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Subject: Going for aristocrats with four players rss

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David Grabiner
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I just played a 4p game in which one player went for an extreme aristocrat strategy. I thought it wouldn't be viable with four players, but he showed that it could be; has anyone else tried it?

In the extreme strategy, he had one VP from buildings during the entire game. His only buildings were two observatories, and a market (taken to free up an aristocrat card) upgraded to the Marjinksi Theater (normally a dud in 4p, but not here). Except in the first round (when he observed a worker), he observed aristocrats. He found three upgrades and all seven base aristocrats plus three dupes to upgrade, scoring the maximum 55; the theater provided money to buy the aristocrats.

He didn't quite win, because one of the other players got lucky; that player was the only one with a shipbuilder when all three wharves came out early, and ended the game with 36 green income plus 3 VP from the wharves, buying a huge pile of buildings that was just enough to cover the difference between 15 and 55 aristocrat VPs. But the extreme aristocrat strategy lost by just two VPs to prove its viability.

I don't think this strategy can work unless you get both observatories. If you have only one, you won't be able to get ten aristocrats unless players without aristocrats buy a lot of buildings.
 
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Dave Eisen
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David Grabiner wrote:
I just played a 4p game in which one player went for an extreme aristocrat strategy. I thought it wouldn't be viable with four players, but he showed that it could be; has anyone else tried it?

In the extreme strategy, he had one VP from buildings during the entire game. His only buildings were two observatories, and a market (taken to free up an aristocrat card) upgraded to the Marjinksi Theater (normally a dud in 4p, but not here). Except in the first round (when he observed a worker), he observed aristocrats. He found three upgrades and all seven base aristocrats plus three dupes to upgrade, scoring the maximum 55; the theater provided money to buy the aristocrats.

He didn't quite win, because one of the other players got lucky; that player was the only one with a shipbuilder when all three wharves came out early, and ended the game with 36 green income plus 3 VP from the wharves, buying a huge pile of buildings that was just enough to cover the difference between 15 and 55 aristocrat VPs. But the extreme aristocrat strategy lost by just two VPs to prove its viability.

I don't think this strategy can work unless you get both observatories. If you have only one, you won't be able to get ten aristocrats unless players without aristocrats buy a lot of buildings.


I had thought this was standard and was why I don't much like Saint Petersburg as a 4-player game. It's all about the aristocrats using whatever extreme measures are necessary.

This is not true when playing with 2: usually both players get plenty of aristocrat points without much trying and the game is one of timing and managing decisions around buildings.
 
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norman rule
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David Grabiner wrote:
He found three upgrades and all seven base aristocrats plus three dupes to upgrade, scoring the maximum 55; the theater provided money to buy the aristocrats.

He didn't quite win, because one of the other players got lucky; that player was the only one with a shipbuilder when all three wharves came out early, and ended the game with 36 green income plus 3 VP from the wharves, buying a huge pile of buildings that was just enough to cover the difference between 15 and 55 aristocrat VPs. But the extreme aristocrat strategy lost by just two VPs to prove its viability.


So what were the final scores? If the Aristocrat player only had 1 point from buildings and 55 from Aristocrats, that gives him less than 60 points. Losing by only two points also puts the winner in that same zone. From my experience, that's not a very high score for a four player game.

And while Observatories are helpful, they aren't essential for a Aristocrat strategy. I've seen players with one Observatory get 9-10 and players with no Observatory come in with 7 Aristocrats.

In fact, one of the worst games I saw was in a semi final where the player in last place had both observatories for almost the entire game. It's not just having the tools, it's knowing how to use them.
 
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Ben Bateson
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One of the best 4P games I ever played finished 32-30-29-29 (to me!), and no-one around the table had more than three orange cards in play.

You just cannot write-off St Petersburg as an exercise in collecting the 'best' cards.
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David Grabiner
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mrorwell wrote:
David Grabiner wrote:
He found three upgrades and all seven base aristocrats plus three dupes to upgrade, scoring the maximum 55; the theater provided money to buy the aristocrats.

He didn't quite win, because one of the other players got lucky; that player was the only one with a shipbuilder when all three wharves came out early, and ended the game with 36 green income plus 3 VP from the wharves, buying a huge pile of buildings that was just enough to cover the difference between 15 and 55 aristocrat VPs. But the extreme aristocrat strategy lost by just two VPs to prove its viability.


So what were the final scores? If the Aristocrat player only had 1 point from buildings and 55 from Aristocrats, that gives him less than 60 points. Losing by only two points also puts the winner in that same zone. From my experience, that's not a very high score for a four player game.


I believe the final scores were 76 and 78; the aristocrat player had points from the aristocrats themselves (Judge, Mistress, Controller, and some VP-granting upgrades) and a lot of money at the end from the aristocrats and money he wasn't able to use in the last round.
 
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norman rule
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Ok, thanks for the clarification. I wasn't taking points from the Nobles themselves into consideration.

 
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Robert Zaleski
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If anything I think it's more viable to focus on only Aristocrats in a 4 player game. In a 2 player game you almost have to be more balanced because you can easily max out the aristocrat points in the base game and you have more opportunity for more money and cards.

I tend to focus heavily on Aristocrats, and I tend to win, but I've played 5x the games of my family/friends on Brett Spiel. Not saying I'm great, compared to some of the Brett players, just better than my friends
 
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