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Subject: King Cobra card - predictable usage, removes the tension, rewards lazy play? rss

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SJP
Australia
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Hi mate,

This is a fun game.

However, one aspect (rule) we all found a bit troubling, and seemed to us to disturb the flow of the game, or more to the point, make the flow more or less that same every round.

The King Cobra. It essentially always seems to be used by any player who has amassed 6 or 7 cobras, as the 'automatic shared win' condition, allowing this player to cash out their big payout without any real fear of busting. And everyone pretty much does this same tactic every round, for fear of not getting that 15-21 points on offer, and falling too far behind the pack.

So when every player does this same thing (always happens about mid round, as soon as a players hits the 6th or 7th cobra for the first time), it effectively cancels itself out. And if you don't do it like everyone else, you are just putting yourself behind the 8-ball.

This predictability of playing King Cobras also seemed to suck all the tension from the game, as you know you will get to do your big cash out with this "get out of jail free" card, and nobody can stop you.

Nobody ever wasted their King Cobra on a 'automatic shared loss' condition, as the BIG points on offer for 'automatic shared win' was just too much to not pick up.

Are we playing this right?
Was there a reason for this card/rule?
I would have thought the game should just reward better hand management, suit management, short suiting etc, and would mean you have to really EARN that big 6/7 cobra payout, instead of everybody essentially being gifted one every round?

The games we started playing WITHOUT these King Cobra cards were far more tense and interesting in how they played out.

We also then decided that the player coming dead last could be granted a King Cobra (nobody else gets one), as a bit of a catch up mechanism.

Interested on your thoughts?

 
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Martin G
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That's how we've been using the King Cobra too - but we find that it's good to pressure the other players into spending it as early as possible leaving time to take advantage once they're 'unprotected'. How many players are you usually playing with? I've usually played with 3 - I can see that with 5 there'd be fewer tricks in play and so the tension might be lost.
 
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Michael Frost

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My experience is not like yours at all, at all player counts. Love this great trick-taking game.

A key is that you only get 1 King Cobra action per round. So yes, people do try to use them when they have the magic "7". BUT once played, they can't do that again. So you're trying to play yours as late as possible and then stick other players with huge numbers of cobras that they can't get rid of because they can't take a trick.

I think the worst cases I remember were players getting -17 to -24 points for excess cobras they couldn't get rid of as they keep losing the last 3-4 tricks in a row, just collecting all those cobras.

Thus the timing of the play of your one King Cobra in a round is often critical. Play it early at your own risk.
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SJP
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Yes I see your point.

Perhaps if was just the way our session played out, and we haven't explored the full tactics yet.

It just seemed that each player would hit 7, get the pay out next round, and it also seemed to occur one trick after another (as players seemed to reach 7 cobras on our around the same times - mid round or later).

More play of this great game is the key...


 
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SJP
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We've only had the one session of the game, and it was with 3 players - am suspecting 4 or 5 would create more tension.

I like the game, and more play might see this King Cobra predictability less of an issue.
 
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