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Subject: Ending the game as a loser rss

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Todd Moon
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I've been playing Dominion a lot recently. It's a new game to my circle of friends, and I had the chance to play it a lot over the long weekend. In our first game, a player who had no chance of winning ended the game by buying out the third pile of cards. In a later game, I was in the same position. I was certainly going to lose, but among the two other players in the game (3-player game) we had no idea who was winning. So I let them duke it out and let one of them decide when to end the game by buying the last card.

Does this situation occur often in your games? Where a losing player can end the game at will and does so, causing a "random" player to win?

For some reason it doesn't feel right. In most other games you win by earning enough points (Catan), or when all the game resources are depleted (Carcasonne), or a fixed number of turns (Kingsburg), or when all other players are defeated.

It seems unusual that a losing player can end the game with relative ease. Which means that the person who has the most VP cards at that time wins, when, if given enough time, some other player might pull the game around and win. Normally, the players who are all in the running to win are fighting their hardest to ensure their victory and no one wants to end the game until they are sure they are winning.

I just don't like sore losers deciding when all the other players should stop playing and buy out 5 of some cheap, useless card just to end the game.

What are your experiences with this potential outcome?
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Ian Klinck
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I don't have a problem with it. You've only got this opportunity if the game is close to being over, anyway - it's probably not going to get around to you again.
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Everett Scheer
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This problem is not applicable in 2 player.

In more than 2 player, I don't find it to be a problem. It's one of the things you have to consider when playing the game... when will the game end? Not buying out and ending the game is just as determining. By buying or not buying you are influencing the game. I'd even say for the person in last, buying the last card might be the best play for them, if they are just going to fall further behind.
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Jon
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ToddMoon wrote:
I just don't like sore losers deciding when all the other players should stop playing and buy out 5 of some cheap, useless card just to end the game.

What are your experiences with this potential outcome?


I don't think Dominion is unique in allowing any given player ending the game. A number of games in groups I play with end like this.

If you think you are losing ground ending it before you lose more ground seems like a fine strategy to me.

Reguarding Dominion specifically, the game sets up, tears down, and plays fast enough that ending the game and starting a new one you have a better chance at is not frowned upon among my friends.
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Tom Dickson
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Puerto Rico has a similar mechanism.
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Jorge Montero
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It's common in quite a few games: A player chances of winning are nil, but they can trigger an end game condition.

If the player that is behind has no chance of winning, or requires such an unlikely sequence of events that he cannot really expect to win, triggering the endgame condition is fine with me, especially in a game with an economic progression of some sort: If he can't really get closer to the lead, why should he try to keep the game going?

Now, if the situation leads to an obvious kingmaking situation, where it's known that one more turn gives the win to Andy, but ending the game now gives the win to Ben, it's an issue of group etiquette. If playing with strangers, I'd actually ask them, right there an then. With most people I play with, the right answer tends to be 'do whatever gives you the smallest point differential with the leader', with most of the time is triggering the the end game early.
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Adam Smiles
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First, the issue is not unique to Dominion.

As long as all players are trying to play well, then it's all good.

As long as you are trying to score victory points, or making moves that will increase your score or decrease the victory margin, then I don't have a problem with it.

If you're ending the game just to end your losing, then it's a problem. But if you're ending the game because it means you lose by 12 instead of 26,then I don't have a problem.

There's also a situation where one player is winning and counting on your attempt to score points will also end the game. By not buying the last estate/duchy/province you are actually deciding the winner.
 
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Jeff Thompson
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Play for money.

At $5 a point behind the loser, you'll be able to dictate everyone's motivation, "get as close to the winner as possible" before the end of the game.

If $5 is not enough, make it $10 or whatever makes it "interesting".

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Kevin Cachia
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Actually, I am pleased with how this functions in Dominion. If I am contending for the lead, I have to consider the size of the piles, and the possibility that the game could end at such-and-such a point. To me, it is a required part of planning for the endgame, having a sense of how much time is left.

As someone in a losing position, I think it's great to have a way to trigger the endgame without having to directly decide who wins. What I really hate in those situations is being in a position where I cannot win, but how I play will swing the victory in one player's favor or the other.

You could argue that kingmaking exists in Dominion, but I don't see me ending the game in the same light as, for example, deciding which of the 2 leaders to hit with the Robber in Settlers (there are better examples, I'm sure). In too many games, a loser has to target one of the leaders and make a specific decision who to help. Emptying piles is non-targeted, and I guess that's a big difference to me.

And as the leader, if the game ends sooner than I was hoping, I know it can happen, I can see it coming, and I really wouldn't consider that a case of a "random" person winning.

I can understand why it would bother you when this happens, I'm not totally unsympathetic, but I would suggest the best response would be to load up on victory points a little sooner next time, so when someone ends the game, you're victorious. Might not be so irritating then.
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Todd Moon
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Thanks for all the replies! You made me see it in a new light. I don't think I'll be bothered by it in the future.
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Kevin Bourrillion
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asmiles wrote:
If you're ending the game just to end your losing, then it's a problem.


I totally disagree; I think it's a perfectly rational course of action! It would be irrational to pass up an opportunity to "put yourself out of your misery".

Besides which, if you can't win, you seem to agree that the next most logical goal is to minimize the number of points that you'll lose by. Clearly the other players have superior decks to yours, so each additional round is likely to just widen the gap further.

Remember, the other players did their share too toward getting things to the point where a single card buy can end the game.

But then, I've just never been annoyed by the "kingmaking" problem anyway.
 
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Myke Madsen
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The answer depends on what value you place on finishing second versus finishing last. It also matters whether you care about losing by 2 or losing by 20.

There can be such big point swings in Dominion that I don't really care anymore about margin of victory. Someone could win by 10 points but both sides could accurately say it was a close game.

Assuming that you don't care about margin of victory and you don't care about placing, why would you ever end the game unless you think you're ahead?

 
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David desJardins
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HappyProle wrote:
Assuming that you don't care about margin of victory and you don't care about placing, why would you ever end the game unless you think you're ahead?


To play the next game?
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Mayday Games
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I don't see what the big deal is about ending the game as a loser. I know most of my game group STARTS each game as a loser and will be a loser long after the game is over. Ending the game that way is no big let down for any of us!

Seriously though I don't see this happening at all in the way described in most games of Dominion. Generally the ending condition is the Provinces running out and not 3 piles of cards. That may not be the case in games with the Gardens or some others but 95% of the time our games end by the Provinces going. In that case the losing player still feels its in his/her interest to end the game by getting the last one because thats a likely 12 point swing. If they get the Province they get 6 more points on their final score but if they don't get the final Province it's possible the winner will get it on their next turn. Why leave it to them to have 6 more points and you 6 less? Buy away I say!

Of course you could just look around the table and see who started as a loser, at least you COULD win the next game, while they will still be losers.
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Konrad Anft
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Tompy wrote:
Play for money.


That is, in my opinion, not the way to go.
If you can't motivate your friends to play a "tight" game without aiming for a financial upside, you certainly should look for a different round of gamers.

A board- or a cardgame's play should solely be motivated by the willingness of the participating players to play it for fun.

We have enough money-problems with our hobby (buy more games, get more parts to expand games, buy more games), that we don't need to get the fun-destroyer "money" into the playtime as well.


I would never play a board- or a cardgame for money.


Thats my two cents... sorry, if I sounded a bit uptight - but I have strong feelings on this topic.


PS: Playing for money may also be illegal in your country of residence.
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David desJardins
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pidaysock wrote:
PS: Playing for money may also be illegal in your country of residence.


I doubt it. Can you give an example? Where are chess, backgammon, and bridge tournaments illegal? Maybe in Saudi Arabia?
 
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Jordan Booth
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Personally, I hate it when people drop out of a game, especially a quick one. So if someone is assuredly losing and not having fun, then I see it as being polite to finish up the game within the framework of the rules instead of just walking away.
 
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Branko K.
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ToddMoon wrote:

It seems unusual that a losing player can end the game with relative ease.


That's because it IS unusual. I don't know which game you're playing, but in Dominion you kinda have to try really hard to push the game towards the end. Unless the end of the game is near, in which case I don't see where the problem is.
 
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Konrad Anft
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gambling and gaming
DaviddesJ wrote:
I doubt it. Can you give an example? Where are chess, backgammon, and bridge tournaments illegal? Maybe in Saudi Arabia?


Tournaments are pretty much allowed to be played anywhere.
When you participate in a tournament to play a game (to conduct gaming) than that is totally fine... when you play for money (you are able to loose a specific ammount of money, and it is possible as well to gain money) you are gambling.


It's, playing for money that is not allowed in many countries - or in your case, in certain states: http://www.gambling-law-us.com/State-Law-Summary/
In many states it is simply forbidden. In other states it is allowed to a certain maximum of money (North Dakota: $25-pot per hand/game/event).
And then again, there are states who just don't care.

German law is a lot stricter (we only have federal laws... unless in the area of construction, and limited state laws in the area of education): in the paragraphs §284 and §285 in the StGB forbids all unlicenzed gambling in the country. This includes (in §284 section 2) to clubs and "closed events" ("geschlossene Gesellschaften").

The question is, when a closed event starts or where a private game round ends. A "closed event" for example could be defined as a party you are having at a local club, or pub, but only invited your closest friends.

I am not an attorney, so you cannot nail me to the wall with the above (or the below)... I am just saying, that it is not in a far far away country, but right at your doorstep that gambling is forbidden.

In the U.K. it is an offense if your provide premises for gaming and/or gambling - which are both defined as games with a possible prize or loss.
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2005/ukpga_20050019_en_1.
See under: 37 - Use of premises and 6 - Gaming


In many states in the US, gambling becomes illegal as soon as you advertise it (by any means... probably includes Twitter these days).

So possibly... if you advertise your gaming round with the offer of a pot with money, it becomes an event, and is thus may be rendered illegal.


My main argument stands: Gambling is not the way to go when you don't enjoy a board- or cardgame enough. If you don't find a game interesting enough. Play with different people, or play a different game. Don't involve money where money has no place. "Fun" is not a form of axiety, which you may or may not live through when there is a big pot to win, or a certain ammount of money to loose.

And introducing money to boardgames is exactly that: adding a financial up- or downset where none is needed.

For poker, I advise to use poker chips without attaching any money-value to them. Yes, it can mean that one is more likely to go all-in, but thats life... if that player looses, he simply will have to pay a price (in time only): he will have to watch the rest of the game as an outstander.


Edited: Added the UK link... and found a typo.
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Yaron Racah
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In Israel, gambling is defined as playing a game of chance for money, and is forbidden by law. However, there is no law against playing games of skill for money.

Yes, that means that an Israeli judge might one day need to rule whether Dominion is a game of skill or luck...
 
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Sebastian
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yaron wrote:
In Israel, gambling is defined as playing a game of chance for money, and is forbidden by law. However, there is no law against playing games of skill for money.

Yes, that means that an Israeli judge might one day need to rule whether Dominion is a game of skill or luck...


Usually any game with a random element is ruled as game of luck by in these cases...
 
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Branko K.
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So basically, if you don't shuffle your decks, you're good. Shuffle once, and it's jail for you..
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Myke Madsen
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DaviddesJ wrote:
HappyProle wrote:
Assuming that you don't care about margin of victory and you don't care about placing, why would you ever end the game unless you think you're ahead?


To play the next game?


I think I deserved that one.

But let me defend my position: there are some games where you have the choice of buying the last Province or buying two Duchies and hoping your opponents stall for a turn or two. If you buy the Province, you lose. If you buy the two Duchies, there's still a slim chance you could win (I believe this has been discussed elsewhere). If there's even a slim chance you could win shouldn't you take that chance?
 
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Dan Schaeffer
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HappyProle wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
HappyProle wrote:
Assuming that you don't care about margin of victory and you don't care about placing, why would you ever end the game unless you think you're ahead?


To play the next game?


I think I deserved that one.

But let me defend my position: there are some games where you have the choice of buying the last Province or buying two Duchies and hoping your opponents stall for a turn or two. If you buy the Province, you lose. If you buy the two Duchies, there's still a slim chance you could win (I believe this has been discussed elsewhere). If there's even a slim chance you could win shouldn't you take that chance?


Absolutely. You should always play the game to win. However, the circumstances you describe are pretty rare and unless you're tracking very carefully, it can be easy in such situations to mistakenly conclude that you have no chance. I wouldn't fault someone for ending the game if they reasonably determined that they have no chance to win, even if it turns out they might have been able to hang on because they were closer than they thought.
 
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Travis Cooper
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I don't see it as a huge issue. Are they really giving the game to some random player? Or are they giving the game to whoever has done the best up to this point?

I can see a couple of reasons the loser might end the game, first is that they know they are out of it and have no hope to catch up. In this case they end it so they can just start over and play again. The other is that maybe they don't know they are losing. I've had times where I thought I was behind, so rather than ending the game I buy a duchy with an estate or some combo of points that won't end it just to find out when it does end that I would have won. Then the opposite as well, I've ended it thinking I was ahead only to find out I am a few points short.

If somebody is doing this often maybe I would get annoyed by it, but I haven't seen too many times where somebody just ends it fully knowing they've lost. Usually our games are close enough that just isn't the case.
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