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Subject: Playing with Traders, Clerks and Wholesalers rss

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Annemarie Post
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For some time now, my boyfriend and I have banned the Traders from our Port (Royal). Whether this is a smart move is a discussion for another time, but last night we allowed them back in our game. But that's not all. We decided to build our own deck with only Traders, Clerks (from Port Royal: Ein Auftrag geht noch...) and Wholesalers (Port Royal Unterwegs!). The idea was that these characters are very synergistic. Having them in our big Port Royal + Ein Auftrag geht noch... deck would probably not work, since then the chance of getting one of each character for a single color would be fairly low. Therefore, we took the Unterwegs! deck and replaced the passengers with Traders. Then we also added the Clerks (which skews the balance of characters and ships a bit, but not too much in our opinion since there are only 5 of them). We decided to play a three-player game (a friend dropped by) to 12 points.

All three of us started of with a Trader of a different color. After that, the Wholesalers were easiest to get, since there are more of those compared to the Clerks. We debated whether it would be better to get all characters in one color so that taking a ship of that particular color would be a very powerful move, or to get characters in all colors so that whenever you take a ship you get a bonus. Laurent wanted to try out the latter, but then he saw a cheap Wholesaler for red, and that meant all of us were doing the former. The Sailors and Pirates from Unterwegs! came in handy, since they help you repel ships until your preferred ship has arrived.It came down to Laurent's last turn. Since the Unterwegs! deck is rather small, he knew from the previous turn exactly which ships were in there, so which to repel and which to keep. Then he could take a ship of his preferred color and buy another character, taking him to 13 points. Then Rob could take a card, and since he couldn't win any more he took the black ship, which was my preferred color, so that Laurent would win.

We really wanted to try the synergy between Traders, Clerks and Wholesalers and I think this is the best way to experience that. According to Rob it was 'more fun than he had expected'. However, I don't think this makes for a great game. We still have to try whether having characters of different colors is also a good strategy, but otherwise winning the game depends on being lucky enough to be able to buy the characters of your preferred color. Also, playing to 12 is a bit of a stretch with the Unterwegs! deck, since it is quite small. But for it's purpose, this was a success, and we'll play it this way at least once more.

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Matthias Mahr
Austria
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Thanks for the report, was an interesting read.

I don't own Unterwegs yet, but I can see, that a game to 12 VP without expeditions might probably drag. So how about this variant next time? Remove just the Admirals and Jesters from the original deck, as these two have no synergetic effects with Traders, while Governours and Mademoiselles do to an extent. This would remove 11 cards from the deck, while Clerks would add 5. Together with the 10 Wholesalers this would add just 4 cards, so only slightly alter the resonal/ ship ratio in favour of the personal.
 
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Annemarie Post
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Thanks for your suggestions! We'll try a deck with the Traders, Wholesalers, Clerks; and just add the 'expedition guys' in, since we would still want to have the great synergy with the 3 guys and when adding in too many cards would probably dilute it too much.
The problem with the drag to 12 VP was most likely due to the fact that in Unterwegs! you only play to 8 VP and the deck isn't big enough to support play up to 12 VP.
 
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