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Subject: Is kingmaking a serious problem in this game? rss

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Kris Rhodes
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I scanned the Variants forum post titles to see if people have proposed variants around this issue but it looks like there aren't any.

In our game last night (my first time to play) once round 5 began it was very clear which three (of five) players were in contention. The other two had nothing useful to do in game, so it became kind of a joking game of who could persuade these two to help them win.

It was fun and funny but of course if a game regularly devolves to this that's a design flaw.

Is this something that happens in this game fairly regularly? Or is it only a problem for newbies? (I was new but for the record I was one of the three players in contention.) Or is it not really a problem at all and we just probably screwed something up?

I've been trying to figure out a way to keep it from happening. My best ideas are maknig coins and/or assets not open information but I am pretty sure this will take a lot of the tactical oomph out of the game, making it much more of a multiplayer solitaire game.

Your thoughts?
 
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Alec Usticke
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It's a problem, but I wouldn't say it's a "serious" one. It's not uncommon for one or more players to fall out of contention before the end. It's also easy for anyone to play kingmaker by making ludicrous trades. I'd recommend not playing with the sort of person who would do that.
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Kris Rhodes
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If it's common for people to fall out of contention before the end, what reason do they have to go on playing?

This is meant not as a complaint, but as a discussion about game design.

They don't _have_ to literally decide to become "kingmakers" at that point of course but it's hard to see why they're still at the table at all.

Maybe some kind of "drop out and grab a beer" mechanic variant could be desgined--a player who wants to resign can do so and the other players bid for his stuff or something... hmm...
 
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Kris Rhodes
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Or here's another idea, less drastic: Add a rule that _second_ to last player at the end of a round just gets a free tile from the market (rather than stealing from another player). This might help as a "catch up" mechanism (like the stealing thing) to keep players in contention but not negating player skill.

hmm..
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Michael Frost

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Though do keep in mind these two things:

First, you always keep your best score. So you don't go backwards.

Second, the person in last places gets to steal a non-special tile from the person in 1st place. A slight catch-up mechanism.
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Lars Wagner Hansen
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Of the 64 games I have logged it has never been an issue, and it has always been a fight to the bitter end. Nobody has ever been out of contention.
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Lenz Poh
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Its serious enough for our gaming group to sell it away. Perhaps we're just a bunch of die-hard strategist euro gamers whistle
 
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Rod Spade
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Speusippus wrote:
If it's common for people to fall out of contention before the end, what reason do they have to go on playing?
Because they enjoy it! Why else would you even start the game?
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Alec Usticke
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rodspade wrote:
Speusippus wrote:
If it's common for people to fall out of contention before the end, what reason do they have to go on playing?
Because they enjoy it! Why else would you even start the game?
Well said. I've played many games (Colosseum and others) where it was apparent I was going to lose, but I still had fun playing to the end and never even considered playing kingmaker. If you're only happy when winning, this hobby probably isn't the best pastime.
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