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Subject: First game OK, but the last die roll ... rss

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Christopher Dearlove
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SoRCon 11 23-25 Feb 2018 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk
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A four player (couldn't make six) 1517 game. Lasted four turns, which we had agreed, but finished anyway with two 25 point scores. One player had played before. Won by England, who apart from taking Antwerp concentrated on Edward VI and making England Protestant. Second was Protestant, who converted the whole of Germany, and a bit of France, but the League formed only at the end of the game. Third, France, who took a couple of neutral keys, built a lot of chateaux, and did very well on the exploration front. The Ottoman was fourth, he took Vienna, but lost it again. The Papacy and the Hapsburgs never really got their collective act together (despite being the one who had played before).

Not a bad game, but definitely marred for me by the last die roll. I lost by 1 VP (I was France) but on the last die roll of the game a 7 on 2D6 would have given me 3 VPs for circumnavigation. As you can see I didn't make it. But the fault isn't that I rolled low, it's that one die roll makes well over 10% of all your points in the game. And I wouldn't accept a historical argument either. I can't recall who finished the first circumnavigation of the world (no, not Magellan) and more important than whether the Turks took Vienna? I don't think so.
 
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Philip Thomas
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The 3 VPs is a big thing. If you get it early in the game it is probably 4 VPs (1 for Pacific Strait). Of course, getting it early in the game is also known as 'painting a target on your back'. The card which allows you to drawn two more cards if you have the Circumnaviagation VPs is another bonus.

That said, apart from that card it has no further game effect. The fall of Vienna has ongoing effects in card revenue and military victory implications: if the Hapsburgs sue for peace then that is 3 VPs to the Sultan. So I would say Vienna is more important

If you want to moan at point swings from dice rolls in this game, look at the English pregnancy chart!!
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Philip Thomas wrote:
If you want to moan at point swings from dice rolls in this game, look at the English pregnancy chart!!


Good point, but I didn't. As a first game I skipped the details that didn't directly affect me. Of course I picked up some of them during play, but the fine details of, for example, debating I would have to read up on.

And of course that it was the final roll of the game emphasised it.
 
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Greg Forster
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Actually, I think the exploration rolls are much more arbitrary than the pregnancy rolls. The English player can keep trying again, and success gets more likely every time, whereas the exploration rolls get less likely to succeed as the game goes on rather than more likely - since other players are busy gobbling up the exploration points.
 
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Chris Farrell
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I'm not totally enamored of the New World stuff either. Whenever I explain the game, I usually just explain the New World as a slot machine ... you put 2CP in, some number of VPs come out. For the Hapsburgs, it'll be more, the English, not so many.

Where the New World can become a bit of a crap shoot is if the Hapsburgs ignore it or get very bad luck. Due to their vastly superior mix of explorers and conquistadors, and their much larger supply of CPs, the Hapsburgs are overwhelming favorites to pick up all the big points and most of the points in general (which is good, because they don't have any other easy source of VPs like the Ottoman's Piracy, the French Chateux, or the English offspring), while the French and to a lesser extent the English pick up a few leftovers.

But if the Hapsburgs get obsessesed by Europe and ingore exploration, or get screwed by lousy explorer draws (I once saw the -1 guy twice and the zero guy twice on my first four) or bad dice, it's can be frustrating. For the non-Hapsburgs, because the French and English are getting free points they really aren't entitled to. For the Hapsburgs, becuase there is nothing you can do about it. All you can do is pay your CP and take your chances.

Overall, I think the system basically works, and at least it isn't time-consuming. But it can definitely seem a bit arbitrary at times.
 
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Paul Bravey
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In the 2 of the 4 games I've played the French have circumnavigated on turn one. In the one game where I'm playing the French I made do with just finding the Amazon with Roberval and there's still no circumnavigation after 7 turns - on turn 3, 5 and 6 the game could have ended on a successful new world roll and I've been the target of 3 Search For Cibola!
It's a lottery, but ignore the New World at your peril.
 
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Greg Forster
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As a variant rule, you could say that an explorer of -1 or 0 skill can be removed from the game after a voyage that fails to discover - on grounds that the crown isn't interested in continuing to subsidize failure. That would help prevent catastrophic failure from bad luck.
 
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