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Subject: Pub question: what good is it? rss

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Eric Nielsen
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Maybe I'm missing something, but is there every any reason to use the pub before the last round? Before the final round, every single building except a full-price market has a better exchange rate, with the added benefit of denying options to opponents. The only two situations I can see using the pub early is:

-You've screwed yourself out of anything useful to purchase by transitioning too late
-You don't want to end the game with an extra noble draw, but still have enough extra money to afford early conversion (this seems very contrived)

Ok, if a pub comes up late, buy it. At 2.75 gold->1 VP, it's the best building possible in the last round. However, earlier in the game when 1 gold is still worth 2.5-3VP, buying the pub raises that ratio to 4.4-5.5 gold->1VP, which is horrid compared to an average building.

I can see the value in taking the pub into your hand to clear board-space, with the option of dumping it cheaply later on to clear hand-space, but beyond that, does it have any real use? The warehouse is clearly superior in this respect. I've heard people raving about how great the pub is, so what am I not seeing?

I also understand that it lets you fine tune your gold->VP conversion at the end, but can't that just be duplicated with a little card counting and planning?
 
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Jim Cote
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
paeanblack (#463869),

If you find yourself with a lot of extra cash during the last several rounds, you can convert it into VP early. If you end up in the final round with 50 rubles, you'll only be able to convert 10 rubles into 5 VP with a single pub.
 
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Garrett Potvin
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
paeanblack (#463869),


Look at it as a victory point insurance policy if you are flush with cash in the last two rounds. Buying it can also prevent your opponent from using it in a similar fashion.

End game 10 gold= 1 VP, if you have a pub and money in the last round that same investment will get you 5 victory points.
 
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Eric Nielsen
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
If you find yourself with a lot of extra cash during the last several rounds, you can convert it into VP early. If you end up in the final round with 50 rubles, you'll only be able to convert 10 rubles into 5 VP with a single pub.

That's what I don't understand...converting to VP early, and even buying the pub early.

In the second-to-last round, that 11 gold (10+1) can be spent on a Firehouse, that will gain 6VP, or put towards a more expensive building for an even better conversion rate. This is assuming there are no buildings available on the discount rack, which have a better ratio.

Even if you only use it in the last round, for a full 10 gold, you are still spending 11 to gain 3.9 VP. This is good, but only if you actually purchase the pub in the last round. Any use of the pub before the last round appears to be a complete waste

If you purchase the pub in the first round when a single gold can convert to about 4-5VP, the pub can't even recoup the opportunity cost of spending that gold elsewhere.

If my opponent is using a pub before the last round, I'm happy. It means they've started converting to VP generation far too late and there is nothing useful left to buy. I don't see any reason to buy the pubs myself to prevent someone in a bad postion from worsening their situation.

The only time I buy pubs is to clear board-space, but I usually build over them with an upgrade as soon as I can to recoup the wasted gold. I really can't see any practical reason to actually plan on using their ability. Why do people rave about them? The math just doesn't work out.
 
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Jim Cote
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
You've neevr been in the second to last round with nothing to buy during the Building Phase and some extra cash? Happens to me 1 out of 4 games or so.
 
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Paul Harrington
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
ekted (#464073),
If I'm in the penultimate round with nothing to buy, then I feel like I've misplayed the game. The money should have been spent a round earlier on buildings which would have paid off in one extra round, not to mention the fact that the money isn't going to waste.
I think a player should be able to see this coming. If he already has 10 or so income coming from the orange round, and there is hand space, there's not much reason not to spend everything in the blue round and just put the orange card in hand. If you want to keep 18 rubles in case a Mistress comes up, that's fine, but if she doesn't show up, just realize that you gambled and lost. On the other hand, late in the game, if you spend your 18 rubles on discounted blue cards, and have to put the Mistress in hand to buy next round, you haven't lost that much, and you've gained handsomely if she doesn't show up.
 
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Brian M
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Re:Pub question: what good is it?
First, I do agree that you should never, ever, EVER use the Pub until the very last turn. However, I disagree with this:

[quote]paulhar (#468529),
The money should have been spent a round earlier on buildings which would have paid off in one extra round, not to mention the fact that the money isn't going to waste.[/quote]

Sure, the money should have been spent in the previous round; IF YOU HAD IT in that round. In the last turn, its not unreasonable to get 21-24 money from your workers. Plus you may well have money from your noble phase which there was no real point to spend until the building phase.

What do you do with that money?
Buying buildings is a bad idea compared to the pub; at best, a building gives slightly worse than a 3:1 return for money to points; if there's two turns or more to get those points, great, but with only 1 turn the 2:1 return from the pub is better.
Buying upgrades in the last phase is only going to help if you can upgrade nobles that you have duplicates of.

So, what you are left with is buying nobles to try for points. So you'll have to judge which is worth more - the pub, or the potential money from nobles. This depends heavily on how many nobles you have. Let's say you've currently got a Warehouse Manager, Administrator, Author and Secretary. To get more points, you'll need to get AT least a Controller - cost 14. The Controller will score you 1 point in the nobles phase, plus 5 more for the noble bonus. That 14 money would instead get you 7 points from the pub. Alternatively, spend 10 money to get 5 points from the pub. In the end of the nobles phase, you get 10 money from your existing nobles. Now put out the Controller. While you missed 1 point from having him in the nobles phase, you still get a bonus 5 points for him - you've just earned 10 points instead of 6!

Of course, nothing is ever THAT easy in St. Petersburg - you might be able to pick up another author and grab a Pope upgrade as well, netting 6 points for only 6 money. But that's all part of the game.
And if you're lucky enough to already have 10 nobles, its a sure thing - dump all your money into the pub in the last round. Its the best possible move you can make.

So why do you take the pub early? Well, in case you want it late!
 
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Eric Nielsen
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Sure, the money should have been spent in the previous round; IF YOU HAD IT in that round. In the last turn, its not unreasonable to get 21-24 money from your workers. Plus you may well have money from your noble phase which there was no real point to spend until the building phase.

What do you do with that money?


Usually money earned in the last round is already alotted to nobles sitting in my hand, and I'm planning to end the game with just a few pennies in the bank, including income from the last noble round. With these nobles earning 6-9 apiece, plus their face value, I still don't see how using the pub is remotely comparable.
 
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Paul Harrington
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While I'm in agreement with you about the pub's lack of value, I would like to point out that you can only upgrade a noble for 6-9 if there is one available. In a 4-player game, you have often already posted all your nobles because of their scarcity. Also, in most of the 4-player games I play in, someone manages to end the game on turn 5 and your incremental noble is probably worth 4 or 5 rather than 6 to 9. Also, the incremental noble might be an expensive one, whereas the pub gives you 5VP for 11 rubles.

Having said that, I rarely buy pubs before the last round unless I need to open a space cheaply.
 
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Alan Kwan
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The pup is a 1G building, and IMO it is as good as what it costs. Just that.
 
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Peter Robinson
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You might buy it early to ensure you get a look at an Aristocrat card the next phase. It is cheap, and frees up a spot on the board for an extra Aristocrat card.
 
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Chris Hawks
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Last night, I bought the 1st Pub early on, mostly to free up space for another Aristocrat, but also because I was making a lot of money, and figured I'd spend it if a decent Building never came up. I never used it, though, until the final Building phase.

Of course, in the second-to-last (or so) Building phase, I bought the 2nd Pub. I used them both in the final round, buying 10 points. I won by 11. (With $80+ left over.)
 
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Chris Hawks
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StormKnight wrote:
So why do you take the pub early? Well, in case you want it late!

Absolutely. It's not like these cards stay on the board forever. If both Pubs show up in the first 2/3 rounds of play, I'd think it'd be stupid NOT to buy one (or both!)
 
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Paul Harrington
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Can't agree, in fact, let me propose a new game called Handicap St. Pete. I get 25 rubles to start and you get 23 rubles and 2 pubs. If you prefer, you may have 25 rubles and start with two pubs in hand. I think you're going to feel the pinch of being two rubles short more than enough to make up for any advantage you have for having those two pubs in your possession the last round. (In fact, if I were you, I'd upgrade 'em early if I could!)

Let's do a really simplistic calculation. In a 6-turn game, I can usually turn my 25 rubles into 75 VP. It would seem as though you could turn your 23 rubles into 69 VP. Using your pubs, you can pay 20 rubles and get an extra 10 VP, but I'll take the same 20 rubles and get a theater and pick up 6 VP the last round; thus I win by 2, counting the extra 6 VP I got from turning each ruble into 3VP. This doesn't take into account the situations were I might be able to buy a Mistress (or some other good card) midgame but you can't because you're 2 rubles short.
 
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Chris Hawks
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You're never guaranteed to get certain cards. The last time I played with my sister, she was really hoping to get the second Mistress (I bought the first about 2/3 through the game) but lo and behold it was the last card in the orange deck, and got dibs on it anyway.

I see the Pub as a $1 insurance policy against not being able to pick up some of the better cards.

I should also point out that I wouldn't necessarily buy two Pubs in the first round -- your example strikes me as rather silly in that respect. But a turn or two in, once money's not quite as tight as in the first round...absolutely -- assuming they've made an appearance.
 
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Christopher Hill
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I was in a game today where my opponent was able to obtain several upgraded buildings with rubles in addition to the victory points. He would score the buildings, collect the rubles and VP's. Then he would use his pub to purchase victory points with the rubles earned from his buildings. Essentially he was getting free victory points.

This may be a painfully obvious tactic to most, but until I saw this I was one of those who thought the pub was useless.
 
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Paul Harrington
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Do you mean he would buy VPs before the last round instead of buying more buildings which have been pointed out previously to be superior? Should be painfully obvious that this is a losing strategy, perhaps only successful due to early initial advantages (in which the player would have won no matter what they did) or sleeping opponents.
 
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Matt Albritton
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I think he was just pointing out the fact that you can spend all your money during the blue phase buying buildings. After the phase ends, the buildings that have been upgraded will pay off in rubles. You can take that money and still use it on the pub.
 
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Christopher Hill
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Yes Matt, exactly!
 
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Robert Birks
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If you are converting money to VPs via the pub before the last round, you are definitely on a losing strategy, no matter whether you are making money via upgraded buildings. The money would always be better used either building more buildings (next round), or, more likely, on nobles.

While I always pick up pubs when I get a chance, I have found that often I dont even use them in the last round. 10 gold at this stage will earn me 5 VPs. However, if that 10 gold will instead allow me to buy one extra noble, chances are that that will earn me more than 5vps. As long as you aren't already able to reach 10 nobles, then it is important to make sure you still have enough cash to get that extra noble.

The pub seems to be more use in a 3 or a 4 player game, where from my limited experience, you are more likely to end up with excess cash on hand at the end game.
 
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David desJardins
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paulhar wrote:
Let's do a really simplistic calculation. In a 6-turn game, I can usually turn my 25 rubles into 75 VP. It would seem as though you could turn your 23 rubles into 69 VP.


This goes beyond simplistic, to silly. A large part of the "profit" that you make over the course of the game is simply through taking advantage of the limited number of opportunities available to you. Your return isn't proportional to starting cash, because, e.g., no matter how much money you have, you can't buy more than 2 green cards on the first turn.

I don't know what the marginal value of $1 at start is, but I think it's a lot less than 3 VP. I would guess it's in the neighborhood of 1.5 VP.

Furthermore, no one is talking about buying two Pubs; obviously, the second one is a lot less valuable than the first one. Even if buying two Pubs is worse than no Pubs, that doesn't imply that buying one Pub is worse than no Pubs.
 
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Daniel Corban
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I always buy the Pub(s)
1) as a cheap way to clear a spot on the board,
2) as insurance in case alternative (superior) methods of gaining VP are not available, and
3) to prevent my opponent from having #2.

So far, I have always maxed out the Pub on the final turn, sometimes the turn before if nothing better is on the board. I admit that using the pub in this way may be due to my flawed playing in earlier rounds.
 
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