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Subject: Pieces question - AGAIN rss

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Craig Hebert
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Trying to see what is up with this game in preparation for a trade when once again, I've found myself confounded by the the version by Mattel.

Who can tell me exactly what is supposed to be mirrored and what is not - OFFICIALLY?

Besides a missing Academy, it appears the Academy must be a mirrored piece. Now what is confounding me is the Abbey. Both the Abbey pieces are identical in shape and appear that way even on the back of the box. The problem is it does not fit being "identical".

Lastly, does anyone know of a place where you can get replacement parts?

Thanks
 
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Randall Bart
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Each player's pieces should be the mirror of the opponent's pieces. Further, a player's Abbey should be a near mirror image of that player's Academy.

AIUI, Mattel never made a correct set, so correct Abbeys are not available.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I don't know who would be in charge of an 'official' configuration; different companies made them different ways. Since they had to get very expensive molds made for the plastic pieces, I'd be very surprised if Mattel sets differed from one another. Call me a peasant, but I have a Mattel set, and I like it just fine.
 
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Craig Hebert
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Thanks for the replies - George would you mind seeing if your set (same as mine) has mirrored Abbeys or the exact same shapes?

Thanks in advance.

I guess my edit on my previous original post didn't "take" because I mentioned that the wood pieces pictures shows mirrored Abbeys and Academies.

My own game box itself, shows the two Abbey pieces to be the same shape and not mirror images. That they would make the mistake, and then take a picture of it and use it as their box cover is pretty funny.

With this plastic set, it is apparently impossible to actually cover every space on the board. Pity, the plastic buildings are nicely sculpted.
 
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JacquesDeMolay wrote:
Thanks for the replies - George would mind seeing if your set (same as mine) has mirrored Abbeys or the exact same shapes?


My Academies are mirrored, my Abbeys are identically shaped.

JacquesDeMolay wrote:
My own game box itself, shows the two Abbey pieces to be the same shape and not mirror images. That they would make the mistake, and then take a picture of it and use it as their box cover is pretty funny.


Which is why I'm not 100% convinced they considered it a mistake.

JacquesDeMolay wrote:
With this plastic set, it is apparently impossible to actually cover every space on the board. Pity, the plastic buildings are nicely sculpted.


They are beautifully sculpted, and they certainly do cover every space on the board. When my children were small, I let them play the "put away" game, where they arranged the pieces to cover the entire board.
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Craig Hebert
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Well, when I place the pieces according to some pictures posted, I get the Academy mirrored missing but the Abbey needs to be mirrored to place it.

Thanks for taking the time. Wish you were local man to get some NT in - I can't find an opponent.

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JacquesDeMolay wrote:
Well, when I place the pieces according to some pictures posted, I get the Academy mirrored missing but the Abbey needs to be mirrored to place it.


Think of it this way: if you put one end of the Abbey into the opening of a Castle, and then add an Inn, you'll have a 3x4 square. You can easily fill that same 3x4 volume with the same three pieces, regardless of whether the Abbey is Mirrored or not:


castle abbey inn
_______ _______
| | | |
| ___| _______ |___ |
| | | | | |
| |___ |___ |___ |___|
| | | |
|_______| |_______|

_______ _______
| | | |
| ___| ___| ___| ___
| | | | | |
| |___ |_______| ___| |
| | | |
|_______| |_______|


Mentally push those pieces together, and you'll see they make an identical, solid rectangle, regardless of whether the Abbey flips or not. That rectangle fits fine into the overall board when you put all the other pieces on.

JacquesDeMolay wrote:

Thanks for taking the time. Wish you were local man to get some NT in - I can't find an opponent.


Yeah, that would be great. I don't get to play NT either.
 
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Russ Williams
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Sphere wrote:
JacquesDeMolay wrote:
Well, when I place the pieces according to some pictures posted, I get the Academy mirrored missing but the Abbey needs to be mirrored to place it.


Think of it this way: if you put one end of the Abbey into the opening of a Castle, and then add an Inn, you'll have a 3x4 square. You can easily fill that same 3x4 volume with the same three pieces, regardless of whether the Abbey is Mirrored or not:


castle abbey inn
_______ _______
| | | |
| ___| _______ |___ |
| | | | | |
| |___ |___ |___ |___|
| | | |
|_______| |_______|

_______ _______
| | | |
| ___| ___| ___| ___
| | | | | |
| |___ |_______| ___| |
| | | |
|_______| |_______|


Mentally push those pieces together, and you'll see they make an identical, solid rectangle, regardless of whether the Abbey flips or not. That rectangle fits fine into the overall board when you put all the other pieces on.

Somehow this argument seems unconvincing and similar to:

Jacques: This edition messed up the piece distribution because, unlike all the other editions, it is missing these 2 pieces:
blankblank
blank

blank

and it has 2 extra pieces like this:
blankblank

blankblank

Sphere: But that's ok, because you can still make a 2x2 square!
blankblank
blankblank



Seriously, it seems clear to me that if one edition has identical abbeys, and all the other editions have mirrored abbeys, then it's a silly mistake by that publisher. Granted, it doesn't have a strong impact on overall play and strategy (at least not at my level of play! ), but it does change the game subtly, just like if some reprint of a wargame changed the terrain on one hex of the map, or changed the combat value of one unit, and probably isn't what the game's designer intended.
 
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russ wrote:
Somehow this argument seems unconvincing and similar to:

Jacques: This edition messed up the piece distribution because, unlike all the other editions, it is missing these 2 pieces:
blankblank
blank

blank

and it has 2 extra pieces like this:
blankblank

blankblank

Sphere: But that's ok, because you can still make a 2x2 square!
blankblank
blankblank


Your example is different in a fundamental way: you've replaced unique pieces with identical pieces. That reduces the decision space in the game, and clearly makes it less interesting. The actual case, which I showed, retains the same number of unique pieces per side.

You do have subtly different decisions, depending on the shape of their Abbey, but the decision-making process doesn't become more or less complex and intriguing because they hold a left-handed or right-handed Abbey. You play against what the other player holds in their hand, and I believe the difference in play value is nil.
 
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Randall Bart
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There are times when your Abbey goes the wrong way but your Academy fits, or vice versa. If your Abbey and Academy go the same way, you have fewer options.
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Barticus88 wrote:
There are times when your Abbey goes the wrong way but your Academy fits, or vice versa. If your Abbey and Academy go the same way, you have fewer options.


OK, that is a legitimate argument. In the Mattel set, you could fit both the grey Abbey and the grey Academy into the same space, assuming one extra space for the Academy. The red pieces are not that way; the core section of the red Academy is a mirror of the red Abbey.

I still think that the difference in play value is virtually nil. You will work to create a board that suits your own pieces whichever color you play.
 
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Randall Bart
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Sphere wrote:
I still think that the difference in play value is virtually nil.

I have seen it in action. You have fewer options. I was playing with the bad set and pointed out to my opponent where I getting two less squares because neither my Abbey nor my Academy went the way I wanted.
 
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Barticus88 wrote:
I have seen it in action. You have fewer options. I was playing with the bad set and pointed out to my opponent where I getting two less squares because neither my Abbey nor my Academy went the way I wanted.


I could create a situation where you could get more squares because both of them fit the same shape.
 
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There is no geometric benefit either way. Both sets can complete the city a number of ways. The ONLY reason to have a fit over it is because it is a thematic element... good and evil "should" have different pieces (were the sides considered as polarized as good and evil, which brings up my theory that deep down, the like pieces are a symbol of each players similarity. Bridging the good/evil gap and turning the game to player versus player, human versus human, even).

Either way, there is no excuse to not play with the set you like more, and welcome good games with friends who offer to play you in sets you like less.

But, there is no geometric benefit. Every case has a counter case.

I do prefer the plastic set, it is so much cooler looking than the wooden set. I prefer it for that reason alone.
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The plastic set does look awfully nice, I was able to buy a used wooden set for less than half the cost of the plastic set though. So I went with that.
 
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casperthegoth wrote:
But, there is no geometric benefit. Every case has a counter case.

Sure, there are various equally interesting variations of piece distributions.

But there is an advantage in having a standard set. E.g. playing chess with 3 bishops and 1 knight might also be a good interesting game, but it's nice that wherever you go, people agree to play chess with 2 bishops and 2 knights.

But I would agree that in practice this situation of the messed up Cathedral piece is not as dramatic a difference as a chess set that came with 3 bishops per player.
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Randall Bart
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The white player has a disadvantage. It doesn't come up in every game, but at least 20% of games you will have a position where you have fewer options.
 
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Barticus88 wrote:
The white player has a disadvantage. It doesn't come up in every game, but at least 20% of games you will have a position where you have fewer options.

Out of curiosity, how did you arrive at the 20% figure? And have you calculated a percentage for the number of games in which the white player will have an advantage because the 'odd' pieces can be placed, but the 'correct' ones could not?
 
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Sphere wrote:
Out of curiosity, how did you arrive at the 20% figure?

Experience.
 
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So I take it you've played a great many games, both with correct sets and with incorrect sets, is that right? What about the other question - how often does the non-mirrored piece provide an advantage?

[edit] I've just looked at your profile, and although you've logged over 1200 games played, none of them are for Cathedral. You're probably like me, in that most of your play was long ago, before you started logging here. When I look at plays for Cathedral, I see that Russ is in the number 3 position on BGG, with 51 plays. I've logged 18, enough to make the first page.

I have no doubt that you honestly believe that the white set has a disadvantage if the abbey is not mirrored, but I can't see any logical basis for that assertion. 20% is quite a substantial difference, and I would be very surprised (but impressed!) if you could provide any actual data that supports it. I honestly think you're letting your esthetic preference cloud your perception.
 
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I cannot see how creating a space in which only your mirrored piece fits and your opponent's doesn't can be a good play, since ANY of his small pieces will fit in order to block your mirrored piece too. And small pieces are always available until close to the endgame.
 
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franchi wrote:
I cannot see how creating a space in which only your mirrored piece fits and your opponent's doesn't can be a good play, since ANY of his small pieces will fit in order to block your mirrored piece too. And small pieces are always available until close to the endgame.

Sure, that's always true in any case. The thing is that such a move deprives him of a place to put his big piece, whereas you still have a place for yours. It's typically not worth it for him to waste a move putting a small piece too soon in the game. It is at least a threat he must worry about, even if he eventually decides to nullify the threat with a small piece (possibly wasting a turn where he could have put a larger piece somewhere). I.e. now there's a place where n+1 of your pieces fit but only n of his pieces. All else being equal, if you have more possible options than your opponent, then the situation is good for you.
 
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I've just purchased a nice second-hand set of the Robert P. Moore / Lagoon Games edition (the wooden one in the burgundy a coloured box with gold text but no picture on the front).

The Abbey pieces are mirrored (brown = Z, white = S), but as for the other as symmetric piece, the Academy, both coloured are oriented the same way: -L

However, its not impossible that the previous owner had altered the configuration of one or more pieces because one piece the white Tower = W) arrived broken (it was easily glued) and another showed signs of previous repair).

So my question is, does my set, as described above, conform to the official configuration / designer's intent?

By the way - it can be arranged to cover the entire 10×10 board.
 
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