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Note: Before going further, I'll admit that I haven't play the game before, and most of what I proposed are based on Rahdo's final thought on the 2p notoriety & speculations. Take this as a invitation for discussion.

Instead of using the official 2p Notoriety system, I propose the following calculation variant:

- The player with the most Notoriety subtract the 2nd player's Notoriety value from their score.
- The other player adds his/her notoriety to his/her score.



~~~Explanation of Issue~~~

As a reminder for those who aren't sure what I'm talking about
Notoriety in... wrote:
3-5p: Player with highest Notoriety(N) loses points equal to his N count, while others gain points equal to their respective N count
2p: Player with highest N loses points equal to the difference between the N scores of both players

According to Rahdo, the Notoriety game in 2p (likely out of necessity) 'loses its teeth' when compared to the other player scores, & isn't nearly as impactful. Even though I've not play the game before, i'm inclined to agree with him, with the following reasoning:

Quote:
- In a 3-5p game, the notoriety game represents a game of chicken with a huge swing, & in relation to other players' N score. Players want as much N as possible w/o having the most, though a higher N score means a higher risk of a bigger fall; hence a game of chicken. This in turn fuels the 'donate' action, as removing even just 2 notoriety could signify a bigger point difference (eg: going from 10N to 8N, while the opponent has 9N)

- In a 2p game, the notoriety game loses its inherent 'chicken' quality, & the relative N score is no longer important. As the points at stake is the difference between 2p's N score, there's no longer a risk of gaining/losing points, as they're the essentially the same. Regardless of whether you have the most N score, gaining an extra 3N is the same as losing 3 extra points. Hence there's no real motivation to manage your N score to be lower than your opponent's.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Eg: Opponent has 10N, I have 5N: I gain 3N = opponent losing 2 vs. 5 points, a 3 point gain for my opponent;
Opponent has 5N, I have 10N: I gain 3N = losing 6 points vs. 3 points, a 3 point gain for my opponent.


~~~Explanation of Proposed Variant~~~

With this variant, the game of chicken is established, as a higher N score equals not only a higher point gain, but a greater point loss for the other player! This gives incentive for players to gain as much N as possible without going over.

Also, in comparison to the 3-5p notoriety system, IMO this variant actually encourages the game of chicken! With the original rule, while players are encouraged to gain N to gain points, there's no reason why a player can't maintain a low N & ensure they don't lose points. In turn, others will limit their N gain as they know that these represent points lost. However, this is balanced by the high player count, as the 3rd player may leverage on this and gain more points as long as he/she maintains it to be in between. Sadly this does not work for 2p.

However, with the proposed variant, as both point gain & lost are based on the lower N score, it forces both players to participate in the chicken game. If a player does not play, the other can gain as many N as he/she wants without any repercussion. Furthermore, both players would have a rough indication of the stakes & play around it. This maintains a sense of 'calculated' randomness, which increases with a higher N score.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Example: Player A has 6N. In his eyes, the maximum stake is 12 points, thus he knows he can guarantee victory by leading with at least 11 points, since if opponent has <6N, the point difference would be at most 10. Conversely, if opponent has >6N, A will gain a 12 point swing, so even if he's losing, he knows he must be within 12 points behind his opponent's score to have any chance


~~~Conclusion~~~

Again, most of what I say is based on speculation, so there might be some issues with my variant that I'm unaware of. That's why I'm open for discussions! If fortunate enough, someone might be interested enough to try it & if I'm really lucky, the variant works flawlessly & encourages an even more tense 2p experience!

Thank you for your time & looking forward to your comments!

 
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Sea
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It just occurred to me that this variant might be too swingy for the 2p game, since every X notoriety score equals to 2x point difference. However I believe the swing is still lower than the original 3-5p scoring method.

Another 'balancing' element is that even when playing against a 'conservative' player, sooner or later the 'risky' player's notoriety will be so high that the C player could take another without worry & increase the point difference. In turn the risky player could slow down their notoriety uptake to prevent the swing from getting bigger.

Quote:
Eg:
C treats R's notoriety chips as all being value 1.
When R has 3 notoriety chips , C could safely take 1 chip himself.

*fast forward few turns*

When R has 6 chips, C could take 1/2 more based on his notoriety score.
As C takes more & more chips, the effective point difference will increase, prompting R to slow down his notorious acts.


Conclusion: In the original scoring, a player's notoriety is only important for determining who has more/less, & that a conservative player can play it really safe & not risk notoriety.

In this variant, the lower score itself determines the point difference (2x lower N score). Also, there's no difference between gaining 1 or 100 Notoriety more than your opponent. This forces both players to participate in the notoriety game. At the same time, the increased point difference (1N = 2 points) serves as a balancing mechanism for the riskier player to take fewer notoriety, as each additional chip taken equates an opportunity for the conservative player to take even more chips & increase the point difference.
 
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