As mentioned in the original introduction post, the main economy of Magistrate is: cards » cubes » actions » VPs. This post will get into more detail on this, such as: How do you get cards? How do they get converted into cubes? How are the cubes spent on actions, and how do those lead to VPs? How do the various areas (people/military/agents) have an impact on a player’s economy?
Let’s work through these aspects step-by-step …
Getting Cards: The front end of the economy happens at the start of each round. You gain 1 card for each Fort you have on the map. Forts are added during the actions phase by moving Soldiers into the other provinces on the map and taking a fortify action. There can only be 1 Fort in a province, and you have to have the most Soldiers in the province when fortifying. Basically, the more land you control, the more raw materials you have available to use. Also, you can pay the People to produce additional raw materials, adding additional cards to your hand.
Getting Cubes: After gaining the new cards, you can discard up to 1 card for each Popularity Ring you have on your Home Flag. Rings are added by a People action that costs some cubes and requires you to remove some Soldiers from the board. In other words, you become more popular by “bringing the Soldiers home,” which makes the People happier and allows you to convert more raw materials (cards) into usable resources (action cubes).
The cubes or cards shown on the discards are given to the player. As an example, if you were to discard all 4 of the cards shown to the right, you would get 2 new cards, 2 purple cubes, 8 green cubes, and 2 orange cubes.
Taking Actions: The middle part of each round is where a player can change their economy. The various actions that are available, and the order in which they can be taken, are detailed in the player reference sheets. Some of the actions add evidence cubes to your Home province for some one-time VPs on the next scoring round. Others allow you to build up the things that will continue to score you VPs on each scoring round throughout the game — adding Rings to your Home Flag, adding Forts to the Map, and adding Agents to the Agent Ops Board.
Build Yours Up, Tear Theirs Down: Building a strong, balanced economy and messing with your opponents’ economies is the key to the game. And, just as there are actions that allow you to improve your ability to gain and use cards, there are others that will allow you to foil your opponents. Military attacks will remove other players’ Forts and Soldiers from the board — allowing you to build additional Forts. Also, the Agent Operations “Scandal” and “Sabotage” will remove other players’ Rings and Forts, respectively.
A player that maximizes their own economy and can stall the others’ should be able to translate that into a nice advantage in VPs.
NEXT: 4. The People: Production & Popularity (link coming)