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For reasons that aren't exactly clear to me, I consistently lose at this game to my older son (12 right now) and my dad, even though I crush them at Agricola. I think my engine building skills are better at Agricola than here.

But for our game yesterday - during which my wife and younger son were watching "How to Train Your Dragon" - things worked out nearly perfectly for me.

Set up: We used Undermountain and Skullport, with four Agents each at the beginning. For Lords, my son decided to deal out all of the Lords modulo 0, and we each picked from our "hand" before knowing what our initial Quests would be. My choices were all 4 points/Quest (two categories), so I went with the Warfare and Skullduggery one.

Early Rounds: One of the first buildings provided 3 fighters and 3 thieves at the cost of 1 corruption, with an owner benefit of a fighter and a thief. I managed to grab this building in round 1 thanks to an intrigue card that gave me an effective 2 gold discount. This building ended up being used heavily during the game.

I tend to focus on plot quests early on, but it hasn't worked out for me. In this game, the plot quests lined up effectively for me. My first several completed quests ended up (1) giving me an Intrigue card once per round for taking corruption, (2) letting me use an action space that a different Lord had used once per round, and (3) letting me take back one adventurer per completed quest. (There might have been another plot quest I completed in there, but these were the three that made a difference.)

The great thing about the "take back 1 adventurer used for the quest" one is that I basically kept one wizard around indefinitely and could concentrate my adventurer gathering on fighters and thieves, which could be obtained effectively at my building or at the Slavers' Market.

Middle Rounds: I was still behind in points, so my dad and son mostly left me alone. During the beginning of this stage, I picked up and completed the plot quest that gave me two thieves every time I took a Skullduggery quest. Because I was still in third place, they didn't pay much attention to the fact that I was amassing thieves quite easily. There were some non-plot quests that I was able to complete with my resident wizard plus the thieves I got from taking the quest, with maybe one or two other adventurers that I had amassed elsewhere.

Near the end of this stage (i.e., round 6), I completed the plot quest that gave me two fighters every time I took a Warfare quest.

Late Rounds: At the beginning of round 7, I was still in third, but close to the two of them. Then I completed the 40 point Skullduggery quest, and it dawned on them that I had a powerful engine in place. My dad said it was hopeless, but I remember a session from last year when everyone thought I was going to win easily and I ended up taking my foot off their throats and lost. On the last round, I plotted out using my Agents to complete the Quest that lets you recall up to 3 placed Agents, which I then used to complete another Quest to get rid of some corruption. But not before I went to Waterdeep Harbor and played out a bunch of Intrigue cards.

I ended up winning narrowly (<10 points) because I had 8 corruption at -8 each, but I had completed 14 warfare or skullduggery quests.

What I learned: Synergy and good plot quests are key. Once I could get warriors or thieves just from taking quests, it became really hard to stop me. There was only one quest reset per round, and the chances were good that there would be at least one of the two quest types leftover for me. (It also helped that my dad and son were fighting over Commerce quests, with no interest in my two types.)
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Dirk Meijlof
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Aaw, that's so sweet of them, letting you win
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