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Subject: Too many chips to start; anybody have this issue? rss

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Rob
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I've played this game a number of times. Almost every time, one player figures out that they will simply pass every turn - paying one chip and refusing the card - while another player ends up taking the card. Also almost every time, the cards are gone before that clever player has used up their chips. They win every time. As a matter of fact, in one game, two players decided to use this strategy - and they both won with a tied score of -6.

While this certainly can be called a clever strategy, it's can also be called pretty boring. Has anyone experimented with a lower number of starting chips - say 5 or 6 - to force some tougher decisions?
 
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Drake Coker
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I have no idea how you could possibly stretch 11 chips to last the entire game without ever taking any more chips. Why don't the other players simply run the "clever" player out of chips on the first card?

Thought experiment: 3 players, 2 using the "always pass" approach.

First card, the non-clever player runs the loop until everyone is down to one chip, then takes the card. Now he has a card, 31 chips and the other two players have one chip each. The guy with 31 chips can pretty much run the game from then on out and dump almost any amount of terrible trash on the other two.
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Jeremiah
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Madison
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We play 11 chips for each player and have never had this issue. The person that passes all the time almost always gets stuck with some horrible card... How many people are you playing with? How many chips do you currently play with per player?

I wonder if the players not employing this strategy are picking up cards too easily/quickly?
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Bill Eldard
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jBullfrog wrote:
We play 11 chips for each player and have never had this issue.


Same here.

jBullfrog wrote:
. . . I wonder if the players not employing this strategy are picking up cards too easily/quickly?


Good point.
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Bill Eldard
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Olvenskol wrote:
I have no idea how you could possibly stretch 11 chips to last the entire game without ever taking any more chips. Why don't the other players simply run the "clever" player out of chips on the first card?

Thought experiment: 3 players, 2 using the "always pass" approach.

First card, the non-clever player runs the loop until everyone is down to one chip, then takes the card. Now he has a card, 31 chips and the other two players have one chip each. The guy with 31 chips can pretty much run the game from then on out and dump almost any amount of terrible trash on the other two.


An excellent example, Drake.
 
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Matt Davis
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jBullfrog wrote:
I wonder if the players not employing this strategy are picking up cards too easily/quickly?


I don't wonder. They are.
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Rob
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coolpapa wrote:
I wonder if the players not employing this strategy are picking up cards too easily/quickly?


I think this is the main issue. Even when I re-explain during the game that the point is to have a low score, some of them are eager to grab cards.

As a bit of background: I usually only introduce this game to what we would call non-gamers. If I played it with experienced players, I would probably see better strategic decisions.
 
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Sight Reader
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
Has anyone experimented with a lower number of starting chips - say 5 or 6 - to force some tougher decisions?

For 9 players we found 5 chips pretty much mandatory. With this many players, we found using a larger numbers of chips rewarded the passive strategy too much.

I found this passive strategy imbalance could also be mitigated by increasing the possible matches that make taking a card free (matching pairs, etc) and reducing the "pain" of taking their cards by making their costs cyclical (the sequence goes from 1 - 13 pts then resets to 1 again)


For us, the bigger problem was some lemming who threw themselves into the fire by always taking a card, thus making victory nearly impossible for the person going right after him. With 9 players, you're almost bound to get someone who wants to do this strategy.
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Kelly Bass
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sightreader wrote:
I found this passive strategy imbalance could also be mitigated by increasing the possible matches that make taking a card free (matching pairs, etc) and reducing the "pain" of taking their cards by making their costs cyclical (the sequence goes from 1 - 13 pts then resets to 1 again)

Seems like you're making it so easy to take a card, there'd never be more than 13 chips on a card, and usually much less, before a card is taken. If, on the other hand, there is a 35 card sitting out there, it'll probably go all the way around the table, maybe twice or more, before a player wants to take a nasty card like that.
I think there's much more tension and therefore a better game with, for example, 22 chips sitting on 29 card.

sightreader wrote:

For us, the bigger problem was some lemming who threw themselves into the fire by always taking a card, thus making victory nearly impossible for the person going right after him. With 9 players, you're almost bound to get someone who wants to do this strategy.

Yeah, if you're playing with a big group of non-gamers who aren't as competitive, it's a game that can easily be tipped by a single player. It's a short filler, so I just have fun.
 
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Sight Reader
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chockle wrote:
I think there's much more tension and therefore a better game with, for example, 22 chips sitting on 29 card.

I agree, but getting 22 chips on a 29 card requires a lot of people thinking the same way - and no one with a "28" or "30" card. For large groups of non-gamers, this becomes a lot less likely, and the chances for building up tension are much smaller - it becomes a very chaotic game of chance depending on how the cards you turn up happen to be clustered with greatly reduced strategy.


Snapping up cards, however, does opens up a different dimension to the game: that is, positioning what you have to maximize your chance of dodging the tax by acquiring cards cost-free. The variant described above seeks to balance the payoff of this strategy with that of the passive strategy, but still requires a lot more testing.

 
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Darren Dew
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
coolpapa wrote:
I wonder if the players not employing this strategy are picking up cards too easily/quickly?


I think this is the main issue. Even when I re-explain during the game that the point is to have a low score, some of them are eager to grab cards.

As a bit of background: I usually only introduce this game to what we would call non-gamers. If I played it with experienced players, I would probably see better strategic decisions.


Uhm, and clarify that people can PASS on a card multiple times.

Heck, my kids are so good now they'll pass on cards that don't hurt them as they KNOW the other players will find them too costly! The others are forced to pass and the one who could've taken it "for free" gets a little profit just for being clever.
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