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Subject: Perceived leader hindering? rss

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Archibald Zimonyi
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Hello all,

I am working on a game idea I have and find myself wondering how much one should be able to hurt other players while playing. The game is meant to me more strategy/decision heavy with as little luck involved as possible.

For example in Puerto Rico, basically every action you take should be better for you then for the other players (at least in the perfect world). If a player is leading (or at least it looks like it) one can sometimes force that player to be part of an action (like shipping) that would not give him so many victory points and thus would be bad for that player.

Now in Puerto Rico this is fairly balanced, and I have not seen too much of the bash-the-leader syndrome (at least not effectively), but my initial ideas for my own game seem to include a few such possibilities. So my question is, should I allow such behavior and simply accept that the leader will be bashed upon or should I maybe make it possible to counter said bashing (by a function in the game that allows you to block the bash attempt) or should I maybe restrict the bashing to once or twice per round, or should I restrict the bashing altogether?

An example would be that on a certain areas one can put counters. It is good to have counters in the areas. So an effect could be to remove a counter. If someone is in the lead, others would probably want to remove the leader's counters. Thus, the player who is in the lead would probably not be too happy, especially if this continues for more then one round (at which time he might not be the leader anymore).

Any points of views are interesting to hear.

Archie
 
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Pete Belli
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Quote:
An example would be that on a certain areas one can put counters. It is good to have counters in the areas. So an effect could be to remove a counter. If someone is in the lead, others would probably want to remove the leader's counters.


One suggestion: rules that allow a player to zap! another player should offer the player being zapped! some options when formulating a response.

Example: One player hits another player with a "Revolt" card in a civilization game. Instead of allowing the player to magically zap! enemy counters the player suffering the revolt should have a few limited choices. In some regions this revolt might be contained and in other areas the revolt would be successful.

This adds more opportunity for decision making (always a plus) while still allowing other players to zap! the perceived leader.

Good Luck with your game!
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Robert Sweeney
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Quote:
I have not seen too much of the bash-the-leader syndrome (at least not effectively), but my initial ideas for my own game seem to include a few such possibilities.


"Leader Bashing" is, IMHO, a legitimate game balancing function. The simple ability to impede the leaders progress even if it does not immediately help the individual performing the action allows all players a chance to prepare, defend or "catch up" to the Leader. It should be the compliment that it is - you are leading, you are wearing the target, you must try harder to stay in front. NOTHING is more boring than playing a game where once a player gets ahead, nothing (except perhaps sheer stupidity) will cause the player to lose. Now, I will admit, "Leader Bashing" can be taken to extremes ("If I can't win, I'll do my best to make sure you won't either!") but can you imagine playing Diplomacy without that "threat" in your arsenal? I feel that most of the "Leader Bashing" complaints is simply poor sportsmanship - "I can't win because of you so I will do anything I can to hurt you even if it doesn't help me...". Every loss is a learning experience, every victory should be fought for, Every game should be a joy to play and competition is where it is at. So, if I am the "victim" of "Leader Bashing" - I will take it for the compliment that it is - I have shown ability to manipulate the game system, I have taken better usage of available resources and I am winning --- "Come and Knock me Down!".
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Alexander Belyakov
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I hate collective leader-bashing, but that is because I simply cannot make myself be second. I always grab the points when I can, and paint the target on my back, instead of smartly staying on second-third place for the entire game, and then grabbing the lead in the end. So, despite my hatred for it, leader-bashing is a perfectly viable option.

What I really hate, though, is kingmaking, when a person who is clearly losing the game becomes the decision-maker and through his actions, instead of trying to at least get as many points as possible, starts screwing one of the leaders, thus helping someone else. The worst thing is when this is done for personal reasons or out of sheer boredom (I don't care what's going on here, so I'll just kill this and that for fun's sake).
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Archibald Zimonyi
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Thanks for your feedback so far.

In response to Pete Belli:

Yes, that is one way of doing it and was suggested (althought maybe obfuscated) in my original post. To allow the possibility to deflect or diminish the effect of a bashing.

In response to Robert Sweeney:

I agree with you, but the point of this thread is to see which version people would like to see most. Being bashed as the leader is indeed a compliment of sorts but it should not ruin the rest of your game because you chose to lead early on. I do not like runaway-leader problems either. It should either not happen (meaning everyone plays at the same level and only bad play by the rest creates a winner) or should be allowed to happen but also be able to be controlled (leader bashing or other in-game functions).

When it comes to leader bashing I do not want one player to be the target for too long, and might go from being leader to being last. That will only create a new leader the next round and then the game tends to be played round the bash-the-leader all the time.

In response to Alexander Belyakov:

I do not really see kingmaking as a problem in my game, and also the title thread is "Perceived leader" for a reason. The idea is that one collects victory conditions during play, and it should not be obvious who is leader or winning, but people might still want to bash someone they think is leading.

Archie
 
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David Larkin
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I like games where being the leader comes with a disadvantage rather than where the leader is targeted by the other players.

For example in Power Grid the leader (the one with the best power station) builds last so can't grab the best spots. They also buy fuel last so have to pay more for it.This can produce difficult decisions where one has to weigh the advantage of a good power station over the disadvantage of being the leader and can result in everyone jostling to stay behind each other until they judge it is the right time to dash for the finish.

 
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Matthew Kloth
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You can always obfuscate who is actually the leader.
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Pete Belli
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Quote:
You can always obfuscate who is actually the leader.


An excellent suggestion.

"Hidden" victory points are an extremely useful element in multiple player strategy games.
 
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Christopher Todesco
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pete belli wrote:
"Hidden" victory points are an extremely useful element in multiple player strategy games.


In my opinion completely hidden VP is actually not as good as "partially" hidden VP. It's nice to have some kind of clue as to how the other players are doing... Plus if you combine completely hidden VP with end-game conditions that happen without any warning, the game's going to feel too random and will hinder strategy.

You were right on when you use Puerto Rico as a good example. There is a good balance between picking an action that gives you pluses vs picking an action that gives your opponents (especially a perceived leader) some minuses. You have to pick the action that you think will give you the most overall gains, and although it's usually better to pick what gives you the most points, there are many situations where you get the most advantage by picking what will hurt your opponents more. But also note that in most cases, picking those harmful actions don't necessarily target one player, and in doing so you're often helping yourself AND harming other players at the same time. Contrary to "leader bashing" games, where many of the actions solely target one individual.

If you restrict bashing altogether, you risk the "multiplayer solitaire" label. Decide for yourself if that's something you want, but most players want some sort of interaction between players.
 
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Archibald Zimonyi
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Hello all,

again, thanks for your input.

As for hiding victory points, I have already planned on using that since the victory conditions will not be present when the game starts but will be drawn as the game goes along.

Also, partially showing victory points could be done in the fashion that the earlier one shows a victory condition the more points it garners (but at the same time shows who is currently in the lead). So while everyone could show their victory conditions late in the game (in order to keep them secret and not be bashed upon) it would give them less points.

Archie
 
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Frank McNally
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Hidden victory points can either be random (pick a VP marker of random value) or fixed values. In the former case if the randomness is large it creates a large random effect that may not be desirable. In the latter case it creates the annoying decision of whether you wish to play a memory. In PR it is really not too hard to keep a running tally of 4 numbers in your head, at which point your hidden VPs are open VPs. This that are trackable with a small efoort are annoying to keep secret since I get annoyed with myself when I do not make such an effort but find tracking such minutia tedious at times.
 
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Archibald Zimonyi
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FrankM wrote:
Hidden victory points can either be random (pick a VP marker of random value) or fixed values. In the former case if the randomness is large it creates a large random effect that may not be desirable. In the latter case it creates the annoying decision of whether you wish to play a memory. In PR it is really not too hard to keep a running tally of 4 numbers in your head, at which point your hidden VPs are open VPs. This that are trackable with a small efoort are annoying to keep secret since I get annoyed with myself when I do not make such an effort but find tracking such minutia tedious at times.

Since I want it to me more strategy then luck I have no intention of adding any random values in the sense that you draw a card and it gives instant victory points.

The victory points are rewarded once a victory condition is filled (which is the card you draw). This victory condition might give different victory points for different cards but will also cost more to succeed (hence you need to work harder for more points).

An example could be that one certain card might cost 1 money to get 1 victory point. Another card could be cost 3 money to get 4 victory points. So more cost give more effect, but of course it might be harder to achieve the more cost.

Archie
 
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Jeremy Holcomb
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I feel that it is important to make a distinction between leader bashing/Hate, and doing things that are better for you relative to other players.

Puerto Rico lets you take actions that are ideally better for you than the other guy, but the 'leader' still gets to do stuff. Yes, you should try to trade when the trade house will fill up before he can sell. Yes, you should ship to force him to ship less loot, but the player is never losing points.

The economist in me may not like it, but people in the real world view:

I gain 3 points, you gain 1 point

and

I gain one point, you lose 2 points

differently, even in a two player game. I find players and playtesters are often drawn to something like:
I gain 5 points, my enemy gains 3
Even when an option for
I gain 3, my enemy gains 0
can be had.
(see 1870: Railroading across the Trans Mississippi from 1870 for many many oportunities to watch people fail this math check).

If you want true hate, look at a game like Ca$h 'n Gun$. Think someone is beating you? Shoot them.

Thinking about which type of hate you want to support is an important game design decision.

As a side note, I hate multiplayer games where you have some option to shoot the leader thru your own foot: Costing them points/options/whatever, but not gaining anything for yourself directly. This just results in a net gain for other players. It's great in a two player game (where your lost is my gain), but if that's the best I can do in a multiplayer game I tend to wish for different options from the game designer.
 
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Archibald Zimonyi
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Jeremy Holcomb wrote:
As a side note, I hate multiplayer games where you have some option to shoot the leader thru your own foot: Costing them points/options/whatever, but not gaining anything for yourself directly. This just results in a net gain for other players. It's great in a two player game (where your lost is my gain), but if that's the best I can do in a multiplayer game I tend to wish for different options from the game designer.

I totally agree, which is also the point of this thread. I wanted to know what degree people would think bashing be allowed.

I have already, simply because I am constantly re-thinking game flow, made some adjustments to make game play smoother and less bashing. Any bashing that is allowed should also be able to be countered in some way.

The reason I started the thread is that I want it to be a game that can be played with many people (up to 10 at the moment) and I don't want bashing (since each player has many opponents) to be a very big part of how to deal with any potential leader(s).

Archie
 
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