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Risk Europe» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Starting City positions: pros and cons rss

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Jonathan Rosenberg
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EDITED ON 8/24/16, BASED ON P.22 RULE ABOUT MULTIPLE TAX BONUSES FOR CONNECTED CITIES.

For the new Risk Europe player, I thought that as a veteran player (a full half dozen plays! ), I'd share some strategy thoughts about the starting cities.

I've listed the following factors for each:
City revenue
Proximity to non-capital cities
City's unique benefits
City's defense


London:
Revenue: medium
Non-capital city access: low. Only 2 cities, Dublin and Zurich. Both are 2 moves away, and both can be contested by 2 to 3 other capitals.
Unique benefits: high -- when taxed, place two archer units.
Defense: low. London is only two moves away from Paris and Berlin, and 3 from Madrid and Stockholm.
Overall rating: low

Madrid:
Revenue: medium
Non-capital city access: low. Only two cities, Bejaia and Dublin. Both are 2 moves away. Bejaia cannot be easily contested by others (Rome is 3 away, as is Paris); Dublin is equally close to Paris and London, and easily blocked by Paris).
Unique benefits: high -- when taxed place 4 foot units.
Defense: high. Paris is 2 moves away, London is 3, others are farther.
Overall rating: medium

Paris:
Revenue: medium
Non-capital city access: low. Dublin and Zurich are two spaces away and highly contested. Bejaia is 3 spaces away, and more easily contested by Madrid.
Unique benefits: high -- when taxed place 1 cavalry and 1 foot unit.
Defense: low. London, Berlin, and Madrid are all 2 spaces away, and Rome is 3 spaces away.
Overall rating: low

Stockholm:
Revenue: medium
Non-capital city access: low/medium. Novgorod is 2 spaces away, and only contested by Kiev. Warsaw is 2 away, and contested more easily by Kiev, and equally by Berlin.
Unique benefits: low -- earn 4 silver when win a battle. Battles are pretty infrequent in Risk Europe, and you still need to spend that money with a tax/spend card.
Defense: high. Berlin is 2 spaces away, London is 3, others are farther.
Overall rating: medium

Rome:
Revenue: high
Non-capital city access: medium. Zurich, easily contested by others, is 2 spaces away, Bejaia, Athens and Buda are 3 away, and are also easily contested.
Unique benefits: high. 2 crowns!! A huge benefit in a 4 player game; less so in a 2 or 3-player one.
Defense: high. Only Paris is 3 spaces away, the others are farther.
Overall rating: high

Berlin:
Revenue: high
Non-capital city access: medium. Zurich and Warsaw are 2 spaces away; Buda is 3. All are contested.
Unique benefits: high. An extra maneuver every time you expand! Castles are 3 coins cheaper.
Defense: low. 3 capital cities -- Paris, Stockholm, and London -- are 2 spaces away.
Overall rating: medium

Constantinople:
Revenue: medium
Non-capital city access: high. Athens is 1 away and not easily contested; Buda is 2 away, and Warsaw and Bejaia are 3 away.
Unique benefits: medium. Buy a siege weapon, get 4 foot units in the same location.
Defense: high. Kiev is 3 away, others are farther.
Overall rating: high

Kiev:
Revenue: low
Non-capital city access: high. Warsaw is 1 space away; Novgorod and Buda are 2 spaces away. Novgorod is only contested by 1 other city.
Unique benefits: medium. When building units, can be anywhere on a supply line connected to Kiev.
Defense: high. Berlin and Constantinople are 3 away; others are farther.
Overall rating: high


Jon's overall scores:
London: 10
Madrid: 14
Paris: 10
Stockholm: 11
Berlin: 14
Rome: 18 (16 in 3- or 2-player games)
Constantinople: 16
Kiev: 14

The scores above weighted each of the 4 factors (revenue; city access; unique benefits; defense) equally, with a low=1, medium=3, and high=5.

I suspect that city revenue is actually less of a factor than the others, so if that's weighted on a 1-3, with the others on a 1-5, the numbers look as follows:

London: 9
Madrid: 13
Paris: 9
Stockholm: 10
Berlin: 12
Rome: 16 (14 in 3- or 2-player games)
Constantinople: 15
Kiev: 14

Of course, in a 2 or 3-player game each player will start with 3 or 2 cities, respectively -- and the city combinations require a different form of analysis. But this pretty strongly suggests that players who focus on Constantinople, Kiev, and Rome will do well.
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Pepe Carrillo
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Good job!
 
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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Pepe -- thanks!
 
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James Arnoldi
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Good stuff.

Just played my second game and the first 3 player game with Mercs. One player had Kiev and Constantinople as their two starting cities and quickly built up from there. In the first game I took Constantinople as my starting city and quickly moved to Kiev and also found I built pretty quickly. In this last game I started with London and Stockholm and with how things are spread out, I did find it a lot more difficult.

Overall the cities feel balanced decently but not completely balanced.
 
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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James, thanks.

I totally agree, and down the line I might consider some house-ruled tweaks to City revenue or City unique abilities to offset that imbalance. Those adjustments might affect historical flavor, but the game is not intended to be realistic anyway.

So, for example, maybe Paris should be worth 2 crowns instead of Rome, and maybe Constantinople and Kiev should have weaker abilities.
 
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Pepe Carrillo
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I would definitely want to start at Constantinople... Four free infantry when buying a siege engine... Brutal!!!
 
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Board Gamer
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Thanks for the post JRose. Found it to be good stuff and quite fascinating! Was very neat to see your statistical breakdown! I generally agree about the strength of the eastern cities, in terms of where to start.

However, in my limited experience the West has actually treated me very well. I think some of the negatives about that side (London, Paris, Madrid) in terms of proximity to others can be strengths in scenarios that I've seen. Particularly, I like to get Paris which is rated tied for last in your rankings. Since the east is indeed so strong it seems like often times when I take Paris, Madrid and London are left open and can be quickly acquired with early split expand. In this case you can establish a very strong position with your back to the west of the board. And if you can secure this position the city bonus goes from middle of the road to very strong since the tax bonuses stack on each other giving you 12 coins worth of troops for free every tax. Even if you only get 1 of 2 (Madrid or London) I think you can still be in pretty decent shape. With this set up the proximity can also be a benefit because the troops can be easily shifted through a reinforce since all are so close, particularly if you stack a lot up in Paris and can then shift anywhere from that middle point.

Of course where other players pick is a huge part of the game and can't really be accounted for in a ranking. But just thought I would share some of what I've experienced and rep for the West a little! Thanks again for the great post!

 
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John Van Wagoner
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if Constantinople, Kiev, and Rome are so strong, any suggestions for balancing out the game?
 
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Pepe Carrillo
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I wonder if there is some historical background to it or if it was an oversight.
 
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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BOARD GAM3R: thanks for your counterargument regarding the West! I'd be thrilled to see the West more competitive in this game, AND had not noticed the small italicized note on page 22 about getting multiple tax benefits from connected cities. I knew that you'd get the revenue for all connected cities and territories, but I totally agree that controlling any two of Paris, London, and Madrid is a WHOLE lot better given that tax rule. You're not only gaining revenue but also getting to "spend" on units at a great rate.
 
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Matthew Morocco
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Very well thought out argument. But Berlin should be rated much lower, after 3 games I can't help but notice that Berlin has a very difficult time expanding to build up tax base. It's vulnerable to the other players expansion. It doesn't get the free cannon fodder that the other cities enjoy. Seems like your just trying to hold on to what you have and hope the other players ignore you.
 
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Pepe Carrillo
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madmat wrote:

Very well thought out argument. But Berlin should be rated much lower, after 3 games I can't help but notice that Berlin has a very difficult time expanding to build up tax base. It's vulnerable to the other players expansion. It doesn't get the free cannon fodder that the other cities enjoy. Seems like your just trying to hold on to what you have and hope the other players ignore you.



The Berlin situation sounds familiar... Needing a bit of Lebensraum...
 
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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Good point about Berlin -- and similar to the situation of Germany in Diplomacy.

But keep in mind that Berlin has terrific special attributes: cheap castles to defend territory, and the ability to do a maneuver after an expansion move. The latter can be used to great effect.
 
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Pepe Carrillo
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jrose1 wrote:
Good point about Berlin -- and similar to the situation of Germany in Diplomacy.

But keep in mind that Berlin has terrific special attributes: cheap castles to defend territory, and the ability to do a maneuver after an expansion move. The latter can be used to great effect.



That sounds like a blitzkrieg-type move... How appropriate!
 
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