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Subject: Modern Art - Problems rss

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Matt Walters
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Hey all, new to the forum.

lawnjob and I were playing Modern Art with my girlfriend roxy last night, and two interesting problems came up. First some background:

* I have played this game twice before and never won, and don't have a great handle on strat yet
* lawnjob has boasted an 70-80% win percentage in games his has played, and has won one of the games I've previously played.
* my girlfriend and I both have dubious but transparent strategy at times.

also, it should be noted that apparently in contrast to the actual rules of the game, we were playing with open money.

the order of play was me, lawnjob, roxy

first problem:

this is at the end of the first round. It's roxy's turn. She 2 kryptos and 3 gitters. lawnjob has 3 christen in front of him, at least two of which he has played, and I believe 2 lite metals. I have 2 kryptos in front of me, 2 lite metals and a gitter. It is known that I don't have kryptos left, since at the previous turn I was unable to close the round with a krypto. Roxy plays a christen, which lawnjob horks up. I play a useless yoko because I have nothing else left, and then lawnjob plays the fifth christen and obtains a (huge for the first round) 100 chip lead heading into round two over both of us. It should be noted that Roxy's play essentially invalidated both her and I's Kryptos. Roxy's rationale for playing the christen was that her other plays somehow helped me and lawnjob more collectively than the christen, although I don't see how it's possible. Essentially if she plays a lite metal it helps both of us equally, and the yoko is essentially a blank card, but she effectively made the worst play in my opinion.

second (and most controversial) play.

this is at the end of the second round.

Bear in mind that at the end of the first round, lawnjob built up a 100 chip advantage and is clearly the best most seasoned player. I'm probably the worst player of the three at this game, but Roxy isn't much better.

Roxy has three lite metals in front of her and two gitters. I have two gitters and two yokos. Lawnjob as three kryptos and two christens. I have in hand 2 lite metals (one doubler), 1 yoko, 1 christen. At this point, my choices are to play a useless yoko which I perceive to be trumped by lawnjobs continued run on kryptos, play one lite metal, or end the turn with a doubler. Lawnjob and I debated this for over an hour last night. Roxy is completely low on cash at this point, down to around 70. Lawnjob has more cash, but also has more paintings. If I play the yoko, I perceive that he will immediately play a krypto to invalidate. My other option, the christen, helps lawnjob, who has already built up a sizable advantage in turn one. I feel as though if I play a christen and he then goes out with a christen he will build up an insurmountable lead. So I make a weird play, playing the double lite metal to end the turn and put roxy in the lead. If I play the yoko, it turns out that Lawnjob would've played a double yoko to end the turn, essentially making roxy cash-poor and so far behind that she couldn't catch up. There was, of course, no way I could have predicted that.

Lawnjob claims that essentially I traded one semi-kingmaking for another, although the with two turns left all I did was put her back in the game. The money was very even between the two of them, with me about 120-130 behind both. However, I essentially did not help myself at all, although roxy's play in turn 1 combined with my card sequence in game 2 rendered me way behind no matter what I did at the end of round 2.

Roxy did end up ultimately winning by a large margin, 510 to 290 to 250, but at the end of turn 3, due to some unfortunate circumstances that were partly Lawnjob and partly circumstantial, the lead was 461-320 roxy vs. Lawnjob. Due to sequencing and some bad play on my part I was never in it.

Looking for feedback on these problems. Thanks!
 
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skrebs
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Could you clarify the "problems"? Not sure I understand.
 
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Matt Walters
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the two plays I mentioned are the "problems" - as in problems to work out, or problematic plays. Sorry for not being clear.
 
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Corey Allen
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Not sure what to tell you. It looks as if your card playing is done well, but you have left out a major aspect of the game: bidding.

If there is a good artist out there and you don't own any of their paintings, you can still auction one off for high dollars. Depending on the bidding strategies of your opponents, you can make a higher profit.

e.g. If lawnjob has 3 christians, you can play a christian and keep the bidding high. If it will most likely be worth $30k at the end of the round, and they pay $20k for it, they make a profit of $10k, but YOU make a profit of $20k. This puts you $10k ahead of the person who won the bid.

If you are at the beginning of a round and someone plays an artist which you have a double to auction later, make sure you win the auciton, and then throw the double immediately. You just increased the value of the painting you just won, and you will get your money back on that double since it makes at least 3 cards out of that artist, and should probably sell for a lot higher than you initially paid for the first one. If you are holding no doubles, but lots of singles from that artist, make sure you lose the bid, and then immediately play a single card of that artist and sell it. Since you are holding a majority of that artist, the other players probably won't be able to play that artist, and it will not make it into the top 1 or 2 places. If statistics is not in your favor and they do play that artist, then make sure it ends in the top 3, and play that artist in the next round(s). Those cards are now worth a lot more money.

Also, try to bid up some of the artists in rounds 2 and 3. If the artist will definitely make it into the top 3 and you have a decent cash pot, do not let anything be taken for below the minimum it will make (e.g. if it lands in 3rd place $10k plus the bonus amount from previous rounds).

Hopefully this will help you out a little bit. I believe that he majority of the game is bidding, and selling high valued cards for the right price. Just get some more plays in and you will be able to better judge the value of cards on the board!

Good Luck!
 
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Eric Nolan
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There is no one correct method to play in Modern Art. What works well depends a lot (almost completely) on the other players.

Problem 1. Depends on how much Roxy got for that Christian P. Sounds like it was a guaranteed 20 and with some people you could sell that for 18-19. Two Kryptos are probably worth 20 so Roxy loses a few points. By not using the Lite Metal to close out she keeps it in her hand to sell in a subsequent turn when it might go for 40+. Worth losing a couple of points on worthless Krypto's now.

Problem 2. If I were you I wouldn't have played the double. I'd have played one Lite Metal to make as much short term money as possible. Playing the doubler and daring everyone else to waste a Lite Metal to end it would be interesting.

The auction type is always interesting. I'll throw out a card I think is probably worthless as a closed auction to see if anyone bites (and perhaps they know something I don't) but I won't put it out as a fixed price auction.

I'll also give up short term profit if it means keeping cards in my hand that will be worth more in the long term. For example if I have 4 Krytpos in my hand and little else then I'll take an opportunity to finish early and with Krytpo winning even if I don't profit because it makes the likely value of my hand in subsequent rounds better compared to everyone else.

In my experience it's common for people to think they understand how MA works but in fact how it works changes depending on how everyone else is playing. Even if you did understand how it works then what the correct card to play also depends on the other cards in hand which is hidden information.
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Tony Chen
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Sounds like pretty poor play by all 3 of you.

Quote:
If I play the yoko, it turns out that Lawnjob would've played a double yoko to end the turn

He would? Wouldn't that leave Yoko first, Gitter second, and Lite Metal third? Lawnjob, with 2 Christians and 3 Kryptos, would do that?

You should've played a Yoko, or a single Lite Metal, or I don't know. But it shouldn't have reached that point in the first place. It's rarely a good idea to start a 4th or 5th artist in a season, and all 5 artists came into play in the first two seasons? Your problems are before that.

Also, you are only looking at it from a buyer's perspective. You need to look at it from the seller's perspective also. It's not about how much money you earn from the ones you bought in seasons one and two, but how much you get from the ones you sell in seasons three and four. I am surprised lawnjob wins 70% of his games failing to do that. And I am sure he failed to do that because he bought his own paintings in the first season.

 
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Teacher Fletcher
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drunkenKOALA wrote:
Sounds like pretty poor play by all 3 of you.

Quote:
If I play the yoko, it turns out that Lawnjob would've played a double yoko to end the turn

He would? Wouldn't that leave Yoko first, Gitter second, and Lite Metal third? Lawnjob, with 2 Christians and 3 Kryptos, would do that?



No, I wouldn't have played a Yoko. I merely said to Wendyfix that I MAY have played a Yoko, or something else if I did not have a Krypto left in my hand. He was trying to argue that he was obligated to play the Double Lite Metal because he had no other play that would hurt me.

In essence, he felt that leaving me with too large a lead after the second round would leave he and Roxy with no chance to beat me.

My argument to him is this: it didn't matter to him if Roxy was effectively eliminated because of her poor play. His only move should have been to increase HIS OWN position against me, not just in the short term during that season, but LONG TERM for the remaining 2 seasons. By playing the Lite Metal he (a) wasted 2 cards for which he received NO MONEY, cards that he could have sold in seasons 3 or 4 for huge profit (b) wasted a double auction card and (c) effectively saved Roxy from putting herself out of contention that turn, and making it a game between himself and I.

My goal in playing the Kryptos that turn was to create a dilemma between Wendyfix and Roxy where they were both invested in artists who would have to jockey for third place. Roxy had purchased a double Lite Metal for me for 30, and then another from herself for the same price. My card play was effectively going to force her to take either a total loss on those paintings or to merely break even on them.

(By the way, I regard the "perfect play" in Modern Art to be two-part (a) sell a painting or paintings to an opponent for a large price, which you then (b) manipulate to make sure those paintings are worth nothing by season's end. Pure profit for you, pure loss for them. This is EXACTLY what I was trying to accomplish, and what he sabotaged by playing the double Lite Metal. In his words, "You were going to run away with the game, so I had to get creative by bringing Roxy back into the game." My argument to him was that MA is not like Risk, you can't "gang up" on a stronger opponent so you have nothing to lose by having one of your opponents cut off at the knees.)

drunkenKOALA wrote:
It's not about how much money you earn from the ones you bought in seasons one and two, but how much you get from the ones you sell in seasons three and four. I am surprised lawnjob wins 70% of his games failing to do that. And I am sure he failed to do that because he bought his own paintings in the first season.



Pardon, but where are you drawing these major conclusions about my play style? It's a pretty elementary concept of MA strategy that you make the most money by selling paintings late in the game.

I would have handily won the game were it not for the kingmaking move by Wendyfix in Round 2. I regard kingmaking as any move that greatly enhances another player's position while not enhancing your own, or worse, by worsening your own. The Double Lite Metal did this.

Even still, I may have won the game anyway were it not for my own boneheaded play in round 3 -- I overinvested in Gitter and got dunked on 3 of them. That's my own fault.

(Final note: Wendyfix underreported my score by 100.)
 
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Andrew of Mathematical Leanings

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In my experience, no lead is insurmountable, especially not 100 chips on the first round. That's more than made up by selling a double Krypto say (after it has a 20-40 behind it), then muscling it out later in the round. Easy. (Actually, it sounds like lawnjob fell into this type of trap, except with Gitter)

From what it sounds like, you guys didn't take into account what you had in your hand when bidding. If you don't have a certain artist in hand, you probably shouldn't pay a whole lot for it.

I've found that in MA average 4p scores are ~ 400s, with good play netting in the 500s, and excellent approaching 600.

With 3 players those tend to go up. where average gets pretty close to 500, and good at 550 and up. As many have said already, it heavily depends on the style of play of your opponents.

With a 3p game with any players sub 300, that tells me you are mostly way overpaying for everything, with a good amount of buying from oneself (thus not introducing much money into the game). ['cause let's say you spend 25 to introduce 30 into the game by buying from yourself, there's only a net of 5 coming into the game. If on the other hand, someone buys your paintings, you get the initial profit of selling from money in circulation, and they get "new" money (assuming it places, of course) from the bank.]

On problem #1, I think Hivemind's got the analysis nailed. playing Christin P may be a great move for Roxy based on the rest of her hand. Sometimes it's in your best interest just to end the round quickly and get things rollin' back around to artists you'd like people to pay more for. Especially if you manage to get first play in the next round out of the deal. (you got to do nothing, Lawnjob ends, and Roxy shapes second round play by her opening move.)

(On your problem #2) I have no idea why you would help an opponent so much. Your Lite Metal's are worth so much more to you in your hand, especially if you, say, slough of a Yoko, and get lawnjob to end the round. You then play the lite metals on the second play of the next round, and you make a ton. There is a good reason why this game should be played closed money. And you deftly illustrate this point by your double Lite Metal play.

In summary, "screw the leader" syndrome is best left to other games!
 
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