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Rules of Bribery and Subversion

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questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

Okay so I know the topic title is "intriguing" (pun intended), I've just been thinking about the "resource" system for my Work-In-Progress (WIP) Monster Keep (MK).

For those of you who don't know what that system is, I'll take this paragraph to explain it. There are four (4) resources in the game:

  1. Food
  2. Blood
  3. Treasure
  4. Mana

The 4th one is used for Spells. The others are used by the Monsters in various capacity. Food is used to defend a Master (You), Blood is used to attack other Monsters or another Master (Opponent). And Treasure (what the content of this topic is all about) is used to Bribe or Subvert an opposing Monster in MK.

Let's now get into the whole Bribery and Subversion ASPECT of MK.

What it is supposed to BE is a way OTHER than "combat" to lure Monsters away from an opponent. The amount of "Treasure" is determined on each Player's Turn as they CHOOSE which of the three (3) "resources" they want to increase on their turn.

But aside from choosing, there are "multipliers" to be considered.

  1. Food = +4
  2. Blood = +3
  3. Treasure = +2

Which leads to the following conclusion(s):

  1. Food is relative cheap and therefore allows you to defend yourself rather easily.

  2. Blood is in the middle and cost more to convince a Monster to attack an opponent on your behalf.

  3. Treasure is "expensive" and you don't have much of it...

So now we can talk about "Treasure". Let's assume that you have about 4 to 6 "Treasure" points in a round... How does this work with "Bribery" or "Subversion"...(???)

Should it be that ALL "Monsters" MAY be bribed(?) Or only ones that have been "exhausted" in battle (think Taped).

Should you just be able to PAY for a Monster to "switch" sides(???) Or maybe it should be a "counter measure"... Like I attack, you declare your "blockers" and THEN I BRIBE one of the Monsters to NOT Block...!!!

In what (interesting) ways can you think about having "BRIBERY" and "SUBVERSION"??? Can I PAY a Monster NOT "to attack"??? Could this be a more interesting version of "Keeping/claiming" Monsters from your opponent.

Granted it's LESS "Glorious" than TAKING control over a enemy Monster. But in another way, it's more subdued and offers PERHAPS more "variability" in how the Monsters perform their tasks (Attack/Defend)...?!

What are YOUR thoughts??? Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts on what/how "Bribery" or "Subversion" could be used in MK...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Personally I think subtlety is BETTER!

Take this as an EXAMPLE:

I have a Monster and my opponent has one un-exhausted Monster he PLANS to use to DEFEND himself. Now say I ATTACK and the natural thing the opponent does is USE his Monster to "defend". Given that there is the possibility for more subtle "subversion", I could maybe use 3 Treasure points to BRIBE that Monster into NOT defending his Master...

The result would be that I would attack and do damage to the opposing Master because his Monster was "bribed" into not defending him!

Obviously this needs SERIOUS "Balancing" ... because you don't want the game to become a "circus" of menagerie backstabbing continually. So I guess there are still things to "think about" with regards to BRIBERY and SUBVERSION... I figured I'd share an example to help provide another "counter" in that not everything is 100% reliable and assured.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts and feedback to these ideas!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
"Cool off" mechanic

I've been closely working with TGC for an "ADD-ON" product that is 100% optional for the consumer. The thing this product does is allow players to have a set of "markers" to tracking health and other factors which may be semi-permanent.

Another good example of this could be the "cool off" mechanic used with "bribery".

My thoughts are that each Monster when "bribed" has a "cool off" period of three (3) rounds before being eligible to be bribed again.

Using the Yellow Tokens, a Monster's greed factor can be tracked. It would start with 1 Token when "bribed" and increase +1 for two (2) other rounds.

I've already planned bonus markers with things like buffs and boosts that could use the Green Tokens and then there are Red Tokens which are used to track Health leaving the Blue Tokens (5 for each Player) some other use...

In any case 15 Yellow Tokens per player work pretty well if all five (5) of an opponent's Monsters are being "tracked" and are (in) "cooling off"!

Tim Edwards
Tim Edwards's picture
Joined: 07/30/2015
On a purely thematic level -

On a purely thematic level - could I say I'm corrupting the enemy monster to join my team with magic rather than bribing with treasure or food?

The reason I suggest that is, I've always dreamt of being a ruthless monster exploiter and the idea of paying or pandering to what the brutes actually want offends my sensibilities! :)

It could be mechanically the same as you outlined. Just a different feel. I mean, that's a very subjective preference, but maybe something to consider depending on your own sense of the MK world.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Monster Priorities

I think each monster can be lured into submission by catering to its priorities. For example, all monsters likely have to eat and will want Food, but comparatively few are intelligent enough to want Treasure, but they like it a lot. Take the following as an example.

Based on the resource system you have now, I think most monsters can be lured by Food, fewer with Blood, and fewer still with Treasure. There should also be a minimum threshold. For example, a Troll wants food, and will only be sated with 4 Food to be considered as Subdued/Controlled. If a player wants to lure that Troll away from you, they can pay 5 Food and sway the Troll's allegiance. And so it can go back and forth, as long as there's a player who values using their resources more than engaging the creature in combat. To simplify tracking, "reset" the subdual amount of that particular resource after the Troll engages in combat once (that is, it's subdual value is back to 4 Food).

Other monsters would work the same way even if they had different priorities, however since there's a different ratio of Blood (used to Intimidate monsters) and Treasure (used to Bribe monsters), they should start out with a lower threshold.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Limited resources

The problem with the issue is that each resource is available in a limited amount. Let me better explain the "resource" system and then you can respond accordingly.

On your very FIRST turn you have 1 Mana and you get to CHOOSE from one of the other three (3) resources.

If you choose FOOD, you will be given 4 of that resource, if you choose BLOOD, you will be given 3 of that resource and lastly if you choose TREASURE, you will be given 2 of that resource.

That means that on TURN #1 you can have:

4 Food, 3 Blood or 2 Treasure...

Each TURN is CUMULATIVE. What this means is let's say on TURN #1 you chose FOOD, you would have 4 FOOD Points to be able to use on all subsequent ROUNDS (4 Points of Food each).

And if you choose FOOD again on TURN #2, you will subsequently have 8 FOOD per ROUND...

The thing is that there are LIMITED amount of choices: you ONLY have 10 ROUNDS. Typically what this means is that you'll probably on average have 3 of each resource +1 extra (among the resources).

So on TURN #10, you resources could look like:

12 Food, 9 Blood and 6 Treasure.

You will also have 10 Mana. In addition, you also have one last choice to make as to WHICH "resource" to increase on your last turn/round.

In any case, I don't want stalemates in terms of combat.

With 6 Treasure you could probably BRIBE 1 or 2 Monsters. But at the SAME time so can your OPPONENT!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

1. Are all players acting simultaneously, or is there a turn order/sequence?

2. During playtests with these resources, how frequently has more than one player chosen the same resource?

3. Is there any way you can have a resource considered "wild" when attempting to subdue without combat? In this case, it seems like Mana is a reasonable choice.

I ask this because I think it's worth playtesting if the answer to 1 isn't simultaneous. And if the answer to 2 is "pretty often" then it seems to me that bribery is an alternative to combat, but it might not be the optimal choice every time. In fact the cost escalates, so the choice reaches the point of diminishing returns rather quickly if more than one player is constantly at it. That doesn't seem so bad to me, especially when it becomes obvious the choice loses its usefulness at a certain point.

If it doesn't seem like the system is worth following up with, then no big deal. Just something to think about.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I understand what you mean now!

Yes you are correct on all points. But my solution was that even IF each Monster is GREEDY, they have a 3 turn "cool-off" where they cannot be bribed again "instantaneously" (it takes a few turns...)

And it also can make use of my "Yellow Tokens" which are part of an ADD-ON that allows backers to buy an OPTIONAL "Token Pack" which includes a variety of tokens and one die (d6). It's not essential, but it gives players a "standard" way of keeping track of things during the turns.

Same goes for the Scorecards and Dry-Erase pens. You can keep track using a normal piece of paper. However another ADD-ON is a couple pens and scorecards which allow you to have an easy way to keep track of your "resources" and also visually keep track of the round too... So it's sort of a way of knowing how many turns are left and what resources you decide to choose going forwards.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Cool beans...

let-off studios wrote:
...And if the answer to 2 is "pretty often" then it seems to me that bribery is an alternative to combat, but it might not be the optimal choice every time. In fact the cost escalates, so the choice reaches the point of diminishing returns rather quickly if more than one player is constantly at it...

Indeed the option to "bribe" should be available in different "levels". Let me explain with an example:

If you ATTACK with "#1" and I declare BLOCKER "A", you can BRIBE "A" to IGNORE the attack using Treasure. But the use of bribery doesn't end there... The defender could use his Treasure to BRIBE "#1" into deciding NOT to attack!

So you have a multitude of options at your disposal. Just because Option 1 failed does not mean that another option is not available to you that just might do the trick!

Was my example clear enough???

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

Just bumping this thread for additional "feedback"...

I believe the rules will require some kind of "article" such as:

Article 6.a: Treasure may be used to stop a Monster from doing the intended task but must be sufficient in amount (as per the Monster's Greed requirement).

Something like that!

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