I played my first game of The Pillars of the Earth today with 3 other people. I had a question about the King's Court which was not specifically addressed in the rules. If I have already placed a Master Builder there, may I place a second (or even third?) there in order to potentially "force" other players to have to pay taxes? Doing say may result in them losing victory points if they can't pay, so I thought it was an interesting strategic possibility. The owner of the game has only played a couple times, and also only with 2 players, so he hadn't come across the situation before.

I know that often, there are likely better opportunities to take which will result in a greater net gain for yourself than that loss for your opponents, but I was wondering if it was at least possible. The decision we came to was that it wasn't explicitly stated in the rules that you couldn't so we allowed it as a possibility, though no one took it in the game. Is this allowed?


After taking another pass through the rules, I see no reason this would be forbidden. That being said, I see no case where this would be a good play. You gain nothing by placing a second builder here, and at best you are causing one player to pay taxes. I suppose in the very narrow situation where 1) this is the last space (and therefore you know which player will have to pay), 2) you know the player who will have to pay will not be able to afford it and therefore lose victory points, 3) that player is in first place, and 4) you are in second place that this play could be worthwhile. However, even in this case it seems likely that the player targeted could make up the one or two points they would lose (two to five divided by two, rounded down) with the action they choose instead. I think it is always going to be preferable to take another action instead.

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    I agree that it's extremely unlikely, but I could see it coming up at the end of a a four-player game. Suppose the event protection, privileges, VP, and craftsmen (seven spots) have been taken, along with the first three spots in the King's Court. This leaves two master builders, yours and your impoverished opponent's. Bonus workers and starting player are both useless now, so the choice is just market or king's court. Your opponent has no money, so the only use for the market is resource conversion. If they can't profit from that, then they will not be able to make up the VP. – Cascabel Nov 23 '10 at 18:40

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