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Subject: Alliances Share Powers? rss

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TJ Olson
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Getting excited for this to finally be delivered. Just wondering, would it make sense to house rule alliance bonuses where players in an alliance share player powers as well as diplomatic bonuses? I'm trying to find the pitfalls. All I really can find is it forces alliances, and in odd player counts, can really hurt the player without an alliance. Any other thoughts?
 
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Pietro Pomella
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Well, I'd say that the general objection goes something like this: if the designer(s) and playtesting teams balanced the game around NOT sharing powers, there is a decent chance that allowing for powers to be shared will mess up the balance, which is obviously bad as it can lead to very negative play experiences.
As you mentioned it also nukes the odd one out, and if you care about theme and immersion I think it detracts from the unique feel and actual playstyle of each faction. I also think it adds another layer of complexity and chaos which might make things too unpredictable and messy for some players.
Why would you want to implement such a house rule specifically? Have you tried the game and were underwhelmed by alliances or are you just suggesting it because it sounds fun?
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Mr. Octavius
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An important aspect of alliances in Rising Sun is you and your ally want different things. You don't actually want to help your ally, but you want them to help you as much as possible. (Afterall, only one of you can win.)

So if allying with the Bonsai clan makes your upgrades cheaper as well, now both Bonsai and their ally want to play upgrade as much as possible, instead of the delima the Bonsai's ally may face of "I want that upgrade card, but do I really want Bonsai to get something for free?"

Also consider 2 players having the Lotus ability, even in a 5 player game you could have the same mandate played 6 times in a single political phase. That's bound to mess with the balance of the game.

My suggestion is to play the game a couple times before making house rules. Then, if your group wants to try something crazy just to see what happens, you can compare it to the base experience.
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Terence Aries
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Play the game first. Why create house rules without even having unboxed the game?

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TJ Olson
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Haven't played it yet, Just excited we're approaching the delivery date. Sounded fun in my head.
 
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Martin Wheeler
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On a purely practical level how would you share the Tortoise Clan ability? Would their ally gain a moveable combat turtle stronghold just for that season or from then on?
 
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Z
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Trence wrote:
Play the game first. Why create house rules without even having unboxed the game?



People always say this, but some gameplay elements are clearly out of wack and even those who haven’t played the game can tell. I said long, long ago that the Moon clan’s original ability (always 2 strength figures regardless of modifier) was not strong enough to compete with other clans especially with such a low seasonal income. I proposed a house rule of a minimum of 2 strength would make them far more competitive and everyone said “why would you house rule a game you haven’t even played” as they always do.

Lo and behold, we get an update that the Moon clan is now a minimum of 2 strength and a figure limit in each province for balance. Just because people haven’t played a game doesn’t mean we can’t see a busted or stupid gameplay mechanic.

I don’t agree at all with the idea proposed by the OP but to immediately shoot it down because they haven’t played a game yet is stupid and short sighted. We’ve all played enough games to have an opinion on game situations, and with all of the information/playthroughs/reviews available it’s not unrealistic to imagine gameplay improvements without having touched a single component. Playtesters spend hours and hours and hours on a game and the mechanics are still critiqued when it hits the shelf at your local game store. Designers are great but they’re not perfect, no one is. That’s the equivalent of saying we shouldn’t critique a piece of legislation because it hasn’t passed into law yet and we don’t know the implications behind it.
 
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Jon Snow
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ZW,

So which game play elements do you think are "clearly out of whack?" I'd love to see a thread on this. Or are you talking about the revised Kami powers again?
 
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Mr. Octavius
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Estoyldian wrote:
Trence wrote:
Play the game first. Why create house rules without even having unboxed the game?



People always say this, but some gameplay elements are clearly out of wack and even those who haven’t played the game can tell. I said long, long ago that the Moon clan’s original ability (always 2 strength figures regardless of modifier) was not strong enough to compete with other clans especially with such a low seasonal income. I proposed a house rule of a minimum of 2 strength would make them far more competitive and everyone said “why would you house rule a game you haven’t even played” as they always do.

Lo and behold, we get an update that the Moon clan is now a minimum of 2 strength and a figure limit in each province for balance. Just because people haven’t played a game doesn’t mean we can’t see a busted or stupid gameplay mechanic.

I don’t agree at all with the idea proposed by the OP but to immediately shoot it down because they haven’t played a game yet is stupid and short sighted. We’ve all played enough games to have an opinion on game situations, and with all of the information/playthroughs/reviews available it’s not unrealistic to imagine gameplay improvements without having touched a single component. Playtesters spend hours and hours and hours on a game and the mechanics are still critiqued when it hits the shelf at your local game store. Designers are great but they’re not perfect, no one is. That’s the equivalent of saying we shouldn’t critique a piece of legislation because it hasn’t passed into law yet and we don’t know the implications behind it.


So your argument is that because they found something in play testing and fixed it, other things must need to be fixed as well?

Sure, I usually have a fair idea how a game plays by reading the rules, but are you saying a game mechanic never surprises you anymore? You never sit down to a game thinking 'Strategy X is weak' or 'strategy Y is too strong' only to be surprised by something part way through the game?

Granted, a game could be broken enough that I could see flaws in the rules before I've even played it, and that is a game that is not worth my time to buy or play. If the rules are that clearly broken then they didn't spend enough time on design and play testing, and other less obvious things will also be broken.
That said, if a friend / family member wanted me to play 'Clearly Broken Game' I would play it once by its normal rules before suggesting to them house rules to 'fix' things, just to make sure they are broken and to see what the designer was going for.
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chas59 wrote:
ZW,

So which game play elements do you think are "clearly out of whack?" I'd love to see a thread on this. Or are you talking about the revised Kami powers again?


I'm referring to games in general, not Rising Sun.

Maebon wrote:
Estoyldian wrote:
Trence wrote:
Play the game first. Why create house rules without even having unboxed the game?



People always say this, but some gameplay elements are clearly out of wack and even those who haven’t played the game can tell. I said long, long ago that the Moon clan’s original ability (always 2 strength figures regardless of modifier) was not strong enough to compete with other clans especially with such a low seasonal income. I proposed a house rule of a minimum of 2 strength would make them far more competitive and everyone said “why would you house rule a game you haven’t even played” as they always do.

Lo and behold, we get an update that the Moon clan is now a minimum of 2 strength and a figure limit in each province for balance. Just because people haven’t played a game doesn’t mean we can’t see a busted or stupid gameplay mechanic.

I don’t agree at all with the idea proposed by the OP but to immediately shoot it down because they haven’t played a game yet is stupid and short sighted. We’ve all played enough games to have an opinion on game situations, and with all of the information/playthroughs/reviews available it’s not unrealistic to imagine gameplay improvements without having touched a single component. Playtesters spend hours and hours and hours on a game and the mechanics are still critiqued when it hits the shelf at your local game store. Designers are great but they’re not perfect, no one is. That’s the equivalent of saying we shouldn’t critique a piece of legislation because it hasn’t passed into law yet and we don’t know the implications behind it.


So your argument is that because they found something in play testing and fixed it, other things must need to be fixed as well?

Sure, I usually have a fair idea how a game plays by reading the rules, but are you saying a game mechanic never surprises you anymore? You never sit down to a game thinking 'Strategy X is weak' or 'strategy Y is too strong' only to be surprised by something part way through the game?

Granted, a game could be broken enough that I could see flaws in the rules before I've even played it, and that is a game that is not worth my time to buy or play. If the rules are that clearly broken then they didn't spend enough time on design and play testing, and other less obvious things will also be broken.
That said, if a friend / family member wanted me to play 'Clearly Broken Game' I would play it once by its normal rules before suggesting to them house rules to 'fix' things, just to make sure they are broken and to see what the designer was going for.


I'm not sure what your first sentence means. If something is broken, you would obviously want to fix it, right? Monopoly's original rules state you earn rent while you're in jail, but that's probably the worst designed rule in board game history. Even people who've never touched the game before could read that and say: "Is that right?"

I never said a game mechanic doesn't surprise me. Where did I say that? Of course I've been wrong about "X is weak, Y is strong", everyone has if you play a game competitively long enough. What does that have to do with something that is so strikingly obvious that me, someone who has never touched the game, was able to point out something that was obviously busted and was eventually fixed.

When I mentioned that the Moon clan ability's mechanic seemed "weird" that they were always 2 Force, regardless of any modifier, everyone else said it was for balance reasons and to trust the designer. It was a poorly worded mechanic and I simply pointed it out. When the fix came, everyone of course welcomes the change. It was actually hilarious to see. As if game designers are never, ever wrong and that just because someone mentions a possible fix or improvement their opinion is invalidated because they've never played the game. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see how this game plays, I don't need to be a five star chef to tell you your food sucks.

I do agree with your last point. When I do have criticisms, I like to try it out and see what the designer was going for. And often, to their credit, the designers were right and I am wrong.

It just so happens in this instance that I was right and the designers were wrong. It wasn't the first time, it won't be the last time that a gamer is able to point out a critically obvious flaw in design prior to the game being on their table.

Again, my original point was that games aren't so complicated that we can't see the trains of thought with design, that I can't criticize a designer's decision or suggest an improvement because I haven't physically moved the pieces across the board. With the information available, including reviews and full playthroughs, it's not like I will be completely mystified when I sit down with this game on the table. I don't agree at all with OP's suggestion but "you haven't played the game yet" is a weak argument. The initial reply to the OP, minus the first sentence, is what you should use to formulate a response to this post.
 
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Casey Smith
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I dont see why you cant earn rent while in jail, its not like the landlord of the hotel goes room to room.

Speaking of which, the house rule that a lot of people that play monopoly that is terrible is where all the fees go to free parking and is won by whoever lands there. Thats like a rule that people made up and ruins the balance of the game.
 
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Niall Smyth
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Estoyldian wrote:
chas59 wrote:
ZW,

So which game play elements do you think are "clearly out of whack?" I'd love to see a thread on this. Or are you talking about the revised Kami powers again?


I'm referring to games in general, not Rising Sun.

Maebon wrote:
Estoyldian wrote:
Trence wrote:
Play the game first. Why create house rules without even having unboxed the game?



People always say this, but some gameplay elements are clearly out of wack and even those who haven’t played the game can tell. I said long, long ago that the Moon clan’s original ability (always 2 strength figures regardless of modifier) was not strong enough to compete with other clans especially with such a low seasonal income. I proposed a house rule of a minimum of 2 strength would make them far more competitive and everyone said “why would you house rule a game you haven’t even played” as they always do.

Lo and behold, we get an update that the Moon clan is now a minimum of 2 strength and a figure limit in each province for balance. Just because people haven’t played a game doesn’t mean we can’t see a busted or stupid gameplay mechanic.

I don’t agree at all with the idea proposed by the OP but to immediately shoot it down because they haven’t played a game yet is stupid and short sighted. We’ve all played enough games to have an opinion on game situations, and with all of the information/playthroughs/reviews available it’s not unrealistic to imagine gameplay improvements without having touched a single component. Playtesters spend hours and hours and hours on a game and the mechanics are still critiqued when it hits the shelf at your local game store. Designers are great but they’re not perfect, no one is. That’s the equivalent of saying we shouldn’t critique a piece of legislation because it hasn’t passed into law yet and we don’t know the implications behind it.


So your argument is that because they found something in play testing and fixed it, other things must need to be fixed as well?

Sure, I usually have a fair idea how a game plays by reading the rules, but are you saying a game mechanic never surprises you anymore? You never sit down to a game thinking 'Strategy X is weak' or 'strategy Y is too strong' only to be surprised by something part way through the game?

Granted, a game could be broken enough that I could see flaws in the rules before I've even played it, and that is a game that is not worth my time to buy or play. If the rules are that clearly broken then they didn't spend enough time on design and play testing, and other less obvious things will also be broken.
That said, if a friend / family member wanted me to play 'Clearly Broken Game' I would play it once by its normal rules before suggesting to them house rules to 'fix' things, just to make sure they are broken and to see what the designer was going for.


I'm not sure what your first sentence means. If something is broken, you would obviously want to fix it, right? Monopoly's original rules state you earn rent while you're in jail, but that's probably the worst designed rule in board game history. Even people who've never touched the game before could read that and say: "Is that right?"

I never said a game mechanic doesn't surprise me. Where did I say that? Of course I've been wrong about "X is weak, Y is strong", everyone has if you play a game competitively long enough. What does that have to do with something that is so strikingly obvious that me, someone who has never touched the game, was able to point out something that was obviously busted and was eventually fixed.

When I mentioned that the Moon clan ability's mechanic seemed "weird" that they were always 2 Force, regardless of any modifier, everyone else said it was for balance reasons and to trust the designer. It was a poorly worded mechanic and I simply pointed it out. When the fix came, everyone of course welcomes the change. It was actually hilarious to see. As if game designers are never, ever wrong and that just because someone mentions a possible fix or improvement their opinion is invalidated because they've never played the game. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see how this game plays, I don't need to be a five star chef to tell you your food sucks.

I do agree with your last point. When I do have criticisms, I like to try it out and see what the designer was going for. And often, to their credit, the designers were right and I am wrong.

It just so happens in this instance that I was right and the designers were wrong. It wasn't the first time, it won't be the last time that a gamer is able to point out a critically obvious flaw in design prior to the game being on their table.

Again, my original point was that games aren't so complicated that we can't see the trains of thought with design, that I can't criticize a designer's decision or suggest an improvement because I haven't physically moved the pieces across the board. With the information available, including reviews and full playthroughs, it's not like I will be completely mystified when I sit down with this game on the table. I don't agree at all with OP's suggestion but "you haven't played the game yet" is a weak argument. The initial reply to the OP, minus the first sentence, is what you should use to formulate a response to this post.


There is a massive difference between a WIP rule from a KS game in development and still under playtesting, and a rule from the fully developed game. Oh, and the people who argued with you weren't Eric Lang or CMON development team members.
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SwissQueso wrote:
I dont see why you cant earn rent while in jail, its not like the landlord of the hotel goes room to room.

Speaking of which, the house rule that a lot of people that play monopoly that is terrible is where all the fees go to free parking and is won by whoever lands there. Thats like a rule that people made up and ruins the balance of the game.


Earning rent in jail is a horrible rule, it gives no incentive to leave jail if your opponent has properties on the light blue or brown squares.

That second rule you mentioned I've never played with. Seems unnecessary.

poshniallo wrote:

There is a massive difference between a WIP rule from a KS game in development and still under playtesting, and a rule from the fully developed game. Oh, and the people who argued with you weren't Eric Lang or CMON development team members.


...exactly. That's my point. I mentioned that the Moon clan ability didn't make any sense, and people here said that my criticism was unwarranted because I hadn't played the game yet. The designers then made the change for the final game, and it was welcomed by the forum. My point was that I don't need to have played the game to see that the mechanic was out of sorts. People in this thread are acting as if it is impossible to have mapped out scenarios or imagine game situations without touching the pieces. It's hilarious. The proof is in the pudding, the exact mechanic I proposed house ruling was the mechanic that was changed. And if they'd never changed it how many of you would still think it was a good idea?

What does your last sentence even mean? Their argument wouldn't have been "you didn't play the game", they would have said exactly why the ability was worded the way it was worded, what situations they encountered during testing, etc. And they still ended up changing it anyway.
 
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Mr. Octavius
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One could just as easily argue that changing the moon clan ability just proves that they are testing the game and making any necessary changes, so you don't need to house rule a game you haven't played because the designers are doing their job. If anything needs to be fixed/changed it will be changed before you even have a chance to play it, so no need to house rule anything.

Also, just as you said you can see a bad rule by reading the rulebook, it's possible to see a bad house rule by reading it as well. (Tip: it's most of them.) Often saying "try playing the game first" is a polite way of saying "that would ruin the game, see what the game is before you break it." I can easily envision someone thinking a game needs a house rule just from reading the rulebook, playing with that house rule the first time they play, then declaring that the game is bad and never playing it again because their house rule broke the balance.

There's a world of difference between making a post saying "I think X is weak for these reasons, why do you guys think?" And "I made a house rule to fix X, what do you guys think?" The latter is fat more likely to get comments of "you should play the game before changing it," while the former can spark a discussion about the potential merits or strategies of X.
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Maebon wrote:
One could just as easily argue that changing the moon clan ability just proves that they are testing the game and making any necessary changes, so you don't need to house rule a game you haven't played because the designers are doing their job. If anything needs to be fixed/changed it will be changed before you even have a chance to play it, so no need to house rule anything.

Also, just as you said you can see a bad rule by reading the rulebook, it's possible to see a bad house rule by reading it as well. (Tip: it's most of them.) Often saying "try playing the game first" is a polite way of saying "that would ruin the game, see what the game is before you break it." I can easily envision someone thinking a game needs a house rule just from reading the rulebook, playing with that house rule the first time they play, then declaring that the game is bad and never playing it again because their house rule broke the balance.

There's a world of difference between making a post saying "I think X is weak for these reasons, why do you guys think?" And "I made a house rule to fix X, what do you guys think?" The latter is fat more likely to get comments of "you should play the game before changing it," while the former can spark a discussion about the potential merits or strategies of X.


I'm not sure what your first point is. If they'd never made the change, people would still have suggested that my house rule would have been unnecessary. But because they changed it, it's well received. It's a paradoxical situation.

Agreed regarding your second point. Most house rules are bad. However, the argument against them shouldn't be "you haven't played the game", it should be you telling them why what they suggested is a bad rule.

That's exactly what the OP here did, and the response that I initially replied to was the one that said "play the game first, you haven't played the game", which is a lazy and pointless response. The first response to the OP, again minus the first sentence, is what should be used when discussing house rules.
 
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