I'm not surprised. Obviously competition with other players for
resources is a major limiting factor in faction growth.
However, recall that something like 165 factions started in the IC on
turn 1. Provinia has been "crowded" since the beginning of time. Why
should new players today get a benefit that the original players
didn't receive? Now, if new factions were being preyed upon by
established factions in the IC area there might be a reason to start
an alternate city, but I don't believe that is happening.
Maybe a reasonable solution would be to consider all the cities within
2 month's travel of the IC to be potential start cities. (Call that 8
provinces or so.) Allow new factions to choose whether they want to
start in the IC safe haven or in a randomly chosen city within that
area. That would give new players a choice of some geographical
spread without dropping them in some distant, valuable area of the
-- Scott T.