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Wizard Kings» Forums » Rules

Subject: secrecy and fair play issues rss

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Jacek Brzezowski
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I had been watching Wizard Kings for a long time and now at last I got my own! But I have some issues about secrecy in this game. I mean - movement and cost data is secret, so how would oponnent know if I don't make mistakes? I'm not talking about actually cheating on purpose here, but I like games where I can control somehow is everything is going ok. Is this how this game supposed to be or am I missing something?
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Sandking wrote:
I mean - movement and cost data is secret, so how would oponnent know if I don't make mistakes?

This is a potential issue in many block games. For movement, you may find it helpful to announce when moving, "this guy has a movement of at least two, so I can move here..." or to challenge your opponent during his/her move: "that guy has a movement of at least three?"

For adding steps to units, I'm not sure there's much you can do to make sure your opponent's math is correct. One thing we do in EastFront, where you're only allowed to add one step to a unit per production phase, is write down what we're buying, work our math out on the paper, and then only adjust the blocks once we're done. (In EF, though, the units have IDs, so you can tell one infantry unit from another.)

If it really bugs you, then maybe you should check out Bowen Simmons' games Bonaparte at Marengo (out of print, but there's a second edition coming) and Napoleon's Triumph (which I like better anyway). Those are block games explicitly designed without "trust issues"; when you're making a move which only cavalry could make, then you have to reveal that the unit is indeed cavalry.
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Mikhail Kruzhkov
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I'd like to ask a further question regarding secrecy in this thread, if it's appropriate. What is supposed to be secret and what is not? Two examples:
1) After a battle I will know my opponent's surviving troops, but can he sort of shuffle them on that hex, so that I don't know which is which in case they move in different ways?
2) During the building phase - does the opponent see to which blocks you buy steps for and how many steps you buy - or can my opponent conduct his/her building step without me looking?
Is there a general rule which explains what actions are secret and which are not?
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Jacek Brzezowski
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I picked up this game because of old school 80's classic fantasy theme as well as it reminds me of old computer strategy fantasy games I once used to play, so the rules here aren't a real issue - it just bugs me a little. I also wanted to know if I understood it correctly. Thanks for answers.

Mikhail:

ad 1. I think that it's a matter of accepting some solution by both sides. I think that shuffling units would be better.

ad 2. I think that player can see which unit and how many steps you upgrade. It isn't logical from a warfare/strategy point of view (because if you even had spies that would tell you where oponnent gets stronger, then why the hell he doesn't know what unit types are there but I think we must assume it's just a part of how the game works.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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magnitt wrote:
can he sort of shuffle them on that hex, so that I don't know which is which in case they move in different ways?

I don't see anything about that in the rules, but I agree with Sandking that it's better to allow shuffling.

magnitt wrote:
does the opponent see to which blocks you buy steps for and how many steps you buy - or can my opponent conduct his/her building step without me looking?

In the version of the rules I'm looking at (1.6), it's emphasized that players do their builds simultaneously; I think the expectation is that you don't get to see which enemy units are getting built up, because you're busy doing your own.

(That expectation is explicit in the longer EastFront rules: "Simultaneous production speeds play and promotes a desirable level of misinformation--with both players building at once, they can pay only limited attention to what the opponent is doing.")
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Jeff White
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Sandking wrote:
I had been watching Wizard Kings for a long time and now at last I got my own! But I have some issues about secrecy in this game. I mean - movement and cost data is secret, so how would oponnent know if I don't make mistakes? I'm not talking about actually cheating on purpose here, but I like games where I can control somehow is everything is going ok. Is this how this game supposed to be or am I missing something?


Remember also that WK is very much a 'kit'. Well, it is for me...

I don't use the build rules as written. To simplify things a great deal I allow each side to have 3 'Build Points' per turn and allow building similar to Julius Caesar or other recent Columbia games. Essentially, you can bring on a new random block at step one for a BP or you can add a step to existing blocks at 1 BP per step (yes, newly added blocks can have steps added to for 1 BP). This is very easy to track.
(*Note - I use 3 BP for my custom scenario, maybe you want each side to have as many BPs as they own cities or something.*)

So far, it seems fine. I did use the blocks' cost data when building the initial armies though, so that in the end all the armies were of equal strength.

As for movement. Simply go on faith, or yeah, ask 'can that block move 3?' that's all.

Additionally, I allow each side to only move 3 groups per turn as well with groups being defined like JC, HotS, etc. Speeds the game up quite a bit. To be fair, you may need to increase the number of turns per game.
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Mikhail Kruzhkov
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Thanks for answers, all! I understand that with this game we are free to change the rules as we please, but as I have no experience with block games I wanted to make sure I understand the basics. And Jeff, I liked your variant with build points
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C Sandifer
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Also, there's nothing wrong with playing a learning game (or a few learning turns) with all blocks face up. Some people teach all block games this way - particularly the more complicated ones.
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Jeff White
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magnitt wrote:
Thanks for answers, all! I understand that with this game we are free to change the rules as we please, but as I have no experience with block games I wanted to make sure I understand the basics. And Jeff, I liked your variant with build points :)


Thanks. I actually really like your idea of the 'secret missions' based on randomly drawn cities and am looking to expand on it a bit.

I'll let you know what I cook up.
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Seth Owen
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wkover wrote:
Also, there's nothing wrong with playing a learning game (or a few learning turns) with all blocks face up. Some people teach all block games this way - particularly the more complicated ones.


This is an excellent idea. That way you can make sure the new player understand exactly how it's supposed to be done. Mistakes may still happen, but they'll be less common.

Overall, though, you really just have to accept the trade-off when playing block games. There's always the chance for build mistakes, accidental jostling of blocks and, of course, cheating. You simply shouldn't play this sort of game with anyone for whom the emotional stakes involved in winning are so high that they can't restrain themselves from cheating. There are a lot of games, not just block wargames,that are pretty easy to cheat at. Mistakes during builds or jostling of blocks are unavoidable, but rarely should be a game changer if it's an occasional step here or there.
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Peter Collins
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magnitt wrote:

1) After a battle I will know my opponent's surviving troops, but can he sort of shuffle them on that hex, so that I don't know which is which in case they move in different ways?


Indeed. Bluffing and deception are part of the fun of playing block games.

Funny, but I've never considered that people might cheat when playing a block game. Of course, the potential is there. For myself, the whole fog of war aspect makes the game so much more fun than a conventional hex and counter game, say. It creates all kinds of tension and suspense, why would anyone want to ruin that by cheating?

Maybe I'm naive... soblue
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