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Subject: Implementing a timer (to avoid AP) -- how long? rss

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PK Levine
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Our group has noticed that it's easy for some players to succumb to AP (analysis paralysis) when taking certain actions, and we were thinking about adding a timer to avoid this. Specifically, to be used:

A. When picking out a mandate.
B. When implementing your part of a mandate (e.g., for each player marshaling their forces).
C. When bidding for war advantages.

We don't want this to feel rushed at all, so we were thinking of something like 1, 2, or 3 minutes. Basically, just a way to put a "more-than-fair" limit on the over-analyzing players who take 5-10 minutes to decide what to do. That adds up quickly; our last 4p game was over four hours long due to AP.

My gut is to try two minutes and see. But I'm curious if anyone else has tried using a timer, and what worked for you?

(Note: If you hate timers and think this is a terrible idea, please just ignore this thread rather than crapping in it. It's sad that I have to explicitly request this...)
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Bone White
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I suppose it depends how long you have to play. If you have a set time, assume 20 minutes to setup / pack away, then divide up the time you have between the mandate turns, plus some extra for resetting.
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Martin Wheeler
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WHAt happens if the timer goes off?

For example if they haven’t chosen a Mandate do they (and everyone else) just not get one or is one chosen at random from the 4 available? What if they aren’t the Lotus who technically have all 5 always available?

If they don’t Train quickly enough do they get nothing?

I can’t help but feel that any victory after a player was denied placing down three or four bushi would seem slightly hollow.
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PK Levine
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Cthulhwho wrote:
WHAt happens if the timer goes off?

Basically you get a 5-count to play. If not, then...

A. Pick a random mandate.
B. You get whatever you've already accomplished, which may be nothing.
C. Lift your screen and go to war as it is.

Quote:
I can’t help but feel that any victory after a player was denied placing down three or four bushi would seem slightly hollow.

The idea is that no one should ever get to this point. This isn't the kind of game where it's cool to take 5-10 minutes deciding what to do.
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Martin Wheeler
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Some might say a game of diplomacy, negotiation and strategy isn’t the sort of game where you should be rushed.

It’s fine to say “no one should ever get to that point” but if you truly believe that then there’s no need to set a limit. The very fact there is a limit implies that at some point someone is going to hit it. And at that point you need clear rules in place for “now what?”.

If a player gains an easy victory because his opponent didn’t spend his coin quickly enough, and if that easy history means they got five colours and +20 whilst others only managed +10, and if that leads to his history by 8 points (as I’ve seen happen)...I just feel one of those losing players will feel robbed.

I mean it happens in other games when a weak player hands victory to another player, so it’s not a unique situation. Just something to think about.
 
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Mike Beiter
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I feel you OP. My group suffers from heavy AP.

The way I would handle it is, have a 1 minute timer on standby.

Once a player starts entering AP mode and the mood of the table starts feeling restless, Id then give a friendly warning, "Come on Matt, times ticking away, then flip the timer.

I would sincerely HOPE it doesnt ever come to that as it can be upserting to the AP player.

So I would try and be pre emptive and say, AP prone player, are you going to be able to handle this game with a timer?

If not either please do your best to speed up or perhaps play a different game.
 
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Randy Espinoza
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pkitty wrote:
This isn't the kind of game where it's cool to take 5-10 minutes deciding what to do.
I might not be playing the type of games where is cool to do that.

Regarding the timer: If players are taking too long deciding on mandates you could try passing the remaining 3 to the next player as soon as a mandate is chosen and only on their turn picking the fourth one. That way they could think ahead a bit.

However, is this happening to “most” players in your group? If it’s only one player perhaps a bit of social pressure might suffice.



 
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James J

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What about a point penalty each time someone goes past the timer? And it could penalize them again if they continue well past the timer?

Disclaimer: I'm still waiting on my copy so I have no idea what the point spreads are like. If they are tight then losing a whole point might not be feasible. In that case, you could incur a strike. And a certain number of strikes add up to a point lost.
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Sergio Perez
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Maybe before implementing a timer, consider discussing the effect of taking an inordinate amount of time to make decisions on the rest of the group. It’s possible that your AP-prone players may not recognize how discourteous they are being. Then, discuss some ways they could reduce how long it is taking them to take their turns (a lot of times it comes down to those players not giving enough consideration to future moves until it is already their turn).

I’m a highly competitive player, and I play a lot of games that would be considered AP-inducing, but I always have a personal timer going on inside my head, and if I feel I’m dragging on too long, I will simply go ahead and make a decision, even if I think it’s probably sub-optimal. My desire to win (or more precisely, to avoid losing) is not more important than the enjoyment of the rest of the group.

But hey, if you guys talk it over, and it still doesn’t get better, I’m all in favor of breaking out the timer.
 
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A Frag
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Man, I feel the OP here. I have a few players that suffer from AP in my group. I know some say, “why put a timer in place in a negotiation game”, but excessive AP can really end up sucking the fun out of games for everyone else. When the rest of the players just start making hasty decisions just to get to the end because at this point they don’t care who wins, how is that not just as much a hollow victory for the AP player?

Asking people to make an assessment in a reasonable amount of time is not too much to ask. Allowing players to calculate in their head every single potential outcome of every decision they can potentially make is against the spirit of “a game”. If every player were to do that I couldn’t imagine anyone truly enjoying themselves with the amount of downtime it would create.

Two to three minutes to make a decision in a game should be plenty. If players are unwilling to do that then the group should really rethink whether they want to include those players in certain games... Just my two cents.
 
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Jay M
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I really wish this kind of thing would get more common and openly discussed, and even suggested in the rules. AP is killing some of my game nights. I've played a 3.5 hour game of Whistle Stop.

I wouldn't mind it as much if it were very advanced players in either a tournament setting or a very competitive match. But the biggest AP problems I have are with players playing their very first game of something -- many people I know go all-out to win their very first game, and essentially "think through" all the possible actions on every turn.
 
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