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Subject: Kingmaking rss

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Tom T
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Durham
North Carolina
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So I want your opinion on Kingmaking.

I was just playing in a game of "Settlers of the Stone Age". I tend to play pretty aggressively, in general (but that is how I think games should be played!). I attacked all of the other players.

There is some element of chance in this game- when you explore you get to "turn into wasteland" a certain type of terrain sometimes. Thus, I drew another players terrain- had the option of wasting nothing, or his land. I wasted his land. (He got annoyed).

At another time, I had the option of moving my explorer out into an area where it would take a while to get anywhere, or into an area he was clearly headed. I went to the area he was headed. (He got more annoyed).

During this whole time I also aggrieved other players and attacked their holdings when the conditions allowed it. In no way did I particularly attack this one player more than anyone else (although in reality it probably did cripple them a bit)

Then the end game came around. I was tied for the lead at 9 points. This other player decided he had had enough of my antics earlier, and made a trade which did not benefit himself much to hand another player the win.

Was this justified or not?

I see it both ways. Let me know what you think.
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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I'd say since his decision was based on past actions on your part, he was justified. That should have been a consideration on your part in your earlier decision-making process.

[I know that when I'm playing I have no idea who or what is going to be able to get me the win later in the game, so it's not easy to judge. What I usually do is, if I have to pick on someone, I keep it confined to that one person, and get in a position where he can't dictate if I win. UNfortunately, like in your case, it'll be harder to keep him from helping the other player, which is essentially the same thing.]

You didn't mention whether that other player *just* got "thwarted" by you or by the other players as well. Even though you may not have picked on him any more then anyone else, *you* may have been the only one who adversly affected *him*. (I don't know, I'm asking.)
 
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Fraser
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Melbourne
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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As Tom Pender mentioned, based on your telling of the tale it could be assumed that you were the only person to outrageously attack and thwart the other player wherever possible (or read perfectly normal play by your book and at our house too).

On that basis it would seem that their action of exacting some final revenge along the lines of "if I'm going down I am taking you with me" does not seem to unreasonable.

If anything it's a reason for one to ensure the love is spread around during the game meeple
 
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Damian Evans
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Negotiation
...is an element of all games involving trade. Looks like an earlier decision got you burned. Good luck in future games.
 
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Daniel O'Connell
United Kingdom
Sheffield
Yorkshire
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... and ancient
Yup, perfectly justified.
You always have to weigh up the direct benefit of screwing someone over with the possible loss of goodwill from that person.
If he did it because of something you did to him 3 weeks ago in a different game then that would be less acceptable.
 
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Ben .
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Revenge....
....depends upon your goals.

You state that the other player "made a trade which did not benefit himself much".

That kind of implies that he was actually doing something which DID benefit himself whilst simultaneously screwing you. Seems perfectly fair to me. If I were you, what I would have tried to do is see if I could make him an offer which benefitted him even more instead.

This then brings up my favourite question:
"What is the goal of the game?"
If you consider the goal to be "win at all costs", then players who cannot win will get more easily drawn into kingmaking scenarios like you describe.
If the goal is instead "finish with the highest position/score that you can", then alternative options may become available.
(eg. "don't help my closest opponent beat me and I'll make you a trade to help you move from 4th to 2nd place").

At the end of the day, "highest score" and "win at all costs" seem to be a largely personal preference which, I'm afraid, means that you CANNOT stop kingmaking happening!

Personally, I believe that as long as personal hang-ups and revenge kingmaking do not get carried over across different games then it's okay.
If I screw someone over in one game and in revenge they kingmake someone else in order to beat me that's fine, but if I screw someone over in one game and as a result they kingmake someone in the next game, that's not really acceptable to me. I am lucky that my group all seem to think in pretty much the same way (ahhh - the pragmatism of computer programmers!).
 
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Jeff Finazzo
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I see nothing wrong with kingmaking. If you want to make sure someone else doesn't win at the expense of your own game then that's a valid tactic. Everyone in my gaming group were friends before we started gaming together, so there is a certain amount of social baggage we brought with us. If someone is having an amazing winning streak then you can usually count on an effort to stop him if he's getting a little too full of himself.

One of our players will make it his personal mission to make sure you don't win if he feels you have wronged him in the game. He's actually a very good player, but sometimes can't help himself. We usually try and set him off against the strongest player ("Hey, I think Jim put that city there because he knew you wanted to") and watch the sparks fly.
 
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John O'Haver PhoDOGrapher
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Pet photographer, that's me.
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Robert Heinlein in
The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
(Not exact quotes but pretty close)


Your enemy is never a villian in his own eyes. Try to make him your friend. If you cannot, you can kill him without hate.


Never appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Always try to invoke his self-interest.

Never frighten a little man. He'll kill you.
 
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Rene Wiersma
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Justified?
Was it justified? Who cares? In war, love and boardgaming anything is allowed (except cheating, of course meeple ). He can make any play he wants, as long as it is within the rules, including moves that let other players win.
 
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David Boeren
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Sounds like I'm in the minority, but my opinion is that you played correctly (doing what you could to maximize your own position while interfering with others) and this other player was acting out of spite. I don't consider it proper to hurt your own position just to get back at another player. Each player should be doing what he can to win, or at least come as close to winning as possible.

Maybe it's just your description (I haven't heard his side), but this definately sounds like sour grapes to me.
 
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Matt Carlson
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I usually go by the following for my own behavior:

a) don't carry over anthing from previous games. (well, maybe the prior one if you must for the sake of frivolity)

b) preferrably, always go for the win, even if its has to be risky, barring that, try to better your own position (2nd place or whatever)

c) If I get badly burned early and consistently in the game by a single person, I reserve the right to name them my "special enemy". It is a threat, used in a meta-game context, to make sure people don't constantly do that to me. Hopefully it is a deterrent, but if not, I need to carry it through and exact "revenge".

Kingmaking when there is little or no "revenge" incentive and no chance of bettering your own position is much harder to figure out.
 
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Mark Tyler
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My Settlers Kingmaking Story
I can somewhat relate to your experience, but at least you gave a reason for the other player to play against you.

I organized an 8 player Settlers of Catan game (peanut shaped combination of two sets). As you can imagine the game took forever and players were just hoping the game would end. When it appeared that I might win on my next turn (since I currently had 9 victory points), my long time gaming rival decided that it would be best if someone besides me won this game. So he suggested all 7 players help the current player amass enough resource cards to build 10 points worth of stuff. And if that wasn't bad enough, when the current player couldn't figure out how to get to 10 points with his handful of resource cards, my arch rival says, "Here, let me help you." He then looks at that player's cards and proceeds to build settlements and cities for him until he got the necessary 10 points.

That my friends, is a true kingmaking story.
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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I agree with what Matt said. Better your position if you can, and otherwise, remember who wronged you in the context of the game...
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Lakewood
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Snooze_uk --

You raised a good point, regarding what is important to each player -- just winning, or finishing as high as possible. In our gaming group, we keep track not only of who won which game, but the standings for all players (2nd, 3rd, etc.). We have a point system (8 for first, 4 for second, 2 for third, 1 for fourth, and 0 for fifth -- we only count when we all five play), so it is important to everyone to not only try to win, but, failing that, to finish as high as possible. This eliminates a lot of the kingmaking, except possibly for the person who is obviously going to finish last. In those rare situations, there is sometimes some humorous negotiations at the table, when the leader and second place players try to get the last place guy to attack their opponent.

Another approach, if you're not truly blood-thirsty, is to lay off the person you have already attacked once, if you have a reasonable option the second time (and maybe point it out to him). Sometimes that makes him more comfortable with what you did and may actually repay the kindness later (or maybe not). I think you have to know your opponents and how they will respond to your actions.

Kingmaking doesn't bother me too much.
 
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Gerald McDaniel
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Long Live Lazarus Long,
... and he did!

One of my favorite books.

cool
 
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Lyman Hurd
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Cupertino
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reverse kingmaking
Well I try not to make moves that only have a kingmaking effect but I can suggest logic that makes such a move "reasonable".

Many games are only interesting theoretically when studied in iterated form. Now suppose you are faced with an "inverse" kingmaking situation. I.e., you can mmake a move that will profit you greatly at the expense of Player A or at the expense of Player B (thereby all but eliminating the player in question). You could reason that it is in Player A's interest to have a reputation that precedes him that if you put him out of commission, he will dedicate the rest of the game to making your life miserable making Player B a far more attractive target.
 
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Tim Benjamin
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Kingmaking-proof
The only way to assure no kingmaking occurs is to play 2-player games. In any multi-player game your actions become a form of socialization that can either benefit or hinder you in the endgame. I personally play for best possible finishing position but often times the kingmaking decision cannot affect my finishing position and therefore becomes one of who 'treated' me the best in the game (or otherwise most deserving).
 
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Ray
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It definitely hurts to be labeled the bad guy. One trick to avoid this is to make them the bad guys. Next time you get the robber, point out what you could do with it, and then ask for something quite good in return for not doing it (such as trading you that rare commodity next time they draw it). Then when they don't live up to the deal they are the bad guy and your future actions are justified. (and if they do give you the card you benefit from it)

On the subject of kingmaking, the best way to minimize it is to make sure you have an alliance of your own going on if any game is played beyond the every-person-for-themselves level. A game plays as a better test of skill (well non-diplomacy skills) if you play every player for themselves competitive but if you try to play a competitive game and they are playing cooperative you will loose to a trading alliance (and that's the peril and beauty of the more interactive games, they can be played both ways)

 
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Adam Escandell
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Austin
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It is the right of any player to use their resources however they see fit.

It is the right of any player screwed by another for no good reason to whine about it.

It is the right of all other players to ignore the second player's whining, and jeer him mercilessly.

This is the bedrock of gaming.
 
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