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Subject: The Slavery Penalty rss

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Daniel Running
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Hi All-

First, let me point out that I know that there has been a serious, and long, discussion about the moral issue regarding inclusion of a slavery mechanic in this game, but that's not what my question is about. Secondly, I ask my question having never played the game, but I own it and have gone through the rules a couple of times, so I "get" it pretty well.

My question is this, to all who have played the game: Is a one point per card penalty that big of a deal during final scoring? The example in the rules has Red go from 73 to 71--which doesn't seem particularly devastating. But maybe it is.

It seems that for the lasting benefit slavery offers to a player, the "risk" of going down glory at the end should be more substantial. Look forward to your thoughts.

Thanks.
 
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Steve K
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Assuming slavery is abolished, there's not just a 1 VP penalty for each slavery card, but you also have to deduct the rewards given by each slavery card, so you would lose abilities & further VP in the industy & finance tracks
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Mikael Ölmestig
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You not only lose points for the card itself, you also discard them and can not use the symbols (and the symbols itself give points).

Edit: Looks I am a little late.
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Darrell Hanning
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I suspect that anything less than causing one to completely lose any chance of winning is liable to leave it open enough for someone (not the OP, perhaps) to complain that the use of slavery is not being adequately penalized.

First of all, the penalty has to be somewhere in the same range of potential advantage for the use of slavery, or you may as well just leave it out of the game.

Second, if you leave it out of the game, you're making a decision to ignore something that actually did happen, and actually had a very large impact on productivity.

Third, what is the time period associated with the end of the game? Late 19th century, from the looks of it. Let's not assign penalties for use of slaves in the 19th century based on 20th- or 21st-century feelings, shall we? That would be a bit on the nonsensical side.
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Brian
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Yeah, as others said, the loss of the actual track points is the main detriment. Especially if someone really leans on slavery cards. The first game I played, one player ended up getting like 4 of them. If anyone got a chance to abolish slavery, he'd of been crippled. (Not that it's easy to do when he's focused on protecting himself. ) As it was, he ended up losing by like 2-3 points.

I think the -1 victory point penalty is sufficient in another way in that they make the cards a little dicier to get rid of if you want to replace them with better cards. Instead of say replacing a non slavery card with 2 icons with another card with 3 icons and some overlap and being slight better off, with slavery cards, that type of replacement isn't going to be of much benefit cause except in pretty specific circumstances. Not that I find replacing cards very common yet, but was still something I was thinking about.

Also, it should be noted that the 73 score in the rule book is REALLY high. Scores are typically about 20 lower from what I'm seeing. Of course, 2 out of 50 and 2 out of 70 is not that different. hehe

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linoleum blownaparte
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The immediate track reduction is a bigger penalty than the -1 at the end of game.

The point penalty is small enough that several times I have discarded Slavery cards on purpose to make room for high point cards from other decks. But if you're holding several Slavery cards, Abolition is a disaster. If it clearly looms in the future you can plan to mitigate your losses somewhat by overstocking on Industry or Finance. But sometimes you can't, and that means being a level behind everyone else in picking buildings for the rest of the game, or having a worker traffic jam, either of which can cost you the game.
 
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Mad Scientist Philip von Doomula
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You are only penalized for slavery if you discard it. If you never discard your slavery cards there is nothing to worry about.

I think the rulebook example is a rather high score. The highest scores I have seen are near 55-60.
 
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Daniel Running
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Thanks All--

I hadn't thought about the the immediate loss on the 4 tracks--that makes a lot more sense to me. Weird (well, not really) that I missed that. As for Mr. Hanning's point, I had no political agenda in asking the question--just thinking that it was supposed to me a large penalty for resorting to slavery, and the one-point didn't seem like a big deal.

Wasn't looking for a fight...

Thanks so much for the illumination, beloved community.
 
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Jarratt Gray
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I won a 4 player game by abolishing Slavery. The difference between my score and 2 of my opponents were the lost Slave points.

For one of them I crippled his economy for a turn and he struggled to redraw the cards, the other had a strong card engine anyway.

As people have mentioned the penalty is really based on the time period. So the -1 represents revolt and protests within your empire. Unlike the other cards they don't go back because the slaves have revolted or some such. If you dissolve a trade agreement by discarding any other card then another empire can still try and make the same agreement.

Finally the penalty comes into play mostly when choosing to keep or discard a Slavery card in favour of another card. The cards only give so many icons but as the progresses they are all worth +1 point without giving you that because if you discard them you lose both the icons and a point.

The penalty may or may not make a difference at the end of the game, but it will make a difference when weighing up your options during the game and that is more important.
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Jim Cote
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I love how a player can fight to keep slavery from being abolished by controlling Europe.
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Carl Birch
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Our first ever game last night was decided by the loss of Slavery Cards. I won, 1 point ahead of the second placed player who lost 2 points for his Slavery Cards.
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Doug Bass
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rmarine wrote:
Our first ever game last night was decided by the loss of Slavery Cards. I won, 1 point ahead of the second placed player who lost 2 points for his Slavery Cards.

We had a similar situation today. At the end of the game, another player and I were tied for first with 61 points each, until I realized I had forgotten to deduct two points for my two slavery cards, which he had abolished earlier in the game. D'oh!

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Andy Van Zandt
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also, it should be noted that not only is it point loss, it is partial causal action loss as well... they spent resources to get the cards (not just a card draw, but potentially occupy/attack actions to get adequate control levels as well).

and to add, we played a game last night- the person who abolished slavery won by one point.
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Scott Russell
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My two games have been decided by only a point or two. In the five player, I think it was seven points from first to fifth. I've not seen slavery abolished in either game (four and five player).
 
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Jim bo
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jarratt wrote:
Finally the penalty comes into play mostly when choosing to keep or discard a Slavery card in favour of another card.

i'm interested to know what the design rationale was behind the -1 glory penalty for discarded slavery cards even when slavery hasn't been abolished.

why is the 'reformed' slave owner punished when current slave owners aren't?
 
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Hammock Backpacker
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Yojimbo252 wrote:
jarratt wrote:
Finally the penalty comes into play mostly when choosing to keep or discard a Slavery card in favour of another card.

i'm interested to know what the design rationale was behind the -1 glory penalty for discarded slavery cards even when slavery hasn't been abolished.

why is the 'reformed' slave owner punished when current slave owners aren't?


Guilt? Penance?
 
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Jeff Binning
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Quote:
why is the 'reformed' slave owner punished when current slave owners aren't?


I wouldn't think of him as reformed, he just lost/sold his "property".
 
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Jarratt Gray
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Yojimbo252 wrote:
I'm interested to know what the design rationale was behind the -1 glory penalty for discarded slavery cards even when slavery hasn't been abolished.

why is the 'reformed' slave owner punished when current slave owners aren't?


Why is the slave owner reformed.

The idea behind most asset cards is that they represent a trade agreement with another nation. With Slaves clearly you have gained the slaves and are putting them to work.

If you discard them, what happens to them?

I like to think of it as a slave revolt, perhaps they have been freed but now cost your empire.

You may have developed your empire beyond the need for slaves, but you are still faced with the stigma of having them in the first place.

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Andy Van Zandt
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and, as an alternative explanation, it's easier mechanically to say that all discarded slave cards count against you, and abolition just causes them all to discard, rather than separating the effects. plus it prevents people from avoiding the penalty for their ill-gotten-gains by getting rid of the slaves before abolition.
 
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Jim bo
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
Quote:
why is the 'reformed' slave owner punished when current slave owners aren't?


I wouldn't think of him as reformed, he just lost/sold his "property".

in terms of the question that's neither here nor there. perhaps my mistake was using the word 'reformed'.

jarratt wrote:
The idea behind most asset cards is that they represent a trade agreement with another nation. With Slaves clearly you have gained the slaves and are putting them to work.

If you discard them, what happens to them?

I like to think of it as a slave revolt, perhaps they have been freed but now cost your empire.

you don't get penalised by ending / discarding a trade agreement with another nation. so i'm left wondering why the ending / discarding of a 'slavery agreement' should bring about a penalty.

jarratt wrote:

You may have developed your empire beyond the need for slaves, but you are still faced with the stigma of having them in the first place.

i'm not suggesting the stigma should ever be removed simply by discarding the slavery card but if the wrongs of slavery are never recognised during a particular game (ie. not abolished) then i don't see the rationale behind still punishing those players that discarded whereas current slave owners remain unpunished.

truekid wrote:
...plus it prevents people from avoiding the penalty for their ill-gotten-gains by getting rid of the slaves before abolition.

as mentioned above i'm not suggesting someone should be able to avoid the penalty through discarding. the context of the question and hence thread is the situation where slavery is never abolished in a given game.

truekid wrote:
and, as an alternative explanation, it's easier mechanically to say that all discarded slave cards count against you, and abolition just causes them all to discard, rather than separating the effects.

that's simply describing the implementation of the mechanic that's used to enforce the rule. i'm actually interested in the rationale behind the rule in the first place.

why did the designers feel a need to punish a player for discarding a slavery card even when slavery was never abolished? during playtesting was it discovered that a player could receive an unfair advantage by exploiting this in some way?
 
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Jarratt Gray
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You don't get penalized for ending a trade agreement with another nation because you ended a trade agreement. The penalty is that you no longer have the resources.

Slaves are *not* an agreement, they are physical people. Should you discard them, thereby terminating your involvement with them you still have a force of slave in your nation. Now that you are no longer treating them as tools you are no longer looking after them either. They have to make their own way. This can lead to all sorts of problems.

Carl put it quite succinctly in another "slavery is bad don't get this game thread" when he said that this could be revolt, or changing the focus of the wealth and production of your empire from plantations and slave owners to some other force. Obviously those that got rich on slaves still have political power.

Abolition seems irrelevant to me. A discarded slave labour force will come back to haunt you in some form.

Mechanically I think you are forgetting the fact that you can hold an extra slave above your hand limit. This is huge during the early game and becomes less valuable as the game nears the end. Most players will likely be able to hold 5 cards regardless of slaves. The penalty is a counterbalance to the advantage.
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Jim bo
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jarratt wrote:
Slaves are *not* an agreement, they are physical people. Should you discard them, thereby terminating your involvement with them you still have a force of slave in your nation. Now that you are no longer treating them as tools you are no longer looking after them either. They have to make their own way. This can lead to all sorts of problems.

Carl put it quite succinctly in another "slavery is bad don't get this game thread" when he said that this could be revolt, or changing the focus of the wealth and production of your empire from plantations and slave owners to some other force. Obviously those that got rich on slaves still have political power.

that's fair enough from an historical perspective.

jarratt wrote:
Abolition seems irrelevant to me. A discarded slave labour force will come back to haunt you in some form.

that depends on whether you regard the discarding of a slavery card as a mistreatment of them by no longer caring for them or the act of granting their freedom. obviously as the designer you're taking the former view but i was also looking at it from the latter.

as arguments could be put forward either way i was just curious whether there was something that came up during the design phase or playtesting which prompted you for balance reasons to opt for the former.

jarratt wrote:
Mechanically I think you are forgetting the fact that you can hold an extra slave above your hand limit. This is huge during the early game and becomes less valuable as the game nears the end. Most players will likely be able to hold 5 cards regardless of slaves. The penalty is a counterbalance to the advantage.

i think the risk of slavery being abolished is enough of a penalty to counter balance the med and slavery decks but if you felt it wasn't enough then i can understand the additional negative. personally i think this over balances the decks in that i would value the med deck higher than the slavery deck, but perhaps that's just me.

my view is that the discard penalty also devalues an early market strategy. with a market in turn 1 or 2 a player can choose to kick start their economy with the slavery 0 or 1 asset. by choosing the early market you're naturally going to want to exploit that by drawing assets throughout the game to make the most if it and trading up assets where possible. the problem is that trading up off the slavery assets attracts the 1 point penalty whether slavery is abolished or not and therefore we're faced with the situation where med is favoured over slavery and shipyard/workshop is favoured over market.

i appreciate this is just my own opinion (others may disagree) or perhaps the game was designed with these preferences in mind but i was just wondering what the game may be like with the slavery penalty only being incurred on discards if slavery is abolished.
 
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Jarratt Gray
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Yojimbo252 wrote:

that depends on whether you regard the discarding of a slavery card as a mistreatment of them by no longer caring for them or the act of granting their freedom. obviously as the designer you're taking the former view but i was also looking at it from the latter.


Okay so you free the slaves? What are the political ramifications. Those wealthy people who ran slaves now have no labour force to do their work. These are often powerful political people. They will not be happy. It is pretty much the same with Abolition, if you consider that you are freeing the slaves then you are doing a preemptive Abolition, but you still suffer the same effects, only you have greater control over your Assets at the time of your emancipation.


Yojimbo252 wrote:
i think the risk of slavery being abolished is enough of a penalty to counter balance the med and slavery decks but if you felt it wasn't enough then i can understand the additional negative. personally i think this over balances the decks in that i would value the med deck higher than the slavery deck, but perhaps that's just me.

my view is that the discard penalty also devalues an early market strategy. with a market in turn 1 or 2 a player can choose to kick start their economy with the slavery 0 or 1 asset. by choosing the early market you're naturally going to want to exploit that by drawing assets throughout the game to make the most if it and trading up assets where possible. the problem is that trading up off the slavery assets attracts the 1 point penalty whether slavery is abolished or not and therefore we're faced with the situation where med is favoured over slavery and shipyard/workshop is favoured over market.

i appreciate this is just my own opinion (others may disagree) or perhaps the game was designed with these preferences in mind but i was just wondering what the game may be like with the slavery penalty only being incurred on discards if slavery is abolished.


I really think you need to weigh up the advantage you get in the early game. You can *hold* an extra slave. This is a card you do not need to pay for so to speak. That is a minimal action for a lot of early gain.

Abolishing Slavery is hard. When choosing to take a slavery card I would never factor it in. When taking a 2nd one I would. What I would consider is whether this card is going to get me over right now because later on the game I'm probably discarding it.

Liek you I would value the cards from the Med deck a little more, and if I was building a Market first strategy I would start there. But while there are some circumstances where Market first build is viable, it isn't necessarily a supposed to be a starting build. The Market has to be on level one, because in this game you have to be able to draw cards at some point and some players might not get past level 1 buildings.
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Jim bo
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some good points. thanks for the insight.
 
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A rule question - if you discard salvery cards due to being over the hand limit, and then later on salvery is abolished, do those discarded cards still count as negative glory points?
 
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