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DannyMack
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June 2010
"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Tue, 22 February 2011 23:36
Dear Wonderoids,
I was teaching this game throughout the weekend at the Strategicon event in L.A. using one of your promotional copies. On day 3 one of the gamers brought up the fact that the rules do not explicitly state that the "dealer button" actually moves around the table. This is true of the English rules, as we looked through them again. They state...
Quote:

The player who has most recently visited a port in real life begins the game. He takes the 1st player marker and will be tasked with moving the Game Turn marker one spot forward on the Game Turn track at the beginning of each of his turns.


This seems to be saying that "the same person does this on each of his turns." The Board Game Dept. at the con had initially read the rules this way, but after playing it, we all had decided that there must be a misunderstanding about the "1st player marker." Why would a 1st player marker be included in the game unless it was meant to be passed around?

We had been teaching the game accordingly all weekend--that the "1st player marker" is passed around, creating an ever-changing turn order, with each player taking an occasional "long turn" (when they went from being first to last.) This created an elegant complexity to an otherwise simple game. It elevated both the elements of ship/coin placement, as well as tying-up the resolution of other players' ships to being bonafide strategy elements in the game.

I know of no other game which has a starting player token that is not meant to be passed around. (So maybe this is a stupid question.) But for all the literalists out there who will soon be buying this game I had to ask.

Furthermore, when the game is played as written (rather than as we interpreted it) it is much simpler...too simple, I'm afraid. It becomes a game for elementary school children. Which is fine if that's what you guys are shooting for. But all of the adults who played it that way thought it was a "yawn" to play. They unanimously voted, time-after-time to "pass the dealer button." Not only did this one rule change the feel of the game, it was the single determining factor between people yawning at the game and people wanting to go buy it right away.

Hope this is helpful feedback.
Please clarify which way the game was meant to be played:
1) 1st player remains the same all game, and has control of a worthless cardboard boat.
2) The Primus is passed around clockwise, changing the turn-order each round of play.

If I must, I will encourage adults to Pass the Primus and play Cargo Noir as written only when playing with small children. Even if it turns out to be a misinterpretation that turns into a game variant/house rule, to me it makes all the difference.
      
eric
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 03:21
The 1st player remains the same during the entire game.

The sole reason of the big marker is to remind that 1st player to MOVE the turn marker on the central track at the start of each of his turn, because play-tests showed he/she would sometime forget otherwise.

So you should not pass it from one player to the next (and if you played the game correctly on all other rule aspects, there should be no reason to either!).

[Mis à jour le: Wed, 23 February 2011 03:24]

      
DannyMack
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 06:22
Wow, thanks for the quick reply.
I appreciate the clarification. And yes, I think I understand the other aspects of the game. Everything is pretty simple and straightforward.

As I said, the "reason" we played it--passing the Primus--was to add a layer of strategy and complexity to a game that really seemed to be lacking them...if people aren't enjoying the game I'd say that's reason enough to go back and analyze the rules. That's what we did. Knowing that often these rule problems are brought on by translation difficulties and later resolved by online errata, we second-guessed ourselves on our interpretation of the rules as written, assuming the designers meant something else or that something was accidentally left unsaid.

I don't mean to be negative, because I really love what you guys are doing at DOW. I guess this game is just too light for people like me. No doubt it will still come in handy with the kiddos.

To quote an attendee from this past weekend, "This game is broke without the changing turn-order!"

[Mis à jour le: Wed, 23 February 2011 06:23]

      
eric
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 07:24
Your statement still puzzles me: when played with competitive players (not kiddos usually Very Happy), Cargo Noir can be ruthless, I promise!

When playing strictly by the rules, you had:

Player A doing 3rd phase of turn 1,
Player B doing 3rd phase of turn 1,
Player C doing 3rd phase of turn 1,

then

Player A doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,
Player B doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,
Player C doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,

then onto the next turn, etc.. right?

And when a player's turn came back and he found himself outbid, his only two choices were adding money to the pile (and waiting until the next turn to get the goods, hoping nobody piled yet more money in between), or bailing out now (and letting whoever had the biggest pile of coin in that port get the goods that turn), right?

Eric @ DoW
      
eric
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 08:16
Also, not to beat a dead horse, but changing the 1st player each turn, like you seem to suggest you played, would completely break the game's auctions:

Each turn one player would find himself playing 2 turns back-to-back. He would thus be able to grab all the cargos of any port that had no other ships present before the 1st of his 2 back-to-back turns (by sending his own ship there in phase 3 of his 1st of 2 back-to-back turns, and immediately collecting the cargos in phase 1 of his 2nd of 2 back to back turns). Likewise, if he started his 1st of 2 back-to-back turns outbid, he could simply bid 1 more coin that whoever had bid most in phase 3 of his 1st of 2 back-to-back turns, and collect the cargos in phase 1 of his 2nd of 2 back-to-back turns.

This really leads me to believe something else might have been played differently than intended. I would love to figure this out, because it just doesn't seem to add up.

eric
      
DannyMack
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 08:56
This is exactly right. (When we began playing as it was written.)
Quote:

When playing strictly by the rules, you had:

Player A doing 3rd phase of turn 1,
Player B doing 3rd phase of turn 1,
Player C doing 3rd phase of turn 1,

then

Player A doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,
Player B doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,
Player C doing phases 1 through 3 of turn 2,

then onto the next turn, etc.. right?


I mean it's okay, but I wouldn't call it "cutthroat." Strategically it's super-light. I'm just saying what everyone was telling me; I'm not making it up. I guess you and the playtesters have had a different experience than we did at the con. Same rules, different experience.
It's also a fact that passing the Primus made the difference. (I wish I had thought of it, but again, it wasn't me.)

I really do appreciate the clarification. I didn't like not knowing if I was teaching people the right way or not, especially on such a major point. I feel better now, especially if I do buy the game at some point in the future and have to teach others at our Game Group.

The only 2 other loopholes we saw in the rules were:
1) Whether a high bidder could reduce his bid when it came back around to his turn and it was still in a contested port? This happened when there were 3 bidders who bid progressively higher and the middle bidder dropped out. (But it only would happen that way if turn order changed, so that's a moot point.)
2) If it was possible to intentionally run the casino out of coins? (But I don't think it can be done, mathematically, and still have a functioning game.) If it was possible though, would that mean other players would not be able to get coins through use of their ships/Syndicates? People were trying to measure whether this would be a valid way of spoiling the other players' efforts. (So yeah, these were pretty intense gamers, looking at every opportunity to exploit the opposition and work to the extremities of the rules. I was proud of how fast they learned the game.)

[Mis à jour le: Wed, 23 February 2011 09:10]

      
DannyMack
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 09:08
eric wrote on Wed, 23 February 2011 02:16

Each turn one player would find himself playing 2 turns back-to-back. He would thus be able to grab all the cargos of any port that had no other ships present before the 1st of his 2 back-to-back turns (by sending his own ship there in phase 3 of his 1st of 2 back-to-back turns, and immediately collecting the cargos in phase 1 of his 2nd of 2 back to back turns).

No this was the play order (when we were passing the "button"):
Turn 1:
Player 1, Phase 3 (button)
Player 2, Phase 3
Player 3, "
Player 4, " (kicks the button forward to Player 2)

Turn 2:
Player 2, Phase 1-3 (button)
Player 3, Phase 1-3
Player 4, "
Player 1, " (finally back around to him--and he kicks the button forward to Player 3)

etc.

This preserved what you are calling "the auction mechanism" while adding the challenge of setting up your fleet on your button turn to survive the "long turn" that was coming up next. Staying with the competition through planning.
(And no, there's no "dead horse" here. I can see and really appreciate that you are trying to figure this out from a different perspective. I'm flattered.)

[Mis à jour le: Wed, 23 February 2011 09:11]

      
rasmussen81
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 11:58
DannyMack wrote on Wed, 23 February 2011 12:08


No this was the play order (when we were passing the "button"):
Turn 1:
Player 1, Phase 3 (button)
Player 2, Phase 3
Player 3, "
Player 4, " (kicks the button forward to Player 2)

Turn 2:
Player 2, Phase 1-3 (button)
Player 3, Phase 1-3
Player 4, "
Player 1, " (finally back around to him--and he kicks the button forward to Player 3)

etc.

This preserved what you are calling "the auction mechanism" while adding the challenge of setting up your fleet on your button turn to survive the "long turn" that was coming up next. Staying with the competition through planning.
(And no, there's no "dead horse" here. I can see and really appreciate that you are trying to figure this out from a different perspective. I'm flattered.)


By passing the button, wouldn't you end up with some players who have to endure the 'long turn' more times than other players, putting them at a disadvantage?
      
eric
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 15:44
Unfortunately this play order would also break the game in very undesirable ways: in 2 player games, players would end up playing 2 turns in a row, winning whatever they'd bid for. And regardless of the number of players, this would double the down time for the player who went from first to last. Rolling Eyes

As such I would still personally recommend playing the game as written and designed, with the turn order never changing.

Best,
Eric
      
DannyMack
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 17:21
In a 5-player game everybody got 2 "long turns."
In the 4-player, everybody got 2 (except for 2 players who got 3) but I don't think anyone looked at it as a disadvantage; it was just that it required you to play by a different strategy than the others. (In fact it was a great way to pull in Cargo on Turn 10, which felt like a good compensation for the extra wait.)

Now I didn't have a chance to play the 2-player version (there were too many people signed up for the Demo sessions) but I can see how passing the Primus would totally ruin that scenario.

Oh well. I think we're all clear on this one now.
Thanks, Eric.
Cheers!
      
eric
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Wed, 23 February 2011 19:15
Thank you for running the game there.

best,
eric
      
DannyMack
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Mon, 28 February 2011 04:18
I appreciate you taking the initiative to say thanks, Eric. It was my pleasure to introduce your game(s) to others. Happy to do it again...feel free to tap me on the shoulder anytime.

I ran the Smallworld Tournament (it ran until 3:30 in the morning) and the Ticket to Ride and the Ticket to Ride: Europe tournaments too. Cool

People were asking me, "You're the Days of Wonder guy, right?"
LOL
      
Gwalcmai
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Re:"Dealer Button" Clarification (if you please.) Mon, 21 March 2011 00:16
My friends and I played the first time by passing the button, assuming that it should be passed. The game suffered for it. Like it was said earlier, one person was always waiting forever for his turn and some people were able to put their ships on a port and immediately cash in on them. It was horrible.
Once we played it the right way, by not passing the button, everything played out right and it was very competitive. We all love the game and I am proud to add it to my DOW collection (now up to 12). Thanks for the newest addition...I look forward to more.

P.S. I live in a group home with my family of four and 10 teenaged boys. Your games are a life-saver and the hit of the home. Thanks again!
      
    
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