The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Another game of title:subtitle:subsubtitle

(also known as ‘the new QMG’). (Does that make the original the OqmG? Hm).

This was another good game, but it did reveal a potential cause for worry — Many of the status cards are in the following format:

During a scoring round if you have a unit in or adjacent to Foo and (the other side) does not have a unit in or adjacent to Foo, gain +2 points.

These are — as you can imagine — pretty big deals. It seems like there are a handful of these 4-5 per deck (although I think Athens/Sparta have fewer and their allies have more). But what worries me is that Sparta has a card that says “Gain +1 VP when you kill a hoplite on your turn.”

Unlike the other cards, there’s no counter. If you get the Scoring card for Sicily, you may get up to 10 points a game, but the opponents can counter. And if you don’t get it, well, you probably got the status for Lesbos. But if Sparta draws this card, it’s ~6 uncounterable points early, and if they don’t, well, that’s six fewer.

Since QMG (either flavor) has a lot of tempo issues, the turn to place this early is a problem, but I do wonder if its a coincidence that the game Sparta didn’t draw this had an Athenian win (on round 9, IIRC) and the game where Sparta played this card early went the distance and had a narrow Oligarch win. [The win was more the result of Athens getting decked, which cost 3 VPs, which swung the margin of Victory].

One card wasn’t to blame, by any means, but I am now watching this as a balance issue


Written by taogaming

October 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I had my own concern about that as well, but remember there are a bunch of scoring cards. Both sides are most likely going to get some early in the game. And its not like the original game didn’t have similar issues with certain powerful cards.

    The card for scoring when killing a unit is interesting. Athens has one for ships. In my single play (Note one play means I’m speculating for a lot of what I say. I need to play this more), both sides got these scoring cards but nobody scored much for them at all – they mostly just guaranteed that athens would rule the seas and sparta would rule the land. And knowing that those cards exist, is good enough deterrent for this to happen.

  2. As noted, Athens has a copy of this for fleets. The funademental historical dynamic of the war was that you had a supreme naval power (Athens) fighting a supreme land power (Sparta) and they had to figure out a way to come to grips with each other – these cards nicely reflect the stakes involved in trying to fight one of these powers on their “home turf”. Athens and the Delian league are basically naval powers, and the counter to that card is to simply avoid fighting a land war in Greece (Sparta has very few triremes so has a hard time taking the battle to the islands), and figuring out other ways to take the battle to them. These cards are powerful, but I think they’re more powerful in how they alter your opponent’s behavior than for the actual VPs they generate. Athens will have to fight for Athens (and lose some hoplites) if Sparta makes a determined effort to siege it, but that’s only going to add up to 3-4VPs, much less than a normal scoring status card. If Athens is going to try to bring in Argos, for example, they have to balance this against the big risk of putting more hoplites where Sparta can get at them,

    Chris Farrell

    October 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm

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