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Subject: Determining turn order? rss

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Richard Dewsbery
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The English rules seem clear, if somewhat inelegantly phrased. But the effect of the rule as written is clunky, arbitrary and can lead to a number of unintended consequences (such as kingmaking) - unless, that is, we've all misunderstood it.

The rule in the rule book says that the person with the fewest VPs determines the turn order for everyone, including himself, for the whole of the coming Day phase. One problem we have encountered again and again (and again) is that players are often tied for last place, and how to break the tie is also inelegant (player who went earliest in the previous turn is considered to have the fewest VPs amongst those who are tied for last). THey then spend a minute or so dithering over whether they want to go first or last next turn (usually last, occasionally first) followed by either leaving everyone else in the same order or making some arbitrary change.

Wouldn't simply putting the player tokens in VP order make more sense? Player with most VPs in first, player with least VPs last, and if players are tied, either retain the current order between them or reverse it? Simple, fast, and largely accomplishes the same thing. Because with my "bad translation translator" device, I could almost read the original rule as meaning that (if choosing were a passive operation, done to the player rather than by the player).
 
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Mike Esquivel
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I found the rule to be pretty straight forward. Plus, it's never posed an issue for my gaming group.
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Richard Dewsbery
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Fair enough. But out of 10-12 turns played, we have had *one* turn where there was no tie, and several turns where people dither, before making a wholly arbitrary decision in relation to other players' position in the turn order. Perhaps it's just that I prefer the cleaner way of doing things (as with something like Power Grid).
 
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Mike Esquivel
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I'll agree. It doesn't seem intuitive. My group likes to play Power Grid, so they initially had to ask twice to be sure about the selection of turn order. Power Grid's method makes sense. It makes Kemet's method almost seem odd or arbitrary. I can agree with that. But, I have not found it to be a flaw or hinder the game in my experience. That's just me, though.
 
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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You could always houserule the way it works but I never found any kingmaking issues with the standard rule, better, I think kingmaking is really not as much as an issue in this game as with many other wargames.

The way we do it mostly is putting yourself last as last is an advantage here and make the player with most points go first. To me, that makes sense as other players might still be able to counter his winning move. On the other hand, I find it difficult to predict who is ahead in the game (mostly) as things can change very quickly by unexpected moves. That's also an aspect of this game I like very much.

cheers!
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Richard Dewsbery
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lievendp wrote:
On the other hand, I find it difficult to predict who is ahead in the game (mostly) as things can change very quickly by unexpected moves.


The person with the most permant VPs is in the lead, in my experience. Temporary VPs can change hands quite quickly - being lost as easily as they were gained. But a player sitting on five permanent VPs is only two moves from outright victory: potentially you can make five VPs in two successful attacks, taking - and holding - two temples which you retain to the end of the day; so even a player with just three VPs can win.
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Mark Bigney
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One suggestion my group floated was merely to have the player in last place choose whether to go first or last, and then decide whether play was clockwise or anti-clockwise--mostly for benefits of expediency (both for turn order choice and actual play) and because we felt that much of the choice was arbitrary.
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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Quote:
so even a player with just three VPs can win


that't the part I was talking about indeed with only a few point and a well-calculated last place you can do surprise moves like this. But it might as well turn out badly depending on your oponents battlecards etc.

I think arbitrary is good a thing here, the game really pushes you to surprise the other players. Also how they setup train-move-fight-sacrifice thing making sure turtling will not benefit you. If you don't like direct battle-conflict then this is not your game, that much is true.
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Gláucio Reis
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RDewsbery wrote:
Wouldn't simply putting the player tokens in VP order make more sense?

Absolutely yes. The player with fewest VPs deciding the order makes no sense - even because he is, in theory, the worst player, the most likely not to fully understand all the implications of his choice of turn order.
 
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Mike Esquivel
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GSReis wrote:
RDewsbery wrote:
Wouldn't simply putting the player tokens in VP order make more sense?

Absolutely yes. The player with fewest VPs deciding the order makes no sense - even because he is, in theory, the worst player, the most likely not to fully understand all the implications of his choice of turn order.


Wow, that's a rather harsh generalization of the player with the fewest VP. Even the best of players have bad days.
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Clinton Coddington
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For the folks who don't like the way it is just house rule it.
I've had no issues with it myself.
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Gláucio Reis
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El_Squiv wrote:
Wow, that's a rather harsh generalization of the player with the fewest VP.

Dude, that's why I said "in theory". That was a generalization, exactly! I'm, of course, aware that not all groups are equal and it obviously does not apply to groups where all players are of similar skill and experience.
 
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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the standard rule is good as it is, if you want to be the last player next turn, then you have to have the lowest amount of VP, I think of it as part of a strategy.
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Shoosh shoo
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sorry can you explain the ties portion of the rule again? I was ok with "the person with the least VP decides turn order for the next turn" but the ties part threw me off. If two players are tied for lowest vp, do you look at those tied people and the one who played earliest during the previous round decides? Or if there is a tie then you look at ALL players and the one who played earliest during the previous round decides?
 
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Chris K.
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shooshoo wrote:
sorry can you explain the ties portion of the rule again? I was ok with "the person with the least VP decides turn order for the next turn" but the ties part threw me off. If two players are tied for lowest vp, do you look at those tied people and the one who played earliest during the previous round decides? Or if there is a tie then you look at ALL players and the one who played earliest during the previous round decides?


You only check those that are part of the tie.

And the assumption is that playing later in a turn is stronger (last mover advantage is pretty big,especially with extra action tokens).
 
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Chris K.
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On Topic:

Actually some of our strategies revolve around keeping your VP total low to retain control of the play order using it to first have the best chances of acquiring exactly the tiles they need by going early and then go for a last round push past everyone else generating 3-5 (net) VP on their last action by going late.
And throughout the game your choice of turn order allows you a lot of influence in balancing the board to prevent a winner before you are ready for your winning round.

Therefor the choice regarding the other players is not arbitrary at all.

Those who seem strong and to be planning to buy a specifc tile should be placed late in the round in order to raise chances that someone else hampers their plans.

Those who have extra action tokens should be placed early in the turn to minimize the last mover advantage for them.

And the evaluation of this changes from round to round, so having a static rule in place removes one of the more interesting decisions from the game.
 
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Shoosh shoo
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This game sounds really weird to me, but then again I am not an experienced gamer. I initially had no interest in this game when I saw it released but lately I heard more about it and it intrigued me. Sounds like a very well designed game with a lot of tension built into the mechanics. I like how victory is uncertain until then end. Can't wait to give it a try and see how it plays.
 
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Chris K.
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shooshoo wrote:
This game sounds really weird to me, but then again I am not an experienced gamer. I initially had no interest in this game when I saw it released but lately I heard more about it and it intrigued me. Sounds like a very well designed game with a lot of tension built into the mechanics. I like how victory is uncertain until then end. Can't wait to give it a try and see how it plays.


It plays very unusually compared to many other games. There is an uncharacteristically effective mechanism to encourage offense and discourage turtling and no point in "takeing something to hold it forever" and we have seen the weirdest and most amazing comebacks. Someone leaping from "last place" to winner (even if 4 points behind in an 8 point game) within one round is not a rare occurrence.
 
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Gláucio Reis
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chrisdk wrote:
And the evaluation of this changes from round to round, so having a static rule in place removes one of the more interesting decisions from the game.

I don't think it is an "interesting decision" at all. It's closer to "gaming the system" to me.
 
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Eric Matthews
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It's not gaming the system, it's playing the game within the rules as was intended by the designers.

It is an unsual design choice but makes sense as a catch-up mechanism that's still in line with the concept of focusing on assertive gameplay verses turtling.

We certainly fight about what the chooser should do when playing (we're a vocal bunch that likes to negotiate and threaten eachother in a war theme game) but we've had no problem figuring out who was supposed to choose player order and how, not since our first game anyway.

E
 
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Dani Evans
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While playing last is usually strong, sometimes playing ahead of someone else is more important. If a player managed to steal a level 4 pyramid in the previous round for example but can't hold it, then they will be keen to play before the owner of the city can reclaim it; grabbing another high level tech while they have the chance, or reinforcing their hold. I like the idea that they can beg the player in last place for a favour, while the city owner argues against it, offering temporary alliances or promises of non-aggression in return for a favourable position.

How about a half way house solution - place the turn order track in order of VP total as suggested above, but let the player in last move one single token to any position (including their own). It's quick and simple most of the time but still allows for a small amount of negotiation and debate.
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Gláucio Reis
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Ganybyte wrote:
It's not gaming the system, it's playing the game within the rules as was intended by the designers.

Yes, it's within the rules, but I'm not sure it was intended to have that much weight. It just feels "gamey" to me. I have nothing against catch-up mechanisms, but when it's so strong that players slow down in order to benefit from it, I think there is something wrong.
 
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Chris K.
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GSReis wrote:
Ganybyte wrote:
It's not gaming the system, it's playing the game within the rules as was intended by the designers.

Yes, it's within the rules, but I'm not sure it was intended to have that much weight. It just feels "gamey" to me. I have nothing against catch-up mechanisms, but when it's so strong that players slow down in order to benefit from it, I think there is something wrong.


I think that is wrong with the world these days. ;-)

People are too caught up in either being ahead or behind that they forget that not all games are race to the top kind of affairs anymore. Personally I am all for design choices that offer additional decision space in what kind of tactics are helpful and if a "catch up" mechanism in a game leads to the point that no one is ever really out of contention to the win if they play cleverly then I consider that a good thing.

After all, effectively using that "catch up mechanism" still has a lot of preconditions, like getting the right tiles and finding the right board situation, which can be sabotaged by others playing against it. Kind of just like nearly any other general strategy in this game.
 
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Shoosh shoo
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I think that this kind of rule adds so much more flavour to the game. To have that constant banter between players as they try to negotiate for turn order... Thats a whole other level within the game! Look at cyclades for example. The combat is pretty plain. Ive played five player games where the bidding was so intense as people tried to negotiate and outbid each other... It created such an intense atmosphere that everyone was enjoying... It got to the point where that was the huge focus on the game because when the bidding was resolved we already had a good idea of the outcomes. I can see kemet being similar.
 
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