King maker

Post your Tips, Tricks and Hints on how to advance your House's claim on the Infernal Throne

Re: King maker

Postby vasiln » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:11 am

I was thinking about this a little bit more.

Your puzzle-cube dude is obviously not a Kingmaker, and I'd do my best to wipe the bastard out too :) But they're different situations: somebody who's gunning for a military victory and somebody who's gunning for a Kingmaker situation.

I'm not really sure that I thought everything through. See, part of what makes Kingmakers so incredibly evil is that it's only worth caring about them when you already have the lead. If someone is outstripping you in prestige, that guy gets your attention, not the Kingmaker. The military guy, the guy without PoPs, that spent his opening moves carving a hex two spaces from your stronghold rather than going for PoPs, that guy gets everybody's attention. Because he's not just gunning for one of you-- he's gunning for all of you. And that's different.

But the Kingmaker is just gunning for one of you. You never have to worry about him unless you're the leader, or unless you're going for second place. In the early game, sure, there's that guy you suspect of it, but there are more pressing demands for your attention. Forcing blood feud with the one guy that never levels any demands your way is not a priority, and this is, if anything, a game about priorities. The fact that it might not be you always leaves him second in your true, personal threat ranking.

The prestige cost is a small part of the problem with the Unveil Kingmakers event. Yeah, it's significant. The bigger problem is that, if I'm not mistaken, it does nothing to defang any unveiled Kingmakers. They are still not the biggest threat to anybody but the leader. In fact, playing the event when you suspect a Kingmaker can cost much more than the prestige and the order slot the event needs.

There are random elements, there are political elements, but in many ways, SI is a game about knowledge. I'd like to introduce an (arbitrary) division between two kinds of knowledge: what you know; and what you know they know. If you've engaged in a blind duel against somebody you've engaged in bidding wars for manuscripts, you know what I'm talking about. It's not just a matter that you know you'll be facing a praetor trained with veil of smoke; it's not just whether you know that your impenetrable stance manuscripts should net you the win. The question is, do you know that they don't know you have impenetrable stance?

If you know that there's a Kingmaker, and think they want you to win, the last thing you ever want them to realize is that you know that they're a Kingmaker. Before they think you know, they'll help you, if you're their target, in all sorts of ways that are beyond your ability to divine. Afterwards? They'll do everything they can to convince you that somebody else is their target. And that means screwing with you, not only in their basic, prestige-nullifying way, but in every way. Your only defense against a Kingmaker is military, and they know that. Before you know, they'll lose a vendetta for you. When they know you know, they'll do everything in their power to prevent blood feud. And so, this public reveal, which sounds so nice, doesn't end up pitting every other player against the Kingmaker, like you hoped it would; those people are still gunning for you, or, likely, trying to plan their military victories, now that you've emerged as the prestige leader. Instead, it's robbed you of an ally in the form of the Kingmaker, and launched the Kingmaker into full-on defense.

Now, I want to make clear, this is mostly all just theory and fever, originating more in meditation than in experience. It's true that players adapt as things progress. But not everything changes, and I think that winning play adapts towards winning strategies. I don't think it's a (consistently) winning strategy to risk a 20% chance at a win, by sacrificing valuable early-game resources and orders, in order to prevent a 20% chance of a spoiler of that 20% chance of a win.
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Re: King maker

Postby frost_maze » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:17 pm

Completely off the current topic, but...

What happens if there are two kingmakers, who have both chosen the same target? And then the target wins. Then what?
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Re: King maker

Postby Maxim » Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:45 pm

Back on the topic, in "Europe in Flames" the kingmaker just won. I was in the lead for most of the game and I actually had chosen to not take Pandemonium for a change. An enemy flying unit was in range of my fortress and I was not 100% sure that I could hold it back. So the game ended and the kingmaker won - with me being the would-be king.

Lessons learned: when someone does not move much, makes no demands against you, has no POPs and otherwise looks like a player, who has given up. Beware. He might also be the player to win the game.


On the side note: I found it very funny to loose to a kingmaker. I was very content with my playing and I have had fun with doing clever moves for most of the game - so I can also enjoy a good laugh when someone has pulled a good move on me. Even if it cost me the game :-)
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Re: King maker

Postby VoxDei » Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:01 pm

Yup, I was the Kingmaker that Maxim mentions. I essentially went with Timus' build from post three of this thread, putting my spare points in Deceit and taking Prince of Lies.

It worked, but the fact that it did was pretty fluky. I got a lucky start (drew Black Ring as my first event card while Sons of Typhon was up in the Bazaar), so I had an uber-unit early but didn't manage to capitalise on it - it got trashed by an Orb of Oblivion unit after a PCB failed to steal the Orb. I spent the rest of the game desperately trying to rebuild my forces and hoping everyone close to me had better things to do than try to kill me (which for the most part, they did).

Lessons learned for this build:

  • You really gimp your start, playing this way. I didn't get a single PoP because my starting legion was crap and my resources were limited, and since my target (Maxim) wasn't winning for the first half or so of the game, for a while I thought I was going to need them.
  • The combination of Obscure and low charisma means you're starved for resources for most of the game. I could have mitigated this by putting my spare points in charisma rather than deceit, but that would've left me with nothing I could do either offensively or defensively. Having to be a Baron to make it work doesn't help either.
  • Sowing Confusion is a great ritual for helping your target out - it's cheap, you're unlikely to be found out and it really screws with the target's tactics. The one thing I managed to do that I suspect really helped Maxim was putting SC on a unit belonging to someone he was in Blood Feud with, which prevented that unit getting back to support his stronghold. Without that support, the stronghold went down and from there on nobody was close to Maxim in prestige.
  • I never managed to get above 3 deceit because of my lack of resources. I should've gone for 4 deceit much earlier for the extra order slot, which would've mitigated the lack of charisma (and would've helped with PCBs and Sowing Confusion)
  • You still need military for defence, if nothing else. At one point right at the end I thought I was going to be killed by someone who'd been excommunicated. With some degree of irony, Maxim took his stronghold the turn before he'd have been able to get to mine (though I did manage to beat the threatening unit on that turn, but that was down to a *very* lucky Horn of Doom roll).

It was actually great fun to win this way (I was giggling to myself for half the game, once it became apparent that Maxim was going to have the most Prestige), but I don't think I'll do it again - certainly not for a while. You have to give up too much at the start, and your chance of picking the winner at the start is too small.

In conclusion: yes, you can win this way (obviously), but it's a hell of a gamble and if the person you pick doesn't get into the lead then the points are entirely wasted. For that reason I would say Kingmaker is a weak trait. I would say it should at least allow you to change your chosen target up to turn 10 (or even later), in a similar way to the threat list, because at the moment you have to pick your target with no more to go on than the starting positions.

EDIT: Also, it's even weaker now than it was when we started this game. Since our game started the 1.05 patch means that there is a heavy penalty for leaving any stat on zero, which is pretty much mandatory for at least two stats with Kingmaker.
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Re: King maker

Postby Maxim » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:49 am

Thank you for your insight! I actually wondered where your Ueber-Unit went. At some point in the game I was looking at the north-eastern front and it was gone :-)
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Re: King maker

Postby VoxDei » Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:23 pm

Actually, the other thing I should probably say about that is that while Sons of Typhon with Black Ring on it looks scary as all hell, the fact they only move one hex per turn means it's very difficult to use effectively (even if I hadn't wasted it). It would've been useful on defence but far too slow to be used offensively except with a puzzle cube.

What I'd have really liked would've been the Gorgons or The Beast, but I really shouldn't complain. :P
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Re: King maker

Postby Fizish » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:59 am

I wanted to make this post some time ago, but it related to a game in progress.

Fizish wrote:2/20
I tried to mask my Kingmaker status by taking both of the less visible negative traits, Obscure and Debauched, allowing a nice rank and decent starting legion. My strategy was to just not draw tribute my first few turns, so as to not appear Debauched. Having a nice starting legion allowed me to knock down a +2 prestige PoP by adding a cheap praetor which I was able to buy with my starting tribute draw (good because of my high rank).

All well and good, I was middle-of-the-pack prestige-wise and well situated to play an ignored turtle game, but my Pawn cratered out at 0 prestige with no PoPs or prospects of PoPs very early in the game. In fact, I have some fear that this player is also a Kingmaker, as the setup of our game has made this particular game an excellent place to test Kingmaker (4 players/small map/10 tokens).

I won’t be able to post this until the game is finished, as my Pawn/possible fellow Kingmaker is a fairly prolific presence on these forums. Hopefully it does soon, as I’m pretty much screwed at this point. I’ll save my stories of the frustrations of 1 order slot for when the game ends.

3/3
Well I have been framed with a ritual and excommunicated. Now I have 1 order slot, 1 middling legion, and 2 tokens left to take out everyone or capture Pandemonium. I’m not sure if someone discovered that I was a Kingmaker, or just decided to disqualify me from winning because I was near the lead. As it stands, I am pretty well and truly hosed.


The player I had picked as a Pawn (Hi Spartacus!) went on to a Usurpation victory, several turns after I was wiped off the map.

What did I learn? Debauched sucks even worse than I expected. A Kingmaker turtle is about the only time I can imagine it being useful, and it was still nearly intolerable. Taking 3 or 4 turns to draw enough tribute to bid on something on the Bazaar made getting the best items completely impossible. And moving a legion or making a demand or playing an event meant no tribute for the turn. It was all very frustrating to play.

Does anyone have suggestions for effectively hiding Kingmaker? Perhaps its more in how you play than how you set up your avatar.
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Re: King maker

Postby frost_maze » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:38 pm

Obscure is a must, obviously, and not having charisma 3 is an easy way of not completely crippling yourself while also freeing up another 8 points. This leaves you with:

30
-20 (Kingmaker)
-6 (2 Charisma)
+8 (Obscure)
+3 (Lust/Gluttony)
---------
15 points left, which is plenty to give the impression of someone actively participating. For example, you could go:
Baron (3 points), 2/1/1/1 (12 points, stats not necessarily in that order), which would give you a pretty good legion, suggesting to everybody else a combat-orientated archfiend, or alternatively, you could go:
Duke (9 points), 1/1/1/0 (6 points, stats not necessarily in that order), which gives more diplomatic freedom, in return for a decisively average legion.

Each one has its own benefits, being if you're a baron in a game against marquis, dukes, and princes, then you're going to get picked on, and that's not what you want with charisma 2, while starting with a poor legion, and without the resources to be able to buy/upgrade legions, you'll be stuffed in an actual vendetta, but the point is that being a duke will discourage such imbecilities... hopefully. Of course, if everybody else is also a duke/prince, then you're stuffed.

And then you need to be aggressive, and pick on everybody equally... but your horse less so. If you don't pick on your horse at all, then someone's going to get suspicious and then you'll be stuffed. Also, make sure your horse doesn't get desperated and go for a pandemonium run, or else... you're stuffed again. So.... you need to be aggressive... but not too aggressive that you can't defend yourself if you're on the first in line for a fiend who intends to take over all the strongholds. (Big contributions from fuu for this paragraph)

My two cents (or pennies :P)
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Re: King maker

Postby Spartacus » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:50 am

Fizish wrote:I wanted to make this post some time ago, but it related to a game in progress.

Fizish wrote:2/20
I tried to mask my Kingmaker status by taking both of the less visible negative traits, Obscure and Debauched, allowing a nice rank and decent starting legion. My strategy was to just not draw tribute my first few turns, so as to not appear Debauched. Having a nice starting legion allowed me to knock down a +2 prestige PoP by adding a cheap praetor which I was able to buy with my starting tribute draw (good because of my high rank).

All well and good, I was middle-of-the-pack prestige-wise and well situated to play an ignored turtle game, but my Pawn cratered out at 0 prestige with no PoPs or prospects of PoPs very early in the game. In fact, I have some fear that this player is also a Kingmaker, as the setup of our game has made this particular game an excellent place to test Kingmaker (4 players/small map/10 tokens).

I won’t be able to post this until the game is finished, as my Pawn/possible fellow Kingmaker is a fairly prolific presence on these forums. Hopefully it does soon, as I’m pretty much screwed at this point. I’ll save my stories of the frustrations of 1 order slot for when the game ends.

3/3
Well I have been framed with a ritual and excommunicated. Now I have 1 order slot, 1 middling legion, and 2 tokens left to take out everyone or capture Pandemonium. I’m not sure if someone discovered that I was a Kingmaker, or just decided to disqualify me from winning because I was near the lead. As it stands, I am pretty well and truly hosed.


The player I had picked as a Pawn (Hi Spartacus!) went on to a Usurpation victory, several turns after I was wiped off the map.

What did I learn? Debauched sucks even worse than I expected. A Kingmaker turtle is about the only time I can imagine it being useful, and it was still nearly intolerable. Taking 3 or 4 turns to draw enough tribute to bid on something on the Bazaar made getting the best items completely impossible. And moving a legion or making a demand or playing an event meant no tribute for the turn. It was all very frustrating to play.

Does anyone have suggestions for effectively hiding Kingmaker? Perhaps its more in how you play than how you set up your avatar.

You could've done this a long time ago, as I was completely burnt out on SI and hadn't checked the forums for at least two months, which you might've noticed by the lack of emails :)

To follow up as a counter-point and alternative view, I was using the same build I've used for multiple games now to varying success - an evenly spread economy-focused build with Prince of Lies. I forgot what I was aiming to do in the beginning, but when the Finger of Betrayal popped up, I went for the old standby of excommunicating everyone else. I was incredibly lucky at different points in the game, picking up the Fissure which I used to block off Pandemonium to everyone else, which I feared would give me away.

Unfortunately my plan backfired after excommunicating one player, which may be a bug in how rituals for excommunication work - something I haven't followed up on and someone might want to, but luckily I was prepared to take Pandemonium with a few legions in case things went south. Between a few buffed legions, the Orb of Oblivion and a lack of air units to drop on Pandemonium, the game had gone in my favor - although I tried hard to end with 0 prestige!

For playing Kingmaker, I think you should be taking either Prince of Lies or its Destruction counterpart. Maintain the minimum amount of force necessary to defend yourself, and look to aim for the middle of the pack - the mechanics on shooting others with Infernal Affliction + Frame Opponent might still be unknown to the community at large (or someone could post how it works if they know), but it'd give you good position to generate Prestige while remaining relatively hidden. If Prestige is sent to other the player supposedly casting the ritual, frame it as your horse - but make sure they have the force to hold their own against others. If you're discovered all hope is not lost, as it gives you a valid excuse for not being a Kingmaker, although they may try to kick you out due to your tendency to spam rituals.

A quick supposed Kingmaker build - Lord/Lust 0/1/2/0/2 King Maker/Slothful/Harbinger||Prince of Lies. First twenty turns will be incredibly boring, focusing on getting Wickedness 1, Intellect to 4, then Charisma to 3/4, Cunning to 5 and buying just enough from the bazaar to keep you safe, particularly a strong legion. The lack of starting draws and your low rank means you'll be picked on in engagements - which can be both a blessing and a curse, since you're focused on Infernal Affliction which allows you to fight off legions, particularly with Harbinger, but it might give away your position when framing others for rituals. If your King Maker pawn is a dead horse, use Infernal Negotiations to boost your rank and get into battles you can spam Infernal Affliction on. If your pawn is doing well, stay behind the scenes and use Infernal Affliction to help his targets. The rest of the argument should be able to be drawn up from here - it shouldn't be too bad to figure out all the edge cases.
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Re: King maker

Postby The Bad Shepherd » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:46 am

I forgot who I picked as Kingmaker in one of my games, and there does not seem to be any indication as to who I picked. Any way to find out? This is highly embarrassing.
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