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Subject: Stalemate rss

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Ishai BD
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Pax Porfiriana » Forums » Sessions
Stalemate
Important edit: It turns out that we played it wrong in a big way - During any player's income phase all players got income instead of just the player whose turn it was. As a result it's not obvious to me if the stalemate situation is likely to occur.

Here's the original discussion:

Another 2 player game, this time it was a frustrating experience. I'll omit the full details of the session and just discuss the stalemate at the end:

Third Topple card shows up and I burn it. I have a large income of 11 per turn, my opponent's income is only 5-6 per turn. I also have much more cash. My opponent grabbed all of the Command points (I did make some mistakes including allowing him to buy both public cards with command points) whereas I have (including a card in hand and my Hacendado) a sufficient lead in Loyalty, Outrage, and Gold.

It's Martial law and even if I change the regime, my opponent has a card that can switch back to Marial law. So, who's winning?

My opponent's winning in the current regime and has the flexibility to change back to this regime when needed. I can win with Loyalty, Outrage, or simply if I burn the 4th Topple card, via Gold.

At this point the game stopped. I would buy 1 card at most, not wishing to open many cards from the deck - I was hoping for another bear so that a depression may force my opponent to start grabbing cards again, but that did not happen. I was also hoping to get a Command point or something that can discard some of my opponent's Command points, but nothing showed up.

Then I also stopped taking cards. That last Topple card is coming and if I'm the only one grabbing cards, it's sure to show up just before my opponent's turn. After a few more turns where the game was going nowhere (though our ranches were growing) we called it a draw and stopped.

I looked at the next card in the draw deck - it was the 4th Topple card!


This has been a rather frustrating experience pretty much after the 2nd Topple card. Even if the rules would force the market to change (for example by discarding any of the 0-cost cards that were not bought, not just headlines) then the winner would be truly determined randomly at this point.

I suspect this is more likely to happen in 2 player games than with more players. It's clear we both made some mistakes allowing the other to open a big lead in different regimes or Gold, but still, ...

I'm not going to call the game broken, but our session was broken (probably mostly due to our mistakes) and I'm hoping that this won't happen again, or at least not frequently.
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Michael Schloth
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ishaibd wrote:
Third Topple card shows up and I burn it.

(...)

My opponent's winning in the current regime and has the flexibility to change back to this regime when needed. I can win with Loyalty, Outrage, or simply if I burn the 4th Topple card, via Gold.

Hi. I'm learning the game and I was wondering if you could explain what you mean by burning a Topple Card.

Is it a special ability granted by some other card? It is my understanding (Section K of the rules) that when a Topple Card is purchased you must initiate a Toppling using that card. Thanks.
 
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Tiamat
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I thought you must play it also... Though something that makes me doubt this is in the solitaire rules, which say that the AI Diaz "discards" topples.
 
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Ishai BD
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All headlines (Topples as well) can be played in 2 directions. When played normally, they have a specific effect. When played upside down they maintain status quo, i.e. have no effect. (Take a look at the card and read its text holding it upside down as well.)

Playing in either direction still results in a bull or bear (which can lead to depression or exiting depression).

So, by burning a Topple card I meant playing it for status quo so that my opponent will not be able to buy and play it for the win.

(There's a seed of doubt when I'm looking at the cards - perhaps either direction results in a Topple but simply upside down results in no bonus for a specific regime???)
 
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Ishai BD
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Ok, I stand corrected: Buying a Topple results in a Topple attempt. The buyer can simply decide whether the regime bonus applies or not.

Sorry for the confusion.

The stalemate, however would still exist: It would be easy for me to change regime to Anarchy and then neither of us would be able to Topple. So we'd have incentives not to take cards anymore...
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Michael Schloth
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ishaibd wrote:
All headlines (Topples as well) can be played in 2 directions. When played normally, they have a specific effect. When played upside down they maintain status quo, i.e. have no effect. (Take a look at the card and read its text holding it upside down as well.)

Playing in either direction still results in a bull or bear (which can lead to depression or exiting depression).

So, by burning a Topple card I meant playing it for status quo so that my opponent will not be able to buy and play it for the win.


You need to read Section K again. Topple Cards are a special case of Headline Cards. The topple takes place no matter which way you orient the Topple Card.
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Pablo Klinkisch
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ishaibd wrote:
All headlines (Topples as well) can be played in 2 directions. When played normally, they have a specific effect. When played upside down they maintain status quo, i.e. have no effect. (Take a look at the card and read its text holding it upside down as well.)


When played upside down they have no modifier but still trigger a topple attempt.
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Ishai BD
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Thanks everyone, I figured my mistake just before you posted.
 
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Martin G
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I had a 2p game which ended very much like this the other day. I agree it's a bit unsatisfying.
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Andrew S. Fischer
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Just played a 2P game last night which was very close. I had a Revolution win in my hand but no way to change the regime to Anarchy. My opponent had a ton of Outrage points and snared a US Intervention regime change card to steal the win.

PP is a tough game, and I can see it often ending in dissatisfaction for the loser(s). It's almost more of an experience than a game.
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Ishai BD
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As an experience it's already quite interesting. I still have faith in it as a game!

General statements (about PP and other games):
I'd say losing would be dissapointing if I don't end up feeling I had anything to do with why I lost. Losing by itself is not particularly dissapointing to me.

A stalemate is fine by me too as long as it's very infrequent and can be identified easily as such (perhaps if the rules say when a game is declared a draw).

So, I would have concerns about PP as a game only if it got stuck like this often or losing would often feel completely random...
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Martin G
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One thing I would say... This situation only arises if both players have enough money to buy any card that appears in the market, i.e. 16 or more. This seems much more likely in 2p games where I've found it easier for players to build and maintain a large income. One possible variant - one cube instead of two on your hacendado in 2p.
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Ishai BD
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Martin, you were totally on the money (so to speak), more-so than you think:

I played another game and it developed much more interestingly given that I wouldn't let my opponent get to a clear lead in any regime type. While I thought we played correctly this time, the game once more depended strongly on what cards would show up when the market was refreshed since each player could buy whatever they wanted and the only limiting factor was the 3 actions (2 market buy actions) limit.

It turns out that in both games (both 2p, but with different opponents) we played wrong in one very important way: During every player's income phase both players would get income. I'm sure you can all realize what difference this makes and how with an income limit of 15 (not including gun stores, etc.) playing this way one can easily accumulate a lot of gold while if playing correctly this won't happen remotely so fast and so easily.

I am eager to try the game again playing correctly this time and see what happens when cards are actually expensive...

Dave, I suspect we played correctly in our first game. Do you recall?
I do remember that income was scarce in that game, so I suspect that I introduced this mistake on my next game.
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Martin G
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Aha! Yes, that would exacerbate the problem I was trying to mitigate. In 4p you only get income on quarter of the turns while in 2p you get income on half the turns. But you gave yourself income on *all* the turns
 
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