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Alcatraz: The Scapegoat» Forums » Variants

Subject: Picking a Game Winner instead of "everyone but one" winning rss

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Houserule Jay
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I play games for fun, but I also think winning is...fun

I'm just curious if anyone has had any ideas about how a single winner should be picked and if the designer's tested a single winner option in playtesting at all?

My idea would be whoever had the most unique letters would win, other escapees come in 2nd, 3rd etc and there is still one loser. Ties broken in the same way a loser is determined, most elements, then money, forfeits, and finally Stamina, though maybe Stamina should be after elements or money.

How much do people think this could change the dynamics, I think people will be a little more "careful" exactly where they help, and how....
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Wyckyd
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I think it would result in a lot more games ending in nobody winning - and I feel like I won a bit more if I had most letters.
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Rafał Cywicki
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Alcatraz actually awards your just for not being the scapegoat when a task is done and it gives a better reward if you actually were the one to complete task. In this sense, a player who has the most unique letters probably played better than the rest.

But as social dynamics go, I wouldn't recommend "victory scaling" here. With clever players it is already hard to find partners willing to cooperate. And as Wyckyd noticed it might result in "everybody loses" scenario more often.

But if you think it suits your group, go ahead and try... i'm curious how it will change the game
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Sean Tompkins
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It would vastly change the dynamics - in fact, it might mirror very well the psychology experiment known as the "prisoner's dilemma"! In the prisoner's dilemma, two prisoners questioned by police separately are given an option - keep quiet, or rat out the other guy. If both keep quiet, both get a minor 1 year sentence. If one rats out the other, but the other stays quiet, the one who stays quiet gets the shaft -- they'll likely go to jail for 20 years, while the rat goes free. If both rat out each other, they'll each get 10 years.

The "best" choice is for both to stay quiet - however, with the risk of "losing" if the other guy turns, plus the minimal increase from 1 down to 0 the most common choice is for both to turn on each other.

Interesting from a game theory perspective, but probably makes this particular game not nearly as much fun. There's a unique element about the "don't finish last" mechanic... and in fact you could argue that having everyone else do the work but still escaping is "efficient use of actions"...

But those are my opinions - if it makes the game more fun for you, proceed!
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Simon Lundström
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Now who are these five?
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I find the loser-mechanism to be the best part of this game's whole. I think you'd probably have to change quite a lot for the game to work if you want to have one winner and everyone else a loser.
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Tim
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If the winning is what you like, then you should like it as-is. 2-3 out of 4 people will win every time

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Houserule Jay
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Interesting discussion!

I think some people missed how I envisioned and described this change, I think it would still be fun to have one loser and NOT change that, one person who does NOT escape.

In fact, the only difference I am suggesting is when the game is over you simply evaluate a loser, as normal, and THEN a winner also.

So if playing with 4 players, 3 players still escape, 1 stays behind. More or less after that you are just giving an award for "most valuable player" if that helps anyone to think of it differently.

I'll likely try this in my next game and post how it goes. It will likely change how people cooperate a little BUT people will still have to work together so everyone does not lose AND there is still the risk of being the ONLY loser so you still have to play mostly the same with these things in mind, so I figure anyway, let's see.
 
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Simon Lundström
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It would still change a lot of the game, because part of your behaviour in the game is based on that it doesn't matter how good you are, as long as you're not last.

The slightest change into this, that you have one "best", one "last" and the rest "winners" will still change people's behaviour, as they will aim for being "best" and not just second best.
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