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Subject: Bulgars too powerful? rss

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Alexander Rosenthal
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I played a game of this last night, and am at a loss for how the Byzantines are supposed to defend against the Bulgars. They start with a strength of seven and this only grows each time they are selected. I know that they will lose a few from city seiges, but for the most party their army seems unstoppable. Even if you were to devote a Byzantine army to fighting them, it seems like their pure strength would repulse any army sent against them. In addition, anyone who devoted their Byzantine army to fighting Bulgars is essentially stranding them in Greece, given how difficult it is to move.

Between their strength and the fact that they are stranded in Greece, it seems like the Bulgars are more or less destined to take Constantinople by the third turn at least, which (at least in our playing) lead to an unsatisfactory ending. Did anyone else have this experience or is it possible that we were missing something?
 
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Dan Blum
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I suspect you are overlooking the fact that each hit from Constantinople's defenses kills TWO cubes, not one. This makes it possible for the Bulgars to take the city, but difficult.

The other thing to note is that if the Bulgars are growing in strength, it is not to the advantage of anyone but the player in the lead on the Arab VP track (or the player who would be in the lead if they took Constantinople) to move them towards this goal. If the Bulgars are threatining to take the city, other players should be taking the Bulgar actions to move them away from it.
 
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Paul Allwood
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The reason that they're not too powerful in game terms is because you cannot attack Constantinople directly and most people won't select the Bulgars option in such a way that it would leave your opponent to take Constantinople the next turn. The only time that you can set-up Constantinople ready for Bulgar attack is when you are far enough along the Arab victory point track that your opponents cannot overtake you by taking Constantinople! Due to this a quick win is very unusual for experienced players.
 
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Alex Sorbello
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It's usually easy in round 1 to prevent the fall of Constaninople since the bulgars need 2 moves minimum to attack (only 2 actions in a turn) and when the leader picks the first you can pick the second for another attack to score points. (especially in a 2 Player game)
In round 2 and 3 it's a slighty different story but remember that levies can still defend Constantinople, as can a field army but less usefull... Also constantinople does 2 HITS for every 4,5,6 thrown and throw 5 dice resulting in possible 10 hits, should be 5 (50% chance), this does make it possible for a small levy (plus city) to hold off the bulgars. (bulgars max strenght is only 10!)
With a 50% chance of rolling hits (4,5,6 on the die) the bulgars should not be able to take over the city (5 dice, 50%, 2.5 hits equals into 5 hits) the bulgars can only attack with a max of 10 so 5 hits is 5 bulgars remaining vs 5 city for constaninople is a win for the defender. so a small levy (emperor player) should turn the odds in your favor... (note that these are averages...)
Thus the bulgars in fact should not easily take over the city!
even at full strenght AND no lievies from the emperor player to protect they have 50% chance of succeeding since they'll need 6 units remaining to take it over...
 
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Eric Poolman
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I think realizing that Contantinople faces a credibel threat from the Bulgars is part of the game. Just because the Middle East takes up more board space than Greece doesn't mean you can ignore the implications of the struggles in Greece. Don't fall behind in Arab points, and make sure you can respond if someone passes out of the second era in order to start the third with a Bulgar strike at Constantinople (or be the one to do that if no one else has taken precautions.)

Also, when you mention being stranded in Greece, are you remembering that a Byzantine army in Constantinople can move by sea to any city on the Mediterranean of Black Sea?

 
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Donald Wilbur III
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And historically, the Bulgars came very close to taking Constantinople twice.
 
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Corey Butler
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gilesclone wrote:
And historically, the Bulgars came very close to taking Constantinople twice.


Yes. I've seen many comments about how the Bulgars were a bunch of hacks who never had a chance to take the city, but consider the following:

1. On several occasions, Bulgars overran the territory in that area, right up to the city walls.

2. The Byzantines regularly paid tribute to the Bulgars to keep them pacified.

3. Deposed emperor, Justinian II was able to return to power around 700 by leading an army of Bulgars to the city and forcing the acting emperor to capitulate. Some of them were able to sneak into the city and could have opened it up to be sacked.
 
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Kanalja
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'In Russia all roads lead to Moscow. One chooses the road one wishes. Charles XII chose the road through Poltava.'
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After few plays of Byzantium I like the game a lot and have pondered this Constantinople question quite a bit. Sudden death ending in Byzantium would be more rare if player who uses Bulgars to conquer Constantinople would not get points for it.

I have heard quite a few people say that Bulgars taking Constantinople is not to the advantage of anyone but the player in the lead on the Arab victory point track, but I do not think this is correct. This action is, as Dan Blum put it, to the advantage of the player who would be in the lead if they took Constantinople. In other words when there are no big differences on the Arab victory point track, which has often been the case in my experience, taking Constantinople is everyone’s interest: it scores five victory points if I am not mistaken.

This, however, does not mean the game is broken. It actually makes it quite interesting. Maybe players should stay away from Bulgars when they are tied on the Arab victory point track or choose Bulgars action and do nothing with them. Moving Bulgars closer to Constantinople would only benefit players next in turn.

Nevertheless, if players feel Bulgars are too powerful they could try a house rule and score no points when taking Constantinople with a Bulgars. This, the way I see it, would make the Bulgars action less tempting.
 
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Jon Pessano
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lexen wrote:
It's usually easy in round 1 to prevent the fall of Constaninople since the bulgars need 2 moves minimum to attack (only 2 actions in a turn) and when the leader picks the first you can pick the second for another attack to score points. (especially in a 2 Player game)
In round 2 and 3 it's a slighty different story but remember that levies can still defend Constantinople, as can a field army but less usefull... Also constantinople does 2 HITS for every 4,5,6 thrown and throw 5 dice resulting in possible 10 hits, should be 5 (50% chance), this does make it possible for a small levy (plus city) to hold off the bulgars. (bulgars max strenght is only 10!)
With a 50% chance of rolling hits (4,5,6 on the die) the bulgars should not be able to take over the city (5 dice, 50%, 2.5 hits equals into 5 hits) the bulgars can only attack with a max of 10 so 5 hits is 5 bulgars remaining vs 5 city for constaninople is a win for the defender. so a small levy (emperor player) should turn the odds in your favor... (note that these are averages...)
Thus the bulgars in fact should not easily take over the city!
even at full strenght AND no lievies from the emperor player to protect they have 50% chance of succeeding since they'll need 6 units remaining to take it over...


I thought the max strength of the Bulgars is 11. I have 11 orange cubes

Thx
jonpfl
 
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