[Grand Tribunal] Hand size?

Looking through the rules there are rules for discarding down to the maximum hand size of five cards. I can't see any time when you put cards in your hand. Cards are always placed in the sanctum. It is noted that the sanctum can hold any number of spells and items.

When do players hold things in their hand?

Your hand starts at 5, and never increases or is replenished. This is addressed on a sidebar on the main Grand Tribunal webpage (Clicky Link). Here's what it says:

...which makes it sound like the "discarding down to 5" bit is either related to some spell effect, or an "oopsie."

The maximum of 5 cards on the hand does seem rather odd...
Maybe some cards/rules didn't make it in the final cut, that might have made it make more sense?

Hi there. One of the big reasons for the max hand size is so that players are enccouraged to play cards into their Sanctum instead of "hording" them.

Ah, but do please try out the Hand/Sanctum Choice Variant (see Grand Tribunal FAQ) and tell us what you think.


Sure will - as soon as I get the chance...

It would make the whole hand size thing much more aplicabel. Remember that this question was raised prior to the errata/FAQ on the Atlas website.

Er...except that according to the printed rules, cards never enter your hand -- "Take one face-up item or spell card and add it to your santum" .. "take the top face-down card from your Items or Spells deck".

It looks to me like the "hand" was removed from the game entirely late, but that several rules related to it ("hand size", drawing a "starting hand" rather than drawing five cards and putting them into your sandtum) were accidentally kept in.

And, honestly, I don't see that adding a "hand" to the game adds anything at all. The game is complicated enough (keeping track of played and unplayed resources, and active, inactive, and judged spells and items) that an extra, very minor rule doesn't seem to be useful, especially since most cards are going to be going straight into your sanctum to get Vis put on them. It's a much simpler eratta to fix that than to add back a rule that was apparently justifiably kept out.

This said, I'm halfway convinced that the resource draw beginning of game option is unbalanced -- unless you're the starting Praetor (and maybe even if you are) if there's ever a reason to draw a Resource during the game, then you'll always want to start with two or three resources, an Item and a Spell -- since it's so much more expensive to draw a resource during the game than an item or spell.

I agree with you on the "hand size" - seems a bit out of touch and I had the same suspicion that it might have been a last minute change that made it obsolete. Concerning complexity I don't mind - I would just have liked some more spells using this option aswell.

Nevertheless note Phil's point of using the Hand/Sanctum Choice variant.
And for the issue of the oversaturation of vis ressources - we had issues with it aswell prior to the errata - it is taken out of the rules.

If you haven't read it already I think the errata would help you:
Grand Tribunal Errata and FAQ

I like the game - even if it distracted us from playing Ars a couple of times - but my only grievance is that it leans heavily on "American-style games", in other words there is a big luck factor in getting one of the few spells that can completely dominate a game. This is just a question of preference and although I dont mind a measure of luck I do prefer games where superior strategy is the main game-winner.

HEY! :angry:

I'm vaguely insulted by your statement that American Games take more luck than skill. Where's the luck in "shoot your neighbor" or "vote for the idiot", two of our favorite games here in the goold ole Ewe Ess of Ay?

Still, our national slogan of "I'd rather be lucky than good any day, lucky takes less work" does seem to support your thesis.

Objection withdrawn.

I hadn't found the eratta/FAQ when I posted, but did shortly after.

Not all "american games" have more luck than skill -- look at Sid Sackson's Accquire, or Alan Moon's Elfenland!

Or Twilight Imperium 3rd Ed. by Christian Peterson, or Eagle Game's Conquest of the Empire and Railroad Tycoon, or Age of Steam by Martin Wallace, or even Pieces-of Eight!

A clarification long over-due...

This isn't a question of 'all' gamers or 'where' they are produced. These are simply terms of genres of games, with one genre 'american games' including more chance and another genre 'euro-games' (also often called a German board gaming-genre) including less chance.

Certainly tons of games are produced in the US with little to no chance involved and games produced in Europe that are highly chance dependent - but the names of the genres seem to have stuck. It's really a question of preferences - with seemingly (very) generally speaking more adherence to one genre in America and another in Europe.

BTW - a game such as Twilight Imperium has both high degrees of strategy and of chance and you can win on neither alone. I love it - and I especially love the many simulations which makes the galaxy come to life and I actually played it yesterday - one of our main discussion were in fact being about how many of the extra feature rules to include (me wanting them for the thematic feel of it vs. the others not wanting them due to the chance element of them). Christian T. Pertersen is actually a Dane, just as myself, and this again is example that this is all about genre and preferences and not about nationality even if the genres are labelled in those terms.