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In Princes of Florence, the bugbear is this rule:

A player may move his figure backwards on the fame track at any time during the game. For each space moved backward, the player takes 100 Florin from the bank. (p.10)

What I've seen (and experienced...) a few times is a player sacrificing their chances of victory by spending ludicrous numbers of prestige points to deny other players auctions in the late game.

Basically, I'm trying to find a house rule that will prevent this "taking you with me" behavior.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

An alternative to a house rule is often a good defensive strategy. In this case: try to create a situation where multiple of the auction options would be acceptable; if all the other players bankrupt themselves to outbid you, you win! I believe this is really the essence of the game: to manoeuvre yourself into a position where there is nothing that you absolutely need in order to do OK.

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I don't know that this would solve all of the problem cases I've encountered... but its good enough general advice to accept. :) –  Kevin Montrose Oct 20 '10 at 1:46
And even if you need 1 thing, put on your best poker face and start a bid for something else –  Andrey Nov 1 '12 at 13:04

Something you might consider is a rule that "detects" this behavior--if they move back far enough, late in the game or whatever, you call it an automatic resignation. I apologize for not having a precise definition--you might need to playtest it with a group and have someone play the vindictive, atmosphere-ruining jerk [oh, sorry, was that phrasing judgmental? :) ]. Basically, the idea would be that you could calculate that they are actively hurting their final standing, and take that as a trigger for automatic resignation.

Either that alone. or that with two votes by other players that someone is using that anti-strategy could be enough to declare a house-rules resignation (either kicking them out, or preventing any more money collection via that method for the remainder of the game). Even without an exact numerical standard, you could have a two-vote rule.

Finally, something you could do is change your viewpoint and consider the original behavior you're objecting to here to be a valid meta strategy. I have a son that plays like this--if he perceives that you have slighted him in a game, he will make the rest of the game be about hurting you back. It's like the way poison dart frogs have evolved bright colors to let predators know that they are dangerous to eat. People know this is a strong possibility and avoid singling him out in any obvious way.

This is a serious suggestion--if you can view it with amusement or appreciation as a meta strategy, it might be something you can laugh about rather than be irritated by.

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This is just opinion, but the meta effect that such behavior would have on me is to make me not want to play games with that person anymore. (Not meaning to insult your son; depending on the age, I've found that most children play games this way). –  GendoIkari Feb 20 at 15:19
Yeah, I totally understand and basically agree. I wouldn't recommend this way of playing for exactly that reason. But as far as how you, personally, deal with it when a person does this kind of thing, you might be able to make it a little less painful if you can either laugh it off or give it a sort of grudging respect. Like either seeing the humor in getting sprayed by a skunk, or at least just noting that it's interesting how powerful a deterrent nature has evolved, even if it is, at the moment, making you suffer. Doesn't mean you like it--the point is to have a "psychological hack". –  msouth Feb 20 at 19:28

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