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Subject: Sudden but inevitable betrayal in this game for 2 rss

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P.D. Magnus
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Here's a game directly inspired by Greg Payne's unnamed game idea. Since Greg said he was fine with me posting this version, it's asynchronous collaboration rather than idea piracy.

I've tried it out a few times as written, and it works pretty well. Of course, comments are welcome.

THE INEVITABLE BETRAYAL
a game for two players

It is the last battle in the final campaign of a mad but brilliant general. Six companies of tired soldiers are all that stands between him and the advancing enemy. He doesn't realize it yet, but there is no way for him to win.

Fortunately, you are not playing the general in this game. Unfortunately, you're not the advancing army either.

Instead, you play a member of the general's staff. You were offered money by captains of a few of the remaining companies. Maneuver them off the field before the inevitable defeat, and they will pay you handsomely. So cue the fifes and drums! Jigger the retreat orders to put your cronies as far from danger as possible.

Of course, everybody else on the general's staff was bribed to put their cronies ahead of yours.

COMPONENTS

You will need a complete 45-card Decktet, including all of the extended deck cards. In addition, you will need a battlefield track and six unit tokens. The track should be 45 spaces long, although most games won't need more that 25 or 30 spaces; you can draw one or borrow the point track from another board game. The tokens are each associated with one of the Decktet suits; you can use suit chips, coloured cubes, or somesuch.


EDIT: I made a track especially for the game.

SET UP

Shuffle together the Pawns and Courts. Deal one facedown to each player. Each player may look at their card. The three suits on the card represent the three units which the player is trying to help. Set aside the remaining Pawns and Courts without looking at them.

Shuffle the basic deck. Take five cards without looking at them, shuffle the Excuse into that pile, and put it on the bottom of the deck. This forms the draw pile. (When the Excuse is turned over the game ends, so the game will go through most but perhaps not all of the draw pile.)

Deal five cards from the top of the draw pile, face up onto the table. These form the initial pool of possible orders.

All of the unit tokens begin on the first space of the battlefield track. This is in the shadow of the advancing enemy; the track leads away from the enemy and, perhaps, to safety.

Someone takes the first turn; play then alternates.

RULES

On your turn, you will select one card from the pool of possible orders. That card is played immediately and discarded. A new card is then flipped over to replace it in the pool.

Number cards, Aces, and Crowns work in different ways:

Number cards represent an order to retreat. You may move the two units represented by the suits on the card a total number of spaces equal to the rank of the card. You must move each unit at least one space.

Example: The 8 Moons Suns may be used to move the Moons token 6 spaces along the track (away from the advancing army) and the Suns token 2 spaces; or any combination of moves which totals 8 spaces.

An Ace represents a forced march order for a specific unit. Pick a direction along the track. Move the token represented by the suit of the Ace in the chosen direction until it reaches a space occupied by another token. Place the moving token in the occupied space. If there are no other unit tokens in the direction you selected, move the indicated unit token one space instead.

A Crown represents the General's desire for the unit to charge the enemy. If a Crown is present in the pool of orders and you select a matching number card, then that token is moved toward the beginning of the track the appropriate distance.

Example: The 7 Waves Wyrms is played while the Crown of Wyrms is one of the cards in the pool. The Waves token could be moved along the track 4 spaces and the Wyrms token back toward the beginning of the track 3 spaces; or any combination of moves which totals 7 spaces.

If you select and play the Crown, move the matching unit token back toward the beginning of the track until it reaches a space occupied by another unit token. (This is the same as playing an Ace, except that you do not get to choose a direction.)

If any play would move a token beyond the starting space on the battlefield track, leave the token in the first space instead.

After playing a card, turn over a card from the draw pile to replace it. If the new card is the Excuse, then the game ends immediately.

SCORING

When the Excuse is drawn, the enemy army surges forward. Units only have a chance if there are other units behind it, buying the ones further ahead time to escape.

Each player's score is the total value of the three unit tokens represented by the three suits on the Pawn or Crown that they were dealt at the beginning of the game. The player with the most points is the winner.

The unit token closest to the start of the track is worth zero points. If several unit tokens are in the same space closest to the start, each is worth zero.

The unit token next along the track is worth one point. If several tokens are in the same space, each is worth one.

The unit token next along the track is worth two, and so on. If all the tokens are in different spaces along the battlefield track, then the forwardmost token is worth five points.

Note that players will probably share some of the same scoring suits.

CREDITS

Original design by Gregory R. Payne; game development by P.D. Magnus.

Playtesters included Nate Straight and Cristyn Magnus.
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Nate Straight

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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal [a game for 2]
Sweet. Will definitely try.
 
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K Septyn
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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal [a game for 2]
I think I get the idea of this game, but to me there's some confusion of terms. You want to get your divisions/suit markers as far away from "the front" (where the fighting is), but at the end the "forwardmost" token is worth the most points.

If I understand correctly, if I had a 45-space track with an arrow pointing one way and said "Front Toward Enemy", I want my markers to move in the opposite direction. The farther away they are from "the front" (relative to the other markers), the more valuable they are. Is that right?

 
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P.D. Magnus
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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal [a game for 2]
Septyn wrote:
I think I get the idea of this game, but to me there's some confusion of terms. You want to get your divisions/suit markers as far away from "the front" (where the fighting is), but at the end the "forwardmost" token is worth the most points.

If I understand correctly, if I had a 45-space track with an arrow pointing one way and said "Front Toward Enemy", I want my markers to move in the opposite direction. The farther away they are from "the front" (relative to the other markers), the more valuable they are. Is that right?


Yes. shake

In order not to make it "who's on first", though, I deliberately avoided using the word "front" in the rules. There's the beginning of the track (closer to the attackers) and further along the track (further away).
 
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Nate Straight

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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal, a game for 2
Is the final title really going to be "Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal"?

I'm all for longwindedness, but might I suggest something more memorable like "Turncoat"?
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P.D. Magnus
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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal, a game for 2
NateStraight wrote:
Is the final title really going to be "Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal"?


Sudden but inevitable betrayal is just the title of the thread about the game.
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Nate Straight

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Re: Sudden but inevitable betrayal, a game for 2
pmagnus wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
Is the final title really going to be "Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal"?


Sudden but inevitable betrayal is just the title of the thread about the game.


So you say, but your seemingly appositional punctuation implies otherwise.
 
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:
So you say, but your seemingly appositional punctuation implies otherwise.


OK, so I changed the thread title.
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Nate Straight

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laugh

I really need to pick up the mb microbadge for myself the way I jerk everyone's chain. Apologies.
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:

I really need to pick up the mb microbadge for myself the way I jerk everyone's chain. Apologies.


No worries.

"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" is a quotable line from the Firefly pilot, but the game may get a different title in the end.
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:
"Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!" is a quotable line from the Firefly pilot, but the game may get a different title in the end.


Aha!

Well... if you're able to reference Whedon successfully, you have considerably more geek street cred than I do and certainly will be able to pull potential players in on that count alone.

In other news: I'm going to give this new write-up of the rules a spin in just a bit.
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K Septyn
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Nice touch on the board, sir.
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Nate Straight

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NateStraight wrote:
In other news: I'm going to give this new write-up of the rules a spin in just a bit.


We played a hand through and it went well enough.

Honestly, I'm still fond of the kookier rules concerning the Courts and Pawns and things moving backwards and forwards and all around.

What you did with the deductive / collusive element of potential [all but assured] suit sharing [hands where you each share two suits would be awkwardly hilarious, I imagine] through the Pawns / Courts though.

I also like your added rules for necessitating that things move backwards when a Crown comes up. I might try that with the original Pawn/Courts.

I would have probably gone a different direction in development, focusing instead on providing a more interesting game goal than "move your stuff forward" [I'm a fan of Knizia and the effect a goal can have on a game].

But, your mechanical tweaks worked well enough, I thought. I just didn't feel any real reason not to push my stuff forward, where I had before.

I still really like the basic concept of this game.
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:

I would have probably gone a different direction in development, focusing instead on providing a more interesting game goal than "move your stuff forward" [I'm a fan of Knizia and the effect a goal can have on a game].


I considered some different ideas for endgame scoring. One thing I like about my current rule is that there is no special reward for being very far ahead. Also, it has the consequence that stacking two lagging pieces on top of each other can decrease the value of every piece ahead of them on the track.

That said, the game isn't entirely settled. I'd love to hear different ideas for endgame scoring.
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Nate Straight

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pmagnus wrote:
NateStraight wrote:

I would have probably gone a different direction in development, focusing instead on providing a more interesting game goal than "move your stuff forward" [I'm a fan of Knizia and the effect a goal can have on a game].


I considered some different ideas for endgame scoring. One thing I like about my current rule is that there is no special reward for being very far ahead. Also, it has the consequence that stacking two lagging pieces on top of each other can decrease the value of every piece ahead of them on the track.


I did like that little bit, and the way that you could affect how far back someone could push something you had moved into the lead by moving ahead the intermediary pieces.

Quote:
That said, the game isn't entirely settled. I'd love to hear different ideas for endgame scoring.


That'll take some thought.
 
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pmagnus wrote:
I'd love to hear different ideas for endgame scoring.


Not that I've played the game, or even fiddled with the Decktet much, but when I read the rules (and grasped them), I thought it was a little one-dimensional. The mechanics, to me, seem more appropriate for something linear, like a horserace. (Your 3-suit draw could be win, place, and show, for example.)

But since the theme has this on a battlefield, a two-dimensional solution might be better. Armies that are shielded by others that are closer to the rampaging horde survive, sort of like vampires in shadow (mixing metaphors, sorry).

One of the bandana gameboards for Cosmic Wimpout inspired a fan rule. The spiral track spun around a central star, and if your marker shadowed another piece, the shadowed piece was bumped to a lower score until it was in the light of the star again.

That's a long way to get to my point: some kind of positional play aside from back-and-forth might be interesting. For example, using the scoretrack, only pieces that are shielded/shadowed by another piece count, and then apply the farthest-from-battle scoring paradigm. You might be able to maneuver moons all the way to 50, but it there isn't another piece above it in that column, it's worthless.

Sorry for intruding, but this sort of change has been floating around my head for a while. Minutes, at least.
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Nate Straight

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NateStraight wrote:
Quote:
That said, the game isn't entirely settled. I'd love to hear different ideas for endgame scoring.


That'll take some thought.


One simple suggestion:

The furthest away [furthest along... gah... the "best"] color is labeled as yellow-bellied ninnies and also scores no points [alternatively scores some negative points?].
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Greg Payne
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NateStraight wrote:
One simple suggestion:

The furthest away [furthest along... gah... the "best"] color is labeled as yellow-bellied ninnies and also scores no points [alternatively scores some negative points?].

That reminds me of the idea someone had (I'm not sure who it was, as it was before I started going there) for the scoring at the ManorCon Diplomacy tournament. Everyone scored except second place, who got nothing.

I still haven't had a chance to try this idea. Not having people around who are willing to submit to my game ideas sucks sometimes...
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P.D. Magnus
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I'm starting to think that the game will be called "Fifes and drums", with a subtitle about betrayal. On an unrelated note, here's a variant that adds back some of the madness that Nate suggests is missing.

VARIANT, FOG OF WAR

This variant adds uncertainty about which unit is which. It's untested, but should add some combination of bluffing and madness. Here's how it works:

Shuffle the draw pile, but do put the Excuse in it.

After receiving a goal card, each player draws three cards from the draw pile. If any of these cards is an Ace or Crown, they may reveal it and draw another. Once they have three number-ranked cards, they pick one and put the remaining two back on the draw pile.

Put any revealed Aces or Crowns back on the draw pile, shuffle it, and add the Excuse as per the usual rules. Play proceeds as normal until the Excuse is drawn.

After the Excuse is drawn but before points are counted, players reveal their secret number cards. Starting with the higher ranked card, swap the positions of the unit tokens corresponding to the two suits on the card. (If the two cards are the same rank, order won't matter.)

Then count score, following the usual rules.
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Nate Straight

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That is both bizarre and clever.

I like "Fifes and Drums" as a title.
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P.D. Magnus
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NateStraight wrote:

I like "Fifes and Drums" as a title.


Another possible title: "Marching Orders"
 
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