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Subject: Governor may not be used on starting locations [a potential HH fix] rss

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I have read most or all the forums, and I realize this idea has been brought up before, usually in combination with other changes. I'm curious if it has been tested in isolation. Here's the idea.

Use the new (2nd ed.) rules, with the following addendum: You can't use the governor on any of the starting (bold color) locations. [UPDATE: Unless they have been lost to raid or siege.]

Anyone tried this much? I'm thinking that with Pemaquid and St. Mary's sandbagging the British deck the French might have enough time to win through a settler spamming strategy, despite not having the benefit of Governing away Gaspe and Tadoussac after they've been developed.

UPDATE: I'd like to stress that a pure settling strategy is certainly not only way for France to win under this rule, it's just what I had in mind when I started testing it. Read on for more details. Seems to work quite well so far.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Noahboa wrote:
Use the all the new rules, with the following addendum: You can't use the governor on any of the starting (bold color) locations.

... unless the starting locations have been conquered / raided to the ground by the opponent!



Otherwise, I fear that this rule could actually hurt the french player more than the infamous HH...
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Bayushi Sezaru wrote:
Noahboa wrote:
Use the all the new rules, with the following addendum: You can't use the governor on any of the starting (bold color) locations.

... unless the starting locations have been conquered / raided to the ground by the opponent!

:)

Otherwise, I fear that this rule could actually hurt the french player more than the infamous HH...


Yes, making that exception will probably be necessary. And yes, I understand how this variant could be troubling thematically speaking, but if it nerfs the Hammer I'm willing to live with it. Making up thematic justifications for things is the easy part and it's not like this game is in any sense a simulation anyway.

If any reasonably competent Hammer players want to help me test this out over the next few days I'm going to go create a bunch of games on Yucata right now. User name noahboa.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
In theory, any use of reserve/governor to remove a location really goes against the spirit of the game. If it's simply not allowed barring losing the cube, or not at all, it solves the issue.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Noahboa wrote:
I have read most or all the forums, and I realize this idea has been brought up before, usually in combination with other changes. I'm curious if it has been tested in isolation. Here's the idea.

Use the all the new rules, with the following addendum: You can't use the governor on any of the starting (bold color) locations.

Anyone tried this much? I'm thinking that with Pemaquid and St. Mary's sandbagging the British deck the French might have enough time to win through a settler spamming strategy, despite not having the benefit of Governing away Gaspe and Tadoussac after they've been developed.


The French win is based around governoring away their starting locations. France needs to governor a lot more than the British do.
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Luds wrote:
In theory, any use of reserve/governor to remove a location really goes against the spirit of the game. If it's simply not allowed barring losing the cube, or not at all, it solves the issue.


No it does, the whole point of governor is to remove inefficient locations from the deck. This is thematic - he is taking charge of the region and removing the inefficiencies.
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
So I just finished playing ten games on Yucata with players who agreed to try out this rule. Nine of the games were against out4brits. One of them was against a user named Martin.

Game 1. Me = French. Martin = Brits. Martin won on points using a raiding strategy. Close though. I wish he had attempted something closer to a HH, since we already know the game is fairly well balanced if the Brit player chooses to pursue strategies other than the HH. So, this game was inconclusive.

Games 2-10. I played French in four of them and Brits in five of these (possibly the other way around). I lost all nine games, which probably just demonstrates that out4brits (the alter ego of top-rated player out4blood) is simply a much stronger player than I. Also, in the future I think 2 or 3 live games at once is my limit. I played a little sloppy and made dumb mistakes playing ten at once.

Here's the thing. I don't mind at all that I lost, and I am encouraged by the way I lost. None of these felt like standard HH hammer games where the Brits just steamroll through the game and the French never had a chance. out4brits won as both Brits and French and a couple of the games were quite close. Strategies were all over the place with plenty of raiding, settling out, besieging and counter-sieging. A couple of the games seemed pretty close to me.

I think this variant merits further testing.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
I just created a new round of test games on Yucata under the user name LimitedGovernor. This time they will be scored games so they can be looked at afterward. Since I won't be playing them all live simultaneously my play will be a little more focused than last time. I still play fairly quickly if you happen to catch me online.

I'd like to try this with different opponents, so please don't accept more than 2 or 3 games per person.

Thanks.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Alexfrog wrote:
Luds wrote:
In theory, any use of reserve/governor to remove a location really goes against the spirit of the game. If it's simply not allowed barring losing the cube, or not at all, it solves the issue.


No it does, the whole point of governor is to remove inefficient locations from the deck. This is thematic - he is taking charge of the region and removing the inefficiencies.


Right, and that's why a penalty of some kind, such as losing a cube would make sense when governing a location.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
Alexfrog wrote:
Noahboa wrote:
I have read most or all the forums, and I realize this idea has been brought up before, usually in combination with other changes. I'm curious if it has been tested in isolation. Here's the idea.

Use the all the new rules, with the following addendum: You can't use the governor on any of the starting (bold color) locations.

Anyone tried this much? I'm thinking that with Pemaquid and St. Mary's sandbagging the British deck the French might have enough time to win through a settler spamming strategy, despite not having the benefit of Governing away Gaspe and Tadoussac after they've been developed.


The French win is based around governoring away their starting locations. France needs to governor a lot more than the British do.

You might be right. It's a good point, and I'm certainly familiar with that aspect of the French settling strategy. I think you might be overstating the relative importance of the Governor to each side though. When Brits are stuck with Pemaquid and St. Mary's in their deck the HH just doesn't work as efficiently, whereas the French can still spam out those discs pretty fast even without the benefit of Governing away some starting locations like Gaspe and Tadoussac.

We'll see how it goes.
 
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Re: Governor may not be used on starting locations
I have some results to report from the second round of testing.

Once again I created 10 games on Yucata against players who agreed to play with this rule. Seven of these games were against out4brits. I played French in 5 of them, out4brits playing French in the remaining 2 games.

Results: In two of my games as the French playing against out4brits I was able to win, settling out as far as Detroit while successfully repelling attempts to siege Port Royal. The scores were close and there was raiding involved too.

In the other three games playing French against out4brits my opponent won, using a strategy resembling the HH. Sieges of Port Royal were not always successful the first time around however and the Brits did a fair bit of settling, making the game more interesting than the typical HH juggernaut. I attempted to spam out those discs as best I could while fending off sieges at Port Royal, but in the end he was able to take PR, Louisbourg and then Quebec.

The two games in which I played Brits vs. out4brits as the French ended in humiliating defeats for me. My sieges of Port Royal fell apart, while he successfully sieged Pemaquid and then Boston. Settling Ft. Halifax and raiding Quebec netted me some points but failed to carry the day. Two more victories for France.

My other three test games are with me playing Brits against three different players. The games are still in progress so I won't say any more about them.

Preliminary conclusions: The game feels more balanced and competitive. A HH type strategy can still win, but it's more difficult for the Brits to pursue a pure military strategy when you can't govern away Pemaquid and St. Mary's. France CAN successfully win on points while repelling attempts to take Port Royal. Also, as Brits, fending off early-game sieges of Pemaquid and Boston can be a nightmare.

So is this the silver-bullet that fixes the game? Don't know, needs more testing. For all I know this rule only creates some new game-breaking exploit that hasn't been discovered yet. I'm encouraged by the results though. I hope others decide to try this house-rule on their own and report on what they find.
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Noahboa wrote:
So I just finished playing ten games on Yucata with players who agreed to try out this rule. Nine of the games were against out4brits. One of them was against a user named Martin.

Game 1. Me = French. Martin = Brits. Martin won on points using a raiding strategy. Close though. I wish he had attempted something closer to a HH, since we already know the game is fairly well balanced if the Brit player chooses to pursue strategies other than the HH. So, this game was inconclusive.


If you had drafted coureur right away, I would have hammered as fast as possible. The problem is, if you want to take the fastest settling strategy, with the lightest french deck possible, by NOT drafting coureur/natives/fort, you must hope the british player won't raid, wich become a really dangerous assumption. I would even call this a mistake. Keep up the good work though, it's pretty interesting.
 
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Martin, you're absolutely right. You gotta have blockers. I applied that lesson to some of my subsequent games, and found that even with CDB or some Native Americans in the deck, France can indeed win.
 
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Im just lurking here, but I couldn´t resist to write a line to say thanks, to you and all the users trying to fix this HH issue. HH is a big drawback of the game, but cant stop loving it...
 
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A few more results to report. Playing on Yucata under the name LimitedGovernor, I recently concluded two more games.

In the first I played Brits vs. a player named darkminou. He went for an aggressive settling strategy, putting down blue cubes wherever he could. I applied a pretty standard Hammer strategy and won. So, not that interesting except to note that the Hammer remains effective when the French deck gets clogged with lots of locations.

The second game was very interesting and has done more to convince me that this rule works than any other game so far. I played French vs. Sinclair, who ranks in the top 10 and is a proficient Hammer player. The game was so tense and exciting that I may write a full-blown session report at some point, but here's the short version. He goes full on Hammer, drafting military without bothering to do any settling. I draft HS, CDB, and Settlers, and manage to develop a bunch of locations thanks to some good draws. He successfully sieges Port Royal and my heart sinks, as I know Louisbourg is next. I manage to get a fort on Louisbourg and hope for the best. Here's where the game starts to deviate from the standard Hammer script. The siege of Louisbourg grinds on for many agonizing turns, then, thanks to the inefficiency in the Brit deck caused by not being able to Governor Pemaquid and St. Mary's, the British siege runs out of steam. Now I've repelled the Brits at Louisbourg and I only have two more discs to lay down and I can win this thing on points. Realizing he doesn't have time to attempt another siege of Louisbourg, Sinclair switches strategies and starts settling and raiding. I get my last disc out and I have a narrow lead, but I've made a fatal miscalculation. On his final turn he develops Baltimore and wins by 1 point.

As a test game, I think this one was significant in two respects. First, like out4brtis, Sinclair is a strong player, so we get an accurate idea of what the French are really up against. Second, while Brits ultimately won, that only occurred after abandoning the pure-military strategy of the Hammer and looking for points elsewhere. I think most of us would agree that the game is pretty well balanced provided Brits do some settling.

One more interesting thing about this game is that neither side even drafted the Governor. While I don't like the idea of removing the card from the game, this case illustrates the sort of games that would result if you did.

I'll keep playing this way and sharing what I find. Right now I can say that it is a fix that works well for me. Whether it is a fix that will stand the test of time will only be known if other people start to use it and it gets adopted on a wide scale.

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Hi Noah,

Yeah, this game was very interesting.
You are right, the game is more balanced with this variation.
You were lucky to build your fort on louisbourg the turn before I could attack it. But maybe the hammer would have be faster without passing through Hallifax (with this rule).

You forgot to talk about a succesful raid on quebec after taking fort hallifax in the same turn, but with your rule, it's very bad to take location with no victory point.

The trouble is we didn't use the governor card and the late game was slow and less dynamic.

But this variation tends to makes the brit have to find other way than the military way.

Cheers
 
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This is potentially a great solution considering it can be "implemented" on Yucata based only on players' agreement.

Do you think not allowing to govern away only starting locations is a better idea than not allowing to govern away locations at all (with exception of lost locations of course)?

The ongoing suggestion was also to put Bateaux into British starting deck and I can see that with certain use of the Pass action (to restore the original turn order), this can be also "applied" on Yucata if both players agree to it (British player drafting Bateaux on "turn 0"). That's if you'd like to add this small change also.
 
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[in regard to Sinclair's response, above]
Yes, getting that raid on Quebec is what really won the game for you. I didn't describe the game in too much detail because I was trying to keep it brief.

As for slowing the endgame, this doesn't bother me too much. There are plenty of good games out there that have the potential to turn into a drawn out slug-fest when two evenly matched players meet. If that's the price we have to pay for a game that's actually competitive, so be it.

Also, I don't really like to think of it as "my" rule, since I was not the first to suggest it. I think some version of this rule was proposed somewhere in this thread or in one of the other myriad threads of suggestions. I picked it up and ran with it because it could easily be tested on Yucata, requires no physical changes to any of the components, and seemed to have the potential to addresses the HH problem without drastically altering other strategies. The rule also appealed to me because the starting location cards are already physically different (with their bold colors) from the others, so we already think of them as special or different in some way.

For anyone who might object to restricting the Governor this way on thematic grounds (and I kind of did, at first), I suggest looking at it this way. Colonies that are losing settlements to raids and enemy sieges are a populace in crisis. When you use the Governor to remove location cards from your deck, it represents enforcing law and order in your terrified population. There is a limit to just how much law and order can be enforced, which is why you have a core set of location cards which can't (in this variant) be Gov'd.

 
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solkan1 wrote:
This is potentially a great solution considering it can be "implemented" on Yucata based only on players' agreement.

Do you think not allowing to govern away only starting locations is a better idea than not allowing to govern away locations at all (with exception of lost locations of course)?

The ongoing suggestion was also to put Bateaux into British starting deck and I can see that with certain use of the Pass action (to restore the original turn order), this can be also "applied" on Yucata if both players agree to it (British player drafting Bateaux on "turn 0"). That's if you'd like to add this small change also.


I agree that these ideas have potential. I'm just one guy though, so throwing more variables into the mix is more than I can handle. I'm trying to keep to a bare minimum the number of extra steps and conditions we have to agree on before starting a Yucata game.
 
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heironimus wrote:
Hi Noah,

Yeah, this game was very interesting.
You are right, the game is more balanced with this variation.
You were lucky to build your fort on louisbourg the turn before I could attack it. But maybe the hammer would have be faster without passing through Hallifax (with this rule).

You forgot to talk about a succesful raid on quebec after taking fort hallifax in the same turn, but with your rule, it's very bad to take location with no victory point.

The trouble is we didn't use the governor card and the late game was slow and less dynamic.

But this variation tends to makes the brit have to find other way than the military way.
Is that a good thing though? I mean, as it stands, instead of HH being the killer strategy, now the French just do an aggressive Settler strategy and hope they win by being faster than the Brits. ... is that a fun game though really?
 
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Actually I'm finding that playing with this rule opens up the game to many strategies for the French player. In a few of my games against out4brits, for instance, he was able win by taking Boston. In other games, France won on points but only after a tense and drawn-out struggle involving multiple sieges, raids, and a scramble to snatch up locations like Ft. Duquesne and Detroit.

The other night I played an extremely interesting (and long) game as French against Martin in which I settled Michillimillinac, and drafting a Priest to get rid of his raiding Indians became crucial, both of which are examples of the sort of thing I never used to see in games against strong opponents. Martin, as Brits, won on points in the end, but we both felt it could have gone either way.

I think restricting use of the Governor in this way brings out the best in this game, resulting in longer but less predictable games, with varied strategies and shifting advantages.
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This game was really fun, albeit a bit long, but even then there was always something to do, because if you could have ended the louisbourg siege (or me ending it) the game would end immediately (you had used all 8 discs) so basically you had maximum points and could win, and the only thing I could do then was to steal them by raiding, and trying to settle. I ended up in Fort Duquene and raiding Oswego for the most points and lost the siege wich made me win. I felt my military power was really weak, and I was way behind, but somewhat snatched a win thanks to timing. Like you said, could have gone both ways. It helped that I governed the 'non starting' locations as soon as they were settled. You still have Albany worth 4 points and Deerfield, and Fort Duquene is not impossible if you still have a bateau somewhere, another 4 points.

A win is a win, but I think you were ahead of me the whole game.
 
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Noah, thanks for doing so much work to test this rule. Do you allow starting location cards to be governored away if the location is lost due to siege or raid? Seems like this may be a good idea if we don't want players to be penalized with a useless card after losing a siege early in the game.
 
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Governing a location still seems wrong without withdrawing a cube from it. In this case it's just not allowed to govern a starting location, but makes little sense to keep the points from governing other locations.
 
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uwjames wrote:
Noah, thanks for doing so much work to test this rule. Do you allow starting location cards to be governored away if the location is lost due to siege or raid? Seems like this may be a good idea if we don't want players to be penalized with a useless card after losing a siege early in the game.

Yes, under this rule you may Governor starting locations if they have lost to siege or raid.
 
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