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Subject: confused about why iron rule is written as is and a suggested change rss

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Jonathan F
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Corpus Christi
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I have been playing this every chance I get since I got the game for Christmas. I just love how all the mechanics mesh so well with the theme, it's just beautiful and makes the game easier to remember and feel real. however, we have been omitting the Iron Rule both for competitive play and I do when playing solo which I know is suggested anyways but here are my two beefs with the Iron Rule as written.

1. Massive theme and mechanics clash: everything else in this game makes sense and feels like a simulation and when it doesn't the design notes help it to make sense. but why should you be able to go back and cancel out horrendous or even just ordinary losses from a bloody attack or hunt with the benefit of hindsight. well gee, I just lost half of all my hunters trying to slay that pod of whales...better sacrifice some iron and get them all back. how does that simulate anything surprise

2. So not only does it make no sense thematically or simulate anything I can think of but it also means you can take bigger risks than you should and as long as you have some iron banked you can literally be assured nothing will go wrong except not bag your prey or inflict any damage yourself. I understand that this was likely done to help balance out the extreme ends of the odds distribution where you send a group of hunters out and roll nothing but attrition and so I get the desire to put this in there but I think it could be done a better way.

My proposed change is small but I would make more sense with theme and mechanics but also make the gameplay better:

Before rolling for a hunt or before an opponent makes his attack roll against you, you can spend 1 iron to cancel out all casualties (or perhaps all but 1 casualty) that result from the roll.

Theme/mechanic mesh:
This battle or hunt is exceedingly crucial for your tribe, you need to ensure you can make it out alive and so you gear up your hunters accordingly with some of the best tools and weapons you have before they go into battle or hunt. but you do this before you know just how bloody the battle or hunt will be when the dice come out.

Effects of change:
You can keep the iron rule which would help you go for those big hunts and battles and know you won't go extinct yourself but also you would have to risk iron without knowing if it would even be necessary, maybe the hunt goes really well or the attacker has a bad day and your attrition would have been minimal...well too bad you can't go back and undo what you committed to.

Downside to change:
still allows some gaminess to have immunity from attrition no matter how dangerous the attacker or "prey" is. but you are spending iron which is a rare resource so it isn't like this can be abused...but i'm still not sure this Iron Rule fits with Phil's idea of a simulation.
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Thoughts?
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Emmanouil Karakostas
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i have also thought many times of this matter.

Well i was a bit in the middle for all this theme-gaminess-realism thing.

In some games i did not use the Iron rule
In some other games, i used it as suggested, and i found that it was a great way to abuse it, when casualties were great.
In some other games, i variant it, and had to spend 1 iron per 2 cancelled casualties, or in other games, 1 iron per casualty to save.

In my opinion everything is good and everything is also a counter measure.
You should every time work according to your party needs and playstyles.

The previously spent Iron is also a very nice addition i will definitely use some day.
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Jonathan F
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manolios wrote:
i have also thought many times of this matter.

Well i was a bit in the middle for all this theme-gaminess-realism thing.

In some games i did not use the Iron rule
In some other games, i used it as suggested, and i found that it was a great way to abuse it, when casualties were great.
In some other games, i variant it, and had to spend 1 iron per 2 cancelled casualties, or in other games, 1 iron per casualty to save.

In my opinion everything is good and everything is also a counter measure.
You should every time work according to your party needs and playstyles.

The previously spent Iron is also a very nice addition i will definitely use some day.

i also like the idea of limiting casualties to say 2 per iron spent. perhaps it could even be combined with the idea of blind spending iron before the dice rolling but in that case you would probably have to make it 1 iron saves 3 casualties or nobody would ever use the iron except in teh most extreme scenarios.
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Phil Eklund
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Baden Würtenberg
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umrmeche wrote:
I have been playing this every chance I get since I got the game for Christmas. I just love how all the mechanics mesh so well with the theme, it's just beautiful and makes the game easier to remember and feel real. however, we have been omitting the Iron Rule both for competitive play and I do when playing solo which I know is suggested anyways but here are my two beefs with the Iron Rule as written.

1. Massive theme and mechanics clash: everything else in this game makes sense and feels like a simulation and when it doesn't the design notes help it to make sense. but why should you be able to go back and cancel out horrendous or even just ordinary losses from a bloody attack or hunt with the benefit of hindsight. well gee, I just lost half of all my hunters trying to slay that pod of whales...better sacrifice some iron and get them all back. how does that simulate anything surprise

2. So not only does it make no sense thematically or simulate anything I can think of but it also means you can take bigger risks than you should and as long as you have some iron banked you can literally be assured nothing will go wrong except not bag your prey or inflict any damage yourself. I understand that this was likely done to help balance out the extreme ends of the odds distribution where you send a group of hunters out and roll nothing but attrition and so I get the desire to put this in there but I think it could be done a better way.

My proposed change is small but I would make more sense with theme and mechanics but also make the gameplay better:

Before rolling for a hunt or before an opponent makes his attack roll against you, you can spend 1 iron to cancel out all casualties (or perhaps all but 1 casualty) that result from the roll.

Theme/mechanic mesh:
This battle or hunt is exceedingly crucial for your tribe, you need to ensure you can make it out alive and so you gear up your hunters accordingly with some of the best tools and weapons you have before they go into battle or hunt. but you do this before you know just how bloody the battle or hunt will be when the dice come out.

Effects of change:
You can keep the iron rule which would help you go for those big hunts and battles and know you won't go extinct yourself but also you would have to risk iron without knowing if it would even be necessary, maybe the hunt goes really well or the attacker has a bad day and your attrition would have been minimal...well too bad you can't go back and undo what you committed to.

Downside to change:
still allows some gaminess to have immunity from attrition no matter how dangerous the attacker or "prey" is. but you are spending iron which is a rare resource so it isn't like this can be abused...but i'm still not sure this Iron Rule fits with Phil's idea of a simulation.
-------
Thoughts?


I like this version of the iron rule, and am considering adding it to the kickstarter of the new edition of Greenland, due to launch January 10. Thank you, Jonathan.


A little history on the Iron Rule: it was a late-in-the-design-process tweak. As I remember, my son and game developer Matthew complained that iron was useless in the mid to late game for players who knew they would never go monotheistic.
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Franz Derphausen
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Maybe just give iron a built-in ability to modify dice results just like the other tool and item cards simulating a tribe's preparedness for the task at hand. You could even go so far as to make players commit iron beforehand to a hunt, raid, or combat, i.e. they have to place as much iron as they want alongisde their tribesmen onto cards depending on how powerful the "new iron" really is.
 
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Roel van der Hoorn
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Enschede
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I never play with the iron rule. It’s too powerful. Playing without makes the game harsher; decisions become more important. Iron is still very valueable though. It allows you to attack the other player first.
 
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Jonathan F
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It is a good point that iron becomes almost useless to a polytheistic player but they would still get the advantage of fighting first With enough iron plus they get to keep trophies of animals they hunt those same trophies are useless to mono players so that could cut both ways and not be a game breaker. I did some test plays and we settled on every iron spent was 2 lives saved. Rarely did anyone see more than three casualties anyways even on weapons fights with 6+ hunters each tribe so two seemed like it was just rain. If you’re going into a bloodbath you better spend at least two iron then
 
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Nathan Morse
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There are two mistakes, remnants of the old rule, in the published 3e rulebook and the living rules:

G. • Attrition. […] You may use the iron rule (F4) to reverse your losses.

G4. Example (New World): […] He may also sacrifice the iron to save the Colonists (F4).

In both cases, now the iron must be spent before the hunt/raid in a gamble to protect the hunters/raiders. No "Oops, lemme step back in time to the prep step of this expedition and grab some iron equipment like Mom said I should."

I would have marked the following suggested updates in the living rules, but I only have View access, not Suggest/Comment access:

G. • Attrition. […] You may use the iron rule (F4) before your roll to prevent your losses.

G4. Example (New World): […] If he had spent iron before the hunt as insurance, he would have saved the Colonists (F4).
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