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Subject: Can Yellow EVER win? rss

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Dan Mixer
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We have been playing Britannia for a long time... a long time.

And we always keep track of scores, not just for colors but for individual nations. With all this data, one thing really stands out:

Yellow's BEST score is less then Red's AVERAGE score.

In fact, in all those games, Yellow never won. The Romans are so luck dependent that it seems to skew any strategy. If the Romans are REALLY lucky, then yellow has a chance at 2nd.. maybe. Yellow just doesn't seem to have the opportunity to score that many points.

So... my question to you BGGer's is: Can Yellow ever win?
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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When I first got the game, I thought it imbalanced in favor of yellow! So, yes, yellow can win.
 
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Martin Gallo
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Yellow, a first time player, won the last game I played. I was red and came a distant last...blush
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Ken
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I find yellow to be more of a struggle than purple in the AH edition, myself. But both really boil down to two things - the success of the Scots and the amount of carnage inflicted amongst the other players. If the Scots do well, then yellow is distinctly in the running so long as the Romans do average. If they don't, it's probably over. And for yellow to be able to close it, the other players really have to have hurt each other significantly enough to depress scores (maybe with some yellow help here or there).

But I find it the hardest of the colors to win with and the one that we've traditionally seen the achieve the fewest victories.
 
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Lewis Pulsipher
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Pekka's database and WBC results show yellow does as well as anyone else. At the WBC tournament last week, yellow would have won the final, but attacked red instead of green in the last turn, and green (who everyone had agreed was hopeless, with 168 in round 13) beat yellow by two points with 234.

Romans should at least average 125, typically higher at the tournament (highest I saw was 142). If everyone is fighting the Romans tooth and nail and they score low, those players should also score low as Welsh, Brigs, and Picts get creamed by Romans.

Somewhere on BGG and my website is a brief piece about playing each color.

Generally people tend to think green is the hardest color to win with.

Lew Pulsipher (designer)
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Dan Mixer
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I find Green the 'boringest' color to play, cause other then the Danes, you just sit there for the most part and earn XP.

In the old AH game, Green seem to win a big part of the time, but then people seemed to figure out Red and they started to steamrole.

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dave boulton
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I've not seen many yellow victories but those I have are memorable (the one in which the romano british stood off the norman invasion comes to mind...)
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Ludwig Seitz
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WalkerRedEye wrote:
I've not seen many yellow victories but those I have are memorable (the one in which the romano british stood off the norman invasion comes to mind...)


Too bad there is no session report on that game, that's something I'd like to read.
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ewan m
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Short answer: yes.

Longer commentary: with competent play, Yellow's variance is lower than any other colour, because scores for both Romans and Norwegians are very similar every time. That means that any time one other colour does very well, Yellow likely won't win; and Yellow's influence between turns 8 and 13 is minimal, which hurts. So Yellow probably wins more in games where all players are decent and there's no blowout.

Romans - despite what Lew says above! - should always score ~140. Always. Maximum is maybe ~146, but normal is 139-142. The Romans can always get all 80 VP available on turns 1-3 (well, the Belgae *can* deny them some but only at the cost of their own death); they will generally have 10-11 legions to protect Limes as well as submitted nations. Welsh, Picts, and Brigs should all be submitted. Similarly, Norwegians are overwhelmingly likely to get their 28VP for visiting on T15, and only vary in the relatively small T16 score. The bigger variance, especially for Rome, is how many VP are given to *other* colours - how many forts and legions were killed. That's especially true for Blue w/ Boudicca, but also for Brigs killing legions and all enemies burning forts.

Scot variance is higher; Dubliner variance is huge. That's where Yellow wins or loses; but you *start* with ~170-180 VP from Rome and Norwegians, and at least a few from Romano-Brits. If you don't have those, you'll lose and are doing it wrong .
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Yellow requires the most skillful play, but it totally can win. I've seen it once (in the seven games I've watched/played) and I almost won with Yellow but lost on the last turn due to some wonky die rolls.
 
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Dan Drontle
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I have played several (~10) games of Britannia. About four of those have been as yellow. I have yet to win a game as yellow or even come close. Nor have I ever seen another player win (or even come close) as yellow. Most games have been marred by bad dice for the Roman player- either failing to roll hits on the attack or losing too many units to an abnormally high number of sixes.

Perhaps we're playing it wrong, but I have yet to see any Roman strategy that would give me hope for success. I think you need to be really aggressive as yellow, but you also need a lot of luck.

That said, I do have some ideas to try for the Romans. If I ever find something that works, I'll let you know!
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crazypumaman wrote:
I have played several (~10) games of Britannia. About four of those have been as yellow. I have yet to win a game as yellow or even come close. Nor have I ever seen another player win (or even come close) as yellow. Most games have been marred by bad dice for the Roman player- either failing to roll hits on the attack or losing too many units to an abnormally high number of sixes.

Perhaps we're playing it wrong, but I have yet to see any Roman strategy that would give me hope for success. I think you need to be really aggressive as yellow, but you also need a lot of luck.

That said, I do have some ideas to try for the Romans. If I ever find something that works, I'll let you know!


Don't know what to tell ya. I've generally seen them do pretty well. It's Green I think is handicapped, but I could be doing them all wrong.
 
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Moshe Callen
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When I first played, I just got how to play yellow well but playing the other colors took be a long time to figure out.
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Dan Drontle
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whac3 wrote:
When I first played, I just got how to play yellow well but playing the other colors took be a long time to figure out.


As in, roll lots of sixes often for the win?
 
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Moshe Callen
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crazypumaman wrote:
whac3 wrote:
When I first played, I just got how to play yellow well but playing the other colors took be a long time to figure out.


As in, roll lots of sixes often for the win?

No, there's a way of maximizing the Romans. It just intuitively made sense to me while the other people of all colors in the game really didn't. So I got about 3/4 or more of the points one should expect for the Romans and well less than half for all the others.
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Steve Burt
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Is Yellow the Romans in your edition?
They were purple in the Gibson games version:
Purple - Romans/R-B/Scots/Dubliners/Norwegians
Red - Saxons/Irish/Brigantes/etc
Blue - Belgae/Angles/Picts/Normans
Brown - Welsh/Jutes/Danes/Caledonians
If so, yes, they can often win. In fact, I'd say the game as a whole is well balanced when played by experienced players; good players will know what the expected score for each tribe is, and hence who is in the lead, and therefore who needs taking down a bit.
Blue (Belgae/Picts/Angles/Normans) is probably the weakest faction, but I've won with it.
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Dan Drontle
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Having FINALLY seen two (back to back, no less) yellow victories, I will amend my prior comments(somewhat).

Yellow CAN win, but it's an uphill battle. And I still think the people who claim yellow can get 140 points with the Romans are nuts. The best I've ever seen is 115-120.

The key, in my opinion, is getting a good start with the Romans and knowing how to prioritize and work every trick and advantage the game affords you. You need to get the Romans up to Scotland by round 3, which is no mean feat. Doing so makes life much easier for your Scots, and really sets you up. You also need to weaken the Brigante a lot because a strong Brigante faction makes for a very strong red player. Finally, it makes it possible for the Romano-British to survive a little bit longer.

A lot of factors are beyond your control too as the Romans. Sometimes the Belgae player can't stop rolling sixes and your down to 8-10 units after your first round. Sometimes the Welsh player refuses to submit and forces you to exterminate him. Sometimes you fight four battles in a row and fail to score a single hit, letting the opponent retreat and fortify.

The most frustrating thing about playing yellow, in my opinion, is that everything is decided very early for them. Everything hinges on the Romans. And everything for the Romans really hinges on your first two turns(they can survive bad luck in rounds 3-5, but it's hard to recover from bad luck in rounds 1-2). So by the end of round two, if you're are having a bad game as yellow, you will know you have little hope of winning and have another 14 rounds to slog through.
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Ken
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crazypumaman wrote:
Yellow CAN win, but it's an uphill battle. And I still think the people who claim yellow can get 140 points with the Romans are nuts. The best I've ever seen is 115-120.


This sounds to me like the Romans aren't trying to submit the Welsh with those point totals. In earlier versions of the game, this was a questionable proposition - you needed a bit of luck and a willingness to have an army or two out of position even if you succeeded. But with the addition of Roman Roads in the FFG version, there's really little reason not to - the points you get from territory, the forts that they won't raid - those are likely the difference between 130-140 and 115-120.

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You need to get the Romans up to Scotland by round 3, which is no mean feat.


It's actually not all that hard if you have average dice (which is about the same as saying "steamroll everyone in your path" for the Romans). If you're aggressive during the MI, you can have armies as far north as the Cumbria - Pennines - Bernicia line. Submit the Brigantes on turn 2, and your in. If they don't submit, just make sure you've a line up to Scotland from Bernicia. With the roads in play, you can be slamming the Scots with a huge number of armies on turn 3 if you want. Boudicca can screw that up by breaking the road network, but you can make that hard to do.

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The most frustrating thing about playing yellow, in my opinion, is that everything is decided very early for them. Everything hinges on the Romans.


While this is sort of true, it's also sort of not. The nation that is likely to make or break you as Yellow is the Scots. If they rock, you rock. If they invade and die, die, die, then your game is probably out the window. Using the Romans to hurt (and, if possible, submit) the Picts is critical here. Once the Scots get established in the Highland areas, they will be very hard to kick out and if you've damaged the Picts enough, the Angles are unlikely to help them out at all. A strong Scotland can help you set up the Dubliners (with an attack or two on the Brigantes) and the Norwegians (by denying the Angles northern territory).

What I tend to find frustrating for yellow is that you really need to find a way to keep a cap on the other player's points, which can be hard in the mid-game. Lew and some others on the Euro Brit mailing list insist that Yellow wins as often as anyone else. I don't doubt their experience, I just wonder what strategies folks were pursuing in those games. I've seen some horrid, horrid play in my time that can really skew the game (Why, precisely, are the Angles in Cornwall?). But if there's a "runaway leader" and it isn't yellow (which is really hard), then I find Yellow loses pretty badly. Particularly if that leader is Red.

My $.02, anyway.
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John David Galt
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Quote:
Yellow CAN win, but it's an uphill battle. And I still think the people who claim yellow can get 140 points with the Romans are nuts. The best I've ever seen is 115-120.

Ken wrote:
This sounds to me like the Romans aren't trying to submit the Welsh with those point totals. In earlier versions of the game, this was a questionable proposition - you needed a bit of luck and a willingness to have an army or two out of position even if you succeeded. But with the addition of Roman Roads in the FFG version, there's really little reason not to - the points you get from territory, the forts that they won't raid - those are likely the difference between 130-140 and 115-120.

There are two good reasons not to invade Wales. First is its mountains, which mean the Roman is fighting them as equals except in Dyfed/Gwynedd.

The second is one you bring up in your last paragraph. Red is the most likely player to run away with the game, and wiping out the Welsh (or getting close enough to it that they submit, thus letting Red wipe them out) is almost certain to hand Red exactly that runaway win in turns 6-7, when the Brigantes become unsubmitted and the Irish arrive to help them.
 
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Ken
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jdgalt wrote:
There are two good reasons not to invade Wales. First is its mountains, which mean the Roman is fighting them as equals except in Dyfed/Gwynedd.


The Romans can bring vastly larger numbers to bear during their MI. I'll take 3-4 Romans against a single Welshman - they're far more likely to run than they are stay & fight. And on the second impulse, I can hit one of the clear areas, which the Welsh will be loath to lose for population growth reasons. I might have to hit one highland with two Welsh in it to get them to qualify for submission. Those odds are not bad at all.

Quote:
The second is one you bring up in your last paragraph. Red is the most likely player to run away with the game, and wiping out the Welsh...


So 1) don't wipe them out (they're stupid if they don't submit) and 2) give them full population growth every turn that they are submitted so they can rebound.

Unless the green player is an idiot and fights to the death (which is very, very bad for him and might be bad for Yellow), you really aren't creating a "red Runaway" by submitting the Welsh. That tends to be more because the Irish have ridiculous dice and/or the Danish invasion is a complete disaster.
 
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Nate Merchant
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A great discussion of a year ago, thank you all. I just played a game as Yellow where my dice were absolutely cold as the Romans and did not return to average until the Norwegians invaded. Obviously, having read some of the responses here could have helped my cause a great deal, but as the Romans I felt spread too thin and was simply gnawed at by my opponents. By the time the R-B arrived, there wasn't much to take over. Needless to say, the R-B went quickly extinct.

Need to read more on the Scots. That didn't go very well, either...
 
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Jonathan vd Sluis
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I want to confirm the point that was made about the Scots being essential for a yellow victory. The problem with the Scottish major invasion is threefold:
- You have to take some difficult terrain. Without a lot of units, this is difficult. Picts can dig in and weather it out. And if you do manage to take some of those highlands, the reward is less population growth.
- So the lowlands are important, but positionally they are wedged between the lands of the Picts, Angles and Brigantes. The Picts and Angles are natural allies here of course.
- in the turn sequence, the Angle major invasion is almost immediately after the Scots major invasion. This means that while you might gain a foothold against the Picts, you may very well suffer a counterattack from the Angles in their first invasion move, causing the Scots to lose the precious lowlands.

It is a good strategy for blue to try and connect the Angles and the Picts, eliminaing that front for both nations. This involves driving out the Scots. The goal is to score heavily in round VII and X.

Brigantes might seem like a natural ally for the Scots, but they want Strathclyde, too. Good luck striking a deal about that. Overpopulation can also be a nuisance for the Scots; if you have three areas after the major invasion, you'll be hard pressed to leave Fergus + three armies in Strathclyde, as that will involve leaving only one army in another area. The Picts will spot that chance.

So I feel that the Major Invasion of the Scots is one of the more difficult puzzles of the game. I agree that attacking the Picts with the Romans is important, but would add that war between the Brigantes and Angles is also essential. If the Brigantes aren't able to put up a good fight, then blue will have his hands free.
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John David Galt
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I would sure like to consider tinkering with the balance of the game, by giving the Scots an extra army or two during their major invasion.

Maybe a bidding scheme (where the player willing to play Yellow with the fewest extras gets to do it) could work, though it would be more complicated than it is in 2 player games.
 
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Jason Kenney
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Yellow winning is highly dependent on the other three players giving you permission to play.

I find the best strategy is to not expect submission from any player. Instead of trying to get high points with the Romans, use the Romans to destroy the ability for any other player to earn points. You can hamstring Green with destroying the Welsh, and Blue by taking out the Picts. If the Belgae are still around and right where the Saxons need to land, and the Brigantes don't have Stathclyde but are right where the Angles need to be, you can setup a Britannia where the Invasions fail and you have Scotland.

If your dice roll well, best way to do this is go after the Welsh, up the left side of Britain into Scotland.
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Ryan Keane
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bloodycelt wrote:
Yellow winning is highly dependent on the other three players giving you permission to play.

I find the best strategy is to not expect submission from any player. Instead of trying to get high points with the Romans, use the Romans to destroy the ability for any other player to earn points. You can hamstring Green with destroying the Welsh, and Blue by taking out the Picts. If the Belgae are still around and right where the Saxons need to land, and the Brigantes don't have Stathclyde but are right where the Angles need to be, you can setup a Britannia where the Invasions fail and you have Scotland.

If your dice roll well, best way to do this is go after the Welsh, up the left side of Britain into Scotland.


By "permission to play," do you mean by not submitting? I don't see how the Romans can destroy the Welsh and Picts - there is no point for them not to submit under pressure. And I don't see how they can setup England to make the Germanic invasions fail.

If an obstinate Welsh player refuses to submit and is severely weakened by the Romans, that just means the Irish and later the Norsemen will have a very easy time and can secure the Saxons' western border, which equals a Red win.

The Picts might choose not to submit if they have tried to push north on the Caledonians and then come back south and take a fort or 2 in rounds 4 and 5 after the Romans flee south. But I have also seen Romans continue to follow the Picts farther north in round 4 and force them to submit, which doesn't score any more Roman points but can prevent the Picts from moving south and potentially give Scots an easier entry prior to round 6.

It is possible to skirt the east side and try to take Strathclyde before the Brigantes are reduced enough to be able to submit, but I've never seen this happen. In theory, Romans could take Wessex, Avalon, and Hwicce on their first attack, then March, Cheshire, and Cumbria on their second attack. Then if the Brigantes did not withdraw from any of their starting territories, Romans could take Galloway, Lothian, and Stratclyde on their second turn, and the Brigantes would still occupy 3 areas and wouldn't be able to offer submission before losing Strathclyde. But that would be an example of very bad play by Red, and the Brigantes would, far from preventing an Angle invasion, likely be eliminated by them (since they can't submit to Angles in England).

As far the Belgae, while I've seen games where the Romans don't bother to eliminate the last of them, I've never seen them serve as any obstacle to Saxon invasion. Any surviving Belgae in the lowlands are likely going to be a much easier place for the Saxons to land than a defended Roman fort.

For us, Blue is the weakest color of the 4 - we're just unable, with the rare exception, to be as successful with the Angles as you need to be for Blue to win. We pretty consistently get 130-140 with the Romans, with Rom-Brit, Dubliners, and Norwegians all being pretty consistent as well, so the main variation in Yellow's score is based how well the Scots fare. If the Saxons and Welsh/Danes are kept in check and there's not a runaway leader, then a good Scot showing can mean a Yellow win. But the Yellow player does feel for rounds 6-13 like a spectator to how well the other 3 players balance control of England. This is why I still prefer to play Blue over Yellow. Red and Green are the most likely to win, but I still enjoy seeing what I can do with Blue. Yellow seems to have very few options for variation in how to play its nations.
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