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Trickerion: Legends of Illusion» Forums » Rules

Subject: Idle characters rss

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Ioannis Sev
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During our last Trickerion session the following situation came up for a player after a few rounds:

Initially, they spent their first few rounds acquiring special assignment cards, apprentices and manager/engineer/assistant.

Due to not performing or placing tricks at all they were always able to go first.

During late game their tactic was to use most of their characters with special assignment cards assigned as dummies. Essentially they passed each round by turning the special assignment card face down, and thus rending the character idle, until they could be the last person to assign trick markers on performances and perform as they pleased.

Although they had a lot of characters in play, they wouldn't eventually pay much in wages since most of them ended up idle.


Our question is: Is it possible to keep passing on your turn by declaring characters idle, until you wish to start acting, or does one HAVE to play all their characters intended to take actual actions until they only have characters that would be idle?

It does sounds like a bit of a broken mechanic to keep passing as you please without being penalised by means of having to pay wages.
 
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Simon C
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zhyq wrote:
During our last Trickerion session the following situation came up for a player after a few rounds:

Initially, they spent their first few rounds acquiring special assignment cards, apprentices and manager/engineer/assistant.

Due to not performing or placing tricks at all they were always able to go first.

During late game their tactic was to use most of their characters with special assignment cards assigned as dummies. Essentially they passed each round by turning the special assignment card face down, and thus rending the character idle, until they could be the last person to assign trick markers on performances and perform as they pleased.

Although they had a lot of characters in play, they wouldn't eventually pay much in wages since most of them ended up idle.


Our question is: Is it possible to keep passing on your turn by declaring characters idle, until you wish to start acting, or does one HAVE to play all their characters intended to take actual actions until they only have characters that would be idle?

It does sounds like a bit of a broken mechanic to keep passing as you please without being penalised by means of having to pay wages.


You can indeed pass your turn by declaring a character idle, and wait for a later spot. However, while I haven't tried or seen the tactic you describe, I wouldn't have thought it would be effective. The majority of the time you want to be the first player to a location, not the last! You get more action points in public spaces and your first choice of day in the theatre.

While placing tricks later in the round can get better linkage bonuses, waiting too long can mean there are no spaces left on a busy round. Also, the linkage bonuses themselves aren't all that great if you're only using Level 1 tricks (and if they're getting Level 2 or 3 tricks, how did they get the money and actions to get the fame, tricks, and components if they weren't performing or placing tricks?)

Don't get me wrong, knowing when to declare a character idle can be very important. But I can't see it as a winning strategy. At a simplest level, simply sending a character downtown to use a Bank die is better than leaving them idle (so long as you can get the action points)!

In a full 7 round game, you should be getting the majority of your points from performing Level 3 (36 Fame) tricks in the last two rounds or so. I'll frequently only just be hitting 36 Fame in round 5 or so, but then get over 100 more Fame from those last two rounds and end-game bonuses. I can't see how you achieve that by not using characters.
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Ioannis Sev
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Although the strategy can be countered, it does become quite strong when one uses their first action to claim a performance day, then queue up a bunch of idle characters, and conclude with being the last to place tricks.
 
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Adrian Schmidt
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zhyq wrote:
Although the strategy can be countered, it does become quite strong when one uses their first action to claim a performance day, then queue up a bunch of idle characters, and conclude with being the last to place tricks.


It could be that it's a valid and strong strategy, but it just doesn't quite sound right. Just like Simon, I'm having trouble imagining they can really get that many points that way…

How high are the end scores are we are talking about here?

EDIT: What I'm thinking, is that perhaps you are playing some rule wrong, which makes this strategy overpowered?
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Simon C
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zhyq wrote:
Although the strategy can be countered, it does become quite strong when one uses their first action to claim a performance day, then queue up a bunch of idle characters, and conclude with being the last to place tricks.


OK, to put it another way: how are they managing to (a) get to 36 Fame in order to learn the best tricks, (b) learn said tricks, (c) order, take actions to buy and afford the components for the level 36 tricks, (d) prepare those tricks, and (e) set up those tricks, if they've spent huge numbers of early actions hiring characters and getting cards and then not using those resources? And having got to that point, how are they then not getting more points by actually going out and doing stuff with their workers? By the last round, money's usually no object, because Level 36 tricks have such high rewards.

I'm in agreement with Adrian; I suspect you're making a mistake elsewhere in the rules. Unfortunately I can't spot where, but maybe if you think any of the above points isn't valid, that would help spot it.
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Donny Behne
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Going idle means you don't play that character that turn. They don't "queue" and go last, they don't go at all. You then go to the next round and start over assigning cards. Idle is a 100% wasted turn with zero benefit other than not having to pay that person.

The way you describe it, he's passing on going and then assigning all his tokens after everyone else is done. This isn't idle. It's breaking the rules.
 
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Ioannis Sev
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Simon and Adrian, I believe I might have been misunderstood a tiny bit here. I did not mean to come across as saying that the person in question won the game. Eventually, fame 36 tricks did their job and he lost on the last turn. We are pretty confident we used all rules apart from the one about idle characters correctly.

Donny, you might be clearing this up for me, but allow me to re-iterate what I initially said, since I have a hunch we might have misunderstood each other here. Let's say we are playing against each other and that I'm using the strategy I described earlier. I'm playing first, and it's my turn to place a character. I decide to place my magician on the Thursday slot. Then you take your turn to place a character and decide to go Downtown with your apprentice. Now it's my turn again, and I decide to keep my engineer that was assigned a Market Row card idle. Here's the question: Do you get to play after that, or am I forced to place a different character until I have no characters left or all my characters are idle?

In our interpretation of the rules, you would be playing next, thus allowing me the benefit of acting after you and placing my trick markers last. This is the part we are not clear about. In your reply, I seem to understand that one would have to use all their characters before announcing the idle ones. Am I correct?
 
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Paulo Renato
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zhyq wrote:
Simon and Adrian, I believe I might have been misunderstood a tiny bit here. I did not mean to come across as saying that the person in question won the game. Eventually, fame 36 tricks did their job and he lost on the last turn. We are pretty confident we used all rules apart from the one about idle characters correctly.

Donny, you might be clearing this up for me, but allow me to re-iterate what I initially said, since I have a hunch we might have misunderstood each other here. Let's say we are playing against each other and that I'm using the strategy I described earlier. I'm playing first, and it's my turn to place a character. I decide to place my magician on the Thursday slot. Then you take your turn to place a character and decide to go Downtown with your apprentice. Now it's my turn again, and I decide to keep my engineer that was assigned a Market Row card idle. Here's the question: Do you get to play after that, or am I forced to place a different character until I have no characters left or all my characters are idle?

In our interpretation of the rules, you would be playing next, thus allowing me the benefit of acting after you and placing my trick markers last. This is the part we are not clear about. In your reply, I seem to understand that one would have to use all their characters before announcing the idle ones. Am I correct?


I have to join the others and say that what you are saying makes no sense to me and I just can't see how a player can even be close to winning the game like you said you only managed to beat him on the last turn...

You sure can choose to not use a character by turning the assignment card face down when it's your turn to place a worker... The question you asked Donny I can answer, when you turn a worker idle then it's the next player in turn order to use a worker...

But by doing that you are just losing all the actions that that worker could do... Making a Worker idle means he's used for the round, he just didn't do any work so you don't have to pay him, and it only makes sense to do that if you know you won't have enough money to pay for all the workers after you did all the actions you wanted to do...

How can anyone win the game by not using their workers round after round after round? makes no sense, you have to be doing something wrong...

If he was just not using the workers please tell me:
1- how was he getting the components for the tricks if he didn't used workers in the Market?

2- How was he getting Tricks if he didn't send workers Downtown to get new tricks?

3- How was he preparing the Tricks to put on the Theater cards if he didn't use workers on his Workshop?

4- How was he getting any rewards if he just kept performing on Thursday's with the Penalty bonus associated with performing on Thursday?

I'm sure there are a lot more questions to be asked but how could he be close to winning the game if he just spent a part of the game getting special assignment cards and then not using them in the later rounds by making the workers idle?
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Brian P
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I hope I can spell out a possible scenario to clarify things.

Say you and I are playing a game. We have some workers, which I will simplify by numbering them in parentheses (1a, 2a, 3a, etc for you; 1b, 2b, 3b, etc, for me).

----------------------

You go first. You put your Magician(1a) on Thursday to claim the day.

I go next, putting my Magician(1b) on Friday.

You go again, deciding your Apprentice(2a) will be idle, turning the card face down.

My turn: I put my Engineer(2b) on a Downtown space.

Your turn: You make your Manager(3a) idle, turning the card face down.

My turn: I play my Assistant (3b) backstage to set up a trick.

Your Turn: You use your Assistant (4a) to set up tricks back stage as well.

We are both out of characters, and move on to the performance phase.

--------------------------

So, using the above scenario, you can conceivably go first, while still setting things up after me, to your advantage. There's nothing wrong with that in the rules.

Important things to note:
- Making one of your characters idle is a valid way to take your turn.
- If any character is idle during the round, you don't have to pay them at the end of the round.
- However, if you make a character idle, you don't get to go back and use the character once everyone else is out of characters to assign; those characters are simply not used for the round.

This seems like an awful waste of characters. Not only did you use previous turns to acquire those characters, but you're missing out on the actions those characters could take.

The only time I've seen something like this happen was when one player had 7 character disks at one time, and that ended up being more characters than he needed to use. He simply made those characters idle at the end of the turn because, for the most part, this game rewards going first, not last.

I hope that clarified things a little.
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Ioannis Sev
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Thank you very much for the clarification Brian. That's the way we interpreted the rules as well, just needed to be certain we did not get something wrong.

I agree it's not the optimal way to use characters, though under certain circumstances it can be a strong short-term strategy. Also, no I did not imply at any point one could go back and use characters turned idle.

Thank you everyone for your input.
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Paul Catley
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I really don't understand this tactic at all. If he's hanging back on earning early points with the hope of keeping initiative in the late game and putting in a late sprint, fine, but why remain idle? Once you've used that first initiative spot to book Thursday, why not use the characters productively at other locations, and place your extra characters backstage last? Presumably he has hired more characters than other players in order to go both first and last in the round, but doesn't have the money to pay them all. Fine, but use some of them! If nothing else then visit the bank to get more money. And if he isn't doing anything other than hiring staff, how does he have decent tricks to place if he hasn't been learning them, buying materials and preparing them? Or is he using the saved money to make up for his shortfall on the fame track and acquiring L36 tricks later on? But he would still have to be using workers rather than turning them idle. I don't get it.

Anyway, in terms of the rules, I believe you have it right. You can play your characters or turn them idle in any order.
 
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Ioannis Sev
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You're pretty close with your guess Paul.

The backbone of the tactic was to have enough characters to go both first and last. Early to mid-game he could go first to either get new special characters or money from the bank, as far as downtown is concerned, or to get special assignment cards. He managed to not fall too far behind by having his Fame 1 tricks performed by others, and aimed for a final sprint with multiple Fame 36 markers being performed on the last round, as well as getting the bonuses from Fame 36 tricks' conditions.

All in all, it was a mix of some luck, some negligence from our part to counter his move early on, as well as him being able to somehow control the field using Yorumba's special ability.
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