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Subject: The Bishop's Important as a Signaling Device rss

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David F
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Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
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We only had 30 - 40 minutes to play a game, so I recommended Scripts & Scribes, one of my favorite quick games. I taught B the game, and refreshed the rules with C.

B picked up a Green early. Then I picked up a Blue, and it was subsequently devalued. I collected more Blue on my turn, but it devalued to 1 at one point. With 4 Blue in my hand, I started throwing Blue to them on my turn, and in a key decision, chose to throw a Blue 2 into the auction pile instead of my hand, allowing me to obtain a 4-Red. I managed to obtain both 4-Reds in the game, because I placed less emphasis on keeping Gold this time. By the time the auction phase started, I was building majorities in Red and Blue, with a stray card in my hand.

At this point, all the colors were at value below 3, except Red, which was at 3. On the last turn in the donation phase, I was given a Bishop +1, and I upped the Red to 4, while telling B, who had picked up a Red 3 a couple turns earlier and upped the value of Red, that the die was mine.

During the auction, B threw away a lot of cards to bid for gold. I thought he was throwing away his holdings in Brown (turns out he was throwing that and Red away). Halfway through the auction phase, I found myself in a very good position, because none of the Red cards came up (I had 10), and the only Blue card that came up was the 2 I had thrown in earlier, and I made sure I obtained it with 5 Gold to have 6 Blue in total. Hence, I sat back, waiting for Bishops, and keeping Gold in reserve just in case Red or Blue came up again. B and C tussled over Black, and engaged in a couple of bidding wars. B was also collecting Green, and I deviously raised his bid from 3 to 4 when a Green 2 was for auction after C had passed. He felt (correctly) that I didn't really want it (I didn't, just wanted to milk more Gold out of him, and pretend I was going for Green too), but he didn't want it falling into my hands with several more cards left in the auction phase, and coughed up 5 Gold for it. C was only aggressive in going for Black. Turns out he had holdings in Brown too, but I didn't detect it, since he let me win many Brown 1s cheaply (which I threw away to bid for Gold).

I faced a tough decision when the 2nd-last card was a Bishop and I had 8 Gold. I bid 5, but C bid 6, and I had to bid all my Gold if I wanted to better his bid and obtain it. I was worried that the last card was again a Bishop or a Red / Blue, and, fresh off my last game where I finished in 2nd place due to the Gold tiebreaker, let him have it. It turned out to be inconsequential, but I really like the surprisingly tough decisions like these S&S hits you with sometimes.

Revelation time. I was surprised to see that B had gotten rid of all his Red. Instead, C had collected 3, 2 and 2 in Red, most probably privately during the donation phase. That was no match for my 4, 4, 2 and I took the red die (worth 3; C devalued it with the last Bishop). The Black die was won by B by a margin of 13-10 or something (worth 2). Green (worth 2) was won by B. C had nothing, while I had a solitary 2, which I obtained in the last auction just in case B's dumping of cards included his substantial stake in Green. Brown (worth 2) was obtained easily with 4 or 5-value by C. I was the only competition, and had obtained 2-3 Brown just in case everybody dumped it (I had figured it would be the "swing" color, since B and C were both spotted taking them during the donation phase), but dumped most of them for Gold anyway. Blue (worth 2) was obtained easily by me with 5 value (I had thrown 1 Blue away late, since I was confident I had it).

Final score:
Me: 5
B: 4
C: 2

This was my first time winning a non-2-player game of S&S (usually, I get tie-broken on both colors I'm going for and get 0 points). This win was a direct effect of me obtaining both red 4-cards face-down in the donation phase, and of the early devaluation of Blue scaring B and C away from Blue, whereupon I slightly upped the value with a Bishop later. and obtained a clear majority in Blue. I'm interested in what would have happened if I hadn't scared B off red, and instead revealed my surprise 10 Red at the end (all obtained face-down). On hindsight, the Bishop devaluation of Blue early helped me a lot in the game, while the Bishop appreciation of Red mid-late hurt me, but not enough to cancel out the effect of the Blue Bishop. Those two things had looked like they were doing the exact opposite thing at the time of play!

This was a less-tight game than usual, in that I was very confident about how I stood relative to the others just halfway into the auction phase. I think it's because all 3 of us were on the risk-averse sides, and tried to build on our already-solid majorities in just 2 colors (me: Red/Blue, B: Green/Black, C: Black/Brown/Red, but little play in the auction phase). Other games I've played were very surprising in the end, as the players cut it very close in terms of obtaining majorities in as many colors as possible.
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Tony Chen
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Actually, I was going for the Black and Green from the beginning, and never really changed my plan. I never meant to go for the Red. I upped Red one value during the draft phase, but that was just a bluff. And what scared me away from Blue wasn't its value, but that I thought you had it sealed. Even if you were throwing Blues out, I had zero in my hand so it wasn't going to do it for me anyways. I also thought Grant had Brown sealed. I didn't really know who had Red, so I upped that instead of Blue or Brown, so you guys could fight for it. Another option would've been to up my own, like the Green or Black but I didn't want to become a target of either further devalues, or competition for majority. But in the end I may have outsmarted myself there. A straight up boost on my own colors may have just ended up being better.

I knew you just wanted to milk more out of me for that Green. But the thing is, I thought Grant was fighting for Green also, so I really wanted that Green. And here's the catch, if I let you have it, you will have to take it, even if you didn't want to, because you couldn't retract your bid by the rules. I mean, if it was legal for you to retract your bid, I'd just let it go and let you have it. Or, if it were a two player game, I'd just let you have it, because it hurts you no less than it hurts me. But in a 3 player game it hurts both of us more than it hurts Grant, so I had to up my bid even though I knew I was saving both of us.

This is the funny thing about game theory, the fact that you are in a weaker position (cannot retract your bid) actually helps you sometimes. There's another example of 3 players voting on 3 candidates for a president, and they each favor respectively ABC, BCA, CAB. And the guy favoring ABC decides in case of a tie. You'd think with that advantage he'd be able to get A elected, but it's actually C (I think) who will get elected. Another example is this old chinese story, about how a general sunk his own ships upon landing on enemy territory, so there's no possibility of a retreat.
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David F
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Luck in games, in measured doses, is the catalyst which enables shocking game-changers that you'll remember and talk about forever.
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Let the Lord of Chaos rule.
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Surprising to see it from your point of view. I like how everybody has such different information sets.

I bid on that Green 2 (and didn't mind paying for it), because I was set and had a surplus of Gold, and just wanted to screw around and create some uncertainty about Green.
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Tony Chen
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Yeah Scripts and Scribes is great for reports like this from different views.
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