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Subject: Machine Loss - 3-player issues? rss

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Joe Stude
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I played my fourth game of Cry tonight, playing the Machines. It was probably the most anticlimactic and unsatisfying game I've had so far for a couple of reasons and it's leading me to question whether Cry Havoc has been able to successfully deal with the age-old 3-player wargame conundrum. I'm curious for peoples' thoughts.

Here's a synopsis of what happened:

After 3 rounds all players were within 3 or 4 points of each other.
Machine, at the southeast, had a great building network and the most territories controlled (the four surrounding his HQ and the HQ itself), but the least number of crystals because beyond the initial trogstomps no fighting took place in any of them.

The humans, in the southwest, had the least number of controlled territories (3 including the HQ), both in the middle ring right next to their HQ, but to their benefit these were the richest territories in the game with roughly 8 crystals each.

The Pilgrims were also low on territories too but had a couple of harvesters up and had the capability to put some points up without needing to muck around invading.

To summarize the situation, with the least scoring potential of the three players, Machine had to get offensive to stand a chance while the others would have been perfectly content to defend their territories. I was capable of attacking either of the other players, but this created a dilemma: 1) Attack one and force them to counter, leaving the other player unmolested. That's exactly what happened, but more on that later. 2) Start a two-front war when neither of the other factions is otherwise engaged, i.e, commit seppuku. The game is way too tight for that to be a feasible thing so I chose 1...

...which meant attacking the humans in Jindar Sound from the Foglands as my primary goal for round 4. I softened them up with orbital snipers and a Shredder Drone from the Foglands then marched dudes in to give me a 4-1 edge in the region. This may have been a mistake in hindsight as I didn't have any cards left to augment battle. Desperate, the human player used his last two round 4 actions to draw cards from the Jungle deck (which are playable in Jindar Sound).

The battle happened. I dumped all four of my guys on Territory Control, needing the 8 or 9 crystals there to stay in the game. The two cards the human drew allowed him to bring in units from every adjacent territory, for a total of 3, and make attrition the first objective, changing a won battle for me into a total loss with nothing gained.
Yep, I mildly flipped my shit. Meanwhile, the Pilgrims were free to do what they wanted and grabbed Meralas, which was equally as rich as what the humans held. The humans held serve and stayed rich, the Pilgrims got richer, and I gained nothing but lost a bunch of figures. I kinda lost my shit here, but lesson learned: I should have sniped/droned the last remaining unit, avoided a battle, moved in and taken control, and forced the humans to attack me instead.

Round 5 my only real course of action was to piledrive Jindar Sound again because leaving that unchallenged was probably going to allow the humans to win. I spent my first two actions activating my three anti-personnel buildings, killing off all four human units in Jindar and the two remaining in his other territory (Darkwald), leaving him with only 2 units remaining in his HQ. My last action of the game was playing the last card in my hand to move my two remaining units into Jindar Sound and then move a bunker in after them. My goal was to force the humans into moving their remaining units into Darkwald to stop the Pilgrims from taking it unchallenged and becoming the runaway winner rather than trying to take Jindar Sound back from me. He didn't however, choosing to recruit and throw five units back at me in a battle that resulted in me scoring 8 points in Firepower-aided attrition but caused me to lose all four of my units there and territory control to boot. Meanwhile the Pilgrims moved into Darkwald, scored a crazy amount of crystals during final scoring, and ran away with the game. The humans basked in the afterglow of their amazing battle win out of nowhere, the Pilgrims enjoyed the easy win... and I got a rock. (Charlie Brown reference for the uninitiated)

In this type of game there's a degree of responsibility players have to keep other players in-check. When that doesn't happen things tend to go off the rails quickly and that seems especially so in a game like Cry Havoc where every action is so important. Add in the typical 3-player dilemma... has anyone run into this with Cry Havoc and feel like sharing their experiences?




 
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RyuSora
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I feel your feel, OP. But i must say, as most of war/conflict games, the game gets better with experienced players.

I would like to point out a few things about your game, regions with crystals are worthless if players are not using scoring action (i am quite sure in your game scoring was used by players 0 or maybe 1 time). I feel that playing trogs (in a 4p game) is really hard, and playing machines in any amount of players is quite hard.

Pilgrims depending on skills can do a few different things, but they will usually harvest in most of the games that they are given the proper room.

Humans will spread like crazy and control tons of regions.

Machines... Well, they can basically do eveything... and thats why i find them hard to play, they dont have something like humans and pilgrims have "oh you can control many regions, oh you can harvest and stuff" Machines should adapt and force players to cry when they are focused by players. I am not a pro with Machines, but i do enjoy to play with them, i usually hunt humans player cause i feel Humans are really strong, but if pilgrims get ignored, well... they will harvest like crazy. So if the Humans player stay idle, that will be a problem for you and him (as happened in your game).

I love this game, i can feel your experience in this game, but sometimes things dont go as planned. But as i said, dont engage in silly fights, and as machine, you dont want to use Drones to erase all enemies in a battle, battles are always good source of VPs.
 
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Joe Stude
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Hey there!

Scoring: Actually, the game went the full five rounds and scoring happened in four of them. Because I had the least crystals overall I kept sniper/drone pinging consistently trying to pressure folks into having to recruit rather than take the time to score but it didn't work out.

Humans: We've learned what they can do so I in particular really kept them locked down. I think they only got up to 3 non-HQ regions at their peak... but as mentioned it didn't matter because of the crystals tied up in those regions.

Machines: I don't necessarily find them hard to play, but after both games I've played them in I found it difficult to figure out what I could have done differently to affect the outcome. The first game was a case of our Pilgrim and Trog players not doing nearly enough to quell the human tide, but the second I felt like I was poised to take control until that one disastrous battle.

Thanks for responding.
 
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RyuSora
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I saw one game that my friends were playing (4p game) machines were behind the whole game (more than 20 points behind)... in the last round (5th round i guess) somehow machines managed to spread like crazy and win the game, it was really amazing.

I understand your feelling with machines... i definitely will try to play with them in my next game and then i will come back here and share the results!
 
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Grant Rodiek
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ryusora wrote:
I saw one game that my friends were playing (4p game) machines were behind the whole... in the last round (5th round i guess) somehow machines managed to spread like crazy and win the game, it was really amazing.

I understand your feelling with machines... i definitely will try to play with them in my next game and then i will come back here and share the results!


The machines are an "inevitable" faction. They are slow. A good machine player "manages" the game and builds towards a devastating Round 5.
 
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Joe Stude
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yeah, that's the way i've been playing them, slow and patient but insidious.
 
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David desJardins
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ryusora wrote:
I would like to point out a few things about your game, regions with crystals are worthless if players are not using scoring action (i am quite sure in your game scoring was used by players 0 or maybe 1 time).


Why are you sure of that?
 
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Grant Rodiek
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DaviddesJ wrote:
ryusora wrote:
I would like to point out a few things about your game, regions with crystals are worthless if players are not using scoring action (i am quite sure in your game scoring was used by players 0 or maybe 1 time).


Why are you sure of that?


He's speaking from experience as a player and watching these boards. It's typically an overlooked action in the game.

So, his assumption, which I agree is a safe one (but can nonetheless be wrong, which is fine) is that newer players probably didn't use that action.
 
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David desJardins
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That seems a very strange assumption to me. If one player has a lot more crystals in their regions than the others (as the OP stated), why wouldn't they automatically score at every opportunity?
 
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Grant Rodiek
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DaviddesJ wrote:
That seems a very strange assumption to me. If one player has a lot more crystals in their regions than the others (as the OP stated), why wouldn't they automatically score at every opportunity?


It is a complicated game and that is an oft overlooked rule.

It is also rare that one player has an overwhelming cut and dry Crystal advantage.

As I said not a big deal. This forum is basically on repeat with certain questions and assumptions folks make.
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Joe Stude
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In the four games I've played think there have been MAYBE 3 rounds that went without scoring happening. I'm honestly surprised that it's overlooked that often vs. intentionally avoided.

Interestingly, in the game I posted here, the human player scored exactly zero points for crystals in round 2 scoring and still managed to come back and make a game of it due to the richness of his areas.
 
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darthead cricketeer
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Grand, with the machines being an inevitable faction, how would one handle a game that might go fewer than five rounds. I always see that people post about how the machines are good late in the game, but they never state that sometimes the game goes fewer than 5 rounds. if the game goes 4 or even 3 rounds due to the overwhelming scoring power of the humans early on, this makes it near impossible for the machines to win which could result in some people not having fun. Just food for thought.
 
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RyuSora
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I ASSUMED that cause the regions were full of crystals (probably events and some tokens) but they still played 5 rounds... a bit odd for me.
I have played games where 0 scoring were played, more than one like that... thats just my personal experience. (and i must say, with experienced players this is actually pretty hard to occur, players will definitely seize opportunity to use score)
Anyway, OP stated that i am wrong and i quite fine with that

And playing 5 rounds is the best scenario for a Machines player!!!

Great game and great experiences on this forum!
 
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Grant Rodiek
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darthead501 wrote:
Grand, with the machines being an inevitable faction, how would one handle a game that might go fewer than five rounds. I always see that people post about how the machines are good late in the game, but they never state that sometimes the game goes fewer than 5 rounds. if the game goes 4 or even 3 rounds due to the overwhelming scoring power of the humans early on, this makes it near impossible for the machines to win which could result in some people not having fun. Just food for thought.


You need to manage things so they don't get that way. Kill folks who have too many points, move against the leader. Keep everyone weak. That's why Orbital Sniper is so good.

The Machines are very Machiavellian.

It's not near impossible for the Machines to win, but dear god I'm not having that conversation again. There are 500 pages of strategy discussion on these forums and you're more than glad to check them out
 
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Joe Stude
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I've been thinking a lot about that actually. As The Machines I feel like you have more responsibility than most to keep anyone from running away from the game. While your base cards make this fairly easy to manage, it's action-intensive, which doesn't leave you a lot left over for mobility and other non-wrenchy stuff. It would be really cool to see a skill somewhere down the line that allows the Machines to convert any number of symbols on one card to the same number of a different symbol.
 
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Joe Stude
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I finally pulled out a Machine win in our fifth game overall (my third with Machines). Skills were Moving City and Transformation. The Humans marched out to a large lead, but I held on into round 4 when the Humans petered out with lots of territory but zero units left and I marched into two key territories to score a bunch of points and pass the Humans in Final Scoring. It was a weird game, though, in that our Pilgrim faltered early and had such a game that both the Humans and I LAPPED him on the scoreboard. I think my final score was in the low 80s with the humans roughly 5-10 pts back. 70-80 points in four rounds is a ton of points and I felt pretty good about this one.

Now every race has won at least once with the Pilgrims the only race to win twice. Balance is less of a concern, but it's been replaced with a fear that the game feels a bit scripted due to faction design. The humans are designed for a blitzkrieg style to build an early point lead and hold on. Machines are designed to start slow but go for one big game-ending round once they develop their structure network. The Trogs (if played) are also very strong early but weaken as the game progresses. The skills are what provide the variance here, but my concern is that there's not enough variety to allow different playstyles within the factions. For example, the sense is that neither the Machines nor the Pilgrims have the ability to counter the Humans initial rush outright unless they are just as aggressive, which slows down the development of their power structure significantly.

If folks can think of examples of games where they played any of the factions outside the archetype with success I'd love to hear them. Caveat: This is only our fifth game so I know we're still just scratching the surface.

 
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