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Subject: First game, and a few questions. Did we play wrong or what? rss

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Martin
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Last night I (finally) got my first chance to play Power Struggle, courtesy of Super Secret Santa. Overall, I enjoyed the game. It is completely different from all the other games in my (very small) collection so it will always have a place here. I did have a few questions though. There was a general lack of tension throughout the game that I suspect was caused either by us playing incorrectly, or stupidly. Of one thing I am certain though, we played the bonues payments correctly thanks to the helpful pointings-out by several BGG users and Super Secret Santa. The 100,000 bonus was paid out only for each block of shares NOT each share. What follows is my account of the game punctuated by a few questions I had...

Most of the early game was pretty uneventful. It was our first game and I had read the rules probably two weeks or more before we actually tried to play so we spent entirely too much time referencing the rulebook the first two or so complete turns (irectors meeting/department rounds.) My fiancee, who ultimately won the game, felt like she had too little direction and didn't understand what she should be doing. I told her to focus on the goals that she needed to beat her archenemy in and that that should give her some direction.

As a result, we all worked as quickly as possible towards are archenemy goals. This brings us to the first problem: none of has had ourselves as an archenemy and all of us needed to defeat our archenemy in the shares track. The result is that shares were a very popular action choice in the beginning of the game with each player buying one or two blocks of shares per bonus payment round. Midway through the game, we ran out of shares before I could get to the green section of the track. My fiancee has the most shares. This meant that I could not beat Player3, my archenemy, nor could I get the victory point for reaching the green section of the victory point track. With two victory point options eliminated I was forced to focus all my efforts on the track I completely ingored the entire game, corruption for the end of the game.

Well it turns out Player3 was in a similar situation as my own. He couldn't beat his archenemy (my fiancee) in shares because we ran out, he didn't have enough departments (or money) to move up the main departments track and so with everything else eliminated, he chose to focus his remaining efforts in the end of the game on the corruption track.

My fiancee saw the game was quickly coming to a close and knew the quickest way for her to score her fourth vp was to ride our bribery offers all the way up the corruption track. So she also, despite having other options, wisely chose to take advantage of the obvious new found interest in the corruption track.

For the last several department rounds we just bribed eachother with very small amounts of cash. None of us knew which of the others couldn't score for beating our archenemy but with all the bribing going around it was clear the corruption track suddenly became much more interesting to all of us. We offered small bribes because it was clear that the point on the corruption track was already enough motivation to accept the bribe.

On the final dpeartment round my fiancee hit the green on the corruption track and announced that she had the required 4 victory points. Immediately after that I reached the green and announced that I too had 4 victory points. We counted up the cash to break the tie and declared her the victor.

Now the corruption track was unpopular in the beginning of the game for three reasons:
1. None of us needed to beat our archenemy in the corruption track.
2. The other two players said I didn't accurately enough explain that both the bribing player and the bribed player move up the corruption track and that the bribing player moves up the corruption track whether or not the bribe is accepted.
3. None of us were hugely interested in the privelage cards anyways... which brings me to my next point.

Maybe it's because it was our first game and we were just struggling to wrap our heads around the mechanics of the game or maybe they just weren't that useful. It hardly occurred to me that in order to accomplish something important I would need one of those privelage cards, especially since (unless you are the communications divisional head) you don't exactly how many rounds are in a turn. The few times I considered making a bribe for a privelage card I changed my mind figuring it would be a complete waste if the Director's Meeting card came up immediately afterwards. Because of this, it seemed desirable (and interesting) to win the Communications divisional head but I only did that once. Later my Communciations divisional head was ousted and I decided he should become an external counsel. Since I already had an external counsel in Communications I never focused any more of my efforts in that division which allowed my fiancee to keep that privelage most of the game.

Thoughts:
I certainly had fun playing the game but when it came down to a flat-out race up the corruption track it felt disappointing. It made for a very anticlimactic finish. Alot of the game seems kind of unintuitive. Your first thought is that securing your divisional heads with a ton of departments and employees would be important. It wasn't. In fact, more often you move departments to other divisions in order to lose your division head so he can either retire to the board of directors or external counsel. The other two players felt like buying shares should do something other than just move you up a track and get a little bit of money. They both asked me partway through the game if their investments would yield any money at the end of the game. I said, "No, they just get you points on the track." When I said that I realized there is no need to get money from your investments at the end of the game because money is very nearly used for nothing but buying shares. None of us ever decided to use our money to purchase points on any of the other tracks.

I also thought spaces on the board of directors/chairman would be more coveted but we hardly sent our old managers there. We all preferred the external counsel track since two of the three players needed to beat eachother there.

In retrospect I should have ignored the external counsel and focused more on the board of directors to score influence because I didn't need external counsel to beat my archenemy. I decided that while discussing the game with Player3 afterwards.

We all decided that we liked the game and had fun but if future games turn out the same way, Power Struggle probably won't become anybody's favorite around here. We are still looking forward to our next play of this game though. I whink if we played more defensively AND if we don't all need to beat eachother on practically the same tracks it could be more interesting. Instead we all basically worked on the same tracks at the same time.

Although our first game took a while (about 2.5 hours) we chalked it up to inexperience and a complete unfamiliarity with the rules. We basically learned as we went (like I said, it had been two weeks since I had read the rules, pretty much everything was forgotten.) I figure it could probably be played in about an hour and a half or maybe even quicker if everyone keeps eveything moving. After our first couple learning turns we were moving right along.

Questions: Did we play wrong or just stupidly?

To beat your archenemy in the counsel track, do you just need more people on the track (four managers on three spots), or do you need more seperate boxes with people (four managers on four spots)?

Anybody else have similar experiences?

What might you have played differently?
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Brian Brokaw
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Great write up. Thanks for the good read.

It sounds like you ended up with the correct rules. My understanding of Counsels is that you only need more managers total in the entire area than your archenemy... I don't believe it matters how many different Counsels you end up in.

To be honest, I don't have that much experience in this game yet but I do know that "seeing" the most efficient way to utilize Departments to obtain VP is VERY hard in this game. I think more experience in playing will allow player's to become better at this.

Out of curiousity, how many Director's Meetings did you go through? Both of my games ended on the 3rd round (3 Director's Meetings). It sounds like yours may have gone a little longer however?

The archenemy VP seems to be key... whether you can secure it easily, or whether you get screwed by trying to go for it when you shouldn't have.
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jbrier
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Quote:
3. None of us were hugely interested in the privelage cards anyways...


I think this is a big part of your "problem". The privileges, particularly the bribed privileges, are really strong, and in my experience are pursued avidly.

Thus, bribing to get the right privilege for your strategy is a big part of the game in my view. The motivation track also plays into this, as lower motivation levels allow better abilities for some of the privileges.

The privileges are a centerpiece of the game. I think your assessment that they were ignored because players were already grappling with enough new information is fair. On your second play, being more familiar with the mechanisms, I suggest you pay closer attention to what the bribed privileges do. I think you'll find several of them well worth attaining.
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Martin
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brokasaphasia wrote:
Out of curiousity, how many Director's Meetings did you go through? Both of my games ended on the 3rd round (3 Director's Meetings). It sounds like yours may have gone a little longer however?
Well to be honest, I didn't count. It wasn't a huge amount though. I would guess four, though it may have been plus or minus one.

Also, I think I spelled "privilege" wrong every time I wrote it. shake

Thanks for reading.
 
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Martin
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verandi wrote:
The privileges are a centerpiece of the game. I think your assessment that they were ignored because players were already grappling with enough new information is fair. On your second play, being more familiar with the mechanisms, I suggest you pay closer attention to what the bribed privileges do. I think you'll find several of them well worth attaining.
I may have gone alittle overboard if I said they were ignored. But they definately were not actively sought after. I appreciate your tip and that is why I am looking forward to my next play. I plan to try to incorporate the privilege cards much more.

Regarding the motivation track, it sometimes seems a little bit like a push-your-luck game unless you were the communcations divisional leader. Do you wait to use your privilege until next round, hoping the motivation goes down again? Or do you use your privilege now because motivation may go up, or worse, the Director's Meeting may come up!robot
It can be frustrating to make the wrong decision in situations like this, I tend to freeze up.shake

Thanks for reading.
 
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Larry Levy
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I completely concur with verandi; the privileges are very useful and the bribed privileges even more so. Rather than focusing on one's archenemy (which is still important), in my game the players focused their strategy on which privileges they owned. Bribes were usually made based on the privilege they wanted to own and were quite common.

However, this is the second session report I've read in which the shares ran out before all the players could gain a VP in the category. Maybe that's an intentional design decision, but it does seem a little weird. I guess the thing is to recognize the possibility of this happening at the start of the game and to stop grabbing shares if it becomes apparent that you won't be able to get a VP there. (Alternatively, you might take shares until you can deprive someone else from getting a VP in the category.) I can certainly see the limit on shares playing a big part in the strategy, but there's always a nagging feeling that this is an accidental aspect of play until you hear something from the designer saying the limit was intentional and works just as it was intended.
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Martin
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Larry Levy wrote:
However, this is the second session report I've read in which the shares ran out before all the players could gain a VP in the category. Maybe that's an intentional design decision, but it does seem a little weird. I guess the thing is to recognize the possibility of this happening at the start of the game and to stop grabbing shares if it becomes apparent that you won't be able to get a VP there. (Alternatively, you might take shares until you can deprive someone else from getting a VP in the category.) I can certainly see the limit on shares playing a big part in the strategy, but there's always a nagging feeling that this is an accidental aspect of play until you hear something from the designer saying the limit was intentional and works just as it was intended.
It is quite certain that the limit to shares is very intentional. It states in the rules that they are limited (whereas employees and managers are not.) And even more deliberately, different player counts require a different number of shares to be available during setup.

Technically though, we didn't run out of shares... but all that was left was two single share blocks. I was three shares short of my archenemy and the shares track VP, and my archenemy (Player3) was three shares short of his archenemy. The last share sold was a block of six, which made all the difference. If I could have gotten my hands on it (I was exactly 50,000 short when I had the chance) I would have handily won the game a whole director's meeting sooner. It would have been impossible for me to predict any sooner that the shares track was going to be a losing game for me on two important victory points.

If I had spent my money on tracks besides shares I still would've won a director's meeting sooner than the game ended. I guess the point is, had I made different decisions I might have won. This is a sign of a good game to me. There wasn't much way for me to tell what the better decisions were though, which is disappointing. I am not disappointed that I lost, just that I didn't have the foresight to see what was happening to the shares.

Thanks for reading.
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Maximilian Thiel
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TheBuddhistPalm wrote:


Now the corruption track was unpopular in the beginning of the game for three reasons:
1. None of us needed to beat our archenemy in the corruption track.

2. None of us were hugely interested in the privelage cards anyways... which brings me to my next point.

3. To beat your archenemy in the counsel track, do you just need more people on the track (four managers on three spots), or do you need more seperate boxes with people (four managers on four spots)?



Hi Martin,

1) This should not be possible, because there are only 2 archenemy competence cards in the game, which have not the corruption listed and one of them is a card only for 5 players. So at least 2 players of you should have had to beat his archenemy on the corruption track.
2) Bribing in combination with the privilege card is for me the key-element to win the game. Especially at the beginning are the privilege cards very powerfull.
3) To beat your archenemy in the counsel track, you just need more managers on the track (not important where).


Larry Levy wrote:
I guess the thing is to recognize the possibility of this happening at the start of the game and to stop grabbing shares if it becomes apparent that you won't be able to get a VP there. (Alternatively, you might take shares until you can deprive someone else from getting a VP in the category.) I can certainly see the limit on shares playing a big part in the strategy, but there's always a nagging feeling that this is an accidental aspect of play until you hear something from the designer saying the limit was intentional and works just as it was intended.


Hi Larry,

the limit of the shares was intentional. As you correctly described: the limit of the shares should play a part in the strategy.

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Martin
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Bauldric wrote:
Hi Martin,

1) This should not be possible, because there are only 2 archenemy competence cards in the game, which have not the corruption listed and one of them is a card only for 5 players. So at least 2 players of you should have had to beat his archenemy on the corruption track.
2) Bribing in combination with the privilege card is for me the key-element to win the game. Especially at the beginning are the privilege cards very powerfull.
3) To beat your archenemy in the counsel track, you just need more managers on the track (not important where).


1) I guess of all people I have to trust you. I didn't actually spend too much time looking at the other player's archenemy cards and I assumed that they didn't have to beat anybody on the corruption track. So obviously here, I was mistaken.
2) So the consensus here is that we didn't play very competitively. A totally fair assumption that I figured was the most likely scenario anyway.
3) Thanks so much for the clarification here.

Nothing quite makes you feel important like getting your questions answered and strategy feedback from the very man that designed the game. It is things like this that make me proud to be a member of the BGG community.

I'm really looking forward to playing the game again. I'm excited to see the opportunities that fully utilizing the privilege cards will create.

Thanks for reading.
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Larry Levy
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Bauldric wrote:
The limit of the shares was intentional. As you correctly described: the limit of the shares should play a part in the strategy.

Thanks, that's comforting to hear.
 
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Corin A. Friesen
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verandi wrote:
The privileges are a the centerpiece of the game.

Fixed your statement, John. After all, what the heck is all the manipulation in the departments for if not for the privileges?
 
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Martin
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Ambrose wrote:
verandi wrote:
The privileges are a the centerpiece of the game.

Fixed your statement, John. After all, what the heck is all the manipulation in the departments for if not for the privileges?
This was pretty much exactly what we thought afer the game ended. Nothing in the divisions/departments/board of directors created much drama for us. We quietly relinquished control each time somebody else tried starting up departments in a particular division. When all was said and done, we all agreed that not much happened there at all.

I guess my question was if anybody else had played this way of if we were anomalies. Clearly the answer is the latter.

I expect we will pull the game out again soon (maybe this weekend) and I will see if it plays differently. I will post my thoughts on the second game in this same thread.
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