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Social Voting with deeper gameplay?

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Corsaire
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I ws watching some playthroughs of Mad Scientist University. It is a Snake Oil type game with a pitch to a judge. It seemed a bit thin, but I like the genre and the basic concept.

I was contemplating how I could do the same thing and add a bit more game to it, like card drafting or auctions or such.

But the question is: does a single judge aystem undermine any extra game you add to it? Is it possible to get satisfying play if you are getting all thinky, but will face an arbitrary judgement by another player? Once you add a thinky portion will that push the judge even more towards gaming their decision.

The concerns at a couple of levels. If you've played a judge game with gamers, you know sometimes they will not give a win to the lead player or even with hidden submissions, they might try to guess who did what and intentionally not select the lead.

Any thoughts or examples where this soes work?

let-off studios
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Sheriff of Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham is a kind of "single, arbitrary judge" game that has a number of additional game elements included. Each player takes on the role of Sheriff and has to either accept bribes or inspect their opponents' cargo.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/157969/sheriff-nottingham

Fri
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I'm the boss

Probably not exactly what your looking for. It has an interesting thinky part of how much help yourself and other players and a little bit timing/hand management. On your turn you get to the boss and make a deal for cash (a lump sum of cash comes from the bank). However, you need to bring other parties in on the deal. So you have some or a lot of the cash from the deal. Players can play cards to get them in on the deal, eliminate players from the deal or even become the boss. But the boss will be the ultimate judge of whether to make the deal.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/115/im-boss

questccg
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Hmm...

What about a game about "blackmail"?! Not getting to "head-y" - but say players get "secrets" about the other players. To control this, you use a color-coded card set where each color-coded card represents a "secret" for that "character".

So if it's a five (5) player game and you use Red, Green, Blue, Black and White... The "Red" cards are to be used against the "Red" player.

(Getting all excited) Why don't you make it Deck-Construction like "Magic: the Gathering" where each player brings a five (5) colored deck (60 cards) and then each player spars against his opponents... That means 12 cards for each player... Not too bad!

Anyway it's just a thought. When you said "Snake oil" - my mind just thought up of this "type" of game... I'm sure you could have wildly success with such a game...

Cheers and best of luck(?!) with your idea.

Update: Each player could be running for the "Next President" (That's what I would title the game) ... and the opposition is trying to find any and all dirt about a candidate.

Each candidate has a Reputation of 20 Points... Bringing this to 0 Points means that the candidate is no longer able to continue towards becoming the "Next President"... Obviously the LAST Player standing - gets elected and becomes ... you've guessed it ... The "Next President"...

Update #2: Each player could have a "task force" which is suited to protect each candidate. Some from the Paparazzi others from Journalists/Tabloids like an "Image Consultant"

Well I'm sure you get the idea... I'm not the person who could take this design "all-the-way"... And besides it was your OP that spiked this comment and its updates.

Update #3: It's literally a "game about voting". But instead of requiring a Judge - your goal is to "knock-out" all your opponents using a barrage of tricks and secrets...

dnddmdb
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It's tough to have subjectivity and reality running parallel...

I like this idea, but I think this is a very tough nut to crack.

The problem is that any sort of decisions based on subjectivity, (i.e. how much you like something, how funny something is, etc) can be influenced by any number of factors, including the status of the game, with no elegant ways to enforce the neutrality of the judgment. As you mention, you can just think, "Oh, Player A is winning so I won't pick their proposal" or "Player D is in last so I should pick theirs because they're not a threat to me anyway."

The one thing I could think of is that you could keep the proposals and the players that propose them to the judge separate somehow, where either a) you don't know how well each person is actually doing in the game or b) you don't know whose proposal is whose. A side effect of b) could be that the judge can try to infer whose proposal is the leading player's and avoid choosing theirs, but then this gives the leading player the incentive to provide proposals that seem like they'd be from other people. That system might work, with the right theme and system for making the proposals.

The other way to go about it would be the more Sheriff Of Nottingham route as mentioned:

let-off studios wrote:
Sheriff of Nottingham is a kind of "single, arbitrary judge" game that has a number of additional game elements included. Each player takes on the role of Sheriff and has to either accept bribes or inspect their opponents' cargo.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/157969/sheriff-nottingham

Here, the judge's decision is based on their impression of how well each player is doing, which is relatively more objective. The choice you're given is "Who is doing the best, who should be punished?" as opposed a decision made on something separate than the status of the game.

TL;DR: Go in the direction of the judge not knowing who makes what proposal so the system can't be gamed, or make the decision based on the current status of the game, which is relatively less social.

P.S. I think a way of keeping the relative success of each player unknown would be the most creative way to go about this.

Corsaire
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Thanks for the replies, I do

Thanks for the replies, I do think that hiding the game state as with sheriff is a strong way to counter some of my concerns. As the part I most want to retain is the creative narrative where a player explains exactly how a cucumber is going to get them to the moon, hiding the pitchers identies would be rough. However, Balderdash manages with writing.

I may try it with some hidden scoring opportunities. Maybe drafting for items and maybe use of multiple items.

Once Upon a Time has a shared narrative but is still loosely competitive, which could be a completely different way to go.

dnddmdb
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If you're going to go with

If you're going to go with the snake oil idea, then yeah, I think the best way to avoid gaming the system is to have the status towards the win condition uncertain or keep the reward of winning the pitch a little uncertain.

I think it could be really cool to have this idea and have the winnings be like, sets of resources or something, but you don't know who needs what resources or how badly. And you could have players choose between making a pitch and gaining some other sort of advantage. I think this could be a really neat niche between mindless party games and full-on strategy.

questccg
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Take a look at Dixit

Corsaire wrote:
...I may try it with some hidden scoring opportunities. Maybe drafting for items and maybe use of multiple items.

Maybe you could "explore" the mechanics used by Dixit. It's all about trying to "guess" which card is the current competitor's card. It's kinda hard to explain (and I wouldn't want to explain it wrong...)

Basically YOU have a card and then you state something relevant to the card. Like "it's my birthday" and the scene could have one candle. And then everyone goes through their own hands and choose cards which they feel would be relevant to "it's my birthday". All the cards go into the middle and get shuffled and then laid out in the middle of the play area.

Next, each player votes for the card they THINK is YOUR card. Trying to guess which one is yours. This is all done secretly and then the votes are revealed. Now scoring I'm not familiar with 100% but what is IMPORTANT is that if everyone guesses YOUR card, you get 0 points and everyone else gets points. So you don't want to be TOO obvious with what you say...

You can maybe just check it out - for the mechanics...

Aspirinsmurf
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The Extraordinary Adventures

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen is an interesting case. In theory, I believe you should optimally use your tokens to introduce rather easy and boring uncertanties to the player who is most likely to vote for your own story in the end. That is, the system is gameable, but in a weird sort of social engineering way. I’ve yet to see anyone try to do that though. The basic framework can likely be adopted to include some more thinky elements with additional components, but I’m not entirely sure how and to what extent.

MAR
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Adding to a social judging game

With our game Headhunter, we added as little bit to mix up the traditional social judgement. We have the employer (jugde) select anywhere from 1-4 candidates depending on the die roll instead of a single selection each time. Also, after selections are made, different valued salaries are awarded to each candidate. This makes different rounds worth different amounts depending on the number of selections and value of awards.

Aspirinsmurf
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MAR wrote:With our game

MAR wrote:
With our game Headhunter, we added as little bit to mix up the traditional social judgement. We have the employer (jugde) select anywhere from 1-4 candidates depending on the die roll instead of a single selection each time. Also, after selections are made, different valued salaries are awarded to each candidate. This makes different rounds worth different amounts depending on the number of selections and value of awards.

This superficially appears to be a solution very similar to Junta. That's a fun game too, but it's much more diplomatic than strategic.

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