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  #1  
Old July 6th, 2019, 12:48 AM
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Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

Everything I've read on this site has resonated the common stance that order markers add a lot of strategy to the game, and without them, Heroscape would lose one of its sole strategic elements, significantly reducing its enjoyment and

On one hand, I can definitely understand that. At the start of a round, placing order markers forces you to think seriously about the opponent’s intentions and your own, then make the call on whether you want your Deathwalker 9000 to take that extra shot, or play it safe and have your Zettians attack on move 3, just in case you get that superb 0-shield roll.

However, it seems that every time I play with my friends, particularly with 3+, they would always complain about how slow the order markers made gameplay. By the time half the players are out of the game, we’ve gotten rid of order markers altogether in favor of quicker turns.

In free for all games, which are pretty much the only style we play, it seems like all of the strategy stems from the psychology and diplomacy that takes place over the table. While order markers may make a 2-player game strategic, in larger games the extra dynamics of having to deal with extra players, like making truces, breaking truces, drafting good but not too good armies (or else you’ll be targeted first), etc. seem like enough to warrant the dismissal of rounds and markers. At our table, you can’t draft too many squad figures or too TALL of figures or you’ll instantly become target #1.

Now obviously, there are many problems with getting rid of order markers. From Airborne Elite’s “The Drop” to Shiori’s “Concentrated Will” to Dünd’s “Crippling Gaze 15,” order markers seem essential to the game, and we’ve usually just dismissed these problems by throwing those abilities away, rendering the units who use them certainly overpriced. Certainly, other units become more powerful just because there is no worry that you will waste an order marker on them.

Overall, I believe order markers are great, but, in free-for-alls especially, they are not essential. What are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced the slowness of order markers? Do you enjoy the political table talk that occurs in free-for-alls, and do you allow truces?

(For reference, my table consists of my friends and me, who are all the same age and about to start college)
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  #2  
Old July 6th, 2019, 07:30 AM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

I'd say that the # 1 Rule should be to "Have Fun." If you want to ditch Order Markers (OM) that is totally cool.

I've been playing 'Scape for 10+ years and OM Management and Strategy can be a critical part to a winning game. Targeting an opponent's few remaining squad figures to take out their 'bonding' option or just going after the figure with OMs to try and 'skip a turn' is a way to play.

But probably the first year that I was learning to play and meeting fellow 'Scapers we had a casual gathering and one set of players literally forgot to bring OM's. We played anyway, just tracking 3 "Orders" per player to keep track of initiative. On your turn, you just picked one Army card and it totally worked. It added a lot of flexibility for 'in the moment' decisions and looking back it was still just as fun and made for a great way to play (especially for new players).
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Old July 6th, 2019, 10:25 AM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

If you are playing larger games you can include more sets of OM's per player so its not as slow.

Keep doing what you're doing, but do it better. ~Self

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Old July 6th, 2019, 10:43 AM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

IMO games that heavily feature player elimination are inherently flawed at 3+ players. With that many, I'd want to go teams or an alternate win condition or just break up the group or something so there's less downtime for some players.

C3G can be played with official Heroscape, but it's not recommended.


DISCLAIMER: C3G claims no ownership of the characters or artwork used for C3G customs. All rights for the characters belong to their respective publishers/creators. C3G cards are not intended for sale, and C3G does not authorize any party to profit from C3G cards.

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Old July 6th, 2019, 02:22 PM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

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Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
IMO games that heavily feature player elimination are inherently flawed at 3+ players. With that many, I'd want to go teams or an alternate win condition or just break up the group or something so there's less downtime for some players.
In 3 player games especially, "kill the opponent to the left/right" is the default way to go. Do you focus on killing the opponent you're supposed to beat, or do you defend yourself from the guy trying to kill you?
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Old July 6th, 2019, 03:37 PM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
IMO games that heavily feature player elimination are inherently flawed at 3+ players. With that many, I'd want to go teams or an alternate win condition or just break up the group or something so there's less downtime for some players.
In 3 player games especially, "kill the opponent to the left/right" is the default way to go. Do you focus on killing the opponent you're supposed to beat, or do you defend yourself from the guy trying to kill you?
"Kill the opponent to the left" is something we have never tried. I can see how that may fix some problems (game ends as soon as someone is out), but I find the bargaining and persuasion that occurs over the table in a free-for-all interesting in its own right. I find myself flamboyantly insisting the best option for player x is to team up with me, while in reality that is just the best option for me.

We will probably try the "on the left" condition in our next game and see what effect it has; thanks for the idea!
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Old July 6th, 2019, 03:44 PM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

Yeah, that's a great idea. Nothing sucks worse than being the first player eliminated and then just sitting on your thumbs while two other people play it out.

C3G can be played with official Heroscape, but it's not recommended.


DISCLAIMER: C3G claims no ownership of the characters or artwork used for C3G customs. All rights for the characters belong to their respective publishers/creators. C3G cards are not intended for sale, and C3G does not authorize any party to profit from C3G cards.

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Old July 7th, 2019, 07:12 PM
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Re: Order Markers and the Diplomacy of Free-for-Alls

Quote:
Originally Posted by universalflamez View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MegaSilver View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
IMO games that heavily feature player elimination are inherently flawed at 3+ players. With that many, I'd want to go teams or an alternate win condition or just break up the group or something so there's less downtime for some players.
In 3 player games especially, "kill the opponent to the left/right" is the default way to go. Do you focus on killing the opponent you're supposed to beat, or do you defend yourself from the guy trying to kill you?
"Kill the opponent to the left" is something we have never tried. I can see how that may fix some problems (game ends as soon as someone is out), but I find the bargaining and persuasion that occurs over the table in a free-for-all interesting in its own right. I find myself flamboyantly insisting the best option for player x is to team up with me, while in reality that is just the best option for me.

We will probably try the "on the left" condition in our next game and see what effect it has; thanks for the idea!
It also fixes the issue of players tag-teaming others. Forming temporary alliance works better with 4+ players, when there's a chance everyone could get a teammate, even if temporarily.
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