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Subject: Anyone else experience the King Maker scenario? rss

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Robert Manore
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Tonight was our third session of AA, which basically brought up an interesting situation.

The AUC, Govt, and FARC were all eligible for the current Event card in that order. Oh, by the way, the Propaganda card was the next face up card on the draw deck.

The FARC was at 26 with Opposition + Bases (3 Bases on map). The AUC took the Event, which allowed them to put their 4th base on the map. The Govt could pass and give the FARC an Op + Spec Act, but also the win. Or the Govt could make the AUC lose 1 base, or make the FARC lose 2 Opposition.

Our group agreed that we really didn't like how this King Maker situation occurred. Basically, the Govt's action will determine the winner between the FARC and the AUC.

I was wondering if anyone else had experienced a King Maker situation and what they did to prevent that from happening. The only thing we thought of was to play the variant where the top card of the deck is not revealed.
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Stephen Stewart
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Your question is rhetorical.

Like saying the Basketball player who missed the Last shot of the game to take the lead, cost the team the win...

Had the players played better and made better decisions, it would've stretched out the lead for one player over the others.

In this situation, as the GOVT player, I'd play it normally and would evaluate the situation fairly and award the victory to the player who played better, as in making better decisions, vs coat tailing.


It happens in many games... but, like I said, beat them down low and whomever so rises from the ashes deserves it..

OR play another game to settle it.

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Gordon J
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The King Maker situation can happen. One of the AA games I played in I had that happen, where if I did something one side would win, or if I did something else, the other side was going to win. Not that it is really anyone's fault when it gets to that point, but a player has to keep track of where people are and start taking action when someone gets close before that situation comes up. One of things I think that happens is that Govt. can get stuck sometimes being the one who has to knock someone down (since they have a better ability overall of doing that), but that sucks, because then you as Govt. have to waste your action to knock that person down, don't be afraid to extort the other players and say, "Hey, I'll knock this guy down, but you guys have to give me something in return for doing this." Get some resources or other promises, make the other faction ante up. Though, if everyone is paying attention, usually that responsibility spreads out evenly among all of the factions.

And hey, sometimes that happens, since you can't really predict when a Prop. Card is coming. Though if you do create the deck with exact even piles, you can have an educated guess of when it might come. If someone gets remotely close, that should be a warning sign right there.

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Robert Manore
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Thanks for the input guys! Greatly appreciate the insight.

Since it is only our third session, we'll keep the Event deck as normal with the preview and give it another go. This is my first wargame, and I have a lot to learn. But I'm so glad that I picked this one as my first. Really enjoying it!
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Patrick Riley
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Yes, I've had this situation occur in one of my games, in which Government was the Kingmaker between Cartels and AUC. (The Government player decided to roll a die. I was AUC and ended up losing, but I didn't care much as I considered it a tie.)

One tactical way to prevent that specific situation from becoming a Kingmaker situation is through diplomacy. The Government could have told AUC before they placed their base, "Wait, if you place another base with your action, I will consider myself forced to kill your base and give the game to FARC. So I suggest for both of our long term interests that you do something else that doesn't put you in a win condition and allows me to use my move to concentrate on our common Communist enemy." Hopefully AUC will understand, comply, and allow the game to continue.
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Mark Evans
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I usually decide which option will advance my position the best to help break the Kingmaker deadlock. Sometimes you will still arrive at the same place though.
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Gordon J
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Cordo wrote:
The Government could have told AUC before they placed their base, "Wait, if you place another base with your action, I will consider myself forced to kill your base and give the game to FARC. So I suggest for both of our long term interest that you do something else that doesn't put you in a win condition and allows me to use my move to concentrate on our common Communist enemy." Hopefully AUC will understand, comply, and allow the game to continue.


That's a good point. Never thought of that.
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Chris Berger
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Cordo wrote:
The Government could have told AUC before they placed their base, "Wait, if you place another base with your action, I will consider myself forced to kill your base and give the game to FARC. So I suggest for both of our long term interest that you do something else that doesn't put you in a win condition and allows me to use my move to concentrate on our common Communist enemy." Hopefully AUC will understand, comply, and allow the game to continue.


Yeah, there's no way I would go for that. "So you're telling me don't try to win or else you'll make someone else win? Why don't I just go home now if I'm not going to try to win?" I'd place the base and let the Govt player do what he wants. If he decides to hand the win to another player, then that's on him, but I'm not going to intentionally tank myself.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Cordo wrote:
... I considered it a tie.

Not a bad way to see it: 2 of the 4 factions have ended in a dead heat before a losing faction's last move.
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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arkayn wrote:
Cordo wrote:
The Government could have told AUC before they placed their base, "Wait, if you place another base with your action, I will consider myself forced to kill your base and give the game to FARC. So I suggest for both of our long term interest that you do something else that doesn't put you in a win condition and allows me to use my move to concentrate on our common Communist enemy." Hopefully AUC will understand, comply, and allow the game to continue.


Yeah, there's no way I would go for that. "So you're telling me don't try to win or else you'll make someone else win? Why don't I just go home now if I'm not going to try to win?" I'd place the base and let the Govt player do what he wants. If he decides to hand the win to another player, then that's on him, but I'm not going to intentionally tank myself.

Well, but you still would put the Gov player in the position to decide who wins. He just told you, that in this special situation, your action, while it looks like you are doing something to win, actually lets you LOSE the game.
Try to look it the other way round: If the AUC player places his base, he simply leaves the Gov player NO choice - he has to declare one of the players winner. If you don't place your base, you can be sure, that the Gov player now don't hands the victory over to FARC. Because there is an option that lets nobody win (in this round).
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Patrick Riley
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I'm not surprised that there are people who feel like you do Chris, but Thomas basically summarizes what my reply would be. Just as in real life, sometimes the "winning move" may not be the winning move in the long run. And from a metagame perspective if someone turned down my offer as the Government, I would give the game to FARC, so that people didn't think I was bluffing if there was a similar situation in the future.
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Chris Berger
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Cordo wrote:
I'm not surprised that there are people who feel like you do Chris, but Thomas basically summarizes what my reply would be. Just as in real life, sometimes the "winning move" may not be the winning move in the long run. And from a metagame perspective if someone turned down my offer as the Government, I would give the game to FARC, so that people didn't think I was bluffing if there was a similar situation in the future.


That would be on you, then. I won't hold a grudge - I put myself in a winning position, but another player won. Game over, well played - let's play something else.

In the long run (even the short run, really), it doesn't matter who wins the game - what matters is having fun playing and trying to win. If I can make a move which fulfills my victory condition, I'm going to take it. Prolonging the game by purposely failing to fulfill my victory conditions just feels frustrating and isn't something I'm up for (unless I'm teaching the game or something, but that's an entirely different situation).
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Patrick Riley
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Hey Chris. I agree what matters is having fun. (At least I strive to play that way and keep my ultra-competitive side in check.) People with that attitude are my favorite people to play with.

I would just argue that sometimes trying to win sometimes doesn't exactly equal the move that pushes your victory counter up. And if you didn't accept that argument, I would understand and not hold it against you.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Almecho wrote:
arkayn wrote:
Cordo wrote:
The Government could have told AUC before they placed their base, "Wait, if you place another base with your action, I will consider myself forced to kill your base and give the game to FARC. So I suggest for both of our long term interest that you do something else that doesn't put you in a win condition and allows me to use my move to concentrate on our common Communist enemy." Hopefully AUC will understand, comply, and allow the game to continue.


Yeah, there's no way I would go for that. "So you're telling me don't try to win or else you'll make someone else win? Why don't I just go home now if I'm not going to try to win?" I'd place the base and let the Govt player do what he wants. If he decides to hand the win to another player, then that's on him, but I'm not going to intentionally tank myself.

Well, but you still would put the Gov player in the position to decide who wins. He just told you, that in this special situation, your action, while it looks like you are doing something to win, actually lets you LOSE the game.
Try to look it the other way round: If the AUC player places his base, he simply leaves the Gov player NO choice - he has to declare one of the players winner. If you don't place your base, you can be sure, that the Gov player now don't hands the victory over to FARC. Because there is an option that lets nobody win (in this round).

It would be an interesting move. The Govt puts AUC in the situation of facing immediate defeat -- albeit probably in 2nd place -- or keeping alive the possibility of victory down the road.
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Nick Avtges
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We had this occur in our first game this past weekend. It was the final propaganda card and the FARC (me) having the final action would determine the winner between the Government and the Cartels. I ended up making a move which gave the win to the Cartels and also improved my position (a terror op which knocked support down in one location and raises opposition in another).

While this did not diminish our enjoyment of the game, I did come away concerned. This appears as if it will be a common occurrence as each group's victory conditions are different and not always exclusive. It seems like it will not be uncommon for two or even three players to be at their victory condition and then it will come down to who ever gets the last action...which may be a player not in the hunt for victory.

My question is is ASLChampion's statement true?

ASLChampion wrote:
Had the players played better and made better decisions, it would've stretched out the lead for one player over the others.


I do not agree this is the case. In fact, I think it is probably the opposite...with better play, most of the players will be hovering close to victory as the group will not let any one player break away.

I am fairly concerned about the kingmaker problem not just in this game, but inherent in the system.
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Robert Manore
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Well said Nick.
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Volko Ruhnke
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I have been noodling whether this concern with kingmaker situations is related to the concern expressed in this review thread that too much available information about victory status and prospects allows the experience to boil down to leader bashing.

While I have a separate view that expert play allows the development and defense of winning positions (I have seen many wins in which the other experienced players bands to stop a leader and failed, for example), and I as aplayer like to improve my own position to the maximum even if it's not always for first place, I wonder if the variant that I proposed there of hidden victory bonuses would help also with those who do have the kingmaker concern:

Quote:
Take a regular deck of 52 playing cards, shuffle, and deal each player at the outset 3 cards face down, then set aside the deck. Players may reveal any of their cards at any time:
-- A black non-face card has no effect.
-- A red non-face card instantly and permanently adds +1 to that Faction's victory margin.
-- A face card of any suit converts one LimOp option to a full Ops & Special Activity option.

The idea would be that in a close game you would not know exactly what your and your opponents' standing is, so the incentive would be that much stronger to improve your own victory margin rather than compare one opponent to another.

Volko
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