The rules has a separate passage for replenishing cages:

If one of the two cage-buying action spaces is blocked by a neutral imp, you deal only 1 new cage, leaving one pit empty. Apparently, the neutral imp took one cage before you could get there.

  • This rule seems to assume that the board starts with one cage and 2 open slots every round: replenish one, leave one open.
  • What if the board starts with any other number of cages? We had rounds starting with both 3 and 2 cages. In these cages we would possibly not replenish? Or even remove a cage?

The first two sentences of that section still apply, and state

At least one cage will be left over from the previous round. Take the lowest of the leftover cages, put it in the uppermost pit and discard the rest.

It isn't possible for all 3 cages to be purchased in a turn, so at least one will always be there. Keep the lowest, move it to the upper slot, and get rid of the rest. That way you are guaranteed to always have a single slot filled. Then you either deal 2 more, or only 1 more if a neutral imp is blocking a space.

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