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Subject: Sleeper's Demand Sacrifice abuse rss

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Frederico Prado
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It happened in a recent game to us.

If a player who has not a chance of win anymore wants to help the player using Sleeper to win, he can keep attacking the guy with low damage units and being attacked by him in the same way always choosing to give him an elder sign.

I know that in a free for all players helping each other happens all the time and it is unavoidable, but, at least in my view, that made things a little bit too easy for two players to screw the rest.

Is that how it is or am I getting the rules wrong? And if so what do you guys think about it?
 
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David E
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Anyone who wants to give the game to someone else can do so pretty easily. That's why kingmaking is generally considered poor sportsmanship.
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Frederico Prado
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I do agree that kingmaking at this level is bad sportmanship, although I think some amount of kingmaking intentional or not is unavoidable in FFA games. At the same time I think that rules that make it as hard as possible to engage in malicious kingmaking, or at least give the other players time to react and punish it are desirable.

This situation was a bit too quick to react. They were able to generate 12 elder signs in a single turn, and thanks to Sleeper ability to delay his play most of it was done after nobody else had power, and he won in the next Doom phase. It is possible to win at the end of the second turn this way...
 
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Aaron K
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This is silly. Everyone can benefit from a kingmaker.

Combining it with Nyarly makes for some crazy harbinger bonuses.

Yellow Sign could go around desecrating everything if he were to have a bodyguard. TT gains even more from a bodyguard.

Feeding Opener weak units to mutate.

Building water gates and feeding cheap units to GC for books.

Etc.

Also, you could be handing over gates or doing suicide runs on other factions.

If you are going to play so another faction wins, you aren't playing the right way.

The game doesn't need to change ti stop that. The people need to not play like jerks.

That being said, an occasional kingmaker is fine and even entertaining. It should not be a routine thing, though.
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JH
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There's nothing wrong with Demand Sacrifice here, just with your poor-loser player.
 
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Frederico Prado
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None of these examples, with the exception of Harbinger is as much exploitable, Aaron. Sure there are probably a million ways of kingmaking in this game, but this one (and probably Harbinger too) can be exploited in a way that is completely game breaking. The other examples you gave can be dealt with by the remaining players, at least in a 4 or more player games.

I do not have any particular problem with kingmaking or even people who do it in a proposital and unpleasant way. They are working within the rules of the game after all. If there are broken situations, in my opinion, they are design flaws, not player flaws.

I will probably introduce house rules in my games to avoid such situations and I would like to ask for constructive suggestions from the people here.

One idea I had about Demand Sacrifice is to leave it exactly as it is, but negate it if during the combat the opponent didn't roll any death dice.
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Stuart Holttum
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fredprado wrote:
If a player who has not a chance of win anymore wants to help the player using Sleeper to win...


For me this is the key sentence - that a player who has no chance of winning the game switches their play style to "...so I will make the game end as fast as possible, because my time is more valuable than the other players around the table".

It sucks to get into a position where you have NO chance of winning, sure. But to therefore decide to ruin the game for the other players? Nope.

I don't think there is much you can do to stop it happening in-game. But I wouldn't experience it a second time - because I wouldn't play with that player again.
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Aaron K
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fredprado wrote:
None of these examples, with the exception of Harbinger is as much exploitable, Aaron. Sure there are probably a million ways of kingmaking in this game, but this one (and probably Harbinger too) can be exploited in a way that is completely game breaking. The other examples you gave can be dealt with by the remaining players, at least in a 4 or more player games.

I do not have any particular problem with kingmaking or even people who do it in a proposital and unpleasant way. They are working within the rules of the game after all. If there are broken situations, in my opinion, they are design flaws, not player flaws.

I will probably introduce house rules in my games to avoid such situations and I would like to ask for constructive suggestions from the people here.

One idea I had about Demand Sacrifice is to leave it exactly as it is, but negate it if during the combat the opponent didn't roll any death dice.
You could also limit the number of uses in a round per attacker, if you are looking for a limitation.

I haven't ever seen this be a major issue, though. I have played dozens of games (and dozens more in PBFs). With just my BG Stats app (that doesn't include PBF games), I show 59 players. I just don't see the need.

I guess each gaming group is unique, though. Personally I would handle this with a discussion with the player and not change the rule.

If you are looking to change the rule, though, you could also go the route of letting the table vote on whether it is kills or ES after the first. I don't know, I am just spitballing here.
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Mark Buckley
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There are some other things that could happen:

- the other players could ALL attack that player's units in order to remove as many as possible from the board so they don't have the opportunity to keep doing it.

- Sleeper could actually show some responsibility and not use Demand Sacrifice if they think someone is trying to throw the game to them.

But generally I would agree with the mantra: don't play with knobends.
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David E
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fredprado wrote:
None of these examples, with the exception of Harbinger is as much exploitable, Aaron. Sure there are probably a million ways of kingmaking in this game, but this one (and probably Harbinger too) can be exploited in a way that is completely game breaking. The other examples you gave can be dealt with by the remaining players, at least in a 4 or more player games.

I do not have any particular problem with kingmaking or even people who do it in a proposital and unpleasant way. They are working within the rules of the game after all. If there are broken situations, in my opinion, they are design flaws, not player flaws.

I will probably introduce house rules in my games to avoid such situations and I would like to ask for constructive suggestions from the people here.

One idea I had about Demand Sacrifice is to leave it exactly as it is, but negate it if during the combat the opponent didn't roll any death dice.



The house rule I'd introduce is "If you're a jerk, I won't play with you again." Seriously, Demand Sacrifice is only "exploitable" by someone who's decided he wants to let another player win, which will wreck any game that depends on everyone trying to win themselves.

If I am a player who has no chance of winning, my goal is to get as many points as possible and not be in last place, not give the game to someone else.
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Mark Buckley
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fredprado wrote:

This situation was a bit too quick to react. They were able to generate 12 elder signs in a single turn, and thanks to Sleeper ability to delay his play most of it was done after nobody else had power, and he won in the next Doom phase. It is possible to win at the end of the second turn this way...


How did the player know at the first turn that they weren't going to win? Or do you mean theoretically on the second turn?

How did the player manage 12 attacks in one turn? If they had 6 cultists and 3 gates (=12 power) they were doing ok.

Why did you let Sleeper have so much power at the end of the turn? You pretty much have to not allow him to Lethargy too much precisely to avoid him doing whatever he wants at the end of the turn.

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Charlie Theel
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The ability to hand someone else the game (kingmaking) is not a flaw in the way it's described here.

Every single game could be described with similar qualities. Let's look at some BGG top rated games:

Scythe - I can place a bunch of resources on a space and abandon them so my neighbor can take them. I can also just give them all my territory for end game scoring or give them wins in combat to place stars.

Puerto Rico - I can always choose the role to activate that helps whoever is winning.

Blood Rage - I can battle the winning player and lose on purpose to feed them glory. I can clear areas and then just give them up to the winning player.

Eclipse - I can throw crappy units at my opponent so they gain VPs from drawing battle chits. I can just abandon my planets to them as well.

7 Wonders - I can ask my neighbor what they need to draft and always try and set them up.

Etc.



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Bob Boberson
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Remove Sleeper from the pool of available factions when this player is present. Problem solved.

This as others have stated is not an issue with Sleeper, however. Everyone should be playing to win.
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Aaron K
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bobacles wrote:
Remove Sleeper from the pool of available factions when this player is present. Problem solved.

This as others have stated is not an issue with Sleeper, however. Everyone should be playing to win.
Even then, this player has many other kingmaker options. I posted some above. I would have a conversation about gameplay expectations with this guy.
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Frederico Prado
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hemulen wrote:
fredprado wrote:

This situation was a bit too quick to react. They were able to generate 12 elder signs in a single turn, and thanks to Sleeper ability to delay his play most of it was done after nobody else had power, and he won in the next Doom phase. It is possible to win at the end of the second turn this way...


How did the player know at the first turn that they weren't going to win? Or do you mean theoretically on the second turn?

How did the player manage 12 attacks in one turn? If they had 6 cultists and 3 gates (=12 power) they were doing ok.

Why did you let Sleeper have so much power at the end of the turn? You pretty much have to not allow him to Lethargy too much precisely to avoid him doing whatever he wants at the end of the turn.



In this case it didn't happen in the second turn, but it is theoretically possible to end the game in the second turn in this way. That is what I meant.

In the case I described one player, the losing one, managed 4 or 5 attacks, the other player, which was sleeper, seeing what the losing player did, reserved his power until the end and did the remaining attacks. As it was done within the rules I don't feel particularly comfortable in blaming them for it.
 
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Frederico Prado
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It is always possible at some level, Charlie Theel, some level of kingmaking is unavoidable by the very nature of FFA, but at least in my opinion, it is desirable that the design does not allow for it to happen too fast so other players have some means to react to it and at least try to compensate.
 
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JH
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I feel like I'm missing something here. How did this player manage four or five attacks without losing their attacking units to kills or having them pained away? Were any of Sleeper's units dying to these attacks or getting pained away? Why did no one else attack this player or Sleeper, if they were both hitting each other for Elder Signs? (Sleeper had all 6 spellbooks for the win, right? Because those take a lot of power to gain in all.) Once everyone's out of power there's not much you can do, but I'm not sure why no one moved to act before they were out.

If one player is really determined to help another player win, it's certainly possible, but that really is a problem with the player, and not the game IMO. I've also seen some pretty dramatic come-from-behind wins in this game. Was this player really in that bad a spot, or did they just give up and decide to troll the rest of you? It's hard to reconcile them being in such a bad situation that the only option they saw was to play kingmaker, AND them having enough power and monsters to do it this way.

In any case, sometimes this game is won through weird situations, but this one seems like it'd be pretty clearly telegraphed in the future. If you're watching for this it shouldn't work more than once. If this player starts handing doom to Sleeper again, you'll have warning.
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Frederico Prado
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He attacked with a low power unit at a time against the region with the least number of units of the sleeper player. Chances for kills rolls are quite low and he had a few more unities to attack one at a time.

At first we just got annoyed as he didn't have much energy. I THINK it was 4 times, but seeing what the guy was doing the Sleeper player decided to do the same and he had sufficient power do do it 6 or 7 times, especially since he could move 2 Serpent Men at a time for 1 PP (spend 2 to move and receive 1 back).

Maybe you are right and it is manageable if you see it coming, but that was around 20 Doom Points he got in a single round just with Elder Signs.
 
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JH
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OK. I just ... like to attack that many times with low-power units you'd need to either already be in multiple shared areas or spend 7-8 power (depending on power) to move units in, and then attack with them. It's just such a weird thing to do unless your only goal all along has been to mess with people; if you have that much power and that many units in the first place you're not doing that badly. Throwing them away to give another player is bizarre, even if you're behind in Doom.

What was the other player's faction?
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Adam Starks
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I agree. Being in a position to do this kind of thing on Turn 2, and yet thinking you're out of the running for winning the game, doesn't make very much sense.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but in all likelihood, the player who did this was not nearly as far back as he thought he was. I mean, just about the worst thing that can happen Turn 1 or Turn 2 is to lose a gate and/or some Cultists, which I've seen players come back from to end up winning the game. So, a combination of poor tactics and bad sportsmanship.

Having been in my fair share of playtests (both with Petersen Games, and with others), the question of how much effort to put into stopping griefers always comes up, and while there are some reasonable measures you can take, it (IMO) always boils down to this: if you're playing with an asshole, the game is ruined before it starts
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Frederico Prado
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The offending player faction was Windwalker, and his regions were near the sleeper guy. His unities were already in place to do most of it. But yes, he spent around 7 or 8 points. He was about 10 points bellow in the doom track and everybody else was around 20. One thing important to understand the situation is that some people had a few elder signs e he had none. The game would end in the next Doom phase and he wouldn't be able to catch up.
 
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JH
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Weirder and weirder. With that much power a Hibernate and a solid follow-up round could have put him back in the running, especially if they hadn't taken the "free Elder Signs" spellbook slot up yet. Ten points isn't that far back when WW can always Ritual for 5 power, and with a good power holdover from Hibernating should be able to sweep around the map late in a round with Arctic Wind. WW builds up early and hits hard late.
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Frederico Prado
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
Weirder and weirder. With that much power a Hibernate and a solid follow-up round could have put him back in the running, especially if they hadn't taken the "free Elder Signs" spellbook slot up yet. Ten points isn't that far back when WW can always Ritual for 5 power, and with a good power holdover from Hibernating should be able to sweep around the map late in a round with Arctic Wind. WW builds up early and hits hard late.


As I edited above, the game would end in the next Doom phase almost for sure (as it did) and he wouldn't be able to catch up in any way I can imagine.
 
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JH
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Who would the winner have been if not for the Sleeper boosting? Just curious.

(Also, very unlikely for this to work in the second round; few factions can get all their spellbooks by then, so can't win.)
 
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Frederico Prado
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Sarcasmorator wrote:
Who would the winner have been if not for the Sleeper boosting? Just curious.

(Also, very unlikely for this to work in the second round; few factions can get all their spellbooks by then, so can't win.)


It was a 5 people game. Tcho Tcho would win, otherwise.

And yes, it would be unlikely to work in the second turn, but definitely possible.
 
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