Recommend
21 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

20th Century» Forums » Strategy

Subject: My ramblings on "20th Century" rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Daniel Kazaniecki
Poland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
This is my first strategy article ever, plus I played this game only three times. There, two quick reasons why you're wasting your time reading this. We can move on!

I've been wondering how to construct this, and came up with the somewhat stupid controversial idea of pointing out one issue at the beginning, then going through the entire auction mechanism, and then throwing in some more random thoughts.


First and foremost, this ain't no Puerto Rico. Workers are very scarce, and difficult to move. Meaning:
- the value of all land tiles should be judged by their best city, because you will always struggle to find a worker for the other one,
- institutions are fantastic,
- getting a lot of tiles is important; you should always get one, usually two. (But never three, as the huge pile of garbage is simply not worth it.)


On to the auctions. How to know how good a land tile is? I'd only look at the best city, while completely ignoring the other one, and to some extend ignoring the connectivity. All three types of resources are important in the game, and of course the value of victory points keeps increasing slightly from round to round. That said, a recycling center beats any resource. My rule of thumb is to count it as two resources. So in round 1, generally speaking any land tile with four resources beats any land tile with three resources (note that I don't even care which resources), while the glorious combo of a recycling center with triple science beats them all. Pay 6+ for that one every time. All of the above is of course further influenced by round 2 and 4 scorings, and by the institutions already in play or on the board. Last but not least, I'd suggest to stay balanced. Producing 1 coin and 18 science is way worse than producing 8 of each.

When a round starts, know how much you're prepared to pay for every single tile. Also know which technologies are best, and maybe more importantly - how big is the difference between the best and, say, the 3rd best. (Oh, and don't waste time on analysing the catastrophes that came up. Completely irrelevant at this point.) The latter is very important, because it can mean a drastic shift of strategy from buying the best tile quickly, dropping and snatching the übertech, to playing the market, watching your opponents overpay for every single land tile, then getting two tiles for 2 coins each and a decent tech for free.

Let me give you an example of a 1st round auction. Let's assume the triple hospital came up with a bunch of crappy bridges and parks. Now you are looking for tiles with VP production. Let's assume there is one good tile (meaning total production of 4) producing VPs among other things, and a couple of bad tiles (total 2-3) also producing VPs. Understand that nobody can allow themselves to drop out before purchasing a tile. Don't be afraid to directly bid 6 for the good tile. Either somebody bids 7 and has the option of overpaying for both the tile and the tech (tough luck), or you get it. In the latter case, go for another land tile, with production 3 including VPs. Start at 4. Yes, you are overpaying again. (I'd pay 5-6 for producing 4, 3-4 for 3, 2 for 2.) But if they pass, you get it, drop out, spend a reasonable amount of science for the hospital and all in all earn 9 production (with at least 4 VPs) for the rest of the game. Instead, if someone overbids you, watch out. You might want to drop out directly, securing the hospital with 4 coins left - should be enough for 2 poor tiles producing VPs in round 2 to complete the hospital's rail links. If you don't drop out, the opponent may. He may also start picking tiles without VPs, further complicating your position. The key to this story was purchasing early to gain drop-out flexibility, and it could have been any other institution type instead - then the whole scenario revolves around coins/science.

On the contrary, let's analyse a more equal technology choice. I'll use an image Jason C uploaded:



(btw please note that in the above image the starting tiles are illegal: you are not allowed to start at the recycling center)

There are 4 institutions AND workers, wow! For me, that's a clear signal to bid low for the land tiles, and drop out late. The first one is already gone, so let's assume it was good and somebody (not me) paid 6-7 for it. Let's refer to the land tiles as A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, and D1 based on their position. Now, we have 3 tiles with production 4 (A2, C2, B1 if still counting the recycling as 2), 3 with production 3, and 1 with 2 (D1). Watch out: A1 gives you decent use of the workers, but not of any institution, yuck! A2 not only produces a lot, but also produces all kinds of stuff, increasing your institution flexibility (buy it and now you REALLY don't mind choosing last), while the perfect connectivity is a minor bonus for recycling purposes or if ever going for a second institution. Additionally, turn 2 scoring favours high income and science (and VPs are never the best in round 1 anyway). The early recycling center is gold - it lets you buy multiple land tiles each round, makes the catastrophes less dramatic, reduces the annoyance of the trash you'll receive with your institution this turn, plus sets you up for the final scoring already, if you go flower power.

Summing up, my order is: A2, B1, C2, C1, A1/B2, D1. Normally, the latter I could take for 2, and the recycling center for 6-8, depending on the group play. But more importantly, I really want to purchase any 2 land tiles that I will directly connect to an institution. How to go through with this plan, I leave to the reader. But it's always a good idea to be in as many biddings as possible, and make people pay too much. Watch them drop out one after another and your tactics will simplify. As a side note, if I was the guy who got the first tile, and I paid 7 for something with any science on it, I now bid 3 on D1. It's crap, but if everyone passes, I take it, drop out, take the upper lab. I place the VP-city of the crappy tile adjacent to the top of the starting tile, and use a loco in turn 3 or 4 to move the starting worker there. Even if in turn 2 I only have 3-4 coins to find a mediocre tile (that produces more money hopefully), with science of 7 in turn 1 and a solid plan how to pick up on VPs later, life's good!

Catastrophes? No biggie. Either you spend science, or get filthy. And you WILL get filthy sometimes. Just make sure every garbage "costs" at least 2-3, and every skull 3-4. Then put all the garbage on the newly purchased recycling center, et voila. Alternatively, ask an Italian how to deal with it

How about upkeep? Mostly straight-forward. Always recycle the multiple garbage first. Make use of the fact that you can place new tiles corner-to-corner. This is a great way to set up for institutions and recycling centers that haven't come up yet. (Remember how I liked the city that produced all three kinds of stuff? Have two-three of such tiles and an empty spot in the middle, and you could score like crazy!)


And now, the promised random thoughts of doom:

1. Which tech to take? All institutions rock my world. Workers are useful. Locomotives are good early for two reasons: without one, you're making your life difficult, plus other technologies increase in value in decks III-IV and V, so taking a loco late is a bit of a shame. Clean-up tricks are good in round 3, decent in round 4, and so-so in round 5. Bridges are awful if you ask me. Double park doesn't hurt. Single park is just crap.

2. Victory points are great. (Duh.) This is not Through the Ages, Puerto Rico, or Sankt Petersburg, where you're much better off ignoring them completely at the beginning. Of course getting bankrupt early or constantly grabbing the worst catastrophe sucks, but if any of the 2nd & 4th round scoring cards make you profit from early VPs even further, grabbing that early hospital sets you up really well.

3. Ecology is key. If given an early recycling center, you want to finish in the 4VPs/tile zone and with very little garbage. Each garbage before last is worth 5VPs (last one is worth 4), and I'd say each flower is worth 6-8VPs. And potentially more if it means the difference between your opponent entering or not the precious 4VPs/tile zone.

4. The starting tile is basically a poor one resource-wise. To make it useful, have three direct rail links to land tiles with 2+ garbage on them and use your first locomotive to move the upper worker to the recycling center and clean up those filthy neighbours. Ideally, attach a nice but unfortunately empty city directly underneath or to the right, and proceed by moving the lower starting worker there with the second locomotive move.

That's all folks. Hope you liked it. Just thought the game deserves a strategy article. Looking forward to your constructive criticism. Also looking forward to finding out all of the above is nonsense when I play more - I'll keep you posted on the latter


(Edited for spelling. Apparently, rumbling is what your stomach does when it's happy. Did not know that!)
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Garf wrote:

- getting a lot of tiles is important; you should always get one, usually two. (But never three, as the huge pile of garbage is simply not worth it.)


I have to disagree on the "never three" rule. I had a game where everybody bowed out of the tile auction early in the second round and I managed to pick up three tiles at 2 coin each. I ruled that game because I was outproducing everybody. I've started repeating the strategy with a fair amount of success. Obviously there is some caution here because it really depends on how well you can recycle and how many turns are left in the game, but generally speaking getting three tiles on the first three or four turns is not a bad as it sounds. If I lose, its usually because somebody did better on the skull/flower track than I did.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Kazaniecki
Poland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
davypi wrote:
I have to disagree on the "never three" rule.

Interesting point. I would assume that against quality opposition the three tiles you're getting cheap are the three worst tiles available. In this case I still feel you're overpaying for that last one. If, however, the others fell asleep and/or got broke, we're talking about a bit of a special case, and obviously you're right!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kaiwen Zhang
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Welcome to Zombo.com!
badge
Art of life
mbmbmbmbmb
why do you think institutions are so awesome? early game they give you maybe 1 or 2 extra production per turn, why not just get a city... same thing, plus if the city is clean, that's an extra 2-4 vps at the end of the game. and the institutions usually come with skulls or garbage.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Kazaniecki
Poland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
johncraven wrote:
why do you think institutions are so awesome? early game they give you maybe 1 or 2 extra production per turn, why not just get a city... same thing, plus if the city is clean, that's an extra 2-4 vps at the end of the game. and the institutions usually come with skulls or garbage.

Au contraire! 2nd or 3rd city in a turn comes highly polluted (obviously you always buy at least one, I'm not debating that) and gives 2-3 resources per turn. Institution (if you plan for it - remember that placing new tiles corner to corner is allowable) gives you 3-4 resources. And did I mention it didn't cost you any money in the first place?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jones
United States
Wilsonville
Oregon
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
johncraven wrote:
why do you think institutions are so awesome? early game they give you maybe 1 or 2 extra production per turn, why not just get a city... same thing, plus if the city is clean, that's an extra 2-4 vps at the end of the game. and the institutions usually come with skulls or garbage.


You have to remember that they are essentially different auctions. City tiles cost gold and are directly bid on. Institutions are paid for with research and are on a first come basis. Also, it isn't (directly) a choice of one or the other as you present it above. You will always have the chance to pick up a technology tile, its just matter of which one do you want.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Fawr
msg tools
I think 3 tiles in a turn is quite doable, depending on the number of recycling centers on them. Near the start of the game if 1/3 has a recycling center it can clean the rest up to 1 pollution on each one. Even on the last turn if 2/3 have recycling centers then getting 3 tiles will leave you ahead.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.