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Kris Rhodes
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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I've seen people here say that if your opponent goes warrior/monk, you don't have to go monk/fireworks, because you can be okay with going second at the beginning of the game as long as you take a strong person such as the builder or tax collector.

I haven't been able yet to make this work, and the reason seems right now to be that from warrior/monk and warrior/pyrotechnician you don't just get the initial person points, you also get the same person points again later in the game when you take the same two characters in later rounds.

If I grab builder or tax collector, not only am I taking only 3 person points now, I'm limiting my ability to take the 5 or 6 person point tiles later on as well, because of my limited hand of cards. So I'm not just behind by three person points from the start of the game (eight vs eleven) but rather, I'm behind by six! (three to start with, but three more due to the fact that my opponent can take that six and five again, while I can only take a five and three).

This has seemed well nigh insurmountable in my games. So it's like I have to take the warrior/monk if I'm first (in which case opponent gets warrior/pyro and the large priv) or warrior/pyro if I'm first (in which case I get the large priv). Anything else seems to me like suicide right now. Order of events seems insignificant here, since the guy who goes first can practically shut the other guy out anyway if the other guy went for a "strong" initial setup instead of a "fast" one.

Help me out here! How do you guys "play from behind" successfully?

ETA With tax collector, certainly I can grab enough money to keep opponent from always blocking me out--but that wastes a turn, meaning I only get half as many meaningful turns as my opponent!

With builder, certainly I can build additional palaces to make up for opponent advantages--but since he's going first, he can easily block me out of rice, costing me big in the end (and costing me palaces if he got lucky enough to keep me literally at zero rice).

ETAA: In a recent game I tried a "live small and go last" strategy where I focussed on court ladies and priveleges (and I'd planned to grab research later but never had the opportunity) and built no additional palaces. It seemed unsustainable, though. I certainly lost big in that game.
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Pericles Boutos
Greece
Athens
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Same worries here! I'll be waiting for the experts to enlighten us.


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Marshall P.
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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Are you talking about 2 player games? If so you're right. I think the opening is almost fixed, first player: Warrior+Monk, second player: Protectionist+Monk+large privilege. There may be some exceptions if the brutal events are early, but you can almost always just take your lumps and still come out ahead.

If first player goes Warrior+Monk and you take a builder or tax collector it's pretty much game over I think.

With more players you can get away with it as long as somebody is pushing the leader for turn order. That's the key, the leader can't be allowed to have uncontested turn order advantage. In a two player game, it's you that have to contest it. With greater numbers you can win from behind as long as someone else is contesting it.
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Matt Davis
United States
New Concord
Ohio
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To echo what Marshall said, some BGGers ran a tournament of all 3-player games. By and large, (IIRC) the consensus was that the person who was the "odd man out" turn order-wise won. If one person ran out in front and the other two hung back, they just got in each other's way and suffered for it. If two people fought for first in turn order, the person in the back could focus on actually scoring points and usually won.
 
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Todd Redden
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
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I've seen monk score with HUGE endgame scoring by players who go for large numbers of castles, thereby winning the game. If you take monk just to go first and offer him up at your first sacrifice it seems like his effectiveness is utterly negated.
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Chris Linneman
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Vancouver
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I think you are spot on for 2p games. The game is still quite tactically interesting, but I am sure this opening is scripted.
 
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Chris Linneman
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tmredden wrote:
I've seen monk score with HUGE endgame scoring by players who go for large numbers of castles, thereby winning the game. If you take monk just to go first and offer him up at your first sacrifice it seems like his effectiveness is utterly negated.


The maximum an elder monk can score is 6 points (2x3). The person points from the younger monk in 2p are far more valuable.
 
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Kris Rhodes
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Indianapolis
Indiana
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I was talking about two player games. It's good to see I wasn't completely off base here!
 
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Todd Redden
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QBert80 wrote:
tmredden wrote:
I've seen monk score with HUGE endgame scoring by players who go for large numbers of castles, thereby winning the game. If you take monk just to go first and offer him up at your first sacrifice it seems like his effectiveness is utterly negated.


The maximum an elder monk can score is 6 points (2x3). The person points from the younger monk in 2p are far more valuable.

You need several monks to make a difference in that strategy.
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Chris Linneman
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tmredden wrote:

You need several monks to make a difference in that strategy.


Ahh, you must be referring to multiplayer then. OP was asking about 2p, where there is only one elder monk.
 
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Todd Redden
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QBert80 wrote:
tmredden wrote:

You need several monks to make a difference in that strategy.


Ahh, you must be referring to multiplayer then. OP was asking about 2p, where there is only one elder monk.

My bad.
 
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Måns Bruun
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Speusippus wrote:
I was talking about two player games. It's good to see I wasn't completely off base here!


No you were not Kris, I totally agree with mdp and the other experienced players that in a two player game you can't win against an oponent, unless it is a total beginner to the game, if not racing in the PP-track.

That is pretty much why I don not play 2-player IYtD any more. The game shines in the complexity of the mix of tactics and strategies in 4-5 player games. I don't think I ever seen a intermediate PP-track strategy win tho. Either you go for the race or you build from far behind. In 5 player games with only experinced player there might even be room for 2 slow strats competing for a win.

So try multiplayer if you still have not cause that a reall thrill. Even three can be entertaining but feels a bit more scripted as well, at least in my opinion.
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Tadeu Zubaran
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Porto Alegre
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Exactly.
I don't like the game with 2 to be honest.
With 3 or 4 players I had success ignoring the first place race if the other are fighting for it.

mdp4828 wrote:
Are you talking about 2 player games? If so you're right. I think the opening is almost fixed, first player: Warrior+Monk, second player: Protectionist+Monk+large privilege. There may be some exceptions if the brutal events are early, but you can almost always just take your lumps and still come out ahead.

If first player goes Warrior+Monk and you take a builder or tax collector it's pretty much game over I think.

With more players you can get away with it as long as somebody is pushing the leader for turn order. That's the key, the leader can't be allowed to have uncontested turn order advantage. In a two player game, it's you that have to contest it. With greater numbers you can win from behind as long as someone else is contesting it.
 
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Alan Kwan
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While I do agree that PP is important in 2-player game (or any number of players game), I question your math:

Speusippus wrote:
If I grab builder or tax collector, not only am I taking only 3 person points now, I'm limiting my ability to take the 5 or 6 person point tiles later on as well, because of my limited hand of cards. So I'm not just behind by three person points from the start of the game (eight vs eleven) but rather, I'm behind by six! (three to start with, but three more due to the fact that my opponent can take that six and five again, while I can only take a five and three).


I don't understand what you mean here. Are you saying that the first player is racing to use his first recruitments to grab the younger 6/5 PP guys? Otherwise I can't see how the starting persons can affect what you can or cannot take with your recruit cards.

And say there are early Mongols, so you both start with a Warrior and the first player races to grab the last younger Warrior. Then you grab the elder Warrior. That's an automatic 2 Mongol casualties plus 2 VP difference for the first player; I doubt whether that is good play for him.

Quote:
Order of events seems insignificant here, since the guy who goes first can practically shut the other guy out anyway if the other guy went for a "strong" initial setup instead of a "fast" one.


Admittedly it takes more skill and planning to play behind on the PP track; it is indeed more difficult to play well than the ahead position. The player needs to plan ahead so that he has several options for a good action; that makes it much less likely for the first player to be able to shut them all out (and he should also keep some cash for the times when he does).

For example, starting with a builder is probably not good play unless one plans to go into double-build. You don't really need a builder to benefit from first-turn building if the first player leaves that open (you still get the same VP, and you don't really need the extra floor until a few rounds later; OTOH the second builder on your card becomes useless unless you're double-building); it's better to get a tax-collector or a farmer (if early droughts) so that you have more good options on the first turn. Say if you start with tax/farmer, your opponent can totally shut you out only if privilege, rice, tax, and build are all in the same group - a 1/35 chance.

Quote:
ETA With tax collector, certainly I can grab enough money to keep opponent from always blocking me out--but that wastes a turn, meaning I only get half as many meaningful turns as my opponent!


What math is that? Even with only one tax collector, you get $10 with two actions, good for 3 buys. And you can conveniently get two tax collectors if you start with one. Unless your opponent is so lucky that he gets to block both tax and build plus whatever else you want to do all the time, you should not need to tax more than two or three times more than him (he still needs to tax or pass for the Tributes).

Quote:
With builder, certainly I can build additional palaces to make up for opponent advantages--but since he's going first, he can easily block me out of rice, costing me big in the end (and costing me palaces if he got lucky enough to keep me literally at zero rice).


Only very novice or dumb players get actually blocked out of rice. The second player may have to work a bit for his rice, and admittedly that can be inconvenient, but to be actually starved badly is very dumb play.

The advantage of building is when you can (against early droughts) get to build after the droughts have passed (and thus no need to worry about rice), or (against late droughts) you build in the early game (and get the high VPs) while you spend late game actions (which are generally less valuable than early game ones) to get rice. That is unlike privilege, where you have to spend early game actions to get cash, and then also early game actions to buy the privileges.

Quote:
ETAA: In a recent game I tried a "live small and go last" strategy where I focussed on court ladies and priveleges (and I'd planned to grab research later but never had the opportunity) and built no additional palaces. It seemed unsustainable, though. I certainly lost big in that game.


It is very hard to win by building no additional palaces. A good player can consistently score over 100 VP in a game, and palaces are a very efficient VP source.
 
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Alan Kwan
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
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A close 1-VP win from lower PP in 2P game against strong opponent:
http://en.boardgamearena.com/#!table?table=1156635

Now that I look at the events again, I could have started with builder in that game for double-build (Droughts late on rounds 9 and 12, dangerous Tributes though).

I am not for automatic Warrior-Monk first pick in 2P game, mainly because I can't get first privilege that way (since the opponent will pick Monk-Pyro). And I don't think that doing a Parade round 1 is a good move (especially since one is not guaranteed to be able to do it for free), so I'm not as Warrior-philic as everyone else.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Brookline
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I think Alan is right that it's not entirely clear, but the general point made by Marshall is correct. The person who is ahead on the PP track has a big advantage. If at least one other person is fighting for that advantage then it is offset by the suboptimal people choices (or actions spent on Military Parade) they must incur. If not, they will likely ride it to victory.

It's for this reason that I strongly prefer 4- and 5-player games of Year and three player is probably my least favorite. Two-player games may be disproportionately determined by the person track but at least both players can fight for it and (as I learned in a match against Alan) it is possible to be second on the track and yet still fight effectively.

The problem with three players (as mentioned earlier) is the potential for games to be determined by odd-person-out. If I'm going to play three-player I prefer it to be with people who recognize this so that someone who tries for Tax/Builder knows that I'm not going to engage in a suicide race for the lead but will, if necessary, take a middle path that diminishes their selection advantage and ideally forces them to compete for position as well.
 
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Richard Ham
Malta
Marsalforn
Gozo, Malta
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Out of curiosity, for those who feel the game 1st player advantage is so strong that it must be fought for above all else, what do you think about reducing the cost to place your dragon in an occupied group from 3 to 2, for a 2p game? Crazy talk?
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Alan Kwan
Hong Kong
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Another possible variant is to deal three action groups (3-2-2 as in a 3-player game) in a 2-player game.
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