How exactly does the dig mechanic work and what purpose does it serve?
When are gems discarded versus being returned to the pile? I haven't had this happen yet, but is it possible to discard enough of one gem type that it becomes impossible to complete some of the goals?
The rules about what's inside/outside of the wall and where walls begin and end really don't make sense to me. It seems too easy to place a tile and orient it in such a way that it disrupts a wall, rendering that wall incomplete and leaving nothing inside of it to add to your score.
I love the art of this game and we've had a ton of fun playing it, but these are the questions that have come up during play, so maybe we're just not reading the rules closely enough!
let me try and answer your questions:
a) You can place a tile on top of another tile, creating what we call a "stack". Whenever you use the "dig" action, you take the top tile from a stack of tiles and put it at the bottom of it. You can NOT "dig" a stack that has a Dragon or a Frost Giant on top.
b) You discard gems from your hand in two cases: either when you "pay" to purchase provisions (Trading Goals) from the Tavern, or if you have more than 9 cards in your hand and you need to discard some. Whenever you discard cards in this way, they return to the pile of gems. There is a specific amount of gems, and there is also a strategy to try to gather X gems so that some other player may not be able to complete his/her goal. It is all part of the game. If you have enough room in your hand to keep gems that other players need, then noone can do anything about it (except if they decide to hire the... "Thief" from the Ogre's Inn)
c) Placing tiles in such a way so that you keep points to your kingdom while at the same time removing points from other player's kingdom is also part of the game. By strategically stacking a tile at the correct time can change completely the distribution of Victory Points. For example, by placing a Dragon on top of a mine, you effectively remove the walls of the "Mine", thus being able to combine Kingdoms together!
I hope these answer your questions.
That all makes sense, thanks for clarifying.
I think my issue with the walls is that the obvious strategy seems to be destroying an edge of the wall, rendering that wall incomplete, subsequently nullifying all of the points or enclosing two castles within the same walls again canceling out the kingdom points because all players will have an identical count. So it's never actually been part of any game I've played so far.
It almost feels like a house rule at this point, to just ignore the idea of walls and kingdom points because it's such an easy mechanic to subvert/break. Maybe I'm missing the actual functionality of the rules regarding the walls and how they work, though, or perhaps overcomplicating the concept.
Well, the game supports different play styles. So, yes you can place your castle adjacent to another player's castle, thus effectively nullifying the counting of points (since everyone will have exactly the same ones.
a) You can always place an Ice Giant on top of another player's castle, effectively removing their castle from play and if that happens when the game ends, then they get no Victory Points from Kingdom!
b) You can wait to place your castle in such a way that the other players can NOT place their's adjacent to yours
Of course it is a valid strategy for a player to want to be in the same kingdom as the rest of the players, so that they will not have to "worry" about Kingdom points, which in turns create a really cool strategy where you can try and "separate" the Kingdoms at the last moment to gain the advantage.