Re: What if the bank runs out of crystals and other question
We played a 4-player game of BMC this evening, it was the first playing for all of us.
What we saw happen in our game was that everyone hoarded crystals and did not visit the obelisk, in an attempt to make the trip the obelisk worthwhile by gathering enough crystals (and yellow cards) to make multiple offerings.
We usually like to visit the obelisk as early as possible to get the cheap seats (7 and 8's).
As a result, we eventually ran out of crystals to give out and attempted to come up with a suitable answer to our situation. We decided to count the additional crystals on paper, AND encourage people to make their offerings in a sporting spirit.
Yes, there are infinite crystals in the game - you use a substitute if you run out.
This resulted in people (including me) making 3 offerings in one turn, and then with about 6-7 crystals still left it was just one more turn before someone got a few more crystals and ended the game.
We all enjoyed the game, but it bothered me that there didn't seem to be much in the rules/design to prevent or discourage people from hoarding crystals and then making 3 or 4 offerings in one swoop. Sure, the cost of offering increases, but it seems by a negligible amount each rung of the obelisk ladder. It felt like we were earning a comfortable number of crystals, and no one really cared about having to pay a few more crystals for going to a higher rung. We actually thought the gradation on the obelisk should be steeper.
Our games end up very close, so the crystal or two saved by getting the cheap slots at the obelisk can pay off. You've got to have the Pillar cards to make multiple offerings. We generally go for an offering if it's cheap and we think someone else is about to offer, or if we're in transit and having nothing better to do with our turn.