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The Sands of Time» Forums » Rules

Subject: Bread and Circus at max unrest rss

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Jake Blomquist
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Vestal
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Now that the player aid is up I have a quick question about Bread and Circus. What happens if you get it when you're at max unrest?

I can imagine three answers:

1. Your unrest goes down to 5 and that's it, nothing else happens.
2. Your unrest goes down to 5 and you lose one point for each step it goes down, because a game effect forced your current unrest higher than your maximum (so it works like taking a bonus action or repeating a card).
3. You can't take it unless your current unrest is at 5 or lower, since you're not allowed to voluntarily take an action that makes your unrest go above its maximum (so it works like taking a bonus die in combat).

I guess it should be one of these three. My first assumption was #1 (and maybe that's just the assumption everyone will/should make), but I can make rules-based arguments for both 2 and 3 based on section 9 of the rules, and I just want to make completely sure that I understand.
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Jeff Warrender
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Averill Park
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This is an interesting question and is exactly the sort of thing that we can populate the FAQ with.

The spirit of the rules that comes into play here is that when you build a structure or achieve an advance, you receive its benefit immediately, even as soon as before the very next action of your turn. So, if you achieve law as your first action, and your second action of the turn is conquer, your annexation costs are immediately discounted.

Following that principle, option #1 would seem to be the correct reading: the effect of B&C kicks in immediately, and correspondingly you reduce your unrest to 5. Yes, one could argue against this in that it gives you a free, one-time unrest reduction. But you did need to have a fairly high heritage to achieve the advance if your unrest was at 6 or 7 (or maybe you used patronage to take on unrest to get the temp heritage boost), so it doesn't worry me that much that this would be too powerful.

It's also the ruling that makes thematic sense -- you're throwing extravagant games to distract your people from their misery. That's not to say that everything in Sands is thematically rigorous, but in this case I think it is.
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