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Subject: DWTK PBEM/PBF Game #1 -- The King is Dead - Strategy Tips rss

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David Kilpatrick
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The following are attributed extracts in the order they occurred during the game. Will edit the post to add more as they appear! I hope re-posting them like this won't discourage players from sharing them. They are greatly appreciated by at least one new chum

Duels

[Robert] A quick note for the new folks on duels: there's lots of opportunity for rerolls when picking an opponent. Ambassador? Reroll. Neutral Female? Reroll. Judge, Magistrate, or Archbishop? Reroll. Abroad, Hiding, or Imprisoned? Reroll.

Prestige Table rolling

[Robert] Another note for the new folks:

Inclement wrote:
Literary Pursuits: Inclement previously rolled 1d6 + 1d6 = (1) + (3) = 4

4 = "Very Droll, No Effect" (emphasis added) - That "No Effect" is a misnomer as there is potentially a very serious effect: per note #2 of the Prestige Table Results Notes, "No Effect" has the effect "The player may not perform any more activities this turn." -- so if you are rolling on a table with this possible result consider saving it for your last activity!

Results of "Duel" and "Scandal" also end activities for the turn (Notes #5 and #6 respectively).

Here are the tables with potential "No Effect" results:

Prestige Table (Roll)
Literary Pursuits (4)
Crafting (6)
Sporting (7)
Smuggling* (5)

*Smuggling (along with Privateering, Art Collecting, Spying, Philanthropy, Witchcraft, Swashbuckling, Scholarship, and Musical Composition)) is an expansion/variant table included in the downloadable charts in the DWTK files section.

Errata

[Robert] The errata and some variants come from the General magazine. There is an online archive here: https://archive.org/details/general_magazine

Vol.19, No.1 -- https://archive.org/details/GeneralMagazineVol19i1 (p.39-41), design notes, errata

Vol.20, No.3 -- https://archive.org/details/GeneralMagazineVol20i3 (p.41-43, p.46), new prestige tables, bribery rules, court the Monarch's favor, Q&A

Vol.22, No.1 -- https://archive.org/details/GeneralMagazineVol22i1 (p.17-18) additional errata, fugitive rules

Some of the articles have been transcribed into text files available here:
http://grognard.com/ArticlePageList.aspx?GameID=d755#pageTop
"variant event cards" -- broken link
"Q&A" -- text from Vol.20, No.3, p.46
"variant" -- text from Vol.22, No.1, p.18 ("Fugitive" section)
"errata" -- text from Vol.22, No. 1, p.17-18
"rules v1.1" -- link back to BGG files section

The zip file (Rewritten rules and charts to include Errata) in the files section has all of the above errata already included in the rules pdf; but the tables are hit and miss.

[Tom] Yes, there was errata to the original Prestige Tables:

Sporting Table: Everything was changed except the prohibition against Female PC's
2 Damage Property: Accused of Wrongdoing
3 Accused of Cheating: Lose 2 PP & Fight a Duel
4 Accuse Someone of Cheating: Fight a Deal
5 Poor Sportsmanship: Lose 5 PP
6 Bad Loser, Laughed At: Lose 2 PP
7 Graceful Loser: No Effect
8 Skillful Hunter: Gain 3 PP
9 Winner: Gain 10 PP
10 Sportsman: Gain 10 PP
11 Champion: Gain 15 PP
12 Master Hunter: Gain 20 PP

All DRM's remain in order

Gambling Table:
4 Cheated: Lose 3 IP & Fight a Duel
5 Cheat: Gain 2 IP & Fight a Duel
6 Break Even: Gain 1 IP

All DRM's remain in order

Business Table
3 Bankruptcy: Lose Half IP and PP -1
4 Creditors Seize Property: Lose 10 PP & Half IP -1
5 Heavy Losses: Lose 5 PP and 5 IP -1
6 Poor Investment: Lose 2 IP -1
7 No Profit: Gain 3 IP 0

DRM's altered as noted for rolls 3 to 7
All other DRM's remain in order

Prestige Table Notes:
[At bottom of notes]
* +1 DRM Costs (may be purchased) at 2 IP

Henchmen

[Tom] You're right, I shouldn't comment. My personal practice is to attempt two types of henchmen. One with a high dueling characteristic, ability is not important. Two with a high abiity, dueling not important. This allows one the best of all worlds. Sometimes ability is important, and obviously a man who can kill an enemy as easily as look at him is also useful.

[Robert] Last question first as it's the easiest: yes, you can have multiple henchmen. As for the strategy, it's a two-edged sword with multiple factors in play. A henchman is indeed primarily a fall-guy and cats-paw for your PC; so getting a "shield" in place early is excellent. However that makes him a target for recruitment by treachery as it has bonus of discarding the henchman card (unless married). A PC never fights duels with his own henchmen so a highly skilled duelist henchman is a duelist he won't have to face. An unmarried, female PC with no henchmen gets a free pass on duel results; but with a spouse or a henchman in the faction may find her faction embroiled in an unwanted duel.

Intriguing cards

[Tom] As for intriguing a player's cards, it is perhaps best to wait until that character has as few Event Cards in their hand as possible. This increases the possibility of a bad card being intrigued and having an effect. Other than that, what occurs is the occasional disposal of a useful card that might, or might not, be played to your benefit should you be able to make a deal in a time of crisis. But, if that card has been disposed of due to Intrigue, no one can benefit. There are only so many Alibi, Informer, and Evidence cards in the deck. Every time one is disposed of, it reduces the possibility such a card could be used to benefit you or an ally.

For instance, We know I had 10 cards in my hand before the last card was Intrigued. At least one was a Down With The King Card. We now know one was an Evidence Card. From what was known, 1 card in 10 was bad. The percentage of getting a bad card in the draw, providing me a rough time, was only 10%.

Better to wait until I had only 6 cards when the probability was 17% (more or less), nearly double the percentage.

[Robert] This can be tough call. Intrigue is mostly a game of attrition -- slowly whittling away at your opponent's hand; occasionally hitting an illegal card that can send the PC to trial. There are very few useless cards, albeit some are very circumstantial in their utility so any card discarded is painful. Rolling on a prestige table can have severe negative consequences; but intrigue doesn't -- at least not directly. There is also a lot of chaos in this game: improvements to one's own faction can be very temporary.

Keeping your eye on the ball

[Robert] One of the things I have seen that makes the game go long is when players aren't keeping track of the relative strengths of the factions and the reigning monarch. Often the players are stronger than they realize and when a usurpation finally occurs it is a very lopsided affair: something like 100 points vs. 10 points. While a sure thing is nice, there is no need to draw the game out like that.

Usurpation is the key event in the game as all paths to victory require it.

Turn 3 is still early in the game, but here are the standings at the close of the Court Ball on Turn 3:

Monarch: 188 +2dx3 (King) +1dx2 (Queen)
Sir Jeffrey: 13
Countess Elizabeth: 9
Knight William: 6
Knight Simon: 13
Sir Malcolm: 4
Lady Deborah: 6

At that time, no one had a FARC so Thomas' 1d/2 could be added to each of the players' values vs. the Monarch and 4 subtracted from the Monarch's value.

Following the Marquise Elizabeth's turn, the standings are now:

Monarch: 178 +2dx3 (King) +1dx2 (Queen)
Sir Jeffrey: 14 +1dx2 (Philip)
Marquise Elizabeth: 11
Knight William: 6
Knight Simon: 13
Sir Malcolm: 4
Lady Deborah: 6

The two main things that drive down the neutral Monarch's value are unresolved political problems and recruiting away the NCs and NRCs into the player factions.

The gap between the Monarch's value and a player's faction value is closed (hopefully overcome!) by the use of support cards; so with a current gap of about 200 points that would require about "dice x 57" in support. As there is only a base of 63 support dice (up to 103 with the right combination of offices/characters or crown events/political problems) we have some work to do!

Note that these "relative standings" of usurpation strength don't directly correlate to a "who is winning" -- this strength is certainly one of the yardsticks to measure it by, but IP, PP, cards held, etc. all play a part in fostering a faction's growth so this early in the game we are still roughly equal as a turn or two can make a large difference at this point.
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