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Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: RFC: Unofficial Multiplayer Variant rss

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Chris Berger
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Been mulling over these for a while. Haven't had a chance to test them out yet, but I think they're robust enough to put out in the wild. If anyone has a chance to test, let me know what works or doesn't. The cards seem to have all been written with multiplayer in mind, so it seems like it's just the rules that need a few tweaks to expand to more than 2 players. I think I've covered everything, but let me know if you find something I didn't consider, or if you have better ideas for how it should work.


Setup
• Place your stronghold province in the center, with 2 provinces on either side of it.
• Provinces to the right of your stronghold are said to BORDER the player on your right, and provinces on the left of your stronghold are said to BORDER the player on your left.
• Choose a start player randomly. Play proceeds clockwise from this player, and the start player token is passed clockwise (to the left) at the end of each turn.
• No player gains an extra Fate for not going first - declaring conflicts later in turn 1 is enough of a balance.

Dynasty Phase
• No changes. In particular, the first player to pass still receives 1 Fate.

Draw Phase
• After honor dials are revealed, any player who bid the most (or tied for the most) loses honor equal to the difference between the highest and lowest bid. Any player who bid the least (or tied for the least) gains honor equal to the difference between the highest and lowest bid.
• Players who did not bid the most or the least do not gain or lose honor.

Example: Adam bids 1, Belle bids 2, Charlie bids 3, Delta bids 4, and Ernest bids 4. In this situation, Adam gains 3 honor, Delta loses 3 honor, and Ernest loses 3 honor. Belle and Charlie do not gain or lose honor. (Yes, bidding in the middle can be advantageous, especially "high-middle" - but easier said than done. I think it makes for an interesting sub-game.)

Conflict Phase
• During the first turn of the game, each player may declare only one conflict. (Because you have 2 enemies to worry about, you still may have to prepare for 2 defenses, but having a chance of 4 attacks on the same person turn 1 is too extreme - this also balances the 1 Fate for passing first, as declaring conflicts later in turn 1 is very strong.)
• When declaring a conflict, you may only attack a province that borders you. Provinces that border you are the rightmost two provinces of the player on your left and the leftmost two provinces of the player on your right. If both provinces of a single player that border you are broken, you may declare an attack on their Stronghold province. If you break an opponent's Stronghold province, that player is eliminated and you gain a VP.
• When choosing a ring to contest, you may choose an unclaimed ring, or give 1 honor to the player you are attacking in order to choose a ring that they have already claimed, in which case it becomes contested.
• During a conflict, only players who are participating in the conflict as attacker or defender may play triggered effects. (added 2017-10-23)
• During a conflict, cards and effects that refer to your "opponent" are considered to only refer to the player opposing you in the current conflict. This applies to ring effects as well, when triggered as part of winning a conflict. The restriction on ring effects does not apply when triggering a ring outside of a conflict.
• Clarification on Imperial Favor - the player with the highest standing glory + rings wins it as usual. If two players tie, then the player who has the favor keeps it, even if they are not one of the tied players.
(added 2017-9-30)

Fate Phase
• No changes.

Regroup Phase
• When passing the first player token, pass it clockwise (to the left).

Victory (The first draft of this totally forgot to include rules for honor/dishonor victories, doh!)
• You could easily play "last player standing wins barring honor victory", and that is equivalent to the following rules for 3p, and is mostly the same for 4p. Below is a more fair way of determining a victor in 5p games (or more, may the kami have mercy on you if you ever try that), or in a situation where time is limited and you may not play to the end.
• If you reach 25 honor, you win. Other players should band together to stop an honor victory.
• If you break an opponent's Stronghold province, you gain a victory point (VP).
• If a player reaches 0 honor, that player is eliminated from the game, but no player gains a VP for having eliminated them.
• The last player remaining in a game after everyone else is eliminated gains an additional VP.
• If the game is called as a draw, which should usually only happen in a timed setting - each player that has not been eliminated gains a .5 VP (in addition to any gained through eliminating opponents).
• The winner is the player with the most VP.
• The last player standing wins ties (if he or she is one of the tied players - otherwise the tie stands).
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Chris Holm
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This framework is workable. I'm looking forward to trying it out. I'll stay tuned, and thanks!
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Chris Berger
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islander wrote:
This framework is workable.


That's what I was going for, workable!

Impossible to tell if it's completely balanced and worth playing without some testing, unfortunately.

I do have reasons for all the changes I made, and am willing to back them up with explanations or rethink them if there are reasonable counterarguments.
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Chris Pratt
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I'm very interested - thanks for your work on this! Will be trying as soon as possible (like, a few days' time).
 
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Birdie
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The player who bids 1 will gain 3 honour from the player who bid 4, but what about the other player bidding 4, he doesn't give player 1 the honour?

The border provinces idea is really cool--digging that!

 
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Chris Berger
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Birdiebone wrote:

The player who bids 1 will gain 3 honour from the player who bid 4, but what about the other player bidding 4, he doesn't give player 1 the honour?

The border provinces idea is really cool--digging that!



So, the honor bids is one of the parts that needs testing and could change. But the way I worded it, there's no "give honor," you just gain or lose as much as you would have given or taken. I wouldn't want the person bidding 1 to gain double honor if two people tied for the highest bid. (Or the person bidding high losing double if two people bid 1.)

The reason it could change is that there might be too much pain in bidding high - with more players, there's more chance that someone will bid 1 and you'll lose (bid - 1) honor. On the other hand, bidding high-middle can be really strong, so there's also incentive to guess the highest bid and bid one less than that, so maybe a 1 bid will be relatively uncommon...

The only obvious alternative is probably too mathy and annoying to deal with... each player gains M + m - 2B honor, where M is the maximum bid, m is the minimum bid, and B is the bid of that player. And where the total can be negative. The actual result is fairly intuitive (in the example above, Belle gains 4 + 1 - 2x2 = 1 honor and Charlie gains 4 + 1 - 2x3 = -1 honor (i.e. loses an honor). But it's hard to explain. It does maintain the zero-sum property of 2p honor bids, but I like the little bit of additional gamesmanship of middle bidders not gaining or losing anything...
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Richard Dickson
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You could just divide the difference in honor by the number of high/low bidders (depending on which is the higher number of players) and distribute that much honor to the low bidders. Same if it's 2 v 2.

If you don't want to have to worry about rounding, you could have a single low bidder split the honor gain however they wish between the high bidders, and a single high bidder decide how to distribute their honor loss among the low bidders.
 
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James Lyvers
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The two big issues with multiplayer in the LCG are the limited number of rings and resolving the honor bid.

With regard to the honor bid, the proposed system punishes only the highest bidding players, and rewards only the lowest bidding players (honor wise), but still grants the card advantage to the middle bidding players. I think that would be a mistake, or you would end up with everybody always bidding 1. Heck my experience so far is that most people will just bid 1 anyways just to be safe in most circumstances, unless they already have a marked card advantage, expecting their opponent to bid more if they are behind.

One thing that I've seen suggested elsewhere is to use the average bid of the two adjacent players so R + L - 2 * B. Which in your scenario would make a lot of sense as those are the two players you are in direct conflict with, and thus whose card advantage matters most.

As for the Rings, I'd put an equal stack of each in the center, enough so that all players could choose two rings, so 1 of each for 2, 2 of each for 3-5, 3 of each for 6-7, 4 of each for 8-10, etc. Each player may only choose a Ring if neither he nor his target have previously chosen that ring in the current round. Fate bonuses are added to ring stacks based on the highest and lowest used rings. i.e. at the end of the round where Air was chosen once, Earth twice, Fire twice, Water twice, Void thrice. Air would get 2 fate, Earth, Fire and Water would each get 1 Fate.

Again from elsewhere, but a VP system would be better than player elimination. My suggestion would be, 2 VPs for Breaking a province, 4 VPs for getting to 25 honor, 2 VPs for each 5 honor over 25 at end of game, -1 VP for each of your provinces that are broken, -3 VPs if your stronghold is broken, -4 VPs if you ever drop to 0 Honor, -2 VPs for being at 0 honor at the end of the game, 1 VP if your Stronghold is not broken at end of the game.

Use Honor counts to break ties.

Game ends if at any point #players - 1 strongholds are broken, or #players / 2 (round up) are at 0 or >=25 honor.

Obviously, players may attack the next adjacent player to their Right or left if all players in between have had their Strongholds broken.

Aside: as long as players can't be eliminated, then the adjustment of only declaring 1 conflict in the 1st round is unnecessary. While it is true that one player might suffer 4 attacks (and this would be particularly devestating in a 3 player game in the elimination scenario, where there are not additional players to take advantage). However, not getting eliminated actually opens up some options for the attacked player, especially if they are going last in the round. After all once you get to round 2, if all players succeeded in breaking 2 (not a given on round 1), then the player that got double teamed is behind, and there isn't really an advantage to attacking them further (as opposed to attacking the other player).
 
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Benjamin Bottorff
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One way to resolve honor bids would work like this:

Everyone spends honor equal to the amount they bid and puts it into the middle to be distributed.

Everyone who bid 1 takes an honor.
Then everyone who bids 2 or less takes an honor.
Then everyone who bids 3 or less takes an honor ect. until all honor in the middle are taken. In any situation where there's not enough honor for everyone who bid less than the amount to take, the extra is awarded to the eligible player who is last in the turn order.

As an example: So if the bids were 2, 3, 5, and 5, there would be 15 honor in the middle, the player who bid 2 would get 5 honor back (+3), the player who bid 3 would get 4 (+1), each of those who bid 5 would get 2 back (-3) and the last two players (whomever they would be) would get an extra honor back.

For what it's worth, this system done with two players would duplicate the current system perfectly.
 
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