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A Feast for Odin» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Dr. Strangeluck (or How I Learned to Stop Fighting and Love the Farm) rss

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Bob Boberson
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It is possible to get reasonable scores without dabbling in the dark art of dice rolling in A Feast For Odin. I don't believe you'll ever be able to beat an opponent who knows what they're doing, rolls a lot and rolls well, but you can compete in multiplayer and certainly do quite well in solo.

I don't claim to be any better than average at this game, but I've come up with a solo strategy that gets the job done reasonably effectively and doesn't rely on any dice rolls or occupations. So for solo players struggling to get past the 100 mark, and who have an aversion to the randomness inherent in the traditional viking way of life here are some thoughts that may be of use to you:

There are of course two main elements in this game that involve a degree of randomness - the hunting/raiding/pillaging and the occupations. Short of some drafting mechanism or other house rule there's really nothing you can do to influence the occupation cards you end up with in the game, so let's have a look at the other stuff:

1. Hunting
Hunting seems like it's better when you're further into the game, and have accumulated some bows. The single viking hunting space might be viable if you end up with 3 or more. The skin is nice, and the game meat is handy for the banquet, or can be flipped with some other tiles later on. If I'm using a single viking I'd usually rather use the mountain strips or upgrade a tile or two depending how far into the game I am. Hunting on the 2 viking space seems like a bad deal to me. I'd much rather get a guaranteed 2 mead and 2 silver than go hunting on the 2 viking space.

Failure - The consolation prize on failure doesn't seem to me to make up for the loss of tempo. Possibly in the first column it might not hurt too much, depending on what else is going on, but unlike trapping you don't get a viking returned when you use 2 and fail. That's bad.

2. Trapping
This is more interesting as you basically get a flipped sheep on success. Personally I'd usually rather spring for the sheep. Because there is only one trapping space on the board in the solo game you only get to do it every other round, so a maximum of 4 times, but realistically less than that as you'll need 3 or more snares to have a good chance at success, and you don't really want to use any more than one wood, and preferably none at all.

Failure - At least you get one of your vikings back. I'm not convinced with the snare and single wood. The snare's only useful if you want to go and do it all again (two rounds later in the solo game) and if it was wood you wanted you could have just collected it on up to 4 other spaces - depending on the state of the mountain strips.

3. Whaling
You get some good loot if you succeed at whaling, but you're rolling the D12 and you want to roll low. You better have a bunch of spears if you're intent on success. Again, in the solo game you're faced with the problem of only being able to go whaling a very limited number of times. First the only way to get a whaling boat using wood is the lone space in the first column, so forget about having a fleet of three whaling boats. You could buy them at 3 silver a pop, but I'm not sure that would be worth it unless you're going full on whaling. Secondly, the whaling space in the fourth column isn't great value, costing as it does 4 vikings for the same rewards. So, at least in the solo game, unless I happen to draw a bunch of spears I'm probably not going whaling, and if I ever do it'll be one time only.

Failure - It seems to me this is the main draw for whaling in the multiplayer game. You get a pretty good return when you fail at whaling: It only ends up costing one viking, so the tempo loss isn't crippling and you get to draw a new occupation card. The wood's handy too, I guess. For the same 3 vikings though I can get a guaranteed occupation card and a bunch of decent tiles at the weekly market plus a silver, or if I have a few sheep (and I do) then I can get 2 or 3 wool. There are lots of good spaces in the third column.

4. Pillaging
Pillaging seems like a decent deal to me if your conscience doesn't bother you. As long as your longboat is fully stocked with ore you'll likely do okay here. Those special tiles are nice.

Failure - You always get one viking back on failure so that's cool. Stone can be handy, depending on what else you're doing, and the sword... well swords are good if you're into pillaging.

5. Raiding
You basically have to throw a 6 or more on a D8, and you can't use your ore to add to your total. So unless you've accumulated a bunch of swords and/or stone that you're willing to part with you'd better have a four leaf clover handy. Having said that, even if you do roll really well you'll generally be looking at the bottom end of the booty.

Failure - Failure seems like the best option here, and even that's not very good. Maybe if you have the Drunkard occupation card...

The Peaceful Leader

So what's the plan if you want to be the odd viking out and decide not to kill and steal for a living? Well, a combination of farming, exploration and a little emigration works pretty well. I can consistently score around the 100-128 point range using this strategy and it involves no dice rolling whatsoever. Here's what you'll need as a bare minimum:

1. 1 Knarr
2. 3 Cows
3. 3 Sheep
4. 3 Special tiles: The Axe, The Cloakpin and The Helmet

This is how they'll fit on your homeboard:



In addition I usually explore Iceland and Bear Island in that order (in the solo game if you take Bear Island as soon as it flips from Shetland you won't be able to explore Iceland because it'll flip while your vikings are still on the space from the previous round), and get income from them as soon as possible. It may be that the other islands are better for income/bonus tiles - Shetland for example can bag you some silverware which is a great tile to get for free each round - but I haven't looked into that in much depth yet. One thing's for sure though; you need some sort of exploration income if you're going to keep your home board income at 2.

Round 1

In the solo game the most straightforward thing to do is to send 2 vikings to upgrade your flax to a fish and collect 3 wood (depending on what's on the mountain strips), then send 2 vikings to the crafting space that gives 1 silver and a blue chest for 1 wood. The last 2 vikings can be used to build a knarr with the remaining 2 wood. This makes all the spaces you're interested in available to you and secures an income of 2 for the rest of the game (once you put the chest in the bottom left of your home board).

Round 2

In the second round send 4 vikings to get a sheep and a cow for 3 silver (and play your occupation card); it's useful to get the cows and sheep in the bag so you can start breeding them asap. It's possible to get another sheep in this round if you generate 1 more silver.

Round 3

In round 3 Iceland will get 2 silver on it and you'll want to grab that and try to get some income from it as quickly as possible (you'll get 1 silver income without developing it at all). If you grab another cow this round then you can basically forget about livestock for the rest of the game.

Rounds 4-7

There are lots of different ways to go about things from this point, but you'll want to hit the trading space to buy the helmet and cloakpin for 2 silver in column 3 at some point. Once you get an ore you can go to the crafting space in column 3 to swap it for the axe. That means that you'll have negated all but 7 of the negative points on your home board once you flip the livestock near the end of the game (you'll have to flip 2 of the sheep and 1 of the cows twice):



The rest of your efforts should be concerned with trying to increase the income from your exploration boards. I don't usually try to fill in the area on my home board between the chest at the bottom left and the negative point section. At some point (preferably early on) you can send 4 vikings to convert a whaling boat to a knarr and emigrate it. Getting another knarr via column 4 when you've collected enough wood and stone then emigrating can be handy; it cuts down on the food needed for the banquets, while creating a food surplus that can be placed in the longhouse you get with your knarr.

So never fear, peaceful king. You too can have an impressive territory full of vikings with full bellies. And you can feel proud that it was the result of your careful planning rather than the whims of the old Norse gods!
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Tequi
Germany
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Rumplesink wrote:

...
1. 1 Knarr
2. 3 Cows
3. 3 Sheep
4. 3 Special tiles: The Axe, The Cloakpin and The Helmet

This is how they'll fit on your homeboard:


...

I think you made mistake here, it is not allowed to use red tiles (food/animals) on the homeboard, only for the feast.
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Germany
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Tequi wrote:
Rumplesink wrote:

...
1. 1 Knarr
2. 3 Cows
3. 3 Sheep
4. 3 Special tiles: The Axe, The Cloakpin and The Helmet

This is how they'll fit on your homeboard:


...

I think you made mistake here, it is not allowed to use red tiles (food/animals) on the homeboard, only for the feast.


That is only to show how they fit on the board before upgrading ...
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David Goldfarb
United States
Houston
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You do know that you can just buy a whaling boat at any time by paying three silver? That might make it a bit easier to assemble a whaling fleet. (Likewise if you have five silver and want a knarr, you can purchase one, or a longboat for eight.)
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Bob Boberson
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David Goldfarb wrote:
You do know that you can just buy a whaling boat at any time by paying three silver? That might make it a bit easier to assemble a whaling fleet. (Likewise if you have five silver and want a knarr, you can purchase one, or a longboat for eight.)


Ah, yes. Thanks for that. I should have worded the bit about whaling differently. I'll edit the original post a tad. I do know about buying the ships, and if you were going for a heavy whaling strategy it would definitely be a good idea to buy a whaling boat or two if possible, but I've not really explored that option as far as whaling boats go, because think of the poor whales! cry

Using the above strategy if I had a spare 3 silver I'd use it for livestock, or if I wanted a ship I'd wait until I had 5 silver and buy a knarr.
 
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mark van der werf
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Paying for the boats is often as good.

If you go over all the actions for getting stuff you can see that for 1 viking you get roughly: 2 money / 2 resources / 2 area in tiles / 2 upgrades / 2 draws.
Buying a 3 point boat with wood is 1.5 vikings, the 5 point boat is 3 vikings, and the 8 point boat is 3.5 vikings (since you get a draw worth 0.5 viking). So often the cheaper boats are good to just get with money if you have it I think because vikings on the best actions, those that score better than this average, are often better than getting the wood and the money.

This sort of analysis is a bit short though because money is quite versatile early and having enough money around for the action phase next round is tricky. Often the money is used right away to enable another bonus after the income. As such I'd also say money is worth a bit more than a wood and the exchange is not as bad perhaps, especially not for a knarr or the 8 point boat. The 5 money boat is often better to buy though I think. In general lots of the 2 viking actions are not that efficient I think
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