Skip to Content

Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

13 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008

I tihnk the Game Design forum is the right place for this, I'd like to discuss opinions on a particular rule in a really good game I've finally played called Vinci.

If you're not familiar with this game, then I suggest you check it out. I've been ver inpressed with it so far.

However, there's an ambiguous rule, and my friends and I have had some disagreement about it.

In the game, players have civilizations characterized by a pair of Civ chits. The civilization has a number of wooden discs ("dudes") which you use to capture provinces to expand your little empire. When you think you've expanded as much as you're going to be able to, you put that civilization "into decline", and you get a new one. You score points for your civ that is in decline as well as for your active civ. Putting a civ into decline requires that you take a "Decline turn", so all you do is get the new civ, no expanding.

Each "Expansion turn", you pick up some of your dudes and then start putting them down in provinces adjacent to ones you control, expanding into those provinces. The rules specifically state that you may pick up ALL the dudes in a province, abandoning that province. The rules do NOT specifically state what happens if you pick up all your dudes, effectively abandoning all provinces.

When a new civilization enters the game, it enters the board from an edge, i.e. expanding into a province on the edge of the board.

So... what happens when you pick up all of your dudes? Here are a couple of arguments...

1. When picking up all your dudes, you may 're-enter' the board in the same way a new civilization would. You are NOT a new civ, so you get none of the benefits (extra dudes) of a new civ, but you follow the Expansion rules for entering the board. This makes sense mechanically... anytime you have no province to expand from (new civ or otherwise), you 'enter the board' via the enter-the-board rules.

2. You have no provinces from which to expand, so you cannot put any dudes down. Therefore picking up all your dudes, while allowed by the rules, was probably a lousy idea. In a way this is more thematically consistant, as civilizations don't really teleport around the country. However, they also don't up and die at their height... and if they did, are you allowed to take ANOTHER Expansion turn in which you can do nothing? I guess you would... though it would likely be a bad idea strategically.

So the question is, which rule is 'better'? I have not found a definite answer as to which is 'more correct' (or which the designer intended), though I did find people who claim #1 is correct. That it was errata to the rulebook (though I cannot find the official errata).

Any thoughts on this rule, from a game design standpoint? Is it fair to be able to pick up dudes and attack someone through their back door? Doe sit make for a better game to be able to get out of a tight spot when you're surrounded by opponents? Or is that what Declining is supposed to be for?

- Seth

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

As I mentioned over on the Geek, I've not played by this rule. I bet I would beat the players who do better than 70% of the time, though.

Vinci is a game that rewards establishing a solid civilization and then spending a number of turns accumulating the VPs it provides, and then establishing a new civilization and accumulating points from the remnants of the old one.

For those not familiar with the game, in general it takes around 2 - 5 units to take over a province on the board, most of the time. In order to expand your civilization, you pull of the "extra" counters in each province and use them to expand. If you managed to expand (or at least maintain) your civ for several turns, you'll gather a ton of points. To abandon the previous effort, though, is a huge waste of resources. To pick up all your counters and "teleport" to a different area means giving up all those victories you had before and not earning the VPs for them.

Personally I have no problem with the rule, as it's a losing strategy. Against even moderately experienced Vinci players, if you perform this maneuver even once you'll be lucky to win. If you do it more than once, you'll be lucky to score half the high score. It's only when everyone's doing it (or when the people who aren't doing it also aren't executing good strategies) that it can work.

And I agree, it's an awesome game. One of my favorites.

-- Matthew

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

I agree with Matthew that it's probably not a winning strategy... but the question remains as to whether or not it's legal.

My friends and I are considering making it illegal anyway, as it seems that would cause more Declining of civs, which is what the game is about.

- Seth

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

I thought the question here was not whether it's legal (as that's a question better served by the Geek), but whether it was a good design idea. And, as it doesn't benefit the players, and it keeps the rules streamlined leaving it as legal, it seems fine in the design.

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

Good point.

So as a designer, it doesn't bother you significantly that civilizations can literally teleport across the board?

If this were your game, would you instead simply make the rule that you're not allowed to abandon all your provinces (that's what Decline is for)?

I suppose the reason you might want to pickup and move is because you've already got a declined civ that is raking in good points, and declining the active one makes that go away... but you're surrounded and can't expand. So you'd want to 'teleport' rather than decline again and lose your points for the current declined civ.

- Seth

Yogurt
Yogurt's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2009
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

There's nothing in the rules that suggests you'd be able to teleport, even if you abandoned all provinces. Entering from off the board is covered under newly picked civilizations.

Interpretation number 2 seems reasonable, although rarely useful.

I like rule books that cover all the fiddly exceptions, so if Vinci were my game I would include a line like "you cannot abandon your last province" (perhaps in a questions section).

Yogurt

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

yogurt wrote:
There's nothing in the rules that suggests you'd be able to teleport, even if you abandoned all provinces. Entering from off the board is covered under newly picked civilizations.

http://69.13.44.2/wbg/viewarticle.php?action=more&articleid=166
See note 2 under Clarifications.

This is the cause of the questions. (a) is it valid, (b) is it stupid.

- Seth

Sebastian
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2008
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

sedjtroll wrote:

http://69.13.44.2/wbg/viewarticle.php?action=more&articleid=166
See note 2 under Clarifications.

In that article, under clarifications, it says "using your current provinces as bases". My interpretation of current provinces would include those you had taken all your pieces off.

On a more general note, the game should encourage reasonable tactics, and discourage unreasonable tactics. Otherwise civilisations will not grow and shrink in ways similar to real civilisations, which is at least part of the point of the game. I would classify coming on anywhere on the board as unreasonable tactics (not backed up by real life), and thus not allow it.

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

If I were to change the rule -- and again, it doesn't bother me -- I would instead say that abandoning your last province during that phase results in... whatever it's called when you decide to end your civ. Difference being you'd have no old civ.

-- Matthew

Yogurt
Yogurt's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2009
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

sedjtroll wrote:
See note 2 under Clarifications.

Ugh, I really wish designers wouldn't do that. That's a new rule, not a clarification of anything existing in the game. I'm fine with designers adding new rules as patches, but they should be flagged as such, preferably with a little designer's note explaining why the change was needed.

Martin Wallace did something similar for Struggle of Empires with the 20 Unrest rule.

Anyway, I'll go with (b) which I'll diplomatically rephrase as "out of keeping with the theme."

Yogurt

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

What did Wallace do with the 20 Unrest rule?

Yogurt
Yogurt's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/09/2009
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

In the published rules, if you have 20 unrest at the end of the game, you lose.

Wallace's change was that if you cross the 20 threshold at any point during the game, you lose immediately. This means you can't take Government Reform to get back below the 20 barrier before the game ends. (It also means you have carefully audit your unrest to avoid accidentally cheating.)

The ruling was apparently added to make it impossible to be a spoiler who pulls a million unrest and then gives all that money to another player. This is understandable, although I prefer simply to tell players not to be jerks.

The ruling would rarely come up, but it chafed on me a little that Wallace presented this rule (in the discussion I saw anyway) as though it were inherent in the rulebook, especially since it changes the strategy of the game a little.

I'd rather he just have said "Yes, I suppose a player could take advantage of that loophole. Well, in that case, I'd rule that..."

(That said, I don't have the page in front of me, so it's possible I just saw a quote from a longer discussion. Designers' comments do get cut and pasted all over the place.)

Yogurt

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

Ah, very interesting. Yeah, my take would also be "stop being a jerk," but then the group I play with would absolutely never do something like that. That would get you ostracized from the group, I'm certain.

The two times I played, I don't think we played with that rule. I'm pretty sure in the first game I had over 20 unrest at one point (like 21), though I had it down before the endgame and still won.

But then I'm pretty good at that game. :)

-- Matthew

hpox
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Vinci by Descartes... rule discussion

You lose if you have 20 unrest at the end of the game.
At any point in the game, if you have over 30 unrest you are eliminated.

?

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut