Monday, October 11, 2021

Games I'll Probably Never Play (Again): Junta

It's been a few years since I did one of these:

Games I'll Probably Never Play: War to the Death

About time I do another.

This one is Junta.

Why I'd Like To Play

I've played it before. It's a fun concept. With the right group, the backstabbing and politicking could be really fun, like in a game of Diplomacy. The setting is interesting, too, with a poorly-run country topped with leaders out only for their own good.

Why I Probably Won't Play

Besides the usual lack of time to play board games?

When we played it, it just didn't play well with the group. Few people were willing to be really cutthroat with each other, and basically just amassed money until the game ended with victory to the one who managed to get the most. There weren't enough tradoffs made . . . it was just a race to victory. We get the same with Munchkin, with a last-turn race with everyone at level 8-9. With Junta, if you just try to amass currency for victory and no one really pushes to use it to set themselves up for more . . . it equally doesn't take advantage of the setting.

Why I Hold On To It

Mostly because I'd like to play it at some point. It's also one of those games that if I have, I may get to play - but I'd never buy it again. I like to flip through it now and again. Still . . . if I sold it, lost it, or traded it, it would sadly stay gone.


  1. They should cook up a computer version and let people play against the AI or against strangers. That might really unleash the potential.

  2. My group pretty much only plays board games, half the group is pretty stridently against roleplaying, so... yeah.

    Something I've noticed with the non-cooperative games, if there is a "safe win", then a lot of people will aim for it, instead of going cutthroat. I think you know what I mean by 'safe win' but I'll spell it out in case: As in Junta, there are games that offer a safe, slow road to acquiring "victory conditions", be those points, moneys, territories, happiness, etc. Usually by not being confrontational or 'screwing other people over", but by just 'playing it safe', when the game's premise is derived from actually being aggressive, or backstabby, or whatever.

    But this 'secondary' route usually only works for people if everyone 'chooses correctly' in the "Prisoner's Dilemma", ie, everyone has to go in for the slow road, or those that don't, usually catapult beyond the others, or because that one player "chose to be a dick first" everyone gangs up on them and the 'slow road' is restored (usually ensuring that the 'dick' is now the biggest loser). Because this facet of "the first to be dickish loses the hardest" is enforced, these sort of games pretty quickly will always be 'long slow boring' plays.

    Thus my group has slowly pivoted to either only playing aggressively confrontational games (Black Rose, Blood Rage, etc); cooperative games (Pandemic, Sentinels of the Multiverse, etc); or the more clever non-confrontational competitive games (Agricola, Tokaido, Taverns of Tiefenthal, etc).

    There are a few games that straddle the "confrontational/non-confrontational" divide, usually by having modular components that add confrontational methods back in, and when those games go "dickish", they tend to go hard. Frex Dominion. When Curse cards are in, it gets brutal and blood thirsty fast (depending on what defense cards there are).

  3. I wouldn't consider my own gaming circle to be the most cutthroat generally speaking, but oh, how Junta gleefully brought it out in us. And it's surprising to me that "playing too nice" would ever be a problem with Junta, because it seems to have so many opportunities for both pettiness ("You assassinated me in the bank line? Well just you wait until /you/ try to make a deposit!") and outright misunderstandings ("You /have/ to be screwing me over in the budget. You must have drawn more cash than that over the past few turns" -- unless he didn't) to stir the conspiratorial pot.

    So may great tales from games over the years. My favorite being the guy who repeatedly got elected President, overthrown by a coup, and then re-elected when the rebels couldn't agree on a successor - at one point sending a guy to the firing squad who'd "won" the coup as First Rebel.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...