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Subject: Odd number player counts rss

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Mikro Baker
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I am looking at backing this game, but I am having concerns with whether it works with the odd number player counts due to the alliances? What happens to the single player thats not in an alliance? Do they get picked on to a point that its not worth anyone else alligning with them & is their game virtually over by turn 3? What is in the gameplay to mitigate this?
 
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Tilou
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From an update:

Quote:
Odd Man Out

Ok, so you're playing 3 or 5 players. If everyone is going to constantly go buddy-buddy then someone is going to be left out. You look around, everyone is gaining those sweet sweet bonuses with their allies... What do you do?

Something to realize is that by not being in an Alliance, several bits of freedom are open to you that aren't accessible to other players:

There are only two copies of each Mandate in the deck. Knowing this, you can burn through them to prevent alliances from gaining those benefits (and consequently, keeping all the bonuses for yourself).

Harvesting by yourself means you're the only one gaining the benefits, this is a huge bonus to have over the other players - when Allies Harvest, their general "power-level" will probably remain the same, when a solo player does it, they gain a spike over everyone else.
Marshaling allows you to build a new Stronghold - you and only you. This means that later on, when other player's Recruit, you'll Recruit 1 more than them, effectively giving you the bonuses they receive as well. In the lategame, however, you'll gain more bonuses from both Recruiting and Marshaling than anyone else.
Train: Upgrades are powerful, and gaining first pick, as well as the -1 discount, go a long way.
Betray: Since you're not in an Alliance you have no real fear for playing this effect. This is one of the strongest advantages that becomes available to you when you are not in an Alliance, as you're able to completely re-write the playing field with one effect - an effect that other players have locked themselves out of unless they're willing to break their Alliance and lose Honor for it.
Having a proper insight to the board-state, and knowing what actions would be most beneficial to other players, is going to be key if you find yourself in a situation where you're not Allying - it's a lot easier to coordinate with yourself than it is another player. If you've seen that Player A is trying to gain victory through Virtues, you know they're going to want to Train a lot... Well, burn that Training mandate and claim the bonus for yourself, or starve alliances of resources by taking all the Harvest options.

Allies During Wartime

Wartime becomes interesting when you're the odd-man-out of Alliances as well. When determining the victory in any providence, Allies won't fight each other, meaning in the end whomever has the highest Force will gain control of that area uncontested- this means it's going to be very important to keep tabs on even your Allies during this phase - who knows if they're trying to play you!

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that if you're not in an Alliance you will be fighting while others aren't. Why is this a good thing? Well if you lose a Battle, the victor has to disperse their Coins to the losing sides - as mentioned before, Allies aren't fighting each other, meaning Coin isn't changing hands.

In a three-player game, however (assuming two of them are just allying constantly) then one player gets to decide where most of the conflict happens - by doing this, you can manipulate it so, even if you lose (intentionally or not) earlier Battles, you can snowball victory later.

For example: You (Player C), as the odd-player, are in 3 Battles (of the 5 that will appear that age). Battle 1 has you against Player A - you lose, he gives you 4 Coins. Battle 2 has you against both Player A and B. You know you can't win so you Seppuku/Imperial Poets/whatever method to earn some points, but spend minimal Coins. Player B wins and disperses 4 Coins among A and C.

Battle 4 let's say only the allies are involved - no conflict, so no Coin changes hands. Going into the last War, Player A and B are down 4 and 2 Coins respectively. You, meanwhile, are up six Coins - this is an enormous swing moving into the last conflict. You're going to be at a huge advantage even if both other player's are involved.

Another important thing to note is that many of the Virtues, aka the primary way to earn points outside of Provinces, usually trigger off of some Wartime aspect - such as Taking Hostages, committing Seppuku, etc etc... If you're not in a conflict, you aren't going to be able to trigger these effects, so if, again, you're in a 3 player situation where they just won't break that alliance then they're further limiting the ways in which they can earn points - take advantage of this, perhaps even hoarding these Virtues for yourself so you can benefit from them!

The Art of Subterfuge

So this might not be for everyone, but I feel it's an important thing to discuss: Making Allies hate each other.

Ok, so maybe that's a bit too extreme, but learning how to undermine alliances can be a useful tool for achieving victory. Of course, don't go into this with the intent to ruin friendships, but understand that, in the end, there is going to be one winner in the game, and while gaining bonuses for having an Ally is nice, always remember that you're still directly competing with them to win.

Knowing this is important, however, as being in an Alliance just for the sake of being in an Alliance can be very detrimental to your endgame. Again, the primary way you're going to win is by winning Battles, and the ebb and flow of War - the Coin it brings, the way it shapes the map for the next Season - are all very important elements, and ones that allies might be missing out on by the very nature of being in an Alliance.

So, pulling all this together: If you ever find yourself not in an Alliance - don't think of it as you're missing out of the buffs that it brings, focus on the freedoms you are now allowed versus the other players.

Other players must now worry about losing Battles during the War Phase without even being able to contest! Not you.

Other players must worry about a sudden Betrayal by their allies just before War. Not you (in fact you can just play it as freely as you want).

Other players must worry about the power they are giving their allies with their Mandates. Not you.

So, while no one is arguing that making Alliances at the right moment (and for the proper time) is a key strategy of the game, you should never feel that its the only way you're going to win.

Just like in politics and war, being able to adapt to situations as they appear, and not locking yourself into one strategy or viewpoint, are key tools to achieving overall victory.
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Conan Meriadoc
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Based on the rules we know so far, I surmise the gameplay will actually get more interesting with an odd number of players. You might choose to ally with someone *precisely* because you don't want them to be the odd man out and have the ability to betray you without a penalty.
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Jesse Marzel
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Mikro_64 wrote:
I am looking at backing this game, but I am having concerns with whether it works with the odd number player counts due to the alliances? What happens to the single player thats not in an alliance? Do they get picked on to a point that its not worth anyone else alligning with them & is their game virtually over by turn 3? What is in the gameplay to mitigate this?


So, few things:
1. There doesn't really seem to be a mechanism by which you can pick on someone, as far as I can see. Combat happens in designated areas, all mandates apply to everyone, betray actions demand you attack two different players and so on.

2. Since there is no shared victory, being in an alliance always gives someone else and edge as well, and you keep pulling someone else upwards with you. The main power on an alliance is that both players double the amount of bonuses from the mandates they use; but this swings both ways if you are the solo player - you get less bonuses, but you also don't have to share them, meaning you can an advantage over everyone else.

3. RS is a negotiations game, meaning you need to constantly make deals with everyone; if you are in an alliance, there's less leverage and less people to deal with. Say you get the Ninjas upgrade, that allows you to kill a bushi each time you summon a unit, and you want to sell the use of this power to other players (= You kill someone they need dead) - being in an alliance, it might be problematic to do so against your ally, which means you have less targets to offer and less prospecting clients.

4. The lack of shared victory would mean you'd want to keep switching allies over the game; you'd want to ally with weaker players, to push yourself farther away from the ones too close to victory.

Overall, it doesn't seem to be like in Rex, where an alliance is a super-powerful marriage of players and factions, where getting into one is a must and fighting against one is impossible. RS seems to have less constricting alliances that are less powerful, with more motivation to leave the alliance at the right time.
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Mr. Octavius
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tilouboy wrote:
From an update:

Quote:
Odd Man Out

Ok, so you're playing 3 or 5 players. If everyone is going to constantly go buddy-buddy then someone is going to be left out. You look around, everyone is gaining those sweet sweet bonuses with their allies... What do you do?

Something to realize is that by not being in an Alliance, several bits of freedom are open to you that aren't accessible to other players:

There are only two copies of each Mandate in the deck. Knowing this, you can burn through them to prevent alliances from gaining those benefits (and consequently, keeping all the bonuses for yourself).

Harvesting by yourself means you're the only one gaining the benefits, this is a huge bonus to have over the other players - when Allies Harvest, their general "power-level" will probably remain the same, when a solo player does it, they gain a spike over everyone else.
Marshaling allows you to build a new Stronghold - you and only you. This means that later on, when other player's Recruit, you'll Recruit 1 more than them, effectively giving you the bonuses they receive as well. In the lategame, however, you'll gain more bonuses from both Recruiting and Marshaling than anyone else.
Train: Upgrades are powerful, and gaining first pick, as well as the -1 discount, go a long way.
Betray: Since you're not in an Alliance you have no real fear for playing this effect. This is one of the strongest advantages that becomes available to you when you are not in an Alliance, as you're able to completely re-write the playing field with one effect - an effect that other players have locked themselves out of unless they're willing to break their Alliance and lose Honor for it.
Having a proper insight to the board-state, and knowing what actions would be most beneficial to other players, is going to be key if you find yourself in a situation where you're not Allying - it's a lot easier to coordinate with yourself than it is another player. If you've seen that Player A is trying to gain victory through Virtues, you know they're going to want to Train a lot... Well, burn that Training mandate and claim the bonus for yourself, or starve alliances of resources by taking all the Harvest options.

Allies During Wartime

Wartime becomes interesting when you're the odd-man-out of Alliances as well. When determining the victory in any providence, Allies won't fight each other, meaning in the end whomever has the highest Force will gain control of that area uncontested- this means it's going to be very important to keep tabs on even your Allies during this phase - who knows if they're trying to play you!

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that if you're not in an Alliance you will be fighting while others aren't. Why is this a good thing? Well if you lose a Battle, the victor has to disperse their Coins to the losing sides - as mentioned before, Allies aren't fighting each other, meaning Coin isn't changing hands.

In a three-player game, however (assuming two of them are just allying constantly) then one player gets to decide where most of the conflict happens - by doing this, you can manipulate it so, even if you lose (intentionally or not) earlier Battles, you can snowball victory later.

For example: You (Player C), as the odd-player, are in 3 Battles (of the 5 that will appear that age). Battle 1 has you against Player A - you lose, he gives you 4 Coins. Battle 2 has you against both Player A and B. You know you can't win so you Seppuku/Imperial Poets/whatever method to earn some points, but spend minimal Coins. Player B wins and disperses 4 Coins among A and C.

Battle 4 let's say only the allies are involved - no conflict, so no Coin changes hands. Going into the last War, Player A and B are down 4 and 2 Coins respectively. You, meanwhile, are up six Coins - this is an enormous swing moving into the last conflict. You're going to be at a huge advantage even if both other player's are involved.

Another important thing to note is that many of the Virtues, aka the primary way to earn points outside of Provinces, usually trigger off of some Wartime aspect - such as Taking Hostages, committing Seppuku, etc etc... If you're not in a conflict, you aren't going to be able to trigger these effects, so if, again, you're in a 3 player situation where they just won't break that alliance then they're further limiting the ways in which they can earn points - take advantage of this, perhaps even hoarding these Virtues for yourself so you can benefit from them!

The Art of Subterfuge

So this might not be for everyone, but I feel it's an important thing to discuss: Making Allies hate each other.

Ok, so maybe that's a bit too extreme, but learning how to undermine alliances can be a useful tool for achieving victory. Of course, don't go into this with the intent to ruin friendships, but understand that, in the end, there is going to be one winner in the game, and while gaining bonuses for having an Ally is nice, always remember that you're still directly competing with them to win.

Knowing this is important, however, as being in an Alliance just for the sake of being in an Alliance can be very detrimental to your endgame. Again, the primary way you're going to win is by winning Battles, and the ebb and flow of War - the Coin it brings, the way it shapes the map for the next Season - are all very important elements, and ones that allies might be missing out on by the very nature of being in an Alliance.

So, pulling all this together: If you ever find yourself not in an Alliance - don't think of it as you're missing out of the buffs that it brings, focus on the freedoms you are now allowed versus the other players.

Other players must now worry about losing Battles during the War Phase without even being able to contest! Not you.

Other players must worry about a sudden Betrayal by their allies just before War. Not you (in fact you can just play it as freely as you want).

Other players must worry about the power they are giving their allies with their Mandates. Not you.

So, while no one is arguing that making Alliances at the right moment (and for the proper time) is a key strategy of the game, you should never feel that its the only way you're going to win.

Just like in politics and war, being able to adapt to situations as they appear, and not locking yourself into one strategy or viewpoint, are key tools to achieving overall victory.


We need to sticky this information.
 
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lazza zaza
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I just played a 4 player game and there was only a betrayal in the final round and everyone stayed in the same alliance.

I think it is still better to be in an alliance than not. This is because you would get an extra bonus (from your partners turn) than if you’re not in an alliance. I’m not convinced there would be much benefit from going solo.
 
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