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Subject: HRE T1 Charles-Elizabeth de Valois marriage gambit rss

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Christoph Yasutake
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So I thought of another gamble:

On T1 the HRE has Anna and Charles.

Charles is unappealing to England and the Prots due to his "special" ability of costing England or the Prots a card if he marries their women. Spain doesn't get a girl until T5. Good luck living that long. Excluding Louise of Lorraine, Charles must marry a French bride, or an HRE bride.

Charles definitely wants to get on the French marriage train.

The basic premise of the gambit would be to get Charles married to Elizabeth de Valois on T1 instead of her marrying Philip II. This gives you 2 marriages on T1 to profit from.

I see three ways to get this to work:
1. Make France an offer. A better offer than the Spanish one. France should see that the one point difference between Charles and Philip as not too big a deal. Maybe a card + 2 mercs? Even if it costs you a bit, France will hopefully give +2 to the wedding via their house card (make it part of the deal?), and you should be up cards or VPs from the marriage. After paying your premium to France, turn your 'compassionate' gaze to your Spanish cousin. You now control the only available female, and your ability to give +1 card nicely cancels out Philip's -1 card for not marrying Elizabeth. As he is the highest valued male, you want to marry him... as long as Spain makes a good enough offer.

In terms of cost, you may actually break even - anything you pay the French can be hopefully made back by what you get for Anna. Plus, VPs or cards from the marriages.

2. Sit down with Spain and France and make a 3 way deal.
Offer a deal sweetener to both Spain and France - a merc to each to balance out that each of their marriages will be -1 point.
Problems with this method is Spain and France can just deal with each other - there is no profit to them by adding the HRE into the deal, so you will have to make it worth their while. Point out that you could just cut Spain out and deal directly with France instead by outbidding him/driving the price of Elizabeth's hand up if he becomes bothersome. This path would be more of a "catholic defense league" strategy and could lay the foundation for some cunning deals later on.

Here your costs are higher as you don't get paid out by Spain - both France and Spain would want some compensation to add you into the deal (hopefully small), and you will probably not get anything for Anna - her benefit would go to cancel Philip's negative.

3. Make a deal with Spain directly for Philip's hand instead of him marrying Elizabeth. I dislike this as it leaves Charles as just another of the many suitors vying for Elizabeth's hand in marriage, and you are basically subsidizing Spain's costs to get out of the marriage for the chance to catch Elizabeth yourself. Backwards.

Opportunity costs of the 'Charlesabeth' gambit:
If you do your normal HRE thing, you will probably get a card for Anna, and maybe a card for your mercs. Charles will twist in the wind, but will be available on T2 for Mary, Queen of Scots - France could be interested in this marriage as if Mary gets it on with England or the Prots it undermines France's control of Scotland. Since the HRE cannot influence Scotland, it can be a way to defuse Scotland, and give France points/cards. However, as that marriage takes place in the diplomacy step, no +2 marriage goodness can occur.

Other than Mary and Elizabeth de Valois, what are Charles' options? The Virgin Queen for jilting? Anna of Saxony? I feel that the shot at French wedding VPs is worth more to the HRE - they need to scrabble for VPs the most to contend for the win.

What do you guys think? What would make you come to the table as France?
 
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Steven
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I think "gambit" is the wrong term to use here. I mean, this should be standard HRE diplomatic negotiation!

Not to toot my own horn, but check out my post in an earlier thread (How to win as the HRE?). I cover a lot of the marriage game for the HRE over the course of the entire game.

The HRE has some powerful tools at its disposal to sell any deal:

1. Power card mercenaries - as you already pointed out, the HRE has the ability to generate 4 mercenaries every winter which can only be used for diplomacy.

2. Alliance deals - less important for France other than the security of Metz, but Spain is going to want to have a road to the Netherlands for its Spanish Road home card. You can offer him the alliance if he needs one (and France refuses).

3. Patron of the Arts and Sciences, second option - The HRE draws two cards and then can give a specific card to another power. Its a very good diplomatic tool to buy card plays or pay for marriages.
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Christoph Yasutake
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Gambit is exactly the correct word;
Gambit: an opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.

I feel that any costs you pay, and any opportunity costs as well are more than made up if you cinch the Valois marriage. I have read your posts (to toot your horn for you - quite an excellent post), and I agree with much of what you say. I feel you didn't expand enough on the idea of marrying Elizabeth so I wanted to explore that option in more detail.

I think it's the best 1st turn use of Charles.
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Steven
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While I agree that marrying off Charles to Elizabeth de Valois might be a good thing to consider, I disagree with the idea that this is best 1st turn use of Charles on its own. There is one major downside: Anything you can earn with Charles, France can earn more!

France, if the marriage is successful, is going to earn an extra VP. On a result of 10-11, France is going to earn a VP and the HRE gets nothing. On a result of 12-15, you both get rewards, but France still gets an additional VP. If you want to go back to your gambit analogy: You just sacrificed one of your pieces, and gave France a better position than you.

As Greg pointed out in the earlier thread I linked you to, the HRE needs to play the long game. If you want this marriage to be a part of a larger deal to protect against the Ottomans or get a card played (or to simply screw Spain), then fine that is something to consider. You have to weigh the costs of giving France VPs more than you will be receiving from this marriage. To put it simply: has this marriage helped France finish the race before you can?
 
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Steven
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I guess if you look at this from a immediate VP earning point view, it might be an okay buy, but you have to look at everything as a whole.

Does this marriage agreement:

1. Hurt my religious preference VPs?
2. A valuable part of a larger deal?
3. Assisting my short-term needs?
4. A part of my long-term strategy?

Religious preference is really important to the HRE. If you are going Catholic, then this is probably a good deal, or if marrying France can get you more anti-Ottoman card plays. That's also something to consider.

If a deal with England and the Prots might suit your interests, because you are favoring the Protestant camp or helping your defense, then that might be a better buy.

There is a lot of consider as the HRE at the beginning of the game!
 
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Christoph Yasutake
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Anything you can earn with Charles, France can earn more!


While this would be the issue if the two choices were to marry with France, or have no French marriage happen at all, it's not so on T1. If the HRE doesn't get Elizabeth, then Philip will. France will have a marriage on T1; nothing the HRE can do will stop that. They can only try to influence who is the lucky groom.

However, by having Charles marry instead of Philip, at least you are guaranteeing you get the VPs instead of Spain. Also by setting Anna up with Philip, you stand the best chance of getting additional VPs from her marriage.

I feel that regardless of religious choice, the HRE must cultivate a relationship with France. Even if you want Protestantism to spread, you don't want the Prots to auto-win either.

Plus, you know, obfuscation.
 
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Steven
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sho_vaunt wrote:
I feel that regardless of religious choice, the HRE must cultivate a relationship with France. Even if you want Protestantism to spread, you don't want the Prots to auto-win either.


Certainly you can cultivate a relationship with France. A smart player will stay in contact with France the entire game, even if they are enemies. However, Charles turning down a marriage to Elisabeth is not the same thing as ignoring them completely.

What I was trying to present was that the HRE needs to consider deals with every power carefully. Earning a VP is great, but if you can get a better deal from other powers as part of a package deal, why not take that deal? The opposite is also true, if the French can give you the best deal, you probably will be able to accept it. Marriage strategies should not be set in stone.
 
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Christoph Yasutake
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Steven, we are in agreement.

HRE more than any other faction needs to float on the currents of diplomacy instead of swimming against them.

One point I guess I am trying to make is that as the males outnumber the eligible female royals, trying to find a good match for Charles is tough.
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Steven
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sho_vaunt wrote:
Steven, we are in agreement.

HRE more than any other faction needs to float on the currents of diplomacy instead of swimming against them.

One point I guess I am trying to make is that as the males outnumber the eligible female royals, trying to find a good match for Charles is tough.


True. I guess we are.

Anyway this is certainly an option to try. I guess another point I was trying to make was that Charles does not need to be married! Only if it works out in your favor should you try to hitch him off. Since the HRE can never receive mercenaries diplomatically, he can only give them; I always prefer to try to jilt for them.

In my last game as the HRE, I tried the strategy you pointed out here, and the results were rather poor (its on ACTS: Day of Barricades if you are curious).

Anna's marriage to Philip resulted in an 8 (-1 card for both of us). Charles' marriage to Elisabeth was a 10 or 11, so only France got a VP. The only saving grace, was that France played a card in my favor against the Ottomans, but it cost me my PoTA&S home card (second option) and another card given to France to receive the card play play.

To make matters worse the Prots have floundered... allowing the French and Spanish to focus on other persuits. I very much wish I had married off Anna to William of Orange (she would have just died and just given the Prots a card)!

Perhaps I was turned off by my poor luck. This strategy is certainly an option, but its not fool-proof.
 
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Christoph Yasutake
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Ouch.

To roll an 8 for Philip and Anna means it was a 4 before mods.
and a 5-6 needed to be rolled for Charles and Elizabeth...unless France added +2, in that case it was another 3 or 4 on 2d6!

humorously enough, in the current game I am playing as the HRE I married Anna off to William, and didn't have Charles marry on T1 - and I am also grumpy as to what happened.yuk

So maybe this thread is my daydream of "how it should have been"

It's true: the HRE men are their jilt mechanism. However, another idea I am ruminating on is how jilting in general is less effective for England compared to auctioning off her 'draw from the discard' ability...
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Steven
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sho_vaunt wrote:
Ouch.

To roll an 8 for Philip and Anna means it was a 4 before mods.
and a 5-6 needed to be rolled for Charles and Elizabeth...unless France added +2, in that case it was another 3 or 4 on 2d6!

humorously enough, in the current game I am playing as the HRE I married Anna off to William, and didn't have Charles marry on T1 - and I am also grumpy as to what happened.yuk

So maybe this thread is my daydream of "how it should have been"

It's true: the HRE men are their jilt mechanism. However, another idea I am ruminating on is how jilting in general is less effective for England compared to auctioning off her 'draw from the discard' ability...


Yes maybe you are right... Funny that we both had completely different strategies which failed poorly.

Also, sorry if I came off as abrasive before, that was not my intention.

In regards to the English Home card, Virgin Queen, I agree with you. The catch is you have to know a certain card will be played. If you do not know, then its difficult to plan ahead. By the time it becomes easier to look into peoples hands (turn 3 with espionage), the English are going to want to use their other home card, Walsingham, to protect themselves.
 
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Christoph Yasutake
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
. The catch is you have to know a certain card will be played. If you do not know, then its difficult to plan ahead.


The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Collusion FTW.
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Steven
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Yes, very evil smart of you! Ask around for cards and then back out of the deal, or make deals with other powers to not play certain cards... then hire out England to play it anyway.
 
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Zack S.
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sho_vaunt wrote:
France should see that the one point difference between Charles and Philip as not too big a deal.

-1 point on the chart is worth about a card or half-VP, so that's the baseline just to equal Philip. It's a little less since a +6 is just as good as a +7 if you roll 9+.
 
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Zack S.
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
. The catch is you have to know a certain card will be played. If you do not know, then its difficult to plan ahead.

Any card your friend plays or convinces someone else to play could be a valid target for bargaining. If it's good enough for them to bargain for it once, it's good enough to bargain for it twice!

It might even be worth proactively snagging a high ops card someone else wants. If they want you to play it they'll have to give you good stuff and if they don't you'll have saved something close to the 5 you could have used The Virgin Queen for otherwise.
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Christoph Yasutake
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zackss wrote:
-1 point on the chart is worth about a card or half-VP, so that's the baseline just to equal Philip. It's a little less since a +6 is just as good as a +7 if you roll 9+.

Yes; it does decrease odds by a bit depending on how you math it out (and if France uses their house card), they face a ~16% less chance of getting the results they would have gotten with Philip instead.

it's still a 72% chance of getting at least 1 VP if Elizabeth and Charles get married with festivities compared to 83% with Philip.

So you just have to beat Spain's offer by that much.
 
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Zack S.
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The +1 card difference is easy to overcome (bid a card), but the chart treats cards as 1/2 VP and it's hard to get that efficiency elsewhere.

Even if you've got a way to offer 1/2 VP worth of something, since your lowest bid for even consideration is a card, you can't expect a lot from Spain for Anna, since any bid they'd give for her could just be given to the French (with the virtual +1 card). Because of that nature you shouldn't ever be gaining your bid back directly, because if they offered that bid to France they'd automatically be outbidding you. What you are getting however is the same virtual card of rewards you're working against in bidding for Elizabeth, so in that sense it does all work out (though a +4 isn't quite as reliably hitting the rewards targets to be truly expected).
 
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