Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

Praetor» Forums » Variants

Subject: Maximum favor points from a temple rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jesper Jørgensen
Denmark
Glostrup
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Introduction:
Normally, I do not want to change a game based upon one session, but I tried Praetor as a 5p-game during the weekend, where 3 of the players managed to score huge amounts of favor points on the same strategy (the temple of Mercury), so I'm wondering if a cap on how many favor points a temple can give each round.

Proposed Rule:
A temple can at maximum give X favor points per round, where X equals the highest value on the Morale track of all the player boards in play.

Examples:
A: In a game where everyone plays with the A-side X = 16.
B: In a game where a B-side with 22 points is the maximum point of all the favor tracks X = 22.

Can anyone see a flaw in this rule?

Additional information:
The game mentioned above ended with scores of 270+, 250+, 240+, 190+ and 180+. The winner managed to score 48 point in one action!! Though we could have all gone for the same strategy, I think the temple of Mercury has a problem, if everyone feels obligated to chase marble all the time.

Praetor seems like a very good game, but there seems to be a unbalance here
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nuno Fonseca
msg tools
Funny that you propose just something that's been on my mind these last few days after reading so many worries about that tile's omnipresence.
Limiting the exploitation of that tile makes a lot of sense and there are many other games that do that, one that comes to my mind right away is Madeira. It works quite well on that game and I think it might be an adequate and viable way of not letting that temple be the main attraction of the game.
I had thought about sticking to max 16 points but your idea is a nice one too
There's another tile that seems to worry some in terms of unbalance, the labour camp that one has to pay 3 gold to it's owner. For that one I'd reduce it to 2 gold, I think that would reduce the huge advantage for building that tile. I mean, a tile that anyone can use and gives such a huge advantage to it's owner unbalances a game as it would be just a matter of luck of the draw that could dictate the winner and not through careful planning and management of one's resources. And IMHO that doesn't go very well with the feel of this game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
pollo oviparo
msg tools
mbmb
What I would like is an official response from the Author, about these two tiles: Temple of Mercury and Labor camp.
I agree that they are too powerful.
The temple of Mercury gives too much points to the users and Labor camp is a huge advantage for the owner.
In my gaming experience, these two tiles unbalances the game.
I would like to have official response, because I don't like house rules.
Thanks in advance.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrei Novac
Poland
Warszawa
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Hi,

I am afraid I cannot just provide an official response which will make everyone happy. But I will do my best...

Labor Camp - the first thing I noticed is that you consider the Labor Camp which requires gold overpowered. This comes as quite a surprise, since the other one requires a Weapon which is the equivalent of 5.6 Gold (in the mathematical model behind the game). The Labor Camp provides an advantage to the owner as long as the other players are using it. Having an activation cost of only 2 Gold would make it under-powered and quite unattractive, especially to seasoned player who know that if no one used it it won't provide enough return of investment.

However, if you decide to house rule decreasing its activation cost, then you should also remove the other Labor Camp from the game. Otherwise, the difference between the two will be too large to be compensated by different strategies.

Temple of Mercury - this is a bit more complicated. In the early stages of development, this temple was giving points for pairs of resources (as in 2VP for a pair of 1 W + 1 M). After extensive testing, it turns out that the "rsource strategy" was completely under-powered and less experienced player had no chance against experts. Let me develop...

In most worker placement games, accumulating resources and then using them to score big at a certain point is probably the most common strategy. It works in Agricola, in Tzolk'in and so on. This is what I call the "resource strategy".

In Praetor, the Temple of Mercury allows this strategy on purpose. It gives a chance to any new player to develop a sound strategy with a decent chance to win. The lack of this strategy in a game pushes many new gamers away from what the consider heavy games.

In my opinion, there are several ways to counter this strategy. I tried it myself and lost miserably, because I could only use this temple once (used, no longer last on the VP track, lost first player, never got to use it again, left with 5 exp and 1 exp workers, too late to recover).

For those of you who consider this temple too powerful, please try the following variant (which will probably become official after a bit more testing and correcting the mathematical model):
* limit the Temple of Mercury and the Temple of Plutus to a maximum of 20 VP

Thank you,

Andrei

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nuno Fonseca
msg tools
Thank you for such an elaborate explanation of your reasons behind the creation of these 2 tiles. For the labour one I just can't see why someone wouldn't use it just because it gives you less return for the buck. I mean, having the possibility of reusing the retired workers comes only from these tiles so between gaining 3 or 6 resources with one activation most times you'd go for the 6.
The temple is indeed more difficult to have an objective uncontested reasoning behind its value but nevertheless the main issue for me is the fact that this mercury temple has such a huge impact on the rest of the game. And that is not that hard to perceive.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
pieter leys
Belgium
Hemiksem
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Why not change the rules to : when you use the temple for scoring resources , you have to give up the resources you score with.This would allow you to score big one time , or less points if you give up less resources.
Another thought might be that the number of resources you score is linked to the worker you use , a 3-worker can score a maximum of 3 resources per colour .
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jesper Jørgensen
Denmark
Glostrup
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Andrei

Thank you for the elaborate response. I think it covers areas that I will have to consider a bit more, before I decide if I want to follow the proposed variant.

Sadly, it will in all likelihood not be with the same group as I suspect that at least one of the players will not return to Praetor. :(
Though, I know I will :)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Dickinson
United Kingdom
Berkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have been turning this over in my head for a while now. I played this pre-expo as a friend was demoing the game and we had a great deal of fun with it. Praetor was a must purchase.

I then played it at the expo and the temple of mercury completely ruined the game (in my opinion).

In my first game, I am fairly certain we played that 2 VPs were scored for each pair of resources you had. At the expo when the tile came out I was the first to use it. It was an opportunistic move as I had 6 weapons and 6 marble at the time. I scored 12 points, nobody questioned this at all.

I had been consistently first place since round 1, but my strategy was working and I was happy maintaining a healthy 30 point lead (even though this meant going last).

An opponent, in last place (on purpose), had been stacking tonnes of resources. I had no idea why and then he played on the temple and scored 54 points. I was taken aback somewhat. He then declared the correct rule (2 points per resource). He said he had not realised the other 4 players mis-scored the tile earlier.

This placed him 3rd now. Upon seeing this, 2nd place and the previous 3rd place player both went on a resource collection spree and then just used the temple. 60 and 70+ points respectively (hoarding over the next two or three turns).

At the end of the game I lost by 1 points. The player who had been sitting on last place managed to score 150 points in three turns. 2 uses of the temple (a second one came out) and then of course, he had amassed a huge amount of resources for end game scoring.

A huge discussion broke out about the strength of the tile. It makes building monuments worthless and in fact dictates the entire strategy of the game. Being first, I could never use the tiles. Actually I used the second one once immediately after it came out.


This scored me less than 10 points as it was merely to stop the other players using
The tile and was a very detrimental move to me, but the alternative was three players each seeking to score 50 plus points.

This is simply not acceptable in a game the length of Praetor. That a single tile should determine your entire strategy is ridiculous. At best it should be a consideration of an alternative strategy, but with such high points at stake it is the only viable one currently.

This was a really frustrating way to lose a game. It was not the loss itself, but the fact that it simply came down to who used the temple. Being first, this was never an option for me as three players were each greedily eyeing up the huge stacks of VPs on offer. I eventually lost by a mere one or two points (15 additional points being gained for the sheer number of resources the player had amassed and remained unspent).

Final Standings:

1st Player - spent the entire game in last, on purpose, just waiting for the tile to come out.

2nd player - me. Spent the game in first, maintaining what should have been a reasonable first position with a 30 point margin. I did not seek to go the temple route upon realising what it did, as it there three other stockpilers waiting to strike.

3rd - spent the entire game second, scoring about 50 points on the tile to close the gap. Built a tonne of walls, but it became irrelevant in the wake of the temple.

4th - got blocked out of the temple, but one use would have netted over 70 points and placed him first!

5th - never in the race.

In addition to the temple issue is the fact that the game simply cannot cope with the resource hoarding. Players started to using circular tokens to represent 5 of a resource, when that ran out they started using money. It is so frustrating to look around the table and have absolutely no clue what resources each player is holding. The game became a farce and after a 2 hour slog, very unenjoyable.

For a single tile to determine a winner or loser, or dictate the strategy of a 2 hour game is simply unacceptable. This is in fact the definition of a broken element. Arguing that one can employ methods to stop the use of the tile is simply not good enough. It should never come to that. Otherwise you are simply saying that there is no other viable strategy; use the tile or stop others doing so. If that is the case, remove ALL the other tiles / walls as they have simply become redundant.

I really wanted to blog about this game and write a review, as it looks great, I like the way it plays and love the theme. However, in its current form it becomes unplayable (in my opinion).

- I would be interested to know how often in playtesting the resource strategy became an issue / won the game?

- Did you not suffer from lack of resources in playtesting, and if so, what did you do about it?

- the 20 point variant? What is the reason behind this number? Ironically, it's not too far off the number we arrived at during our post game debate.

P.S. I might post my thoughts on the market tile at some point... not as annoying, but still overpowered.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
pollo oviparo
msg tools
mbmb
The same thing has happened to me. In my last game everyone wanted to use the Temple of Mercury, so my friends started hoarding marbles and weapons.
We ran out of resources very quickly. This thing also slow down the game, because no one wants to buy building to preserve the resources.
The need of blocking the temple can't be the answer, I want to play my game and try different strategies and not fight against a single tile.
Furthermore the player that own the Labor Camp, has a huge advantage because if everyone use this tile, he makes a lot of money.
Once again, to not use the tile, can't be the answer because this means that he has an extra retired worker to use every turn, if compared to the other players.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Dickinson
United Kingdom
Berkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Regarding the Labor Camp. I am torn about the power of this, yes it is very desirable at 3 coins a use or 1 x weapon. Do I think it is a game changer? I suppose its power comes from the fact it can be used by ALL players each turn. So, the owner will receive a possible income of between 12 and 24 coins (4 x weapon cubes), however, it is relatively expensive to construct.

BUT, offset that against what it allows the user to do? Any of the resource tiles will give them 6 x resource, the blacksmith will net the 6 x weapons (if they have the wood). So generally, you are far better off using it than not just to stop your opponent getting three gold.

For me, the market is a bigger problem. The fact that when you use it you can conduct unlimited trades. It basically renders wood collection, stone and to some extent marble (and the mines) irrelevant. Being that there are only two tiles of each, these should be fought over.

Why irrelevant?

Well, I have 6 wood to start. Not so amazing I hear you say. Well, a trip to the black smith and now I have 6 weapons. A trip to the market, sell a couple of weapons and I have another 6 wood, which I can change for weapons at the blacksmith and then return back to the market. Bear in mind, I am most likely also visiting the quarry, etc. with spare workers.

I am not just able to transfer, at will, weapons into any resource and/or gold that I need for upkeep. A couple of turns of this and I have a nice production line.

Players will of course stop you doing this and prevent you using the market here and there, so what, I will go to the blacksmith then (and perhaps the quarry, etc).

The market trading should (needs to be) limited. Not just a free for all once you are there.

Again, just my opinion.

The sad thing is, I know if I play again, I will just sit back and collect resources and do nothing else. This means I am not playing the game, but the game is rewarding me for gaming it this way. The fact I will always go first, which in this game is far more damaging to other players than any other game I have played with this mechanic just adds fuel to the fire.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Mercer Island
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
wortsenawl wrote:
The sad thing is, I know if I play again, I will just sit back and collect resources and do nothing else.

Is that true even if you apply the tentative proposed houserule/variant/errata above of limiting each use to 20?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Dickinson
United Kingdom
Berkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If that were the case, no. However, players who are/were eager to exploit the tile are resistant to it. It has been discussed since and obviously the winner is happy with the game as is. It is not my game, so my opinion does not carry the same weight as the game's owner.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bryan Hedgepeth
United States
Charlotte
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree the market is too overpowered, trades should be limited to the pips on the dice I think. If you do eliminate transactions at the market it defeats the purpose of the blacksmith tile and quarry. Even in the rule book the creator recommends removing the market as a starting tile as a variant... Just saying
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.