(Metagame Archive) Wicked Clever: The More, the Merrier

By Matt Hyra

This will be the first in a new series of articles that explore alternate play formats. Have you ever played a Vs. System multiplayer game? How about a “Wacky World” format? Ever played Team Sealed? Man, are you missing out! If you find that you spend too much time playing the same ol’ net decks in highly competitive one-on-one contests, you might be ready for a diversion. Today, I’ll explore the multiplayer format and some multiplayer tactics you can employ.

Multiplayer games have a political/diplomatic element not found in your standard one-on-one contests. In fact, most multiple player games, be they Settlers of Catan, poker, or what have you, involve politics. There’s just no getting around the fact that you might step on some toes and suffer repercussions for your actions. In a one-on-one contest, your opponent expects you to be as mean as you can be, but when you have the option of attacking any one of your opponents in a multiplayer Vs. game, the person you do attack may feel picked on.

When it’s your initiative and you’re deciding whom to attack, you may pick any opposing legal character or unprotected player. Attacking a player directly is a bit too nice, however. Taking down opposing characters is the key. Board position is crucial in a multiplayer game, as the action will be fast and furious, with very few characters surviving an entire turn unscathed.

Play proceeds clockwise around the table. This is probably the most important determiner of who and what you attack. The person to your immediate left will be attacking when you’re done, so he or she should be considered your biggest threat. The main reason for this is that, if you attack that player, it will be very easy for the opponent to remember that you’re the one who wronged him or her. Players who go late in the turn are not as much of a threat, as the earlier players will likely have picked on them, and they’ll also probably go after their more recent aggressors. Players who have already attacked are also not much of a threat, as they have already made their attacks for the turn. However, the person who attacked first may not have any stunned characters, and will consequently be a huge threat on the next turn if he or she is not dealt with immediately.

Chances are high that most attacks will come down to simple revenge. “If you take down one of my guys, I’ll take down one of yours.” Unlike some multiplayer TCGs, however, Vs. doesn’t become a Mexican Standoff. Having the initiative is too good of an opportunity to pass up. Attacking and keeping your opponents’ board positions weak is your key to victory. There are several tactics you can employ to ensure your success.

Weakest Baboon

 

When baboons attack, they always single out the weakest opponent. When a player has a character or two that has been stunned, and has just one character remaining face-up, that person is prime “Weakest Baboon” territory. You see, if that player has already let two characters get stunned, chances are very high that he or she is all out of defensive tricks. Your attack against the last character should be successful, the opponent can’t retaliate this turn, and that opponent will be in a bad position for retaliation next turn, too.

 

Down With The King

 

After a few turns have gone by, chances are good that one player will have a better board position than the other players. It’s quite easy to rally the rest of the players against the leader. The best time to suggest this tactic is on a turn when you’re going last. The other players will do all of the dirty work involved in taking down the leader. When it gets around to your turn, you can attack one of your former allies, since the leader’s characters will surely all be down by then. Of course, this sets you up as the king for the following turn.

Kingmaker

 

Instead of being the king, let someone else become king. Use a plot twist to save one of your opponent’s characters from becoming stunned. Or, KO an ongoing plot twist that is hurting another player. This tactic is best utilized when the king you’re setting up has very little endurance and is not long for the world. By helping out another player, you’ll make a friend you can probably get a favor from. Once the game is down to just the two of you, spring your direct damage on him or her for a quick and easy victory.

Mr. Consistency

 

If you’re going to employ this tactic, you have to do it early and be . . . well . . . consistent. When you’re determining whom to attack, talk about your decision out loud. Explain that you’re attacking your 7 ATK/7 DEF character into a defending 6 ATK/7 DEF character simply because it’s the best attack for you to make and have your character survive the ordeal (barring plot twist intervention). Other players cannot fault your logic, though they may be annoyed if you don’t join in on a “down with the king” conspiracy. This tactic may not be the best for reducing other players’ board positions, but it keeps other players from seeing your attacks as personal.

Vendetta

 

When you are picked on or betrayed by another player, explain that it’s now your personal mission in life to destroy that offending player, no matter the cost. This is a rather self-destructive tactic, but it does keep other players off your back, especially since your board position was probably ruined by the betrayal. The betrayer probably has a good board position, which leaves you a good candidate to get “kingmade” by someone else. Other players will want to see you go crazy trying to take out the opponent, so they’ll be quiet allies. You chances of winning this game are low, but you’ll be feared during next game.

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