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Subject: Suicide Attack at End of Game rss

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Adam P
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I finally had an opportunity to play Wallenstein over the weekend. Overall, I really enjoyed the game. However, the potential for "suicide attacks" at the end of the game seems problematic to me.

I ended up losing the game that I played because another player (who was in 4th or 5th place to my 2nd) attacked one of my valuable territories in the last round and cost me enough points to lose the game (it had 3 buildings, 2 of which were necessary to give me majority in the territory). If there had been another round in the game, the other player would have never attacked me because he left his own valuable territory exposed (only 1 army plus several buildings) to counter-attack by me and 1 other player. After his attack, he was left with only 1 army in both his original territory and my territory.

I don't question the move by the other player because it was a valid move to maximize his own points, but the move was only made because he had nothing to lose. My position was well-fortified with 10+ armies. He had only a slight advantage on the board (12 or so armies) but the tower had a lot of my armies plus farmers in it. He felt lucky to win with just 1 army left.

Is this type of end move common in this game? Any ideas how to fix it?

I saw a suggestion in one of the other articles for all of the players to turn over their cards and then execute the actions in the proper order. This might have helped slightly because I would have known for certain that the other player planned to attack me (it was the only obvious target from his territory). However, given my level of defense, I don't know if I would have sacrificed another move to fortify even more. Plus, the other player would have probably still attacked even if I added 10 more armies because he had nothing to lose.

One idea that I had was to allow a limited attack of opportunity if a player attacks and leaves a territory relatively undefended compared to his hostile neighbors.
 
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Andrew Martin
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Joe Gamer (#34430), I don't think there's actually anything wrong with the situation at all. If you have a game with an end turn, then this is ALWAYS going to happen - the grab for points. There are ways to counter this to some extent in Wallenstein, and grain revolts at the end of a game can make this risky as well since leaving any province with a single army could potentially lose it. The only real way to eliminate suicide attacks from any warish game is to have a random end of game which is not revealed until a turn is complete. My opinion is that with a reinforce, and two moves available, there are reasonable chances to thwart this type of behavior....but remember, it swings both ways. Depending on the location, attack order, etc, you could have attacked OUT of that province and possibly made it less likely to be attacked (let's say you left 1 army in and after the attack he only had 1 army left)...then you'd be safe. And....the grain shortage has a definite effect on the game...if you end with a 6 shortfall, almost everyone will face revolts, and unless he was attacking out of a province with no buildings, he would have risked losing the original province to a grain revolt.
 
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Noel
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Joe Gamer (#34430),
I agree with Andrew that this isn't a problem but something that you have to expect. Of course there are plenty of ways to prepare for this kind of thing to happen, one of them being that you keep more valuable provinces in the interior of your territory.
My group saw this sort of last turn attacking going on in our first game, but by the second we all figured out that it's better to focus on getting in those key buildings and reinforcing for the inevitable grain shortages and subsequent revolts. We usually have tight games, so anyone is potentially up to be winner and it becames a serious risk to weaken an established province to attack another one, which may or may not work out for you and even if you do win, you have one more 'mouth' to feed.
For whatever reason, we always end up with 6 or 7 grain shortage during the last winter.
 
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Adam P
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Thank you for your comments. I agree that the end of game attack is part of the game and something to be expected. I didn't meant to suggest that the game was broken because of that possibility. Rather, I was wondering whether that sort of attack was commonly decisive in Wallenstein.

It sounds from both of your experience that there are other factors to keep that sort of attack in check (in particular revolts). So I won't judge the game on my exprience, as I otherwise enjoyed the game. It was just very frustrating to lose a close game (between me and the winner) because of a suicide attack by another player that couldn't have won in any case.

In terms of gameplay, I don't think I could have done anything different. Due to starting positions and game developments I didn't have ANY internal territories. Also, the border territory with the multiple buildings was one that I had just taken over. One of my moves in the last turn was to reinforce the territory (which is why I had 10 armies there instead of 5). I couldn't move any more troops there without exposing my other territories to attack, since I went first.
 
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Inno Van
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Don't let neighbors turtle. A few undecisive raids early in the game will stall their out their development power curve to the end of the game. Raid their troop buildups before they grow large, decisive and unpredictable.

Beginning players tend to just hole up and work on fine tuning their economy, which gets completely finished Summer year 2. Then Summer and Fall of year two is a series of chaotic, unpredictable uber-battles with the massive troop build-up.

You should raid one neighbor starting in Fall year 1 with a 2 cube attack. You should continue with the small attacks the rest of the game, which prevents the big build up.

By making early raids you push out their development curve, extending how long it takes to get their economy "finished" out Fall year 2 and so past the end of game.

Turtling until you grow powerful and then striking out with the big army is only one strategy. Early raiding without the expectation that you'll win a territory, just that you'll set back their economy development curve a turn or two, is another.

Bottom line: don't turtle, and don't let other players turtle.



 
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Jacob Lee
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Innovan (#34830),
I tried this strategy starting from the picking of countries at the very beginning of the game. I was playing against three other players who were all picking countries in a corner of the map and then building outwards. My choice of countries was determined by trying to get in behind every player's wall of countries to pose a threat. I spread myself too thinly and with everyone else building themselves up while fighting my country in their zone - I didn't have much of a chance. I wanted to raid other people's smaller countries, but it was I who was getting attacked.

I think that building yourself up and then launching a massive attack is the safest and most effective strategy. And I wish that weren't the case because I'd like to see new strategies being implemented.
 
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Dick Hunt
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Re:Suicide Attack at End of Game
Joe Gamer (#34430),

I won't get to play my first game of Wallenstein until this coming weekend, but I'm experienced with a few other games of this general nature. There's one important thing I've learned: you don't want anyone falling too far behind or getting too far ahead. Keeping somebody from getting way ahead is usually fairly easy because the other players can see them pulling away, and will gang up on the leader to keep him in check. Keeping somebody from falling way behind, however, is usually much harder to see and correct.

There are two very good reasons for keeping the top-to-bottom point spread as small as you can. One you've already discovered--the hopeless trailer has nothing to live for, and therefore nothing to lose. His last few turns are pointless as far as he's concerned, so he can only spoil the game for others by playing a kingmaker role or screwing up the plans of others for no particular reason. "You screwed me over yesterday in El Grande? Well, it's payback time, baby! Down you go!" The second, and even more important reason, is that the game just isn't any fun for the guy who gets trounced. If you want him to like the game rather than vetoing it the next time it's proposed, don't let him hopelessly wallow for the last year and a half of Wallenstein!

Lots of very good games have this problem--El Grande, History Of The World, Cosmic Encounter, even Settlers Of Catan. If you don't want the loser deciding who wins in these games, you'd better help that loser out so that he's got some chance of winning!

In my group, I'm usually the guy who teaches everybody the game. I buy it, play a couple of solitaire games so that I've got the rules down pat, and then teach three or four others how the game is played. As such, I've played a couple of games of Wallenstein by myself. It's actually a lot of fun that way, although planning everybody's actions takes a lot longer than usual. Still, I can play a solitaire game of Wallenstein in about 3 1/2 or 4 hours--pretty good time for a game that normally accommodates four or five players.

Anyway, in one of my solitaire games, it just so happened that everybody's victim in one season was the yellow player. Since it was a solitaire game, there were obviously no grudges being worked out or conspiracies to plot; it's just that each guy's juiciest target happened to be a country owned by the yellow guy. The yellow guy lost his gold-producing country before it could produce, a lesson not lost on me for future games, not to mention warning other newbies to make sure their gold comes from a well-defended country if the gold producing action comes late in the season!

At the end of the summer of the first year, this yellow guy was absolutely screwed. Hardly any countries, hardly any gold, hardly any wheat saved up. And I hadn't even thought of Wallenstein as one of those games where a guy could be completely eliminated! Anyway, the point is that yellow was nothing but a pain in the neck for the rest of the game. It couldn't possibly win, so finding a point for it to keep playing was a real challenge. This obviously wasn't a problem in my solitaire game, but had this sort of thing occurred in a multi-player game--and it easily could, whether by accident or by an evil conspiratorial design by opponents--everybody would just be asking for trouble.

"Hey, Yellow Guy! Screw ME next!"
"NO, Yellow Guy! Screw ME next!"

So I'd strongly recommend, in Wallenstein or any other such game, that people be aware of that hopeless schmuck in last place. It's easier to give him genuinely helpful strategic advice or even direct military/economic assistance so that he has a shot at winning the game than it is to stay out of his way when the kingmaking final round comes along!
 
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