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Subject: Advice for a newbie - which scenario should I play? rss

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Matt Carlson
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OK, my birthday is coming up and I'm going to finally celebrate by playing Here I Stand with some friends. None of us have played the game before. (I have the 1st edition, but printed out the 2nd edition rulebook.)

What scenario should we use?

The background:

Time: We're playing from 10am to 5pm on a saturday (some time lost for lunch, but I can set the game up beforehand...)

Players: We have a full complement of 6 players. 3 of us are hard-core boardgamers (not particularly wargamers, but I've done some card-driven GMT games...) Two of the three of us experienced types can get a little bogged down with decisions but we can try to keep the pacing up... The other three are intelligent folks that haven't really played much beyond Axis & Allies and such.

I'm sure most of us are competitive, but I think we're all coming into the game just to have a good time and realize we'll make a healthy dose of mistakes...

Everyone is required to read the rules beforehand, although we'll probably go over a brief overview of some stuff before starting...

----------------------

So, which scenario should I set up for us to play? Should I do a "Tournament game"? Should we play one or two rounds, break for lunch then reset and then play a short scenario?

I see on the designer's page he suggests playing the 1517 scenario but then quitting after 4 or 5 turns. How long would that play out for us do you suppose?

Anything I should watch out for, print out beforehand, etc... ?

Advice is greatly appreciated...

-Matt
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Sam Carroll
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Let's see . . . the 1517 scenario takes a while to get rolling. This means the Protestants don't have to worry about military ops until Schmalkadic League gets played; no one has to worry about piracy until Barbary Pirates comes out; the first diplomatic phase is restricted to only three powers instead of all 6; the Protestants can enjoy some expansion in just the German language zone with only light opposition; etc. This is good for new players, since they can ease into things.

However, people probably won't be in a position to start threatening victory until the fourth turn or so, so there's less excitement right from the get-go. And you risk the unsatisfying ending of "well, no-one's quite won yet and we have to go now," since you only have 6 hours or so. So that's a potential advantage of the 1532 start.

I think it depends on your group. Most victories will probably come on turn 4, 5, or 6, so if you can manage a turn per hour, I'd say go with 1517.

Things to watch out for:

blacktrain The Protestant starts with 0 points. This will climb gradually as he converts spaces. However, when Schmalkadic League comes out (winter turn 4 at the latest), he immediately gains 2 VP for each electorate under Protestant influence. This could be a 12-point jump for a sudden win. The Papacy and Hapsburgs in particular should be aware of this. Also, use your debater bonuses well, but be careful that the Pope doesn't burn your lower-level debaters. Negotiate for play of Printing Press; it's a huge card for you. Use Here I Stand to pick it out of the discards if you need to.

redtrainEngland needs an heir to be competitive in the long game. It's tempting to declare war all the time with your home card, but keep marrying until you have begotten at least Elizabeth. Don't get involved in a continental war if the Scots are hostile at your back. And build up your navy.

yellowtrainThe Hapsburgs will probably get beaten up in Europe, between the Ottomans, French, and English (and maybe Protestants), so they need to get points from the New World. You have the best explorers, cheaper colonies, etc., so don't let the French and English grab those juicy VP rewards before you! Use your home card well. Jump to somewhere unexpected (Besancon, for example) and make something happen!

greentrainOttomans, pound the Hapsburgs. That's what you're there for. You can generate more regulars than other powers (using your home card), so get points from winning wars. And do a lot of piracy. Be a jerk about it. Seriously, that's your main way to get bonus VPs.

bluetrainThe French are hard to play, so put a good negotiator in that position. They can't stand up to the Hapsburgs militarily, and their home card is the least sexy of them all. Avoid wars at first unless you're part of an alliance. Get some points through building chateaux and exploring the New World, and build up your forces before going to war. You have no reason to fight the Ottomans, so try to scratch each other's backs. And if you don't win before Francis I dies, you're probably not going to.

purpletrainYour Holiness, don't let the Protestants run too far amok early on. Get some troops (yours or the Haps) into Germany to slow down their spread (it gives you extra dice during Reformation attempts). But don't bother with many counter-ref attempts until Paul III comes out; instead concentrate on debating. Eck can stand up even to Luther or Calvin, and can easily burn Carlstadt or Tyndale.

Some thoughts for everyone:

d10-1A key is worth points, yes, but you can lose it. Bonus VP are forever. Some possibilities are War Winner, Master of Italy, Exploration, Conquest of Aztecs et al, Piracy, English Heirs, French Chateaux, burned/disgraced debaters, Bible translations . . .

d10-2 The independent keys (Metz, Florence, Milan, and Tunis) are nice, because you can't lose them through being sued for peace.

d10-3 Be aware of the possibility of military victory. Even the pope can do it with some lucky card draws!

d10-4 Have fun with the negotiation - that's the heart of this game. Don't be afraid to offer card draws, promise to play certain cards for the event, etc.
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Philip Thomas
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The above advice is very good.

I would add, make it clear in advance what will happen if the game is still playing when time runs out (at 5pm or whenever). Is time going to be flexible enough to 'finish the turn'? That is simplest and then you can declare the highest VPs at that point the winner. For this purpose you might want to set an earlier end time (say 4, or 4.30), to allow time for the turn to end.

You may also need to impose a time limit on the negotiations phase, 10 minutes for example- play it by ear on how long people are taking...

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William Bentley
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happycamper wrote:
None of us have played the game before....
What scenario should we use?

1532, without a doubt. 1517 has the advantage of a more gradual introduction, but you'll never finish in 6 hours, having not played before. Use the 1532 scenario and set some condition for how the game will be decided if time runs out. You'll get the gist of the game and probably get a winner. Those that fall in love with the game can learn more via online play and bring it back to your local table with more experience later.

To Spartax's excellent advice I'd add to beware giving E a cheap divorce (2 cards or similiar is the absolute minimum). The ramifications of cheap divorce won't be immediately apparent, but will in time give E a huge advantage, especially if he gets lucky in bed.

EDIT-If you take my advice, make sure to use the 2nd ed. Scenario book for setup of 1532. It has some changes for the Papacy, IIRC.
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Matt Carlson
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is there a way to know if i have the 2nd edition scenario book? The one I printed out from online is (c) 2006.
 
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Joel K
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The Scenario Book posted on the GMT living rules page is still from the original printing--they've never responded to my requests to put the PDF of the 2nd edition Scenario Book online.

The corrected Papacy 1532 setup is as follows:

17 VP to start
Rome: SCM, 1 reg, 1 merc, 1 squadron
Ravenna: SCM, 1 reg, 1 merc
Florence: SCM, 1 reg
Siena: HCM
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Matt Carlson
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Thanks!

JoelCFC25 wrote:
The Scenario Book posted on the GMT living rules page is still from the original printing--they've never responded to my requests to put the PDF of the 2nd edition Scenario Book online.

The corrected Papacy 1532 setup is as follows:

17 VP to start
Rome: SCM, 1 reg, 1 merc, 1 squadron
Ravenna: SCM, 1 reg, 1 merc
Florence: SCM, 1 reg
Siena: HCM
 
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