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Subject: No Long-Term Alliances variant rss

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PK Levine
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(Disclaimers: Not my original idea, but I liked it enough that I thought it was worth discussion. Also I'm fully aware that Rising Sun hasn't been out long enough to truly gauge new house rules, so please consider this a theoretical discussion only; there's no need for "don't add house rules yet" replies.)

In a 3p or 5p game, it's possible for one person to never get to be in an alliance, which means they miss out on a key part of the gameplay experience. And in any game, if everyone keeps the same alliances throughout, things will feel stagnant. The designers have said that Rising Sun is supposed to be a game about shifting alliances and betrayals, right?

House Rule: If two players were allied last season (regardless of whether the alliance survived Betrayal), they can't ally this season. Mix it up!

Discuss.
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Thomas Aikens
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pkitty wrote:
House Rule: If two players were allied last season (regardless of whether the alliance survived Betrayal), they can't ally this season. Mix it up!
I think what a lot of people are not experiencing is the negotiation aspect of this game. Allying with the Lotus clan can give you an advantage in what mandates you (guys) play. If you want that alliance, pay them! "Here is 2 coin for your alliance this round." Or the Fox clan can jump into any fight they want! Don't want that? "I will ally with you and play the mandates you want if you stay away from my battles this round." This game has open negotiation and I think because of that, a lot of people are just going to go at this like a euro because there is little to direct you. If you have played Nothing Personal, you know the game is terrible if there is no negotiation but shines with back stabbing and blackmailing...

I haven't played yet and I am not trying to put to rest this discussion, just my 2 cents.
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Mr. Octavius
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I think this can serve as decent 'training wheels' for new players, forcing them to renegotiate alliances each round instead of sticking to the 'status quo', and getting used to sometimes not being in an alliance.

It does limit some of the negotiation, as if Lotus wants to start a bidding war to be someone's ally, their ally from last round can't bid. However, it does not cripple key aspects of the game, and there are still plenty of negotiation options (especially outside of the tea phase). With some groups that would normally default to keeping the same ally it can lead to more negotiation.

It can be easily explained too: "In becoming Emperor no clan wants to be too indebted to another. To avoid this, any alliance they made in the previous season they will not make again."

Once players are more used to the strategies of the game and the value of shifting alliances then the variant is no longer needed and easily removed without changing the game in any significant manner.
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Pietro Pomella
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Maebon wrote:
I think this can serve as decent 'training wheels' for new players, forcing them to renegotiate alliances each round instead of sticking to the 'status quo', and getting used to sometimes not being in an alliance.

It does limit some of the negotiation, as if Lotus wants to start a bidding war to be someone's ally, their ally from last round can't bid. However, it does not cripple key aspects of the game, and there are still plenty of negotiation options (especially outside of the tea phase). With some groups that would normally default to keeping the same ally it can lead to more negotiation.

It can be easily explained too: "In becoming Emperor no clan wants to be too indebted to another. To avoid this, any alliance they made in the previous season they will not make again."

Once players are more used to the strategies of the game and the value of shifting alliances then the variant is no longer needed and easily removed without changing the game in any significant manner.



Exactly this: I can see myself using this variant with a group that "needs" it, but not as a default.
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Eric Matthews
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mjrtom wrote:
pkitty wrote:
House Rule: If two players were allied last season (regardless of whether the alliance survived Betrayal), they can't ally this season. Mix it up!
I think what a lot of people are not experiencing is the negotiation aspect of this game. Allying with the Lotus clan can give you an advantage in what mandates you (guys) play. If you want that alliance, pay them! "Here is 2 coin for your alliance this round." Or the Fox clan can jump into any fight they want! Don't want that? "I will ally with you and play the mandates you want if you stay away from my battles this round." This game has open negotiation and I think because of that, a lot of people are just going to go at this like a euro because there is little to direct you. If you have played Nothing Personal, you know the game is terrible if there is no negotiation but shines with back stabbing and blackmailing...

I haven't played yet and I am not trying to put to rest this discussion, just my 2 cents.


ya. While I'm certainly curious (mostly because I'm waiting for my delivery notification)- I'm always so baffled by the proliferation of variants for a brand new game thrown up before most have even played the base game.

I'm also not trying to quash the discussion with my skepticism, but I do think it's totally fair to question any variant suggestion with:

Whats goal of this variant? What problem does it solve?
What are the unintended consequences of it?

Are play-testers or people who have played the game reporting a problem with the way alliances work? Or are people just unhappy that Rising Sun isn't Blood Rage, or something?

The premise itself is that a single player might never get into an alliance during a game session with an odd number of players:
Is that an edge case or something that happens all the time?
Do we even know if this is more common occurrence in a 3/5 player game than in 4/6 player game with multiple un-allied players?
Is it that bad when it does happen? Is it worse in an odd player count game than an even one?

I think it's actually important to answer those questions before deciding if a variant is necessary. It just sounds to me like the whole point of this and other variants I've seen on Rising Sun is to solve a problem that no one has actually experienced.
(If the whole point is just "hey how fun would it be to try this? Then I feel totally differently)
 
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Private Blinky
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I'm willing to give the standard gaming group a chance on playing as is, and I'm not convinced that preventions on 'perma-alliances' are needed ...yet.

But the one major reservation I have held throughout the entire development of this game is this exact scenario, especially if results of such a choice consistently places the allied players in a position so that at least they have a running chance for claiming victory at the game's end.

If throughout the entire game two players go 100% allied in compromises, working together to maximise their political mandates benifits and minimize their unit overlap in shrines and provinces before the War phase, there stands to be a more reliable guaranteed production on VP points that would be harder for another single player operating in lone-wolf or more on-demand alliances to consitently match over the entirety of three game rounds. In a 5p game, each of the allies could individually concentrate on only 3 of the 7 contestable territories each season; and if walking away with winning on average 2 unique from each season, that puts them in decent VP based on provincial trophies. One player goes 'high-honor' strategy; one player goes 'low-honor' strategy as far as training and monsters entail. And if the other 3 players adopt a 3-2 mentality because of how benificial the 2 perma-allies have been, it will simply re-inforce the 2-players to stay together as a team, and nail any further free-for-all negotiations dead.

You can argue that this type of perma-alliance would be against the spirit of the game, and you would be correct. The allied player who doesn't stand to win out of the pair would arguably be called kingmaker, but if this strategy consistely offers the eventual allied loser just as much of a rougly equal chance of themselves winning instead of their ally, would you do anything different? And what incentive could there possibly be in forcing these two players apart from their allied strategy if such is the case?

By making the game so, so impossible to determine who will walk away with however-many VP gains during War-time every round, players will incentively try to "buddy up" just so they can try and gain more structure on the flow and control of what points they have a high-percentage chance of success in gaining during War, and removing one potential competitor from the equation goes quite far in achieving that. This ony causes more concern for me, since the War phase is the primary source of VP gains.

Ultimately, there needs to be more than enough empirical data that demonstrates that a single player can have just an equal percentage chance of winning Rising Sun using either a largely solo/floating-allegiance strategy (which, fingers crossed, I'm really REALLY hoping that past playtests have shown this to be true). However, if game results show that players who hold an entire-game alliance consistently gets them within reach of the Winner's circle more often than not, then OP's house rule would be the first I'd implement.


(Edits: hooray for grammar, I type good much)
 
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Oden Dee
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I thought about this idea. Good thing is that it is simple to explain.

I got worried about how the bargaining would flip 180 degrees.
Instead of the un-allianced player offering incentives to the allied players to join him/her it would be the allied players offering him/her incentives.

Also in a 5 player game, the 4 allied players could just switch between themselves.
 
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Mr. Octavius
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Warlock00 wrote:
Also in a 5 player game, the 4 allied players could just switch between themselves.


They could, but it's less likely and at that point as all aliances are up for grabs, and there may be a reason for it.
For example, if the unallied player buys the Honesty season card in spring (If you have an ally gain 2vp if you select a non-betray mandate), Loyalty in Summer (When you gain VP gain 1 more) and gets to select 2 mandates in Autumn, no one will want to ally with them to give them 6 points.
Alternatively: "Bill, last time we played you selected the Betray mandate every time someone allied with you. We don't trust you."

Ganybyte wrote:
Whats goal of this variant? What problem does it solve?

Fixes the perception issue that 'the odd man out' won't stand a chance. Shows people the benefit of shifting alliances.
Quote:
What are the unintended consequences of it?

People are less helpful to their allies? (seems like a good thing.) Slightly less bargaining options during the tea phase.

Given the suggestions people have made for 'fixing' the 3/5 player game, this one seems minimally disruptive to the core of the game. Unnecessary? sure. But also mostly harmless for those that want to use it.
 
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Oden Dee
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In a 3 player game, in Spring a player betrayed someone, come Autumn no one wants to ally with the betrayer thus no one can be allied. Giving a buff to the betrayer.
 
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Nathan Collins
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mjrtom wrote:
pkitty wrote:
House Rule: If two players were allied last season (regardless of whether the alliance survived Betrayal), they can't ally this season. Mix it up!
I think what a lot of people are not experiencing is the negotiation aspect of this game. Allying with the Lotus clan can give you an advantage in what mandates you (guys) play. If you want that alliance, pay them! "Here is 2 coin for your alliance this round." Or the Fox clan can jump into any fight they want! Don't want that? "I will ally with you and play the mandates you want if you stay away from my battles this round." This game has open negotiation and I think because of that, a lot of people are just going to go at this like a euro because there is little to direct you. If you have played Nothing Personal, you know the game is terrible if there is no negotiation but shines with back stabbing and blackmailing...

I haven't played yet and I am not trying to put to rest this discussion, just my 2 cents.
I agree with this. We didn't really get into the negotiaton aspect of the game until the third gam, and then things hit the ceiling
 
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