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Subject: Behold the Power of Small Market Stand rss

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Justin Hwang
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Davis
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One of the most coveted cards in the early-mid game must be the small market stand. 3 extra spaces give you so much more freedom in managing wares. But how far will you go to get the small stand? Last night, I paid 8 gold for three cards.

My wife and I play this quite often and one of the least used cards is Portugese Merchant (or at least that's what I think the name is.) You flip the top three cards from the draw deck and put the cards to the auction.

My wife uses this rare but not so valuable card for some reason and one of the card she flips is the small market stand. Neither of us had the small market stand and the bid easily goes up to 6 and 7 gold. And my 8 gold bid seals the deal. This and 6 gold to use the market stand puts me behind her quite a bit. But now I can stack up wares and wait for the right ware cards. Though this puts me vulnerable to parrots and elephants.

After a few rounds, I catch her up monitarily and she slows down due to lack of small stand. In the late game, she manages to play a small market stand but the timing is a little too late.

As a final move, I draw, buy, sell, and end the turn to get 1 gold for using only three action points. This puts me to exactly 60 gold.

Now she has one final turn to beat me. She has 57 gold, three wares on her stand, and one card in her hand. She only needs one sell to beat me. She draws and she decides not to keep the card. She draws again and decides not to keep the card, which was 3 ware card. She draws again... and she laments for her lost opportunity. It was a same ware card as the one she just discarded.

As usual in the final turn, she fails to reach 60 gold and I win.

It seems that unless the opponent prepares to overtake you in the final turn, it is very unlikely that you'll lose after reaching 60 gold first.
 
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Matt Smith
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Troy
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I think the general concensus on this site is the small market stand is not worth the cost. Personally, I'm not convinced of that. However, I have had good luck just using the large stand, and using utility cards to manipulate the wares on my stand. For example, there is a utility card that allows you to return a ware to the supply and take a card. That leaves you with only two wares on your stand, allowing room to buy three more wares without paying the 2 gold penalty. I've found that to be a great combination.
 
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Huzonfirst
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Justin, it always amazes me how much different playing styles affect how a game is played. I'll usually buy a 6-gold Small Market Stand if it shows up early in the game, but I'll almost always avoid it if it pops up mid-game or later. 6 gold is just a lot of money to try to make up (not to mention that your opponent might gain the same benefit immediately for only 3 gold). And I can't even imagine coming out ahead after a 14 gold deficit. Obviously, you and your wife play a very different style than I do with my opponents. Just as obviously, though, it works for you.

As a further illustration of our differing styles, if I had 3 wares at game end and only had to make one sale in order to win, I'd really like my chances. I'd almost certainly have three utility cards in play and that combined with a draw would make me very confident. In fact, opposite an opponent in that situation, I'd probably stop at 59 coins and take my chances in beating or tying her next turn. As I said, very different playing styles.
 
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