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Subject: Is whaling too easy? rss

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Drew Furgiuele
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Hey guys and girls, had another question about the whaling action: it seems that once you have one or two ships with some ore on them, it's really super easy to keep hitting the whaling space up for a lot of rewards; the die rolling quickly becomes irrelevant and easy to win each time (at least, in the same we played). Is this accurate?

Also, on page 18, there's this:

"When pillaging, add 1 to your dice roll for each ore on your longship (even above 12), keeping the ore."

This sentence confuses me a little: are there actions where you don't keep the ore (like whaling)?
 
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Ryan Feathers
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You keep the ore for both whaling and pillaging. They have that in the rulebook under both sections just to make it extra clear that you aren't somehow using up the ore.

You can "lose" the ore if you emigrate the boat, in that case all ore is returned to the supply.


You are correct that you can make whaling at the 3 viking space pretty easy if you manage to get 3 whaling boats loaded with ore--but that's quite a bit of an investment. But because of that whaling is a good strategy path in the game and is one of the stronger action spaces.

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Se Ven
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Hey Drew,

When whaling you only count the ore on your whaling boats - the little ones - not on any long boats. Also any ore put on any boat can't be removed from the boat once placed, unless some occupation tells you otherwise.

Whaling then becomes easy to succeed if you have multiple 'armed', that is ore filled, whaling boats. However, the whaling boats aren't worth many points, and if you place ore on a boat then it can't be used for other actions or placed on a home board or an island. In this way, whaling is a powerful way of getting goods, and a viable strategy, but not overpowered, since there are also many other viable strategies.

Just to also address your second question. None of the whaling/pillaging/raiding actions cause you to lose the ore from your ships. The only way ore comes off a ship is through certain occupations, or the ore is lost when emigrating a ship.
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Drew Furgiuele
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Thank you both!
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O R
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You always keep the ore on ships once installed. Only when you lose the ship (immigration or otherwise) do you lose the ore.

You do lose the spears and woods you use to make up the difference though. So if you end up with a roll of 9, you deduct 6 for 3 fully armed whaling ships, you still need to spend and loose 3 spears/woods. So the roll does matter. And I don't know that it's worth building and arming 3 whaling boats.

Now, with 2 whaling boats, you have a -4 on your d12 roll... that's still only 1/3 of the roll being successful without spear or wood. Over 3 rolls, there is still ~29.5% chance of not succeeding. So you still need wood and spears to cover.

Beyond that, you have to remember that:
- Whaling is a 3 vikings action
- Gives no blue pieces
- The biggest reward is red
- You had to take actions and spend wood to build ships
- You had to invest the ore
- By the time you have your ships and your ore on them, there might not be that many turns left in the game, so you'll only whale that much.
- People are going to sometimes take the action spot(s) away from you.
- There's always going to be a freak run where you roll 7, 9 then 11.
- You can't immigrate whaling ships directly

So sure, it's a good action, but we haven't found it to be too strong or too easy.
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Ryan Feathers
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I'll just back up what Lapsus is saying. Whaling is typically a very good action to take, but it isn't too strong. If anything a fully loaded longship that can take the 2 viking pillaging spot repeatedly is likely more of a cause for concern, and even that isn't too powerful either. They just are some of the better actions in the game.

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Siddharth Venkatesh
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To add to Lapsus' point, in multiplayer, whaling isn't a guaranteed spot for anyone.

What I mean by that is that it's incredibly easy for someone with some wood or ore to spare and 3-6 silver to just buy one or two whaling boats and snake the whaling spot from you. So, even though whaling is powerful, pretty much anyone can get into the whaling game at any time.

Compare that to pillaging. Buying a longboat is much tougher, since 8 silver is a significant investment. Additionally, longboats don't come with ore, so you need to have ore to spare. Finally, having spare stone is harder than having spare wood, unless the player has Iceland or Bear island. Even so, pillaging isn't entirely safe either, I've definitely seen people burn 8 money and 2 ore to snake a pillaging spot.

Both actions are great, powerful actions. They are some of the most efficient ways of generating big green and blue tiles but they are also easy for people to contest. If people aren't contesting them, they are doing something wrong.

A big positive about whaling is that the action is great even if you fail. Wood, spear and an occupation for 1 worker is a great deal. If I'm thinking about whaling, I might even do a risky whale early, since failing isn't crippling (except in solo, where blocking yourself can be really bad.)
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