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Subject: New Player, Gunpowder Plot rss

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Nick Clinite
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I'm sure this has been talked ad nauseam before, but I wanted a clear, up-to-date summary on this. Could someone please give me a rundown of the actual gameplay purpose for the Gunpowder Plot autowin? Because at face value it just seems to be a way for one player to randomly win a game that is otherwise full of strategy and negotiations (as well as more dice rolls, but none that seem to have a singular result of "you win" without some actual build-up beforehand).
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Geoff C
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So the protestant/catholic autowin doesnt bother you?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot
 
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islan wrote:
at face value it just seems to be a way for one player to randomly win a game that is otherwise full of strategy and negotiations (as well as more dice rolls, but none that seem to have a singular result of "you win" without some actual build-up beforehand).
There's typically plenty of build-up as Spain tries to maximise his chances and the others to minimise them.
 
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Kristian Thy
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islan wrote:
the actual gameplay purpose for the Gunpowder Plot autowin?


Spain starts the game as the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. If the other players are too effective at collaborating to take down Spain, the Gunpowder Plot ensures Spain still has a shot at winning.

Also, it curtails offensive use of Walsingham.
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Nick Clinite
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Talonz wrote:
So the protestant/catholic autowin doesnt bother you?


That isn't a single dice roll, but rather a control over a spread of 42 territories.

Fielmann wrote:
There's typically plenty of build-up as Spain tries to maximise his chances and the others to minimise them.


To maximize/minimize chances, sure, but no build-up to make it possible. Spain could just win with a super lucky 5v5 roll, even if it is highly unlikely. It would be one thing if the only result was the possible autowin, but it also allows England to lose ground to Catholic influence (which feeds into the protestant/catholic autowins, which does sound interesting to me; how often does Spain have to drop the Gunpowder Plot to avoid handing the game to the HRE?).

turbothy wrote:
Spain starts the game as the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. If the other players are too effective at collaborating to take down Spain, the Gunpowder Plot ensures Spain still has a shot at winning.

Also, it curtails offensive use of Walsingham.


Thanks, that's more of what I'm interested in. What I'm wondering is, why not make it "a decent chance of succeeding, but hard to unlock the chance to do so" rather than "make it a very rare chance of succeeding, with a challenge to increase the odds"? It just seems like an odd design choice to me, personally; but on the other hand, maybe if Spain wants to devote that much CP for a pie-in-the-sky chance, he deserves the win? I'm mostly worried about the situation where Spain really has so conceivable way to win, so he goes all in for Gunpowder Plot and pulls it off. After a 10 hour game, I imagine that leaving a sour taste in some players' mouths.

 
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islan wrote:
What I'm wondering is, why not make it "a decent chance of succeeding, but hard to unlock the chance to do so" rather than "make it a very rare chance of succeeding, with a challenge to increase the odds"?


I don't see any functional difference.
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Nick Clinite
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turbothy wrote:
I don't see any functional difference.


Um ... one is "you roll dice and you win", the other is "you play a clever game, roll dice, and you win". From a purely surface-level view, of course.
 
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islan wrote:
turbothy wrote:
I don't see any functional difference.


Um ... one is "you roll dice and you win", the other is "you play a clever game, roll dice, and you win". From a purely surface-level view, of course.


Have a look at this image:



With defensive Walsingham, Spain never gets more than a one-in-three shot at the ECR autowin, and that is with lots of "clever game": all the Jesuits, Mary QoS, informants etc. which you can only start planting in Turn 3.

If Spain just tries without any prep, it's a 0.05% chance for 5 CP. I'd be happy to play against a Spanish player that throws away resources for that one-in-2000 shot, since it most likely means he'll lose the other 1999 games. It's simply bad strategy and a fluke loss to ECR wouldn't sour me on the game.
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Nick Clinite
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Yes, I already know the odds aren't exactly in Spain's favor, but the fact remains that it appears the game is designed so that a single dice roll can, however rare, still win the game out of nowhere. And even if Spain doesn't pull off the necessary 4-hits, they can still cause Catholic Rebellions (whose value I'm not entirely sure of at this time), so it's not like a failed auto-win is a wasted effort.

The only downside seems that if England gets more hits, they get to do something against Spain, as well as the potential for pushing the Catholic auto-win (which I'm assuming means only HRE wins?). In your experience, do these act as pretty decent deterrents for Spain being too careless with its Catholic Rebellions?
 
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Even when the Gunpowder Plot fails, it can also serve to reign in an English player in the lead. In one game I fell one hit short of winning, but I still got control of several English home spaces and a key IIRC.
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islan wrote:
as well as the potential for pushing the Catholic auto-win (which I'm assuming means only HRE wins?).


Uh, no. In a Catholic autowin either France or Spain wins.
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Nick Clinite
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Oh. So Spain has two auto-wins, both connected to the same dice rolls, one of which potentially coming from a single roll. Meaning they could be shooting for one, and just be randomly granted the other.

Um .... huh.
 
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Try playing the game.
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Nick Clinite
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This isn't exactly a pick-up-and-play game. Can you really not explain how this is not problematic element for the game?

Again, I know I'm only seeing the surface level details of it at this point and know nothing of the greater depth of this game, which is why I figured I'd better ask those with more experience. Unless there's some kind of detriment to Spain making Catholic Rebellion rolls, it is appearing like really bad design. I'd very much like to avoid buyer's remorse after being so excited for this game, and there's 0 chance I'll ever get this game to the table if I'm not excited to sell it to others.
 
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Kurt Keckley
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islan wrote:
I'm sure this has been talked ad nauseam before, but I wanted a clear, up-to-date summary on this. Could someone please give me a rundown of the actual gameplay purpose for the Gunpowder Plot autowin? Because at face value it just seems to be a way for one player to randomly win a game that is otherwise full of strategy and negotiations (as well as more dice rolls, but none that seem to have a singular result of "you win" without some actual build-up beforehand).


A solution in three words... Walsingham on Defense


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Nick Clinite
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p38_Lightning wrote:

A solution in three words... Walsingham on Defense




I get the feeling people aren't really understanding my concerns. Regardless of how rare it is, the fact that it is possible--at any point, regardless of the board state or player actions up until that point--for a player to grab victory by random chance, without apparent cost (assuming the CP cost is still worth it for the Catholic Rebellions) or extra risk (seeing England gets something at Spain's detriment if they win the roll, but Spain seems to get all the bonuses outside of Walsingham, so I'm not sure how influential that is), is bothersome. All Walsingham does is make it less likely, but still possible.

Let me put it this way. If, for the first time playing the game, I play this with 5 other people, over the course of 8 hours, and Spain--knowing they have no other way of winning at this point--decides to spend 5 CP, roll 5 dice, and gets four 6's to England's botch, and thus takes the game ... I don't think any of us would want to ever play this game again. You could say how unlikely that would be, but it wouldn't change how cheap it was. At first glance, it appears as a pitfall in the game, just there for no other reason than to "flip the table" for one out of every 100 games (or more, if the latest tournament results are accurate depictions of regular games, making it 1 out of 20). And I am personally hoping that is not really the case.
 
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Geoff C
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islan wrote:
Talonz wrote:
So the protestant/catholic autowin doesnt bother you?


That isn't a single dice roll, but rather a control over a spread of 42 territories.



That's a huge oversimplification. Here's mine; neither is Spain's.

I have tried the gunpowder plot more than once. In both cases it was because I was beset on all sides and losing ground. And because its fun to try. It takes ALOT of effort and cps and die rolls to setup a decent attempt, and even then its dicy.

Failed both times. But worth the shot.

Spain is better off focusing on winning with a more traditional method. But the fact that its there for a waning major power and its historical, means a lot to the game.

Honestly, ime and for other reasons posted above, your fears are largely groundless. Go play.
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Nick Clinite
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Talonz wrote:

I have tried the gunpowder plot more than once. In both cases it was because I was beset on all sides and losing ground. And because its fun to try. It takes ALOT of effort and cps and die rolls to setup a decent attempt, and even then its dicy.

Failed both times. But worth the shot.

Spain is better off focusing on winning with a more traditional method.


So when you're not pushing for a Gun Powder plot, do you just not attempt any Catholic Rebellions?
 
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Michael Kiefte
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islan wrote:
So when you're not pushing for a Gun Powder plot, do you just not attempt any Catholic Rebellions?


It's the same dice roll.
 
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Nick Clinite
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mkiefte wrote:
islan wrote:
So when you're not pushing for a Gun Powder plot, do you just not attempt any Catholic Rebellions?


It's the same dice roll.


That's my point.

You don't have to push for Gun Powder Plot, it's always there when you roll more than three dice on Catholic Rebellion.
 
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Geoff C
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I think he means for the lesser results...and probably not, given that Spain can get 5 counter-reformation attempts with suppress heresy for 2cp and doesnt risk loss of a card next turn.
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Kurt Keckley
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islan wrote:

Let me put it this way. If, for the first time playing the game, I play this with 5 other people, over the course of 8 hours, and Spain--knowing they have no other way of winning at this point--decides to spend 5 CP, roll 5 dice, and gets four 6's to England's botch, and thus takes the game ... I don't think any of us would want to ever play this game again.


I must confess, I have always been bothered by the Gunpowder Plot. We call it the Hail Mary. After spending 6-11 hours of careful negotiation and play, only to watch Spain pick up a few dice knowing one lucky roll and the entire game was for not is hard to stomach. And it happens a lot because, honestly, Spain is hard to play.

It's especially brutal when the English player either doesn't know to put Walsy on the D or doesn't care. Maybe they want one last jilt.

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Nick Clinite
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It would be one thing if it just had some condition on it...
 
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islan wrote:
It would be one thing if it just had some condition on it...



I would worry less about what theoretically might happen and more about what actually does happen.

Sounds more like you're an anti-dice/randomness Euro player looking for an excuse not to play.
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Carsten Jorgensen
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In my very first game - a live one - there was one player, who had this same problem. Just that the option is there to win on one action is bad, he thought. But in my experience it really isn't.

True that the English and Spanish player must know the odds, so they know how to play this ECR mini game. Once they know it though, it becomes just as much a game of positioning as the religious struggle or timing a military campaign. If Spain just fires off a 4-5 CP card each turn on this small chance, he is not playing his chances best.

It also creates the interesting mechanic, that everyone should be carefull England always has a chance to win the game. Or it becomes totally acceptable for him to take the chance of not playing Walsingham for defence. Though this also exits in the religious struggle. In one game the Prot player didn't want to realise, that he was the one to stop me from winning on conversions as Spain. So he passed instead of playing a card - and I won a religious win.
All powers can win, if their direct opponent plays bad (and not saving Walsingham for defence is bad without a deal with Spain).

Like most others here, after playing the game, this really isn't a problem. For Spain to even attempt ECR takes a lot. Think I have only seen it tried a few times in 15-20 games. And I have yet to see a win on it (I cannot remember one at least - and think I would have).
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