escalating is just wrong

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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Begbie on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:34 am

Not sure I agree. Flat rate 'formula' - consoliodate, acquire, build, extend, acquire, build, overpower - to me is more robotic and does not have the variety of tactical approaches allowed by the staggered injection of increasing numbers of armies. If it were MMA it would be 'ground and pound' vs a stand up striker, both very valid but one better to look at than the other (depending on who's watching!).
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Funkyterrance on Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:33 am

Begbie wrote:Not sure I agree. Flat rate 'formula' - consoliodate, acquire, build, extend, acquire, build, overpower - to me is more robotic and does not have the variety of tactical approaches allowed by the staggered injection of increasing numbers of armies. If it were MMA it would be 'ground and pound' vs a stand up striker, both very valid but one better to look at than the other (depending on who's watching!).

I can agree that flat rate is robotic as well but Flat rate is more like a robot with a short circuit(x factor). :P
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby betiko on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:03 am

i don't think that escalating has anything to do with a formula. you need to decide to skip spoils sometimes, not double trade even if you can at some other times, kill a first guy but not a second because it's too much risk ect ect... escalating is actually the game type with the most factors to be taken into consideration, nor robotic at all. you need to weight lots of your decisions regarding attacks and placements, risk taking and momentums.

yeah here in france it's always been flat rate with territory bonus .you deal the cards with the territories, place your troops and give them back to start. Then during the game you reuse those same cards but for different purposes; they have either armies, cavalry or canon on them for different trade values.. Only thing is that there is a joker that basically can be any card and can help you maximize your trade (a bit like if you had a yellow spoil that basically could be red, green or blue on CC).
So what are the spoil rules in the US?? no spoils?

oh and i didn't know about "conquete du monde". I've seen some pretty old risk games here in france and they are always called risk. So some french dude invented it and sold the concept to hasbro then?
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby JCR on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:13 am

betiko wrote:i don't think that escalating has anything to do with a formula. you need to decide to skip spoils sometimes, not double trade even if you can at some other times, kill a first guy but not a second because it's too much risk ect ect... escalating is actually the game type with the most factors to be taken into consideration, nor robotic at all. you need to weight lots of your decisions regarding attacks and placements, risk taking and momentums.

yeah here in france it's always been flat rate with territory bonus .you deal the cards with the territories, place your troops and give them back to start. Then during the game you reuse those same cards but for different purposes; they have either armies, cavalry or canon on them for different trade values.. Only thing is that there is a joker that basically can be any card and can help you maximize your trade (a bit like if you had a yellow spoil that basically could be red, green or blue on CC).
So what are the spoil rules in the US?? no spoils?

oh and i didn't know about "conquete du monde". I've seen some pretty old risk games here in france and they are always called risk. So some french dude invented it and sold the concept to hasbro then?

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/9294/la-conquete-du-monde interesting, I never knew it's origins.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Funkyterrance on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:14 am

betiko wrote:i don't think that escalating has anything to do with a formula. you need to decide to skip spoils sometimes, not double trade even if you can at some other times, kill a first guy but not a second because it's too much risk ect ect... escalating is actually the game type with the most factors to be taken into consideration, nor robotic at all. you need to weight lots of your decisions regarding attacks and placements, risk taking and momentums.

yeah here in france it's always been flat rate with territory bonus .you deal the cards with the territories, place your troops and give them back to start. Then during the game you reuse those same cards but for different purposes; they have either armies, cavalry or canon on them for different trade values.. Only thing is that there is a joker that basically can be any card and can help you maximize your trade (a bit like if you had a yellow spoil that basically could be red, green or blue on CC).
So what are the spoil rules in the US?? no spoils?

oh and i didn't know about "conquete du monde". I've seen some pretty old risk games here in france and they are always called risk. So some french dude invented it and sold the concept to hasbro then?


Just because you have to make decisions about time to strike/path to follow in escalating doesn't mean you're not following a formula but you get a particular kick about disagreeing with me so I'll chalk it off to that. ;)

As far as risk being invented by a Frenchman it stands to reason since the box art, pieces and stuff is a lot of times Napoleonic looking(cannons, cavalrymen, little guys with feathers in their hats, etc.).
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Crazyirishman on Wed May 01, 2013 1:04 am

In the US it is technically an escalating game, but in reality it almost never gets to a point where escalating spoils becomes a factor. Every game that I've tried to play with my family and/or friends becomes an arbitrary "pick some spots on the board and lets battle" with cards rarely playing a significant role in the game.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby jsnyder748 on Wed May 01, 2013 2:48 am

Crazyirishman wrote:In the US it is technically an escalating game, but in reality it almost never gets to a point where escalating spoils becomes a factor. Every game that I've tried to play with my family and/or friends becomes an arbitrary "pick some spots on the board and lets battle" with cards rarely playing a significant role in the game.


yep exactly and that's why I don't play the board game anymore. Kids be like "I love risk" and I be like "ok let's play. I'll whoop you!" Then they like "no I'm awesome at this game homie." Then Im callin them noobs and they go for aussie in an escalatin game! bunch of idiots...then when I be wiping the floor with them they quit!

Don't play with people who have never played cc...it is horrible now. Play monopoly instead :D
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Begbie on Wed May 01, 2013 9:00 pm

jsnyder748 wrote:Don't play with people who have never played cc...it is horrible now. Play monopoly instead :D


That is very true. Non cc'ers tend to have no idea and I find playing my mates these days a lay down misere. We used to play 'Campaign' a lot back in the day. Pretty abstract but strategic, and very playable in a sort of chess meets risk meets diplomacy sorta way. Cool board and bits too. We still play it occasionally with a few beers 8-)
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby HardAttack on Thu May 02, 2013 4:10 am

gordon1975 wrote:
jsnyder748 wrote:standard escalating games actually take much more skill than standard flat rate or no spoils. Flat rate and no spoils are mindless games that can take forever or be decided by an idiot move. Not that they aren't fun and can't be challenging.

To prove a point people who reach high ranks often play escalating games because if you know how to play them (pretty simple actually) it is way easier to win. Everyone is on even grounds playing flat rate or no spoils, but those who are more skilled in escalating will win more often.

I love the feeling of sweeping the entire board in one round and ending up with 300 troops :D

if somthings way easier to win,why would it take more skill? :)


No one called it it is easier to win,
ppl are sayign it is quicker a game to get an end.
In a 8 player game, player's chances to win is same with 8 player flat rate or no spoils.
But what different is, escalating game will name the winner say mostly by round 9 or even earlier.
I think you are looking at the matter a bit of narrow and you are not seeing the escalating scene in full clear.

Escalating setting games, anything can happen any round, reduces the luck factor of dice one side has good/hot dice but not other. At this point, when cards come into play, you always have it your chance to win. But in no spoils, if your first couple rounds dice are crap while opponent' s are either ok or hot, then it is mostly game. There is no come back. No spoils, from this point of view, seems to me to be more luck based. In flat rate, recently, i lost a game, a doubles game, and pretty pretty because me and my partner we in total picked 1 blue card in 19 cards. All sets we cashed were red and green sets while opponents were laying down their rainbow sets and blue sets through the game. See it the luck involved in with flat rate ? Escalating settings games gives a lot of flexibility to the mastering players, way if one is master enough to see these or not then call it to be a robotic play. I didnt see such a smart robot yet.

Escalating rocks, and no other settings can ever come close to it in any measure.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby freakns on Thu May 02, 2013 5:06 am

i agree with OP completely.
first of all, esc is not only shitty settings, it takes away all your diplomacy effort, and when you go for australia when setts are 30+ and kill 40 troops along the way, which is something every normal player would do you are risking to be called a noob by some idiot. also, guarding your opponent, what a hell is with that shit? and hiding behind your opponent, which true male would do that?! its obviously settings for woosy pants.

on other hand, there is flat and no spoils, true strategy games. for instance, while playing classic you need not to be greedy and go for Asia. it will give you the best bonus, true, but real strategist will disregard that and go for Australia bonus, then stack his troops there for 382 rounds while doing nothing(also, it gives difference in maps you are playing... because when playing Africa instead of classic, you first need to learn the map, loose about 35 games there before realizing that going for Australia bonus while playing Africa map isnt always the best strategy. good tactician will figure this out after 20 games maybe). and, ahhhh, the thrill of opening game after stacking your troops for 200 rounds to see have someone attacked you... nothing beats that feeling! now, while you are true strategist and general on battlefield, there is always a chance someone else is also great tactician so while you were securing Australia he went for South America, so your infinite stacking might not give you the win. this is where second part of your devious plan comes into action. some might call it crying, but true risk players knows it is democracy. it basically includes constant crying of how low your troop numbers are(thats why some so called players calls it crying... noobs) and how high your opponent troop numbers are. but you cant just say, hay player A have more troops then me, oh no. you need to convince others that you are really shedding your tears over the game, because this is what true master of strategy will do! and you lean on your crying ski... khm, i mean your diplomacy skills to win the game instead of looking for best possible routes of attacks, guarding other players, counting cards, stopping your attacks when you are holding 70% of a map...

and all of you esc players, pls bitches, drawing rainbow from 3 cards and then cashing it instead of waiting for 5 cards is called tactical advantage, not luck.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Mr Changsha on Thu May 02, 2013 5:23 am

Round limits have made high ranking flat/no cards standard games far more viable.

I still believe that a public 8 man standard no cards with a good mix of ranks is the greatest strategic challenge...one must really try to win 50% of those. Diplomacy is obviously massively important on these settings. In my view a good mix of ranks doesn't require a round limit.

I personally feel the way standard escalating has developed is a bit of a perversion. Is it really how the game was meant to be played?

Don't deride taking bonuses...this game is based on that for standard and team games. Standard escalating sees bonuses as pointless, so then why have bonuses on the map? Presumably standard escalating players would be happiest on a basic splurge of colour and borders with no bonuses at all?
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby anonymus on Thu May 02, 2013 5:32 am

Mr Changsha wrote:Round limits have made high ranking flat/no cards standard games far more viable.

I still believe that a public 8 man standard no cards with a good mix of ranks is the greatest strategic challenge...one must really try to win 50% of those. Diplomacy is obviously massively important on these settings. In my view a good mix of ranks doesn't require a round limit.

I personally feel the way standard escalating has developed is a bit of a perversion. Is it really how the game was meant to be played?

Don't deride taking bonuses...this game is based on that for standard and team games. Standard escalating sees bonuses as pointless, so then why have bonuses on the map? Presumably standard escalating players would be happiest on a basic splurge of colour and borders with no bonuses at all?


well yes, but not always.. i just hate the point most flatrate and nospoils seem to end up with a 3way mexican standoff where 1 is in the lead the other 2 gang up on him, someone else take the lead the other 2 gangs up on him and so on for ever..

in escalating you just have to read the map for choke-points and ways to block others from getting their kill while not gettin to weak by standing in someones path..

but yes i like the idéa about no real bonuses thats why Feudal is great for escalating games.. all about timing and reading the placement of the other players.. foggy ofcourse..

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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby HardAttack on Thu May 02, 2013 5:33 am

No bonuses, i mean the clichie, the say ppl have it in their mouth saying all the time.
It is not fully true. Since it is very wide well known map, i ll give an example. Say 3 of 4 territs given by drop be mine i start with. Of very course i ll grab it the bonus. I ll make a call there, that is, what is the cost of having the bonus, if i can protect it, if ppl are going to be mad and if they will risk losing 6-7 units of their troops to break me through. To me, the bonus thing in escalating games is not a rule, but it is a pure mathematics, what is that i may lose and what it is that i may win if i go for a bonus in a escalating game.

This is said, you all tend to speak over standard maps,
take it prison riot map for example, there are many bonuses, many variety of bonus definitions. Why not make it 3 fish for +2 if there is an easy way to make it ? IMO, no spoils and flat rate s there for static gamers, gamers those like to build, and grow step by step, however escalating game play is very dynamic, there is no solid rule but any and every time you can bring rabbit out of your hat to name it game over. Can not you see ?
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Armandolas on Thu May 02, 2013 7:21 am

I have to agree on the idea that round limits had come to spice things a bit up.
But really?
Its just ends the game quickly.
With round limits you just end up in a situation when everyone does not attack, or just card easy.
Then in the last round you have a few attacs from players who have the most troops to see if they win by the most amount of troops.
I can say that maybe terminator instead of standard can be more fun and less boring.

I only find flatties and no spoils boring in standard games(more than 5 players)
In team games and small maps they can be as fun
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Funkyterrance on Thu May 02, 2013 10:15 am

Mr Changsha wrote:I personally feel the way standard escalating has developed is a bit of a perversion. Is it really how the game was meant to be played?

My game growing up was escalating. I don't know if it was because that's how my friend(risk nut) taught me or if we read it in the rules but that's how we used to play and I remember being dissatisfied with the later stages of the game. There are very few small battles, just one last big one in the end that is over within a few rounds. Once I came here I was hooked on no-spoils as I feel this preserves the awesome thrill/excitement of the game that you get in the initial rounds in the board game.

I still feel that escalating is robotic/thoughtless for the most part once you learn the dynamics. Before anyone pitches a fit, I'm not saying you're stupid if you play escalating, just that once you've gotten the knack of escalating you don't have to adjust your strat very much. I don't like the idea of sitting back until the critical part, twiddling my thumbs. Not to mention it's a very stripped down version of the game. This of course is all just personal preference but I do agree with Mr C that escalating is something of an abomination in that it essentially erases any trace of personality from the map it's played on. The map is transformed into a series of interconnecting lines, sort of like how a robot might see it. ;)
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Viceroy63 on Fri May 03, 2013 12:10 am

Begbie wrote:Not that it particularly helps the discussion but escalating was the only card option in the original 1959 risk rules. It might be argued that the original is the best ie. original coca cola ingredients way more fun than now.....


Yeah, but only because the original Coca Cola ingredients had real Cocaine in it. LOL. A lot of people are not aware of the fact that Coca Cola was originally marketed as a medicinal drink.

As to the escalating strategy, I simply think that it is a strategy for beginners. There are 'way' toooo many variables to consider it a true "strategy" for advance players as far as I am concerned. For example you could have 5 cards and finally you got a set and another player who has 3 cards trades in and wins the game. Who could have thought that far ahead or foreseen that one player would have 5 cards and no set while the other player would get 3 cards, the set, and the game? No one!

Or what about the failed attempt? When one player fails to eliminate another player and the player who goes next wins the game simply because he is next in line to play and collects spoils from an almost eliminated player that he eliminates in a situation where otherwise he would not have been able to eliminate on his own at that particular point in the game. There are just too many random variables as I see it to consider escalating spoils a true strategical option, at least in the advance games for higher ranking players.

There is a strategy to escalating spoils but when it comes right down to it, it has always seemed to me like a "Roulette Wheel" strategy. "Round and round she goes and where she stops, no body knows?" As a beginner playing the "Roulette Wheel" strategy and playing the odds, you will win approximately 20% of your games. And when your score is low that is more than enough to go up in rank and score. But when your rank and Score are high, winning only 20% of your games with the "Roulette Wheel" Strategy, just don't pay the rent.

For those who are talkers, like myself, the pleasure of talking BS is all part of the game. I enjoy the long games because it does provide opportunities to talk about things (with other talkers) other than just, "Blue can you let me get by please? Don't want to hit your stack but I must get through (lol)." I feel that a large part of diplomacy is just being able to talk about anything. But in a game that can end by surprise with a player sweeping the board in any round now..., why bother? When the game is over, it's on to the next one. That's probably why it is more fun to play in teams because you have to talk about the game at least, and lots of people simply aren't talkative in 6 to 8 player escalating games.

And that's my take on the topic. Thanks. =)
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Donelladan on Fri May 03, 2013 2:14 am

I dunno if you guys speaking against escalating are used to play it.
But escalating is a game with a lot of strategy.

I like to play all kind of games, no spoils and flat rate and use a lot of diplomacy, as you said Viceroy.
But I also play escalating and, well you win more than 20% of the game if you really master escalating setting.

And to everyone, there is no kind of spoils better than another, all involve strategy and skills. If you are not expert in that spoils, you may not see all the strategy involved, but there is.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby macbone on Fri May 03, 2013 2:20 am

Mr Changsha, I'm impressed if you can manage a 50% win rate on 6+ Terminator/Standard. Very impressive. I'm probably 25% at 6-player Term/Standard Escalating, better than average, but clearly not dominating.

Vice, you're going to have to provide some more concrete examples if you're going to diss Escalating, man. =)

I agree that Flat Rate and No Spoils are more strategic, though. On Classic-style maps, the map itself doesn't matter so much, and it's pretty much a waiting game - build your stacks, collect a card each round, and wait for the right time to eliminate another player.

Actually, I find the missed kills part of the fun of the setting, a feature rather than a flaw. I think we've all been there where we had a 98% chance of winning the dice battle and then coming up just short of the goal, or going for a 3v3 for an elimination and just making it.

With No Spoils and Flat Rate, the bonuses become much more important, although again one principle seems to be most important, find your spot, secure it, and push out from there. You trade the stack strategy of Escalating for the shield/creeper strategy of No Spoils/Flat Rate.

Like Vice says, though, No Spoils/Flat Rate leads to longer games, and players need to be wilier to win. Escalating is all about positioning and a quick finish, which are skills in their own right (and more enjoyable to me) Each setting requires its own set of skills to win.

Flat Rate adds a wrinkle of randomness with the different values of sets, and it's no fun to hold all reds and greens on your team when your opponents are cashing rainbows all over the place, but that's one quirk of the setting.

No Spoils seems to be more about securing your position first, and standard No Spoils relies much more heavily on diplomacy than Escalating does. If you have cool players in the game, the Escalating chat can be a lot of fun, but very little diplomacy goes on in it. There are exceptions, yes, particularly in Trench (right, vice?), but in non-trench play, the majority of diplomacy-based chat in an Escalating game is "Can I have a card spot?" Again, there are exceptions, such as when one player gets greedy and the other players pitch in to break his bonus (and usually a third player sneaks out the win), or when Larry is threatened with elimination by Curly, so Moe hits Curly's stack. There is strategy involved, and you have to read the board to know who's going to make their move, but the middle of the game is generally pretty dry.

I'm playing a game with Viceroy right now, 4-team doubs, Trench, and No Spoils that's turned out to be pretty strategic. I wasn't a fan of the settings before we started playing, but it's developed into an interesting back-and-forth battle, far deeper than most two-team or large player Standard/Escalating games generally run.

Still, I prefer large-player Escalating games. I like the rush at the end of running the table, the agony of just missing an elimination, the joy at logging on and finding I've survived an elimination attempt, or better yet, am poised to take advantage of someone else's missed play. No Spoils/Flat Rate/Nuclear large-player games drag on too long for my taste, but I can understand their appeal.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Mr Changsha on Fri May 03, 2013 3:07 am

macbone wrote:Mr Changsha, I'm impressed if you can manage a 50% win rate on 6+ Terminator/Standard. Very impressive. I'm probably 25% at 6-player Term/Standard Escalating, better than average, but clearly not dominating.

Vice, you're going to have to provide some more concrete examples if you're going to diss Escalating, man. =)

I agree that Flat Rate and No Spoils are more strategic, though. On Classic-style maps, the map itself doesn't matter so much, and it's pretty much a waiting game - build your stacks, collect a card each round, and wait for the right time to eliminate another player.

Actually, I find the missed kills part of the fun of the setting, a feature rather than a flaw. I think we've all been there where we had a 98% chance of winning the dice battle and then coming up just short of the goal, or going for a 3v3 for an elimination and just making it.

With No Spoils and Flat Rate, the bonuses become much more important, although again one principle seems to be most important, find your spot, secure it, and push out from there. You trade the stack strategy of Escalating for the shield/creeper strategy of No Spoils/Flat Rate.

Like Vice says, though, No Spoils/Flat Rate leads to longer games, and players need to be wilier to win. Escalating is all about positioning and a quick finish, which are skills in their own right (and more enjoyable to me) Each setting requires its own set of skills to win.

Flat Rate adds a wrinkle of randomness with the different values of sets, and it's no fun to hold all reds and greens on your team when your opponents are cashing rainbows all over the place, but that's one quirk of the setting.

No Spoils seems to be more about securing your position first, and standard No Spoils relies much more heavily on diplomacy than Escalating does. If you have cool players in the game, the Escalating chat can be a lot of fun, but very little diplomacy goes on in it. There are exceptions, yes, particularly in Trench (right, vice?), but in non-trench play, the majority of diplomacy-based chat in an Escalating game is "Can I have a card spot?" Again, there are exceptions, such as when one player gets greedy and the other players pitch in to break his bonus (and usually a third player sneaks out the win), or when Larry is threatened with elimination by Curly, so Moe hits Curly's stack. There is strategy involved, and you have to read the board to know who's going to make their move, but the middle of the game is generally pretty dry.

I'm playing a game with Viceroy right now, 4-team doubs, Trench, and No Spoils that's turned out to be pretty strategic. I wasn't a fan of the settings before we started playing, but it's developed into an interesting back-and-forth battle, far deeper than most two-team or large player Standard/Escalating games generally run.

Still, I prefer large-player Escalating games. I like the rush at the end of running the table, the agony of just missing an elimination, the joy at logging on and finding I've survived an elimination attempt, or better yet, am poised to take advantage of someone else's missed play. No Spoils/Flat Rate/Nuclear large-player games drag on too long for my taste, but I can understand their appeal.


A well-played 8 man standard no cards on 2.1 is a joy. At its best it is 3 contenders and 5 honest stripers. The skill is in reading the board, reading the play-style of the stripers, manipulating the stripers through either positioning, attacks or diplomacy and timing your surge perfectly to create either a 42%+ troops sweep or a 3 way finish which starts seriously out of balance and can hopefully be manipulated.

Playing against 7 strong players with a 100 round limit is something I am currently experimenting with. Is it possible to win 50%? Very, very hard when your opponents are regular ones and used to one's tricks.

While these kinds of game do sometimes stalemate genuinely, I think at other times weaker players see a stalemate where there really isn't one. Possibly the position of the stacking is more profound than you realise? Might two players combine on one quite ruthelessly to break the stalemate with the spoils divided in advance? High ranking games are much better when all the players are well-aware of each other, as the prospect of truly evil deals (a+b combine to kill c, then d, then fight it out..a form of diplomacy I encourage in my games) increases, stalemates happen much less, and the real CUNNING BASTARD is able to prosper.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Viceroy63 on Sun May 26, 2013 7:40 am

Mr Changsha wrote:
macbone wrote:Mr Changsha, I'm impressed if you can manage a 50% win rate on 6+ Terminator/Standard. Very impressive. I'm probably 25% at 6-player Term/Standard Escalating, better than average, but clearly not dominating.

Vice, you're going to have to provide some more concrete examples if you're going to diss Escalating, man. =)

I agree that Flat Rate and No Spoils are more strategic, though. On Classic-style maps, the map itself doesn't matter so much, and it's pretty much a waiting game - build your stacks, collect a card each round, and wait for the right time to eliminate another player.

Actually, I find the missed kills part of the fun of the setting, a feature rather than a flaw. I think we've all been there where we had a 98% chance of winning the dice battle and then coming up just short of the goal, or going for a 3v3 for an elimination and just making it.

With No Spoils and Flat Rate, the bonuses become much more important, although again one principle seems to be most important, find your spot, secure it, and push out from there. You trade the stack strategy of Escalating for the shield/creeper strategy of No Spoils/Flat Rate.

Like Vice says, though, No Spoils/Flat Rate leads to longer games, and players need to be wilier to win. Escalating is all about positioning and a quick finish, which are skills in their own right (and more enjoyable to me) Each setting requires its own set of skills to win.

Flat Rate adds a wrinkle of randomness with the different values of sets, and it's no fun to hold all reds and greens on your team when your opponents are cashing rainbows all over the place, but that's one quirk of the setting.

No Spoils seems to be more about securing your position first, and standard No Spoils relies much more heavily on diplomacy than Escalating does. If you have cool players in the game, the Escalating chat can be a lot of fun, but very little diplomacy goes on in it. There are exceptions, yes, particularly in Trench (right, vice?), but in non-trench play, the majority of diplomacy-based chat in an Escalating game is "Can I have a card spot?" Again, there are exceptions, such as when one player gets greedy and the other players pitch in to break his bonus (and usually a third player sneaks out the win), or when Larry is threatened with elimination by Curly, so Moe hits Curly's stack. There is strategy involved, and you have to read the board to know who's going to make their move, but the middle of the game is generally pretty dry.

I'm playing a game with Viceroy right now, 4-team doubs, Trench, and No Spoils that's turned out to be pretty strategic. I wasn't a fan of the settings before we started playing, but it's developed into an interesting back-and-forth battle, far deeper than most two-team or large player Standard/Escalating games generally run.

Still, I prefer large-player Escalating games. I like the rush at the end of running the table, the agony of just missing an elimination, the joy at logging on and finding I've survived an elimination attempt, or better yet, am poised to take advantage of someone else's missed play. No Spoils/Flat Rate/Nuclear large-player games drag on too long for my taste, but I can understand their appeal.


A well-played 8 man standard no cards on 2.1 is a joy. At its best it is 3 contenders and 5 honest stripers. The skill is in reading the board, reading the play-style of the stripers, manipulating the stripers through either positioning, attacks or diplomacy and timing your surge perfectly to create either a 42%+ troops sweep or a 3 way finish which starts seriously out of balance and can hopefully be manipulated.

Playing against 7 strong players with a 100 round limit is something I am currently experimenting with. Is it possible to win 50%? Very, very hard when your opponents are regular ones and used to one's tricks.

While these kinds of game do sometimes stalemate genuinely, I think at other times weaker players see a stalemate where there really isn't one. Possibly the position of the stacking is more profound than you realise? Might two players combine on one quite ruthelessly to break the stalemate with the spoils divided in advance? High ranking games are much better when all the players are well-aware of each other, as the prospect of truly evil deals (a+b combine to kill c, then d, then fight it out..a form of diplomacy I encourage in my games) increases, stalemates happen much less, and the real CUNNING BASTARD is able to prosper.


Macbone comment)
I do have to agree with Macbone that it is exhilarating logging on to learn that you have the opportunity to win the game but it is also heart breaking when at a crucial moment the dice go against you and you can't win because of one troop still standing (actually you would stop way before then) and some one else goes on to win because of your failed attempt. It's that element of the dice that leads me onto Trench Warfare games.

While the element of the dice is still in TW games, it is not as sudden or as apparent or that much of a deciding factor in your wins or loses as it is in the Standard Escalating Game. There is also a more steady stream of decisions (Strategy) that determines the eventual outcome of the TW game that I truly appreciate. Those who make the more poorer decisions will more likely lose regardless of the dice. And in the end that is what TW games comes down to. The decisions made on the turn and why. Each situation is unique but if the decisions are good ones then you more likely end up winning because of the decisions and not because of the dice.

Mr. Changsha's comment)
I also have to say that I admire Mr. Changsha's thoughts when it comes to 8 player standard. I especially agree with the part about, "...the prospect of truly evil deals (a+b combine to kill c, then d, then fight it out..a form of diplomacy I encourage in my games) increases, stalemates happen much less, and the real CUNNING BASTARD is able to prosper." Spoken like a true 'CUNNING BASTARD' after my own heart. (LOL) =)

But seriously though, I also encourage that tie breaking strategy only I prefer to think of it as an alliance right from the start of or at some point in the mid game rather than at the end unless it is absolutely necessary. Other wise I fight against both other players (stronger one first) until some one gives, lol.

When that strategy is applied at the end (when only 3 players are left), when a tied situation looks like it's about to form, it is more dangerous then because the third party can then decide who wins the game by simply focusing on just one of the players giving the other player the winning advantage. At least that is what I do when I am the third party. I normally would focus on who ever had that thought first.

But in an alliance situation right from the start or mid game, I am just basically committing myself to that player that I will only attack him at the end after every one is gone and eliminated. That makes for a clearer understanding to everyone else in the game, during the whole game. Although I do find that others tend to shy away from that word, "Alliance." :D.

I also find that players who want to win so badly, will often announce the end of the alliance in order to gain the advantage, especially in a losing sided alliance. But that is basically the suggestion right from the start. We make an alliance and the better player wins at the end. It's a 50/50 proposition of winning or losing but no tie situation will arise or any reason to focus on just one of the two players at the end.

Regardless of what it's called, good communication is required though even in an alliance. People confuse alliance with truce, and I see a truce as a temporary situation that can be broken at any point in the game like dumping a date, lol. Where an alliance is more of a commitment, a marriage or a promise till the end. "May the better player win," and then you set about your game and see what happens. And if you lose you lose but you at least have a 50/50 shot at winning. And that to me is the best way to increase your winning odds. If you can find players of like mind that is?
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Mr Changsha on Mon May 27, 2013 10:51 pm

Viceroy63 wrote:
Mr Changsha wrote:
macbone wrote:Mr Changsha, I'm impressed if you can manage a 50% win rate on 6+ Terminator/Standard. Very impressive. I'm probably 25% at 6-player Term/Standard Escalating, better than average, but clearly not dominating.

Vice, you're going to have to provide some more concrete examples if you're going to diss Escalating, man. =)

I agree that Flat Rate and No Spoils are more strategic, though. On Classic-style maps, the map itself doesn't matter so much, and it's pretty much a waiting game - build your stacks, collect a card each round, and wait for the right time to eliminate another player.

Actually, I find the missed kills part of the fun of the setting, a feature rather than a flaw. I think we've all been there where we had a 98% chance of winning the dice battle and then coming up just short of the goal, or going for a 3v3 for an elimination and just making it.

With No Spoils and Flat Rate, the bonuses become much more important, although again one principle seems to be most important, find your spot, secure it, and push out from there. You trade the stack strategy of Escalating for the shield/creeper strategy of No Spoils/Flat Rate.

Like Vice says, though, No Spoils/Flat Rate leads to longer games, and players need to be wilier to win. Escalating is all about positioning and a quick finish, which are skills in their own right (and more enjoyable to me) Each setting requires its own set of skills to win.

Flat Rate adds a wrinkle of randomness with the different values of sets, and it's no fun to hold all reds and greens on your team when your opponents are cashing rainbows all over the place, but that's one quirk of the setting.

No Spoils seems to be more about securing your position first, and standard No Spoils relies much more heavily on diplomacy than Escalating does. If you have cool players in the game, the Escalating chat can be a lot of fun, but very little diplomacy goes on in it. There are exceptions, yes, particularly in Trench (right, vice?), but in non-trench play, the majority of diplomacy-based chat in an Escalating game is "Can I have a card spot?" Again, there are exceptions, such as when one player gets greedy and the other players pitch in to break his bonus (and usually a third player sneaks out the win), or when Larry is threatened with elimination by Curly, so Moe hits Curly's stack. There is strategy involved, and you have to read the board to know who's going to make their move, but the middle of the game is generally pretty dry.

I'm playing a game with Viceroy right now, 4-team doubs, Trench, and No Spoils that's turned out to be pretty strategic. I wasn't a fan of the settings before we started playing, but it's developed into an interesting back-and-forth battle, far deeper than most two-team or large player Standard/Escalating games generally run.

Still, I prefer large-player Escalating games. I like the rush at the end of running the table, the agony of just missing an elimination, the joy at logging on and finding I've survived an elimination attempt, or better yet, am poised to take advantage of someone else's missed play. No Spoils/Flat Rate/Nuclear large-player games drag on too long for my taste, but I can understand their appeal.


A well-played 8 man standard no cards on 2.1 is a joy. At its best it is 3 contenders and 5 honest stripers. The skill is in reading the board, reading the play-style of the stripers, manipulating the stripers through either positioning, attacks or diplomacy and timing your surge perfectly to create either a 42%+ troops sweep or a 3 way finish which starts seriously out of balance and can hopefully be manipulated.

Playing against 7 strong players with a 100 round limit is something I am currently experimenting with. Is it possible to win 50%? Very, very hard when your opponents are regular ones and used to one's tricks.

While these kinds of game do sometimes stalemate genuinely, I think at other times weaker players see a stalemate where there really isn't one. Possibly the position of the stacking is more profound than you realise? Might two players combine on one quite ruthelessly to break the stalemate with the spoils divided in advance? High ranking games are much better when all the players are well-aware of each other, as the prospect of truly evil deals (a+b combine to kill c, then d, then fight it out..a form of diplomacy I encourage in my games) increases, stalemates happen much less, and the real CUNNING BASTARD is able to prosper.


Macbone comment)
I do have to agree with Macbone that it is exhilarating logging on to learn that you have the opportunity to win the game but it is also heart breaking when at a crucial moment the dice go against you and you can't win because of one troop still standing (actually you would stop way before then) and some one else goes on to win because of your failed attempt. It's that element of the dice that leads me onto Trench Warfare games.

While the element of the dice is still in TW games, it is not as sudden or as apparent or that much of a deciding factor in your wins or loses as it is in the Standard Escalating Game. There is also a more steady stream of decisions (Strategy) that determines the eventual outcome of the TW game that I truly appreciate. Those who make the more poorer decisions will more likely lose regardless of the dice. And in the end that is what TW games comes down to. The decisions made on the turn and why. Each situation is unique but if the decisions are good ones then you more likely end up winning because of the decisions and not because of the dice.

Mr. Changsha's comment)
I also have to say that I admire Mr. Changsha's thoughts when it comes to 8 player standard. I especially agree with the part about, "...the prospect of truly evil deals (a+b combine to kill c, then d, then fight it out..a form of diplomacy I encourage in my games) increases, stalemates happen much less, and the real CUNNING BASTARD is able to prosper." Spoken like a true 'CUNNING BASTARD' after my own heart. (LOL) =)

But seriously though, I also encourage that tie breaking strategy only I prefer to think of it as an alliance right from the start of or at some point in the mid game rather than at the end unless it is absolutely necessary. Other wise I fight against both other players (stronger one first) until some one gives, lol.

When that strategy is applied at the end (when only 3 players are left), when a tied situation looks like it's about to form, it is more dangerous then because the third party can then decide who wins the game by simply focusing on just one of the players giving the other player the winning advantage. At least that is what I do when I am the third party. I normally would focus on who ever had that thought first.

But in an alliance situation right from the start or mid game, I am just basically committing myself to that player that I will only attack him at the end after every one is gone and eliminated. That makes for a clearer understanding to everyone else in the game, during the whole game. Although I do find that others tend to shy away from that word, "Alliance." :D.

I also find that players who want to win so badly, will often announce the end of the alliance in order to gain the advantage, especially in a losing sided alliance. But that is basically the suggestion right from the start. We make an alliance and the better player wins at the end. It's a 50/50 proposition of winning or losing but no tie situation will arise or any reason to focus on just one of the two players at the end.

Regardless of what it's called, good communication is required though even in an alliance. People confuse alliance with truce, and I see a truce as a temporary situation that can be broken at any point in the game like dumping a date, lol. Where an alliance is more of a commitment, a marriage or a promise till the end. "May the better player win," and then you set about your game and see what happens. And if you lose you lose but you at least have a 50/50 shot at winning. And that to me is the best way to increase your winning odds. If you can find players of like mind that is?


I choose my opposition very carefully for my private standard games to try and ensure an open, interesting game.

These days that means a combination of real-life friends who have over the years bought into my philosophy of standard play and some players from the wider CC world who have impressed me with their willingness to be brutal in their attacks and diplomacy, yet (and this is absolutely key) are unlikely to suicide IF the play is more vindictive than they are used to.

Alliances in these games form extremely easily. Two players surge away early and they will more than likely form a non-aggression pact..and this is absolutely reasonable. The rest of the board will unite - probably 3-4 who are theoretically still in it - and combine 2 on 1 to deal with the non-aggression pact. That doesn't mean everyone throws like mad on round 33, but it does mean that stacks are positioned, positions are chipped away at and the top 2 are aware that not only do they have to face each other in the end, but that each also has to deal with minor power alliances.

What I find most interesting is that after a number of these types of games players become aware of each other's styles. Niggling annoyances and vendettas transfer over to new games, rivalries develop over many games regardless of the position. Some players are more likely to seek alliances with other players and less with others. These days, if I see agent 86 and potager1 form up as neighbours then I KNOW there will be a nasty fight, there always is, and I can strategise accordingly. Players like 86 and scholtz know my play so well, and I theirs, that it is incredibly difficult to trick them...though I try. Finally, I know of no other standard games I have played where it is possible in a reliable way to form up 3 or 4 players into an attack pattern, set their routes, lay the orders (rather like one would in a trips) and prosecute against a game leader or two, I also know of no other in which I am so nervous of pushing for a sweep, as I know that 3 or 4 players will immediately form up under someone's direction and, team game style, do their best to wreck my chances.

I would point out that my roughly 50% goal is applicable to public games and not these private ones. I would be very happy with a 30% win rate over time against this standard of opposition..very happy indeed. But I don't set them up exclusively to win (though of course I like to), but rather to create a really well-played game that everyone enjoys.

The round limit has made all of this possible. I gave up on my favourite form back in 2010 as I find it absolutely gut-wrenching to see games stalemate around round 70. Round limits are not perfect and I know everyone wants to avoid the game coming down to it (it is rather akin to a penalty shoot out in that a win will always be somewhat tainted), but they mean that players have to really try and prosecute their victory if they can, and also try to work out how they will be positioned around round 90 to see if they can come out on top on round 100.
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby jacaf on Tue May 28, 2013 1:59 pm

first off theres a great strat to esc opts. i think its a great setting and option, takes plan in and skill. the best is when ur playing with three other players and get there cards and going into muti esc. just my opinion of course to each his own
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby clowncar on Tue May 28, 2013 4:13 pm

I will preface my comments with the fact that as bad as I am at no spoils, flat rate and nuclear ... I am atrocious at escalating and I am sure my results play a part in my dislike for escalating .. in other words, I am biased.

And I am not saying that the strategy in escalating games is any more or less involved than other settings. That is to say, I think it is mentally challenging to play. My problem with the setting is that the game at that setting is boring. B-O-R-I-N-G, boring.

Each player stacks at access points across the map in most games .. maybe moving a terit or two for position but there is little action in the game itself other than the occasional game where one player doesn't know ( I am still learning myself ) traditional cc escalating strategy. This means turns like this ( although my color order will be wrong ) ....

green deploys 2 troops on X
green deploys 1 troop on X
green assaults a 1 stack and advances 0 and gets spoil
green ends turn
blue deploys 2 troops on x
blue deploys 1 troop on x
blue assaults a 1 stack and advances 0 and gets a spoil
blue ends turn
yellow deploys 1 on x
yellow deploys 1 on x
yellow deploys 1 on x
yellow assaults a 1stack and advances 0 and gets a spoil
yellow ends turn
purple deploys 1 on x
purple deploys 1 on x
purple deploys 1 on x
purple assaults a 1 stack and advances 0 and gets a spoil
purple ends turn
cyan deploys 2 on x
cyan deploys 1 on x
cyan attacks a 1 stack and advances 0 and gets a spoil
cyan ends turn
red deploys 2 on x
red deploys 1 on x
red ends turn ( timing spoils )


Sure there is strategy going on while that is happening ... calculations being made and so on ... but what a dull game and for MOST of the players in the game they will never engage in the fun aspect of actual battles ... it will usually be 1 or 2 players who do ( depending on first attempt to win success/fail ).

I can't be the only one who finds that a dull version of the game. Then again, maybe it is just because I get my ass kicked at the setting ...
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Funkyterrance on Wed May 29, 2013 11:55 pm

Mr Changsha wrote:
I choose my opposition very carefully for my private standard games to try and ensure an open, interesting game.

These days that means a combination of real-life friends who have over the years bought into my philosophy of standard play and some players from the wider CC world who have impressed me with their willingness to be brutal in their attacks and diplomacy, yet (and this is absolutely key) are unlikely to suicide IF the play is more vindictive than they are used to.

Alliances in these games form extremely easily. Two players surge away early and they will more than likely form a non-aggression pact..and this is absolutely reasonable. The rest of the board will unite - probably 3-4 who are theoretically still in it - and combine 2 on 1 to deal with the non-aggression pact. That doesn't mean everyone throws like mad on round 33, but it does mean that stacks are positioned, positions are chipped away at and the top 2 are aware that not only do they have to face each other in the end, but that each also has to deal with minor power alliances.

What I find most interesting is that after a number of these types of games players become aware of each other's styles. Niggling annoyances and vendettas transfer over to new games, rivalries develop over many games regardless of the position. Some players are more likely to seek alliances with other players and less with others. These days, if I see agent 86 and potager1 form up as neighbours then I KNOW there will be a nasty fight, there always is, and I can strategise accordingly. Players like 86 and scholtz know my play so well, and I theirs, that it is incredibly difficult to trick them...though I try. Finally, I know of no other standard games I have played where it is possible in a reliable way to form up 3 or 4 players into an attack pattern, set their routes, lay the orders (rather like one would in a trips) and prosecute against a game leader or two, I also know of no other in which I am so nervous of pushing for a sweep, as I know that 3 or 4 players will immediately form up under someone's direction and, team game style, do their best to wreck my chances.

I would point out that my roughly 50% goal is applicable to public games and not these private ones. I would be very happy with a 30% win rate over time against this standard of opposition..very happy indeed. But I don't set them up exclusively to win (though of course I like to), but rather to create a really well-played game that everyone enjoys.

The round limit has made all of this possible. I gave up on my favourite form back in 2010 as I find it absolutely gut-wrenching to see games stalemate around round 70. Round limits are not perfect and I know everyone wants to avoid the game coming down to it (it is rather akin to a penalty shoot out in that a win will always be somewhat tainted), but they mean that players have to really try and prosecute their victory if they can, and also try to work out how they will be positioned around round 90 to see if they can come out on top on round 100.

Wow, I'm having deja vu all over again...
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Re: escalating is just wrong

Postby Viceroy63 on Thu May 30, 2013 1:12 am

Actually; Only now and I playing with round limits. I never really explored that option before but I intend to do so in the future with all of my games regardless. In the future I will provide more opinion about that. =)
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