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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Econo-military strategy, what am I doing wrong? rss

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John DiMaggio
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Hi,

So I've been attempting to play this strategy in the past few 2 player games but frankly, military card draws have hampered me. First game, I drew no age II tactics to transition to. I had better science, ore, food, and point production than my opponent, but him having a classic army tactic + napolean + early con mon = loss for me (I have logs from boardgaming online, but just lazy to post 'em, I can in the future but again, just want some peoples' input on this luck-drawing factor of the military deck).

Second game, someone played mike/basillica/2 religions to get a large lead, roughly 70-80 pts prior to age III. While I gained con mon/napoleon/napoleonic army, i drew no war cards. Random plunder/armed intervention was not enough to come back.

So my question is this, are military strategies inherently luck-based due to card draws? Should I not plan on doing military from age II onward if I draw no tactics/war/aggressions? It seems without a dependable source of points, a military strategy is very reliant on random card draws in age II/III to help you. I suppose that if I spend 3 hours playing a "strategy" game I'd like there to be a lot less luck than drawing for key tactics/aggressions/wars.

Thanks,
John
 
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Steve Bachman
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You can call it lucky, I call it risky. Either way, I think that without this inherent risk to the military strategy, the game would be imbalanced if not broken.
 
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Chun Ping

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there are definitely times when the military deck is not so kind to you. but you must realise that it is probably due to you having less than 4 military actions so you draw less than 3 cards a turn. There's typically 18 - 20 turns. so you will be drawing up to 60 cards. it's highly improbable (though i have certainly experience it before) that you will not draw any useful cards.

remember, event is an HUGE part of the game. if you are on military lead, almost every single card is advantages to you. Events hampers the weak. aggression hampers the weak, war outright kills them, and tactic is to make sure you are having military might.

you must also realise that you should never Force a military strategy. that will be very luck based as you said. If you are not drawing tactics cards, then you must take level 2 or 3 military cards, warfare tech, navigation tech, arenas, great wall, and more food. All these can help you overcome the shortage of tactics. of cos it is never ideal, but you have to be adaptable. Having a few wonders and may be a opera can allow you to devote more population to make up the military weakness.

also, if you are having Civic Action advantage, deny him key military units such as rifle man if he is still at warrior. doing so can slow down their military alot while you grind them out with culture advantage. napolean is sick in 2p, so I always always prepare for him. either take him myself, or make sure that I have my bases covered to defend against him. again, military action and drawing cards are the key.

it's very balanced, and part of what you mention are all able to be mitigated/manipulated by a good player. once in a while, there's absolutely nothing you can do with the military deck. in those cases, you have to be really flexible and find a way to end the game with just a few points ahead.
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John DiMaggio
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Thanks for the reply, Chun. I do try and get warfare in age I, however, I feel that if I take warfare, then it makes republic a tad less desirable as you only have 3 military actions. I suppose one of my problems is trying to get military units with warfare while maintaining card flow before age II hits. Once age II hits, I'm building units and stemming my cardflow, however, I feel that I don't want to build too many military units before Age II as I"m working on my infrastructure in age I. I try and emphasis science, then rocks, lastly food while trying for a good opportunity to seed yellow token events and possibly saving 1 yellow-token territory for a columbus play.

I guess I just wonder if I should try and get more points throughout the game rather than all in age III as my point totals seem to vary wildly from 80s up through the 200s with the military strat. Perhaps fitting in a drama or journalism while building up military if you see your opponent is building up early culture? However, it seems you give up your advantage by also trying for early culture? Is that all 2 player comes down to, 1 early culture player vs 1 military player? If so, then isn't it just a gambling game of the player with culture betting on the military player not drawing the cards they need and the military player gambling that they will get said cards?
 
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Chun Ping

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I dont mean the level I warfare tech literally. I meant any of that branch of tech, depending on the situation of cos. Level I is abit tough as you need the science for alot of things, so I seldom take it. But if you really need it to defend from an agression, you just have to do it.

and rest assured that 2p with experienced player is not as you have described. Both side knows the importance of military and will not fall behind too drastically. the goal is to edge out some form of advantage while keeping the enemy at bay. there's many sources of advantage, and that's the beauty of the game. For you, you favor science. I would say that's definitely a good strategy, as science is really important. But you can be sucessful running on just 4-6 science alone for most of age 2 if you are sparing with your choice of tech. For example, one can go alchemy, hanging garden, one age I wonder that generate culture. knight and rifleman. with some journalism/leaders/opera, you can have a slight culture lead while pressing for military. Seed all the events you get that press your strength advantage. It doesnt matter if your opponent have all the science in the world, technology alone does not help him much to gain military supremacy and culture engine.

All in all, every thing is important in this game. any "strategy" that forces in one aspect sacrificing others will lose. A classic case of diminishing returns. science are good, but beyond the key tech and government changes, science really does nothing to give you points or advantage.

Just play it more and keep thinking what is your priority this turn. what is your opponent priority? focus on your immediate priorities while denying your opponent as much as possible will see you win more often than not.

Even than, I am still exploring the game. After 80 over games in BGO, my win rate is about 65%. There are still strategy that I find may be possible but yet to try it. Play it more and discover for yourself!
 
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Eric Phillips
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Quote:
I guess I just wonder if I should try and get more points throughout the game rather than all in age III as my point totals seem to vary wildly from 80s up through the 200s with the military strat.


Don't worry about absolute point tallies. Relative tallies are all that matter. The 200s games are obviously the ones where you got a good War or two in. The 80s games, you didn't. But it depends why you didn't. If it's because you couldn't draw a War, and the other guy was taking advantage of that by making Culture instead of keeping up in strength, then obviously you're not going to win. But if it was because both of you were pouring resources into military and you just couldn't get enough of an edge for a War to be worth it, then odds are both of you have low scores. Winning 90 to 87 is just as good as winning 220 to 210.

Also, don't think of it as "the military strat." TTA rewards flexibility. You should never go into a game thinking, "I'm going to try the ___ strategy this time." The only winning strategy is to take the cards as they come, accurately discern your opportunities, and make the most of each turn.
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John DiMaggio
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Thanks Eric. Yeah I guess I fall victim to the mentality that I go into a game saying "I want to do military" and I will go out of my way to push that strategy. Also, how do people feel about seeding events that hurt the weakest/reward the strongest? Maybe I should be seeding these but I feel in a 2p game if I seed an event that hurts me, I"m working against myself. I dunno, I feel hestitant to seed these or territories as I am not guaranteed to win them.

John
 
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Andrew E
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With regards to seeding events, if it's not guaranteed to go your way, you'll find yourself never seeding anything.

I seed things when I have a reasonable expectation that it will probably go my way. And remember, knowing that it's there, in and of itself, will help you swing the event your way. Terrorism is the biggest example, but it applies to pretty much everything. If you're choosing between upgrading iron or alchemy first and you've seeded new deposits, well, that informs your decision.

Also, sometimes I'll seed something suboptimal simply because I want to push the current events out faster. Maybe I know there's 2 strength-based events in the deck and my opponent is about to overtake me. I might just seed another one just to try and force one of the events out in my favor, and hope to overtake him again later.
 
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John DiMaggio
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I guess i'm having issues turning my infrastructure gains into points. As if there's no war card seen in age II, it makes little sense to keep pursuing the military strategy hoping you'll draw a war card in age III.

My issue is that if you're behind by points midway through the game, and have invested so heavily into military, then you're almost committed to that strategy and if you switch gears into a culture-engine after your opponent then you won't catch up as you're already behind.

The incredible luck that is involved in a very complex game is what I have problems with. What are the top players win ratio's? Is 65% the best you can get 2player? This seems rather low for such a complex/long game = /.
 
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Dave G
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JohnnyD144 wrote:
I guess i'm having issues turning my infrastructure gains into points. As if there's no war card seen in age II, it makes little sense to keep pursuing the military strategy hoping you'll draw a war card in age III.

My issue is that if you're behind by points midway through the game, and have invested so heavily into military, then you're almost committed to that strategy and if you switch gears into a culture-engine after your opponent then you won't catch up as you're already behind.

The incredible luck that is involved in a very complex game is what I have problems with. What are the top players win ratio's? Is 65% the best you can get 2player? This seems rather low for such a complex/long game = /.


Perhaps military might alone isn't a game-winning strategy precisely because of the problem you're having? You can't let an opponent get way out ahead of you and count on military to pull them back. It's a deeply strategic game, but there are also some short-term tactical decisions to make. You're playing a high risk/high reward strategy. When you get the cards you want, you'll have a decent chance of winning. When you don't, you have no chance. To me that says your strategy is incomplete, not that there's a problem with the game.
 
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Chris Berger
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JohnnyD144 wrote:
What are the top players win ratio's? Is 65% the best you can get 2player? This seems rather low for such a complex/long game = /.


It depends on the skill difference. If the "best players" are playing other players with a similar level of experience, I don't think 65% is particularly low. If the "best players" are playing newbies, then the rate will be about 100%. I feel confident that if I were to play someone who had never played before, I would win. If you lined up 100 people who have never played before and had me play them one after the other, I would win well over 65% of those games, and I'd hazard to say it's probably 98% of them or better. And I don't consider myself a "top player".
 
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John DiMaggio
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
JohnnyD144 wrote:
I guess i'm having issues turning my infrastructure gains into points. As if there's no war card seen in age II, it makes little sense to keep pursuing the military strategy hoping you'll draw a war card in age III.

My issue is that if you're behind by points midway through the game, and have invested so heavily into military, then you're almost committed to that strategy and if you switch gears into a culture-engine after your opponent then you won't catch up as you're already behind.

The incredible luck that is involved in a very complex game is what I have problems with. What are the top players win ratio's? Is 65% the best you can get 2player? This seems rather low for such a complex/long game = /.


Perhaps military might alone isn't a game-winning strategy precisely because of the problem you're having? You can't let an opponent get way out ahead of you and count on military to pull them back. It's a deeply strategic game, but there are also some short-term tactical decisions to make. You're playing a high risk/high reward strategy. When you get the cards you want, you'll have a decent chance of winning. When you don't, you have no chance. To me that says your strategy is incomplete, not that there's a problem with the game.



Yeah, i see your point. I think I've avoided some of the early culture streams to a point where I NEVER take them rather than taking them when the opportunity presents itself. Not to say I'll always take a printing press or drama over say alchemy but I've found myself building culture buildings here and there as a supplement to my general strategy. It seems to even out my point totals a bit more, perhaps only anecdotal evidence from a few games but it seems to help.

How often do others build libraries/theaters or even wonders to supplement their culture streams?
 
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Eric Phillips
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JohnnyD144 wrote:
How often do others build libraries/theaters or even wonders to supplement their culture streams?


I build a good number of Wonders, probably a result of emphasizing rock production. I'd guess I use Libraries in 40-50% of my games--almost always Journalism--and Theaters in 15-20% of them.
 
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Brian Schroth
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JohnnyD144 wrote:
I guess i'm having issues turning my infrastructure gains into points. As if there's no war card seen in age II, it makes little sense to keep pursuing the military strategy hoping you'll draw a war card in age III.

My issue is that if you're behind by points midway through the game, and have invested so heavily into military, then you're almost committed to that strategy and if you switch gears into a culture-engine after your opponent then you won't catch up as you're already behind.

The incredible luck that is involved in a very complex game is what I have problems with. What are the top players win ratio's? Is 65% the best you can get 2player? This seems rather low for such a complex/long game = /.


Mathematically, if you draw 3 military cards each turn, the odds of drawing a war are near-certain. So it actually makes a lot of sense to hope you'll draw a war card, because you're almost guaranteed that it will happen.
 
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Patrick Parker
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Anytime that you go the strong military route, you are at the mercy of the black deck. If you don't get the wars and aggression cards, having a dominant military is rather unimportant. The slight gains you can get from events won't make up for the resource cost to build that military juggernaut in the first place. Nothing is more frustrating than having a 10-15 point military lead and drawing no wars or aggressions.

Also, the more players you have in the game, the less valuable military seems to be. In a four player game, it is not nearly as valuable as it is in a two player game. Sure, you don't want to have the weakest military for the entire game, but you don't need to have an overwhelming force either. Especially, as very large victories in war just won't happen in a four player game. The losing player will just retire, and you will get nothing. With two players, this wins the game. With four, it does not. Unless you happen to have 2 more wars, the other players are likely ahead of you in culture points, since they didn't need to spend nearly as much on their military.
 
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