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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

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Brykovian
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Well ... here's my first public attempt at something that isn't a straight-up head-to-head conflict game. Something more subtle, I guess.

In any case, here are the rules: http://www.bgdf.com/files/My_Uploads/Brykovian/fgah.pdf

I have a couple of pieces that I'm still figuring I can (or will need to) change ... but I'll wait to see the GDW feedback first.

Thanks!
-Bryk

Zomulgustar
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Interesting...if I'm understanding how everything works (it's Black Monday, so please forgive me if I'm missing something), I think you might run into problems with 'folk type' selection, in a manner analagous to setting up 5 players to play on a hexagonal board. The players of the same type lose the effective competitive advantage in supplying their worker type, and unique worker-providers will get proportionately higher offers.

Also, I'm not sure the 'attacks' will even out among the players enough over the course of the game. With an average of two per player, and constantly increasing effects, there will be a _lot_ of variability between the impacts on the players over the course of the game. By not investing in guards, one can still hope to get lucky and not get attacked, and use the additional production to win the game on luck alone. Perhaps having the Nastigans go after the least-guarded tribe would alleviate this?

Your VP system seems very coarse...adding some granularity would alleviate what I would anticipate to be very common ties...or perhaps some other tiebreaking mechanism would help.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Zomulgustar wrote:
I think you might run into problems with 'folk type' selection ... The players of the same type lose the effective competitive advantage in supplying their worker type, and unique worker-providers will get proportionately higher offers.

I tried to balance that by higher consumption rates for the goods those type of folks produce. Not sure if it'll work out ... but, for example, if are 2 PlainsFolks players, there should be greater consumption of Food.

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Also, I'm not sure the 'attacks' will even out among the players enough over the course of the game.

They're not supposed to even out ... players are supposed to be able to subtly influence the likelihood of who will get the visit by which color chip they put in the cup whenever they add a guard.

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By not investing in guards, one can still hope to get lucky and not get attacked, and use the additional production to win the game on luck alone.

That might be an approach. However, if I were playing the game and I saw someone trying that, I'd add a Guard to my board and put one of that player's chips in the cup (assuming I had gained some of that player's chips by then -- I might even fulfill one of his/her offers in order to get some for this very purpose).

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Perhaps having the Nastigans go after the least-guarded tribe would alleviate this?

That was actually the plan, before I came up with having a random draw cup. I thought it felt a bit too dry.

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Your VP system seems very coarse...adding some granularity would alleviate what I would anticipate to be very common ties...or perhaps some other tiebreaking mechanism would help.

Any suggestions on this?

Thanks for the feedback! Exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. ;-)

-Bryk

Zomulgustar
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Looks like my first two concerns had already been addressed, (Curse you, traitorous caffeine!) though I'd be on the lookout for petty diplomacy issues given that the 'votes' are against a particular opponent rather than simply 'not me!' Also, be careful about mixing marker/chip terminology...I didn't make the connection that there was a single color of chips used for scoring goods for longer than I should have on account of this. As for the VP granularity...just a random thought, but why not include a set of tie-breaking tokens numbered 1-number of players, distributed at the start such that the first player to move gets the worst one, and the last the best. These tokens can be placed with offers, such that the first person to take the offer exchanges tokens with the offerer.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Zomulgustar wrote:
...just a random thought, but why not include a set of tie-breaking tokens numbered 1-number of players, distributed at the start such that the first player to move gets the worst one, and the last the best. These tokens can be placed with offers, such that the first person to take the offer exchanges tokens with the offerer.

That's a cool idea ... almost like pro sport teams using selections in future player drafts as part of a trade.

-Bryk

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

A minor point: in your rules under Components on page 1 you specify 6 Nastigan Markers in Red, but under Setup on page 3 you state For each player in the game, 2 Red Nastigan Markers are also added to the Consumption Draw Cup. Looks like the game should include 12 Nastigan Markers, or else add only 1 to the Consumption Draw Cup during setup. (Your later comment The number of visiting Nastigans is equal to the number of Red Markers on the table, or the number of players in the game, whichever is less makes it sound like 12 is the correct number.)

BTW, I think the Nastigan Draw Cup should be called the Honor Draw Cup. It's used when Nastigans visit, but it contains only Honor chips and no actual Nastigan Markers; the Nastigan Markers are all in the Consumption Draw Cup. This confused me for a while until I got it straight which chips were in which cups.

I like the growth curve for Nastigans: no visits from Nastigans in the first round, then one extra Nastigan on each visit, maxing out at the number of players.

Like Zomulgustar, I'm concerned about frequent ties, especially in three-player games, and I think you'll need a tie-breaker. You aren't handing out many VPs, but your players are passing around a lot of Honor and Goods chips. How about simply breaking ties in favor of the player who scored the most Honor chips from other players? That guy is the one who clearly behaved most honorably, presumably in addition to showing good production capability. If there's still a tie, give it to the guy with the most Goods Chips.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
A minor point: in your rules under Components on page 1 you specify 6 Nastigan Markers in Red, but under Setup on page 3 you state For each player in the game, 2 Red Nastigan Markers are also added to the Consumption Draw Cup. Looks like the game should include 12 Nastigan Markers...

Right you are Rick -- should be 12 in the components list.

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BTW, I think the Nastigan Draw Cup should be called the Honor Draw Cup. It's used when Nastigans visit, but it contains only Honor chips and no actual Nastigan Markers; the Nastigan Markers are all in the Consumption Draw Cup. This confused me for a while until I got it straight which chips were in which cups.

Good point ... I think I will make that change.

Quote:
Like Zomulgustar, I'm concerned about frequent ties, especially in three-player games, and I think you'll need a tie-breaker. You aren't handing out many VPs, but your players are passing around a lot of Honor and Goods chips. How about simply breaking ties in favor of the player who scored the most Honor chips from other players? That guy is the one who clearly behaved most honorably, presumably in addition to showing good production capability. If there's still a tie, give it to the guy with the most Goods Chips.

Looks like I may need to change the scoring method. The intent is to reward people for getting honor from every other player -- not just a whole bunch from 1 other player. So, with that in mind, I'm thinking of going the following direction ...

For each player color (other than your own) ... If you have *any* chips in that color, you get 5 VPs ... if you have more chips in that color than any other player, you get an additional 5 VPs. Then you add *all* of your honor chips (excluding your own color) and *all* of your goods chips, gaining 1 VP per chip.

Perhaps that will both give reward in the way I want, plus make it less likely to have ties.

As an aside, this also made me think of something else that could possibly change (and cut down on components as well) ... If players were only able to offer Honor Chips (and *not* Goods), then I wouldn't need Goods Chips -- I could probably get away with a Good scoring track on the player boards, only needing a couple scoring markers per player to make that work.

Thanks for your comments Rick! :)

-Matt

Hamumu
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

It sounds interesting, and as I take a break to recover from my vacation, the only notable comments I can wrap my head around are:

1 - I see your balancing effect of, for example, if there are 2 Plainsfolk players and 1 of everyone else, there will be more Food consumption markers than anything else in there, thus making Plainsfolk more important... but does that really balance it? Unless I misread, the Plainsfolk players will begin with 10 Plainsfolk of their own, while everyone else will have to pay them for them. So when you have more players of one Folk than another, those people seem to be doubly rewarded to me. Everybody will need their guys, including them (since more often than not, consumption will be of that type), but they start with those most useful of guys, AND they will be offered more for their guys than the other players will, since the other players need them more as well. Does that make sense? I'm not a big game theorist.

2 - Your setup phase effectively makes it so that regardless of # of players, everybody will take exactly 8 turns. An idea might be to reduce that for more players (or an optional rule to do so), so that you don't have such a linear increase in game time. Since you're dealing with small integers, it would tweak the balance - making the game less Nasti, or more Nasti, or more Woody or whatever the case may be, but that may be fine, especially as an optional rule. Quick & Nasti would be a good optional rule overall - players put in less consumption chips, but the same number of Nastigans, for a shorter game where guards are more important.

3 - As someone stuck gaming with my wife and very rarely others, I'd like a 2-player option. Maybe something where you each pick your Folk, and then each get 5 of the third type of folk, or much better, there's a dummy player who doesn't play in general, but accepts a certain fixed offer for his guys always.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Hamumu wrote:
1 - {a bunch of stuff about balancing the game when playing with 4 or 5 players}

Well, I'm hoping everything balances, since it's kind of the central aspect to the game. ;-) In a 4 player game, the folks chosen by 2 players may be more needed, but there is more of them, and they are coming from 2 sources. So, while it may seem they'd be more valuable, the extra supply and the competition to supply that type of folk should temper the extra demand. (Again, "in theory" ... this will require actual playtesting to see how it works.)

But, your making me think through this in these terms did make something newly obvious to me. If I'm one of those 2 players with the same type of folks, I can only get honor chips from the remaining 2 players ... whereas those other 2 players can each get honor chips from all 3 opponents. So, this makes me need to adjust the scoring method from being based purely on player color, to being based on folk type. Instead of scoring piles of white and yellow chips (or brown and green chips, or gray and black chips) separately, they would need to be part of the same pile for scoring to be fare in these 5 and 6 player games.

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2 - {a bunch of stuff about changing the number of consumption/Nastigan chips that get put in the draw cup during game setup}

As you mentioned, any changes to that balance would need to be done carefully. However, it would be an area where variants could easily spring up to accent/weaken different aspects of the game.

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3 - As someone stuck gaming with my wife and very rarely others, I'd like a 2-player option. Maybe something where you each pick your Folk, and then each get 5 of the third type of folk, or much better, there's a dummy player who doesn't play in general, but accepts a certain fixed offer for his guys always.

The problem would be that if the 3rd dummy player can be predicted, then the game comes down to how you and the other person trade with each other and/or produce goods. If the dummy player has a random or other unpredictable element to it, then the game might largely come down to luck.

I personally always *want* to have a 2-player version of the game ideas that fight their way out of my head ... but in some cases, I'm at a loss at how to do it and still get a workable game. I'm thinking this might be one of those games that has to start with 3 ...

Thanks Hamumu for stirring my brain! ;-)

-Bryk

Zzzzz
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Here is my list of comments/thoughts:

Setup section that starts "Any usused Player Boards....", states that unused parts are removed from the game. But then also states to keep the remaining Goods and Honor Chips nearby as they will be used. I would clean this up to avoid confusion.

Turn section number 1. Why do you have the players toss a red Nastigan Marker back in on the first turn? What problems did you see to have this rule? Obviously nothing would happen when initially played, but to me it seems that it might alter the game a little since more Nastigans would be out "sooner". Of course you have the limit, so essentially the max might be hit sooner.

Turns section, number 2 could be worded better. You are conveying the same idea for both pawns. And I had to read the rules a couple of times to make sure I did not miss some difference between allowed movement of the 2 pawns. Maybe something like "Move 2 pawns. The player may complete any one action below for each pawn." or "Move 2 pawns. The player is allowed to complete one action from the following list for each pawn."

End Game scoring, a couple of possible score options: Most or least guarded?

That is all for now, I need to re-read some sections. Overall it looks like an interesting game to play.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

First -- thanks, Zzzzz, for pointing out areas that need clarification ... trying to tame my ideas down into a coherent, communicable form always seems to be one of the harder parts for me. ;-)

Zzzzz wrote:
Turn section number 1. Why do you have the players toss a red Nastigan Marker back in on the first turn? What problems did you see to have this rule? Obviously nothing would happen when initially played, but to me it seems that it might alter the game a little since more Nastigans would be out "sooner". Of course you have the limit, so essentially the max might be hit sooner.

Actually, I felt it would be an unfair disadvantage for someone to lose a Pawn right out of the gate like that. I just wanted to give every one a sort of free-n-easy round to get underway ... they can add a guard in that first round if they want to.

-Bryk

Zzzzz
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Ok a couple more comments...

While I like it, "Play starts with the "most Nastigan-like" player, does it really work out in the long run? Will players always start with the same person?

Hmmmm as I look at the rules, two things keep coming to mind. Potential Kingmaking and Seat Order Effect problems. Have you seen either of these problems while playtesting?

The offers are what make me think these two items might exists. Since players to the left of the current player always get the first crack at fulfilling an offer, the current player could easily "stack" the offer causing the player to their left to have an unfair advantage. Maybe I am way off since I have not played the game, but I would be interested to see if it was possible to cause these two problems.

Likewise, a player might be able to stack offers to the advantage of the current leader, thus causing Kingsmaking problem.

For the Producing Goods section, I assume that "Each Plainsfold adds 3", means that for each "Plainsfolk pawn" you add 3?

Again, the game seems very interesting. If I ever have the time, I would love to give this game a test run.

Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Zzzzz wrote:
Have you seen either of these problems while playtesting?

I've never playtested it. I cooked it up and wrote it down a handful of months ago, then let it simmer on the backburner. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled it back out, polished it up and dropped it here in the GDW.

(BTW, it's inspired from a series of PM's I exchanged with Seth when he was first looking through his 3 Kingdoms idea ...)

Quote:
While I like it, "Play starts with the "most Nastigan-like" player, does it really work out in the long run? Will players always start with the same person?

Yeah ... actually, I *don't* really like goofy start-player selection stuff like this, but felt it kinda fit the humor of the storyline, so I threw it in there. I'm not sure if it'll stay ... I might resort to my trusty-but-boring "select a starting player" instead. ;-)

Quote:
The offers are what make me think these two items might exists. Since players to the left of the current player always get the first crack at fulfilling an offer, the current player could easily "stack" the offer causing the player to their left to have an unfair advantage.

I'm hoping 2 things will make this a less-than-optimal strategy ... first, what would the player to my left be able to offer me to make it worth my while to stack my offers to his advantage? Second, hopefully I'll get the scoring down to rewarding having a diversity of chip types more than having a whole bunch of one kind.

Quote:
Likewise, a player might be able to stack offers to the advantage of the current leader, thus causing Kingsmaking problem.

Again, I hope there to be a diminishing return at some point.

Quote:
For the Producing Goods section, I assume that "Each Plainsfold adds 3", means that for each "Plainsfolk pawn" you add 3?

It means that for that type of good (Food, in your example) each Plainsfolk Pawn you have producing that good will add 3 to your production rate ... just as each Woodsfolk pawn producing that good will add 2, and each Ridgefolks pawn will add 1, and each Comsumption tile for that good will subtract 2. Your production rate then determines how many Good Chips you get (greater than 0 gets you 2, exactly zero gets you 1, less than zero loses you 1).

-Bryk

Yogurt
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

I agree with many points raised so far, especially about player order effects and luck over a small number of turns. I also wonder if it wouldn't be too easy to make a trade bloc and embargo a player.

But here's my biggest concern:

At its heart, this is a trading game, like Settlers of Catan. The difference is that in For Goods and Honour there's no secret information: no hidden hands, no discovery cards, and most importantly no secret plans ("I need a lot of wood so I can make longest road" "I need wheat because I'm ready to build a city."). Players of equal skill should be able to agree on what's a fair offer, robbing the game of its tension.

I may be overlooking subtle aspects, but I think game needs more tough decisions. Right now, these are the decisions a player will need to make:

    * Should I place this pawn as a guard or a worker? Not bad. Some gambling. * Whose chip should I drop in the Honour cup to attract Nastigans? Almost always the leader, and there's no option to save the chip for VP.
    * Where I should I put my worker pawn? Not too controversial. You put him where he'll produce the most (relative to your current total for that good) or free him for trades if you're overproducing.
    * How much should I offer for a pawn? Less than what he could produce for you in the time remaining. (A bit of a gamble, because consumption can change.)
    * Should I accept that offer for a pawn? Only if it's more than what he could produce for you in the time remaining. (A bit of a gamble, because consumption can change.)
None of these are agonizing, and I get the feeling my computer would be better at the game than I would.

If players could compete simultaneously to accept offers, this would help, because then you have to make a snap decision before the other person steals a potential bargain from you. There's some tension.

I like the theme and the concept of differently productive workers, but I suspect the game needs another element to make it crackle.

Yogurt

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Brykovian
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Game #68: For Goods and Honor by Matt Worden (Brykovian)

Thanks Yogurt ... You actually put into words some of my own feelings about this one that I was having a hard time self-articulating. As I mentioned at the outset, it's one of my first tries at something more subtle like this ... still got some work to do. ;-)

-Bryk

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