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Author Topic: About kingmaking  (Read 19871 times)

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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2015, 08:49:12 pm »
+1

For most games where there's a natural ranking, I usually say players should play as if first place is infinitely better than second place, second place is infinitely better than third place, etc.  So you always do whatever maximizes your chances of winning, but if you're 100% sure you can't win, then do whatever maximizes your chances of getting second place, etc.

I think this is the wrong way of looking at it and can contribute to false accusations of kingmaking.
Because in any game with victory points you are perfectly justified in taking any action that increases your final victory point total regardless of whether it improves your final standing.

So, for example, in a three-player Dominion game if a player is in third-place and is 7 points behind the second-place player, I think it is still unfair to call it kingmaking if they buy the final Province.
They know that in all likelihood one of the other two players is about to end the game, so they can either buy a Duchy and come last by 4+ points or buy the last Province and come last by only 1 point.
To me it is obvious that one of those choices is better for the third-placed player and the fact that it prevents the second-placed player from winning is irrelevant.
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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2015, 09:01:26 pm »
+2

For most games where there's a natural ranking, I usually say players should play as if first place is infinitely better than second place, second place is infinitely better than third place, etc.  So you always do whatever maximizes your chances of winning, but if you're 100% sure you can't win, then do whatever maximizes your chances of getting second place, etc.

I think this is the wrong way of looking at it and can contribute to false accusations of kingmaking.
Because in any game with victory points you are perfectly justified in taking any action that increases your final victory point total regardless of whether it improves your final standing.

So, for example, in a three-player Dominion game if a player is in third-place and is 7 points behind the second-place player, I think it is still unfair to call it kingmaking if they buy the final Province.
They know that in all likelihood one of the other two players is about to end the game, so they can either buy a Duchy and come last by 4+ points or buy the last Province and come last by only 1 point.
To me it is obvious that one of those choices is better for the third-placed player and the fact that it prevents the second-placed player from winning is irrelevant.

What if the choice was between maximizing highest potential score and maximizing highest potential rank?  Example:

3 player game of Dominion.  One Duchy and  one Province remain.  Alice has 7 points more than you, Bob has 5 points more than Alice (12 more than you).  You know that Alice can probably afford to buy a Province whereas Bob is stalled out.  You can afford a Province now, and your deck is strong enough that you'll probably be able to afford it next turn as well.  Your two main options:

1. Buy Province.  You maximize your score but you come in third.  Bob wins.
2. Buy Duchy.  If Alice can buy the last Province now, she will win.  But in the off-chance that she can't, you will probably secure second place.

Different people will have different opinions of which of these is king-making.
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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2015, 09:19:58 pm »
+4

For most games where there's a natural ranking, I usually say players should play as if first place is infinitely better than second place, second place is infinitely better than third place, etc.  So you always do whatever maximizes your chances of winning, but if you're 100% sure you can't win, then do whatever maximizes your chances of getting second place, etc.

I think this is the wrong way of looking at it and can contribute to false accusations of kingmaking.
Because in any game with victory points you are perfectly justified in taking any action that increases your final victory point total regardless of whether it improves your final standing.

So, for example, in a three-player Dominion game if a player is in third-place and is 7 points behind the second-place player, I think it is still unfair to call it kingmaking if they buy the final Province.
They know that in all likelihood one of the other two players is about to end the game, so they can either buy a Duchy and come last by 4+ points or buy the last Province and come last by only 1 point.
To me it is obvious that one of those choices is better for the third-placed player and the fact that it prevents the second-placed player from winning is irrelevant.

What if the choice was between maximizing highest potential score and maximizing highest potential rank?  Example:

3 player game of Dominion.  One Duchy and  one Province remain.  Alice has 7 points more than you, Bob has 5 points more than Alice (12 more than you).  You know that Alice can probably afford to buy a Province whereas Bob is stalled out.  You can afford a Province now, and your deck is strong enough that you'll probably be able to afford it next turn as well.  Your two main options:

1. Buy Province.  You maximize your score but you come in third.  Bob wins.
2. Buy Duchy.  If Alice can buy the last Province now, she will win.  But in the off-chance that she can't, you will probably secure second place.

Different people will have different opinions of which of these is king-making.

But my point is that neither is kingmaking.
I think option 2 is better, but option 1 is a perfectly valid choice.

And that's what annoys me about people who throw around accusations of kingmaking.
Basically it usually boils down to "you played poorly and that helped the other person win".
And getting annoyed at someone for playing poorly is super obnoxious.
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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #28 on: May 20, 2015, 09:38:39 pm »
0

But my point is that neither is kingmaking.
I think option 2 is better, but option 1 is a perfectly valid choice.

And that's what annoys me about people who throw around accusations of kingmaking.
Basically it usually boils down to "you played poorly and that helped the other person win".
And getting annoyed at someone for playing poorly is super obnoxious.

Sure.  My point is just that different people have different expectations for how you should play in that situation.  When those expectations are broken, they may be upset.  It's all very subjective. 
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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2015, 09:43:44 pm »
+3

I just don't have time for people who get annoyed or upset about how other people play.
Unless someone is obviously trying to disrupt the game, in a ruining the fun sense not in a ruining your strategy sense.
You just have to let other players do their thing.
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Jimmmmm

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2015, 09:55:55 pm »
+1

For most games where there's a natural ranking, I usually say players should play as if first place is infinitely better than second place, second place is infinitely better than third place, etc.  So you always do whatever maximizes your chances of winning, but if you're 100% sure you can't win, then do whatever maximizes your chances of getting second place, etc.

I think this is the wrong way of looking at it and can contribute to false accusations of kingmaking.
Because in any game with victory points you are perfectly justified in taking any action that increases your final victory point total regardless of whether it improves your final standing.

So, for example, in a three-player Dominion game if a player is in third-place and is 7 points behind the second-place player, I think it is still unfair to call it kingmaking if they buy the final Province.
They know that in all likelihood one of the other two players is about to end the game, so they can either buy a Duchy and come last by 4+ points or buy the last Province and come last by only 1 point.
To me it is obvious that one of those choices is better for the third-placed player and the fact that it prevents the second-placed player from winning is irrelevant.

What if the choice was between maximizing highest potential score and maximizing highest potential rank?  Example:

3 player game of Dominion.  One Duchy and  one Province remain.  Alice has 7 points more than you, Bob has 5 points more than Alice (12 more than you).  You know that Alice can probably afford to buy a Province whereas Bob is stalled out.  You can afford a Province now, and your deck is strong enough that you'll probably be able to afford it next turn as well.  Your two main options:

1. Buy Province.  You maximize your score but you come in third.  Bob wins.
2. Buy Duchy.  If Alice can buy the last Province now, she will win.  But in the off-chance that she can't, you will probably secure second place.

Different people will have different opinions of which of these is king-making.

The question in this situation should be, do you play for 2nd or points? I think most people would agree you play for 2nd, unless there is some tournament-related reason to want more points.
But I would not say that buying a Province for more points or a Duchy for a chance at second are kingmaking.
Realising you can influence who wins and basing your decision on that is kingmaking, but if you can inadvertently determine the winner, the other players need to take that into account and try not to allow you to be in that position.
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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #31 on: May 20, 2015, 10:09:34 pm »
0

This could be a matter of semantics then.  The primary goal of a game (other than having fun) is to win.  I consider it king-making when you make a decision that doesn't help with that goal but which influences the outcome of the game.  If you are far enough behind that there's no chance of you winning, then you are forced into a king-making position.  It sounds like you guys only consider it king-making when you are specifically acting with the intent of deciding the winner, not when it's just an inadvertent side-effect.  And that's fair; that narrower definition is probably more useful.

Here's a better question then (and is actually more what I intended in the first place).

3 player game of Dominion.  One Duchy and one Province remain.  Alice has 3 points more than you and Bob has 7 points more than you.  Your deck is extremely reliable, Alice's only slightly less so, but Bob is stalled out.  Your choices:

1. Buy Province.  Bob wins but you come in second.
2. Buy Duchy.  In this case, Alice probably buys the last Province and wins and you come in third.  But if Alice is unable to buy the last Province (unlikely but possible), you will probably be first.

Which is the better option?
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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2015, 10:44:29 pm »
+1

This could be a matter of semantics then.  The primary goal of a game (other than having fun) is to win.  I consider it king-making when you make a decision that doesn't help with that goal but which influences the outcome of the game.  If you are far enough behind that there's no chance of you winning, then you are forced into a king-making position.

You can define it that way if you like, but then the term is completely pointless.
Any time you mathematically can't reach first place, you become a kingmaker.
Okay, fair enough, but it's just not worth even discussing as a concept.

Quote
It sounds like you guys only consider it king-making when you are specifically acting with the intent of deciding the winner, not when it's just an inadvertent side-effect.  And that's fair; that narrower definition is probably more useful.

I think I define it that way because the term kingmaker is usually used as an accusation.
Basically, it's one of many catch-cries of the sore loser.
"He only won because you let him. I should have won."

Ugh.
Just don't.

Quote
Here's a better question then (and is actually more what I intended in the first place).

3 player game of Dominion.  One Duchy and one Province remain.  Alice has 3 points more than you and Bob has 7 points more than you.  Your deck is extremely reliable, Alice's only slightly less so, but Bob is stalled out.  Your choices:

1. Buy Province.  Bob wins but you come in second.
2. Buy Duchy.  In this case, Alice probably buys the last Province and wins and you come in third.  But if Alice is unable to buy the last Province (unlikely but possible), you will probably be first.

Which is the better option?

That's an interesting conundrum and it comes down to two factors:

1. How risk averse you are.
2. Your philosophy about how important it is to come first.

For many people, a guaranteed second is a better option than a maybe-first.
For others, the idea of not taking a chance on a win is completely abhorrent.

I personally would prefer to take a chance on first place.

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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2015, 11:35:14 pm »
0

That's an interesting conundrum and it comes down to two factors:

1. How risk averse you are.
2. Your philosophy about how important it is to come first.

For many people, a guaranteed second is a better option than a maybe-first.
For others, the idea of not taking a chance on a win is completely abhorrent.

I personally would prefer to take a chance on first place.

I find that people usually complain about king-making when it goes against their expectations.  Like, maybe Alice and Bob are both players who think you should always go for the win.  If you take option 2, Alice is happy and Bob doesn't fault you for it.  If you take option 1, Alice may complain and Bob may be surprised.  But maybe you just prefer a solid second place over the slim chance at first.  Both options are fine IMO, but opinions vary.  It also shifts with context.  In a tournament setting, locking in second place may be better for you overall.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 11:36:20 pm by eHalcyon »
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Jimmmmm

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2015, 11:52:22 pm »
+2

That's an interesting conundrum and it comes down to two factors:

1. How risk averse you are.
2. Your philosophy about how important it is to come first.

For many people, a guaranteed second is a better option than a maybe-first.
For others, the idea of not taking a chance on a win is completely abhorrent.

I personally would prefer to take a chance on first place.

I find that people usually complain about king-making when it goes against their expectations.  Like, maybe Alice and Bob are both players who think you should always go for the win.  If you take option 2, Alice is happy and Bob doesn't fault you for it.  If you take option 1, Alice may complain and Bob may be surprised.  But maybe you just prefer a solid second place over the slim chance at first.  Both options are fine IMO, but opinions vary.  It also shifts with context.  In a tournament setting, locking in second place may be better for you overall.

I think complaining in this case is the same as complaining about shuffle luck. At the end of Alice's last turn, she should have known that between Bob and you, you could finish the game before her next turn. Maybe she made the right move, maybe she should have done something differently. Either way, that's how the end game of Dominion works, it's just more unpredictable with more than 2 players.
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Amac

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2015, 04:02:46 am »
+1

The big question in the situation proposed by eHalycon is if the points are a scale of how well you've played. As with dominion, you can win with a +/- 20 point Garden rush, a well played Colony game with some 60 points or a curse game with, say, minus 2 points.

So, does it matter if you score 55 points but still come in third, when in other games, you can win with far less points. Victory points are just the method for ranking: they don't give an interpretation of how well your play was, whereas with munchkin or settlers the scale is always the same. If you score 9 points in a base game you were always one point short of victory, whilst with six points, you are clearly lagging behind even when you finish second. The board obviously does matter for your winning opportunities, but it at least gives an indication.

So, yeah, I don't think it matters how big the point differential is. At least not when the differential is 10 or 20 points.

For the kingmaking as a whole, it totally depends on your game approach.
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SwitchedFromStarcraft

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2015, 08:15:42 am »
0


To me that's the second most off-putting aspect of 3p games (their snail-like pace being the first).

I generally define kingmaking like this: Taking any action which you know will not help you win the game, but will affect who does win the game.

Almost all of my IRL dominion is 3 or more players, most of whom are drinking heavily, so the pace is excruciatingly slow.  Once I know believe I cannot win (a decision that is often made instinctually rather than mathematically), I do nothing each turn.  It speeds up the game, and has as small an effect on the outcome as possible.
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Kirian

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2015, 08:45:09 am »
0

I just don't have time for people who get annoyed or upset about how other people play.
Unless someone is obviously trying to disrupt the game, in a ruining the fun sense not in a ruining your strategy sense.
You just have to let other players do their thing.

This is fine over a friendly game; anyone who complains about kingmaking outside of a competitive setting is being a sore loser.  (Though discussion of and/or apologies for kingmaking are reasonable.)

In a competitive setting, it's a problem.  Hence my contention (for at least as long as this forum has existed) that Dominion should not be played competitively except with two players.  Jay and Donald disagree, and hey that's cool, I'm happy not to participate in sanctioned tournaments, it's no skin off my nose.
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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2015, 09:37:59 am »
+1

I just don't have time for people who get annoyed or upset about how other people play.
Unless someone is obviously trying to disrupt the game, in a ruining the fun sense not in a ruining your strategy sense.
You just have to let other players do their thing.

This is fine over a friendly game; anyone who complains about kingmaking outside of a competitive setting is being a sore loser.  (Though discussion of and/or apologies for kingmaking are reasonable.)

In a competitive setting, it's a problem.  Hence my contention (for at least as long as this forum has existed) that Dominion should not be played competitively except with two players.  Jay and Donald disagree, and hey that's cool, I'm happy not to participate in sanctioned tournaments, it's no skin off my nose.

I agree that kingmaking is part of what makes multiplayer Dominion much more high-variance (or luck based) than two-player.
However, I cannot agree that the game being part of a tournament or other "competitive setting" gives you licence to complain about other player's strategic choices.

If anything, a tournament setting involving strangers requires you to remain far more courteous than you might with a group of friends.
The issue of kingmaking might rankle even more when there is a prize at stake, but there is a reason a lot of games have "fair play" points in tourneys.

Man, at the end of a tournament game with strangers, just smile, shake hands and say good game.
Then, if you feel you need to, go bitch to your friends privately about that noob who lost you the title.
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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2015, 11:42:59 am »
0

The big question in the situation proposed by eHalycon is if the points are a scale of how well you've played. As with dominion, you can win with a +/- 20 point Garden rush, a well played Colony game with some 60 points or a curse game with, say, minus 2 points.

So, does it matter if you score 55 points but still come in third, when in other games, you can win with far less points. Victory points are just the method for ranking: they don't give an interpretation of how well your play was, whereas with munchkin or settlers the scale is always the same. If you score 9 points in a base game you were always one point short of victory, whilst with six points, you are clearly lagging behind even when you finish second. The board obviously does matter for your winning opportunities, but it at least gives an indication.

So, yeah, I don't think it matters how big the point differential is. At least not when the differential is 10 or 20 points.

For the kingmaking as a whole, it totally depends on your game approach.

My second example is about ranking only.  Guaranteed second place, or risky attempt at first?
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BraveBear

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2015, 02:21:16 pm »
0

I know this has already been touched upon but my friend group cares about not coming in last just as much as coming in first.

Yeah winning is fun and the goal but we always rag on the person who gets last.  Good fun.  So towards the end of most 3-4 player games its never ever thought of king making if someone is buying green to try and prevent them from coming in last
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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2015, 02:30:32 pm »
+1

The worst thing about kingmaking to me is sometimes you can't even avoid doing it--there are situations where no matter what you choose to do while behind, it probably affects the winner.  I recall a recent game with Stef and SCSN where I could either allow SCSN a chance to catch up and maybe win or just run a pile so Stef could end the game with me in second.  The only logical choice was for me to take second in that situation--if I let SCSN get another turn I'd be in third for sure--but I would have felt like I was being a jerk toward one of them no matter what I did.

A lot of times you might not even realize you decided the winner somehow.  It's one of the biggest problems I have with IRL tournaments being multiplayer, and it makes the game less fun to me even when it's casual. 
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GendoIkari

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2015, 03:55:52 pm »
+2

I just don't have time for people who get annoyed or upset about how other people play.
Unless someone is obviously trying to disrupt the game, in a ruining the fun sense not in a ruining your strategy sense.
You just have to let other players do their thing.

This is fine over a friendly game; anyone who complains about kingmaking outside of a competitive setting is being a sore loser.  (Though discussion of and/or apologies for kingmaking are reasonable.)

I highly disagree with this. I complain about kingmaking even when it is I who won because of it. I see it as poor sportsmanship and do not enjoy playing games with people who are known to do it.
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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #43 on: May 21, 2015, 04:05:50 pm »
+6

Kingmaking in a scenario where you could avoid kingmaking is indeed bad sportsmanship. In general, when I am in an awkward position where I more or less chose who wins, I try to choose whichever gives me a higher ranking, or if I am doomed to last place, whichever I think lets me get closer. I think everyone should try to abide by that principle.
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Amac

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2015, 05:42:56 pm »
0



My second example is about ranking only.  Guaranteed second place, or risky attempt at first?

Totally depends on the situation. How big is the chance to lose out (does Alice have 50%, 70% or 90% chance of buying the province?)? How important is it to finish second? (if that guarantees a championship, go and take the second place)
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eHalcyon

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #45 on: May 21, 2015, 06:43:54 pm »
0



My second example is about ranking only.  Guaranteed second place, or risky attempt at first?

Totally depends on the situation. How big is the chance to lose out (does Alice have 50%, 70% or 90% chance of buying the province?)? How important is it to finish second? (if that guarantees a championship, go and take the second place)

Right, and different people are going to have different thresholds and priorities, especially in a non-tournament setting.
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funkdoc

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2015, 11:56:12 pm »
+3

this is an interesting topic to see.  i come from power grid/funkenschlag, which is a game where 4-player is the most popular competitive format, and the top players at BSW have a comprehensive set of unwritten rules when it comes to kingmaking.  for those familiar with that game, they're as follows:

- most obviously, don't end the game early if you're going to lose.  people mentioned earlier that dominion is a rare game where this is possible, but i think it's a lot easier in pgrid.  in particular, you'll often see newer players do this accidentally in 5/6 player since they don't remember the lower ending condition.  but then, 5-6 in pgrid is equivalent to 4 in dominion =P

- don't buy out another player's resources at the end if you can't win, unless you actually need those resources to run a plant.  if it comes down to that then they're being dumb and have nobody to blame but themselves.

- don't bid other players TOO high on plants they need at the end if you can't win, but don't let them have those plants for free either.  this is the trickiest issue, but generally you should bid until the plant becomes equal in cost to other available options at the same capacity, OR (if it's an especially godlike plant) you can't build enough cities to make full use of the plant.

- on the final turn, only build as many cities as you can power, and take your cheapest builds.  anything else risks blocking others without benefiting you.

- don't break any of these rules even if it will get you second place instead of last.  BSW only tracks 1st place finishes, so that is all that matters to the top players.


basically the general concept is "do what's best for you as if the other players didn't exist".  this leads to things like being able to get away with not storing resources on a plant, because nobody can buy you out without throwing the game to someone else...so it's definitely not perfect.  i think it's the fairest way to handle this though.

but i'm sure now yall understand why i'm eager to learn a game where nobody cares about multis! =)  i think pgrid is as good as it gets for a serious multiplayer board game (only caylus seems to compare from what i've heard), but i just think the format inherently can't be as competitive as 1v1 since you always have these issues along with others (e.g. how badly the game can be skewed by one lower-level player being involved).
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 04:50:36 pm by funkdoc »
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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2015, 04:08:16 am »
0

- don't buy out another player's resources at the end if you can't win, unless you actually need those resources to run a plant. 

...

- don't bid other players TOO high on plants they need at the end if you can't win, but don't let them have those plants for free either.  this is the trickiest issue,

Are you allowed or required to bid on plants you don't need? If yes, how is it different from resources you don't need?

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- don't break any of these rules even if it will get you second place instead of last.

This sounds strange to me. So if you don't have a shot at winning, you essentially switch into dummy mode? Might as well leave the game and have an algorithm play your last moves?

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basically the general concept is "do what's best for you as if the other players didn't exist".

Sounds rather like "act if you didn't exist". Not competing for rank sounds not like "do what's best for you".

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(only caylus seems to compare from what i've heard)

Caylus is a dry worker placement I haven't managed to get on the table more than twice, but it looks brilliant. I like Through the Ages better, but it also has kingmaking issues that are heavily and repeatedly debated.

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Jimmmmm

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2015, 06:26:54 am »
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I think the fact that even Dominion, a game for which the designer specifically avoided political interactions, still has an issue of kingmaking is pretty good evidence that it will be present in some form in pretty much every game with a decent level of interaction and 3 or more independent, competing teams.
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jaketheyak

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Re: About kingmaking
« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2015, 09:45:21 am »
+1

- don't break any of these rules even if it will get you second place instead of last.
This sounds strange to me. So if you don't have a shot at winning, you essentially switch into dummy mode? Might as well leave the game and have an algorithm play your last moves?
Yeah, I find this rather patronising.
Didn't get first, so stop trying to play competitively?

And, as others have mentioned, this is still a form of kingmaking.
If I don't win because another player didn't play competitively (like allowing another player to get a resource that they otherwise wouldn't get) I am going to be far more annoyed than if I don't win because another player played fiercely to claw into second place.
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