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I was playing The Castles of Burgundy last night, and early in the second phase, one of the players realized that he had made a major error the round before -- he had placed two of the same building into an area.

We had a good 10-20 min talk about how we should handle the issue:

  • Scrap the whole game and start over.
  • Undo his previous turn, and make him take it over. (but we weren't 100% sure we could remember his die rolls, and that may have affected what other people did since his turn (eg, he had taken the last available mine)).
  • Undo everyone's last turn. (also problematic, as we'd have to remember what everyone did, and their die rolls).
  • Undo the last two rounds, re-roll and play from there (not a chance in hell of us remembering everything we'd have to back out)
  • Force him to move the recently placed building to another area (with a different die cost), and pay workers to make up for the difference. (note that he offered to make it even by the end of the turn (by placing a boarding house); I wanted him to burn a die immediately to get the workers to make it even)
  • Allow him to move the conflicting building placed earlier (multiple rounds before) to a different area, as there was an available hex with the same die value on it.
  • Declare him to have automatically have lost (which would likely have him walk out, affecting the rest of the game).
  • Assign some sort of a penalty for it. (points, or for our tournament, time)
  • Just let it ride, as there was no good way to reconcile it. (I was told this is how PrezCon handled a similar situation last year)

We have a sort of tournament ranking going, with the top winners from a 'season' getting to select the games we play next ... so there were issues with setting a precident in scrapping a while game (someone could do it when they knew they were losing, so they didn't slip in the standings), or in assigning a penalty (as someone might decide the penalty was worth it if they got caught).

Are there any recommendations for dealing with this situation, or similar situations in other games?

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  • In Magic tournaments, opponents are also guilty of an infraction for having let the game proceed in an invalid state. Assuming the judge believes the error was unintentional, the game would have proceeded with warnings handed out. It's simply too late to fix.
    – ikegami
    May 16, 2014 at 19:43
  • First, you would give someone an automatic loss for an accidental mistake (assuming good faith here)? and... May 19, 2014 at 16:38
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    second, you honestly suspect that players would intentionally cheat to win this tournament (even going as far as doing a cost-benefit analysis of various ways to cheat)?!? And the prize is - what - picking what games to play? This sounds like the worst game group ever. May 19, 2014 at 16:39
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    This question could be easily convert to catching an illegal movement in any game...
    – gbianchi
    May 22, 2014 at 15:17
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    @gbianchi it could, but the most important part of any question is that answers to it apply to the question that was actually asked. Castles of Burgundy may have some mechanics that can handle illegal moves more gracefully than a one-size-fits-all answer would. May 23, 2014 at 21:10

1 Answer 1

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We frequently play games for the first time and as a result often get the rules wrong. Our solution to this problem, when we realise a rules infraction too late to reasonably unwind it, is to continue the game allowing all players to repeat the error - so we're all playing on a level playing field.

I.e. in your case continue the game but let other players place two of the same building into an area for the rest of that game.

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  • That'd likely work in most games ... it would probably have to be restricted to only doing it once, as some maps have 3 or 4 areas that can accept buildings. It would also decrease the benefit of a technology tile that allows one player to ignore this rule. (placing two of the same building in an area can be quite powerful, as it will typically allow you to place the second one much earlier. There are also tech tiles that give 4VPs per (type of building) ... so allow x2 in all areas can lead to one person monopolizing a given type.)
    – Joe
    May 22, 2014 at 15:46
  • @Joe: Yes, under those circumstances, the once only rule makes sense. May 23, 2014 at 5:54
  • A similar thing happened the last time I played Trajan (same designer - go figure!). I gave myself an unintended perk from a bonus tile (I took a full "build" action when I was only allowed to move a worker there from my supply, if that makes sense). We decided that my opponent would get the same opportunity, or I would downgrade my next "full" build action, whichever came first. Jan 22, 2015 at 20:30

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