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Subject: Non-adjacent player = no attacking thing rss

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Stephen Gassett
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Can someone clue me in as to the purpose of this rule? I've gone through the posts that touched on this topic, but none of them really answered this basic question. It seems like a really stupid rule - is there something I'm missing here?
 
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Scott Lewis
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Well, part of it is that in, say, a 4-player game, two players are going to have the same "faction". They are required not to be adjacent to each other. This is due to the fact that the same civ cannot fight another player of the same civ - they use the same deck of unit cards.

Thus, probably because it could be "unfair" to those players to have that option removed, they added the restriction to all players; IE, no player ever has more than 2 viable targets. (If it weren't for that rule, the duplicate civs would only have 2 targets, while the other players would have 3).
 
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Anders Pedersen
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It also prevents people from ganging up on a single player.
There is a limit to how many times it's profitable to attack the same player in a row. At some point, there are no more resources worth to steal, compared to your own needs.
If 3+ players could attack the same person, he/she would have no chance at coming back. There would always be a tile or resource someone could use.
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Stephen Gassett
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We played a four-player game recently, and two players had the Egyptians. However, they both had their own full set of cards, and we were playing each player for himself (not teams and not same civ allied). As it turned out, one of the Egyptians was the sole attacker all game, and since the Norse player was not adjacent to him, he got off scot free (not being attacked) all game. It seems I, as the Greek player adjacent to him, got the worst of it, but he also attacked the other Egyptian player who was also adjacent to him.

In light of these facts, can you shed some light on what, if anything, we/he were doing wrong?
 
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Ken Thibodeau
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Its impossible in a 4 player game that the 3 civs are not adjacent to each other. Conversely, the duplicate civs must be facing each other, so they can't attack themselves.

The setup around the table (clockwise) should have looked like this:

Seat 1: E1
Seat 2: G
Seat 3: E2
Seat 4: N

(or swap G / N)
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Brian Pedersen
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Apocryphile wrote:
We played a four-player game recently, and two players had the Egyptians. However, they both had their own full set of cards, and we were playing each player for himself (not teams and not same civ allied). As it turned out, one of the Egyptians was the sole attacker all game, and since the Norse player was not adjacent to him, he got off scot free (not being attacked) all game. It seems I, as the Greek player adjacent to him, got the worst of it, but he also attacked the other Egyptian player who was also adjacent to him.

In light of these facts, can you shed some light on what, if anything, we/he were doing wrong?


Well, who won?
If the guy who kept attacking won, I see no problems with his strategy.
If the Norse player won, I would say the attacking Egyptian player did not play very well. He should have given you guys enough room to be able to fight the Norse. I have often forced other players to attack an unreachable player - "if you don't do anything against "X" right now, you can bet I'll be attacking you next round!".

Also remember this was never meant to be a war-game. Lose a few troops and it is often not worth the prize!

Play the game a couple more times and I am sure you will see there are many ways to manipulate other players, besides attacking.

 
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Stephen Gassett
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andrak wrote:
Apocryphile wrote:
We played a four-player game recently, and two players had the Egyptians. However, they both had their own full set of cards, and we were playing each player for himself (not teams and not same civ allied). As it turned out, one of the Egyptians was the sole attacker all game, and since the Norse player was not adjacent to him, he got off scot free (not being attacked) all game. It seems I, as the Greek player adjacent to him, got the worst of it, but he also attacked the other Egyptian player who was also adjacent to him.

In light of these facts, can you shed some light on what, if anything, we/he were doing wrong?


Well, who won?
If the guy who kept attacking won, I see no problems with his strategy.
If the Norse player won, I would say the attacking Egyptian player did not play very well. He should have given you guys enough room to be able to fight the Norse. I have often forced other players to attack an unreachable player - "if you don't do anything against "X" right now, you can bet I'll be attacking you next round!".

Also remember this was never meant to be a war-game. Lose a few troops and it is often not worth the prize!

Play the game a couple more times and I am sure you will see there are many ways to manipulate other players, besides attacking.



Actually, we never had the opportunity to finish the game, due to one of the players having to leave. The way we were sitting was apparently wrong - the two Egyptian players were seated next to each other on one side of the table, while the Norse and Greek players were seated next to each other on the other side. Since Egyptian no.1 was doing all the attacking, and he (as we were interpreting the rule) couldn't attack the Norse player, I, and to a lesser extent, the other Egyptian, got the full force of his attacks.

This "no attacking of non-adjacent players" rule is apparently designed so that duplicate civs (if they are seated 'properly'), cannot attack each other, but this is also apparently based on the premise that both players of the same civ are also sharing the same deck of civ cards (not operating each with his own complete deck) - am I correct? Personally, I see no reason why players with the same civ cannot attack each other in an "every player for himself" type game, provided both players have a full set of cards and figurines.

This is really the crux of the issue - am I not correct?
 
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Chris
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Hi Stephen,

Simply ignore this rule. I personally never bother with any game which has any rule of this sort. In this case it is easily ignored with no negative consequence.

For non-team games, this will only matter when 4 or more players play. This won't matter in a team game of 4 with 2 teams. In a 6 player game having 2 or 3 teams this might be fun, otherwise scrap this rule there as well.

Chris
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Brian Pedersen
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Apocryphile wrote:

This "no attacking of non-adjacent players" rule is apparently designed so that duplicate civs (if they are seated 'properly'), cannot attack each other, but this is also apparently based on the premise that both players of the same civ are also sharing the same deck of civ cards (not operating each with his own complete deck) - am I correct? Personally, I see no reason why players with the same civ cannot attack each other in an "every player for himself" type game, provided both players have a full set of cards and figurines.

This is really the crux of the issue - am I not correct?


No!

I have played 50+ games. I would never let more than two opponents be able to attack the same player. It would quickly end up with one guy being hit so hard, he will never be able to come back in the game. As the game is, out of the box, even an early defeat can be turned to victory later on. As I have said earlier, there is a limit to how many times it is profitable to attack the same player. This is both in respect to the actual profit you'll gain, but also to game balance. When you defeat an opponent the guy adjacent to him will also have an interest in attacking, as it would usually lead to few, if any, losses. So if every person could attack the player, there would be little left to build on.
With everyone being able to attack anyone, there will always be someone who has an interest in attacking the weakest player. With the game being played as written, there is often an interest in letting the weak player gain some strength, to build up an army that could be used against an unreachable player, or at least prevent him from gaining easy victories.

Letting everyone attack anyone also changes the strategies for using the "Won the last battle" victory card.

This is not a territorial wargame. In those types of games anyone can normally attack anyone, by default. But in effect this doesn't happen. You might not be adjacent on the map to an opponent, or your forces in adjacent areas are not strong enough. In Age of Mythology you have access to your entire army at any time. This is a major difference from wargames. The first player to fall will not be able to come back, if you play the game the way you propose.

I can understand your puzzlement, but there is a reason to the madness. You have only played half a game. Try playing a few more games and you'll see there is a reason why things are the way they are.

On a different note, there are two rules changes that got the OK from the designer. I don't know if you are aware of them, but since they make the game better IMHO, they are worth mentioning:
- Hits are now made on 5+, instead of only 6.
- Victory Cubes, converted by the Temple, can also be taken straight from the Victory Cards.

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Stephen Gassett
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What happens if you follow the rules on attacking as written, as you propose, but one player is still the only one battered? He may be legally battered, but he is battered nonetheless. In the final analysis, it makes little difference whether he is battered by one, two, or three players, if he is consistently attacked. I take your point that there will be increasingly diminishing returns from attacking only one player, but the results will be more or less the same, whoever does the attacking. The real problem with the rule as written is that in a situation where you have one player doing most, or all of the attacking, the player who is not adjacent to him is thanking the gods for his fortunate seat position all game!

I still think your (and by extension, the designer's) logic is based on the premise that all players will do (or should do) about an equal amount of attacking per game, so that things will "even out" all round. In the games I have played (war game or not), this has never been the case. I still think the rule on attacks, as conceived and written, is naive and not backed up by proper playtesting. I think a rule that makes more sense would be for each player to be given a hard limit on the number of attacks he could launch per game (two per player for a four player game sounds about right). This would also have the effect of making each player think before launching an attack.
 
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Scott Lewis
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Apocryphile wrote:
I think a rule that makes more sense would be for each player to be given a hard limit on the number of attacks he could launch per game (two per player for a four player game sounds about right). This would also have the effect of making each player think before launching an attack.

Only two attacks for the ENTIRE GAME? Yikes, that would suck! While the game definitely isn't about fighting, being limited to only TWO attacks would take away a significant portion of the interaction in the game. If a player is pulling ahead in the building department, but you've already used your two attacks, your only recourse is to just hope you can outbuild him.

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Stephen Gassett
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sigmazero13 wrote:
Apocryphile wrote:
I think a rule that makes more sense would be for each player to be given a hard limit on the number of attacks he could launch per game (two per player for a four player game sounds about right). This would also have the effect of making each player think before launching an attack.

Only two attacks for the ENTIRE GAME? Yikes, that would suck! While the game definitely isn't about fighting, being limited to only TWO attacks would take away a significant portion of the interaction in the game. If a player is pulling ahead in the building department, but you've already used your two attacks, your only recourse is to just hope you can outbuild him.



This maybe isn't a great solution either - this was just off the top of my head, but I think what we all can agree on is the utter stupidity of a blanket rule stating players x and z cannot, under any circumstances, attack each other the entire game. This, to my knowledge, is unprecedented in board gaming. I had a hard time believing at first that this was truly what it was saying. shake
 
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Scott Lewis
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I don't know if I agree or disagree with the rule in question here. In the one 4-player game I've played, it wasn't a big deal - nobody attacked unless it served a major purpose, and thus all players were attacked roughly equally.

It's only a problem, in my mind, if one player attacks more than others, and in this game, overzealously attacking is probably not going to help them win.
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Anders Pedersen
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Apocryphile wrote:
The real problem with the rule as written is that in a situation where you have one player doing most, or all of the attacking, the player who is not adjacent to him is thanking the gods for his fortunate seat position all game!

Any player can ruin a good game by playing poorly. That is nothing new in boardgaming. It is not a problem with the rules, it is a problem with the player!

Apocryphile wrote:
I still think the rule on attacks, as conceived and written, is naive and not backed up by proper playtesting.

I think your statement is naive and not backed up by enough playing experience...

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Stephen Gassett
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Well, only time (and players willing to continue playing under this rule) would tell, I suppose, but since I will be playing all future games of AoM sans this rule, I suppose I'll never know...
 
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Apocryphile wrote:
This maybe isn't a great solution either - this was just off the top of my head, but I think what we all can agree on is the utter stupidity of a blanket rule stating players x and z cannot, under any circumstances, attack each other the entire game.


No, we can't all agree on that. The idea that you will think of a better solution off the top of your head than the designer came up with after a great deal of playtesting is, at best, optimistic. I agree with Anders that you should learn the published game thoroughly before you consider tinkering.
 
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Stephen Gassett
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I'll concede that you and Anders may be right - I've only played this game a handful of times, but I'd be curious to know where you are both getting your knowledge about the "extensive playtesting" that Glen Drover purportedly did for this game. Any rule that states, without equivocation, that player x can never attack player z still smacks to me of something ad hoc that was tacked on either after limited playtesting, or through simply not thinking the thing through completely.
 
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Apocryphile wrote:
I'll concede that you and Anders may be right - I've only played this game a handful of times, but I'd be curious to know where you are both getting your knowledge about the "extensive playtesting" that Glen Drover purportedly did for this game.


I recall reading playtest reports, written by testers, not, Glenn, prior to publication. I can't tell you where.

Apocryphile wrote:
Any rule that states, without equivocation, that player x can never attack player z still smacks to me of something ad hoc that was tacked on either after limited playtesting, or through simply not thinking the thing through completely.


The same rule strikes me as something that would only come about as a result of testing. The first instinct would more likely be yours, i.e. to let any player attack any other.


[edit] I'm curious about something. Glenn designed, tested, and published the game, so he obviously had it on his mind for a very long time. Do you honestly think that you've thought more deeply about this than he did?
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Stephen Gassett
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Sphere wrote:
The same rule strikes me as something that would only come about as a result of testing. The first instinct would more likely be yours, i.e. to let any player attack any other.


Agreed, but how much testing before the rule was inserted is the burning question, is it not?

Sphere wrote:

[edit] I'm curious about something. Glenn designed, tested, and published the game, so he obviously had it on his mind for a very long time. Do you honestly think that you've thought more deeply about this than he did?

No, but then I didn't need to, as I didn't design it. It's not as if I just chuck willy-nilly any game rule I don't see a reason for. If it is printed in black and white, I assume that there is a good reason for it unless I see an authorized erratum or addendum for it. However, if a rule appears to me to be transparently ad hoc (at least insofar as the seating arrangement for more than three players dictates it), I feel no qualms about disregarding it unless and until I can prove to my own satisfaction that the rule, or some derivation of it, is indeed necessary.
 
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Apocryphile wrote:
Agreed, but how much testing before the rule was inserted is the burning question, is it not?



More than you have done, I've little doubt of that.


Apocryphile wrote:
It's not as if I just chuck willy-nilly any game rule I don't see a reason for.



No offense, but it sounds to me as if that is precisely what you are doing. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, you are free to play however you like.
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Stephen Gassett
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Sphere wrote:
More than you have done, I've little doubt of that.


Again, it's not my job to playtest it.


Sphere wrote:
No offense, but it sounds to me as if that is precisely what you are doing. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, you are free to play however you like.


I don't chuck rules just because I don't like them or because I think they're inconvenient. In fact, this is the first time I can remember doing so with any game. Ergo...I must believe there to be no small justification for me doing so. If at some point I find that the rule is indeed necessary, I'll start playing by it again. meeple
 
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Well, here's MY take. It has 1 actual game function. It prevents a player with a strong military from being able to beat EVERYone down. true the two players adjacent get PWNT, but that just means they're losers. I dislike "mercy" rules in games. Why? their only function is to cripple the lead player to make their lead less substantial than what they worked for. At any rate, having duplicate Civs fighting each other makes for awkward rules questions. If both units in battle are berserking, do they BOTH die if there's a tie? What about 2 Medusas tieing each other? Sure they're specific examples, but I'm sure there's more that you could come up with.

EDIT: for flavor reasons you could argue that it shows who actually borders who. IE you have a common border with the guy to your left and right but no one else.
 
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Tom Dickson
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I was originally pretty sure it was so the Herc couldn't roll against the Herc, but then I realized his bonus was the base dice.
 
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