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Subject: What conventions do you play with? rss

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Kirk Monsen
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if you wish to debate rules, there is this thread in the rules section: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1695932/it-illegal-deve...

at this is the strategy forum, what strategies have you learned that you can pass on to newbies?

Here are some of mine:
1) With each clue, clue on words you haven't clued before. You only have about 5 rounds of gameplay. If you keep clueing old words, and leave words unclued, you will lose. If your teammates are aware you will always clue new words, then it gives them more options to select from when guessing (they can use old clues or new clues and know there is no overlap). Once you've clued all the words, then you can start reclueing.

2) When using unlimited, it means ONE and only ONE word matches the clue. The rest of the guesses are for catch-up. If I could clue more with one guess, I would give a higher number.

3) When it seems the other team is determined to select a word on your team (they keep mentioning it as a possibility), do not clue it. Delay clueing it as long as possible. It doesn't matter who reveals your color, and it is much more satisfying for the opposing team to reveal it.

4) If you have a similar word as the other team, leave it. Let the opposing codemaster try to juggle around the word. See #3 above.

As a player, if you see an obvious pair, and neither codemaster is hinting at it, consider it split (either between the two, or with an assassin).

5) If you give a 1 clue, make it as obvious as possible. Don't be crafty. You do not need to hide information from the other team.

6) If you have no more information, do not randomly guess. The odds of randomly getting your own color is worse than something bad happening.

Later in the game, examine the clues your codemaster gave (and didn't give) along with the other codemaster, and you can make an educated random guess about what clues are yours if you haven't been hinted at them yet.
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Ben Kyo
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I don't play with any conventions.

I hope that people on my team would use/pick up on what seems to me to be common-sense play as described in your points 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, but I've been surprised quite often by people repeatedly clueing the same words, so I've learnt not to rely on 1.

2 is just bullshit. I would be slightly annoyed if anyone tried to "teach" such a convention in any game involving me, and I would reject any attempt to conform to such a convention and make it clear I would do so. If the spymaster then gave an unlimited clue during the game, I'd discuss with my team-mates which words seem to fit the unlimited clue, and guess one or more of them first if it seemed safer than attempting to match words from previous clues.
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Ben Bateson
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This is a rather pathetic hangover from the other thread where I called out a couple of people for rules-lawyering what is supposed to be a light, fun party game. Trying to masquerade your interpretation of the rules as a strategy thread is just hogging the forum, especially because - as my namesake has pointed out - much of what you have said is generally obvious.
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Annemarie Post
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I would perhaps tell them 1 and 6 to help them out, but the rest is something people have to figure out for themselves.
 
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M. B. Downey
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2 is just bad strategy. Consider:

Your opponent has 1 clue left, your team has 5 clues. You come up with a great clue for 3 of the words, but if you just say Clue 3, you lose. And you cannot say Clue 4, because the fourth word doesn't match the clue.

Using your "convention" will cause the players to get at most 1 of the clues and then ignore the others, because ONLY ONE COULD BE WRITE. Giving a clue for just one word would then just cause them to randomly guess.

And again: party game.
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M. B. Downey
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downeymb wrote:
ONLY ONE COULD BE WRITE.


That's what I get for typing on my phone. shake
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Grant
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ousgg wrote:
This is a rather pathetic hangover from the other thread where I called out a couple of people for rules-lawyering what is supposed to be a light, fun party game. Trying to masquerade your interpretation of the rules as a strategy thread is just hogging the forum, especially because - as my namesake has pointed out - much of what you have said is generally obvious.

Aw, sour grapes.
 
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Grant
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I don't think you're using the word "convention" in the same way as it was being discussed in that other thread, with the exception of #2, which I both disagree with from a rules perspective and from a strategy perspective. Downey hit the nail on the head with the strategy reasoning.

The others just seem kind of like general tips for play, not really conventions.

In that vein, here's one that I always keep in mind:
If there are two words that kind of relate to a 2-clue, but there is also some other WAY more obvious clue for those words that the spy master could have used, those are probably NOT the correct two words for the clue.
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David Jones
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grant5 wrote:
I don't think you're using the word "convention" in the same way as it was being discussed in that other thread


This.

A convention is a rule that you and your partner have devised that allows you to pass additional information across the table.

Items three, four, and six are not conventions as you have not passed any extra information to your partner beyond the clue itself. They are strategy choices, but not conventions.

I slightly disagree with item five. There was one game where the last word I needed was Queen, but King and England were also on the table, so "obvious" clues like "ruler" and "monarch" would not be good. I think I used "tiara" as the clue. Anyway, the point is that having to navigate around other words on the table means that sometimes crafty trumps obvious.

Item one is a convention and potentially useful, but only if you've explained to your partner that you are never going to reclue until you've reached the initial seven/eight codewords. If you've not discussed this rule with your partner, it is a strategy choice, not a convention.

Item two is not a valid clue. There is no "unlimited" option in the rulebook. There is zero and there is infinity, both of which allow unlimited guesses. If you are saying "unlimited" to your partner, one might wonder if you are using "unlimited" and "infinity" to mean different things....
 
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Grant
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davypi wrote:
Item two is not a valid clue. There is no "unlimited" option in the rulebook. There is zero and there is infinity, both of which allow unlimited guesses. If you are saying "unlimited" to your partner, one might wonder if you are using "unlimited" and "infinity" to mean different things....

Errr, what?
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David Jones
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grant5 wrote:
Errr, what?


My bad.
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Kirk Monsen
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downeymb wrote:
2 is just bad strategy. Consider:

Your opponent has 1 clue left, your team has 5 clues. You come up with a great clue for 3 of the words, but if you just say Clue 3, you lose. And you cannot say Clue 4, because the fourth word doesn't match the clue.


If the opposing team has 1 clue left, and your team has 5, and you haven't clued 3 of those already, you're going to have a bad time.
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Kirk Monsen
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Benkyo wrote:

I hope that people on my team would use/pick up on what seems to me to be common-sense play as described in your points 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, but I've been surprised quite often by people repeatedly clueing the same words, so I've learnt not to rely on 1.


If you play as codemaster a lot, then you learn what to expect from someone else who plays as codemaster a lot.

Lots of people don't like playing codemaster, and so they don't learn that aspect. That is why you see people breaking these common-sense play ideas. When they play codemaster, they get tunnel vision and possessive, wanting you to guess their words focusing on the same words, or trying to get you to guess your teams words before the opposing team guesses your words. Likewise, as guessers, since they don't have a codemaster perspective, they make arbitrary guesses instead of logicing them out.
 
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M. B. Downey
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MunchWolf wrote:
downeymb wrote:
2 is just bad strategy. Consider:

Your opponent has 1 clue left, your team has 5 clues. You come up with a great clue for 3 of the words, but if you just say Clue 3, you lose. And you cannot say Clue 4, because the fourth word doesn't match the clue.


If the opposing team has 1 clue left, and your team has 5, and you haven't clued 3 of those already, you're going to have a bad time.


That does not invalidate the criticism of your strategy.

ANYTIME you have to use Unlimited you are probably already having a bad time.
 
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Kirk Monsen
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downeymb wrote:


That does not invalidate the criticism of your strategy.

ANYTIME you have to use Unlimited you are probably already having a bad time.


I figured this one might be controversial, so let's break it down.

first a recap of the suggested convention
Quote:
2) When using unlimited, it means ONE and only ONE word matches the clue. The rest of the guesses are for catch-up. If I could clue more with one guess, I would give a higher number.


Now some givens:
1) You have a limited number of turns which means a limited number of clues you can give (I estimate 4-5 in a good game) so you want to maximize words clued on as much as possible. The more words you can clue, the better the clue.

This means
A) One word clued is bad. Two words clued is better. Three or more is awesome. Generally, try to clue two words, but more if possibly.

B) When clueing multiple words, not clueing any new words that have not been previously clued is really bad. Clueing one additional new word is slightly better than a one word clued, but worse than two words clued. A new clue should clue two or more new words.

* Optimal is to only clue new words (because then the guessers know exactly how many words they have clues for that they have not guessed yet).

Given
2) Completely random guessing (no information) is bad. For those unsure, let's do some math. Let's say red goes first, and says Word 2. Red team successfully guesses the 2. They have no other information. If they guess, they have a 7/23 chance of being correct, 8/23 chance of guessing the opposing team's, and a 1/23 chance of immediately losing the game. Since 9/23 chance of bad things is better than 7/23 chance of good, random guessing is more bad than good.

Red passes. Blue gets a Word 2, that they successfully guess. Do they guess random? They only have a 6/21 chance of doing so, while having an 8/21 chance of bad stuff. Random guessing is still bad.

* sidenote, informed random guessing is good, after all that is what the game is about, but completely random guessing without information is bad

This means:
A) After you complete your numbered guesses if you have no information, don't guess.
B) After you complete your numbered guesses if you have information about 1 and only 1 clued word, then unlimited would have been useless in that situation (because they could have just used a number instead as you get 1 additional guess anyway)
C) Unlimited only becomes useful if you have 2 or more words clued that have not been guessed yet.
D) Unlimited is not as useful for unclued words (as random guessing is statistically bad)

So putting this together:

Unlimited has a limited use, and that is when you have two more clued words outstanding, and that your team knows what you mean by unlimited (are you hinting at 1 new word, 2, 3? repeating words? etc?).

If you have no unclued words or that your team knows how many words are outstanding (which if you only clue new words, they would know exactly) then they may be able to figure out what your unlimited means (except in cases where you are revisiting clued words).

Ergo, new confusion.

The reason for the recommended convention is that if they don't know how many words you are adding, they will more likely focus on solving the new clue word(s), instead of revisiting the old clues, and waste the unlimited with a bad guess.

If you are at the stage where you need to use unlimited, you most likely have a word you have not been able to clue as it does not fit anything else. By using this convention, you can add that 1 new word and then they can use the rest of the guesses to catch up on the clues they missed.

That unlimited is 1+ does not need to be your convention, you may find it more useful to have unlimited be 2+, as long everyone on your team is aware of what you are suggesting (aka convention).
 
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Kirk Monsen
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ousgg wrote:
This is a rather pathetic hangover from the other thread where I called out a couple of people for rules-lawyering what is supposed to be a light, fun party game.


The Rules forum is specifically for discussing rules. The other post was asking if things they were suggesting were legal (a rules question), and they were not. The purpose of this thread is to brainstorm conventions, while being legal (a strategy question).

ousgg wrote:
Trying to masquerade your interpretation of the rules ...


It has been now pointed out in that thread that it is not just my interpretation, but one supported by the designer (no, he did not comment, but the person who teaches the game on the designer's website has spoken in the issue). If you wish to keep debating your interpretation I recommend taking it up with him.
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M. B. Downey
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That still does not capture the very real case I outlined above. If the other team did better than you, Unlimited is the only chance you have. And you may not have been able to use your great clue until an opponent's similar word is covered.

Your strategy practically guarantees you will lose in this situation every time. You have no way to say "Unlimited, but actual Unlimited, not wink wink nudge nudge Unlimited."

I have no desire to constrain and handicap my team to get some marginal benefit in some other rare circumstance. Especially if they may not even remember it. You can explain what the rules say about what your clue means if they are confused, but you cannot remind them of your pre-planned agreement.

I understand how and when it could give you that marginal benefit, but it is still bad strategy.
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Kevin Lambert
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I play this with friends who are pretty competitive but we still play this game more for fun. That being said the only rules we really use are:

If you say a clue, and your team gets it, you must increase the number of words the next clue applies to by one. For example, if I say "Red - One" and they guess correctly, then the next clue must be for 2 words. We feel that if you could just do 1 word the entire time, it would be too easy. You can start with whatever number of cards you want, but if this round is guessed correctly, then you have to increase the number of cards you're trying to connect1.

Once one team is completely finished, the other team has a chance to rebuttal. Usually it means they get one chance to guess all the cards still laying on the board, but if they have 5 or more cardsthey can split the guesses up in 2. For example, if blue guesses all their cards and I still have 3 red left to guess, then I get to try and link all 3 of them with one clue. It's more of a "you don't lose, you just tied" kind of game, but, again, we're just playing to have fun with each other anyway.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Kaybass77 wrote:
I play this with friends who are pretty competitive but we still play this game more for fun. That being said the only rules we really use are:

If you say a clue, and your team gets it, you must increase the number of words the next clue applies to by one. For example, if I say "Red - One" and they guess correctly, then the next clue must be for 2 words. We feel that if you could just do 1 word the entire time, it would be too easy. You can start with whatever number of cards you want, but if this round is guessed correctly, then you have to increase the number of cards you're trying to connect1.

That's weird. I mean, say you start with a strong opening, with clue:4, and your team gets them all. That means next turn you have to clue:5? That seems like a way to screw up the game completely.

The disadvantage of clue:1 is obvious. You only get one agent revealed. The other team will overtake you. There doesn't need to be any other incentive.

(just on the off-chance, you are playing correctly, aren't you? As in, the spymasters take turns, and cannot give consecutive clues.)
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Mark L
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Benkyo wrote:
(just on the off-chance, you are playing correctly, aren't you? As in, the spymasters take turns, and cannot give consecutive clues.)

I suspect Kevin, like many others, has misunderstood the rules and thinks that if your team gets your clue you get another turn right away, and thus if they keep guessing right you can just keep going until you win.

That's not how it works. They get at most a number of guesses equal to the number you said plus one, then it's the other team's turn.
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Kirk Monsen
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Kaybass77 wrote:

If you say a clue, and your team gets it, you must increase the number of words the next clue applies to by one. For example, if I say "Red - One" and they guess correctly, then the next clue must be for 2 words. We feel that if you could just do 1 word the entire time, it would be too easy.


This is more of a variant than a convention.

From what the bolded sentence hints at, and Mark points out, you are playing wrong.

This is addressed multiple times in the rules forum.

In a nutshell:

You alternate giving clues. Your team gives a clue, the opponent's team gives a clue, then back to your team.

You get a number of guesses for each clue equal to the number said plus one. You do not need to use all your guesses. You must at least use one guess. If you fail to guess correctly your turn ends. If you make all the guesses correctly your turn ends.

The only time a "clue - 1" is an easy, winnable solution is if your opponents are dumb or you misunderstand guess + 1 equal to an extra turn.
 
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