After tossing around a few ideas on the next topic for Solium Infernum Saturdays, I’ve settled on resources. The game’s resource system may not have the dramatic oomph that combat and diplomacy have, but it’s the fuel the powers nearly every aspect of the game.
Resources in Solium Infernum Saturdays come in four flavors: ichor, hellfire, darkness and souls. Acquiring them requires one of the precious orders that you’re allotted every turn. You have no control over what you get; it’s a matter of a die roll. However, the quality of what you get is dependent on the charisma rating of your avatar. The higher the charisma, the more selection you get, and the better the selection tends to be.
Everything in the game requires resources. They are the material components for rituals. They are the price for everything you buy in the bazaar. You need a lot of them to increase your avatar’s attributes. They are what you demand when you make a demand of another player.
And very often, you will feel like you can never get enough.
When you request resources from your minions, you’ll be offered a selection of them from which you can choose. At low levels of charisma, there is very little choice; you’ll have to take what you’re given. As your charisma gets higher, you’ll get more “draws” from the resource deck to choose from, and you’ll be able to get the type of resouce that you desire.
Resource cards have two qualities: type (ichor, hellfire, etc) and number. So a single card could give you one hellfire, three souls, or two ichor. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get a single card with multiple types of resources. For instance, you could get a single card that gives you two souls, two hellfire and one darkness.
There is no “change” in hell. If you want something that requires one ichor and all you have is a resource card that gives you four ichor, you have a choice to make. You can either let it go in the hopes of getting an ichor card with a smaller denomination before someone else snaps up whatever you’re trying to buy, or you can buy it with the four ichor card and just swallow the fact that you’ve wasted three ichor.
Souls are the most common resource, in that you’ll usually be offered a few when you request resources from your minions. Nearly everything you do in the game will require a tribute of at least a few souls. They are the universal currency in the inferno. Not only that, but souls act as tiebreakers when two or more players happen to vie for the same item in the bazaar at the same time. When that happens, the game awards the item to the person who threw in the most souls. If you REALLY need something in Solium Infernum, it’s always a good idea to throw in a few extra souls to beat those who can only afford the minimum bid.
Hellfire is necessary for the nukes in the game. If you want to power your destruction rituals, you’ll need hellfire to do it. Hellfire is also needed to raise an avatar’s wickedness attribute, which strengthens destruction rituals and makes more of those rituals available. Players will also need a healthy allotment of hellfire for artifacts, which are “equipment” that you add to legions and places of power to make them more powerful and durable.
Ichor is tied to the martial aspects of the game. You’ll need it to raise your wrath attribute, buy legions and purchase praetors.
Darkness is probably the second most useful resource after souls. You need darkness to do the dirty deeds in the game. Deception rituals (the type that steal resources from other players and misdirect their units) need a healthy amount of darkness to take effect. A lot of darkness is needed to increase an avatar’s Cunning attribute, which powers Deception rituals much like Wickedness powers Destruction rituals. Finally, darkness is necessary for relics that can be bought in the bazaar.
So in closing, resources are a necessary evil in Solium Infernum. You don’t get them automatically, like you would in Catan. Gathering them requires sacrifice in that they take up orders that would otherwise be used for buying things, moving legions and strongarming your opponents. The very effort to gather them is what makes diplomacy so important. When a player makes a demand for three resource cards from you, it’s no small thing. You have to make the choice to give up what you’ve worked hard to gain or open yourself up to be hit by the enemy player.
With regards to how things are going in the game I started blogging about in the series, it’s tough for me to say with any sort of detail. As I mentioned in an earlier post, since I’ve been knocked out of the game, I can’t get any sort of choice information about what’s going on and who’s making a demand of whom.
However, I can say that they game is still far from over after 43 turns. Death is way, way, way in the lead with 314 prestige and a per turn gain of ten prestige points. Meche is a distant second at 119. The other three surviving players had better start making some deals to take him out. However, who knows what deals could be made behind closed doors? Perhaps someone will make a play for second place rather than vie for first and request a blood vassalship.
What’s a blood vassalship? That’s next week’s topic.