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Subject: Why reshuffle if king is face up? rss

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Darcy Hartwick
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This is one of the annoying parts of the game that I'm not sure I understand - why is it necessary to reshuffle the character cards if the king is one of the face up cards?

How is the game imbalanced if the king is face up? Assassin face up is far more game-changing as people know their picks are safe.

Everytime we waste time reshuffling I ask why this rule exists and whether we need to respect it. The only answer I have is if you're playing with the queen - but you could always just use the crown marker instead of the king card.
 
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Ben Crane
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Because the 1st player marker is so valuable, if the king is face-up, then 1st player gets to guaranteed keep the marker for another turn. To avoid repeated reshuffles, what we do is, if king shows up face up, set him aside and deal the rest of the face-up cards, then reshuffle and put down the face-down card and start character selection. Then at least you aren't reshuffling repeatedly if king keeps showing up face-up in the same round, and the odds on the cards are the same.
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aitrus wrote:
This is one of the annoying parts of the game that I'm not sure I understand - why is it necessary to reshuffle the character cards if the king is one of the face up cards?
People need higher chances of having the opportunity to get first player, and indirectly, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

aitrus wrote:
How is the game imbalanced if the king is face up? Assassin face up is far more game-changing as people know their picks are safe.
I suppose NOT having 1st or 2nd pick of characters can be just as disruptive (if not moreso) than getting assassinated.

aitrus wrote:
Everytime we waste time reshuffling I ask why this rule exists and whether we need to respect it. The only answer I have is if you're playing with the queen - but you could always just use the crown marker instead of the king card.
In the English version of the game, the Queen looks at the King card. In the other versions (French, German, and possibly others), they look at the crown counter. For the latter, it's soo much more annoying and creates much more headaches that that Bruno's site had many more questions about how Queen works with the crown marker. In the FAQ, it finally stated that Queen works with the King card. Period. NOT the crown marker.


EDIT: mismatched tags
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Darcy Hartwick
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Bascaria wrote:
Because the 1st player marker is so valuable, if the king is face-up, then 1st player gets to guaranteed keep the marker for another turn. To avoid repeated reshuffles, what we do is, if king shows up face up, set him aside and deal the rest of the face-up cards, then reshuffle and put down the face-down card and start character selection. Then at least you aren't reshuffling repeatedly if king keeps showing up face-up in the same round, and the odds on the cards are the same.


Uh, but the king is allowed to be a facedown card... and it can go unpicked... so obviously the game still functions perfectly fine without someone picking the king?

knowing nobody is the king isnt any different than knowing theres no assassin (woohoo im safe!) no thief (woohoo my coins are safe!) no magician (woohoo my hand is safe!) no bishop (woohoo i can warlord!) no merchant (woohoo no megacoin turns!) no architect (woohoo no megabuilds!) or no diplomat (woohoo no city swaps!). It has no bigger strategic impact than any of these....
 
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René van Bussel
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This was also the subject of this thread, some time ago.

The best point made was this:
Maxx_Pointy wrote:
To promote the idea that the king is available each round to encourage crown movement.


And a bit later, by the same user:
Quote:
Crown marker movement is important because it changes the first player and a changing first player is important. By having the King obviously out of play (ie: known to all players) it allows the current first player a bit too much power, as everyone will know with confidence that the crownholder will retain the crown for the next turn.
 
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Darcy Hartwick
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Crown movement is "critical" yet the first player can just keep picking king every single turn and the crown will never move...

Crown movement is critical yet the king can be the face down card...

Crown movement is critical yet assassinations have a far more imbalanced impact on the game (try winning if you have 2 less turns than every other player).


Seems like pretty unconvincing reasoning to me. I think we'll try house ruling this to see if there's any noticeable impact.
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René van Bussel
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aitrus wrote:

Crown movement is "critical" yet the first player can just keep picking king every single turn and the crown will never move...

... and get assassinated every turn when the other players figure it out.

Quote:
Crown movement is critical yet the king can be the face down card...

"No face up king" only increases the odds of the king card being available, it doesn't (and shouldn't) make anything certain.

Quote:
Crown movement is critical yet assassinations have a far more imbalanced impact on the game (try winning if you have 2 less turns than every other player).

Suggested house rule: remove the assassin from the game...
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Evil Roy
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Choosing the King should make you the first player for the next turn. It should not make you first player for the next two, three of four turns.

If you have a streak where the king card in not available for a few turns then whomever is the current first player gets too big a benefit from a single role selection.

Note that no other card continues to provide a benefit if nobody else picks it in a subsequent turn. That's why it is appropriate and sensible to have this rule specifically for the king.
 
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dypaca
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aitrus wrote:
Everytime we waste time reshuffling...

At least in the version of the rules I have (which are the latest rules on the FFG sight), I don't think you waste alot of time if you are following them correctly.

The procedure is:
1) place one card face down.
2) place the correct number of face up cards.
3) if the king is face up, place an additional card face up, then return the king to the hand of character cards.

You do NOT restart the process by reshuffling all character cards and placing new cards on the table. The first player should shuffle the hand enough that a player across the table cannot watch him closely and know if he picked the king, but just putting the king in the middle of the hand should be a sufficient shuffle.

This means that on turns when the king was shown face up, not only is he put back in the hand but all players know that he is in the hand. Some people seem to assume this is a problem and that they need to re-choose the face down card. Following the procedure in the rules, though, provides additional incentive for the first player to pass the king and let turn order change, because the second player will know for sure if he picked the king or not.

Of course it also means that if the King is picked before the assassin or theif, then the assassin/theif can target the king and know they will hit someone. I don't think this is a major problem though: they can be picked first, they can be on the table, this only applies on turns when the king was face up, if at least one person has no gold that is still a chance for the theif to 'miss', and with alot of players it may be worth a turn or some gold to get the crown.
 
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Darcy Hartwick
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Dypaca - that way everyone would know the king is not the face down card. The "time saving" variant would be to do the face up cards first, but then you increase the odds that the king will be the face down card.

What I don't get is the idea that going first is somehow more valuable or more important than the ability of any other character. Not important enough to have to always be used mind you, just important enough that the chances of "no king" turns should be 2/8 (face down or passed) rather than 4/8 (face down, passed, or face up x2). That is so ridiculously arbitrary that it makes no sense.

Going first is not noticeably more powerful than stealing cards, blowing up a district, drawing 2 extra cards, etc etc. The idea that it is is just nonsensical, as if it was so powerful then at every opportunity the king would be the first pick of everyone. It simply is not. Most of the time the architect or merchant are the strongest cards in terms of raw turn-power and the ones most often assassinated.
 
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dypaca
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aitrus wrote:
Dypaca - that way everyone would know the king is not the face down card.

Yes, but I think that is the correct way to play by the rules in the latest english version, and not a problem.

The power of the crown is that it gets you access to the better powers, instead of just choosing between the two cards no one else wanted each turn. It is true though that fewer players makes it less valuable because more cards are eliminated randomly.

I'm not saying the game would be completely broken if you ignored this rule, I just think that it serves some purpose and that if you follow it as written it doesn't waste alot of time.
 
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Mike Beiter
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Think about the player to the right of the king. This player gets the short end of the stick in every round. They get two cards to choose from, and they may be two "useless" cards to them.

So if the crown was not able to pass around with some regularity, the player to the right of the crown holder will be deprived the options the other players are getting more frequently.

Bottom line, the game is designed for the crown to always have the potential of moving around each round.
Who will be the usurper of the crown this time?

No one would debate the raw power the assassin can hold if you are assassinated 2 or 3 times, but if you never get the crown and are stuck in last pick position, you may never get the chance to wield the assassins power or any other good card like the architect or merchant etc.

Often times when you are the last player, and the player who picked just before you takes the assassin or theif, they have a a 50/50 shot of getting you. So to reduce this from happening frequently, the crown should pass around.

Personally we get a laugh when the king keeps getting flipped up in the center. My one friend reshuffled and drew the king face up 5 times in a row and we laughed about it. So it added another 40 seconds of game time... Not a big deal.

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Travis Hall
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aitrus wrote:
What I don't get is the idea that going first is somehow more valuable or more important than the ability of any other character.

It's not. If you pick the King, you are giving up some other character's ability, and that is a serious opportunity cost.

But being last to pick is a big disadvantage. You might get another character that is just as useful as the King to you, but the chances are quite a lot lower when you get last pick. When the King is out of play, you don't even have the option of doing something about that disadvantage. Furthermore, to improve the situation for the last player, that person doesn't even have to pick the King. Anybody else choosing the King also ameliorates the situation.

Basically, keeping the King available more often keeps the game from becoming too static. You don't need the Crown to move every turn, and in fact not allowing the King to be set aside face down would have some nasty side effects on the strategy that would discourage certain players from picking it, but I suspect the flow of the game would be disrupted were the King out of play more often.

The King has a global effect, not just a benefit for the chooser, and that is more likely behind this special rule.
 
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Evil Roy
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aitrus wrote:
What I don't get is the idea that going first is somehow more valuable or more important than the ability of any other character.


It's not. You're missing the point.

If (for example) the Merchant is not available to be picked then nobody gets the benefit of that character. If the King is unavailable then one player get the benefit (keeping the crown) for free, in addition to the benefits of other character they can choose.
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Aaron Bohm
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The assassin is actually a rather weak character to pick. Sure, it is devestating (potentially) to 1 other player however all the non-slaughtered characters generally will get a leg up on you. The thief, king, Bishop, merchant and warlord can increase their income above you and the magician and architech can get an advantage in cards. If you play with four or more, there are going to be more people who have an advantage over you than not so, provided you can hide your identity from the assassin, or unless you can correctly guess the leader, it is usuallly a better move to pass him.

The reason there needs to be as many incentives for the crown to move as possible is because guessing the identity of people, and hiding your own identity, is completely the point (and the fun) of the game and based on where you are in the pick changes this dynamic.

For example, while the first player does get his pick of almost any available role, he is one of the easiest characters to guess. The person on his left usually has a 50% chance of randomly guessing him correctly, rationalizing the two cards that are not handed to him (still 50% in different size games as cards will be face up etc). The third player only has a 33% of guessing each of the roles of the first two players and 33% of guessing the the players after him (5 player game). The second to last person has a 50% chance to guess the last person's role and the last person not only has the worst choice but also is tied with the lowest chance to randomly guess anyone. (for this reason I prefer the game with 6 where the last player can pick up the first face down card, making it more interesting for the first player and less dangerous for the last player).

Skill plays a part in determining things beyond this but you can see where the last player is inherantly at a disadvantage and why you would want to make that available. Being assassinated for 2 turns is nowhere near as bad as being last player for the whole game.
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Darcy Hartwick
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I guess the thing is - if its so important to have the king in play why is he allowed to be the face down card at the start? Many rounds are played with no king used and the game still works fine - to me that is a strong indication that there's nothing broken about getting a "free" round as the crown holder.

Allowing him face up changes the probability, but not the gameplay fundamentally. The king still may be in rotation or he may not be in rotation - there are simply increased odds that he is out of play during a round. We've all played with and without him, and as I say knowing an assassin or diplomat is out of the picture can really alter the game - knowing the king is out... I just don't see it.
 
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Aaron Bohm
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aitrus wrote:
Allowing him face up changes the probability, but not the gameplay fundamentally.


Changing the probability does change the game fundamentally... The King has a 80% chance of being available in a 4 player game under the current rules where as he only would have a 57% chance of being in the game if it was allowed for him to be a face up card. So you go with him being available and average of 8 out of 10 rounds to 5 out of 10 rounds, I'd say that's pretty significant. For him to be less likely to be left out is important and I imagine if they could make it so he was never out while retaining the secret-ness of the game they would.

Did you ever wonder why he is the only character that retains a special power (the start player still changes) if he's killed? Changing the start player is one of the most crucial aspects to the game and without it you, as a player, can get stuck in a bad position pretty easily.
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Darcy Hartwick
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I don't see the extra 2-3 turns of "no king" being an issue. The crown could be placed anywhere around the table when these turns occur, so for all you know it may actually make the game more balanced than it would have otherwise been.

If the same player gets warlorded twice in a row, thieved twice in a row, wizard-ed or assassinated twice in a row it can be a huge blow in the balance of the game. The same player going last twice in a row seems far less devastating to me... certainly not worthy of a special rule that doesn't even prevent it from happening but rather "mitigates it by 23%".

All of the characters are balanced by the fact that the stronger a character appears at a given moment in the game, the more likely it is to be assassinated/thieved/magicianed. I can't even count the number of times I've passed the merchant or architect and taken the bishop just to avoid losing a turn or getting robbed.

As I say we'll try house ruling it and see how it plays, if I was really curious I'd try some games where the crown never moved (maybe make the king character "un-assasinable" to compensate somewhat) and see how often the last picking player wins versus how often the crown player wins.

 
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Aaron Bohm
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You can definitely house rule it and it could be interesting (though I personally would want to sit to the left of the oldest player in that game to start) or you may prefer the emperor to the king.

But I still disagree. Take the third player for example: knowing nothing else all other players will have the hardest time assassinating or thieving him at random. That's a pretty big advantage and it's also more likely he can take a more-powerful/beneficial role with impunity since other players know less about his options than any other player.

Also, the closer you are to the start player the more options you will get meaning (provided no one negatively guesses you) the more likely it is you'll find a role that benefits you more.

Also, the first player could make himself immune to assassination for the whole game if he wanted to. And as for the last player, it is unlikely he will ever get passed the architect or merchant and, if he does, it is more likely he will get assassinated or stolen from. Let's say you have the most cards and the least amount of gold as a last player and I chose the assassin and pass you the theif and the magician... you could either take the magician at almost no benefit or, feeling the assassin was taken early perhaps or buried, take the theif. I could definitely assassinate the theif then and either way prevent you from gaining an edge on me and you could get stuck with choices like that every turn. Every turn that turn order stays the same, the weak positioned players get weaker and the strong positioned players get stronger, emphasising the need to change.

If reshuffling is really a big enough deal, set the king aside when you deal the face up cards then shuffle him in for the last one. OR remove him altogether and simply rotate turn order clockwise every round. Or play with 6.
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dypaca
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While it's true that the rule will only affect up to 20 or 25% of all deals (depending on which version of the rule you use), the king would only be out in 37.5% of deals anyway. So the 20-25% is actually a large chunk of the cases where the king would be unavailable.

I think the confusion is that the rule appears to say that while it is ok for the King to be out, it would be a problem for people to know he is out. Really the reason for it is just that it is ok for him to be out, but it would be bad for him to be out too often.

There's no magic number for what is too often though, and if the rule really bugs your group go ahead and change it. All the regional differences and expansions are proof that this game can still work with significant modifications.
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Travis Hall
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aitrus wrote:
I don't see the extra 2-3 turns of "no king" being an issue. The crown could be placed anywhere around the table when these turns occur, so for all you know it may actually make the game more balanced than it would have otherwise been.

As has been pointed out already, it isn't just about balance. It's about the flow of the game, about keeping it dynamic and fun for everyone.

aitrus wrote:
As I say we'll try house ruling it and see how it plays, if I was really curious I'd try some games where the crown never moved (maybe make the king character "un-assasinable" to compensate somewhat) and see how often the last picking player wins versus how often the crown player wins.

You'd be looking at the wrong thing in that experiment. Instead of seeing how often the last player wins, look at how often the last player enjoys the game as much as the first player, and whether overall satisfaction with the game is decreased.
 
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Travis Hall
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It may also be worth trying to understand why the King is allowed to be set aside face-down.

Suppose there was a rule in place preventing the King being placed aside at all. (Say, every role but the King is shuffled, one card is dealt out face-down, possible one or more cards are dealt out face-up depending on number of players, then the King is added to the remaining cards.) The first player chooses the King. (Why would he do that when he already has the crown? Why not pick the character he really wants, since having the crown only lets you choose the character you really want? Because the character he really wants is unavailable, or because he has several yellow districts and wants the gold.)

I'm burying the logic in parentheticals there. Let's pull out the important part.

The King cannot be set aside at all. The first player chooses the King. The second player looks at what remains, sees the King is not there, knows that it isn't set aside either, and therefore deduces that the first player has the King. He can then choose the Assassin and assassinate the first player with 100% certainty, or the Thief and steal from the first player with 100% certainty.

Citadels avoids situations with 100% certainty because the bluffing aspect is core to the fun of the game.

Okay, so this is a major disincentive for the first player to take the King, but so what? He already has the crown, and we want to see it move, right?

But that's merely the simplest form of deduction in Citadels, useful to understand the process. Let's extend the logic.

The first player is not in a situation where there is no incentive to leave him alone - he has some gold and there aren't much larger hordes to attract the Thief elsewhere, and/or he isn't so far behind the pack that he isn't worth assassinating. He thus can't afford to take the King, and everyone knows it.

So when the first player passes the roles to te second player, the King is still there, but now if the second player takes the King, the third player gets to see that it is missing, and knows the second player has it. The third player can then assassinate or rob the second player with certainty.

See where this is going?

In fact, a lot of the time you don't care who you assassinate or rob, as long as you get someone. As soon as somebody chooses the King, the next player knows it is in play, and it is then a "certain target", if you will.

You wind up with a lot of situations in which the King is available for everyone to pick, but the only person who can afford to do so is the last player.

And that is much less likely to make the game interesting.
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vagelis
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the reason that the king can't be down with face up is to give to all players the chance to choose first
the only reason to take the KING is if you have a lot of gold and you want to play first or if you have a lot of yellow cards in your city.
thats why i think that you must have only close cards down and only one card open
The first player has the advantage to choose first the caracter but he has 50% (this is large proportion)chances to discovered from the second player something that the other players don't have and for me looks very unfair.
i haven't try but i think would be better if:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS-FACE DOWN CARDS-FACE UP CARDS
4 - 2 - 2
5 - 2 - 1
6 - 2 - 0
7 - 1 - 0
 
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dypaca
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matsas wrote:
i haven't try but i think would be better if:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS-FACE DOWN CARDS-FACE UP CARDS
4 - 2 - 2
5 - 2 - 1
6 - 2 - 0
7 - 1 - 0

I assume this is with 9 character cards? Or would you have the last player pick up one or both of the face down cards?
 
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vagelis
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dypaca wrote:
matsas wrote:
i haven't try but i think would be better if:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS-FACE DOWN CARDS-FACE UP CARDS
4 - 2 - 2
5 - 2 - 1
6 - 2 - 0
7 - 1 - 0

I assume this is with 9 character cards? Or would you have the last player pick up one or both of the face down cards?

with 9 charecters you play like 7
i haven't try this is only a thought
 
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