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Subject: When you can't get your contract rss

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Toad Bennett
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Earlier today, two-player with my wife, early in the game I was taking a contract action, and there were no Painting contracts available. I took the option of laying out 4 new ones--still no Painting contract. But I need that thing--I've got to sell a painting for money. I'm going to have to go somewhere else and waste a turn and then come back and try again. There are productive things to do, but there's no denying that it just took me two turns to do a one-turn action because of an unlucky card draw.

This has already happened to me twice now, and we've only played six or seven times. This time I just conceded when it happened--this is a tight game, and it's a little like playing a game of chess and having one of your pawns spontaneously catch on fire. Seems like a small thing, but you're going to lose. We set 'er up for a new game--and I lost again, but this time not because of a card draw.

Question--it doesn't explicitly say it in the rule book, but is it correct that the rules limit you to only laying out 4 fresh cards once? Or is my assumption wrong, and you can just keep laying them out 4 at a time until you see what you want? (Not that it matters to me, we're going to house rule something similar to that. A lot of good games get house rules, no biggie.)

Also--if I'm not wrong about the rule, is anyone else surprised there's a random chance of not getting the contract you want/need? I get it thematically--"sorry there's no market for that kind of art right now"--but the gameplay isn't good. For example if you go to hire a worker, you don't have to roll a die and if you get a 6 ha! no worker--because that would be super irritating and not fun--just like the contract thing.



 
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Aernout Casier
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I have always taken the contract cards first, then bought the art, exactly to make sure I do not find myself in a situation like this. This also makes sense, thematically. Why would you invest heavily in a certain type of art when you don't have buyers for it lined up?
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Conor Hickey
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What Aernout said - you can pretty much always get the type of art you want, especially in 2 player, but keep an eye out for the contracts you need.

Also you don't need to go somewhere else and 'waste a turn' - there should almost always be something at least somewhat helpful you can do at each location, and just leave an assistant behind in case your opponent goes to the Sales Office, then you get to take a Kicked Out action and do the contract action anyway.

You can also mitigate some bad luck by taking a contract with the 'take a contract' action on it - that will let you see four more cards - of course you have to have available spaces for these contracts but this is a game where you have to plan ahead
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Toad Bennett
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Yes, but you surely still have a preference what contract card you're taking--surely what contracts are available is not your sole criterion for the type of art you're choosing? If you've ever taken advantage of the rule that lets you turn 4 cards, then you must have been looking for a particular type. And--that rule is there, so it anticipates that's what you're doing.

At any rate, without getting into all that, to say that there is a way to avoid bit of dumb random luck in the rules does not mean that there is not a bit of dumb random luck right there in the rules where there's no need for it. I guess you're saying you like it there. Cool, I was curious about what people thought.

 
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Evil Brother
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ToadInTheWoods wrote:
(Not that it matters to me, we're going to house rule something similar to that. A lot of good games get house rules, no biggie.)

So you have picked a strategy that doesn't work as well as you want it to, but instead of adjusting your strategy, you are adjusting the game?

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Toad Bennett
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:
Also you don't need to go somewhere else and 'waste a turn' - there should almost always be something at least somewhat helpful you can do at each location..


Yes, I said that:
ToadInTheWoods wrote:
There are productive things to do, but there's no denying that it just took me two turns to do a one-turn action because of an unlucky card draw.


Again, I'm surprised you are not familiar with the experience of needing to turn 4 cards, not getting what you want and saying, well now what. After all, that's what is designed to happen to you with a certain probability; it's in the rules.

But don't get my tone wrong, I'm not fussing at you, just puzzled at different experiences.


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Toad Bennett
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Evil Brother wrote:
ToadInTheWoods wrote:
(Not that it matters to me, we're going to house rule something similar to that. A lot of good games get house rules, no biggie.)

So you have picked a strategy that doesn't work as well as you want it to, but instead of adjusting your strategy, you are adjusting the game?



Zing, wow, what a zinger, you really zinged me.

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Evil Brother
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Wow, you are very easily zinged...

I have no problem with you adjusting the game because you want to play a different game. That is fine. You are however making it appear as though you are fixing something that is broken. Then, why stop there? The visitors come out in a random fashion, so change it? It really messes me up when I can't pick the same option twice in a row... change it?
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Toad Bennett
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Evil Brother wrote:
I have no problem with you adjusting the game because you want to play a different game. That is fine. You are however making it appear as though you are fixing something that is broken. Then, why stop there? The visitors come out in a random fashion, so change it? It really messes me up when I can't pick the same option twice in a row... change it?


No, actually when people bring up a house rule in a game--something you are apparently against, which is absolutely your way and that is fine with me--they actually don't mean that they want to change every rule. What they mean is that they don't like this particular rule. I see how you could misunderstand that (actually I don't, but I'll take your word for it).

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Toad Bennett
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By the way, I never said I already had the painting in my gallery, and it makes no difference at all.

Money is tight--I invested big and early in the auction, because I did. Painting is discovered already, and it's at the right price, so painting is the art type and NOW is the time. I may even have to give up influence points for the last dollar I need to buy that painting--I got to buy that thing, at the current price (not that I'm panicking but if that painter's fame goes up before I buy, I'm committing suicide at the table), and I got to get a contract, and I got to do both of those lickety-split, using kicked-out actions if I can.

It doesn't matter what order the actions come in, those are the actions that have to happen. If you get to the Sales Office and out of 8 cards, none of them are your type, you just lost a turn.

Now--you'll say, not really, you didn't lose a turn, and you'll be right. There are things you can do, and blah blah blah. But there's no getting around the fact that you just got gotcha!-ed by a card draw, and the game has been super-swayed, and if your opponent can play, you should lose.

That's my experience, but you're saying it's not yours, and I'm asking, and the reason I'm asking is I wondered if people thought differently; it occurred to me you might. I'll be curious if others chime in.

Of course, if house rules are just plain immoral like that one guy says, that's another matter entirely. We'll have to play in the dark.

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Evil Brother
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Really? Please reread what I wrote at a time when you are less inclined to being overdramatic...

Suppose there are two top Gallerist players. They have each come up with a strategy of playing the game and when they play anybody they will always win. When they play each other, player A will always win, except when a certain reputation tile is at the sales office at the start of the game (which is a random event). In that case, player B will always win. Just to be clear: There may be a strategy that can beat player B in that situation, it just isn't the strategy that player A is using.
Now player A has played player B a few times and has lost a few times (due to the reputation tile situation coming up). He goes on an internet forum and makes a thread saying that the rules shouldn't allow for that reputation tile going on the sales office. That one random event throws his entire game (super-sways the outcome so to speak). It just isn't good gameplay. There is no reason for the rules needing to be the way they are right now (= with a random setup).
What would you say to player A? Do you think it would help if player A would read this.
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Toad Bennett
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You keep not talking about the rule this thread is about. This thread is about a particular rule that you haven't mentioned once. Not once.

All I'm f'ing saying is I don't like the randomness of the card draw in this particular f'ing rule, and I'd like to hear what others--not you--have to say about it.

Others, however might like to hear your outrage at the very notion of questioning a rule, so keep it up, for their sake, definitely not mine.
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Evil Brother
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Toad Bennett
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Talking over this guy to you, the other folks at other times, the underlying philosophical issue that I thought might lurk here is not, should we house rule games at all? That's not so interesting to me. It's this: what sort of random event sways a game into unpleasantness?

Of course it's true that there are many random things about The Gallerist, but they all can be mitigated in the interesting ways that I expect this game to provide--except this one. This one is binary: hope you get the card you need!...oh! you didn't! <Simpson kid voice>Ha ha!</Simpson kid voice>

The house rule my wife came up with instantly is good to me: if it happens, you declare what type you want and keep drawing, one by one, not four at a time. First card of that type, you take. Game goes on. We actually haven't tried it yet, but it'll be fine, and if we play with others, well, we don't do the way we do at home when we're out 'mong folk.
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M.C.Crispy
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ToadInTheWoods wrote:
You keep not talking about the rule this thread is about. This thread is about a particular rule that you haven't mentioned once. Not once.

All I'm f'ing saying is I don't like the randomness of the card draw in this particular f'ing rule, and I'd like to hear what others--not you--have to say about it.

Others, however might like to hear your outrage at the very notion of questioning a rule, so keep it up, for their sake, definitely not mine.
It doesn't bother me that it's random and I'd hope that I wouldn't find myself in a position where I'd allowed my strategy to rely on the draw of a card. That would be a foolish strategy and the outcome would be entirely my fault, so I'd deserve to be beaten by someone who hadn't allowed their game outcome to be determined by chance.
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Toad Bennett
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Gosh, you must be really good.

I'm not that good, I've only played a few times, like I said. Still playing with strategies, thinking things through, playing with it in heavy rotation among other games. But I've played enough to say that I think the spirit of this game breaks down in this rule, and no other place.

But I'm impressed with how good you say you are. Unlike you, I do sometimes deserve to be beaten at games.

But it doesn't every time make me say, hmm, that rule could be better.

Occasionally it does, though, and this is one. I can aspire to your level, at least. A guy can dream.
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M.C.Crispy
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Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate the flattery. Sadly, I am a very poor player and lose most of my games (of any game). However, I generally recognise when the loss was my fault and seek to change the way that I play next time (I believe that Einstein had something to say about those who do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result). Unfortunately for my win record, those that I play with are better at doing that than am I.

I prefer to change my behaviour rather than the game. In part this is because I don't believe that I am a better designer that the person that designed the game in the first place and also in part because I teach games to people almost every time I play: I hate having to remember to tell them that we're not playing by the designer's rules so that they don't sit down with somebody else later and go "whaaaa... that's not how we were taught, that person was an idiot".
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Jason W
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No, I'm not surprised that there's a 'random' chance of not drawing the contract you need. But you're right, it is frustrating to waste a turn not getting the contract you need, and thus be at a huge disadvantage since this is such a tight game. But the sentiment in this thread is that you shouldn't put yourself in that position in the first place.

If you're gonna house rule to just pick one by one til you get the card you want, why have a contract market at all? Just keep the cards in the stack, and go through the deck until you get what you want. It's the same thing as your house rule. Either way, I hope the change works out for you.
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Donny Behne
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Take a contract card with a contract bonus that allows you to take a contract card. This way you can executive action when the contract you want shows up in the spread and not have to spend a full action to do so.
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M.C.Crispy
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kelann08 wrote:
Take a contract card with a contract bonus that allows you to take a contract card. This way you can executive action when the contract you want shows up in the spread and not have to spend a full action to do so.
I don't think that's there's any doubt that there are tactics to avoid the OP's problem. The OP merely feels that the game shouldn't present him with the necessity to do so in the first place. But that's OK as he has come up with a solution that he's happy with. Our work here is done.
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Toad Bennett
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jdw734 wrote:
If you're gonna house rule to just pick one by one til you get the card you want, why have a contract market at all? Just keep the cards in the stack, and go through the deck until you get what you want. It's the same thing as your house rule. Either way, I hope the change works out for you.


That would be a significantly bigger change to the rules. Here's my thought process: Unlike (apparently) anyone else, I do think this is a random gotcha! of enough weight that it spoils the game, if it happens in particular situations, so I start from the premise that it does need changing. But--like any house rule--I want to change as little as possible; I like the game, that's why I'm bothering to house rule it. The change I mentioned is--I think--as small a change from the original as possible while still applying a fix to the issue.

mccrispy wrote:
I prefer to change my behaviour rather than the game. In part this is because I don't believe that I am a better designer that the person that designed the game ...


Again, like that other guy, you think house rules are just bad. That's interesting, but unfathomable, to me. In my universe, I really can't imagine not house ruling some games, although, like I said, I think if you're calling it a "house rule" and not a "variant", you should be making as small a change as possible.

I don't think game rules are sacrosanct at all. The NFL is a billion-dollar business involving a game that has been played for over a century, and the rules never stay exactly the same from year to year. It doesn't mean that they think they could completely design a better game than football, it just means they think they can productively tinker with the rules, around the edges. I think that's the right idea. Gaming without house rules? Huh. Wow. Really?

Also, for those who are rankled at the very suggestion of putting my grubby little hands on Master Lacerda's work, let me repeat that the rest of the game is just as it should be, everything in place. We pull it out all the time. It's a great game that makes me think about--and discuss online--the little details of the design, even when I'm not playing. I would think any designer should be pleased at that.


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Mike Geller
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Like apparently everyone else, I don't perceive your problem. We play in an attempt to avoid getting into a strategic dead end.

However, given that you want to house rule it, I would suggest something more challenging than simply drawing cards until you get what you want. How about for every additional 4 contracts beyond the first free refill, you have to move back to the next influence track mark?

Edits: typos
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Michael Cabral
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I would agree with Shmello50. You would have to counter your house rule with some sort of penalty either by spending influence or spending money for each refill past the normal 4 refresh as per the normal rules.

Without the penalty you wouldn't be dissuaded from simply going through all the contracts and lose any tactical gameplay. You would just sort through the deck until you got the contract you wanted with a potentially powerful contract bonus. There is also the downtime to consider with this house rule because of having to shuffle the discards more frequently when the draw pile is exhausted.
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Y P
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I house-rule all sorts of things in many games so I'm not against them in general, but the contracts market in The Gallerist doesn't need a house rule. As others have said it's easy to avoid the problem--get the contract before the corresponding work of art. If you do it in reverse you're putting your outcome in the hands of, as you call it, "dumb luck".

If strategy can overcome luck of the draw, why resist changing your approach in favor of changing the game?
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M.C.Crispy
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ToadInTheWoods wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
I prefer to change my behaviour rather than the game. In part this is because I don't believe that I am a better designer that the person that designed the game ...


Again, like that other guy, you think house rules are just bad.
See Arkham Horror: Variant Rules used by mccrispy 

Quote:
Also, for those who are rankled at the very suggestion of putting my grubby little hands on Master Lacerda's work, let me repeat that the rest of the game is just as it should be, everything in place.
That's not what this discussion was about. At least, not for me. You seem to be reading more into my words than I can credit. Plus sarcasm.
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