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Subject: Coral Barrier scoring question rss

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Robert Richardson
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Hello!

This has been a point of contention among my friends for a long time now. The Coral Barrier states: "20 points minus the number of affiliated allies you have." Some take this to mean the actual flat number of ally cards in front of you. So, if I end the game with seven lords and have seven allies in front of me, then this is a 13 point location. Some find this too powerful because it will always be AT LEAST 13 points, while other locations can potentially score more, but with more "work" required.

The alternative explanation is to add up the points of your affiliated allies, which could potentially tank the location's score completely, pretty much forcing someone to run a "cheap ally" strategy (seven 1s = 13 points for this location).

Anyway, if someone could settle this--please do!

Also, what is up with Black Smokers? Essentially lets you probe the deck or grab an already revealed location (by not taking Black Smokers). Seems ridiculously overpowered. We've removed it from game.

Thanks!
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Aernout Casier
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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You are actually forgetting the allies you affiliate at the end of the game (p. 10). It is not the best location in the deck, I agree, but it will usually grant you sth like 10 points without having to actively change your strategy. As a second location, I don't mind it. As a first, I usually pass.
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Désirée Greverud
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Stockholm
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richiebob wrote:


Also, what is up with Black Smokers? Essentially lets you probe the deck or grab an already revealed location (by not taking Black Smokers). Seems ridiculously overpowered. We've removed it from game.

Thanks!

Ugh. This again. No. Just no.

Let me quote myself from the last time this came up:
It's not overpowered.
I can't even agree that it is "unbalanced" since it doesn't give you anything more than you might have gotten randomly anyway.

Let's say, at any given moment, there is 1 best location for a player to draw. At the beginning of the game, when you take your first location, you have anywhere from a 1-in-20 (5%) to 1-in-5 (20%) chance of drawing that location (depending on if you take 1, 2 3 or 4 tiles). With Black Smokers, you actually have a 1 in 10 (10%) to 2 in 5 (40%) chance.

Say you draw 4 to get the best odds. If you get your best choice among those 4, there is now a 3 in 20 chance (15%) that some one else's best location is freely available to them and if it isn't they have a 1 in 16 chance of drawing it (6.25%) doubled to 12.5% with Black Smokers still in the deck. So if the next person also draws 4, they have an even better 50% chance of getting either their best choice or Smokers.

If you draw Smokers out of your 4, you search through the remaining 16, take your best, put Black Smokers back in the pile and shuffle. The next person has the exact same chance to draw either Black Smokers or their best location (1-in-8, up to 1-in-2) as they did if you drew your best but not Black Smokers.

If you draw both Black Smokers and your best choice, you take your best one and Smokers is now available for the next person, who will take it if their best choice isn't already among the other 2 revealed. This isn't unbalanced for you though since you randomly drew your best location anyway. In fact, this is a fun situation as you must now choose if you should use Black Smokers to take a sub optimal location in order to deny it as a free pick for the next player.

Ultimately, it is of no extra benefit to any one player and doesn't give the person who does draw it anything more than they could have got randomly anyway. In no way whatsoever is this unbalanced. Since it never actually leaves the stack, it simply doubles the chance for everyone of drawing the location tile they want and in fact offers better odds for the people who draw it later than for people who get it early.
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