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Vast: The Crystal Caverns» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Slowing down the dragon rss

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Eric C
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Just played our first two games. They were really fun, but the Dragon ended up winning both games. I was wondering what kind of advice people have for slowing the dragon down, particularly as a Cave player.

Slowing down the Knight or the Goblins is reasonably straightforward - putting walls in their way and limiting their access to easy treasure chests works reasonably well. However, the dragon is unimpeded by walls (until it surfaces) and seems highly mobile. The Dragon got to move at least one Wakefulness cube off its board every turn, and usually managed to move two or three. I spent all of my Soporific Spores abilities on the Dragon and it still came out ahead.

I came away thinking the following:

1. It's important to keep event and treasure tiles near the Knight and away from the Dragon. The Cave is generally happy when the Knight triggers an event, but is quite unhappy if the Dragon finds a tile. However, it's hard to keep ALL of them away from the Dragon - his Scorch ability, in particular, is very good at revealing a large number of tiles.

2. Help the knight stay in the general vicinity of the Dragon - don't tempt the Knight to go on fishing expeditions on the other side of the board. Keep treasures, etc. reasonably close to the area the Dragon is operating in (while trying to limit the Dragon's access to treasure, generally).


3. Place walls and rockslides in between crystal tiles and the exit. This slowed the dragon down a little bit in our games, but in both games the Dragon drew the wing cards needed to get to the exit.

Any thoughts on slowing the dragon down? Is there a good way, as a Goblins player, to avoid getting your tribes eaten (particularly in the early game, when everything is sandwiched together)?
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Michael Peterson
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Your first two points are definitely on the right track. You need a knight that's strong enough that it gives the dragon some fear. If the dragon never needs to take time out to run / hide from the knight, they're likely going to win.

A major key for the Goblins is to never allow the dragon a chance to attack multiple tribes with the same roll. This can be really tough in the early game, since the Goblins also generally need to get a few hits in before the knight gets tougher. One thing as a cave player that you can do, which isn't immediately obvious, is to make some of your early game tile choices based on the dark side of the tile, to give the goblin player more options.

Another thing you can do as the cave is with your tile / treasure placement. Basically you want to put as many 90 degree turns into the map as possible in the early / middle game. Big square caves are awesome for the dragon, since it allows really easy movement. Then, as you transition to endgame, you can fill in the gaps to ready for collapse.

It's also possible that the dragon player was missing a rule -- you can only take one cube from each category per turn. So if you stay in the same space and also drop your 2nd dragon gem, that's only 1 and not two.
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Tomi Mononen
Finland
Kuopio
Pohjois-Savo
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The Knight has to deal atleast 2 damage to dragon really early in the game and get really close to dragon at the end of game. So when the Dragon emerges The Knight can deal the rest of the damage in a single turn
 
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Eric C
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Thanks for all the great tips! One concern I also had was with maintaining the proper balance between the Knight and the Dragon. You don't actually want the Knight to hit the Dragon because that just pushes the Knight further to victory. You want the Dragon to be scared enough of the Knight that it has to fly away without actually taking any damage.
 
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Michael Peterson
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Daravon wrote:
You don't actually want the Knight to hit the Dragon because that just pushes the Knight further to victory.


My experience is that, in order to win as any of the roles, you've got to push pretty close to the edge. That means that to play the cave successfully, the knight has to get some hits on the dragon, the goblins have to hit the knight, and the dragon has to make progress on wakefulness. You just have to slow them down just enough for you to have the time you need.

Generally speaking, this isn't a game you can win unless you risk losing.
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David Fenton
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I haven't played as the Cave yet, but I'm guessing that doing things like placing Event tiles away from the Dragon might help, as would clustering Crystals (so the Dragon can't get to one away from the Knight...and Dragon/Knight stalemate is great for the Cave. Open paths between Knight and Dragon in early game (to keep the chase going), then close them when the Dragon is trying to escape.

For Goblins, I expect a hit-and-run attitude might help. Build up strength away from the dragon and rely on your unlimited movement (especially through Dark tiles that make up most the border) to get to the Knight. Plunder Dragon Gems when you can (a Dragon tactic is to place Gems on Dark tiles where it's hard for the Knight to reach...but the Goblins have tons of access on Dark tiles). Risk Scattering a Tribe to gain Rage and weaken the Dragon, especially if that Tribe is getting close to overpopulating (and you don't have an immediate use for it).
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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I read this bit from the rules discussion:

Woelf wrote:
jrutila wrote:
I played two player game with Knight and Dragon. Both players should put a dark tile one the game board at the end of their turn. The Dragon also (using Past Plunder variant card) should add a Treasure token at the end of its turn.

Does the Dragon first put the Treasure token or the new tile? In other words, can the Treasure be placed to the newly added dark tile?
Yes, you can choose the order in which those two things occur.


Tonight I found myself, as the Dragon, placing the new tile right next to me and then placing the Past Plunder treasure on that new tile. In this manner I was usually able to move a greed cube every turn, at the least. Usually I was managing a pride cube as well.

I won that game without the Knight attacking me even once. I feel like the Knight needed to spend more energy harassing me, but she was focusing on increasing her grit.
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