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Subject: Catch-up Mechanic rss

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Charlie Theel
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People are reporting that occassionally this game supports the rich getting richer. Someone left behind can really struggle to catch up due to having less skills/power.

What about the person with lowest Fame rolling a mana die at the end of the Round. Whatever color they roll becomes a crystal added to their inventory. If they roll Gold - their choice in crystal color. If they roll Black - they gain one Fame instead.

Small bump but it would give the last place person a little bonus which may help. Don't think this would break anything.
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David desJardins
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One change I would support is to let the player with the lowest Fame choose whether to select a Tactic first or last. Often, I think it's an advantage to select last (at least in 2-player games), and currently that's going to the player who's ahead. Here's a method, although I admit it's a bit more complicated than I would like:

1a. Lowest Fame selects a Tactic, or passes.
1b. If lowest Fame passed, then next lowest selects a Tactic, or passes.
etc...
1z. If everyone else passed, then highest Fame must select a Tactic.

2. Repeat steps 1a-1z for players who don't yet have a Tactic.
3. Repeat steps 1a-1Z again for players who don't yet have a Tactic.
Etc. until everyone has a Tactic.
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Carter
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Each of the characters has a catch-up skill that gives them a green token. Though not a crystal as you suggest. I actually prefer any catch-up mechanisms to be fairly weak. The game is better being fairly unforgiving.

I do agree with David's point though that, if the choice of tactic is meant to be a catch-up mechanic, it fails to achieve that in many cases because it is better to select the tactic later. Alternatively, maybe just let the low-fame player(s) select a tactic first, and give them the option to change tactic after the high-fame player(s) have chosen.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Can someone explain to me circumstances in which it might be advantageous to choose your tactic later in the turn order?
 
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Charlie Theel
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Can someone explain to me circumstances in which it might be advantageous to choose your tactic later in the turn order?


If you want to go first and say the other players choose cards 4 and 5. You'd want to choose 3 or maybe 2. If you choose your tactic card first and you really want to go first in the round, then you better choose 1 in which case you'd receive no benefit.
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David desJardins
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Can someone explain to me circumstances in which it might be advantageous to choose your tactic later in the turn order?


The tactics are designed so that, the higher the number of the tactic, the more powerful it is, but the later in the turn order you move. To oversimplify, that means that if I choose a tactic, you can choose any tactic after mine, and you pay the same penalty (I get to go first) but you get more of a benefit the higher a number you choose. Or you can choose any tactic before mine, and you get the same benefit (you get to go first) but you get a better tactic the higher number you choose. So, in a 2p game, the attractive choices for the second chooser are often either tactic 6, or the one immediately before the first choice.

If I choose any tactic other than 1, you can choose the tactic immediately before mine, it's only slightly weaker, and you get the first move, so you generally have a better position (of course there are exceptions).

If I choose 1, then you can choose 6, which is usually worth more than the value of the first move, so again you generally have a better position (again, of course there are exceptions).
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Guy Srinivasan
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Amazing. We've been playing this rule incorrectly the whole time. We've had the player last in turn order pick first the next round, no matter the fame. I'm going directly from my mistake to David's variant, unless I can think of something better... actually yeah I'll probably start with this variant, which is conceptually simple but hard to write down:

First the lowest fame may choose to take a tactic or pass. Then the next player may choose to take a tactic or pass. If both passed, the first player may now choose to take a tactic or pass. On pass, we let the third player choose. Etc. Basically the player with the lowest fame may always preempt and choose to take a tactic, no matter where in the choosing order we are, and the player with the next lowest fame may do the same except that the lowest fame takes precedence, etc.
 
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David desJardins
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
First the lowest fame may choose to take a tactic or pass. Then the next player may choose to take a tactic or pass. If both passed, the first player may now choose to take a tactic or pass. On pass, we let the third player choose. Etc. Basically the player with the lowest fame may always preempt and choose to take a tactic, no matter where in the choosing order we are, and the player with the next lowest fame may do the same except that the lowest fame takes precedence, etc.


I'm not sure that if the first chooser passes and then the second chooser passes, we really need yet another phase where we wait for the first chooser to decide to pass yet again, before the third chooser goes.

I mean, you could take this to ridiculous extremes, you could see the first chooser pass, and then the second chooser passes, and then the first chooser reacts to the second chooser's pass decision by passing again, but now the second chooser might want to respond to the first chooser's decision to pass for the second time, by now choosing a tactic before the third player can get it. How many levels of responding to other players' decisions to pass, do you want to allow?
 
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David desJardins
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I also considered a reverse auction, in the style of Power Grid: The First Sparks. The last player starts by choosing a tactic, then each player with higher priority, in turn, can either pass or steal it. Then the highest player who hasn't already chosen a tactic, makes a choice, which can be trumped by players with higher priority. Etc.

But, I've mostly been playing 2p games, I just want a system that's equivalent to, "The player with highest priority chooses whether to choose first or second," and that doesn't get way more complicated with three or four players.
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Guy Srinivasan
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DaviddesJ wrote:
GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
First the lowest fame may choose to take a tactic or pass. Then the next player may choose to take a tactic or pass. If both passed, the first player may now choose to take a tactic or pass. On pass, we let the third player choose. Etc. Basically the player with the lowest fame may always preempt and choose to take a tactic, no matter where in the choosing order we are, and the player with the next lowest fame may do the same except that the lowest fame takes precedence, etc.


I'm not sure that if the first chooser passes and then the second chooser passes, we really need yet another phase where we wait for the first chooser to decide to pass yet again, before the third chooser goes.

I mean, you could take this to ridiculous extremes, you could see the first chooser pass, and then the second chooser passes, and then the first chooser reacts to the second chooser's pass decision by passing again, but now the second chooser might want to respond to the first chooser's decision to pass for the second time, by now choosing a tactic before the third player can get it. How many levels of responding to other players' decisions to pass, do you want to allow?

Exactly the number of levels I stated but no more. The first player needs a chance to choose if the first two pass because the I want the first player to be able to act on her possible desire to dance with player 2 but not at the expense of giving player 3 first choice. The second player does not need a chance to choose if the first two pass and then player 1 passes again, because I do not want to give the second player extra power based on the first player's choices.

In general the intuition is that player 1 should get as much choice over players 2-4 as possible, player 2 should get as much choice over players 3-4 as possible, player 3 should get as much choice over player 4 as possible, and player 4 should get no choice, while avoiding taking it to ridiculous information-passing extremes like players 1 and 2 forming a coalition where they pass information about their hands to each other by passing X times.
 
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David desJardins
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
In general the intuition is that player 1 should get as much choice over players 2-4 as possible, player 2 should get as much choice over players 3-4 as possible, player 3 should get as much choice over player 4 as possible, and player 4 should get no choice, while avoiding taking it to ridiculous information-passing extremes like players 1 and 2 forming a coalition where they pass information about their hands to each other by passing X times.


Well, I thought my proposal was already too complicated, so I don't really like your even-more-complicated proposal (i.e., many more decision steps), I understand your motivations but I don't think the benefit is worth the cost. If it really bothers you that player 2 is going to pass and let player 3 get the tactic you want, then gosh, you can just take it in the first place.
 
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Charlie Theel
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
First the lowest fame may choose to take a tactic or pass. Then the next player may choose to take a tactic or pass. If both passed, the first player may now choose to take a tactic or pass. On pass, we let the third player choose. Etc. Basically the player with the lowest fame may always preempt and choose to take a tactic, no matter where in the choosing order we are, and the player with the next lowest fame may do the same except that the lowest fame takes precedence, etc.


I'm not sure that if the first chooser passes and then the second chooser passes, we really need yet another phase where we wait for the first chooser to decide to pass yet again, before the third chooser goes.

I mean, you could take this to ridiculous extremes, you could see the first chooser pass, and then the second chooser passes, and then the first chooser reacts to the second chooser's pass decision by passing again, but now the second chooser might want to respond to the first chooser's decision to pass for the second time, by now choosing a tactic before the third player can get it. How many levels of responding to other players' decisions to pass, do you want to allow?

Exactly the number of levels I stated but no more. The first player needs a chance to choose if the first two pass because the I want the first player to be able to act on her possible desire to dance with player 2 but not at the expense of giving player 3 first choice. The second player does not need a chance to choose if the first two pass and then player 1 passes again, because I do not want to give the second player extra power based on the first player's choices.

In general the intuition is that player 1 should get as much choice over players 2-4 as possible, player 2 should get as much choice over players 3-4 as possible, player 3 should get as much choice over player 4 as possible, and player 4 should get no choice, while avoiding taking it to ridiculous information-passing extremes like players 1 and 2 forming a coalition where they pass information about their hands to each other by passing X times.


Why not just let players 2-4 choose and allow player 1 (lowest Fame) to interrupt at any point.
 
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Jeff Thompson
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charlest wrote:
GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
First the lowest fame may choose to take a tactic or pass. Then the next player may choose to take a tactic or pass. If both passed, the first player may now choose to take a tactic or pass. On pass, we let the third player choose. Etc. Basically the player with the lowest fame may always preempt and choose to take a tactic, no matter where in the choosing order we are, and the player with the next lowest fame may do the same except that the lowest fame takes precedence, etc.


I'm not sure that if the first chooser passes and then the second chooser passes, we really need yet another phase where we wait for the first chooser to decide to pass yet again, before the third chooser goes.

I mean, you could take this to ridiculous extremes, you could see the first chooser pass, and then the second chooser passes, and then the first chooser reacts to the second chooser's pass decision by passing again, but now the second chooser might want to respond to the first chooser's decision to pass for the second time, by now choosing a tactic before the third player can get it. How many levels of responding to other players' decisions to pass, do you want to allow?

Exactly the number of levels I stated but no more. The first player needs a chance to choose if the first two pass because the I want the first player to be able to act on her possible desire to dance with player 2 but not at the expense of giving player 3 first choice. The second player does not need a chance to choose if the first two pass and then player 1 passes again, because I do not want to give the second player extra power based on the first player's choices.

In general the intuition is that player 1 should get as much choice over players 2-4 as possible, player 2 should get as much choice over players 3-4 as possible, player 3 should get as much choice over player 4 as possible, and player 4 should get no choice, while avoiding taking it to ridiculous information-passing extremes like players 1 and 2 forming a coalition where they pass information about their hands to each other by passing X times.


Why not just let players 2-4 choose and allow player 1 (lowest Fame) to interrupt at any point.


And then once he's chosen (lowest Fame), next lowest fame that hasn't chosen now has this privilege. Sound simple enough?
 
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Guy Srinivasan
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Pretty sure my proposal is equivalent to the following two rules after removing bluffing:

1. Whoever is last to choose must pick a tactic.
2. Anyone before the player about to pick a tactic may interrupt to pick a tactic.

Those rules sound pretty simple, right?
 
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David desJardins
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
Pretty sure my proposal is equivalent to the following two rules after removing bluffing:

1. Whoever is last to choose must pick a tactic.
2. Anyone before the player about to pick a tactic may interrupt to pick a tactic.

Those rules sound pretty simple, right?


Those rules sound highly ambiguous. There are all sorts of timing issues in determining which of the several players who can interrupt, have to decide first whether or not they are going to interrupt.
 
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Jeff Hannes
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How about this?

Order players starting with lowest fame As normal.

Player 1 chooses a tactic
Player 2 chooses an untaken tactic
Player 3 chooses an untaken tactic
Player 2 may put his tactic back and choose a different untaken tactic
Player 1 may put his tactic back and choose a different untaken tactic (including the one abandoned by player 2 if applicable)

This would scale easily for 2-4 players, and give the lowest fame player the advantage of being able to choose first AND react to his opponent's choices.
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dan mce
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xanalor wrote:
How about this?

Order players starting with lowest fame As normal.

Player 1 chooses a tactic
Player 2 chooses an untaken tactic
Player 3 chooses an untaken tactic
Player 2 may put his tactic back and choose a different untaken tactic
Player 1 may put his tactic back and choose a different untaken tactic (including the one abandoned by player 2 if applicable)

This would scale easily for 2-4 players, and give the lowest fame player the advantage of being able to choose first AND react to his opponent's choices.


The only problem with having multiple choices is the ability to bluff you first choice (or first, then second, and so on) so people will still be able to exploit the higher numbered (higher powered) cards.

The only way to address this really is to address the benefits/drawbacks of each tactic so that there is a consistent power increase from 1 to 6.

For example if choosing tactic 1 also gave move +6, tactic 2 move +5, ... and tactic 6 only giving move +1.

I am not suggesting this would be balanced, I am just trying to make the point that the curve of advantage to disadvantage for each number needs to directly correlate with the numbers.
 
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David desJardins
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Daleth wrote:
The only way to address this really is to address the benefits/drawbacks of each tactic so that there is a consistent power increase from 1 to 6.


No, you're missing the point. It's got nothing to do with the power curve. The problem would still exist, at least in 2-player games, even if the power curve were completely consistent. E.g., suppose that tactic #1 gives you 1 VP (and no other benefit), tactic #2 gives you 2 VP (and no other benefit), etc. And say that the value of moving first is worth 3 VP more than moving second. Then you always want to get the second choice. If your opponent chooses anything other than #1, then you choose the immediate preceding tactic, getting an advantage worth 3 VP at a cost of 1 VP. If your opponent chooses #1, then you choose #6, getting a disadvantage of 3 VP but gaining 5 VP in exchange.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Daleth wrote:
The only way to address this really is to address the benefits/drawbacks of each tactic so that there is a consistent power increase from 1 to 6.


No, you're missing the point. It's got nothing to do with the power curve. The problem would still exist, at least in 2-player games, even if the power curve were completely consistent. E.g., suppose that tactic #1 gives you 1 VP (and no other benefit), tactic #2 gives you 2 VP (and no other benefit), etc. And say that the value of moving first is worth 3 VP more than moving second. Then you always want to get the second choice. If your opponent chooses anything other than #1, then you choose the immediate preceding tactic, getting an advantage worth 3 VP at a cost of 1 VP. If your opponent chooses #1, then you choose #6, getting a disadvantage of 3 VP but gaining 5 VP in exchange.


I'm not following what you mean.

What I'm saying is problem is that there is an advantage in going second because if you know you are going second you take the more powerful card.

I'm suggesting: counter-balance the powers of the cards in such a way that #1 has more of an advantage that 'just' being the first player. And #6 has the greatest disadvantage (yet also has the same effect as 'The Right Moment'/'Sparing Power'.

For example the first player ALSO gets extra movement. I think this would deter players who choose second from always taking the more powerful cards, as they would also have a built in disadvantage.
 
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David desJardins
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Well, of course if you make #1 the most powerful tactic card, and you let that player go first, then everyone will take it right away. So sure, you can make picking first advantageous just by making the right choice obvious and much better than the alternatives.

The design is supposed to balance the first choice with the disadvantage of going later in the turn order, just so this doesn't happen. Otherwise, whoever happens to choose first on the first round (or who can manipulate their Fame to be just a point or two lower, going into subsequent rounds) will get a big advantage from the power of choosing first. I don't think anyone wants that.
 
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Jeff Hannes
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Daleth wrote:

The only problem with having multiple choices is the ability to bluff you first choice (or first, then second, and so on) so people will still be able to exploit the higher numbered (higher powered) cards.


If the "exploit" is the issue, I don't see that as a problem. Isn't the whole point of a catch-up mechanic to give the player who's behind some sort of advantage? The point to my proposed variant is to flip the tables... Of course the player choosing last is going to create the biggest gap he can between himself and his opponent in tactics choose, to get the largest net gain. The key is to make the trailing player the one who gets to choose last. Take a 2-player game as an example:

Going into the start of the round Player 1 has 55 fame, Player 2 has 60 fame. More than anything, Player 1 wants to go first. Maybe it's the difference between who's going to get that city or ruins. Let's say the benefit to going first in this case a is big enough potential point swing that the trailing player feels he HAS to go first. So he chooses Tactic #1. Now player 2 basically gets a free pass and can take Tactic #6, the most powerful option out there. And if it's the night-time, he's basically countered Player #1's advantage by giving himself an extra turn. So Player #1 really didn't get much of a "Catch-Up" at all. (And it's the catch-up we're talking about in this thread, not the relative balance of the tactics).

In my variant, Player #2 has a choice to make. Assuming Player #1 takes Tactic #1, he still has the option to take #6 -- but doing so he knows Player #1 will then jump up to Tactic #5. In that case, the catch up mechanism works -- both players get a powerful tactic, but the trailing player gets the benefit of going first. Alternatively, Player #2 might decide to take take Tactic #2, forcing Player #1 to stick with the ability-less Tactic #1 if he really wants to go first. Of course, Player #1 could then just decide that gettting the extra ability outweighs going first, and jump up to Tactic #6.

Either way, the advantage goes to the trailing player.

I dunno, the more I think about it, the more I think this simple variant might solve the inherent disadvantages to having to choose your tactic first. I'm definitely going to give it a try next time I play.
 
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David desJardins
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xanalor wrote:
I dunno, the more I think about it, the more I think this simple variant might solve the inherent disadvantages to having to choose your tactic first.


But it's not simple. Letting people make choices and then change them is really complex and confusing, especially if multiple players are doing it. I thought my original proposal was too complicated, and yet people keep suggesting even more complex schemes.
 
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My suggestion was really an attempt to consider how the cards themselves could have been re-designed to self-balance. Though I admit that I hadn't considered that players would intentionally end a round on lower fame to assure first choice of tactics. Does this really happen?

David's system is definitely the simplest balanced way of preventing this unfair advantage. I will definitley house rule this from now on.


Adding in extra rounds of changing your choice will just complicate things, and add in bluffing on your first choice. I keep thinking about the role-selection in Citadels (2 player variant) my girlfriend always triple bluffs me, it's mind boggling.
 
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