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Subject: Eastern centre of gravity rss

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Edward
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I've played six times now including solo runs.

In every game so far the Eastern trade route has been saturated with money and the West much emptier. It feels punishingly difficult to launch an imperial campaign from e.g. England, compared to Byzantium, partly because the thin Western trade makes it so hard to get the levies that far round the board, even allowing for trade shifts. And a reformation in NW Europe has never felt close to being a possibility. A knock-on effect of these things, pointed out by a fellow player, is that the orange and green starting positions seem weaker.

Has anyone had similar experiences? Does it matter? Or is it an Eastern/Southern emphasis appropriate given the mercantile subject of the game? The Western European events we learn about at school (military/religious rivalry between France and HRE, English reformation, Spanish Armada etc etc) seem unlikely to happen in this game, although the rules are obviously designed to allow for them. Part of me thinks that's a nice corrective to the Here I Stand worldview. The other part wonders if I'm just playing it wrong.
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Piero
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Re: Eastern advantage
In both games we played last, Green won, in the first game with an Exploration Victory, the second time with a Renaissance Victory.

And, yes, for a long time the East route was the richest, till it shifted to pass through the Barbary coast. Unfortunately we haven't seen a Spice islands trade shift yet.
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David Lara
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Re: Eastern advantage
I get your point since I had this feeling before but I reached to the conclusion that the key thing is players must adapt to the changes in the map and to the cards that come up.

If there are tons of gold in the East, that should lure opponents to focus there.

I also thought that the Ottoman Empire was impossible to loose by civil wars until you see an opponent playing sieges until it happens

Such a piece of art this game…

EDIT: typo.
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Shaun Derrick
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Re: Eastern advantage
As mentioned the best way to win is to use the cards that appear to your advantage. I assume you have been playing with the game without the expansion as I have found trade shifts much more likely to happen with the expansion deck - maybe the cards just came out that way!
Players with concssions in the east don't want the trade shifts to happen so may buy the cards to prevent them happening.

I find concessions are placed all over the board depending on what cards appear so it is only the early stages of the game that tend to favour the eastern concessions.

I havn't kept track of which player colour wins each game, only what type of victory. In the games I have played (mostly solo), all Victory options have been achieved with a leaning towards Islamic Holy victory and Imperial victory.
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Bruce Nettleton
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Re: Eastern advantage
I tend to agree with the OP, based on my limited experience. Obviously, the available strategies vary by card draw, but even this gets skewed if there is a big disparity in trade routes, as the Eastern deck will enter the market much more quickly. I would assume that this advantage is diluted at higher player counts, as a player who takes the "road less traveled" while everyone else splits the spoils in the east could develop a late game advantage.
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Rich James
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Re: Eastern advantage
I've played 7 face-to-face games so far. The first two were two player games. I don't recall the player color that won, but they resulted in Renaissance and Patron victories. In the second one (Patron), all empires were saturated due to active trade fairs. My remaining 5 games were all 3 player. Those resulted in Green: Globalization, Orange: Renaissance, Blue: Holy, Blue: Renaissance, and Yellow: Renaissance.
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Edward
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Re: Eastern advantage
My original thread title [now edited] was a bit misleading. To clarify, my main point was not that I thought that any of the starting positions are significantly underpowered. I'm not sure I care even if this is true.

I'm primarily talking about the geography of trade and the effect this has on the geography of other activities in the game.
[I recognise the trade can skew west if the Spice Islands come into play. And that players need to respond to the incentives offered by the cards that are available in the market in any given game.]

My experience has been that the incentives offered mean that most of the campaigning, theocracies, republics etc end up happening in the Eastern locations. And I'm wondering if others have had the same experience.
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Rebus Carnival
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Re: Eastern advantage
I have seen all the empires in play and probably more republics in the west, as I feel like more western republics give you "vote" icons, allowing a chain. The military weakness of Mamluk means that it falls easily; England is stronger in this regard.

I would say it depends on the market; if the eastern market does not offer much in the way of board-play, then Couer can sit pretty for many rounds, arranging a nice tableau. H
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Rex Stites
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Re: Eastern advantage
Phil Eklund's games aren't designed so that the various mechanics are balanced and/or symmetrical. I don't have enough experience to state whether the East or West trade ends up generating more cash, but the fact that you perceive one to do so isn't surprising. The same goes for launching imperial campaigns from various locations on the map.

The consequence of such a design philosophy is that the path(s) to victory for the various starting locations may not be the same. There are a lot of different ways to win the game. If launching an imperial campaign from England is more difficult than Byzantium, then the path to victory for the powers that start near England is probably different than that for the ones that start near Byzantium.
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Edward
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Re: Eastern advantage
rstites25 wrote:
Phil Eklund's games aren't designed so that the various mechanics are balanced and/or symmetrical.


Absolutely. I refer you back to the last paragraph of my original post. This is not one of those posts asking for a sim-game to be more "balanced" or symmetrical so I can optimise my way to a good win ratio. This was not intended as a complaint, or me pointing out a bug, or anything like that.

I'm asking if people have seen historical events like the English Reformation, French-Imperial war etc become decisive in any of their games. And if not, whether they think it matters. I don't especially, myself. But I thought it was an interesting topic because in my experience the game produces narrative outcomes very different from those I see in Here I Stand, or those we read about in Eurocentric books on the Renaissance.
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Edward
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rebuscarnival wrote:
The military weakness of Mamluk means that it falls easily.


Yes it's interesting that Mamluk has no offensive capability (knights) unless placed as agents, in either theocratic orientation. Useless as a base for an Imperial victory then, but still quite a good sanctuary for believers if you're setting up a religious victory. Compared to the Papal States, anyway.
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Rebus Carnival
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dontbecruel wrote:
rebuscarnival wrote:
The military weakness of Mamluk means that it falls easily.


Yes it's interesting that Mamluk has no offensive capability (knights) unless placed as agents, in either theocratic orientation. Useless as a base for an Imperial victory then, but still quite a good sanctuary for believers if you're setting up a religious victory. Compared to the Papal States, anyway.


True, although as an Islamic Theocracy it only has one black rook by default. This does let you cycle through Jihads as needed, but this small benefit evens out when compared to ROMES location. ROME, in my limited experience, been pretty pivotal in the game. It can be easily taken over but also often can get a levy from Wester Trade Fair, and the central location means that it can either campaign to weaken a neighbor for any Empire to take over. It does seem to switch hands often.

I have not seen the REFORMATION cards get much play; as you say the red chessmen are harder to place. I suspect that this is mostly a market distribution issue, not a topical one. I have launched a successful Imperial strategy out of England using Oliver Cromwell and The Black hos, marching across Europe by selling off cards as they became redundant.

Taxing also helps place pieces, taxing your own cube can be advantageous to putting some horses where they needs to be.

Fugger's position is inherently weaker which is why he always gets to go first. Marichoinni[SIC] is debatable; he is closer to the trade route and has the most incentive to take Portugal and open the Spice Islands, but still comes second in line for the WTF.

That got a little rambly, my apologies.
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Edward
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rebuscarnival wrote:
That got a little rambly, my apologies.

No way. Great game. Fun to talk strategy.

Interesting what you said about pruning cards as they become redundant. Selling straight out of your tableau does seem to be much more of a thing here than in Porfiriana. In our last game, two of us were using that to fund military campaigns against the third player, just as you describe. Eventually we both went broke, as you might imagine, and player three won.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Quote:
That got a little rambly, my apologies.


Please, do.

I'll crank out some tea.
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Rebus Carnival
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dontbecruel wrote:
rebuscarnival wrote:
That got a little rambly, my apologies.

No way. Great game. Fun to talk strategy.

Interesting what you said about pruning cards as they become redundant. Selling straight out of your tableau does seem to be much more of a thing here than in Porfiriana. In our last game, two of us were using that to fund military campaigns against the third player, just as you describe. Eventually we both went broke, as you might imagine, and player three won.


I have also found myself sieging my own knights to reduce campaign costs, especially if I can be sure that the next player will need to levy there. Selling off from the tableau is a strong tactic, as it feels counter intuitive and thus is unexpected in many cases.

The best is when you sell off a Vassal, then spend 1 florin to retake him: extra concession and net 1 dollar. I find myself doing a lot of this strawman wheel turning. mostly to place cubes and wipe out repressed tokens.

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Edward
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rebuscarnival wrote:
I find myself doing a lot of this strawman wheel turning. mostly to place cubes and wipe out repressed tokens.


Lovely stuff. Dragging a bishop into your own tableau and then selling the card he sits on is also by far the easiest way to defend against a religious victory. Nihilism at a profit.
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Mike Ricotta
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dontbecruel wrote:
rebuscarnival wrote:
I find myself doing a lot of this strawman wheel turning. mostly to place cubes and wipe out repressed tokens.


Lovely stuff. Dragging a bishop into your own tableau and then selling the card he sits on is also by far the easiest way to defend against a religious victory. Nihilism at a profit.


That was my favorite part of the last PBeM game....

I almost never call a trade fair though. One game I just made a ton of money off repressing stuff. Every turn I'd just repress and bank some coin. I'd love to see a card setup where I could tax on the first card and then repress the new unit on the next.

I do find if you get heavy into the trade fairs you have to spend a lot of time defending it, buying the shift cards, the pirate cards, and so on.

One thing I've not thought about enough is the idea of campaigning against yourself to make a republic. I just never think of it,
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Rebus Carnival
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ricottma wrote:
dontbecruel wrote:
rebuscarnival wrote:
I find myself doing a lot of this strawman wheel turning. mostly to place cubes and wipe out repressed tokens.


Lovely stuff. Dragging a bishop into your own tableau and then selling the card he sits on is also by far the easiest way to defend against a religious victory. Nihilism at a profit.


That was my favorite part of the last PBeM game....

I almost never call a trade fair though. One game I just made a ton of money off repressing stuff. Every turn I'd just repress and bank some coin. I'd love to see a card setup where I could tax on the first card and then repress the new unit on the next.

I do find if you get heavy into the trade fairs you have to spend a lot of time defending it, buying the shift cards, the pirate cards, and so on.

One thing I've not thought about enough is the idea of campaigning against yourself to make a republic. I just never think of it,


I think of trade fairs more for units than as a wealth creator. I like the system better than Pamir

You cannot campaign to create a republic; it must become a Vassal, although you can vote a vassal into a republic. I have tossed the same vassal back and forth between two Suzerians multiple times, adding cubes and clearing units, and even tying this to a vote chain.

Sort of like hacky sack...
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Mike Ricotta
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rebuscarnival wrote:
[q="ricottma"][q="dontbecruel"][q="rebuscarnival"]

You cannot campaign to create a republic; it must become a Vassal,


yea, I meant one shot...

Straw man tactics aren't as obvious here as in Pax Porf which is nice. I like the more subtle nature of it I think
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