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Subject: Balancing the Religion advances rss

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Dave Berry
Scotland
Edinburgh
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Here are two small variants we tried for the Cathedral and Holy Indulgences advances.

- Holy Indulgences: In 3- and 4-player games, collect two expansion markers per turn from each non-owner (as stated in the rules). In 5- and 6-players games, collect only one expansion marker per turn from each non-owner.

- Cathedral: Each non-owner may lose only one Cathedral attack per-turn. I.e. if one owner attacks a given non-owner, other owners must find other victims.

In both cases part of the problem (as I see it) is that without these modifications, the effect of the advances increases in games with more players. E.g. if just one player does not own Cathedral, in a 3-player game he or she may lose 2 attacks/turn, but in a 6-player game he or she may lose 5 attacks/turn. As the last player to buy the advance will probably be struggling to keep in contention anyway, this seems a little harsh. So these modifications aim to keep the effect of the advances a little more consistent across games with different number of players, and in the case of Cathedral also to protect trailing players from losing too much extra ground.
 
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Drake Storm
United States
Huntington Beach
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The Religion Advances are definitely too strong in the normal game.

To balance it out our play group uses the following changes to the rules.

(might not be perfect because we use alot of other changes too, but I'm just listing the ones directly related to the Religions).

1.) Holy Indulgence has a pre-requisite of Patronage (stops the first player with a decnt payoff from directly buying Holy)

2.) Cathedral has the pre-requiste of Proselytism instead of Holy (stops the double hoser of players in the lead always having both Holy and Cathedral which really hurts the lagging players).

3.) Start everyone's Misery at 50. Makes Misery and Misery Relief matter in many games. Also stops people from blindly buying religions without any thought. (as I recall it was a little too harsh on Religions, so we took out the Misery Slide for buying Proselytism). [In fact in later verisions, we decided to remove all Misery Slides for purchasing religions and moved the Religious Strife card to 1st Epic to balance the change].

4.) For Holy Indulgence, you can either give the players the 2 tokens as normal OR give them $4, or 1 token and $2.



 
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Greg Meyer
United States
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If everyone knows they are strong and buys them, you should be OK. Religon advances help the countries in not so great starting postion like London and Hamburg have a chance against the "good countries" that need to spend on galley upgrades.
If everyone realizes buying holy indulgence and cathedral as soon as possible is a good move, it should be so bad. When you hand two tokens to everyone else then that is subtle clue you should be buying holy indulgence.

Greg
 
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Drake Storm
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meyerg wrote:
If everyone knows they are strong and buys them, you should be OK. Religon advances help the countries in not so great starting postion like London and Hamburg have a chance against the "good countries" that need to spend on galley upgrades.


The reasoning here is wrong. It actually hurts the weaker countries like England because the London player needs to get Heavens with their first 30 dollars (turn 2 usually) or they are dead and thus are 30 dollars behind on getting Holy Indulgence.

meyerg wrote:
If everyone realizes buying holy indulgence and cathedral as soon as possible is a good move, it should be so bad. When you hand two tokens to everyone else then that is subtle clue you should be buying holy indulgence.


But if you are behind you might not be able to afford Holy Indulgence and later Catherdral and you just get farther behind because now you lose valuable tokens (or cities with Catherdral) to everyone else and your cash flow dwindles and you might never get enough money to buy them without completely taking yourself out of the game.

And a game with 26 advances, it'd be nice if there were other roads to victory rather than always get Holy then Catherdral, etc.

 
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Robert Zwiers
Netherlands
Overijssel
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I do agree the Religion advances are strong, but they are also relatively expensive, as there is no rebate available for HI or Cathedral (or Proselytism, but let's neglect it). I agree that it is a necessity to but Holy Indulgence at least within one turn after most other have purchased it. Cathedral however is a big investment for anyone, and it's usually a choice to go for either Religion or Exploration in one turn. A lot of times I've seen Cathedral bought as a way to catch up with leading players.
When you're lagging in score, you might want to forego some rebates on other advances and deviate your plans from what the leaders are doing. Buying Cathedral in such a turn can improve your board position, setting up a bigger income for the next turn.
It's not a watertight plan, but it certainly is a way to catch up. I don't think Cathedral unbalances the game, and consider it one of the many roads to victory.
 
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