This wasn’t a minor infraction but instead renders our recent playing of the game a complete exercise in lunacy. Since it was the first time I’d played in 2 years and only the 2nd time I’ve ever played I suppose I can’t fault myself too much. As usual, the game play seemed a little odd in this area and Ken even mentioned it seemed mildly strange but it wasn’t bad enough that it made us stop and say, “that just can’t be!”. Even if we had, I’m not sure we would have caught it given that the Mayfair rules are a little ambiguous and at least one illustrated image is incorrect. I must regrettably acknowledge Ken’s frustration and must say, he was…he was…he was…right. There I said it. Ken was right.
The problem stems from resolving external conflict. When a player places a tile that joins two kingdoms and external conflict occurs, the tile is covered with the ‘handshake’ tile (no cube is awarded for the tile placement) and the conflict must be resolved in the order determined by the player placing the tile. The two warring dynasties must count their supporters on their side of the handshake tile. Then the attacker optionally commits additional supporters and the defender optionally commits supporters. The battle is won by the player with the largest total sum of supporters (ties won by the defender).
It was pretty clear to us that the supporters added to the battle from behind our screens had to be of the same color as the supporters we counted on the battlefield. However, we had the color all wrong. The Mayfair illustration shows a green tile being laid and two green traders battling. The wording of the rule concerning the term ‘supporters’ lead me to believe that the supporter color was dictated by the color of the tile that was joining the kingdoms. I missed the one phrase that indicates that the supporters are the tiles that match the conflicted leader‘s color. It has nothing to do with the color of the tile being placed. Doh!
Multi-leader conflicts resolve rather strangely when you play the game this incorrectly. For example, say I lay a blue farmer joining two kingdoms and choose to resolve the green trader conflicts first. In our purple haze of interpretation, we would have used blue to determine supporter strength since a blue tile was placed. That in and of itself is strange but think about what happens after the conflict is resolved; after the blue tiles are removed, subsequent conflicts really collapse since your supporters evaporated on the previous conflict.
I knew we would play the game incorrectly but I could not have imagined it would have been so far from the correct path. I guess that means I just need to play some more. Anybody up for another game?