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Subject: Prerequisites for the Gunpowder plot rss

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Jon G
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Anders just won a PBEM game with a gunpowder plot, after England took the VQ home card instead of Walsingham. The problem was that Spain & England were at peace, there was one Catholic space in England (plus two Jesuits and an informer), and the whole thing just felt anticlimactic (to the whole group, including Anders).

Thematically, it's too early for a Gunpowder plot; there's just no Catholic base to support a coup yet. That's not to say it's too early for an ECR, but the rebels will have more local ambitions, and gain territory for Spain, to get a bunch more dice for a real coup attempt next turn. Game design-wise, England is semi-forced to hold Walsingham from T3 onwards (or allow Spain a ~25% chance of an autowin each turn), even if he has good relations with Spain, which rather straightjackets English play. So, here's the idea we've been kicking around:

If Spain is not at war with England, and has an "Enterprise of England" score of N or less (where N is probably 5 or 6), then a Gunpowder Plot victory is not possible. If this result is rolled, award Spain 2vp's (use Enterprise of England markers), 6 counter-reformation attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. So it's the 3+ hit result, plus 2vp's.

Edit: Alternately: If this result is rolled, Spain makes 6 counter-reformation attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. Then find the Enterprise of England card and score it. The 2cp's of the card is not used. If it was in another player's hand, that player draws a replacement card.

Now, if England has good relations with Spain, they can sideline Walsingham (if they start the turn at peace + minimal Catholic presence), but Spain can still backstab (say, a conversion event + ECR with a 4cp treasure). And the game's storyline builds, as Spain reaches the threshold where a coup is possible.

Thoughts?
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Kristian Thy
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I like it. I haven't analysed your precondition and result, but thematically I like it. It seems reasonable to force Spain to invest in a build-up, and it gives England another avenue to keep Guy Fawkes at bay.
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Steven
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Interesting variant, but it seems like England made a mistake selecting its Virgin Queen home card in your game. Why would you not keep Walsingham when Spain has an informant and two Jesuits in England (+4 modifer to ECR)? This might have been modified even more if MQoS is still alive (+3)! Is it possible that poor play from England is coloring your view of ECR?

Quote:
Now, if England has good relations with Spain, they can sideline Walsingham (if they start the turn at peace + minimal Catholic presence), but Spain can still backstab (say, a conversion event + ECR with a 4cp treasure). And the game's storyline builds, as Spain reaches the threshold where a coup is possible.


I belive that Spain cannot use ECR if England and Spain are allied, per Ed in this post (Immediate war triggers when Spain and England are allied). It appears that this may have been left out of the lastest errata? Also an alliance is what I could consider to be "good relations". If they are not allied, or at war England should be wary of any Spanish modifiers to the ECR.
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Alex H.
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I was England in that specific game. Granted, I should have been wary of dropping Walsingham. Still, considering that Spain rolled 12 dice vs my 5 dice it looked like a gamble well worth it (chosing Virgin Queen was part of a deal struck during diplomacy with some other power). I think Spain had a chance of 27% of pulling the plot off. I am a very inexperienced VQ-player but 27% looks like a gamble that was worth it.
Also, the complaint in our group was not that Spain rolled well. This can happen. Rather, it felt un-thematic.
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Joel K
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alex352 wrote:
Rather, it felt un-thematic.

Exactly. The point is not to dwell on England's play in this instance, but the thematic appropriateness of having even a remote chance of this incredible outcome when Spain has barely gotten started championing the Catholic cause in England. Sure, they deployed a spy and had a couple of Jesuits handing out business cards to introduce themselves, and Mary's in the Tower--there was some movement in the general direction, but hardly a powder keg of built-up tension that made the auto-win feel like a commensurate return on investment. If Spain had been dropping influence in Ireland, started building the Armada, prepping a Scottish invasion...those are the kinds of things that seem more on par with supplanting a monarch.

I think it's worth discussing whether or not the England-Spain interplay becomes less interesting when England feels railroaded into taking Walsingham by default on Turn 3 just because Spain might put a half-dozen CP worth of resources into England.
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Steven
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JoelCFC25 wrote:
alex352 wrote:
Rather, it felt un-thematic.

Exactly. The point is not to dwell on England's play in this instance, but the thematic appropriateness of having even a remote chance of this incredible outcome when Spain has barely gotten started championing the Catholic cause in England. Sure, they deployed a spy and had a couple of Jesuits handing out business cards to introduce themselves, and Mary's in the Tower--there was some movement in the general direction, but hardly a powder keg of built-up tension that made the auto-win feel like a commensurate return on investment. If Spain had been dropping influence in Ireland, started building the Armada, prepping a Scottish invasion...those are the kinds of things that seem more on par with supplanting a monarch.

I think it's worth discussing whether or not the England-Spain interplay becomes less interesting when England feels railroaded into taking Walsingham by default on Turn 3 just because Spain might put a half-dozen CP worth of resources into England.


After drinking my coffee and thinking on this for about 30 minutes, I can see your position. Sorry if I came off as a bit harsh, Alex.

Perhaps the best solution is to remove the Gunpowder plot auto-win from the game entirely and alter its maximum reward. Drawing off of Jon's suggestion, perhaps the top reward would be awarding Spain a 1 VP assasination marker, killing Elizabeth and 6 counter-reformation attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. The downside would be the MQoS would automatically be executed for no VP loss to England (to prevent her from taking the throne).

This still encourages Spain to still invest in invest resources in England (due to the enterprise in England Mandatory event) and possible assasination of Elisabeth, incentives England to try and stop it, and stays within a historical narrative. The latter being that the Gunpowder plot did not occur until 1604, after the game is over and James I was on the English throne.

EDIT: Added a bit about MQoS being automatically executed.
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Alex H.
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No problem, Steven. I am well aware of my limitations, esp. with regard to VQ

A problem with the GPP seems to me that England decides on whether to gamble (take VQ) or not (take Walsingham) but the outcome (in case of a successful plot) might affect not just England but put everyone else also out of business. I would expect this to make England generally less risk-averse. But this is my initial impression after 1,5 games of VQ.
I think both variants have their merit, the one where a successful plot is tied to further prerequisites and the one where the plot does not grant an auto-win.
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Bob Miller
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I agree that the Gunpowder plot does not seem to fit correctly in the VQ game. Top it's max benefit makes sense.

I also am not 100% behind a VP for a successful assassination. The results of the assassination should be its own reward (killed army leader hampers that side's army attacks, new leader is not as powerful as old leader ie no card bonus, etc)
 
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alex352 wrote:
A problem with the GPP seems to me that England decides on whether to gamble (take VQ) or not (take Walsingham) but the outcome (in case of a successful plot) might affect not just England but put everyone else also out of business. I would expect this to make England generally less risk-averse. But this is my initial impression after 1,5 games of VQ.


As England, I simply wouldn't care. Why should I take a hit to keep the other four guys in the game with me? (Unless England is ahead, of course.) If they want to pay me to choose Walsingham, they're free to make an offer.

dreadnaught wrote:
I also am not 100% behind a VP for a successful assassination. The results of the assassination should be its own reward (killed army leader hampers that side's army attacks, new leader is not as powerful as old leader ie no card bonus, etc)


Disagree. That would make assassinations much rarer as few people besides the HRE would have any incentive to kill off the Ottoman leaders, for instance.
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Steven
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Going off what I brought up earlier, would this be a better idea?

English Catholic Rebellion:
4+ more attacker hits: 6 Catholic Conversions followed by 4CP Rebellion and then Spain may take a free 4 CP assassination attempt on Elizabeth". "!"

!= 1.If MQoS card played to boost ECR, apply modifer to assassination too.
2. An additional +1 die is also granted to the attacker due to the chaos of the large Catholic rebellion.


This way Elizabeth is very much at risk of dying from an assassination attempt during the massive Catholic rebellion, but its not guaranteed. The game also, cannot end in sudden death from an early Gunpowder plot.

The MQoS card bonus carries over to this seperate roll (if it was used). Spain does not have to take this assasination roll if it does not want to press its luck, but it is incentivized to by the additional modifier to the assassination attempt. All the other modifiers to assassination attempts can also be applied (informants, hand guns etc).
 
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Jon G
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Interesting variant, but it seems like England made a mistake selecting its Virgin Queen home card in your game. Why would you not keep Walsingham when Spain has an informant and two Jesuits in England (+4 modifer to ECR)? This might have been modified even more if MQoS is still alive (+3)! Is it possible that poor play from England is coloring your view of ECR?


Spain added the informant & second Jesuit in the impulse or two before the ECR, which made it a 12v5 roll. Before that, it would have been 9v5.

Personally, I don't know that it was poor play. England was in fifth place, with Drake having been sent home by an event in T3. I don't know what Alex got for the jilt, but if you're trailing, it's not your job to play defense against a 1/4 chance that game might end. The most likely outcome was 6 conversion attempts, which is hardly a tragedy.
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Steven
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dr.mrow wrote:
Spain added the informant & second Jesuit in the impulse or two before the ECR, which made it a 12v5 roll. Before that, it would have been 9v5.

Personally, I don't know that it was poor play. England was in fifth place, with Drake having been sent home by an event in T3. I don't know what Alex got for the jilt, but if you're trailing, it's not your job to play defense against a 1/4 chance that game might end. The most likely outcome was 6 conversion attempts, which is hardly a tragedy.


I don't want to get into a strategy debate over England's play which might distract from your variant idea. All I will say with England (or any power for that matter), is that the moment another power makes a hostile espionage moves against you alarm bells should be going off. That's a Defcon 1 moment there, because you can lose cards, risk leaders or Elizabeth being assassinated and for England, face an ECR. Although it certainly is not the weaker powers job to save the game for everyone else, it might be in their best interest to not let their position get worse. In fact, making sure that there are no Jesuits in England, or as few Catholic spaces as possible is a great way to earn VPs if the Enterprise in England card shows up.

In any case, I actually agree with your general premise. The Gunpowder plot, after everyone's points and remembering the date it actually occured, could be outside the scope and theme of the VQ. Although during the time period covered by VQ, assassinations of important rivals and enemies did occur, the political situation probably was not set during the early part of the game for Spain English Catholics to begin plotting to actively blow-up the large portion of Parliment and the King Queen. In fact, it probably was not until Catholic's realized that a supposed tolerant James I was not going to side with them, did they hope to kill him and essentially stage a coup d'etat and put his daughter on the throne.

EDIT:

NOTE: I am not a historical expert and this could all be the ramblings of a madman who knows little on the topic. Please feel free to tear me apart.
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Jon G
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
Going off what I brought up earlier, would this be a better idea?

English Catholic Rebellion:
4+ more attacker hits: 6 Catholic Conversions followed by 4CP Rebellion and then Spain may take a free 4 CP assassination attempt on Elizabeth". "!"

!= 1.If MQoS card played to boost ECR, apply modifer to assassination too.
2. An additional +1 die is also granted to the attacker due to the chaos of the large Catholic rebellion.


This way Elizabeth is very much at risk of dying from an assassination attempt during the massive Catholic rebellion, but its not guaranteed. The game also, cannot end in sudden death from an early Gunpowder plot.

The MQoS card bonus carries over to this seperate roll (if it was used). Spain does not have to take this assasination roll if it does not want to press its luck, but it is incentivized to by the additional modifier to the assassination attempt. All the other modifiers to assassination attempts can also be applied (informants, hand guns etc).


That's a good thematic fit, too. No idea whether coupling ECR and assassination would work well in practice. I chose Enterprise VP's because it reflects the prestige Spain gains from English catholics rejecting their queen for their old king.

Mechanically, I think Spain should get vp's if possible, since by T4, they're falling behind France & Prots. It also gives them a way to win in England without it being auto-win or nothing.
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Steven
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dr.mrow wrote:
That's a good thematic fit, too. No idea whether coupling ECR and assassination would work well in practice. I chose Enterprise VP's because it reflects the prestige Spain gains from English catholics rejecting their queen for their old king.

Mechanically, I think Spain should get vp's if possible, since by T4, they're falling behind France & Prots. It also gives them a way to win in England without it being auto-win or nothing.


That makes sense. There has to be an incentive Spain to want to do ECR in England, beyond hoping for the Enterprise in England card to appear. VPs are probably the best way to do this...

If I remember right, someone mentioned (in another thread) that something between 4-5 CPs should work out to be a VP? Maybe one VP is better than two?

EDIT: Fixed wording.
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Jon G
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SW_Cygnus wrote:
That makes sense. There has to be an incentive Spain to want to do it, beyond hoping for the Enterprise in England card to appear. VPs are probably the best way to do this...


Steven, I think you're on to something here. Enterprise represents drawing the world's attention to the English religious conflict, but as you said, it has to be dealt. So, how about for 4 hit win:
Take 6 conversion attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. Then find and score Enterprise of England; no one gets the 2cp's. If Enterprise is in a player's hand, they draw a new card to replace it.

This could actually replace the Gunpowder Plot entirely if you like, as it can score Spain 2-3vp's and set them up for more. Or, if Spain's position in England is weak, then it will be worth less.

SW_Cygnus wrote:
If I remember right, someone mentioned (in another threat) that something between 4-5 CPs should work out to be a VP? Maybe one VP is better than two?


Let's say Spain has a 27% chance of scoring 1vp, and an average result of 6 conversion attempts. Spain is spending 5cp's for a 2.4cp reformation, plus the chance of VP's. 1vp*27% = 0.27vp's for 2.6cp's is weak. 2vp*27%=0.54vp is closer to right, since it maps to 0.2vp/cp.
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Steven
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dr.mrow wrote:
SW_Cygnus wrote:
That makes sense. There has to be an incentive Spain to want to do it, beyond hoping for the Enterprise in England card to appear. VPs are probably the best way to do this...


Steven, I think you're on to something here. Enterprise represents drawing the world's attention to the English religious conflict, but as you said, it has to be dealt. So, how about for 4 hit win:
Take 6 conversion attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. Then find and score Enterprise of England; no one gets the 2cp's. If Enterprise is in a player's hand, they draw a new card to replace it.

This could actually replace the Gunpowder Plot entirely if you like, as it can score Spain 2-3vp's and set them up for more. Or, if Spain's position in England is weak, then it will be worth less.


Good idea! However, you probably need to qualify it to prevent a sneaky Spanish player from "double-tapping" Enterprise of England in one turn.

Perhaps: "If Enterprise of England has not been played as an event this turn, find and score Enterprise of England; no one gets the 2cp's. If Enterprise is in a player's hand, they draw a new card to replace it. If drawn from the draw pile, reshuffle draw deck."
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Jon G
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Hmm... if Spain is scoring points off of Enterprise the first time it's played, then a subsequent ECR that turn would probably be eligible for a gunpowder plot victory. So allowing a double-score from Enterprise seems like a simpler, and more fun rule.

If you're using this variant to replace the Gunpowder plot in all cases, then Spain needs some compensation, so I'd allow it in that case too. But it's a variant, so you can obviously play as you like.
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Björn Engqvist
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In my book the problem is in the design itself. It seems to me that an ECR will (almost) always be the most cost-effective way for Spain to win the game (and it will always feel anti-climactic when they do). If we assume that this is intended, there will be balancing issues if we remove or significantly alter Spain's chances of winning.

Personally I think the ECR is a poor design choice and would gladly remove it (as I would some other concepts - the Buda exchange for one thing) but it would leave Spain with fewer options.
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Björn Engqvist
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dr.mrow wrote:
Edit: Alternately: If this result is rolled, Spain makes 6 counter-reformation attempts, then a 4cp rebellion. Then find the Enterprise of England card and score it. The 2cp's of the card is not used. If it was in another player's hand, that player draws a replacement card.


I like this solution and do not see a problem with the card being used for the second time in the same turn. We are, after all, downgrading a (by all accounts unlikely) result that led to an outright win to the ability to score what could possibly be a second set of 2 vp. I like it, and move to add "even if already played this turn" to the suggested text.
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Zack S.
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Instead of game-enders or just doing something already in the game again, why not make it something more unique? Alternate history is a lot more fun if you can play out the results.

The purpose of the plot was to assassinate the government to pave the way for a Catholic monarch, so just do that. Some options (mix and match to balance):

1) Elizabeth is killed
2) England becomes a Catholic (or non-Protestant) country
2a) Its regulars are Catholic (or neutral)
2b) It gains VP from Catholic spaces (or none at all)
2c) It creates Catholic conversion attempts (or none at all)
3) A "Catholic League" forms in England, with similar effects to the one in France
4) Spain gains VP and/or England loses VP (for balancing purposes to keep everyone interested)

I'd suggest:
Elizabeth is assassinated, Spain gains 1 VP. England is now religiously neutral, its regulars do not influence religious actions, it gains no VP from the religious conflict, and cannot make conversion attempts. The Protestants can now target the English religious zone with their conversion attempts.

I think this gives Spain enough to make it worth attempting, since it'll give the same 1 VP a rebellion would and make it much easier for Spain to gain VP from religious conversion in England. It certainly hurts England enough that they would want to defend against it (without punishing the whole table if they don't).
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Gus I
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Alternatively Philip II can be assassinated. If successful Spain becomes religiously neutral. (The new king cannot overrule the Castillian Cortes which now refuses to fund the Popes wars)

The protestants can now reform in all regions and win an autovictory if they convert Rome.
 
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