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Subject: Objective: Two players must survive rss

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Kristian Thy
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We played our first game of Nemesis yesterday - a 5-player affair with two characters killed by AliensIntruders, one character killed by waking up on Venus after hyperjumping, and two winners reaching Earth via escape pods.

Overall we had a pretty positive experience with some seat-of-the-pants combat (somewhat lopsided since the second intruder out of the bag was the queen, who proceeded to hang out near the cockpit) and gleeful backstabbing (who needs a pilot anyway when you can't reach the driver's seat?).

The only drop of wormwood was that one of our players only participated for some 45 minutes out of three hours playing time. He had the Objective that says "Two players must survive" and deduced - correctly, in the opinion of our group afterwards - that his best chance of winning was to get off the ship as soon as possible and then hope that the one of the other four idiots made it out alive. As we found the Hatch Control and an Evacuation Section during the first two turns, he was provided with a quick way off the ship and promptly made use of it. While he won in the end, it didn't make for the best gaming experience.

Any other players out there who've had this Objective and care to share their thoughts on it? We're pretty sure we'll remove it from the deck in the future.
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Russ Williams
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turbothy wrote:
one of our players only participated for some 45 minutes out of three hours playing time. He had the Objective that says "Two players must survive" and deduced - correctly, in the opinion of our group afterwards - that his best chance of winning was to get off the ship as soon as possible and then hope that the one of the other four idiots made it out alive.

That sounds funny to me and clever of the player.

Surely this calls for a poll...
Poll
How would you feel if this happened?
Ha, that's awesome!
Boo, that's lame!
      75 answers
Poll created by russ
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Paul C
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turbothy wrote:
one of our players only participated for some 45 minutes out of three hours playing time.

Unless they didn't have time to play any longer, or they enjoy spectating, or they don't like paying, or they played something else in the meantime... that doesn't sound very smart.
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Paul Nugent
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I think you could look at this in a couple of ways;

#1 Competitive - You don't really care about the ride, it's just important that you win.

#2 Role Play/Thematic - Sure you'd like to win, but you like to have fun playing, it's not about where you are at the end of the game.

I tend to fall into category #2. For example, I DM when playing Imperial Assault to ensure the Rebels are having a good time. I play Talisman for the sheer epicness of a 6-hour ride, not really caring who ends up winning.

Nemesis (for me) falls into the latter. Sure I could escape in Round 4 after 45 mins of play and not die, but is that going to be fun for me? Is winning the real point of this game? Or with so many ways to lose, is it actually about creating stories along the way?
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Kristian Thy
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It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.
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Russ Williams
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turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.

But people's reaction whether something is "fun" or not is subjective. E.g. there are people who think it's no fun in Carcassonne that someone can "steal their city" and play such that no one ever steals control of "someone else's" city. I don't think this proves that the Carcassone city scoring is bad design.

If everyone in your group clearly agreed that this session was not fun, so be it. But certainly some (other) players would have different reactions.

(It seems similar to debates about player elimination, which some people hate and claim is objectively bad design, while other people are perfectly happy with and claim is perfectly valid and good design.)
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Stephan Close
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I understand why he played that way...AND it worked.
But a little bit of role playing would work wonders.
The goal is to make sure 2 other players survive, that is the characters motivation. Would it help by sitting alone in an escape pod, or would the character rather fight side by side with the other characters?

There is no right or wrong here.
But there is a matter of fun and no fun.
I'd rather go down in a blaze of glory after 3 hours of play, than winning but having nothing to do after 45 minutes.
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Kristian Thy
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russ wrote:
turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.

But people's reaction whether something is "fun" or not is subjective.


Of course. That's why I wrote "in my book".

russ wrote:
If everyone in your group clearly agreed that this session was not fun, so be it. But certainly some (other) players would have different reactions.


Four of us found the game quite fun. Five of us agreed to remove the Objective from the game in the future.
 
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Frank Calcagno
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I would not call it bad game design. It simulates the choices people make in a situation like that. Simulating a coward bailing out to save his/her skin is something a person may very well do. If that is their decision, so be it...they choose to lose out on game play. That person could have just as easily stuck around to try to protect a second crew mate...

This shows how the game simulates two completely different strategics that could lead to winning the game.
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Kostas K.
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turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.


The player in question wasn't being hyper-competitive as Paul's post suggests. A hyper-competitive player would try to make SURE that he wins, wherever that gets him in the end. Instead he bailed, leaving it up to the rest of the players to decide if he wins or loses. He basically decided that sitting out for two and a half hours and having his win/loss be decided by a coin toss was more appealing than playing for three hours with a (again let's say) 20% chance of winning. So it seems that he basically did not want to play that much.
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Justin Strzyzewski
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turbothy wrote:
russ wrote:
turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.

But people's reaction whether something is "fun" or not is subjective.


Of course. That's why I wrote "in my book".

russ wrote:
If everyone in your group clearly agreed that this session was not fun, so be it. But certainly some (other) players would have different reactions.


Four of us found the game quite fun. Five of us agreed to remove the Objective from the game in the future.


I personally think your jumping to conclusions. Hatch control isn't always in the game, and hatch and escape pods may not be right next to each other in the future. I cant see myself removing something or house ruling after 1 game.
 
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Nick Szegedi
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An easy "work around"... make a variant/rule that you can't leave via escape pod before "X" turns... not sure what that number is (haven't played yet!)

Thoughts?
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Bram Kok
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My quick fix would be that you have to survive together. Either both on the Nemesis or both in the same pod.
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Rocco Luigi Tartaglia
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StephanClose wrote:
I understand why he played that way...AND it worked.
But a little bit of role playing would work wonders.
The goal is to make sure 2 other players survive, that is the characters motivation. Would it help by sitting alone in an escape pod, or would the character rather fight side by side with the other characters?

There is no right or wrong here.
But there is a matter of fun and no fun.
I'd rather go down in a blaze of glory after 3 hours of play, than winning but having nothing to do after 45 minutes.


That's what happened in our last play session!
Another player had the objective "2 player must survive" and he started following me and helping me, making sure I'll survive and I'll escape in a pod with him (while I was carrying the blue corps to give him a proper burial!)

It was really fun!
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kostool13 wrote:
turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.


The player in question wasn't being hyper-competitive as Paul's post suggests. A hyper-competitive player would try to make SURE that he wins, wherever that gets him in the end. Instead he bailed, leaving it up to the rest of the players to decide if he wins or loses. He basically decided that sitting out for two and a half hours and having his win/loss be decided by a coin toss was more appealing than playing for three hours with a (again let's say) 20% chance of winning. So it seems that he basically did not want to play that much.


This 100%.
That guy did a really dumb strategy. He should have stayed on the ship manipulating the ship so all but one would die and then helping that guy escape.
Instead he just left it to lady luck.
Terrible strategy.
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Russ Williams
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
That guy did a really dumb strategy. He should have stayed on the ship manipulating the ship so all but one would die and then helping that guy escape.
Instead he just left it to lady luck.
Terrible strategy.

No, then there'd just be a different thread complaining about him ruining people's fun, by intentionally causing some players to die...
 
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Will
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
kostool13 wrote:
turbothy wrote:
It seems to me the Pauls are essentially saying the same thing: that you wouldn't play to win if it made the game less fun. It's a fair point, but in my book it's also a symptom of bad game design.


The player in question wasn't being hyper-competitive as Paul's post suggests. A hyper-competitive player would try to make SURE that he wins, wherever that gets him in the end. Instead he bailed, leaving it up to the rest of the players to decide if he wins or loses. He basically decided that sitting out for two and a half hours and having his win/loss be decided by a coin toss was more appealing than playing for three hours with a (again let's say) 20% chance of winning. So it seems that he basically did not want to play that much.


This 100%.
That guy did a really dumb strategy. He should have stayed on the ship manipulating the ship so all but one would die and then helping that guy escape.
Instead he just left it to lady luck.
Terrible strategy.


Unless they've changed the card verbiage, I'm pretty sure the objective requires that at least two players must survive, not exactly two players. At high player counts, immediately bailing if the opportunity presents itself is probably the right strategic choice for that objective, though not a particularly fun one.
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Veliks Bigkowski
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Yes "at least 2 players must survive". He could have tryed two save everyone to highten his chance of winning, but there is absolutely no problem with his approach. Everybody is allowed to finish the game the way he likes it the most.
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Kristian Thy
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Veliks wrote:
He could have tryed two save everyone to highten his chance of winning


The longer you stay on the ship, the bigger the chance of dying. If you die you lose, even if the other four people survive. If you're strictly looking at maximising your chances of winning, it makes perfect sense to get the hell outta Dodge.
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Trevor Taylor
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I think that unless this player was at a high risk of not surviving, it was essentially leaving their chance of winning solely in the hands of another player (or players). I play a game to win, of course. But I like to give myself the best chance of winning and have agency over my win. This player essentially handed all responsibility over their victory to another player...seems pretty silly to me.
 
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Will
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negatrev wrote:
I think that unless this player was at a high risk of not surviving, it was essentially leaving their chance of winning solely in the hands of another player (or players). I play a game to win, of course. But I like to give myself the best chance of winning and have agency over my win. This player essentially handed all responsibility over their victory to another player...seems pretty silly to me.


Assume each player has a 50% chance of surviving if they play the game out. If you can immediately leave the ship without infection, you are guaranteed to survive, and guaranteed that at least one player survives. In a four player game, there is a 7/8 chance that at least one other player survives. That's up to 15/16 in a five player game. If you play the game out rather than escaping immediately, both of those odds are halved because you also have to survive, too. Statistically, it's a no-brainer.
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wpflug13 wrote:
negatrev wrote:
I think that unless this player was at a high risk of not surviving, it was essentially leaving their chance of winning solely in the hands of another player (or players). I play a game to win, of course. But I like to give myself the best chance of winning and have agency over my win. This player essentially handed all responsibility over their victory to another player...seems pretty silly to me.


Assume each player has a 50% chance of surviving if they play the game out. If you can immediately leave the ship without infection, you are guaranteed to survive, and guaranteed that at least one player survives. In a four player game, there is a 7/8 chance that at least one other player survives. That's up to 15/16 in a five player game. If you play the game out rather than escaping immediately, both of those odds are halved because you also have to survive, too. Statistically, it's a no-brainer.


Except that's not statistical at all, since you've assumed a 50% chance of surviving which is very unlikely to be the case. Beside the fact that actions of the players (and the game system) will constantly affect those odds and other players might simply implode on one-another. I actually doubt the game has a 50% survival rate for players anyway.

But again. Even if that WAS the case. You are still deciding 'I'm not going to bother playing the game, I'm instead going to solely put my chances of winning in the hands of the others players actions'.
If I had to simply trust other players to survive, or could lower my chance of survival slightly, but help increase the chances of another player surviving, I know what I will choose. In fact, you could outright tell another player you think isn't 'out to get you' that you will stick with them and help them achieve their goal.
 
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Will
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You can pick whatever survival percentage you want; you'll always be better off leaving immediately with a guaranteed survival. Call it 80% chance of survival. You've got a 99% chance that at least one of the other players survives. Your chances of winning drop to 79% if you play the game out. You can certainly increase those odds by smart play, but you're not going to beat 99%.

I'm not arguing that it would be fun or that I'd do that, but if you really want to maximize your odds of winning, it's the right play.
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Aaron Bredon
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wpflug13 wrote:
You can pick whatever survival percentage you want; you'll always be better off leaving immediately with a guaranteed survival. Call it 80% chance of survival. You've got a 99% chance that at least one of the other players survives. Your chances of winning drop to 79% if you play the game out. You can certainly increase those odds by smart play, but you're not going to beat 99%.

I'm not arguing that it would be fun or that I'd do that, but if you really want to maximize your odds of winning, it's the right play.


Try these odds:
If you stay, each of the 5 characters has a 50% chance of survival
If you leave, you survive, and each of the remaining characters has a 10% chance of survival.

If you stay you have a 47% chance of winning.
If you leave, you have a 34% chance of winning.

Since your leaving affects the chance of other players surviving, you have to have a separate % survival once you leave.
In reality, your leaving probably won't have enough of an effect to actually make staying the logical choice, but it is possible to have a situation where it is (fire problems and you are the mechanic).
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Will
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That scenario would require the game to be incredibly dependent on player count. It's not. You're basically saying that the odds of survival in a four player game are 10% while the odds of surviving in a five player game are 50%.
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