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In Century: A New World, Native Help cards allow one to use less settlers than normal when activating a location. When a location already has opposing settlers, you usually need to place the number of settlers already present +1, regardless of the location's cost. Does this also get reduced by having Native Help cards or do they only apply to the base location cost?

For example, if a location has 3 of an opponent's settlers and I want to oust them while having an appropriate Native Help card, do I need to use 3 or 4 settlers to do so?

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Yes they do. Looking at rules from link here it says the following (emphasis mine)

Native Help cards have the following permanent benefit: Whenever you use a location that includes the depicted icon in the circle, the required number of settlers you need to place on this location is reduced by 1. If you have several cards of the matching symbol, each of them reduces the required number by 1. However, you must always place at least one settler.

Earlier in the rules the term 'required number' has two definitions. One is the number printed on the board. The other is the number of workers on a space plus one. BOTH are consider a 'required number'. So if that is the case the benefit of the native card applies in both situation you describe.

Secondly there is this thread on BGG where a user says they asked the publisher your same question and it was answered-

Yes they do reduce the number of settlers needed to bump another player from a tile to a minimum of 1.

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