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Subject: Newest post on mandates discussion rss

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Roger Reisinger
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Hi guys,

So with the writeuo on mandates I had a few thoughts I wanted to discuss. I posted them in the comments section but copied here for better discussion:

I dont know, this article doesnt make a lot of sense to me. If a player without an alliance gets the benefit from a mandate solo who cares, alliances are the getting the benefit for 2. There is no better benefit by being solo, just that the solo player is the only one getting it.

Then you say, but the solo player can block mandates so other alliances cant get them.so what? Everyone gets a mandate and they all look useful. If the solo player takes a mandate to block someone else and doesnt really need it he is just hurting is fairly obvious to me that there is no benefit to not being in an alliance, and there is no silver lining except for being able to use betray, but I dont think that is much of a benefit anyways because in the gamer groups I pay with the use of betray will probably make it so no one will ally with you in the future.

In my opinion each mandate should have a solo 'bonus' that isnt as powerful as the alliance bonus, but something
useful so deciding to ally or be a loner both have their uses. Right now the way I see it there is no reason why you wouldn't want to be allied... you get a peace agreement with another player and gain 2 bonuses instead of one with the mandates.

Also, with betray... you remove one figure from each of 2 players, then replace each figure with your own? Am I understanding it right. The text of the ability needs to be clearer as right now I can interpret it as remove 2 figures and replace with only 1.

Using betray to take away someones monster seems really powerful. To spend the time and coin to gain a monster only to have it taken from you the next round seems really punishing.




One more thing, are mandates dealt out randomly? Because for me a better way would be the most honorable clan getting to choose his, the 2nd chooses etc with the last clan taking 2 madates, and then snaking back up. So the most honorable clan would get the first and last choice of mandates per round.

I think this would lead the game to be more 'honorable', something any good Samurai game should be, give players more control over their turn, and make being 1st on the honor track actually mean something ( as far as I know it doesnt count for much right now ).

Thoughts?
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DrProfHazzmatt
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From what I saw of the first gameplay video, You draw 4 mandates and choose yours from those. Then the remainders are shuffled and the next person draws 4 and chooses one. So it's not entirely random but you don't get to just pick from the whole pile.

Edit: Also, I don't think it's that you actually take the opponent's monster, you swap it for one of your own. The enemy player can probably still choose to put it out again in the future.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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I think the fact you don't get anything out of not being in an alliance is by design. This is billed as a diplomatic game, not a straight up combat or area control. Therefore it makes sense that they incentivize being in an alliance.
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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Something to realize is that by not being in an Alliance, several bits of freedom are open to you that aren't accessible to other players:

There are only two copies of each Mandate in the deck. Knowing this, you can burn through them to prevent alliances from gaining those benefits (and consequently, keeping all the bonuses for yourself).

THarvesting by yourself means you're the only one gaining the benefits, this is a huge bonus to have over the other players - when Allies Harvest, their general "power-level" will probably remain the same, when a solo player does it, they gain a spike over everyone else.
SMarshaling allows you to build a new Stronghold - you and only you. This means that later on, when other player's Recruit, you'll Recruit 1 more than them, effectively giving you the bonuses they receive as well. In the lategame, however, you'll gain more bonuses from both Recruiting and Marshaling than anyone else.
powerTrain: Upgrades are powerful, and gaining first pick, as well as the -1 discount, go a long way.
YBetray: Since you're not in an Alliance you have no real fear for playing this effect. This is one of the strongest advantages that becomes available to you when you are not in an Alliance, as you're able to completely re-write the playing field with one effect - an effect that other players have locked themselves out of unless they're willing to break their Alliance and lose Honor for it.

Having a proper insight to the board-state, and knowing what actions would be most beneficial to other players, is going to be key if you find yourself in a situation where you're not Allying - it's a lot easier to coordinate with yourself than it is another player. If you've seen that Player A is trying to gain victory through Virtues, you know they're going to want to Train a lot... Well, burn that Training mandate and claim the bonus for yourself, or starve alliances of resources by taking all the Harvest options.

Lowecore wrote:
betray... you remove one figure from each of 2 players, then replace each figure with your own? Am I understanding it right. The text of the ability needs to be clearer as right now I can interpret it as remove 2 figures and replace with only 1.

Using betray to take away someones monster seems really powerful. To spend the time and coin to gain a monster only to have it taken from you the next round seems really punishing.

You must replace 2 units from 2 different players with your own (can also be monsters). I don't know all the rules but this ability alone seems to be potentially very strong.
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Craig B
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We're going to have to wait till rules get posted...

But you draw 4 mandates, pick 1 (in secret), put the other 3 back. Then next person draws 4 etc.

Betray is replace any two other figures with 2 of yours. Yes the text is potentially confusing I guess.

I think you should re-read the political mandates. There's an "All players" effect and a "You and Ally" effect. If you are solo, only you get the benefit of the "You and ally" effect. The game is competitive even with your ally, so giving them a benefit is technically a negative to you. Everyone gets the "all players" action regardless of being in an alliance or not.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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yogibbear wrote:
The game is competitive even with your ally, so giving them a benefit is technically a negative to you. Everyone gets the "all players" action regardless of being in an alliance or not.


Well presumably it goes like this:

Solo: get Alliance benefit for your mandates, get the All Players benefit on everything else

Alliance: get Alliance benefit for your mandates and your allies' mandates, get All Players benefits on everything else

Yes, technically you're giving something to your ally, but then they're giving something back. So it's kind of a wash overall when it comes to direct player to player competition, but it sort of puts you ahead over the rest of the players.

I expect a lot of the strategy will lie in finding ways to benefit more from your ally's mandates than they benefit from yours.
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Phil Schmidt
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You are right in that solo mandates as a benefit doesn't make sense. However, there are reasons to not be in an alliance at all.

Depending on who goes and the number of players in the game, joining in an alliance means you may get just a single extra bonus. Your ally will 'beat' you in any wars if they have greater strength though, since you don't actually fight. If your ally sneaks some extra units into your spot right before war, you can't do anything about it.

With betray you do remove 2 figures, each belonging to a different player, and you replace each one with one of your own. If you were part of an alliance, you leave the alliance and lose honor. I'm not sure if you go to the bottom or just go down one step. Note that if you are in an alliance, it seems you are not required to replace one of your ally's units.

The point of the article was to say that alliances can help you, but they can also hurt you. Finding yourself without an ally does not automatically put you behind if you can make the most of it. You shouldn't ally with anyone just to ally. Ally with certain players based on the board state to get the most out of it. Once and awhile it will be in your best interest to go it alone.
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Roger Reisinger
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XDarkAngelX wrote:
I think the fact you don't get anything out of not being in an alliance is by design. This is billed as a diplomatic game, not a straight up combat or area control. Therefore it makes sense that they incentivize being in an alliance.


I dont think this is a good design choice for 2 reasons:

1- in an odd player game it is very likely that players who ally will stay allied for the majority of the game and only break an alliance when they are in a position to win or stop someone from winning. This means the odd player will be playing solo without an alliance and without a bonus through o fault of his own... just that he was the odd man out. I think giving a bonus of some sort might make people want to go solo, and then alliances will be more shifting as a result. The bonus would have to be something different and situational, and not as powerful as being allied, or everyone would just go solo. The carrot should be there though to mix things up with the alliances.

2- in an even player game people will just pair off and no one will ever be solo. Alliances may change but no one will ever choose to go solo. Again, I think there needs to be some arrot to going solo so that in an even player gameings gets switched up diplomaticcaly from time to time.

Of course we are all just going off the little info we can find about the game and the rules will help determine if this is actually a concern or not.
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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Not sure if I understand correctly - but the difference doesn't seem THAT enormous.
Say 3 players: Player A and B in alliance, player C alone. All pick a mandate.

* Players A and B can do 5 actions:
Action general A, general B, general C, You & Ally A, You and Ally B.
* Player C can do 4 actions.
Action general A, general B, general C, You & Ally C.

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Craig B
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I think this all might be balanced by the honour track and whatever influence that has on the game. Which we need to see rules for.... so I wouldn't analyse the political mandates themselves without seeing what other mechanics are at play.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Lowecore wrote:
it is very likely that players who ally will stay allied for the majority of the game


I think that's very likely wrong. I expect alliances will likely shift every Tea Ceremony based on the current board state and where battles will occur.
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Lowecore wrote:
Of course we are all just going off the little info we can find about the game and the rules will help determine if this is actually a concern or not.


If you're just going for gameplay, wait for retail and read the reviews. If alliances don't work for *you*, then you won't like this game regardless of how well it gets received by other players. While I haven't played Diplomacy, I have played in negotiation games, and have met players who always refused to make deals where they didn't gain more than the other party, wanted to win "with another player" (even though they lost the game), etc. etc., so if you have a gaming group where someone not in an alliance thinks or is sure he will lose, then, yes, he will lose. Your gaming group will blame the game (the game "is not for you") and you will be out $100 plus shipping.
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A J
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Seems like that if the odd one out in a game never won, I feel like that would have easily come out during play testing.

Gonna have to either trust they did their job and tested the game well, or think they completely failed.
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Jeffrey McCulley
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I think the article does a pretty good job of explaining the befits and cost of being in or not being in an alliance. It doesn't seem like being caught out of an alliance in a 3 player scenario would be all that bad... you just have to work it to your advantage. You get extra money, sow decent between the players, take tiles that would advantage them the most, etc.
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Keith Pishnery
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Quote:
If a player without an alliance gets the benefit from a mandate solo who cares, alliances are the getting the benefit for 2. There is no better benefit by being solo, just that the solo player is the only one getting it.


Hard to follow this but denying allied players certain benefits is powerful. Also the solo player will get 2 benefits at same time.
 
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Patrick Reynolds
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They also touch on the idea that sharing a province with an ally during the war phase might not be a great idea.

In the gameplay video it looked like whoever controlled each province after resolving battles got a tile, which I assume grants some VP. Since allies won't fight each other, if you're sharing a province that tile still goes to only one of you - whoever has the larger force, or in the event of a tie, the ally who has higher honor. I imagine that in tight games, the potentiality of sitting idle and watching your ally collect free VP from shared provinces isn't going to be a winning strategy. That Betrayal mandate late in the season will look better and better, especially since it will let you improve your board position as well as contest provinces shared with your former ally.

At any rate, it's hard to say for sure exactly how alliances will play out without actually playing the game but I think that there is enough incentive in the mechanics to encourage shifting alliances and betrayals throughout the game.
 
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Andrew J-S
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Lowecore wrote:

1- in an odd player game it is very likely that players who ally will stay allied for the majority of the game and only break an alliance when they are in a position to win or stop someone from winning. This means the odd player will be playing solo without an alliance and without a bonus through o fault of his own... just that he was the odd man out. I think giving a bonus of some sort might make people want to go solo, and then alliances will be more shifting as a result. The bonus would have to be something different and situational, and not as powerful as being allied, or everyone would just go solo. The carrot should be there though to mix things up with the alliances.

2- in an even player game people will just pair off and no one will ever be solo. Alliances may change but no one will ever choose to go solo. Again, I think there needs to be some arrot to going solo so that in an even player gameings gets switched up diplomaticcaly from time to time.


I think you're forgetting that if you want to maintain your alliance, you cannot use the betray mandate - which looks to be the most powerful mandate by far. Not only does it provide a strong action (removing two units from the board and replacing them with your own), but it is also the only mandate that doesn't benefit anyone else when it is played. Staying in an alliance all the time would let the non-allied player constantly use betray, and with no honor penalty. Letting your opponent constantly choose betray doesn't seem like a winning strategy.

 
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Roger Reisinger
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jepsulliand wrote:
Lowecore wrote:

1- in an odd player game it is very likely that players who ally will stay allied for the majority of the game and only break an alliance when they are in a position to win or stop someone from winning. This means the odd player will be playing solo without an alliance and without a bonus through o fault of his own... just that he was the odd man out. I think giving a bonus of some sort might make people want to go solo, and then alliances will be more shifting as a result. The bonus would have to be something different and situational, and not as powerful as being allied, or everyone would just go solo. The carrot should be there though to mix things up with the alliances.

2- in an even player game people will just pair off and no one will ever be solo. Alliances may change but no one will ever choose to go solo. Again, I think there needs to be some arrot to going solo so that in an even player gameings gets switched up diplomaticcaly from time to time.


I think you're forgetting that if you want to maintain your alliance, you cannot use the betray mandate - which looks to be the most powerful mandate by far. Not only does it provide a strong action (removing two units from the board and replacing them with your own), but it is also the only mandate that doesn't benefit anyone else when it is played. Staying in an alliance all the time would let the non-allied player constantly use betray, and with no honor penalty. Letting your opponent constantly choose betray doesn't seem like a winning strategy.



I disagree,

What makes Betray so powerful if you use it all the time? Eg:

Im in an alliance and use recruit, if I have just one stronghold on the map I will place 2 units plus still get to use my allies bonus. The most I can lose from a solo player using betray is 1 unit, so I'm still out-producing him.

If the solo player does nothing but use betray he still wont outproduce anyone and he wont be getting as many actions per turn as anyone in an alliance.

Dont get me wrong, I think betray will have it's uses, but more from when your in an alliance and need to make a move. From what I can see trying to go at this game solo wont work, and I can already hear you say but that's the point! It's a game of diplomacy! Where my concern is how does the solo player smooth talk his way into an alliance and stay afloat while he tries.

Thanks for the thoughts!
 
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Ewert Bellingan
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Lowecore wrote:
[q="XDarkAngelX"]
2- in an even player game people will just pair off and no one will ever be solo. Alliances may change but no one will ever choose to go solo. Again, I think there needs to be some arrot to going solo so that in an even player gameings gets switched up diplomaticcaly from time to time.

Of course we are all just going off the little info we can find about the game and the rules will help determine if this is actually a concern or not.


This is a very big generalization! I am the type to go solo just to screw with everyone. The way they've explained the strategies for going solo also make sense and I for one think I'll be more inclined to go at it alone a greater part of the time than being in alliances even though it might be a tad trickier to play. In the end it still boils down to being able to evaluate your options and make the best of what you have in the current situation. I therefor don't think being the odd-man out requires any extra carrots.
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Andrew J-S
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Lowecore wrote:
jepsulliand wrote:
Lowecore wrote:

1- in an odd player game it is very likely that players who ally will stay allied for the majority of the game and only break an alliance when they are in a position to win or stop someone from winning. This means the odd player will be playing solo without an alliance and without a bonus through o fault of his own... just that he was the odd man out. I think giving a bonus of some sort might make people want to go solo, and then alliances will be more shifting as a result. The bonus would have to be something different and situational, and not as powerful as being allied, or everyone would just go solo. The carrot should be there though to mix things up with the alliances.

2- in an even player game people will just pair off and no one will ever be solo. Alliances may change but no one will ever choose to go solo. Again, I think there needs to be some arrot to going solo so that in an even player gameings gets switched up diplomaticcaly from time to time.


I think you're forgetting that if you want to maintain your alliance, you cannot use the betray mandate - which looks to be the most powerful mandate by far. Not only does it provide a strong action (removing two units from the board and replacing them with your own), but it is also the only mandate that doesn't benefit anyone else when it is played. Staying in an alliance all the time would let the non-allied player constantly use betray, and with no honor penalty. Letting your opponent constantly choose betray doesn't seem like a winning strategy.



I disagree,

What makes Betray so powerful if you use it all the time? Eg:

Im in an alliance and use recruit, if I have just one stronghold on the map I will place 2 units plus still get to use my allies bonus. The most I can lose from a solo player using betray is 1 unit, so I'm still out-producing him.

If the solo player does nothing but use betray he still wont outproduce anyone and he wont be getting as many actions per turn as anyone in an alliance.

Don't get me wrong, I think betray will have it's uses, but more from when your in an alliance and need to make a move. From what I can see trying to go at this game solo wont work, and I can already hear you say but that's the point! It's a game of diplomacy! Where my concern is how does the solo player smooth talk his way into an alliance and stay afloat while he tries.

Thanks for the thoughts!


I still think that betray is more powerful than you give it credit for. Remember, if you (being in an alliance) use recruit to get two units, I (as the non-allied player) still get to recruit one as part of your mandate. If I then use betray, I get to replace one of your units (and one from someone else), and you get to do nothing. In that scenario, I gain a net three units, and you gain one.

I agree that the game doesn't just boil down to always using betray if you're not allied - there are other parts and nuances to the game. However, I think it offers a big advantage to the person who is not in an alliance, one that those who are allied cannot use without breaking their alliance and losing honor.



Edit: You are correct that you'd still get to use your ally's bonus (missed that when I read your comment!), but to me it seems like you'd break even with the non-allied player who uses betray, not vastly overproduce them.

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Roger Reisinger
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@andrew and @ewert:

Ok, what about this. Since the mandates from what Ive read are dealt out randomly, what if the solo player doesn't get a betray in hand to play and has to choose a madate that benifits everyone, say this happens for several rounds?

Under these circumstances the solo player is definitely losing ground vs his competitors.

Im very excited for this ga,e and hope it is as good as I think it could be. When the rules are released we'll all have a better feel for how things will work in game.
 
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Lowecore wrote:
@andrew and @ewert:

Ok, what about this. Since the mandates from what Ive read are dealt out randomly, what if the solo player doesn't get a betray in hand to play and has to choose a madate that benifits everyone, say this happens for several rounds?

Under these circumstances the solo player is definitely losing ground vs his competitors.

Im very excited for this ga,e and hope it is as good as I think it could be. When the rules are released we'll all have a better feel for how things will work in game.


You are correct, it will not always be an option. It is however, never an option if you are in an alliance and want it to stay that way. The key is that betray (which I think is one of the most powerful mandates in that it doesn't benefit any of your opponents) is only useable if you do not want to be in an alliance. This is counter to the claim that it is always more beneficial to be in an alliance.

I don't think we'll really have a satisfactory answer to this until we can actually play the game a few times. Now, I just need to find two other people to play with...



 
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Lowecore wrote:
What makes Betray so powerful if you use it all the time? Eg:

Im in an alliance and use recruit, if I have just one stronghold on the map I will place 2 units plus still get to use my allies bonus. The most I can lose from a solo player using betray is 1 unit, so I'm still out-producing him.

But you won't be outproducing the unallied player in this example.

1. You play Recruit: Everbody gets to recruit, you (and your ally) get an extra figure. Going with one stronghold per you example that's 2 figures for you, 1 for the unallied player.
Totals for the round so far: 2 figures for you, 1 figure for the unallied player.

2. Unallied player plays Betray: You loose 1 figure (and your ally looses one too), unallied player gets 2 figures.
Totals for the round so far: 1 figure for you, 3 figures for the unallied player.

3. Let's take this one step further and assume your ally also plays Recruit: Everbody gets to recruit, you (and your ally) get an extra figure. Going with one stronghold per you example that's 2 figures for you, 1 for the unallied player.
Totals for the round: 3 figures for you, 4 figures for the unallied player.
 
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Lowecore wrote:
@andrew and @ewert:

Ok, what about this. Since the mandates from what Ive read are dealt out randomly, what if the solo player doesn't get a betray in hand to play and has to choose a madate that benifits everyone, say this happens for several rounds?

Under these circumstances the solo player is definitely losing ground vs his competitors.

Im very excited for this ga,e and hope it is as good as I think it could be. When the rules are released we'll all have a better feel for how things will work in game.


What if in another game a player always rolls 1s in combat? They will also be losing ground to their competitor.
Extreme bad luck it's not an argument for imbalance. What if the players in an alliance draw 2 betray cards turn after turn? They will be forced into a sub-optimal action.

As the round continues the likelyhood of drawing a betray card increases if it hasn't been played yet, as it starts off as 20% if the deck and goes up from there. It's a great draw for the solo player and limits the options of someone wanting to keep their alliance.

Also keep in mind that alliances don't pool their power, they just don't fight each other. So the solo player only has to beat 1 of them (the one with more power of course) to win a territory. If the solo player wins the gold is getting split up by the other two players, if the solo player losses they are getting all of the gold. This makes it easier for them to fund other battles and purchase better upgrades.

I'm not saying the solo player will be on equal footing as someone in an alliance, but it's not a huge hindrance and there are some benefits.

As for two players holding onto an alliance for the first two seasons to duke it out at the end, this idea ignores human psychology or requires players to not understand the game enough to play well. If A and B are allied, they will not benefit equally nor perform equally in any given round. Say A pulls ahead in Spring and is in a stronger position than B, why would B maintain a new alliance with A the following season, making it harder for B to catch up? B is much better off allying with C so that they can both attack A and weaken his position.
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Phil Schmidt
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Another VERY important thing about Betray is that you replace figures anywhere. When you recruit you add units at the locations of your fortresses, but betray can be used to deploy units and create power swings directly at the desirable locations. Without using betray you would need to also use a marshal action to position your units in those areas.

 
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