Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Here I Stand» Forums » Variants

Subject: Play balance in 1517 scenario rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
William Bentley
United States
Nashville
Tennessee
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have now played 10+ games of the 1517 scenario and I have come away with the impression that England is the favored power with the French adn Prots least favored. I know Ed once kept stats on game wins and am curious to see if my impression is backed up by his numbers. A cheap divorce (less than two cards and discussed elsewhere at length) is the primary reason for England's win percentage and the increased power that allows his home card, but I believe three other aspects contribute to their advantage.

First, their island, corner board position gives them an advantage on defense of spaces. I have never seen England invaded or Scotland survive beyond T2. With a 4+ squadron navy, invasion or even taking Calais is nearly impossible to take with anything but Treachery!

Second, the Spanish Netherlands are usually an easy take down. England can simply swarm all three spaces to deny Charley a "landing spot" from the HRE card and assault at will. In conjunction with French taking Metz/Besançon and/or strategically placed unrest courtesy of Carlstadt or Peasants War, the Hapsburg is powerless to stop this.

Third, holding back the English reformation is difficult as it is in the mutual interest of both England and the Prots (unless Prot pursuit would allow England to vault ahead). The pope is hard pressed to hold both of these powers back. If England can get the Prot to complete the ENT and use a few debaters to speed the process, the English can complete at will even if the Prot then gets left behind.

On the French. They begin the game at war with Haps and Paps, having just wrested Milan from an imperial army before the game begins. They are hamstrung in the truncated negotiations at turn start to bargain only with the English. The Ottomans won't relieve their role as Hapsburg punching bag for at least 2 turns, and France is usually forced to play defense during the same time frame.

It is often difficult to get newer players to recognize the importance of maintaining a check on Haps power instead of turtling in their own countries, building up strength for later. When later comes, the French are often weakened irreparably. Now if Francis gets the right cards, the Haps onslaught might be parried or Genoa/Venice get added, but lacking the right cards, France can be very challenging to play.

Now I realize that savvy players who have played all the powers multiple times will probably be aware of these nuances and longer term consequences of certain strategies, but new players often are not aware of how a decision/deal made one turn may affect play for several turns to come.

I'd love to see up to date stats on win percentages if they exist, and
I'd propose the following tweak to the power cards for play balance with less experienced players. The English Cards and VP/Key track starts at 2VP not 3 and proceeds to add 2VP/key as usual. Likewise, the French Cards and VP/Key track begins at 3VP, not 2 and proceeds to add 2VP as usual. This small VP change on the Power Cards compensates for my perceived English/French disparity. The English VP subtraction also helps the Prot in that he's more likely to aid the English Reformation without it costing him the game. I suppose Papa might also get 1VP added to his track to compensate the increased likelihood that the Reformation will get a boost.

I like this mechanism of tweaking the base VP tracks b/c it minimizes the effects on the well-designed and intertwined game mechanics and strategies elsewhere in the game. Thoughts?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Paradis
Canada
montreal
Québec
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like this change. Not game-shattering, but very sensible. cool
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Johns
United States
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The nebulous "they" swear that England doesn't win more than other powers. I concur with your assessment across the board. I'd recommend those changes to England, France and the Prot. No need to help out the Papacy.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Forster
United States
Pleasant Prairie
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Hey! Institute THIS!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This might be a good variation for beginning players to use, although I'd recommend against it for veteran players.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon H
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I would like to see the Marital Status chart go up to 7, with all the results shifted up by one (and a new equally bad '1' result added).

That would increase the number of times historically accurate monarchs come out (Elizabeth, Mary), and mean that it is impossible to get healthy Edward on the first throw of the dice.

Such a variation would be very easy to implement, too, and a new chart could be included in a C3i and just placed over the old one .

One thing that always puzzled me - if the Pope grants a divorce, why does the Reformation still start next turn? Surely it should be delayed under those circumstances, since Henry then has no need to cast off the yoke of Rome...?

[edit] On the subject of France, the importance of using the Home Card in the early turns to build Chateaux is often overlooked. It is very hard for any French player to win without 3-4VPs of Chateaux VPs in the bank. France also has a good shot at circumnavigation with Cartier. I believe France is heavily reliant on good diplomacy and is more difficult for a new player, but is not actually underpowered. And the Protestant is definitely not underpowered - but is prone to luck of when Schmalkaldic League comes out. Turn 2 = Protestant beatdown, End of Turn 4 = easy Protestant win.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg Forster
United States
Pleasant Prairie
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Hey! Institute THIS!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
shaldon wrote:
One thing that always puzzled me - if the Pope grants a divorce, why does the Reformation still start next turn? Surely it should be delayed under those circumstances, since Henry then has no need to cast off the yoke of Rome...?


Henry's break with Rome's authority did not of itself start the Reformation in England. That would have been schism, not Reformation. (Similarly, the Hussite schismatics in Prague are not listed as Protestants on the map at the start of the 1517 scenario.)

Remember, the king of France doesn't break with Rome, yet the Reformation gets started in France anyway.

What started the Reformation in England was the influence of Anne Boleyn. An ardent Protestant, Boleyn worked behind the scenes to promote Protestant bishops - most notably Cranmer - and undercut Catholic ones. By the time of her execution, the leading Protestant figures were entrenched enough to continue without her patronage.

So even if Henry doesn't formally break with Rome, nonetheless because of Anne's influence you would still have Cranmer emerge as a Reformer and the Protestant faith spreading in England.

You might argue that if Henry doesn't break with Rome, he won't promote the Protestants and might have cracked down on them. But in fact he didn't really promote the Protestants even in the real history when he did break from Rome! All he wanted was to chase tail, and once he had that he didn't much care what the bishops taught. In the alternate history where he doesn't break with Rome, he nonetheless wouldn't crack down on the spread of Protestantism in England. Why would he? He's got the pope's permission to chase tail, and once again, that's all he's after.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kristian Thy
Denmark
Taastrup
flag msg tools
Together, we are the United Nations
badge
Gunulfr ok Øgotr ok Aslakr ok Rolfr resþu sten þænsi æftir Ful, felaga sin, ær warþ ... døþr, þa kunungar barþusk.
Avatar
mb
Nice points. You could house rule argue that the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Pilgrimage of Grace events can't be played if the Pope grants the divorce.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.