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Subject: Peasant spamming and is there a point to the roles? rss

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Marc Bishop
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After a couple of 4 player games, it seems that players will tend to steal the peasant 100% of the time for the first couple of turns and just a little less during the game since placing 3 to 4 cubes on the board on your turn is obviously a good move especially since you can spawn them far from the plague pawn. Everybody places more cubes and no one get the penalty since they never have the peasant when the plague is played on their cubes by opponents. Is there any reason why a player may want to not steal the peasant? It seems the entire game could be played simply by stealing and playing the peasant while remaining completely logical.

Other roles:

-The map eventually fills up with rats and there is eventually no point in pushing a rat with the priest since there is a max 3 per country and you will run out of countries to push a rat from a country with one of your cubes. Plus, no one will steal this role once the board fills up and you get stuck with the related casualties.
-Moving 3 cubes with the merchant mat seems nice, but there is nowhere to run if 2 players work together and decide the plague marker will fallon you (facilitated by the knight)
-The witch is rarely useful since its very hard to predict the roles your opponents will have in a turn or two and the odds of finding 1 rat with 1 of your roles in a country with one of your cubes vs another rat with no roles or letters that could harm you are statistically low esp if you have 2 roles (don't forget to count all the M and A's).
-The king allows you to secure 1 cube, but makes you potentially vulnerable to 19 rat markers.


This said, it seems that the advantages of most roles exposes you to much more potential risk than the occasional playable gain. I have no trouble believing that playing no other role other than peasant (which will logically be taken from you often) is the best strategy unless your 3 opponents are tired of seeing you win and gang up on you.

Sadly, it seems that this game's weakest point is the fact that any player which is perceived as a threat can easily be ganged up on and weakened by the other players. The solution to being abused by the majority would intuitively be to take more roles and take advantage of more bonuses, but doing so only makes you an even easier target for the rats and your opponents. So it seems like a player that is targeted by the other players has really nothing to do but wait until he loses enough cubes so that another player then becomes the new leader to beat.
Even in the case where two players temporarily act cooperatively and the two others only fend for themselves, those who are playing concertedly while maximizing the stealing and using of roles should be able to crush the other two until the last turns.
Despite this, the final plague purge turns the entire game's labour into a big crap shoot: the ones with less roles in less countries with less cubes overall will lose less to the final purge and get a VP boost and maybe even win the game.

It feels like Rattus is simply a more complexe version of Cthulhu dice. Tit for tat for random result.

Any chance additional roles offers a fix to the game?


 
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brian
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Doesn't seem like you are playing the same game as me. Yes, the peasant is very useful but he can be countered so easily. If he is placing 3 or 4 per turn, then he is in a region of 2 or 3 rats. Send the Knight over there and blow up the region.

Or take the king and safegaurd one cube a turn.

The great thing about this game is while one role may be perceived as all powerful, you can accomplish much with any and pull together many powerful combos.
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Runcible Spoon
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I have played this game once 3p, and the rest of my plays are 2p. I liked more as a 2p game than a 3p game. 3p seemed to be more random and chaotic.

As a 2p game only using the peasant would be a sure fire way to lose because, as was mentioned already, the knight would knock it out of commission pretty quick.

There are lots of other roles in the expansions and promos.

Robin hood (2010 promo set) comes to mind as a reasonable counter to the peasant plus the many variations on the knight in the pied piper expansion.

I'll be interested to see what other players say.
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James Burns
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I have played the game 2p with the wife and saw that she would only pick the Peasant and therefore load the board up with all her cubes as fast as she could. I tried to send the knight to blow up the regions ,but the rat tokens would only kill 1 or 2 cubes due to crap shoot that is tokens.

I would like someone to come up with some sort of limiting factor for the Peasant in a 2p game.
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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To address the 2nd part of the OP's title question
"Is there a point to the roles?"

You may find it interesting to note that the designers intentionally through design and playtesting made it so that a "no role" strategy was a legitimate strategy competitive with the others. However, this is balanced, e.g. not choosing any role should not guarantee a win.
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brian
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j-train1 wrote:
due to crap shoot that is tokens.

If only there was some role that allowed you to look at two tokens and switch them....
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Seth Pinter
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j-train1 wrote:
I have played the game 2p with the wife and saw that she would only pick the Peasant and therefore load the board up with all her cubes as fast as she could. I tried to send the knight to blow up the regions ,but the rat tokens would only kill 1 or 2 cubes due to crap shoot that is tokens.

I would like someone to come up with some sort of limiting factor for the Peasant in a 2p game.


Witch + knight.

I guess I should have finished reading the thread whistle
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Danny Mack
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There is really so much here to respond to; I will try to cover a few of your ideas. But really you should look around into the discussions about strategic use of roles in the game. There have already been some good bits of insight posted in the older threads.
Prisme wrote:
After a couple of 4 player games, it seems that players will tend to steal the peasant 100% of the time for the first couple of turns and just a little less during the game...

Rattus, more than any game in my collection (except maybe Small World) is subject to "group-think" strategy. IOW: Players will play this the way they play it, and then complain that "the game" is this or that. The game is what the players make it, I'm afraid, so if you play with the same 4 people, and they have no imagination about how to utilize the other roles to combat a particular strategy, then I don't know what to tell you...experiment. Be willing to lose to try out new combinations. That's how you will get better at this game, and then you won't need to ask anyone how to beat this unbeatable situation. (I'm not saying you shouldn't ask.)

Prisme wrote:
Is there any reason why a player may want to not steal the peasant?

In my experience, new players tend to gravitate to taking the Peasant and the King, because their benefits are most obvious. Nevertheless, the real meat of the strategy in this game is not leader-bashing (so do not despair!), but rather it's about using combinations of roles (if your opponents will let you accumulate them over the course of 2 or 3 turns).
TAYQ:
> The Peasant gives you 1 "Maybe" cube on the board.
> The King gives you 1 "For Sure" cube on the board.
> The Merchant or Monk may save 3 or more "Maybe" cubes already on the board.
> The Knight may allow you to kill off more than 1 of your opponents cubes on the board...that's more than a net gain of 1 "Maybe" cube for yourself.
> The Witch may save your own cubes and target other players cubes, raising your net survival by even more than what the Merchant could save or the Knight could kill.
So do you see any reason to not take the Peasant?

Prisme wrote:
Other roles:
-The map eventually fills up with rats and there is eventually no point in pushing a rat with the priest since there is a max 3 per country and you will run out of countries to push a rat from a country with one of your cubes. Plus, no one will steal this role once the board fills up and you get stuck with the related casualties.

This is good thinking, but you are totally missing the point of this role.
1) I don't want anyone to steal this from me. (Otherwise, why would I take it?)
2) I want to hang on to the Monk at least long enough to pair it up with the Witch (then I can witch-switch and scoot a rat) or the Merchant (then I can make a region with 3 rats, place 3 cubes in it, and then scoot the cubes to safety) or the King (then I can make a rat-free region) or the Knight (then I can load up a region with rats before sending in the plague-bearer for destruction of my opponents.)
3) The potential casualties are evenly distributed among the roles.
4) If you are allowing the board to completely fill up with rats you are either playing with too little conflict or you are doing something wrong.

Prisme wrote:
Other roles:
-Moving 3 cubes with the merchant mat seems nice, but there is nowhere to run if 2 players work together and decide the plague marker will fall on you (facilitated by the knight)

1) The point of the Merchant is that he's the only role that allows you to move cubes once they have been placed on the board. No one said you had to make yourself the target. The Merchant allows you to spread your cubes throughout all 12 regions of the map to pursue a diversified strategy (rather than an "eggs-in-one-basket" strategy.)
2) If 2 players are ganging up on you the whole game then (a) you are doing something right, and (b) one of them is throwing the game to the other.
3) Look at the combos. King+Merchant (move the cubes to a rat-free region), Merchant+Monk (one of my favorite in the game, see above), and if you fear the Knight then take him to be the Merchant's partner!
4) It would be easier for those 2 vengeful players to simply steal the Merchant for themselves rather than spend their turns stealing the Knight from each other to target you. Right?

Prisme wrote:
Other roles:
-The witch is rarely useful since its very hard to predict the roles your opponents will have in a turn or two and the odds of finding 1 rat with 1 of your roles in a country with one of your cubes vs another rat with no roles or letters that could harm you are statistically low esp if you have 2 roles (don't forget to count all the M and A's).

In my experience the Witch is the most seldom-taken role for new players. Why? Because hers is the most difficult to envision the benefits of. I can't tell you how many games I have won by taking her on my first turn. I usually have her the whole game because no one will steal her from me, and I always know more about the conditions on the board than everyone else. I know which other roles to take and where to place my cubes. The closer we draw to the end of the game, the better position I attain.

As for your opponents' roles, they will have then what they have now, as long as you don't take them away from them. (And if you know their roles are certain death, why take them for yourself?)

I would just point out that all the arguments you are making for the statistics apply to ALL of the roles, but that doesn't talk you out of the others--odd isn't it? The best advice I can give you here is to assume that there's a reason why every role is in the game, and to uncover what the best uses of each role are, before "parking your Rattus-mobile" in the most obvious spot.

Prisme wrote:
Other roles:
-The king allows you to secure 1 cube, but makes you potentially vulnerable to 19 rat markers.

1) Who cares if you lose the 19 on the board. You've scored 1. The average winning score is 12, in my experience. If you use the King 6 times in a game you know you are 50% of the way to the winning score, while everyone else is just hoping they survive. That's what I call "hedging your bets"!
2) Think about combos. Merchant+King, Monk+King, Knight+King (why not target your own regions in a really rat-infested game and use the King to scoop the survivors into the castle?)


Prisme wrote:
The solution to being abused by the majority would intuitively be to take more roles and take advantage of more bonuses, but doing so only makes you an even easier target for the rats and your opponents.

If the roles were set up to give you a net loss rather than a net gain, then there would be no point in taking any of them. IMO, the benefits outweigh the hazards, in every case.

Prisme wrote:
Even in the case where two players temporarily act cooperatively and the two others only fend for themselves, those who are playing concertedly while maximizing the stealing and using of roles should be able to crush the other two until the last turns.

So why would players 3 & 4 not collude against players 1 & 2? That seems stupid.

Prisme wrote:
Despite this, the final plague purge turns the entire game's labour into a big crap shoot: the ones with less roles in less countries with less cubes overall will lose less to the final purge and get a VP boost and maybe even win the game.

1) Spoken by someone who has obviously never used the Witch.
2) It is true that players without roles may fare best on the last turn, during the "ratocaust", but why should players be penalized for not taking/retaining roles? Selecting roles is an option. If you think playing without them confers a better chance of winning in a given situation, by all means, laugh at everyone else's demise on the last turn!

Prisme wrote:
Any chance additional roles offers a fix to the game?

The game does not need to be fixed.
This is the classic mistake that new players make with MANY games when they do not yet fully understand all the strategies available in the game. Keep playing it as it was meant to be played, I say, before trying to fix something that made it through the scrutiny of hundreds of hours of playtesting, a publisher's wary eye, and several publication runs. If you keep an open mind and a imaginative perspective, you will learn more and consequently enjoy it more.
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Ender Wiggins
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
To address the 2nd part of the OP's title question
"Is there a point to the roles?"

You may find it interesting to note that the designers intentionally through design and playtesting made it so that a "no role" strategy was a legitimate strategy competitive with the others. However, this is balanced, e.g. not choosing any role should not guarantee a win.

Well said. In connection with this, I'd encourage the original poster to read some of the posts in the following thread:

5 games, 5 wins... here's my strategy.

It features extensive and useful discussion about whether taking no roles is a winning strategy.
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