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Subject: Mercator / Handler Power rss

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Patrick Brennan
Australia
St Ives, Sydney
NSW
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I've played Roma 5 times now and I really quite like the blend of luck, pace and different approaches. But unless we have the rules wrong, the Mercator / Handler does seem obscenely strong. Search thru the deck as fast as possible for a Haruspex or the Mercator using multiple dice on the card disk each turn. Use the Haruspex to search the deck for the Mercator and hold it safe in your hand. Hit your opponent a bit so they're losing VP's each round and not getting too many VP's from forums. Save your money as quick as you can using multiple dice on the money disk. Then in one move, place your Mercator down on a die roll that's been activated, get money with your other 2 dice again (if you need it) and purchase all their VP's for an instant victory.

For the moment, this 'who gets the mercator first' is killing it as an interesting spectacle for us. I know it's been playtested 200+ times, and there are 6 attack card strategies and multiple forum strategies, but the instant win of the Mercator still seems overstrong.

Have I got any rules wrong? Are the playtested rules the same as the printed rules for sure? For example, can you only place 1 die per turn on the money disc?

Maybe the rules should say you can only purchase 1 VP on a turn which would give it similar ability to the 'steal 1 vp' card?

Patrick
 
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James Sanheim
Canada
Coppersands
Saskatchewan
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I was uncertain about the rule for the Mercator as well. I've played it both ways but have decided to play that you can only buy one point for 2 sestertii. Of course, you can always use the action more than once if you have the ability to activate the character. This seemed to work much better.
 
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Lindsay Scholle
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St Ives, 2075
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The Mercator / Handler strategy is a fun one to beat because it makes your opponent adopt a heavy offensive strategy, which combined with a forum or two will beat the Mercator / Handler about half the time. The player without the Mercator / Handler card will attack and kill off a card or two each round - forcing you to spend your precious money to rebuild a few either cheap or high defense cards to plug your holes and stop you bleeding too many victory points at the beginning of each round. Quite often I've seen the player with the Mercator / Handler card have to play their card too early to stop themselves losing the game by running out of victory point chips. Then their opponent is perfectly placed to kill off the Mercator / Handler card and steal it from the discard deck. When going the Mercator / Handler card route it tends to be an all or nothing strategy, which if it goes wrong will leave you extremely weak.
To me the fault lies around the fact that the game more often than not seems to revolve around control of ownership of the Mercator / Handler card, but luckily not always - sometimes we like to try other things. That's a different story though.
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Dan Poole
United States
Goldsboro
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In the past, I too have played that the mercator can only be used once per action die useage. However, he costs more to lay down AND has a lower defense then the Tribunus Plebes card, which allows you to take a single victory point for free.

Mercator: Cost 7, Defense 2
Tribunus Plebes: Cost 5, Defense 5

So it really doesn't make sense that the Mercator card would cost more, if you can only use it once.

Since the Mercator has the potential to steal a large number of VPs, I think it becomes the immediate goal of the opponent to kill him, which is relatively easy given his low defense.
 
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Patrick Brennan
Australia
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Stefan Feld has responded by email to me saying there is indeed a problem. In the early versions of the game, there was a Spy card (draw a card from opponents hand) to balance the mercator. At some point in playtesting, the Spy (and some others) was dropped, forgetting about the mercator issue. If there is a new edition (perhaps), the spy may be back.

In the meantime, Stefan's suggestion is to define the mercator in this way: you can spend a maximum of 6 ses. with one dice-action.

Regards
Patrick
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Christian
France
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PBrennan wrote:
In the early versions of the game, there was a Spy card (draw a card from opponents hand)

Could it be possible to have the stats of the spy (cost, defense, ability) ? So we could try to include him using one of the blank cards.
 
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Stefan Feld
Germany
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Hello !

Spy: Cost 3; Defence 4: Look at the hand of your opponent an put one card !

An other weapon against Mercator:

Thief: Cost 6; Defence 2: Put all the money from your opponent.

Greeting

Stefan Feld
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Christian
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Hello Stefan,
It's great to have you here and give us thoses stats !
But just to be sure...

Spy : "Look at the hand of your opponent an put one card". Where ? I suppose you put the card in your hand, correct ?

Thief : "Put all the money from your opponent". Where ? I suppose you take it for yourself, correct ?

Just out of curiosity, why did you left these two out of the final game ?

Thank you for this great game.
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Stefan Feld
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Hello again !
Spy : "Look at the hand of your opponent an put one card". Where ? I suppose you put the card in your hand, correct ?
Yes !
Thief : "Put all the money from your opponent". Where ? I suppose you take it for yourself, correct ?
Yes !Just out of curiosity, why did you left these two out of the final game ?
For the beginner it can be frustrated. So i decide to put out these cards. And i want for the first edition, that each player plays on his "own side".I want to keep it simple !(It´s hard for me to explain it exactly in english, sorry)
Greetings
Stefan Feld
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Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
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Any chance of seeing these cards in a new version? or maybe putting up some art for them so we can print them out and play with them (I sleeve my cards for this game anyway).

Also how many of each card were in the origial design?

-M
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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Any word on whether these will be in Roma II?

In the original design, were there 2 Spy cards and 2 Thief cards?

Thanks.
 
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Bob Kohut
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Has anyone played without using the Mecator card at all, i.e., leave it out of the game entirely?
Is there still a plan for Roma II?
 
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Yemu Yemu
Poland
Warsaw
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Kris wrote:

Spy
Thief


In Latin that would be:
Spy=Speculator
Thief=Praedonis
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Bob Kohut
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All right! A comment for 2011! Roma II is a very good game. Let's try to get in two comments for 2011. Ah-h-h... make that three.
 
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Rob McFadden
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Cherry Hill
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Three it is>
 
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Darren Witt
Canada
Smithers
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four. trying to get my wife to play more Roma (i love it; she doesn't), so stumbled over here. good info.
 
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Yee Keat Phuah
Malaysia
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Bought the game for some time but just busted it out to play 5 games over the last 2 weekends.

Once we found out about the Mercator, yeah, it becomes the most important card to hold onto, whether you are planning to use it or not. And once a player have it, it become very obvious, as he will be putting a lot of dice on the money chip.

From balance point of view I think it is still fine, as some have mentioned that it is a good way to deal with the forum.

The problem I see with it is the inevitable death when I know that my opponent have a mercator, as I have no way to deal with it other than trying to gather a lot of VP myself (harder to do as this depends on my rolls, and the attack cards have no use since the mercator is not laid yet), and my opponent trying to gather more money (simpler as any dice can activate the money action).

We will definitely be playing this game a few more times and see whether the Mercator kills the game for us or not.
 
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