Admiral Corncob wrote:I'd be interested to hear the commentary of some designers like Sendric and SuperAnt who have run games, and whether they intended this to be a tactic. I can say with complete certainty that Dave knew of this tactic well before this game, going back to before he ran the last game. I think that this tactic is a result of the important rule that a nation with votes is - and must be - allowed to vote.
Dave S. is likely going to chime in here at some point, and give you a list of counters for everything you (the royal you) thinks is overpowered.
(1) Yes, I absolutely knew about it, and (2) here I am
I'm only going to touch on the "eliminated" player still getting to vote as a result of the nuked votes for now. There have been some good points on other topics but I only have time for one right now. I'll get back to geography stuff later.
So part of the problem is that even though this isn't a perfect solution, there really aren't any other viable options. What I mean is that the other possible solutions here, for when a power is nuked but votes are not captured, have their own set of problems that can cause greater problems than simply having a nation effectively be a government-in-exile.
The typical idea that people get is to eliminate the player and leave the votes neutral (that is, voting no to all coalitions). This gets into nearly the exact opposite situation from the current reality, where one power can nuke "defensively" against a coalition. In a hypothetical world, what if I, Kenya, had just continually nuked Hanoi and Rangoon? China would never have been able to capture them but Vietnam would be eliminated. The result is that I'm actually reducing the enemy's portion of the total vote count and actually reducing the number of votes that could be cast against me (i.e. for
other coalitions). Fewer votes in their hands means less of a chance of a protest coalition passing, thereby increasing my chances of victory.
Like I said, this is the exact opposite situation from the current reality. The core difference is that one is being used proactively to save or earn votes while the other is being used negatively to prevent others from gaining votes, removing them from play. The preference, in my opinion, should lean towards earning votes to win.
Another factor in this situation is that the harm done is arguably quite small. This sounds like I'm saying "meh, it doesn't matter much, so why bother changing it?" but I'm not. I'm saying that since there is always going to be some sort of damage in any rule we write. Before you give me a weird look, I can promise you that there are at least a half dozen players out there who will try and use the rules to their advantage, in a legitimate way, and find loopholes in any rule.
This particular game saw one of the most extreme versions of vote saving with Sri Lanka alive with 3 votes. That's unprecedented and was merely a fluke of the diplomatic realities. The fact is, the Africans could have gained 2 of the 3 votes but since we wanted to keep Brunei in "our" hands and were going to save SL anyway, there was no point wasting units otherwise. It was only to earn one extra votes. All that to say, this will likely never happen again on the scale that it did. It required a very special set of circumstances.
You should also keep in mind that this is only a slightly more drastic version of the tactic which involves saving someone's unit so the "enemy" doesn't gain control of their vote. That's why Saudi Arabia ended the game basking on the Australian beaches.
Now, the worst damage from this scenario is that a 0 SC power wins the game. This has happened. Is it fair? Perhaps not. The fact would remain that that power managed to convince enough people to vote for his/her victory despite
owning zero SCs. I always liken the voting portion of this game to Survivor. That show has seen undeserving winners but, if the theoretical favourite to win did not do enough to earn the votes necessary to win the game, perhaps they actually deserve to lose?
This game comes down to two different levels: winning votes through muscle and winning votes through hearts. If that 35 SC power who has 14 votes alienated the entire board and couldn't earn more votes than the 0 SC power hanging on by a thread, I would argue the 35 SC power deserves to lose.
To summarize, the rule as is has only a minor impact on the game and, arguably, is an impact that a player is earning rather than being penalized for.
Finally, I need to touch on the game's simplicity, or lack thereof. This is an incredibly difficult game to learn. Well, to be accurate, it's easy to learn and very hard to become good at. There are so many intricacies that you need to pick up - and that's if you already have a background in diplomacy! So the goal when creating rules is to try and keep it simple and straightforward. Easy to understand.
The rule is, as it currently stands, very simple in its approach: Red votes do not transfer unless there is another power's unit in the territory during the winter. Gold votes do not transfer unless there is another power's unit in the territory during the winter and
the power is eliminated.
Straightforward, two sentences, very easy to comprehend. Once you start adding ifs, ands or buts, you end up confusing new players and spending a stupidly large amount of time explaining the game to these players. Yes, you can run into some bizarre situations like a 0 SC power that is not yet eliminated. However, there is a very tangible value in keeping the rule as concise and clear as possible.