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why the once/turn limit on Espionage and Preach?

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  • avidgamer1970
    Okay, this has been bugging me for awhile. I don t understand the ruling that Espionage (and Preach) can only be conducted once per turn. Whether or not this
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 8, 2007
      Okay, this has been bugging me for awhile.

      I don't understand the ruling that Espionage (and Preach) can only be
      conducted once per turn. Whether or not this is interpreted as once
      per turn per region, or once per leader period, it's still flawed
      game design, IMLTHO.

      Consider two turns, of 5 years apiece, years 1-5, and 6-10.
      Espionage takes (essentially) one year. I can run ES in year 5 and
      6, but not 1 and 5, or 6 and 10. Huh? What's the justification for
      that? The turn boundary is an artificial one, after all. As much as
      possible, it should not impact play.

      If the ap cost of the ES is reasonable, then the restriction is
      unnecessary. Why not let an optimist attempt 5 ES in a turn, trying
      for 5 bonus ops to support a national Intel effort?

      I don't get it. Now, I'm fairly new to LotE, so I'm prepared to be
      corrected, but "because that's the way it works" doesn't strike me as
      an adequate reason. So I'm curious as to the rationale.


      Respectfully,
      Edge
    • Matt Holy
      Its an unusual restriction, that doesn t happen in too many other cases. The restriction has been in place ever since I ve been playing, which is close to 10
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 8, 2007
        Its an unusual restriction, that doesn't happen in too many other cases.
        The restriction has been in place ever since I've been playing, which is
        close to 10 years now.

        The big problem I see with allowing the ES to be run multiple times, is
        that an 'A' or 'B' Charisma Rating Leader suddenly becomes more valuable
        than 5 Intel or Assassin Operations. The Leader, while restricted in the
        sense that he must move to the location to perform the action in, can be
        used for either Intel, Assassin or either Bonus. Limiting the action to
        once per leader per turn keeps the value between National INTEL statistics
        and Charisma Leaders on the side of National Statistics, which I think
        is the right place to keep it.

        I do differ with your opinion regarding the 'artificial boundary' of the
        turn end. LOTE is a turn based game, and as such, that turn end is very
        important for a variety of calculations. Many of them the players do not
        see, but as a GM, you see a lot of them. There needs to be a point which
        the GM can run these calculations, free from the ongoing progress of the
        game. Otherwise, we would be forced to do them arbitrarily, which quickly
        breaks down the system, I think.

        Players are free to take advantage of the turn end. Leader Revolt, for
        example, doesn't take place until then. So, as long as a leader gets home
        by turn end, he can go as far outside CCR as he can reach with his AP.
        While a leader who moves 1 AP outside of CCR on the last AP of the turn is
        forced to make a check.

        All this is merely an artifact of the turn based system. I don't see it as
        a game flaw. The only alternative to keep the rules in place without
        utilizing the end-turn would be to limit the action by stating once a
        leader runs an ES action, he may not run another for 5 years. Frankly, I
        think that's a lot more clunky and annoying than the fact that leaders can
        run back to back ES actions on Year 5 and 6, but not 7 and 8.

        Now, I think you could, and I believe others have, argued that the
        limitation itself should be dropped. And, I'd be curious to see how a game
        like that goes. As a player, I think I'd use ES a lot more. And probably
        wouldn't invest very much at all into statistics. But, as a player, I
        always love it when I can get more for nothing in a game. :) I'm just not
        so keen on it as a GM.


        --Matt


        On Tue, 9 Jan 2007, avidgamer1970 wrote:

        > I don't understand the ruling that Espionage (and Preach) can only be
        > conducted once per turn. Whether or not this is interpreted as once
        > per turn per region, or once per leader period, it's still flawed
        > game design, IMLTHO.
        >
        > Consider two turns, of 5 years apiece, years 1-5, and 6-10.
        > Espionage takes (essentially) one year. I can run ES in year 5 and
        > 6, but not 1 and 5, or 6 and 10. Huh? What's the justification for
        > that? The turn boundary is an artificial one, after all. As much as
        > possible, it should not impact play.
        >
        > If the ap cost of the ES is reasonable, then the restriction is
        > unnecessary. Why not let an optimist attempt 5 ES in a turn, trying
        > for 5 bonus ops to support a national Intel effort?
        >
        > I don't get it. Now, I'm fairly new to LotE, so I'm prepared to be
        > corrected, but "because that's the way it works" doesn't strike me as
        > an adequate reason. So I'm curious as to the rationale.
        >
        >
        > Respectfully,
        > Edge
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        > Lords of the Earth On-Line: http://www.throneworld.com/lords/
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • avidgamer1970
        Matt: Thank you for the thoughtful and informative response. My comments are inline, below. ... cases. ... which is ... times, is ... valuable ... in the ...
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
          Matt:
          Thank you for the thoughtful and informative response. My comments
          are inline, below.


          >
          > Its an unusual restriction, that doesn't happen in too many other
          cases.
          > The restriction has been in place ever since I've been playing,
          which is
          > close to 10 years now.
          >
          > The big problem I see with allowing the ES to be run multiple
          times, is
          > that an 'A' or 'B' Charisma Rating Leader suddenly becomes more
          valuable
          > than 5 Intel or Assassin Operations. The Leader, while restricted
          in the
          > sense that he must move to the location to perform the action in,
          can be
          > used for either Intel, Assassin or either Bonus. Limiting the
          action to
          > once per leader per turn keeps the value between National INTEL
          statistics
          > and Charisma Leaders on the side of National Statistics, which I
          think
          > is the right place to keep it.


          I trust your assessment, and I agree with your desire to see the
          balance maintained.

          I suggest that there are other ways to achieve these goals.



          >
          > I do differ with your opinion regarding the 'artificial boundary'
          of the
          > turn end. LOTE is a turn based game, and as such, that turn end is
          very
          > important for a variety of calculations. Many of them the players
          do not
          > see, but as a GM, you see a lot of them. There needs to be a point
          which
          > the GM can run these calculations, free from the ongoing progress
          of the
          > game. Otherwise, we would be forced to do them arbitrarily, which
          quickly
          > breaks down the system, I think.


          Oh, yes, of course. It is a practical necessity, but it is
          artificial in terms of simulation. Therefore, I contend that the
          impact of the turn boundary should be minimized if possible.



          >
          > Players are free to take advantage of the turn end. Leader Revolt,
          for
          > example, doesn't take place until then. So, as long as a leader
          gets home
          > by turn end, he can go as far outside CCR as he can reach with his
          AP.
          > While a leader who moves 1 AP outside of CCR on the last AP of the
          turn is
          > forced to make a check.
          >
          > All this is merely an artifact of the turn based system. I don't
          see it as
          > a game flaw. The only alternative to keep the rules in place
          without
          > utilizing the end-turn would be to limit the action by stating once
          a
          > leader runs an ES action, he may not run another for 5 years.
          Frankly, I
          > think that's a lot more clunky and annoying than the fact that
          leaders can
          > run back to back ES actions on Year 5 and 6, but not 7 and 8.


          I agree completely.




          >
          > Now, I think you could, and I believe others have, argued that the
          > limitation itself should be dropped. And, I'd be curious to see how
          a game
          > like that goes. As a player, I think I'd use ES a lot more. And
          probably
          > wouldn't invest very much at all into statistics. But, as a
          player, I
          > always love it when I can get more for nothing in a game. :) I'm
          just not
          > so keen on it as a GM.


          Again, I agree.


          If that restriction is dropped, clearly something else would need to
          change, so as to maintain game balance. The most obvious change is
          to increase the number of AP's required to run ES.

          You could also adjust the bonuses given to excellent leaders somehow.


          Consider that ES in support of a national op (so, just for bonuses)
          doesn't need to worry about whether the op is occurring. This limits
          the range to the national range, which is good, but gives some
          benefit. ES on its own, attempting one Intel op and several bonus
          Intel ops, needs to spend (somehow) to boost the odds of the Intel op
          working, or the bonuses land on nothing.

          As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
          bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
          differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
          btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm, to
          make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
          success.

          With more AP to run ES, and a geometric increase in Gold, and perhaps
          including leader bonuses in with the gold (that is, the gold has to
          start paying where the leader bonus gives out, so that the first bump
          from gold might cost 9gp), I think you could achieve a similar impact
          without the unusual restriction.

          After all, the restriction makes it clear that every leader should
          consider running 1 ES per turn, since the ES is more valuable than
          its cost. Since I'm playing a number of Primacies, I like to run an
          ES and a Preach per leader per turn, (where it makes sense).

          Maybe we need a restriction on that, eh? <winks>

          But making ES cost 10 AP might do just as well.

          Edge


          >
          >
          > --Matt
          >
          >
          > On Tue, 9 Jan 2007, avidgamer1970 wrote:
          >
          > > I don't understand the ruling that Espionage (and Preach) can
          only be
          > > conducted once per turn. Whether or not this is interpreted as
          once
          > > per turn per region, or once per leader period, it's still flawed
          > > game design, IMLTHO.
          > >
          > > Consider two turns, of 5 years apiece, years 1-5, and 6-10.
          > > Espionage takes (essentially) one year. I can run ES in year 5
          and
          > > 6, but not 1 and 5, or 6 and 10. Huh? What's the justification
          for
          > > that? The turn boundary is an artificial one, after all. As
          much as
          > > possible, it should not impact play.
          > >
          > > If the ap cost of the ES is reasonable, then the restriction is
          > > unnecessary. Why not let an optimist attempt 5 ES in a turn,
          trying
          > > for 5 bonus ops to support a national Intel effort?
          > >
          > > I don't get it. Now, I'm fairly new to LotE, so I'm prepared to
          be
          > > corrected, but "because that's the way it works" doesn't strike
          me as
          > > an adequate reason. So I'm curious as to the rationale.
          > >
          > >
          > > Respectfully,
          > > Edge
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          > > Lords of the Earth On-Line: http://www.throneworld.com/lords/
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • martin.helsdon
          As a non-GM, I m not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to bonuses, but I ve heard at least two described, presumbably run differently by different
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
            As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
            bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
            differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
            btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm, to
            make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
            success.

            Bear in mind that the Leader can increase the effectiveness of their
            Espionage action by expending additional AP in the action in addition to the
            Basic Action Cost.

            The limit of one Espionage action per Leader per turn may also reflect
            focus: if the Leader is attempting to enact or support multiple espionage
            tasks then their effectiveness might be reduced. From a game mechanics point
            of view things may also get complicated if some event (such as Leader death,
            violent or otherwise) were to interrupt a sequence of ES actions, especially
            if they were intended to add a bonus to various intel activities.

            Thanks,

            Martin



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • joel@interserv.com
            I think a diminished return on gold spend would be a good idea. However it might be a GM nightmare. Joel ... From: martin.helsdon To: LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
              I think a diminished return on gold spend would be a good idea. However it might be a GM nightmare.

              Joel


              ----- Original Message -----
              From: martin.helsdon
              To: LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: 1/9/2007 1:03:51 PM
              Subject: RE: [LOTE-L] Re: why the once/turn limit on Espionage and Preach?


              As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
              bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
              differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
              btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm, to
              make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
              success.

              Bear in mind that the Leader can increase the effectiveness of their
              Espionage action by expending additional AP in the action in addition to the
              Basic Action Cost.

              The limit of one Espionage action per Leader per turn may also reflect
              focus: if the Leader is attempting to enact or support multiple espionage
              tasks then their effectiveness might be reduced. From a game mechanics point
              of view things may also get complicated if some event (such as Leader death,
              violent or otherwise) were to interrupt a sequence of ES actions, especially
              if they were intended to add a bonus to various intel activities.

              Thanks,

              Martin

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • avidgamer1970
              ... However it might be a GM nightmare. ... I don t think I made this up. 1, 4, 9, 16, 25... (squares) So, 1, 5, 14, 30, 55 gp to get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bonus
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
                --- In LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com, "joel@..." <joel@...> wrote:
                >
                > I think a diminished return on gold spend would be a good idea.
                However it might be a GM nightmare.
                >
                > Joel

                I don't think I made this up. 1, 4, 9, 16, 25... (squares)

                So, 1, 5, 14, 30, 55 gp to get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bonus pluses.

                Another I think I've heard is 4gp per plus.

                4, 8, 12, 16, 20.


                It's a little easier to remember, I guess.



                >
                >
                > Edward pontificated:
                >
                > As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
                > bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
                > differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
                > btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm,
                to
                > make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
                > success.

                > Martin opined:
                >
                > Bear in mind that the Leader can increase the effectiveness of their
                > Espionage action by expending additional AP in the action in
                addition to the
                > Basic Action Cost.


                Um, depends on what you mean by that.

                ES 6 + 34 gives you a really good chance that the ES succeeds. Which
                is to say, that a 1 op Intel operation is attempted, with no bonus
                ops assigned, and no extra ap helping your Intel op.



                ES 10 + 5 to generate the CF (say) followed by
                ES 10 + 5
                ES 10

                would give you a (lower) shot at getting a CF, supported by 1 or two
                bonus ops.

                So that with the current arrangement, one cranks out the ES, then
                supports the op (if successful) with gold. No way, as I understand
                it, to put extra ap into supporting the successful op.




                >
                > The limit of one Espionage action per Leader per turn may also
                reflect
                > focus: if the Leader is attempting to enact or support multiple
                espionage
                > tasks then their effectiveness might be reduced.



                How is this different from any other actions undertaking by a leader?





                > From a game mechanics point
                > of view things may also get complicated if some event (such as
                Leader death,
                > violent or otherwise) were to interrupt a sequence of ES actions,
                especially
                > if they were intended to add a bonus to various intel activities.


                Well, sure, but again, that isn't unique to the ES.

                That's just the joy of Lords of the Earth!




                >
                > Thanks,
                >
                > Martin
              • seattleda@comcast.net
                Regarding gold bonuses. The current formula actually includes a chance for negative bonuses. At each step (I believe most games use 1, 2, 9, 28, 65, 126,
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
                  Regarding gold bonuses. The current formula actually includes a chance for negative bonuses.

                  At each 'step' (I believe most games use 1, 2, 9, 28, 65, 126, 217, 344, 513, and 730 as the first ten steps) a d10 is thrown. If its even, +1, odds, +0, and a 10 is -1.

                  If you spend 25 gold, it's the same as if you spent 9 gold.

                  Dave

                  -------------- Original message ----------------------
                  From: "avidgamer1970" <avidgamer1970@...>
                  > --- In LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com, "joel@..." <joel@...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I think a diminished return on gold spend would be a good idea.
                  > However it might be a GM nightmare.
                  > >
                  > > Joel
                  >
                  > I don't think I made this up. 1, 4, 9, 16, 25... (squares)
                  >
                  > So, 1, 5, 14, 30, 55 gp to get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bonus pluses.
                  >
                  > Another I think I've heard is 4gp per plus.
                  >
                  > 4, 8, 12, 16, 20.
                  >
                  >
                  > It's a little easier to remember, I guess.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Edward pontificated:
                  > >
                  > > As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
                  > > bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
                  > > differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
                  > > btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm,
                  > to
                  > > make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
                  > > success.
                  >
                  > > Martin opined:
                  > >
                  > > Bear in mind that the Leader can increase the effectiveness of their
                  > > Espionage action by expending additional AP in the action in
                  > addition to the
                  > > Basic Action Cost.
                  >
                  >
                  > Um, depends on what you mean by that.
                  >
                  > ES 6 + 34 gives you a really good chance that the ES succeeds. Which
                  > is to say, that a 1 op Intel operation is attempted, with no bonus
                  > ops assigned, and no extra ap helping your Intel op.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ES 10 + 5 to generate the CF (say) followed by
                  > ES 10 + 5
                  > ES 10
                  >
                  > would give you a (lower) shot at getting a CF, supported by 1 or two
                  > bonus ops.
                  >
                  > So that with the current arrangement, one cranks out the ES, then
                  > supports the op (if successful) with gold. No way, as I understand
                  > it, to put extra ap into supporting the successful op.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > The limit of one Espionage action per Leader per turn may also
                  > reflect
                  > > focus: if the Leader is attempting to enact or support multiple
                  > espionage
                  > > tasks then their effectiveness might be reduced.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > How is this different from any other actions undertaking by a leader?
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > > From a game mechanics point
                  > > of view things may also get complicated if some event (such as
                  > Leader death,
                  > > violent or otherwise) were to interrupt a sequence of ES actions,
                  > especially
                  > > if they were intended to add a bonus to various intel activities.
                  >
                  >
                  > Well, sure, but again, that isn't unique to the ES.
                  >
                  > That's just the joy of Lords of the Earth!
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Thanks,
                  > >
                  > > Martin
                  >
                  >
                  >




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Don Deutsch
                  Check the platey tips in L54. At the end each newsfax, Don ________________________________ From: LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of avidgamer1970 Sent: Tue
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
                    Check the platey tips in L54. At the end each newsfax,

                    Don

                    ________________________________

                    From: LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of avidgamer1970
                    Sent: Tue 1/9/2007 6:28 PM
                    To: LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [LOTE-L] Re: why the once/turn limit on Espionage and Preach?



                    --- In LOTE-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:LOTE-L%40yahoogroups.com> , "joel@..." <joel@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I think a diminished return on gold spend would be a good idea.
                    However it might be a GM nightmare.
                    >
                    > Joel

                    I don't think I made this up. 1, 4, 9, 16, 25... (squares)

                    So, 1, 5, 14, 30, 55 gp to get 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bonus pluses.

                    Another I think I've heard is 4gp per plus.

                    4, 8, 12, 16, 20.

                    It's a little easier to remember, I guess.

                    >
                    >
                    > Edward pontificated:
                    >
                    > As a non-GM, I'm not privy to the algorithm that ties gold spent to
                    > bonuses, but I've heard at least two described, presumbably run
                    > differently by different GMs. (This "fog" also seems good to me,
                    > btw.) Personally, I'd favor a geometrically increasing algorithm,
                    to
                    > make it much harder for wealthy nations to "buy" a guaranteed op
                    > success.

                    > Martin opined:
                    >
                    > Bear in mind that the Leader can increase the effectiveness of their
                    > Espionage action by expending additional AP in the action in
                    addition to the
                    > Basic Action Cost.

                    Um, depends on what you mean by that.

                    ES 6 + 34 gives you a really good chance that the ES succeeds. Which
                    is to say, that a 1 op Intel operation is attempted, with no bonus
                    ops assigned, and no extra ap helping your Intel op.

                    ES 10 + 5 to generate the CF (say) followed by
                    ES 10 + 5
                    ES 10

                    would give you a (lower) shot at getting a CF, supported by 1 or two
                    bonus ops.

                    So that with the current arrangement, one cranks out the ES, then
                    supports the op (if successful) with gold. No way, as I understand
                    it, to put extra ap into supporting the successful op.

                    >
                    > The limit of one Espionage action per Leader per turn may also
                    reflect
                    > focus: if the Leader is attempting to enact or support multiple
                    espionage
                    > tasks then their effectiveness might be reduced.

                    How is this different from any other actions undertaking by a leader?

                    > From a game mechanics point
                    > of view things may also get complicated if some event (such as
                    Leader death,
                    > violent or otherwise) were to interrupt a sequence of ES actions,
                    especially
                    > if they were intended to add a bonus to various intel activities.

                    Well, sure, but again, that isn't unique to the ES.

                    That's just the joy of Lords of the Earth!

                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    >
                    > Martin
                  • martin.helsdon
                    ... Spending more time on the ES increases the potential chances of its success. ... You can argue that a Leader setting up an ES, especially when they have to
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 9, 2007
                      > Um, depends on what you mean by that.

                      Spending more time on the ES increases the potential chances of its success.


                      > How is this different from any other actions undertaking by a leader?

                      You can argue that a Leader setting up an ES, especially when they have to
                      be positioned near to its location requires planning and organization, even
                      compared with other actions; maybe the Leader has to liaise with other
                      agents in a manner they don't if performing diplomacy etc.

                      > Well, sure, but again, that isn't unique to the ES.

                      Most intel actions often take effect at or from the start of the turn.
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