (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs)
The nobles are already important. I don't think you need to make them even more important. This will skew games towards the people pursuing nobles and make the strategy of ignoring the nobles, or at least going for the off-color nobles (the nobles with colors that don't match the colors on the other nobles) less viable. I think that's a mistake.

Okay. But the publisher makes having more nobles a higher tie-breaker than I do. Nobles could be integrated into #4 and #5 by treating them according to their VP value.

Quote:
dommer2029 wrote:
4) highest valued card (or number of such cards if tied) (extra weight for difficult-to-get VPs)
This is going to tie more often than number of cards will.

dommer2029 wrote:
5) next-highest valued card, etc.
Isn't this just part of #4?

Yes, but some people would read #4 and then say, "What if we're tied for the highest card? What should we do then?" #5 just spells it out. I don't agree that #4 & #5 will tie more often than number of cards will. To tie with the last two criteria, both players would have to have an identical distribution of point-scoring cards. That has to be more rare than just having the same number of total cards.
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