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Rattus: Pied Piper» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How does the COURIER impact the game? rss

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Danny Mack
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I have just recently acquired the Pied Piper expansion (6/2011), and I am in the beginning stages of figuring out each role's impact on the game, specifically how they combine with the original 6 roles and/or how they do as substitutes for some of the original roles.
Based on my initial learning of the expansion, I have split the 12 Pied Piper roles into 3 categories, as follows...
bandit_boy7 wrote:
Variation:
Crusader (like the Knight)
Queen (like the Peasant)
Baker (like the King)
Nun (like the Knight)

Combination:
Soldier (similar to both the Knight & the Peasant or Monk)
Pied Piper (similar to both the Merchant & the Monk)

New Element:
Courier (cube-swapping)
Mayor (placement by dispersal)
Emperor (border blocking)
Wizard (cube protection)
Serf (personal profit at expense of other opponents)
Bishop (prevents rat movement)

So, I have several questions about the Courier (it looks like a "she" to me--a very grim "she"):
1) Which of the original roles would you recommend sacrificing in order to get this role into the game as 1 of the 6 available roles?
2) From a game impact point of view, how valuable is the ability to swap cubes as compared to the Witch's ability to swap rats?
3) This role seems very light weight to me--how often does it get picked up at your game table(s)?
4) How does the ability to do a small attack on an opponent using the Courier's power compare with the Serf's ability to directly benefit from your opponent's losses (a "bigger attack", I'd say)?
5) Does the Courier have any impact at all in the endgame?

Any other comments on strategic observations/uses of the Courier are welcome here, as are any ideas about good combos involving the Courier and another role (or two). I welcome differences of opinion on my classification system as well (as it pertains to THIS role--I am setting up other threads for the other roles.) FWIW, I am hoping to draw out other fans of the game and provoke conversation in this thread, rather than a lesson on how to play.
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bandit_boy7 wrote:

3) This role seems very light weight to me--how often does it get picked up at your game table(s)?


I've played Rattus quite a few times now; it was my most played game of 2010. The Courier is one of my favorite cards and I believe it's a card whose power is often underestimated. I shall explain this.

Most of the time, I play with a strategy of spreading my cubes across the board as good as possible. The courier helps me with this. Why spread your cubes? The chance the Black Death strikes you, will be smaller, and when it does strike, the chance you lose a lot of cubes will be smaller, simply because there's a small amount of cubes of mine in each region.
That's also the reason why I love the merchant from the basic game so much; this is also a card that helps me spread my cubes throughout Europe.

I haven't played the following combination yet (when you own all cards that have ever been released for this game, you can play with millions of different combinations), but I can imagine that the courier and the queen might be a good combination to play with...
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Bartjes wrote:
The Courier is one of my favorite cards and I believe it's a card whose power is often underestimated.

This resonates with me. I feel the same way about the Witch in the base game. Rather than a direct/obvious benefit the role is a subtle aid in your strategy, thinking toward the end of the game.

Bartjes wrote:
Most of the time, I play with a strategy of spreading my cubes across the board as good as possible. The courier helps me with this.

In my experience, the 3 most common winning strategies are the one you mentioned (spreading across the board), stockpiling in 1 or 2 regions (all the "eggs" in one basket), or slamming cubes into the castle every turn, via the King's role. I haven't played with the Courier yet, so I did not perceive her value as an agent to move my own cubes throughout the board, in support of the "spreading like a plague" strategy. Good tip. Thanks.

Bartjes wrote:
That's also the reason why I love the merchant from the basic game so much; this is also a card that helps me spread my cubes throughout Europe.

This is certainly one effective use for the Merchant. There are others I love (which I won't get into in this thread). I will say that I didn't see the Courier as a "mover" in the game--I saw her as more of a way to annoy the opposition (or maybe in tandem with the Witch--peek & switch.) Only the Pied Piper himself struck me as an alternative mover to the Merchant.

So perhaps the Courier would be a good substitute for the Merchant--same class, similar movement?

Bartjes wrote:
I haven't played the following combination yet...but I can imagine that the courier and the queen might be a good combination to play with.

Let us know if you encounter this. I haven't yet either, mostly because I have little interest in using the Queen so far. Clearly I need to get away from looking for the "obvious benefit" of these new roles and explore the "subtle strategy" they each provide, especially in combinations.
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bandit_boy7 wrote:

Bartjes wrote:
That's also the reason why I love the merchant from the basic game so much; this is also a card that helps me spread my cubes throughout Europe.

This is certainly one effective use for the Merchant. There are others I love (which I won't get into in this thread). I will say that I didn't see the Courier as a "mover" in the game--I saw her as more of a way to annoy the opposition (or maybe in tandem with the Witch--peek & switch.) Only the Pied Piper himself struck me as an alternative mover to the Merchant.


That's one of the cool things of this game: sometimes, you just have to find out how things work best during a game, and the same counts for combinations of cards. I wasn't a big fan of The Judge, until I saw my wife combine this card with the peasant from the basic came...!

bandit_boy7 wrote:

So perhaps the Courier would be a good substitute for the Merchant--same class, similar movement?


Yeah, I think so, although I would love to play with them both

bandit_boy7 wrote:

Bartjes wrote:
I haven't played the following combination yet...but I can imagine that the courier and the queen might be a good combination to play with.

Let us know if you encounter this. I haven't yet either, mostly because I have little interest in using the Queen so far. Clearly I need to get away from looking for the "obvious benefit" of these new roles and explore the "subtle strategy" they each provide, especially in combinations.


The Queen sometimes changes your strategy, even when you don't have this card yourself. When your opponent has the biggest connected area, you sometimes choose to add cubes in a certain region, just to make the queen unuseful for your opponents. So the queen forces you as well as your opponent to focus on other things, then just following your own strategy.
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Funny how different things seem when you read about them in the rules (and try to imagine their impact in the game setting) versus actually playing it out on the board.
I will say, in the time since we talked last, I have played the Courier on several occasions, and she has rocketed up to the top of my list of favorite expansion roles!
Thanks for the encouragement and insight, Bart.
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Cool to hear, Danny! There's still so many combinations of cards to be tried...
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Yeah, Bart, I wish more people would share their insights on these forums--there are almost 1000 registered owners on BGG and over 300 logged plays of this expansion (not counting people like me who log their base game plays only, even when they include the expansion roles.)
I don't get the disconnect--when everyone says it's "so essential" but doesn't feel like talking about it.

Speaking of combinations, I'm so eager to get/buy/win the Rattus: Africanus expansion!
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