Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Game with 5 'countries' plus 3 advisors able to work for any nation. Devised by lordelindel and GMd by asudevil. Winner Zarazoga {pjkon)

Re: Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Postby jakofipa » 07 Jan 2015, 04:06

Asu,

I see that, and am happy for the game to end as a test bed. If the game carried on, it is likely someone would exceed 42 dinars due to no loss mechanic, meaning no way the game ends would be beneficial to the Princes.
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Re: Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Postby pjkon » 07 Jan 2015, 04:36

jakofipa wrote:Whilst I am glad that I managed to solo in the rules being played, I do feel that it was much to easy to do so. The fact that it ended after fulfilling the criteria is needed, but should have been more explicit and well known.

I think the general mechanics are good, but some of the numbers are wazir favoured.

I would suggest:

1. Winning Dinars is 3 times the solo SC number, NOT 3 times the leading player. The original creates a moving target for the Wazirs, meaning a Wazir could solo just from a Prince losing an SC!

2. Perhaps to order an ARREST, you can still command 1 army? Like the reverse of being Wazir-less. This would still mean it is a big ask to arrest a Wazir, but is not quite so crippling.

3. Perhaps lowering the PLUNDER incentive (half what it is maybe?). Otherwise you could easily get the solo gold in 4/5 turns (as I did) from successive plunders. Making arrests easier would also reduce this chance.

4. Having some mechanism for Dinars to leave the game. At present the wealth of the Wazirs in total always increases, meaning they will almost always win unless it is a fast game; which the Wazirs can stop. I would suggest each store of Dinars (Wazir or prince) losing 10% (rounded down) a year to help slow down inflation.

Though thank you all for a very enjoyable game! I would definitely be interested in helping ironing out any rules/ playing in further games. I really think this variant has a lot of potential!

Jak: a very rich Wazir



I agree that the rules had problems. I in fact would have much preferred the rules that asudevil thought you had soloed under (I even thought that we were playing those rules (and organized an anti-solo coalition against you over it) until lorde set me straight).

As to changes to the rules to make the game better I think there are a few we could make.

1) We could simply play with the rules that would have given you the game. This would fix the current problem which asudevil brought up about Wazir solo impossibility. The trouble with it would be that, as nearly happened in the game, it would simply result in larger then average draws as players, realizing that Wazirs were about to solo, called off their fighting before fully whittling draws. I likened it in some in game correspondence to playing a WW2 game where the fighting has to be done before someone develops the A-bomb and every conflict becomes MAD. In my opinion such game timers are not the most fun alternative.

2) If we do number one we should make arresting a free action. The triple plunder that you did, while advantageous to us in the game, really shows how much power Wazirs had over princes. A prince is effectively unable to retaliate against a Wazir stab since the 3-5 Wazir-Prince ratio means that it is unsustainable for a Prince to deprive himself of a full powered up unit while al of his opponents have one, never mind it being possible for a prince to hunt down another player harboring his stabber who has such an advantage. This was well evienced in the game considering the fact that you plundered more then half the powers in the game and still had plenty of employment opportunities, fedobear stabbed me when it was entirely unnecessary to gain him wealth (BTW feobear were you actually being honest with the "you were going to solo" line. I'm genuinely curious.) and was not only immediately hired by a new employer, but believed that I was so desperate for a Wazir that I would forgive his stab even when it made him unpredictable to me, and nanook attempted to plunder both of his employers over the course of the game (or he claimes he tried to plunder Badojaz and messed up anyway. I'm not sure this would do enough to redress this complete imbalance of power (which is not bad intrinsically, but makes it very hard for the princes to make progress, and so actually drive the game to a conclusion, since it is the Wazirs, who have a vested interest in the game dragging on, deciding what goes on).

3) We could eliminate the Wazir general rules making it less of a requirement for princes to hire Wazirs to compete with their rivals thereby requiring Wazirs to actually be somewhat trustworthy to get someone to hire them.

4) If we do 3 then we should also probably make the number of units a Wazirless prince has to hold proportional to the number of units he has (say 1/4). This would prevent the big problem with 3 which is that big empires would never hire a Wazir since they would have enough units anyway, and the consequences of a plunder would be huge. This would also solve the problem of small powers being totally crippled without a Wazir (see Castile at the beginning of our game who Badojaz could possibly have finished off with the right luck even with an 8 center me attacking him because such a high percentage of his forces couldn't more) (sjg, how could you! After all I did to dig you out of that start :( ;) )

5) We could eliminate plunder rules. Wazirs ability to stab a Prince would be limited to taking their generaled unit with them to a rival. Really, making a Wazir a general is not a special position of trust as of now. You have to hold all of your forces for two phases in the middle of a War and have to hold one of your units every year afterward. Who really cares all that much if you lose an extra single unit to the enemy? You have already been pretty decisively hammered. This would fix that.

6) I really like your fourth idea. Maybe every player just loses one Dinar per year or something (to a minimum of zero or perhaps negative Wazirs are eliminated). The 10% thing means that its really disadvantageous to have 10 or 20 Dinars and will lead to people "finessing the range breaks" to get around it. It also punishes winning Wairs since they lose more which is not ideal. You are right that the inflation is a problem. Under the rules which I think we all would have liked better (abstractly in some cases and concretely in others) the "Develop the A-bomb and call off the war" scenario could be averted by just such a mechanism (though it would not stop rich determined opposition).

By the way, none of this is meant to say that the game in its current state is bad. I enjoyed it immensely, and my sincerest thanks to lorde for bringing it to us. Sorry for stabbing you after you did that :(
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Re: Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Postby Aeschines » 07 Jan 2015, 08:47

jakofipa wrote:2. Perhaps to order an ARREST, you can still command 1 army? Like the reverse of being Wazir-less. This would still mean it is a big ask to arrest a Wazir, but is not quite so crippling.

3. Perhaps lowering the PLUNDER incentive (half what it is maybe?). Otherwise you could easily get the solo gold in 4/5 turns (as I did) from successive plunders. Making arrests easier would also reduce this chance.

My thoughts on a solution:
    A) Princes who arrest their Wazirs can move 1/2 (rounded down) of their units despite giving an arrest order and
    B) Wazirs who get arrested on a turn where they also ordered a plunder removes all of their dinars from the game (rather than the usual half)
That would incentivize Wazirs to plunder once and move on, rather than trying to double or triple plunder a Prince and also increase a Prince's willingness to arrest (so arresting is always the safer choice).


jakofipa wrote:4. Having some mechanism for Dinars to leave the game. At present the wealth of the Wazirs in total always increases, meaning they will almost always win unless it is a fast game; which the Wazirs can stop. I would suggest each store of Dinars (Wazir or prince) losing 10% (rounded down) a year to help slow down inflation.

Possible solution:
    A) Transferring Princes costs a Wazir 10% of their dinars (which are just lost to the ether) and
    B) Arrests eliminate the dinars, rather than storing them
This would disincentives Prince-hopping (and encourage the fostering of trust) and fairly represent the cost of moving an expensive household!

pjkon wrote:We could eliminate the Wazir general rules making it less of a requirement for princes to hire Wazirs to compete with their rivals thereby requiring Wazirs to actually be somewhat trustworthy to get someone to hire them.

I don't want to eliminate the Wazir-General rule, because I think it provides a good incentive to get even superpower Princes to hire Wazirs. And I don't want to disincentive the hiring of Wazirs too much because I want to avoid a situation where a player essentially has nothing to do because they're a Wazir and no one wants to hire them (particularly if that happens early). This is a DVFG so maintain playing interest is pretty important.

pjkon wrote:The problem of small powers being totally crippled without a Wazir (see Castile at the beginning of our game who Badojaz could possibly have finished off with the right luck even with an 8 center me attacking him because such a high percentage of his forces couldn't more) (sjg, how could you! After all I did to dig you out of that start :( ;) )

Possible solution:
    Princes with less than four units need not hold a unit every turn
That would also allow Princes to move all of their units in the first year, so early hiring of a Wazir would be done in order to get the Wazir-Generals (which I would allow at the beginning of the game, rather than year 3). It will also prevent second turn plunder-stabs that cripples a player for the rest of the early game.

What would you guys think about those as changes?

pjkon wrote:By the way, none of this is meant to say that the game in its current state is bad. I enjoyed it immensely, and my sincerest thanks to lorde for bringing it to us. Sorry for stabbing you after you did that :(

Haha! No worries. I was actually pretty happy to not be winning at my own game (that would have felt too much like I was cheating). :D
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Re: Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Postby sjg11 » 07 Jan 2015, 16:48

Thanks for the game, it was fun. I think I did a decent job recovering from a bad start. Sorry for stabbing you pjkon after you'd saved me, my spidey senses were just telling me that you were too close to a solo yourself.
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Re: Al-Andalus Fall 1085

Postby jakofipa » 07 Jan 2015, 16:57

Very interesting suggestions by both Pj and Lorde I feel. Amusingly, I feel like you both are taking too much power from Wazirs (maybe since you were Princes and I was a Wazir!).


Lordelindel wrote:
Jakofipa wrote:2. Perhaps to order an ARREST, you can still command 1 army? Like the reverse of being Wazir-less. This would still mean it is a big ask to arrest a Wazir, but is not quite so crippling.

3. Perhaps lowering the PLUNDER incentive (half what it is maybe?). Otherwise you could easily get the solo gold in 4/5 turns (as I did) from successive plunders. Making arrests easier would also reduce this chance.

My thoughts on a solution:
A) Princes who arrest their Wazirs can move 1/2 (rounded down) of their units despite giving an arrest order and
B) Wazirs who get arrested on a turn where they also ordered a plunder removes all of their dinars from the game (rather than the usual half)
That would incentivize Wazirs to plunder once and move on, rather than trying to double or triple plunder a Prince and also increase a Prince's willingness to arrest (so arresting is always the safer choice).


1. I like your first suggestion, or even perhaps Pj's idea of it being a free action. The Prince does not gain anything from arresting a Wazir, since he just loses his extra power!
2.A Wazir losing all his Dinars will be crippling, but they are unlikely to be arrested if they do nothing wrong I guess. If a Wazir loses all his Dinars, half should be kept by the Prince, with the other half lost to paying bail or whatever the equivalent was back then (bribing the guard?!).

lordelindel wrote:
pjkon wrote:The problem of small powers being totally crippled without a Wazir (see Castile at the beginning of our game who Badojaz could possibly have finished off with the right luck even with an 8 center me attacking him because such a high percentage of his forces couldn't more) (sjg, how could you! After all I did to dig you out of that start :( ;) )


Possible solution:
Princes with less than four units need not hold a unit every turn
That would also allow Princes to move all of their units in the first year, so early hiring of a Wazir would be done in order to get the Wazir-Generals (which I would allow at the beginning of the game, rather than year 3). It will also prevent second turn plunder-stabs that cripples a player for the rest of the early game.


I think the easiest solution to this issue would be Pj's suggestion just above that quote of having 1/4 of troops holding each turn. Perhaps you could change the Wazir's role so they can control that idle 1/4 to allow full deployment with a Wazir. The only issue is it limits what a Wazir can do in the first year or so, but is probably necessary.



lordelindel wrote:
jakofipa wrote:4. Having some mechanism for Dinars to leave the game. At present the wealth of the Wazirs in total always increases, meaning they will almost always win unless it is a fast game; which the Wazirs can stop. I would suggest each store of Dinars (Wazir or prince) losing 10% (rounded down) a year to help slow down inflation.

Possible solution:
A) Transferring Princes costs a Wazir 10% of their dinars (which are just lost to the ether) and
B) Arrests eliminate the dinars, rather than storing them
This would disincentives Prince-hopping (and encourage the fostering of trust) and fairly represent the cost of moving an expensive household!


I like the idea of 10% transfer costs, I think that is a balanced number with current plunder rules. It still would turn a profit to plunder when at 30 odd, but to flee after would use most of the profit! I don't think arresting should eliminate the Dinars, but the amount stored should decrease over time (1 per turn). The incentive to be hired by a Prince who has arrested someone is good, and means that a Wazir can always be overtaken from an Arrest and successive hiring of another Wazir.


I cannot comment too much on the General rules as I did not experience much of them in the game (too busy plundering!). These are a couple of suggestions which have just popped into my head. They don't necessarily work together, but can be different routes to changing the Generals.

G1. I think there should be an element of trust and long term commitment to becoming a General though, rather than just a given that you will become a General. If you agree with my comment above about allowing a Wazir to control 1/4 of the units, then they should lose that power if they become a General. This will leave the Prince with either the option of having a Powered unit, or control of all units. The Wazir will be between commanding many units or getting a guaranteed salary from forced holds.

G2. There should be a time limit on how early after hiring a Wazir can be General-ed. I am not sure how this will work with defecting generals; either the unit doesn't follow the General, or the power of that unit goes back to normal until the Wazir has been hired for long enough. This should encourage Wazirs to stay longer with a Prince since there are large benefits of this. Also, having a larger transfer fee for Generals (20%?) will help stop pesky Generals from floating between courts.

G3. Perhaps Generals should get a steady income from staying with a Prince. Maybe they can get a Dinar each year for the territories that they have taken for their current prince? Or you remove the "Wazir owned SC" mechanic and instead give a Wazir a Dinar bonus each time they conquer an SC.


I am pretty sure I have had other ideas as well, but cannot remember them at present!
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