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Subject: Lead at your own Peril? rss

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Sandeep Kharkar
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Bountiful
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Can anyone think of games where the leader in the mid to late stage of the game usually does not win?

I am looking for games that are free-for-all, each-(wo)man-for-themselves, open scoring type games that have this phenomenon.

Also of interest is if you play these games in spite of the issue, or avoid them completely.

And finally, if you do play them, what makes you want to play them and what strategies do you use? And do those strategies make the game that much more fun for you?

Thank you for your input...

~RagingBull


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CHAPEL
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It's tough being the early leader in Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization. Not saying you can't win, but you wear a big target on your backside. I find the game is better played with a subtle long term strategy. Under the radar.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Power Grid leaps instantly to mind, as it rewards being behind with improved turn order, which is very important in the last turn or two of the game. Someone going from last to first on the final turn of the game is not unusual at all (which kind of begs the question of the meaning of "last" in this case).
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McDog
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The 2 above me nailed what I was thinking. Power Grid and Through the Ages.

Stone Age can have pretty big swings near the end also when the cards are scored.
 
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Brandon M
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Another vote for Power Grid, though in Power Grid it's often a strategic choice to not lead. The number of cities you have connected matters at the end of the game, but it isn't necessarily a good indicator of who is "leading" the game in earlier turns.
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Stephen King
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In Colosseum, at the end of each turn, the player with the lowest score steals one item from the leader. This can be a big advantage, as the score before the final turn makes no difference in who wins the game. Many games have been won by someone who was in last place most of the game and collected a huge production at the end.
 
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Bob Gallo
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In my old gaming group the second place player won Dune and Cosmic Encounter so frequently you could bet on it. The dynamic was simple to understand, if the leader was about to win in one turn the rest of the group would band together to block, typically leaving the second place player in a position for an easy kill. Skilled players would usually hang back and not take the lead until they were sure they could take on the rest of the group.
 
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Matt Davis
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Just to clear up misconceptions -

Power Grid punishes the player with the highest income (or at least highest income potential). This person is often not the person who is winning. The player with 1 fewer city and a much more advantageous turn order position is actually winning.
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Mark Ramsey
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I find it really depends on your gaming group. Most of the people I play with tend to focus on taking down the leader no matter what game we're playing. Power Grid comes to Mind as does Settlers, Cosmic Encounter, the list goes on really. In our group, and I'm sure others will agree, it's generally good strategy to sit in a close 2nd or 3rd position and bust out a big move late game.
 
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Tony Farrand
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I think that Struggle of Empires is a good example. This game is pretty confrontational and you have many opportunities to hinder other players while trying to get ahead. In most games I have played, if a player has a choice of two otherwise equivalent actions to get ahead, but one hurts who they perceive to be the leader, they will hurt the leader. As a result, half of a successful game strategy is deflecting accusations that you are in the lead or down playing the fact that you have the most VPs at the time. This is definitely a game where I prefer to be in 2nd or 3rd place in the late game, but in striking distance of the win.
 
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