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Subject: How do you feel about complicated deals? rss

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Brian Schroth
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There are a lot of games out there that are about trading with other players. Rules on trade situations are generally pretty brief, but trading has the potential for a whole lot of complexity. Some examples:

"I'll trade you a wood for a rock". OK, that's simple enough.
"I'll trade you a wood if you trade me the next rock you get as soon as you are allowed to". Oops, that's a little more complicated.
"I just rolled a 7. But I won't steal from you to try and get your precious rock if you just give me a clay". Devious!
"I'll trade you Boardwalk for St. Charles Place and Virginia Ave.". Simple trade. (yeah, I'm using Monopoly as an example. Sorry.)
"I'll trade you Boardwalk for St. Charles Place and Virginia Ave. if you don't charge me for landing on blue properties and I dont charge you for landing on purple properties". Not so simple.
"I'll trade you a Stink Bean for a Blue Bean."
"I'll trade you a Stink Bean for a Blue Bean, and the next Blue Bean you draw on some future turn."

Clearly, trading can get very complicated. How do you all tend to play these situations? Are strict "X As for Y Bs" trades the only ones allowed? Do you allow players to promise future actions, or should the trade be an instantaneous event? If "I promise I'll do X in the future" type trades are allowed, are players required to honor their agreements, or can they renege? Does this vary based on the game? For example, in a game that doesn't allow trading, players might enter into some other form of informal agreement, and you'll allow that but also allow people to backstab their new allies...but in a game that allows trading, you might enforce the terms of an official trade as being unbreakable.

It's somewhat a broad subject, but what do you think about these trades? Sometimes I don't mind them, other times they leave a bad taste in my mouth.
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Ron Parker
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One thing I do know for sure: Bohnanza lasts a lot longer when the trades are so complex that even the people making the trade aren't entirely sure what they've negotiated.

Sadly, I know this from experience.
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Eric Jome
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I live for complicated deals.
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The Tak
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All I know is bust a deal, face the wheel.

Keep it simple for that reason alone.
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Elton Christianson
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I prefer the simple deals where all the goods get exchanged at one time. Trading on promises in the future just seems to open the door to potential problems. What if the person reneges on the deal. Or what if the person throws the game to another using this as a form of revenge/spite. I cut your road, so you trade all your goods to player 3 for future goods that will never be paid back because the game will end before payment is made.

Depends on the game of course.
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Brandon M
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I don't think I've ever had someone attempt those types of trades - some of those examples bend the rules a bit I think. They may not explicitly break the rules, but I'm not sure that's how the designer intended the game to be played. I think allowing those types of deals would have to be agreed on in advance.

I do like making complex trades in Chinatown, by which I mean trading multiple properties and multiple businesses among three players. The more complex the trade is, the harder it is for my opponents to figure out I'm screwing^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H getting the better deal.
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CHAPEL
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I love complex deals, and wish more games addressed them. I even love non-binding deals just as much.

Greed is Good.
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Brian Schroth
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Allow me to add another type of deals for discussion:

3+ way deals. I.e. I only want rock if I can get two, and I'll trade for one each from two separate players. Jim says he'll trade a rock for a wood. Joe says he'll trade a rock for a sheep. I trade with Jim, but then Joe takes back his offer and doesn't do the trade. Is that allowed?
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Isaac Finkelstein
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BagelManB wrote:
Allow me to add another type of deals for discussion:

3+ way deals. I.e. I only want rock if I can get two, and I'll trade for one each from two separate players. Jim says he'll trade a rock for a wood. Joe says he'll trade a rock for a sheep. I trade with Jim, but then Joe takes back his offer and doesn't do the trade. Is that allowed?


To prevent this problem, insist on a simultaneous trade.
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CHAPEL
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BagelManB wrote:
Allow me to add another type of deals for discussion:

3+ way deals. I.e. I only want rock if I can get two, and I'll trade for one each from two separate players. Jim says he'll trade a rock for a wood. Joe says he'll trade a rock for a sheep. I trade with Jim, but then Joe takes back his offer and doesn't do the trade. Is that allowed?


Trading Peter to trade with Paul may change the dynamic of the trade. I mean one player may think it advantageous to trade with you, but if you use that product to trade with another player after his offer may change what he considers advantageous, and should be able to withdraw the offer. But if you are talking about "settlers", trade rules are ambiguous at best, and I think the only complete trade is one that is changes hands. Otherwise I wouldn't consider promises binding.
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Brian Schroth
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MWChapel wrote:
BagelManB wrote:
Allow me to add another type of deals for discussion:

3+ way deals. I.e. I only want rock if I can get two, and I'll trade for one each from two separate players. Jim says he'll trade a rock for a wood. Joe says he'll trade a rock for a sheep. I trade with Jim, but then Joe takes back his offer and doesn't do the trade. Is that allowed?


Trading Peter to trade with Paul may change the dynamic of the trade. I mean one player may think it advantageous to trade with you, but if you use that product to trade with another player after his offer may change what he considers advantageous, and should be able to withdraw the offer. But if you are talking about "settlers", trade rules are ambiguous at best, and I think the only complete trade is one that is changes hands. Otherwise I wouldn't consider promises binding.


Whenever this situation comes up in my games, it's clear to Peter and Paul that I'm trading with both of them. I.e. instead of this:

Mary: Anyone trading rock?
Peter: I could do rock for sheep.
Paul: I could do rock for clay.
Mary: OK Paul.
*completes trade*
Mary: OK Peter.
Peter: Actually, nah, I don't want you to get 2.

It's this:

Mary: I need two rock, anyone want to trade it?
Peter: I only have one rock, I could trade it for a sheep.
Paul: I have one too, I could trade it for a clay.
Mary: OK, I'll trade Pete a sheep and Paul a clay.
Peter: OK
Paul: OK
*trades with Peter*
Paul: Actually, nah.

I actually haven't had the problem of people reneging on 3 way deals, but the latter dialogue is always how the three way trade gets set up.
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Greg S
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I love auction games, and trading games, and I love complicated deals, at least partly because I am quite good at them. The biggest problem I have now is that people are reluctant to trade with me because they are afraid I'll win.

1) Trading raises anxiety levels for most types of gamers. They are afraid they will come out on the short end, or help you too much. Complex trading raises anxiety exponentially, especially "futures speculation" for obvious reasons (reneging, variability of future events).

2) Trading can be regarded as too cut-throat. Once in Lifeboat I remember saying "I'll support you in this brawl if you give me your life ring" (which is allowed under the rules) and nearly getting my head chopped off by the rest because it was perceived as over the line. Even in a cut-throat game certain things can be too cut-throat I guess. Again, the "futures trading" can exacerbate this because of reneging.

I too wish more games allowed for complex deals.
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Philip Eve
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I think that the most natural way of tackling "in the future I will do x" trades is: allow them, but allow players to renege on them with no consequences in the rules of the game. (An in-game response from the other party should, of course, be anticipated.)

For 3 way trades, the way I see it you are really performing two trades, one after the other. So in line with what I wrote in the previous paragraph, the person you trade with second is free to renege on what he said once you have completed the first trade.
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Gary Heidenreich
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I'm a fan of the term, "Future Considerations".
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J.L. Robert
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I prefer trades to be of the moment.

But if I have to take the gloves off, I would only hope that the rules point out that any future terms are NOT binding. That adds an increased element of risk for one trader or another that the partner might renege on their deal. As what happens in real life, all of the time.
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Richard Linnell
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I like games where trading is open and not limited to certain commodities. Complex deals, futures trading, possible betrayal, and trading dissimalar objects are all pluses for me - except when it slows down the rest of the game too much. Of course, whatever trading happens must be within the rules for the game being played.
 
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Freelance Police
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GeekCSS wrote:
What if the person reneges on the deal,


If I win, it's okay. laugh
 
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Richard S
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While some games don't address this as well as we might like, Bohnanza in particular limits some of the more complicated trades by requiring you to plant what you receive in trade.
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Ron Parker
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thorndor wrote:
While some games don't address this as well as we might like, Bohnanza in particular limits some of the more complicated trades by requiring you to plant what you receive in trade.


The RGG English Fan Edition rules I have handy also say that the active player "may trade/donate the two face up cards and/or cards from his hand" and that non-active players "may only trade/donate cards from their hands." One possible reading of that is that you may not trade cards that aren't currently in your hand, i.e. no futures trading. But I think you'd have to be a good rules lawyer (is there such a thing?) to get that to fly in a group where other people think futures trading is okay.
 
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Tony C
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It's not a great game, but the Trump board game specifically suggests all manner of deals - "Lend me this property for this turn, I'll give you this card next turn, and half of the money for this deal the third turn." However, it also points out that something can happen in the interim to render that deal null and void, such as Player C stealing a card/property from Player B, that Player A needed.
Not a great game, as I said, but I enjoyed this part of it.
 
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CHAPEL
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You want to play a game with some down low dirty trading practices then play a round of I'm the Boss!. Talk about metagaming.
 
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Russ Williams
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I have no problem with complicated deals per se.

IMHO a good game should specify what kind of deals are allowed.

* What can be traded? Deals only involve trading tangible resources, or actions as well?
* Must items be traded 1 for 1, or m for n is OK?
* Complete deal resolved now, or are future promises OK?
* If future promises are OK, are they binding?
* Deal with only one player at a time, or possible to do a "math trade" and other kinds of deals with 3 or more players that are not decomposable into pairwise trades?
* When is dealing allowed? Only active player can initiate? Or anyone any time?

Etc.

Another type of deal is indeterminate or even random parts of the deal. E.g. stuff like:
* "I'll give you a rock if you give me a brick and another resource of your choice."
* "I'll give you a rock if you give me a brick and a random card from your hand."
* "I'll give you a rock if you give me a brick, and we roll a D6; on a 1-3 you give me a second resource."
Etc.
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J.L. Robert
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You want complicated trades? I once ACCEPTED:

"Four cards, worth 24, including Iconoclasm & Heresy and Superstition."
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Stephen Miller
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In the right group (The guys I occasionally played monopoly with at sixth form, for example) it works wonders (Like actually making for enjoyable games of monopoly - And, yes, I've done both the three way trade thing to manage to accumulate a set, and somehow neither player noticed what I was up to, and the 'And I owe you no rent for three times round the board' style trades)

Wouldn't ever play stuff that way with my parents that way, mind.

Of course, in some games, complicated trading is pretty much the entire point.
 
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Ted Groth
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Quo Vadis? is all about deals, and has a specific rule about future deals. Basically deals are binding for THAT TURN but future deals for actions beyond that turn are not. Deals can be as complicated as you like.

Great little game. I've never won.
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