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Subject: King is too bad - what to change? rss

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muuvi pappa
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We're quite happy with all Love Letter cards except the King. The only time you play it is when you also have the Princess or the game is just about to end and you are trying to swap for 7 or 8 which happens rarely. It's just boring. It shouldn't be too good - the higher the number the weaker the action - but it shouldn't be this bad. Most of the time the swapping action is worse than no action at all (i.e. Countess) because you can't safely get rid of the card.

Does this bother anyone else?

Variant ideas:

Simple Tweak: Make the switching of cards optional, i.e., you can play the King without any effect.

Or

Complex (and stronger) tweak: As you play the King, you must name another player (which could be yourself) as a target. If the next card played by the player you switched cards with can target your chosen player legally, it is required to.
- You can't choose an illegal target (Handmaid)
- It could be that the only legal target is yourself; this is always the case in 2-player




 
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bestia immonda
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They are going to buff the King in the next expansion, do not worry!
 
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James R. Gracen
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You could make it so the King chooses any two players to swap hands. It would be no change in a 2-player game, but better in larger games. The two players who swap would have an easier time knocking each other out since they know each other's cards. This would benefit the King if he were *not* one of the two players who swap.
 
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nicktaruffi wrote:
They are going to buff the King in the next expansion, do not worry!

You mean some expansion other than Love Letter Premium?


CavemanLogic wrote:
You could make it so the King chooses any two players to swap hands. It would be no change in a 2-player game, but better in larger games. The two players who swap would have an easier time knocking each other out since they know each other's cards. This would benefit the King if he were *not* one of the two players who swap.

I actually thought about this but it felt too strong. Might be worth trying though.
 
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Jay M
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I think the King is fine as-is.

1. If you deduce who's got the Princess, use it against them in one of the turns near the end.

2. If Princess is eliminated, and you deduce who has Countess, same.

3. King often wins in "shot in the dark" Baron Comparin'.

3. Can be the high card at the end if both are out.

The King is one of the only cards where you can use your deduction to win, instead of just knocking out someone out.

I can't imagine removing it.
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Jay M
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muhe wrote:
or the game is just about to end and you are trying to swap for 7 or 8 which happens rarely.



Isn't this the whole goal of active gameplay -- to deduce who is currently holding the highest card and to try to win?

If you had deduced who had the Princess . . .

1. You could make them lose with a Prince
2. You could make them lose with a Guard.


But King is the only card in the deck that can transform your deductive success into a win.
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Jay, on paper that sounds solid. However it is very difficult to actually use effectively. That rare time you stay alive near end holding a king and having deduced who has the Princess...a simple timing issue could screw it all and the game ends before you can do anything. Or maybe you switch cards but get Guarded or Princed.

I've played 100+ games of Love Letter. Of course it could be that we just don't figure out the correct way to use the card.
 
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Mark L
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The King's ability is weak: sometimes extremely useful, but not very often. But so what? The Countess's ability is worse, and the Princess's is worse still!

Sure, using a King is risky, but it's not so bad if you know they don't have a guard (either because you used a Priest or because they just beat someone using a Baron), especially if most of the guards are already out and therefore they're unlikely to pick one up in their next turn.

But a lot of the time you won't want to play it anyway, because there's a good chance the Princess and Countess will be eliminated and the King will be the winning card.
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Jeremy Hager
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I see nothing wrong with the king
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Mariusz Kosecki
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If you feel it's bad and worse than Countess, you can try this instead of King's effect:
Choose a player, take that player's hand, your hand and the top card of the deck, shuffle without looking, the put one of the three back on top, redeal the rest of the cards. This way you could end up with the same card, giving no info to your opponent, you could get a new card or your opponent's card, leaving you with no info and otherwise, the effect will be simply the same as original (if you draw your opponent's card, and he gets yours and the top card after drawing).
Effectively, you don't always swap hands, you might end up with the same card and/or confuse your opponent whether you have taken his card or not.

I personally don't find any issues with the King, it is a great card to play at the beginning when most opponents might hold a Guard.
 
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Jay M
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muhe wrote:
Jay, on paper that sounds solid. However it is very difficult to actually use effectively. That rare time you stay alive near end holding a king and having deduced who has the Princess...a simple timing issue could screw it all and the game ends before you can do anything. Or maybe you switch cards but get Guarded or Princed.

I've played 100+ games of Love Letter. Of course it could be that we just don't figure out the correct way to use the card.


What other card do you use to win the game near the end?

What card would you choose to have, other than the Princess, in the last three turns?
 
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Joonas
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dannte wrote:

I personally don't find any issues with the King, it is a great card to play at the beginning when most opponents might hold a Guard.

Really? Let's say the game has just begun and you have...
King - Prince,
King - Handmaid,
King - Baron,
King - Priest or
King - Guard

In which case you'd rather play King than the other card, and why? I left Countess and Princess out cos you'd have no choice then.
 
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zune wrote:
dannte wrote:

I personally don't find any issues with the King, it is a great card to play at the beginning when most opponents might hold a Guard.

Really? Let's say the game has just begun and you have...
King - Prince,
King - Handmaid,
King - Baron,
King - Priest or
King - Guard

In which case you'd rather play King than the other card, and why? I left Countess and Princess out cos you'd have no choice then.

The Baron is the only case that increases your risk of being taken out of the game early on, since people will guess you have a high ranking card. All of the others either make you safer, take someone else out, or are neutral, so would be better than playing the King.

Playing the King when you have a Guard is the dumbest - you are letting the other player know what card you have (because they had it themselves) and giving them the means to knock you out of the round!
 
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Mark L
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zune wrote:
dannte wrote:

I personally don't find any issues with the King, it is a great card to play at the beginning when most opponents might hold a Guard.

Really? Let's say the game has just begun and you have...
King - Prince,
King - Handmaid,
King - Baron,
King - Priest or
King - Guard

In which case you'd rather play King than the other card, and why? I left Countess and Princess out cos you'd have no choice then.

But the King is one of the highest cards! Why is it a problem that most of the time you don't want to play it?

If the whole game was differently constructed so that the high cards also had very useful abilities, giving you a nasty choice betweeen keeping them for the chance of winning or playing them for the advantage their ability gave you, I'd agree the King was badly underpowered. But that is not this game.
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Jay M
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xipuloxx wrote:

If the whole game was differently constructed so that the high cards also had very useful abilities, giving you a nasty choice betweeen keeping them for the chance of winning or playing them for the advantage their ability gave you, I'd agree the King was badly underpowered. But that is not this game.


Inorite? The same complaint could be made about the Countess -- she does absolutely nothing for you except maybe win you the game if the Princess is not out there. The King does the same exact thing, but in the case where the Countess and Princess are gone -- and yet, and yet, the King as an additional power that would let you switch with one of the two higher cards if you could.

The fact is, the King's power us useless if you are dealt it early -- just like the Countess and Princess. The whole issue there is if you can possibly hold it the whole round and win with it.

Then, as the rounds deepen, the King is the one of the three that has an active power that might allow you to maneuver into victory.

It seems well-crafted to me.
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James R. Gracen
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xipuloxx wrote:
But the King is one of the highest cards! Why is it a problem that most of the time you don't want to play it?

If the whole game was differently constructed so that the high cards also had very useful abilities, giving you a nasty choice betweeen keeping them for the chance of winning or playing them for the advantage their ability gave you, I'd agree the King was badly underpowered. But that is not this game.

Exactly. The deck is constructed so that the lower cards have the best abilities, but the worst chance of winning you the round, and vice versa. The higher cards have progressively (mostly) crappier powers, but it doesn't matter much because you will rarely play them anyway (unless you are forced to, of course).

It's a game-balancing mechanic built into the game, by design.
 
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Joonas
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CavemanLogic wrote:

...The deck is constructed so that the lower cards have the best abilities, but the worst chance of winning you the round, and vice versa. The higher cards have progressively (mostly) crappier powers, but it doesn't matter much because you will rarely play them anyway (unless you are forced to, of course).

It's a game-balancing mechanic built into the game, by design.

Yes, of course. The problem seems that often times King feels worse than Count because you can't safely get rid of it.

It might be OK if you allowed King to be played without effect. "You may trade hands with another player of your choice".
 
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Mark L
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zune wrote:
CavemanLogic wrote:

...The deck is constructed so that the lower cards have the best abilities, but the worst chance of winning you the round, and vice versa. The higher cards have progressively (mostly) crappier powers, but it doesn't matter much because you will rarely play them anyway (unless you are forced to, of course).

It's a game-balancing mechanic built into the game, by design.

Yes, of course. The problem seems that often times King feels worse than Count because you can't safely get rid of it.

It might be OK if you allowed King to be played without effect. "You may trade hands with another player of your choice".

Why do you want to get rid of it?
 
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Joonas
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xipuloxx wrote:

Why do you want to get rid of it [the King]?

If you are afraid of being Guarded. The obvious cases: after your hand has been scouted by Priest and after you've won a Baron contest and your hand is easy to guess.
 
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James R. Gracen
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zune wrote:
xipuloxx wrote:

Why do you want to get rid of it [the King]?

If you are afraid of being Guarded. The obvious cases: after your hand has been scouted by Priest and after you've won a Baron contest and your hand is easy to guess.

True, those are all good instances when you should discard the king. But that's the danger of keeping a high card. High risk, high reward.

The king's power isn't as bad as the princess (discard and you lose), or countess (must discard if you have king or prince). You discard the king and you trade hands with someone. That person is at as much of a disadvantage as you are, since you both now know each others cards.

And if you do get knocked out after playing a king, laugh it off and play another round. The game is crazy fun, even with its few flaws.
 
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Joonas
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CavemanLogic wrote:
You discard the king and you trade hands with someone. That person is at as much of a disadvantage as you are, since you both now know each others cards.

Well this isn't really true because that person is going to have a turn before you. The only time he's screwed is when you trade him Princess, and in our games that's pretty much the only time someone plays King unless the game is just about to end.
 
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My own original post wrote:

Complex (and stronger) tweak: As you play the King, you must name another player (which could be yourself) as a target. If the next card played by the player you switched cards with can target your chosen player legally, it is required to.
- You can't choose an illegal target (Handmaid)
- It could be that the only legal target is yourself; this is always the case in 2-player in which case the card works exactly the same as without any house rules

We've tried this tweak a few times now. It's actually quite good.
 
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Jethro
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Just to weigh in on an oldish thread, picking up the the king can also be useful in 3-4 player situations where you are publicly outed as anything (usually off the back of the baron).

Instead of playing the known card to get back your anonymity (or being a sitting duck if princess), you can king swap with player on your right and rely on one of the other one/two players to eliminate them before they get a turn. Which gets them out of the game, and you are anonymous again.

You would need to check there are enough guards/princes left in the deck to make this feasible, but it can be a nifty way to get rid of someone
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