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Princeps Machiavelli» Forums » Rules

Subject: Conspiracies and other questions rss

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Mikko Saari
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The rules are nice, except they are a bit muddy and don't have a single example to set things straight. That leaves some questions. I also think it's unfortunate that the cards are almost completely devoted to flavor text instead of explaining what they actually do. For example, it would be nice, if the Fortress card mentioned the +2 strength after Conspiracy...

So, how do the conspiracies work? You play Conspiracy with a Prince or a Councillor, attack with strength of 1 (or 2, if you're attacking a Noble territory). Defender can use armies to defend. If you win, Conspiracy is placed on the territory, which is then placed in the middle. Is that correct?

What happens when someone plays Punishment? Can anybody play Punishment to remove the Conspiracy and claim the territory, or only the earlier owner?

If a player has Ecclesiastic or Hereditary Principality, is he completely immune to Conspiracies (except in his Noble territories and when Machiavelli is used)? I suppose so, as there's no way to increase to power of a Conspiracy, as far as I can tell.

Is there a particular reason why Ecclesiastic Principalities are so much better than Hereditary or Popular Principalities? Seems a bit unfair: one player will have better benefits without any drawbacks.

Well, I'll hopefully get to play the game this weekend (if I get an answer to the Punishment question), maybe it'll make sense then. Right now I'm a bit curious - can this actually work? It seems like there are very few Councillors and Captains to actually get something done.

How long is a five-round game?
 
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Mikko Saari
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There's an example on the web site, which helps a bit. Still, the Conspiracy thing is complicated. What does the "Those receiving the conspiracy can defend with +1 strength." mean?
 
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Chris Dorrell
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Mikko,

Like you I haven't played this yet but it has potential I think and the design and ideas merit some effort in untangling the rules.

I agree with your assessment of the rules they are not clear on a number of issues. You will have seen the thread I posted containing questions which Alesia Games answered very quickly.

I also agree that having flavour text take up so much of the card is a waste.

Your description of Conspiracy play looks right to me as it's pretty much Example 3 on the website.

The Punishment card sounds like a card you can play from hand to just stop Conspiracy dead but that can't be right. It must have to be laying face down in the "attacked" Territory. What does "It can be used on any of one's own territories, without having to border it." mean I wonder?

I'm glad you raised the question of the Ecclesiastic Principality (EP). This seems way out of balance as you say. Like you, I cannot see how the EP player can be defeated by Conspiracy except in Noble Territories. A third of the territories are Noble but even so it seems a huge advantage. Note that Hereditary Principality has +1 against Conspiracy and Popular Principality has +1 against Revolts so they have half the EP benefit. It's the Noble Prince that is worst off I think. His additional army card benefit could easily be overtaken by the luck of the cards during the game, whereas the other advantages are permanent.

Additional Questions:-
1. How many cards do you draw on the first turn of the game? You are dealt 3 Territory cards but these are not yet on the table. I assume that you therefore just draw the +4 cards giving you 10 cards to start: The Prince, 3 x Territory, 1 Citizen Army, 1 Mercenary Army and the 4 draw cards. (+1 if you're a Noble Principality)

2. Are Territory cards played face down initially and then all players turn them over simultaneously? Otherwise the first (correction to original post - I meant to say "last") player in the round has the advantage of seeing the border icons and territory types of other players. It looks like this would be a particular advantage when playing the first turn of the game.

All these questions and we haven't even played yet!

I think Alesia Games are going to need a PM FAQ on their website don't you?

Chris
 
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Mikko Saari
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Chris Dorrell wrote:
The Punishment card sounds like a card you can play from hand to just stop Conspiracy dead but that can't be right. It must have to be laying face down in the "attacked" Territory. What does "It can be used on any of one's own territories, without having to border it." mean I wonder?

That would be simple, but not appropriate in this game. The rule quote means - I think - that the Prince or Councillor can play the Punishment card in any territory - it doesn't have to be a territory that borders with with the territory suffering from Conspiracy.

Quote:
1. How many cards do you draw on the first turn of the game? You are dealt 3 Territory cards but these are not yet on the table. I assume that you therefore just draw the +4 cards giving you 10 cards to start:

Yes, your assumption seems logical. That's the way I read it too.

Quote:
2. Are Territory cards played face down initially and then all players turn them over simultaneously?

Well, the rules say they are face up (c. 3) and face down (c. 5.14) I'd still play them face up.

Quote:
Otherwise the first player in the round has the advantage of seeing the border icons and territory types of other players. It looks like this would be a particular advantage when playing the first turn of the game.

I don't think the first player advantage is that big. It's balanced by the fact that in the preparations phase, the first player knows nothing. The last player is in best position, it seems, as he can see what the others have done. Sure, first player gets to act first, but he has to prepare blind.

Quote:
I think Alesia Games are going to need a PM FAQ on their website don't you?

I'd prefer a completely new set of rules. What they really need is some thorough blind playtesting - I'm pretty sure there was none (or if there was, I suggest getting better playtesters).
 
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Chris Dorrell
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Mikko,

First of all huge apologies - in my comments on territory cards I meant to say the LAST player in the round has the advantage.blush I'll add a comment to my original post. In fact I suggest that the first player has the disadvantage and then subsequent players have an increasing advantage as more territories are revealed. How this is played may come down to personal preference.

Punishment Card - I agree. I think what we're coming to is that you play the Punishment Card in a territory with the Prince or Councillor and then you can reveal it to stop a Conspiracy in an adjacent or non adjacent territory. Presumably the Conspiracy is discarded. Does the conspiring Prince or Councillor get banished back to the player's hand? If not where is the punishment as the Prince (say) could go on to lead an attack if an army is present?

Rules - I also agree that it may come down to a rewrite. That would not be unusual for a first publication which PM is, as I understand it. Only Borja at Alesia Games can confirm the amount of play testing. You are right, blind testing is important as having the game explained and being lead by the designer allows the sort of issues we're raising to be missed.

Over to you Borja!

Cheers
Chris
 
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Borja Lopez Barinaga
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Hi,

Here are some answers to the questions:

Quote:
So, how do the conspiracies work? You play Conspiracy with a Prince or a Councillor, attack with strength of 1 (or 2, if you're attacking a Noble territory). Defender can use armies to defend. If you win, Conspiracy is placed on the territory, which is then placed in the middle. Is that correct?

Yes, that is correct. And if a player wants to conquer this independent territory the player must fight against the conspirators (who have +1 strength). And if the Conspirators are in a territory with Fort their force will be +2.

Quote:
That would be simple, but not appropriate in this game. The rule quote means - I think - that the Prince or Councillor can play the Punishment card in any territory - it doesn't have to be a territory that borders with with the territory suffering from Conspiracy.

The Prince or Councillor can play the Punishment in any territory. The reason of this rule is simple: It's very difficult to know when and where a player is going to attack with a conspiracy, if the punishment could be used only in border territories, players would not conserve the card in their hands, because it would not be sufficiently powerful. The cards in a player's hand never are enough to do all the player's wants and players should choose very well the cards to remain.

Quote:
I'm glad you raised the question of the Ecclesiastic Principality (EP). This seems way out of balance as you say. Like you, I cannot see how the EP player can be defeated by Conspiracy except in Noble Territories. A third of the territories are Noble but even so it seems a huge advantage. Note that Hereditary Principality has +1 against Conspiracy and Popular Principality has +1 against Revolts so they have half the EP benefit. It's the Noble Prince that is worst off I think. His additional army card benefit could easily be overtaken by the luck of the cards during the game, whereas the other advantages are permanent.

The supremacy of the Ecclesiastic Prince is founded in Niccolò Machiavelli’s thought and for this reason we wanted to show it in the game. But the advantages of this principality are not so decisive in the game play. Councillors and Princes with Conspiracies can’t do many other important actions. Revolts and Conspiracies aren’t so powerful because:
-They need a Councillor or a Prince: to have a Councillor is not so easy and, if the player has not a Captain, the Prince has to command the army.
-With a Conspiracy the player doesn’t gain a territory, and moreover the territory is independent and defended by the conspirators in the middle of the table.
-Conspiracies and Revolts are cards that the player loses once they are played.

The Noble Prince has a Citizen Army Card extra and this card is highly valuable because in battles generally this type of army is not lost.

Quote:
1. How many cards do you draw on the first turn of the game? You are dealt 3 Territory cards but these are not yet on the table. I assume that you therefore just draw the +4 cards giving you 10 cards to start: The Prince, 3 x Territory, 1 Citizen Army, 1 Mercenary Army and the 4 draw cards. (+1 if you're a Noble Principality)

In the Preparation of game players must have 3 territories on the table, 1 Citizen Army and 1 Mercenary Army (Noble Prince has 3 territories, 2 Citizen Armies and 1 Mercenary Army). In the First Stage players can discard cards and take new cards with a maximum of 7 (3 territories + 4).

Thanks!
Borja


 
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Mikko Saari
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Can anybody play Punishment to stop a conspiracy and to take over the territory, or only the player who is the original owner of the territory?

It would be nice if the rules said the initial territories are placed on the table.

How does the drawing actually work? Do you draw (number of territories) + 4 and discard if you go over 12, or is (number of territories) + 4 your maximum hand size? First I thought it was the latter, then reading the rules made me think it's the former, but what you said now seems to imply it's the latter?
 
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Borja Lopez Barinaga
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An independent territory with a Conspiracy Card only can be defeated with an army.

Cards in hand must be Number Territories + 4. But if the player has 8 or more territories the maximum number of cards in his hand must be 12.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Borja Lopez wrote:
An independent territory with a Conspiracy Card only can be defeated with an army.


So how do you use Punishment then?

Quote:
Cards in hand must be Number Territories + 4. But if the player has 8 or more territories the maximum number of cards in his hand must be 12.


Ok. This is one of those things that could be made more explicit in the rules.
 
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Borja Lopez Barinaga
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When a player was attacked with a Conspiracy the player can use de Punishment to neutralize the Conspiracy. But if the Conspiracy wins the territory is placed in the middle of the table with the Conspiracy Card. This territory was independent and the players must fight with the Conspirators to take it.

Yes I know. I have a big problem now because I have seen with your comments that the English version of the rules has a lot of errors. The original rules were written in Spanish, and the testers of the game were from Spain. We had paid for a professional translation, but the translation is awful!

I should stop the sales, and contact with the buyers.

Thanks!

 
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Mikko Saari
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Borja Lopez wrote:
When a player was attacked with a Conspiracy the player can use de Punishment to neutralize the Conspiracy. But if the Conspiracy wins the territory is placed in the middle of the table with the Conspiracy Card. This territory was independent and the players must fight with the Conspirators to take it.


Ok. So the Punishment needs to be played with a Prince or Councillor to the area that's the victim of Conspiracy? Makes sense, I suppose.

I also suppose everybody can try to take over the territory once it's independent?

Quote:
Yes I know. I have a big problem now because I have seen with your comments that the English version of the rules has a lot of errors.


Yes, there are definitely serious problems with the rules. But a thorough FAQ should sort them out.
 
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Chris Dorrell
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Wow - you two have been busy - this thread is almost an FAQ in it's own right!

I think most of my current questions have been covered. Each answer gives a better understanding of the basic mechanics.

As for the rules, they certainly need to be revised but if the games are already shrink wrapped and ready to go/despatched then I agree with Mikko that a good FAQ would be fine. You could always post up a new set of rules on BGG and your web site in a month or so to replace the FAQ. Given your problems with the translation I would get the FAQ and any revised rules checked by English speaking gamers. I'd be happy to help. Over the years I have seen some horrendous rule translations which have obviously been done by non gamers.

One general issue that needs to be clear for each card is which territories it can affect. For example:-

Current Territory: Fort, Legal Reform .....
Adjacent Territory: Armies, Conspiracy, Revolt .....
Any Territory: Punishment, Machiavelli, Spy?? ....

That's not comprehensive and I'm not sure about Spy. The list might need splitting between own and enemy territories. Just a thought.

I'll be interested to hear how the first game goes Mikko.

Thanks for the replies Borja.

Chris
 
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Mikko Saari
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I tried to play the game, but when I started to explain the rules, I realised it can't be done. It's still too much of a mess. I'm putting this aside until there's a thorough FAQ or new set of rules. Just too much questions...
 
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Borja Lopez Barinaga
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We are now making the corrections of the English rules set, and also I am finishing a graphic tutorial to play Princeps Machiavelli.

Thanks!


 
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Chris Dorrell
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Borja Lopez wrote:
We are now making the corrections of the English rules set, and also I am finishing a graphic tutorial to play Princeps Machiavelli.

Thanks!


Borja,

Good news - I'm sure it will be worth your while in the long run.

Are you going to take up our suggestion of having the English rules checked out and play tested?

I haven't received my copy of the game from you yet but when I do I'll be happy to play a few games with the revised rules and give you quick feedback.

Cheers
Chris

 
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Borja Lopez Barinaga
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Chris and Mikko,

The revised English rules of P. Machiavelli are uploaded in Alesia Games Web Site (http://www.alesiagames.com/gamesalesia.htm).

Additionally, there is a graphic tutorial in: http://www.alesiagames.com/grafic/tutorialPM2.rar

Sorry for the wait...blush

Cheers,
Borja
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Chris Dorrell
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Borja,

OK I've downloaded the files and will look at them as soon as I can and give you some feedback.

Cheers
Chris
 
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