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Subject: Is the Oracle Lord too overpowering in a 3 player game? rss

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Craig Matthews
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If the Oracle Lord is taken too early in a game, there isn't a chance for the Council cards to ever get built up. It causes a problem because of the following:

Player 1 buys and plays the Oracle, removes a council stack;
Player 2 can explore to the end of the track to get a card and a pearl, but this really on benefits player 3;
Player 3 can pick up a council stack if they wish as there may be a stack with 2-3 cards from the Player 2 explore;
Player 1 can do their turn, explore, place more cards in the council stack, and the remove the most beneficial stack;
Player 2 doesn't have much of a choice to their action.

This causes Player 2 to not explore, but to take the first card available to not give player 3 the option of grabbing the council cards created by their explore to the end of the track to get a pearl. Player 2 cannot get a pearl using this strategy.

Also, Player 2 cannot get council cards because there aren't any. Soon this effects player 3 as the Oracle has removed all stacks.

Everyone is just coasting until the Oracle is locked into a location. The player immediately to the left of the Oracle is locked out the game significantly.

Has anyone else run into this situation?

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Matheus Affonso
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Player 1 would have to be very lucky or player 2, unlucky, for that scenario to effectively lock player 2 out of the game significantly. Considering there are 5 races, unless players aren't going past the second card when exploring, it is likely that something will be left for player 2.

Also, it's pretty much a non-issue, since taking cards from the council is only ever beneficial if people are letting high-value allies slide, which usually does not happen. Also, if it were an issue, it would only be an issue until the Oracle had gotten locked up by a location, which shouldn't take that long, considering locations are usually a very important part of scoring.

Did you actually run into this scenario, or are you just theory-crafting?
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Craig Matthews
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Actually ran into this scenario 2 games in a row, I was in position 2.

Player 1 pulled the 5 value Jelly in their first turn.
Then I went and explored the whole track, got a single card and a pearl.
Player 3 went and turned over another 5 value Jelly that Player 1 bought.

the Oracle was already available for purchase on the board and he was able to buy it on his second turn. Then he was able to shut down the game turn after turn.

The Oracle was finally locked up and then on the Player 3's turn, he purchased the Apprentice that allows that player to pick up a stack from the council, in addition to their regular turn.

It was brutal and removed all replay desire for me.
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Matheus Affonso
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Why didn't you buy the 5 value jellyfish in turn 1?
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Désirée Greverud
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seems weird to me. First, when exploring, opponents will generally only be buying 4s and 5s, maybe a 3 if they need that particular color. The person exploring will almost always take the first 4 or 5 not bought. The stacks sent to the council then are going to be 2s and 3s exclusively. Taking a stack from the council is done only when you really need that color to buy a lord next turn.

Lord powers are only active until the go to a location anyway. Tossing a council stack is a prtty low level, almost insignificant power, that can be annoying but nowhere near overpowered.
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Matheus Affonso
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My guess is he is playing with wrong rules. My suggestion is: read the rulebook again. By what he said on his last reply, I'm guessing he's probably ignoring the rule that forces the active player to offer the other players to buy the revealed allies.
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Craig Matthews
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Actually, it was player 3 in the first round that explored the 5 Jelly card. Player 1 was was able to buy it for 1 pearl.

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Peter Strait
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Powerful, but I wouldn't call it too powerful. As noted, a lot is going to depend on how many different suits are flipped up as folks explore the depths, plus the key means they will almost certainly be retired if bought early in the game.
 
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Alluvian
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I have seen this happen several times, kind of... I groan every time I see that lord come up early beacuse I think it hurts the game.

I don't think it hurts the player to the left much more than anyone else, but to me the stacks getting bigger and bigger until they are too lucrative NOT to take is a big part of the fun of the game. The oracle means the stacks never get that big.

I just think the card makes the game less fun for everyone. I feel similar about the lord who limits hand size, as that also makes taking a big stack of council cards far less useful.

Saying it goes away once covered up is not really a good solution because that can be most/all of the game. I have seen people win this game without ever taking a location, and just focusing on high victory point lords. My wife for instance likes this, she is also the first one to prioritize the oracle, heh.

I have not done it yet, but I am very tempted to pull Abyss off our shelf and put the oracle and lord that limits hand size underneath the insert and never tell anyone, lol.

I did that with the 'King is sick' event cards in Kingsburg, but our entire gaming group agreed on that one.

If you hate the card, don't play with it. It would be most honest if you tell people you have taken it out, so they know. But it would be a fairly minor house rule basically.
 
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Phil Hannay
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alluvian wrote:

I have not done it yet, but I am very tempted to pull Abyss off our shelf and put the oracle and lord that limits hand size underneath the insert and never tell anyone, lol.


Since getting the expansion, I've done that with some of the locations (I really dislike the one that allows you to search the entire stack). I can see doing it with some lords, although I've not personally had any issues with them. As long as you leave enough in the game to avoid hitting an early end by running out; and ideally take a fairly even mix of races; then it will work fine.
 
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