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Subject: Why not count palace points one-by-one? rss

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Juanlu Bermudez
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In the tree games I've played so far, we all agreed that the winner is the one that gets more elephants. The palaces and chains seems to be not as valuable. What about counting palaces points one-by-one, I mean: one point per palace placed, and one point per palace in the chain (not one point per province in the chain).

Otherwise, I'm starting to think this game have serious balance issues. Please let me know what do you think.
 
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Matthew M
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hemp wrote:
In the tree games I've played so far, we all agreed that the winner is the one that gets more elephants. The palaces and chains seems to be not as valuable. What about counting palaces points one-by-one, I mean: one point per palace placed, and one point per palace in the chain (not one point per province in the chain).

Otherwise, I'm starting to think this game have serious balance issues. Please let me know what do you think.


As the game is essentially an auction there really aren't balance issues. If elephants are really that important then everyone should be vying for them equally. If that is happening and everyone is taking equal advantage of the elephants then the player who does better with the palaces will have the advantage.

-MMM
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Sean McCarthy
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Well, Taj Mahal is fundamentally a game where you're competing for resources. Your group should simply compete harder for the goods, and less hard for the palaces.
 
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Juanlu Bermudez
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Octavian wrote:
As the game is essentially an auction there really aren't balance issues.


Yes, this is a common answer in auctions games: auctions are there to balance everything. Players can push hard to make you pay so much for a really good advantage. This could work in an economic game where you are bidding with money, and at the same time, the player with most money wins.
But in Taj Mahal you can't really bid as much as you like, since bidding is limited to your hand wich come from the ramdom cards to choose from.

I can see why palaces are counted per region: maybe to stop runnaway leaders. In other words, to stop you from geeting too much points. But accumulative scoring for the goods can be brutal. Maybe is a better idea to make goods score less powerfull, instead of make palaces score more powerfull.
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I think the game works best with exactly 4 players. I've played a bunch with that number and found no balance issues. My only advice is play more...
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Dave Eisen
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verandi wrote:
I think the game works best with exactly 4 players. I've played a bunch with that number and found no balance issues. My only advice is play more...



Yes. My first question was the player count you were using. With 3, it is too easy to get territories and chains are worth a lot. With 5, it is too hard to get territories and thus you get a lot from tiles you acquire: elephants. With 4 the two approaches are in balance.
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Gláucio Reis
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I'm yet to see an unbalanced game from Knizia. Even disregarding the auction, I think the balance is fine. I concede that the economic path is strong, and if one single player gets most elephants, he will be hard to beat. But even if just one other player competes with him for the elephants, it may be not that difficult.

In my first game, we were five players and someone (who had already played before) did get most elephants. I think I didn't get any, but I still won. It helped, of course, that I managed to keep the princess special card (+2VP) during most of the game.

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Juanlu Bermudez
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GSReis wrote:
I'm yet to see an unbalanced game from Knizia. Even disregarding the auction, I think the balance is fine. I concede that the economic path is strong, and if one single player gets most elephants, he will be hard to beat.


Also, the palace chains strategy adds another dificulty: spatial placing. Sometimes you can't conect two provinces by just one palace and need two of them, and many times, you need to be the first player to do so (unless you get the Mogul). The resources wasted (all the cards you need to do so) is only semi-rewarded: you still be counting one point per province.

Elephant strategy is easy to do, overpowerfull and fully rewarding.
 
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hemp wrote:

Also, the palace chains strategy adds another dificulty: spatial placing. Sometimes you can't conect two provinces by just one palace and need two of them, and many times, you need to be the first player to do so (unless you get the Mogul). The resources wasted (all the cards you need to do so) is only semi-rewarded: you still be counting one point per province.

Elephant strategy is easy to do, overpowerfull and fully rewarding.


You are ignoring the fact that elephants appear on a much greater proportion of the cards than any other symbol, which means that winning elephants should be on par in terms of difficulty with winning at least two personality symbols.

It is important to note: the palace connection strategy will be easier or more difficult depending on how the visits are ordered (random). But players see this at the beginning and can "balance" the game with their strategic choices, e.g. if there is a very connection friendly board there will be more competition for chains, and vice versa.

I also dislike the criticism that there's too much "luck of the draw". I've heard the complaint: "You win by not getting into fights. You have no control over whether you get into fights." This is false. You can influence things greatly by what cards you choose when you drop out. Just try monopolizing a color and you'll see how easy it is to win. This is an aspect that dissenters of the game always seem to ignore.
 
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Juanlu Bermudez
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I think there is no luck of the draw at all, since you allways know what you will be able to draw.

I still think the elephant strategy is very powerfull, but it has a flaw: elephant won't give you special cards. Eficiently connected palaces, and getting the best you can from the special cards, is also a solid strategy.
 
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Shingo Ishikawa
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Also noting that only one person can every win elephant tile where multiple people are able to place palaces by folding early while still getting majority in one of the 5 people. If you get into the Elephant bidding, you are either completely committed and win the tile or not win at all. I do think balance approach is the best in this game, see what other people are focusing, which order the provinces are auctioned. And which special card you'd like to get.. I've seen several game won by using the princess cards and keeping it majority of game (with decent connection ofcourse)
 
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Juanlu Bermudez
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It's been a while since I posted my original message, and over this time we have played a lot of Taj Mahal games. Last time we finally played this:

We counted palace points one-by-one.
Special cards were awarded trading three chits (instead of two).

Now I'm not going to convince you that this improved the game. But after the game ended, all of us felt that this is the way the game should have been. We discussed it, and we agreed we will never play with the standard rules again.
 
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