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Laszlo Varga
Hungary
Budapest
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I think this game has one of the most beautiful boards. The theme is also exciting and there are also many other bits and pieces that makes me want to love the game. However, I have my doubts. Any these doubts come from the rules. My first one - in a different post - was about my concern of earning prestige points too easily by simply building new and new booming cities. That one was countered having said that I am wrong because it requires a lot of money, etc. So I am not saying I was convinced but tried to accept that by simply putting effort on booming cities is not an isolated and easy way to win the game.
But now I have run into a second major doubt. Gaining prestige by exploration. Maybe the 10 prestige points might be too low as the winning condition, I don't know but imagine the following: I don't care about anything else but (1) pay 1+2+3 treasury to boost up my exploration to the max and then I ignore all the other players and (2) do nothing else but exploring new territories and getting the prestige for it. Even if other start exploring too I can easily get 7-8 prestige points by doing this tactice and what is worse, nobody can really counter me in doing so. Maybe a war againts me and then I lose all my merchants and naval forces which results in minus 1 prestige but after that not even a war can be started against me because I will not have any markers on any of the territories, nor ships, just continue the expliration. And if by doing this I still miss 2 or 3 to win, I can still push myself into one of the territories, build a colony (+1 prestige) and a booming city (+1 prestige)... and I might have already won the game. Do you see my point? I am just afraid that the mechanincs of the game are not that strong and have these back-doors which if used would result in ruining the gaming experience.
Please note that I have only played with 2-3 people and then with the nations variant.
Any thoughts? Would you agree with my concern? Have you experienced such gaps in the mechanics?
Thanks,
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Carsten Jorgensen
Denmark
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I also answered your last concern, but here it goes .

First of all this part is not correct:

"...but after that not even a war can be started against me because I will not have any markers on any of the territories, nor ships, just continue the expliration."

If an opponent is at or above you in diplomacy they can start a war against you. If you have no navy to defend against it, they will just have one round of naval combat to damage your merchant fleet if you have any. After this you are forced to surrender and loose 1 prestige (and have a harder time to get money later with a smaller or no merchant fleet).

With no navy your only defence against war is to be higher in diplomacy than your opponents. This stops your exploration as they are on the same card. The others will eventually catch up to you at the top of the diplo track (stopping them from exploring too) and then start attacking you once each turn. So after this you'll loose 1 prestige to each opponent each turn. They should start to be concerned about each other at some point, but likely you'll have been beaten up pretty bad first.

It should be said, that I have not played any 3-player games and I have yet to try the nations variant, so I have no idea if there are any problems there. In general though this is a player balancing game - if one player gets ahead of the others the rest needs to work together and stop him. The trick is to spot who is in the lead when taking into account current prestige, board position, tech level, loans and so on (and national abilities in case of the nations variant). The fewer players to keep an eye on, the easier this should be to spot. Another trick is "how much should I invest in stopping an opponent compared to my other opponents?".
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Jake Hermance
United States
Arlington
Texas
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Also you will need to Increase your economy to build a Booming city that late in the game (when you are at 7-8 prestige), as others will surely have done it already increasing the level for when you want to build one..
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D Clevenger
United States
Sunnyvale
Texas
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Agree with two threads above and will add that in the 15+ games of this I have played (often with
Jake Hermance
United States
Arlington
Texas
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) once anyone gets to a lead they become a massive target. In addition to being attacked in war, no one will assist them in trade. This makes it very hard to acquire money to move up on the economy track in order to have larger booming cities.

There are a very small number of games like this (Virgin Queen, Marr Nostrum being the other two that quickly come to mind) where becoming an earlier leader is a very bad idea.
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Laszlo Varga
Hungary
Budapest
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Thanks Guys, glad to hear your feedback, It sounds like I am wrong with earning prestige so easily however it also seems to be true that everybody has to pay attention and slap immediately the one who tries to get away with prestige points. This is I suppose the bash the leader part of the game. I have no issue with this and this way might be then harder to win. I just need to find some more players to try the game w/o the nations variant too Thanks again for convincing me not to give up on this one!
 
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