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Defenders of the Realm» Forums » General

Subject: Is this really a co-op? rss

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Brian M
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Warning signs are going up for me. "Only the most valiant hero will be named king's champion"? Is this actually a co-op, or a "looks cooperative but really only one player wins"?
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Gunther Schmidl
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The latter. You can leave out the winning condition without a problem, however.
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Joe Reil
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I haven't played it yet, but it's on my radar from the Board Games with Scott video review. Based on that review, if you remove that one winning condition it will be a true co-op and that's the way I plan to play it, if/when I get a copy - adding a way for an individual to win an otherwise co-op game doesn't seem all that much fun to me and would just take away from the otherwise co-op mechanics.
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J Chav
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I will buy this game. I will teach the game.

and

I will teach, 'Let see who did the most eventful stuff during the game'.

It will just be a fun way to see who did the most quests and final blows. We will all be equal winners with a short spotlight on one.
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Richard Launius
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I always play it as pure coop but wanted to include a basis for players who want 1 overall winner in the end. The thing that is most interesting about the King's Champion rule, is that there is not one if the players lose. Often, players must choose to do what is right for the realm rather than themselves to be come champion, or they all lose. I have seen games lost because one or more players focused on them becoming the Champion if the Realm, but most often people do not event track this when they win as they are all so excited to win. Trust me, this is a true coop and player interaction and strategic planning is very high, even when it is not your turn.

I hope you enjoy the game and I suggest you play it (pure coop or cooperative with Champion) as it best fits your gaming group.

Thanks - Richard
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Matt Smith
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Danath wrote:
I will buy this game. I will teach the game.

and

I will teach, 'Let see who did the most eventful stuff during the game'.

It will just be a fun way to see who did the most quests and final blows. We will all be equal winners with a short spotlight on one.

Agreed. But I plan to use the analogy of soldiers returning from war. If the war was won, then all soldiers helped to win the war, but one soldier will be more decorated than the others.

If the war was lost, then the king doesn't care how heroic the soldiers were. He'll be too busy fleeing dragons/demons/orcs/undead.

Personally, I expect to enjoy the added dimension of quests and the "King's Champion" rule. In a pure co-op, the most experienced/forceful player tends to dicate the strategy to all players. Space Alert was one of the first co-ops to use a mechanic, real-time planning, to avoid this problem. I believe the presence of quests and the "King's Champion" rule are there to serve the same purpose. To have a shot of being the King's Champion, each player must constantly weigh pursuing individual points with defeating the generals. This should result in a lot of interesting conversation between players. I can envision something like:

Cleric: "Dwarf, since it's your turn, and you've been collecting blue cards, you need to go to the dragon. I'll meet you there."

Dwarf: "Look, I only need one more turn to complete my quest. That will give me the Boots of Speed, which will really help me move around as the war progresses."

Cleric: "That's nice, but the dragon general just moved closer to Monarch City. And you're good against the dragon, are you not?"

Dwarf: "Yes, but I doubt the dragon will move again for some time."

Cleric: "I have 3 blue cards. You can go there now, and I can meet you there on my turn and we can slay her! You can get the boots later."

Sorcerer: "It sounds like the Cleric wants to get a point for being the dragon slayer."

Cleric: "Sorcerer, you stay out of this. Unless you have blue cards too?"

Dwarf: "I've decided. I'm getting the boots now. Cleric, you should go to the dragon now, and I'll meet you there next turn."

Cleric: "I'm not letting you be the slayer."

etc.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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I ran into this type of rule with Castle Panic but found we never really paid much attention to it. We were just relieved to escape without the Castle being destroyed.
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Lisa Bjornseth
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The problem with a co-op where one person 'wins' or is 'more decorated' or whatever than the other players is that a lot of players will take the approach of 'well, if I can't win, neither will anyone else'. A lot of players would rather everyone lost than someone else wins more than them.
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J Chav
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Yeah... that's one thing I'm not to fond of. So we just spent 2 hours so you could win in this Co-op???

For me it's Win together or Die alone.
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Brian M
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The problem with a game that's written to be either co-op playable or competitive with the same ruleset is that the balance and gameplay is going to be drastically different between the two.

If the game was balanced and designed around fully cooperative play, its probably going to suffer a major hit when play competitively, and vice-versa.

Richard, your comment indicates that the game was designed around cooperative play, and the "one winner" was tagged on later, which would mean it would play better co-op. I hope that's the case, as that's my interest.

Learning about this drops Defenders from a "buy as soon as possible" to a "definitely try before buying".
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Brian M
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Just looked at the rules. "Cooperative" isn't even an included variant. It may be house-rulable to be that way, but this is NOT a co-op.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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StormKnight wrote:
Just looked at the rules. "Cooperative" isn't even an included variant. It may be house-rulable to be that way, but this is NOT a co-op.


That's not my take on it and not the take of anyone I know who played it at Origins.
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Brian M
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rickert wrote:
That's not my take on it and not the take of anyone I know who played it at Origins.


Are the posted rules out of date, or were the rules used at Origins different?
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Rick Teverbaugh
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This is from the rules that I have: "Players win by defeating all 4 Generals." Sounds cooperative to me.
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Brian M
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Keep on scrolling down that section to "The player with the most points is the winner."
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J Chav
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StormKnight wrote:
Keep on scrolling down that section to "The player with the most points is the winner."


It should say, "The player wit hthe most points collects the Toosie Pop"

Or something along those lines.
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Rick Teverbaugh
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StormKnight wrote:
Keep on scrolling down that section to "The player with the most points is the winner."


But I don't understand how that negates what I quoted. It is still a co-op with just a way to determine an overall winner if desired. So if you don't desire, don't use it. But having that in no way takes away from it being cooperative.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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This isn't a new concept in games - The Republic of Rome had essentially the same victory conditions back in 1990, and I imagine there were others before that. In RoR, if the players failed to cooperate, Rome would inevitably fall and all the players would lose, yet there could be only one winner. For every player who dislikes this mechanism, there is another who dislikes games where no individual winner is determined. You can't please everyone.
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Get Funkadelic
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StormKnight wrote:
Just looked at the rules. "Cooperative" isn't even an included variant. It may be house-rulable to be that way, but this is NOT a co-op.


Winning (or Losing) the Game:
- Players win by defeating all 4 Generals.
- Players lose if any of the following occurs:
i. Any of the 4 Generals move into Monarch City
ii. If a Darkness Spreads Card identifies minions to be placed on the board
and you do not have enough minions to meet the requirements of the card.
iii. The last of the 12 Tainted Crystals is added to the board.
iv. If 5 enemy minions are in Monarch City at any time.

That's straight from the rules. I'm not sure what rules you are reading.

PLAYERS win by...
PLAYERS lose if...

Not a player wins...

The Kings Champion is just an optional medal that can be pinned to one player character's uniform.
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Tristan Hall
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StormKnight wrote:
Keep on scrolling down that section to "The player with the most points is the winner."


Mate, you've played Arkham Horror (I know cos I tried your variant a bunch of times), and technically there's only one winner in that game if you all succeed - the 1st citizen of Arkham.

When you play Arkham Horror, is the 1st citizenship what your games are all about? Or do you, like everyone we play with, ignore it completely and just play pure coop?
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Brian M
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Quote:
For every player who dislikes this mechanism, there is another who dislikes games where no individual winner is determined. You can't please everyone.

No, you can't. Competitive games ARE a lot more popular, and a lot easier to design, than cooperative games. Its no surprise that most boardgames are competitive. I'm not griping because they released a competitive game - I'm griping because they bothered to base it on a cooperative game, call it cooperative, and then not make it cooperative.


Quote:
The Kings Champion is just an optional medal that can be pinned to one player character's uniform.

That's not what the rules say. The rules are very clear. A player wins if the group defeats all four generals, and that player has the most points.

I like cooperative games because its to work together toward a common goal; to not worry about defeating the other players, but to do your best as a team to try to beat tough odds. Not to backstab, manipulate, make alliances and race against players. There are plenty of other games to do those things in.

As written, THAT'S what Defenders of the realm is about. Backstabbing, manipulating and racing against the other players. Its possible, based on what the designer said, that it actually plays badly that way, and is really best if you change the victory conditions. But its not how the rules are written, and it puts me in the position of having to say "Hey, is it ok if we play with a houserule that completely changes the game?" to get to play a cooperative version - assuming it even works as a cooperative game (which admittedly it sounds like it does).
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Brian M
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ninjadorg wrote:
When you play Arkham Horror, is the 1st citizenship what your games are all about? Or do you, like everyone we play with, ignore it completely and just play pure coop?


Honestly, I never even noticed that "rule" until this same discussion came up with Castle Panic. Its tucked in the back of the rulebook, and its an "honorary" award. They couldn't more to de-emphasize it if they tried. It also ties into the scoring system, which is awful; I think keeping score in Arkham would most likely ruin the game!

Defenders puts it right up front under the objectives, and covers the scoring mechanisms in place with the main rules, and has rules that specifically apply to play during the game for scoring.

That's a world of difference.
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StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
For every player who dislikes this mechanism, there is another who dislikes games where no individual winner is determined. You can't please everyone.

No, you can't. Competitive games ARE a lot more popular, and a lot easier to design, than cooperative games.

When I first read that, I thought you were disagreeing with what I said, in which case your response didn't make sense. Then I realized that "no, you can't" signified agreement with "you can't please everyone". Communicating via the written word can be a tricky business.
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Fred CS
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As written, THAT'S what Defenders of the realm is about. Backstabbing, manipulating and racing against the other players. Its possible, based on what the designer said, that it actually plays badly that way, and is really best if you change the victory conditions. But its not how the rules are written, and it puts me in the position of having to say "Hey, is it ok if we play with a houserule that completely changes the game?" to get to play a cooperative version - assuming it even works as a cooperative game (which admittedly it sounds like it does).

Hi Brian,

I have talked to several people who have played the game (and more who have read the rules); backstabbing, manipulating and racing against each other (as opposed to racing against the generals) are words and phrases that just have not come up in those conversations. I am sorry you get that interpretation from reading the rulebook, that was never the goal of this game (to turn the heroes against each other). As you suggested in another post in this thread, I hope you try the game, and then circle back and share your opinions afterward.

Thanks to all for your interest in the game.

Keith
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Richard Launius
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Gentlemen, I designed the game as a pure cooperative game and as I stated that is how I play it. Like Arkham Horror, the recognition to the Champion was put into the rules for people that like to identify an overall winner of the game, but the other players are still winners as stated in the rules and quoted above. Other do not lose because 1 player is named the King's Champion - all live in the glory they achieved.

This game is not about back stabbing, or taking advantage of other players to be named Champion of the Realm. Players that take that strategy will lose, as there is no champion when the Realm falls (all players are losers) and I can safely say that if the Heroes do not work together the realm will fall 90% of the time. When the players work together, they will win on the average 30% of the time - so winning is big and several people report that it has taken them many games to notch their first win and when they do they all feel like winners.

So let me sum up Defenders like this - if you are looking for a direct confrontational game with the other players, Defenders of the Realm is not for you. If you are looking for an epic fantasy game that requires strategy and cooperation - it is. If players are using the Champion Scoring - their play in striving to be the Champion of the Realm should be like working to be the best at their professional life, working to be recognized for the extra achievement. Few (and I hope none) of us would back stab the people we work with to get a better raise or bonus.

So, using the Champion of the Realm rule is up to the players. It is not a tacked-on rule, nor does the rule override the victory of the other players making one a winner and the others losers - it is more like a team that wins the Super Bowl and one team member is named the MVP - all are still winners.

I hope all who like cooperative games will give Defenders of the Realm a try, and do so in the spirit it was designed to be played - cooperative. I think they will find it (much like Arkham Horror, for those who play and like that game) to be all about the adventure and the fun of being in the adventure, and less about winning and losing.

Thanks for your consideration, Richard
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