Jons Johnson
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I'm going to start by saying that I've not played this game yet and make no claims to this idea being anything more than theory crafting.

I wouldn't even bother writing this up if it weren't that I thought perhaps others - who have more experience and opportunities to experiment with the game - could perhaps ponder on it.

I've observed a number of complaintsindications that the game ends rather anticlimactically. I've also noted that some people, when behind in the last few turns, will give up trying to win and instead try to king-make/throw, which honestly is probably in the spirit of reality (imagine deciding that backing the most likely victor is the surest way for your people's survival), but can be a complete fun killer for the victim of such play.

So I pondered how the game ends and if there was a way to encourage something a little more rounded. Thematically, the idea is that you demonstrate that you are the superior faction and demand the seat of the empire through dominance. This would never truly work unless you cut above your competitors by a convincing enough threshold, convincing enough "others" to be undisputed. Power is relative after all.

In the base game, first to 10 pts with a initiative tie breaker is... sort of relevant? It boils down to a race to the finish line, 1st come wins with no regard to any other player, you can be right behind someone else in power/points and it is all for nought.

My suggested houserule is to make it relative to the other players:

You must still reach 10 points to win, but, you must also have a minimum of 2 more points then the next highest eligible scoring player.

If you do not lead by at least 2 points at the end of the round, reduce your points score to be equal to the next highest player's score. Keep all scored objectives and other points sources, just reduce your score on the track


I figured this way, the game would demonstrate that big, accumulating rush to the end. A climax where only the biggest, grandest maneuvers seal your victory, it would encourage those turns where machinations and plans must unfold in sweeping plays, Game of Thrones esque. It also would more often encourage players to seize their second biggest opponent's homeworld making for dramatic ending battles.

Maybe it should be a 3 point lead, maybe it should always cap at 10 (or 14 for longer games) instead of just the two highest scorers creeping up. Ofc Imperium Rex will still end the game and will be reached more often, in which case, I would suggest breaking ties by player that control's Mecatol Rex, if neither, tallying the completed public and secret objective scores accumulated. Maybe the whole idea is completely dumb.

I'm mostly just curious for your thoughts and any glaring issues I may have missed and if anyone was enticed into even play testing the idea and how it works.

I appreciate it will definitely make for a longer game, but the limit still exists in the agenda deck so I wasn't super concerned (besides, if you're worried about game length I wasn't under the impression that TI was the best choice of game for you ).

I also hoped that by capping the points back down each round gives trailing players more time and reason to keep going as they have time to catch up. Heck, imagine even the last player being allowed to lend their support by awarding a victory point to anyone except the highest scoring player, if they do, and this prevents a victory this round, they gain a victory point themselves.

TL;DR: You can't win unless you have 10VP but also lead by 2VP over the next eligible scoring player. Points over 10 (or over the next highest scoring player) reset back down after the round(keep your scored objectives etc., however). Tell me why it's a terrible idea. I'm sorry if I made you angry.
 
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Conan Meriadoc
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2VP over the second player is kind of hard to achieve, you'd likely never have a winner by conventional means - especially if you cap points back down each round - and you still have kingmaking potential when people will be bored by a never-ending endgame and will agree to give victory point promissory notes to the player not in the lead.

That said, I don't really care, and I'm not angry =)

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Riku Koskinen
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Edit: Nothing, I misread the first post. I suggested waiting until everyone gets to score objectives, but that was already included in this variant.

I don't think there has to be more than 1 VP difference in this case, and I also don't see the point in reducing to 10 VPs. It helps people catch up, but what's the point in sacrificing early game infrastructure to get points fast, if in the end everyone gets to 10 and your points get reduced to 10 if you tie with someone (i.e. both of you have 11 points, and others have 10 - why punish the ones who have the most points?).

Edit again: why did I even continue with this if I can't read... In my example the 11 points players would stay at 11. But even if the 2 VP difference is required, it seems harsh to punish a player at 11 VPs to drop to 10 if someone else has that amount.
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Jons Johnson
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Thanks for the input!

Dystopian wrote:
2VP over the second player is kind of hard to achieve, you'd likely never have a winner by conventional means - especially if you cap points back down each round


Padish wrote:

I don't think there has to be more than 1 VP difference in this case,


I feel these statements are addressing a similar if not the same concern.
I can't really argue against you guys based on already stated lack of experience. But isn't 1VP lead just a normal game but goes on longer than 10VP (all of the disadvantage and none of the advantage)?

Consider this example:
Player A is 9 points and player B is also 9.

Player A scores 1 point, ahah! A victory unless B can score 1 point also simultaneously.

With my 2 point suggestion, player A cannot win unless player B is at 8 points OR player A scores 2 points, i.e. a big game winning play in comparison to "lets top deck the SO or Agenda deck and see if I get a point".
With a 1 point lead, that is exactly how the game plays already. The only difference is the winner is whoever managed to get the initiative advantage rather than the game continuing on to the next time either player A or B scores a point without the other doing the same.

Perhaps there just aren't enough opportunities to score points for this to ever be feasible, but I noticed anecdotally that games don't seem to go often longer than 7 rounds, so players must be scoring 2 VPS in more than any 1 single round, no? I look forward to playing this (on my shelf and planned a weekend playing next month) enough times that I could then start playing with the rules, or see for myself the evident issues.

Padish wrote:

In my example the 11 points players would stay at 11. But even if the 2 VP difference is required, it seems harsh to punish a player at 11 VPs to drop to 10 if someone else has that amount.


That's a fair observation, I only really suggested that because at 10VP the game becomes entirely about the relative score to the next feasible competitor to the throne but to avoid the issue of two top players catapulting off into the 20VP region with everyone else being suffocated.
But I admit, it will always feel like you're being punished unless you appreciate that you're keeping your objective scoring for tie breaking.

Dystopian wrote:
- and you still have kingmaking potential when people will be bored by a never-ending endgame and will agree to give victory point promissory notes to the player not in the lead.


This seems likely too, I was relying on the hope that Imperium Rex wasn't too slow to trigger, so the game's longest possible length was not extended. Perhaps kingmaking is an entirely different issue to worry about altogether and trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone is trying too hard.
 
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Andre Metelo
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Kennesaw
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Let e throw my 2 cents here...

I have a bit over 20 plays of TI3, but the victory point systems is pretty much the same.

First let me start saying that we play to 9 points, because usually that is enough to shave off a full turn (45min to 1h off the game), and it can skew the victor a bit. We also use the Imperial II variant (objectives start open from the beginning of the game, so planning your public objective scores becomes very important - if you score than in the wrong order, you may end up at 8 points instead of 9.

Typically, 1 of 2 things happens in the games:
1 - somebody just get far ahead by turn 4, and everybody just concede for the sake of time and we go play another game (yup, sometimes we do another round of TI).

2 - 2 or 3 players are really close in the race waiting for the big turn where they score 4 or 5 points and end the game. At this point the game is at the most intense moment and game will typically end at the end of the round or during the next round with a spectacular come from behind, or simply end with the previous player winning. The other players (the ones left out of contention) are usually having too much fun bashing at each other to be bored - if they were bashing at one of the contenders, most likely the contender would not be a contender at all.

To be honest, the best games I remember were the ones where 2 happened. And i thank everybody for making the games where 1 happened short.

One thing does bother me (both in TI3 and TI4): the promissory notes. I personally do not like how they can be used as a way to give away victory to a player just out of spite. I don't mind a good old king making where it takes the player effort to do so (I still remember a game of conquest the empires where 2 players were more invested in king-making the the contenders were about winning). Typically, we do not put the promissory in our games, but I can see how and why people enjoy it.

Regards.

PS - Wrong game name in the last paragraph...
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Jons Johnson
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metelo wrote:
Let e throw my 2 cents here...

I have a bit over 20 plays of TI3, but the victory point systems is pretty much the same.

First let me start saying that we play to 9 points, because usually that is enough to shave off a full turn (45min to 1h off the game), and it can skew the victor a bit. We also use the Imperial II variant (objectives start open from the beginning of the game, so planning your public objective scores becomes very important - if you score than in the wrong order, you may end up at 8 points instead of 9.

Typically, 1 of 2 things happens in the games:
1 - somebody just get far ahead by turn 4, and everybody just concede for the sake of time and we go play another game (yup, sometimes we do another round of TI).

2 - 2 or 3 players are really close in the race waiting for the big turn where they score 4 or 5 points and end the game. At this point the game is at the most intense moment and game will typically end at the end of the round or during the next round with a spectacular come from behind, or simply end with the previous player winning. The other players (the ones left out of contention) are usually having too much fun bashing at each other to be bored - if they were bashing at one of the contenders, most likely the contender would not be a contender at all.

To be honest, the best games I remember were the ones where 2 happened. And i thank everybody for making the games where 1 happened short.

One thing does bother me (both in TI3 and TI4): the promissory notes. I personally do not like how they can be used as a way to give away victory to a player just out of spite. I don't mind a good old king making where it takes the player effort to do so (I still remember a game of conquest the empires where 2 players were more invested in king-making the the contenders were about winning). Typically, we do not put the promissory in our games, but I can see how and why people enjoy it.

Regards.

PS - Wrong game name in the last paragraph...


And I guess the experience you're describing is exactly what I was attempting to encourage, the turns build up into big scoring ones at the end. That or someone is so far ahead early that they perhaps deserve concession from everyone else. So maybe there already is a fix; revealed objectives! I'm certainly not against that idea, coming from Terra Mystica experience.
 
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Henry Allen
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I agree that the game is very likely to never end this way. It is true that on average you get more than one point per round. However, opportunities to score points are not reusable. So, to get to 10 in the first place, you've typically consumed most of your scoring opportunities other than some 2 point public objectives. This could easily lead to a stalemate as those can be hard to complete if players are keeping each other in check.

Depending on what you're trying to achieve, it might work to just let everyone score in the status phase before checking for victory. You'll still likely get ties broken by initiative (player who scored earlier in the status phase) but it does give players later in initiative anither way to win besides 'block the leader' (getting to a final score at least one point higher).
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Gabriel Thomassen
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Heey,

I agree about the anticlimactic finish of a TI game. This is even more relevant with TI4 since it is more easy to score victory points and have a boring 'bubble victory'.

So i like that you are thinking about ways to spice up the endgame, and i agree that your suggestion will improve the game. I would like to go a bit further even; i would like the game rules to encourage a big final battle to decide the final winner. A bit like it is in Talisman the board game, where as soon as anyone reaches the crown, other player have to go all out to take the crown from him, or be eliminated.

A possibility to achieve this is to include i n the rules that the winner not only has to score 10vp's but also has to have control of mercatol rex (or at least control the space above mercatol rex) This would make sense story wise (the new emperor has his throne on Mercatol Rex) and assure a big rush to mercatol rex in thr end game
 
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Lance Harrop
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Hmm.

Well, if I figure right a player can score eight points in one turn. Have Imperial and Mecatol Rex for one point, score one Public Objective II with it, score three secret objectives in action or status, and at the Status phase score another Public Objective II. In fact it could be nine points if you are the one to originally take control of Mecatol Rex but this would have to be the fifth turn, which is pretty late for that.

Of course anyone who controls Mecatol Rex and claims Imperial in the Strategy Phase has already demonstrated a superior ability as a galactic leader.

I can see the desire for a two point edge to demonstrate a faction's dominance, but if you are doing to reduce the VPs on the track I don't think it's fair to reduce by more points than the LEAST player's points. If someone didn't get off zero the game REALLY SHOULD END.
 
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Steve Williams
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Columbus
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I suggest playing the game normal a few times before making changes. The "anticlimactic ending" is only possible if no one sees it coming. Normally, the board can be read and players realize when someone is dangerously close to winning, and tense negotiations and gambits can (and absolutely should!) be made to stop them.

I've played 100 games between TI3 and TI4, and the only times I would consider the ending to be anticlimactic were the earliest TI3 plays with the broken Imperial I and II, and some TI3 games with Bureaucracy when we had the objective deck built wrong and Imperium Rex came up as fast as possible.

All 10 of our games of TI4 have had tense final rounds, with multiple players in contention for victory.
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Henry Allen
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Carnifexx3 wrote:
Heey,

I agree about the anticlimactic finish of a TI game. This is even more relevant with TI4 since it is more easy to score victory points and have a boring 'bubble victory'.


Have you experienced 'bubble victories' in TI4? How much?

They were an issue for us in TI3 with certain strategy cards so I was worried about it when I saw the Imperial card in TI4. However, I don't think I've heard reports of it actually being a thing until now. Both TI4 games I've played so far have been very tense/close at the end (with 3-4 players contending for victory in the final turn).

Maybe I've just been lucky but I was thinking there may be various factors making it less of an issue, despite the similar strategy card functionality. Namely, combat objectives are all secret objectives and they are only one point each now ... it's much harder to pull off multiple spend and control objectives in one turn. Also the lack of artifacts probably helps ... there are political cards that have similar functionality but those are based on a vote (so less likelihood to benefit the player who could 'bubble').
 
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Gabriel Thomassen
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To be honest i only played TI4 once and there i had this bubble victory.

I had control of mercatol rex and the imperial strategy card. So i could claim 1 vp for imperial and qualify for 1 vp objective during imperial. Then there was a law with 1vp attatched to it and if you beat the owner in combat that vp would got to you (i did). And then i qualified for one additional 1vp objective during the status phase. That is 4 victory points in one round. We played a 10 point game so 4 vps in 1 round i a lot

I was ofcourse happy to win, but after the end i heard all the plans others had to beat me and they were cool plans, so then i felt a bit dissapointed. I would like the game to end in a massive space space battle.
 
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