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Subject: Defintive end game variant? rss

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Jason Gernstetter

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A lot of people say they really enjoy Mythotopia (me being one), but the end game condition has a lot to be desired. The following is an end game variant that I have used the last 4 times I have played and our group has enjoyed it immensely. It is a combination of what a number of others have posted.

1. The game ends on a player's turn when the fifth card is emptied, that player finishes their turn normally.

2. All the remaining players take a regular turn.

3. All the players then take a final turn without taking the action "Invade a province."

4. All conflicts are resolved, the defenders win ties.

A few other changes we made:
- Territories/ Provinces are drafted instead of being dealt out randomly.
- Only VPs not represented by tokens are recorded on the track.
- VPs chips are kept face down or hidden.
- Everyone adds their hidden score to their visible score. Highest score wins.

The great thing about this ending variant is that the game now has a full arc, a true beginning, middle and ending. There is no bash the leader prolonging the game. The game does not overstay its welcome.

Not only does it create tension from the general game play, but also the angst of trying to get done what you need to as you watch cards being completed. Also, it allows you to manage cards/ resources to make a strong run or defense for the final turns.

Please give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
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Luish Moraes Coelho
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It looks good to me.
I´ll give it a try next time.

I´ve never tried the hidden VPs chips. Easy to tell how it creates tension.

thanks!
 
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Chris
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Looks promising, but "definitive" sure sounds like fighting talk!
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Jonathan Challis
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jlgern wrote:

2. All the remaining players take a regular turn.

3. All the players then take a final turn without taking the action "Invade a province."

- Only VPs not represented by tokens are recorded on the track.
- VPs chips are kept face down or hidden.
- Everyone adds their hidden score to their visible score. Highest score wins.


I think it all depends on what you want in a game - for me, these are all negatives, and in fact take away some of the game's best qualities!

We like the end-game exactly as it is printed.
 
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Jason Gernstetter

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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Looks promising, but "definitive" sure sounds like fighting talk!


Thanks! I figured i'd take the philosophy "go big, or go home."
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Jason Gernstetter

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Kelanen wrote:
jlgern wrote:

2. All the remaining players take a regular turn.

3. All the players then take a final turn without taking the action "Invade a province."

- Only VPs not represented by tokens are recorded on the track.
- VPs chips are kept face down or hidden.
- Everyone adds their hidden score to their visible score. Highest score wins.


I think it all depends on what you want in a game - for me, these are all negatives, and in fact take away some of the game's best qualities!

We like the end-game exactly as it is printed.


That is great! Continue to play it that way.

I can definitely appreciate your opinion.

I went into the game originally with the same thoughts as well. And in theory I agree 100%. Unfortunately the extra 45 minutes it took in one of our games to resolve the end game soured that opinion.

Given the large number of comments from many seasoned gamers I am not alone.

The first 90% of the game I would rank an 8, the last 10% lowered my potential ranking to a 6. The changes listed actually increased my potential overall ranking to a 9.

I am a huge fan of Martin Wallace games, and he is by far my favorite designer. I understand that sometimes these changes come with the territory, and in many instances become official variants(ie Brass 2 player variant, London Ben-Luca variant, A Few Acres of Snow 2nd edition changes, Liberte Dagger variant).

For those that enjoy the ending as it is written in the rules, continue to do so. For those that were left either a bit frustrated or wanting, the above is a potential solution.

Thanks.
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Jake Staines
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jlgern wrote:

- VPs chips are kept face down or hidden.
- Everyone adds their hidden score to their visible score. Highest score wins.


My problem with this is simply that I know a couple of people I play with would just start noting down how many points everybody had in their 'hidden' stack, slowing the game down a bit and/or introducing an unintentional imbalance of information. It's hard to say someone shouldn't do that when anyone has the opportunity to just remember that info in their head, but realistically as soon as one person does it everybody feels compelled to, and then you're just introducing extra fiddliness to the game for no reason.

If you want hidden VP tokens, I'd be tempted to play it slightly differently. When the card says that it requires X 1-point tokens, mark one of them on the reverse to denote tokens that give you +1 extra point. Shuffle them up and put them on the card randomly, face-down; when you take one you may look at it to see how many points you actually have, but you keep it face-down in front of you. Like this other players can always see how many points you have within a certain range - between [visible points] and [visible points + number of tokens]. There's far less incentive to keep notes because you'd have to track what each player took from each card to work out the odds of each player having more points than shown, and you'd only ever know for sure if you took all the other points from a card yourself. The differences between visible points and hidden points would be fairly small, so nobody's likely to win the game on bonus points, but could be enough to make people think twice about exactly who the leader is in a close fight.








My preferred end-game variant also has a hard end-of-game, but aims to give players incentives to trigger it on purpose. Play as normal until three VP cards have been emptied (note: three, not four). From this point onwards, any player (no requirement to be winning or anything) may use their first action to "Call the Conclave of Nobles" to elect the new emperor/king/whatever, which is the new end-game action. It takes some time to arrange a meeting point and get all the delegates together, though, so it doesn't happen immediately.

Once someone has called the conclave, the game enters the endgame phase proper. They take the emptied VP cards and place them face-down in front of them to denote the turn order; at the end of every subsequent turn of theirs they remove the VP card that has the most tokens on it and place it in their face-down stack (the remaining tokens are discarded out of the game); any other VP cards which are emptied through normal means are also placed in this face-down stack.

The game ends when this player ends a turn but there are no more VP cards to take, or when the final VP card is emptied without anyone calling the conclave. At this point all battles are resolved immediately in the normal manner (defenders winning ties in the manner of the regular rules) and the player with the most VPs when the dust clears gets the most votes in the conclave and wins the game (it turns out Mythotopia runs an electoral college system with extra delegates available for infrastructure contributions and dragon-slaying). As is traditional they then have all the other lords imprisoned or executed, taking their lands and possessions as chattel and crowns themselves the new God In the Mythotopian Pantheon and does a victory lap around the table. Or whatever fits in your group.

This means that players can still more or less determine when the game ends, and obviously much like the regular game they have the incentive to do so when they feel they're in a good position to benefit from it.
Whoever calls the conclave misses out on an action that turn, so they get it made up to them by taking the final actions of the game... but anyone can potentially stop them from being able to do that by stealing the last VPs from the final card before the conclave player gets their last turn (and taking the card with the most VPs each turn maximises the chances of someone being able to do this).
The player in the lead has an incentive to wait until more VP cards are claimed before calling the conclave, because then the game ends quicker for them and they're less likely to lose their advantage with last-minute desperate grabs/alliances/whatever; other players who are a bit behind consequently have the incentive to end the game earlier to stop them doing this, giving themselves more turns to catch up and possibly getting hold of the last actions for their own benefit.

Most importantly, it's still determined entirely by the visible state of the game, but that state is open to be modified by more or less any player. There's no hidden information (everyone could potentially know what's in other players' decks and how many points they have and so on) and nobody gets any advantage or points for free, but by taking or not taking VPs, even once the endgame is triggered each player still potentially has the opportunity to affect it. And if they don't (e.g. they can't get any VPs from the remaining cards for whatever reason), it's probably because they painted themselves into that corner earlier in the game.
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Luish Moraes Coelho
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Bichatse wrote:

Most importantly, it's still determined entirely by the visible state of the game, but that state is open to be modified by more or less any player. There's no hidden information (everyone could potentially know what's in other players' decks and how many points they have and so on) and nobody gets any advantage or points for free, but by taking or not taking VPs, even once the endgame is triggered each player still potentially has the opportunity to affect it. And if they don't (e.g. they can't get any VPs from the remaining cards for whatever reason), it's probably because they painted themselves into that corner earlier in the game.


I like the Conclave variant and wish to try it soon. Although, it doesn´t propose a tie braker. This end game action is all about that this game cannot have ties. Any ideas about that?
 
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Luish Moraes Coelho
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luish wrote:
Any ideas about that?


I´d like to suggest that a tie breaker should be the player that took the last VP card. If he / she is not tied, then the first player to his / her left is the winner.
 
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Jake Staines
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You know, it's never come up!

luish wrote:

I´d like to suggest that a tie breaker should be the player that took the last VP card. If he / she is not tied, then the first player to his / her left is the winner.


Hm. I like the notion of the last player to take a card, but I don't know about "the next player to the left". I'd be more inclined myself to just tie-break on number of provinces in the deck (as opposed to owned, since you can discard them) and maybe number of cards in deck as a further tie-breaker?

Or have the two players duel with broadswords. One of the two.
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Jason Gernstetter

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Bichatse wrote:
jlgern wrote:

- VPs chips are kept face down or hidden.
- Everyone adds their hidden score to their visible score. Highest score wins.


My problem with this is simply that I know a couple of people I play with would just start noting down how many points everybody had in their 'hidden' stack, slowing the game down a bit and/or introducing an unintentional imbalance of information. It's hard to say someone shouldn't do that when anyone has the opportunity to just remember that info in their head, but realistically as soon as one person does it everybody feels compelled to, and then you're just introducing extra fiddliness to the game for no reason.


Thanks for the response. We played again recently and have not found any issues with hidden victory points. This is used in so many games including Puerto Rico and Troyes. Likewise it is used in many games but with a players money like in Saint Petersburg. If someone wants to take the mental energy to count the points of other players, then more power to them. In practice though, there isn't much they can do about it given that there is more of a fixed end game when cards run out of the VP tokens. If they decide to attack more or less based on that, that person's oppenents should be prepared for that anyway. There are very few ways to artifically slow down or speed up the end game.
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jlgern wrote:
If someone wants to take the mental energy to count the points of other players, then more power to them.


It is for exactly this reason that a great many gamers, heavier ones in particular, play with open money/vp/cards in any game where that information is public and trackable.

I'm not one of them but understand where they're coming from. It's a preference for games where strategy and skill are the defining factor rather than memory. (or diligent note taking)
 
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