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Subject: Neutral VP cities rss

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frank gallagher
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Still playing my first solo game, been reading with interest many of the forum posts. Am sort of fascinated by the neutral cities issue. The advantage in being the first to capture a neutral VP cities seems to be an unexpected effect (flaw?) in the design, and seems to skew gameplay towards making Persia more important than it was historically, and making the early Persia cards too critical. Which, in a game that's gone so far towards making itself both balanced and historical, seems a shame. Philip Thomas' solution of assigning the 4 neutral cities to one side or the other 'fixes' the problem, but only by sacrificing the whole concept of neutral VP's locations.

A strictly mathematical solution to this does occur to me. It might be 'wrong' in terms of game play, I don't have anywhere near the knowledge of the game that everyone else here does, but I offer it nevertheless, and beg your indulgence. The rule would be:

"A VP location that is neutral at the time of capture ohly awards 1/2 VP point to the captor."

This will only happen once per game per city, as a captured city will never revert to being neutral. All futher captures and recaptures move the VP marker a full point. Now it makes no difference who captures a city first. Whoever currently holds it will have a half point advantage over the other player, no matter who originally captured it.

For a game that almost prides itself on being fiddly, the bookkeeping is no big deal. For example, the VP marker could have a "+ 1/2 VP" on its flip side. The reminder about the blockade pt. is already on the turn track, so redundant to put on the back of the VP marker. And since there's an even number of neutral cities, once they're all captured the VP's go back to being whole numbers for the rest of the game.

Again, I realize my knowledge of the game is too limited to know if this is really a 'good' solution. Mathematically it works though, and I thought it was clever enough to share.
 
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Jack Smith
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This neutral city effect probably stopped an auto victory in the game I am playing now as the swing to me is so large it covered the shortfall. However I do feel that to grab those points you are also sacrificing a lot elsewhere so it sort of balances. The fact that the league game results come out at 50/50 tells me a lot about how well the game is balanced even when compared to POG.

I'm very much a beginner and would also love peoples ideas on it. I think there is one variant where the Neutral VP cities are reduced by one.

My very limited understanding is that AP will always get the Persian VP and the CP power the Athens 2vp (As AP Greek entry is a TW card and CP King Constantine is LW card but it does rely on Bulgaria coming in) If they fail to do that they are rightly punished so it is fine as it is.
 
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Kristian Thy
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The Athens VP usually goes to AP when he invades from Lemnos.
 
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Jack Smith
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turbothy wrote:
The Athens VP usually goes to AP when he invades from Lemnos.


Yes after neutrality is broken as I thought there was a penalty for Athens if entered when neutral. In fact the rules suggest neither side can enter it but on reading they are unclear, they can be read as breaking neutrality if Athens is entered which is not really a big deal.

EDIT: Yes it just breaks neutrality so my earlier post is wrong about Greece.
 
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Steve Hope
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The 1/2 VP idea has been discussed previously, and I do think it's a reasonable solution. I think Brad and Brian might even have experimented with it at one point in development.

We use a house rule that the first person to play their Persia card pays 1 VP, FWIW. It feels cleaner than the 1/2 VP option to me.
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juerg haeberli
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For a certain time we used 2 house rules.( plus the usual optinoal rules )

a) Whoever enters Persia first " pays" a VP
b) Turn 3 Parvus AP gains a VP / turn 6 ( or later ) Parvus CP gains a VP.

Both VP changes come into effect immediately.

After playing 20+ games with this rules ( same opponent changing side after every 2 games ) we found that it was harder to win with the AP then with the CP so we dropped rule a) since 3 out of 4 times (statistically) the AP will be in Persia first if it wants to.

As far as I know the Stock brothers wanted an early focal point in neutral Persia in this game.
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Philip Thomas
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Yeah, I think it's an insult to Brad and Brian's intelligence to call it an 'unexpected' effect. They knew what they were doing.

After over 65 games of Pursuit Of Glory with Neutral VP Cities as written, I don't see any problem with them- they are just another feature. Juerg's experience seems to bear that out.
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frank gallagher
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Yeah, I think it's an insult to Brad and Brian's intelligence to call it an 'unexpected' effect. They knew what they were doing.

After over 65 games of Pursuit Of Glory with Neutral VP Cities as written, I don't see any problem with them- they are just another feature. Juerg's experience seems to bear that out.


Whoa, I wasn't insulting anybody. Somebody's a little sensitive here. There are always unintended effects and/or flaws in any design of any depth. It's why they patch video games, and why government programs never work like they're supposed to. in this case, of course I don't know if it was an unforseen effect or not, so I may have been a little careless with my wording. I was simply offering what I thought was a new suggestion regarding a rule that several people, had proposed changing via a house rule.
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Kristian Thy
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frankgallagher wrote:
and why government programs never work like they're supposed to.


Step away from the keyboard. You're not doing yourself any favours.
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Philip Thomas
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There's a more fundamental reason why I'm not particularly interested in fiddling with the Neutral Vps: about two-thirds of PuG games end in autovictory. Half a VP here or half a VP here is unlikely to matter in that case.
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Kevin Anderson
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I used to be annoyed by the unequal swing of getting there second than I used to be. I'm more bothered by Qum than I am the Neutral VPs since there are so few ways the AP can reduce Jihad compared to the CP's ways of raising it.
Getting there first isn't always that great for the AP IMO. I got clobbered in a recent tournament game by being first there and all I ended up doing was extending the frontage through which the Russians had to fight.
Afterwards poor card draws can kill you. For me that VERY important LW Russian Reinforcement was late in arriving and sending one of your remaining three to Gorlice-Tarnow is probably worse than the 2 VP hit. With only three RU Corps there's really not a whole lot you can do.
I think the problem isn't the Neutral VPs themselves but the fact that Russia has a hard time getting enough VPs to hold off the Revolution without them so they're almost forced to go there.
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Gabriel Knight
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I confess that neutral cities (particularly Persian) still bother me.
I am not, however, particularly in favor of reducing their value at the time of capture to 1/2 VP, as it makes Persia much less relevant as intended. I might even prefer to double what is at stake, awarding neutral cities 1 VP at the time of capture and 2 VPs when recaptured.

There are other alternatives to be considered, including limiting camels to Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia; eliminating the +1VP when BR units enter Persia if CP broke Persian neutrality; awarding RU with 1 VP for the purpose of delaying the RU revolution if CP invades Persia 1st; or even allow the AP to start the game with Secret Treaty in hand instead of Russo-British Assault (any advantage given to the AP would be compensated in a possible higher bid to play them).

For now, I usually agree to play with the simple (but not perfect) house rule of awarding 1 VP to the side that does not invade Persia.

Just my 2 cents...
 
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Jack Smith
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frankgallagher wrote:
Philip Thomas wrote:
Yeah, I think it's an insult to Brad and Brian's intelligence to call it an 'unexpected' effect. They knew what they were doing.

After over 65 games of Pursuit Of Glory with Neutral VP Cities as written, I don't see any problem with them- they are just another feature. Juerg's experience seems to bear that out.


Whoa, I wasn't insulting anybody. Somebody's a little sensitive here. There are always unintended effects and/or flaws in any design of any depth. It's why they patch video games, and why government programs never work like they're supposed to. in this case, of course I don't know if it was an unforseen effect or not, so I may have been a little careless with my wording. I was simply offering what I thought was a new suggestion regarding a rule that several people, had proposed changing via a house rule.


It's mathematically trivial to discover the effect within seconds of reading the rule as I assume most did. The designer would certainly have known and factored it into the play balance, especially as the game was play tested for years. So it would have been intended.

There has been countless posts about this in the past as some people do not like the effect and jump to the hasty conclusion the game is somehow adversely affected by it. Tournament games simply do not bear that out. Also there has been minor quirks discovered and corrected in the errata and revisions. The fact it is not there even as an optional indicates that generally people have no issue with it, such as myself.

So that's why people are being a bit prickly I think
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