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Subject: Game consistently ends on turn 3 or 4, someone wins too soon rss

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Alex Kransman
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Our group of friends has played several games now and pretty much every one has ended on turn 3 or 4 due to someone winning by then. We basically never see turn 5 or later in our games. This seems to be a consistent problem. Two basic thoughts we have is that VP accumulation is way too easy, and not reversable; once you get your VPs, they are there forever. Arts and sciences give VPs too easily for the expense (one card, and you don't even need to roll very high to get something). Meanwhile, warfare almost never happens in our games because it requires a lot of cards and mostly only hurts the attacker who has to spend all his cards on fighting. Thus, nobody ever wants to initiate an attack due to it not being cost-effective and instead prefer to concentrate on peaceful pursuits. Our last game was won by HRE who did not fight a single war, instead getting his VP from marriages and patronage, and the final ones needed to win on turn 4 from religion. Any thoughts on this? Has anyone had similar experiences? Is there anything to be done?
 
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Michael Kiefte
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I assume you're referring to the Campaign Game.

Ending on Turn 3 or 4 is not really unusual. It shouldn't happen all the time though.

VQ is meant to be self balancing. If everyone at the board can identify a potential winner, they usually do something to prevent the game from ending. The trick is begin able to identify that player.

Warfare is not as frequent in VQ as in HIS and it wasn't meant to be. It should occur occasionally, and often it's done to take the win at the last moment.

You really need one or two experienced players at the table.
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Max DuBoff
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A few tips:
1. Make France and HRE pay for marriages.
2. Identify who's winning in the Diplomacy phase and talk to other powers to make sure they know it too. If you can take the winning power down a peg, go to ear (coalitions work best).
3. Don't let the same power get cool stuff (e.g. circumnavigation, Observatory and Cryptography science bonuses) every time; don't be reckless, but compete with them if you can (including by making them worry about other stuff).

As Michael said, the game is self-balancing, so if you see someone ahead, do something about it. Cheers!
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Marty Sample
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MD1616 wrote:
A few tips:
1. Make France and HRE pay for marriages.
2. Identify who's winning in the Diplomacy phase and talk to other powers to make sure they know it too. If you can take the winning power down a peg, go to ear (coalitions work best).
3. Don't let the same power get cool stuff (e.g. circumnavigation, Observatory and Cryptography science bonuses) every time; don't be reckless, but compete with them if you can (including by making them worry about other stuff).

As Michael said, the game is self-balancing, so if you see someone ahead, do something about it. Cheers!


4. If someone with the last name of Kiefte is at the table, attack them.

Like Here I Stand, the game requires all players to be aware of the game state and adjust accordingly. Is there a wide gap in skill levels ? One of my best board experiences was a game of HiS with 5 other pretty experienced players. It went the distance, with every single player at one point at or above 25 VP, only be to reeled in by the rest of the table.
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John Nestor
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I have completed perhaps 12 or so VQ games. One ended on turn 7, a couple of others have reached turn 6, most have reached turn 5 and a about 4 or 5 have ended on turn 4 or earlier. My first VQ game ended on turn 2.

As has been stated the game is meant to be self balancing. That being said, experience is necessary to properly evaluate the position and who is truly ahead. Just looking at the VP scoreboard is insufficient by itself because one has to properly account for POTENTIAL VPs in the near future, hidden VPs in the case of the HRE and board position. Auto military and auto religious victories are not uncommon and can occur very suddenly seemingly out of the blue if players are not alert to the possibilities.

Furthermore, the game is asymmetric. France and the Ottomans are very front loaded and have the most VP potential in the first 3 turns. When the game ends on turn 4 or earlier, these two powers are the most likely winners. In contrast, Spain and the Protestants benefit the most when the game goes 6 or 7 turns.
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Kurt Keckley
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Solmyr77 wrote:
Our last game was won by HRE who did not fight a single war, instead getting his VP from marriages and patronage, and the final ones needed to win on turn 4 from religion.


This is a typical HRE win. I always tell new players it's easy to win as HRE but it can be quite boring. The counter is to simply not marry an HRE princess.

What does the Spanish player do if not make war to gain keys?
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Carsten Jorgensen
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p38_Lightning wrote:
Solmyr77 wrote:
Our last game was won by HRE who did not fight a single war, instead getting his VP from marriages and patronage, and the final ones needed to win on turn 4 from religion.


This is a typical HRE win. I always tell new players it's easy to win as HRE but it can be quite boring. The counter is to simply not marry an HRE princess.

What does the Spanish player do if not make war to gain keys?


Patron for one thing. Then prepare for Dutch Revolt and Enterprise of England (so this include counter converting in Netherlands). The longer the game lasts, the more chances to see those cards. All while trying to prevent Ottoman from gaining too much ground and VP - and building some protection in the new world.
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Morten K
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Randor20 wrote:
p38_Lightning wrote:
Solmyr77 wrote:
Our last game was won by HRE who did not fight a single war, instead getting his VP from marriages and patronage, and the final ones needed to win on turn 4 from religion.


This is a typical HRE win. I always tell new players it's easy to win as HRE but it can be quite boring. The counter is to simply not marry an HRE princess.

What does the Spanish player do if not make war to gain keys?


Patron for one thing. Then prepare for Dutch Revolt and Enterprise of England (so this include counter converting in Netherlands). The longer the game lasts, the more chances to see those cards. All while trying to prevent Ottoman from gaining too much ground and VP - and building some protection in the new world.


And be good at negotiating.
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Eero Miettinen
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nestorjj wrote:

As has been stated the game is meant to be self balancing. That being said, experience is necessary to properly evaluate the position and who is truly ahead. Just looking at the VP scoreboard is insufficient by itself because one has to properly account for POTENTIAL VPs in the near future, hidden VPs in the case of the HRE and board position. Auto military and auto religious victories are not uncommon and can occur very suddenly seemingly out of the blue if players are not alert to the possibilities.


I am curious about the self balancing thing. It has been mentioned before, but I am not sure I understand what it means in practice. You can get a lot of "free" points that can't be taken away by rolling well in the game and 5+ points from those is quite possible during a round. More for some of course. So, most powers have easily around 20 points when fourth round comes around. The only thing that can be used to take away points from others is waging wars, but game's mechanisms actively discourage that. Wars are difficult and hugely expensive (adding to this that there are virtually no armies on rounds 1 and 2 unless you put all your efforts to that) and usually gives more benefit to others than the ones who are actively battling.

nestorjj wrote:

Furthermore, the game is asymmetric. France and the Ottomans are very front loaded and have the most VP potential in the first 3 turns. When the game ends on turn 4 or earlier, these two powers are the most likely winners. In contrast, Spain and the Protestants benefit the most when the game goes 6 or 7 turns.


For Ottomans I think this is not really true particularly if they manage to build the Suez canal. They can get points also later.
 
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Morten K
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Conversions can also quickly change the score.
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Alex Kransman
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p38_Lightning wrote:
Solmyr77 wrote:
Our last game was won by HRE who did not fight a single war, instead getting his VP from marriages and patronage, and the final ones needed to win on turn 4 from religion.


This is a typical HRE win. I always tell new players it's easy to win as HRE but it can be quite boring. The counter is to simply not marry an HRE princess.


The HRE princesses were married in turn 3, when it was nowhere close to winning. Even at the start of turn 4 the HRE did not remotely look like it would win. But during the turn, pretty much nobody was fighting because that would only hurt them more than potential enemies, and the HRE won via some good rolls on arts and sciences, the Polish election and the 1 VP treasure which Heinszlein robbed from the Portuguese against all odds.

I guess our main problem seems to be that nobody feels like starting a war during the diplomatic phase, because there's no certainty that it would have any effect and you'd have to spend everything you have on fighting it. Then during and at the end of the turn someone gains a huge amount of VP and wins by reaching 25. And all of us are fairly experienced players, so it's not a question of being newbies, either.
 
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Morten K
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Perhaps not newbies but allowing the HRE to marry off like that sounds like a beginner's mistake.
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Michael Kiefte
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eerom wrote:

I am curious about the self balancing thing. It has been mentioned before, but I am not sure I understand what it means in practice. You can get a lot of "free" points that can't be taken away by rolling well in the game and 5+ points from those is quite possible during a round. More for some of course. So, most powers have easily around 20 points when fourth round comes around. The only thing that can be used to take away points from others is waging wars, but game's mechanisms actively discourage that. Wars are difficult and hugely expensive (adding to this that there are virtually no armies on rounds 1 and 2 unless you put all your efforts to that) and usually gives more benefit to others than the ones who are actively battling.


You're correct in that the primary way to take VPs away from someone is war. I'm not sure why you say that the mechanisms discourage it though. The HRE and Ottomans can declare war in the middle of the Turn which is a bit of a shock to an enemy. Spain and France are almost always at war with the Protestants and the Protestants have another way to take keys away than war. In addition, England and Spain can go to war in the middle of the Turn.

When I play, a leader that is threatening to end the game is often taken down in an attack. That is why it's in fact dangerous to take the lead early -- you may never recover.

If France is ahead, the Catholic League is devastating and it's unlikely that France will recover. Otherwise, they just get taken apart by the HRE. If England is ahead, Spain should be focusing on English Catholic Rebellions and religious conversions. If the Protestants are ahead, they're pretty much doomed in the face of a concerted effort by France and Spain. If the Ottomans are ahead, Spain and the HRE should attack them. If Spain is ahead, they're toast--they get eaten alive by just about everyone. That leaves the HRE -- they're a little harder to deal with and it's pretty much up to the Ottomans. But in games with a lot of experienced players, it's much harder to win with the HRE since everyone assumes that they've chosen the optimal religious stance at any given moment.

These are just examples and it depends on the situation. With experienced players, someone wins when there are two or more players in the lead. That's much more difficult to deal with.
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Lynn Carrington
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I find it interesting that you say your table is almost never at war. Our table is always at War. England Takes Scotland by Force. France is very weak militarily and can't survive both an outside power and an inside power. Everyone should try to carve something from Spain.
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Michael Kiefte
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lcarrington1 wrote:
I find it interesting that you say your table is almost never at war. Our table is always at War. England Takes Scotland by Force.


The game really punishes England for doing that. As soon as Scotland diplomacy resolves, England loses Edinburgh again and they're back to square one.
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Max DuBoff
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mkiefte wrote:
lcarrington1 wrote:
I find it interesting that you say your table is almost never at war. Our table is always at War. England Takes Scotland by Force.


The game really punishes England for doing that. As soon as Scotland diplomacy resolves, England loses Edinburgh again and they're back to square one.


There is a bonus for controlling Edin, though, so it's not so bad.
 
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Lynn Carrington
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If you are talking about the "Scottish Lords Rebel" card. It doesn't mean that England looses Scotland. It is a only a possibility.
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Michael Kiefte
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lcarrington1 wrote:
If you are talking about the "Scottish Lords Rebel" card. It doesn't mean that England looses Scotland. It is a only a possibility.


There are three powers vying for control of Scotland. It's a strong possibility. In addition, the Protestants get +2 if three spaces are Protestant and the French get +2 if three spaces are Catholic. It's quite difficult to get exactly two spaces Catholic/Protestant.
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Lynn Carrington
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Where do you find that in the rules? I've never seen that before?
 
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Marco Poutré
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lcarrington1 wrote:
Where do you find that in the rules? I've never seen that before?


I know for sure it's on the Player Aid where you keep track of the Influence markers. Quite easy to miss, I agree.
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Chris Trimmer
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It's under 24.6 step 2
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Lynn Carrington
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Wow! I've probably played at least 16 games of VQ and my group has never noticed that rule. Thanks for Sharing. I will have 6 players at my table on Sunday so I will make sure that gets enforced.
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Eero Miettinen
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lcarrington1 wrote:
I find it interesting that you say your table is almost never at war. Our table is always at War. England Takes Scotland by Force. France is very weak militarily and can't survive both an outside power and an inside power. Everyone should try to carve something from Spain.


Generally everybody just feels that points are better used elsewhere.

Feeling in our games is that war is simply too expensive and slow compared to possible gain. Firsts of all declaring war costs. Second, building troops is expensive and takes time. Third, entering enemy territory is also expensive, practically 2 points per step. Fourth, laying sieges is expensive as well and you need a fairly big army if you want to be sure to succeed. Fifth, others will take advantage of you going to war. There are of course some natural wars like Ottoman - Spain or Ottoman - HRE, Scottish wars and Protestants versus Spain/France, but wars are rare outside those natural conflicts.

You generally don't gain much by going to war so why bother? Most gains from your wars will go indirectly to others.
 
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Chris Trimmer
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There's games though where your VP's just aren't going to matter so autowin by keys or another type become your best option.
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Eero Miettinen
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TrimChris wrote:
There's games though where your VP's just aren't going to matter so autowin by keys or another type become your best option.


I see your point, but we are talking about turns 3 and 4 here. Getting an autowin from keys at that point seems unlikely to me unless others totally ignore you or you get very lucky.
 
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