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Subject: Are books any good during the first rounds? rss

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Riku Koskinen
Finland
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The last game I played had me buying the 2 book + 1 stability building in the first round. This was the only building left on the progress card board, so that's why I took it. I ended up putting two workers in there right in the first round, but this had to be a mistake? This was a three-player game so I couldn't even score that many points due to the book advantage. The other two players built a much more capable economy with more food and coins and stone. Then they were able to build nice wonders and grow people faster, both of which were hard for me to do. We used the second-hardest difficulty.

Are the 2x book + 1x something producing buildings a trap in the first few rounds? With your five initial workers is it much more important to just get more non-book resources, or military if you can grab a colony or take battles with raid value 3+. In the ideal case you get at least one ancient age building that produces a combination of gold/food/stone, but if that's not the case, is it better to deploy your guys for example to 2x farm and 3x quarry, netting 2 food, 3 money and 5 stone.

How does this scale with player count? I'd assume playing with 5 players makes securing the book lead much more lucrative. I guess difficulty level also affects this, as you get more resources with the easier modes.

The situation is also different with the B sides of the player boards, because they have better initial building/military cards.
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Kim Choy
Canada
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I've been thinking about this a bit and reached a similar conclusion. 2 books + 1 stability in the first round is only worth it if there are bonuses for stability through the event cards or if you need to deflect the effects of war without military.

All in all, it really depends on what other cards are available and what events come up. Generally speaking, I think that this combination of resources on your first building is a bit weak.
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Philip Kitching
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I think it is worse than not good, I think it is a trap.

Put three workers on that building and by the end they will get you about 16 vp (5 from books, 8 from progress and 3 from the building, IIRC) with the hope of more as they relocate to better buildings.

However they also offer 3 stability, which does look like it buys you a free worker. The problem is that those three workers are now trapped on an ancient building unless you either get a better stability building or accept a negative stability.

Getting a better building is going to be difficult without all three of rock, gold and turn order and you only have three workers to provide that.

So caravan is a better building for the extra gold, which pretty much means save your money and do anything else: axemen and farmers.
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Kim Choy
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I agree that taking a stability worker would be a trap; even if you managed to 'upgrade' to a +2stab +1other building on your next turn you'd likely be quite far behind at this point already. This is with the caveat that there may be good stability events to capitalize on, or other cards in play that you can avoid their effects (i.e. advanced deck wonder that causes the lowest stability player to lose 5 gold).
 
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Rustan Håkansson
Sweden
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Yes, Pagoda is not always good and you should probably never put 3 workers on it. Same with many others... There is a reason it is not in the base set It gives some interesting possibilities in some situations.
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Frank F.
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Rettigheim
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- You can pay for golden ages with books.
- You must not neglect your economy, but once somebody is ahead a good amount of books it is also very hard to catch up - even with a great economy.
- Stability can have lots of other positive effects (events, leader with great bonuses but stability constraints)

=> 2 books + 1 X is a decent building - but don't overcommit too early.
=> Stability is a dangerous stat early game - don't pick it "just to have it" but for real benefits (events, leaders who require stability, ...) in all other cases get resources.
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Pap Qaq
United States
Park City
Utah
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In my view books are the weakest early resource. They accomplish nothing for your engine. Fighting is very strong, gold and ore are good, food is important for population, stability is somewhat important if you don't have fighting, but books is just a loss buffer and slow long term victory points. The long term victory points will be overshadowed by your falling behind in other areas.
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Rustan Håkansson
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p1q0 wrote:
In my view books are the weakest early resource. They accomplish nothing for your engine. Fighting is very strong, gold and ore are good, food is important for population, stability is somewhat important if you don't have fighting, but books is just a loss buffer and slow long term victory points. The long term victory points will be overshadowed by your falling behind in other areas.


You wrote you had only played 2-player games, books work a bit different than compared to with more platers.
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You can't handle the truth?
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RustanR wrote:
p1q0 wrote:
In my view books are the weakest early resource. They accomplish nothing for your engine. Fighting is very strong, gold and ore are good, food is important for population, stability is somewhat important if you don't have fighting, but books is just a loss buffer and slow long term victory points. The long term victory points will be overshadowed by your falling behind in other areas.


You wrote you had only played 2-player games, books work a bit different than compared to with more platers.
But still in a 2 player game, it's like chicken. You want to spend very little in the beginning to grab that lead, and press it into 4 victory points.

I have found that if I can divert a minimal amount to securing a small book lead that I can press it into points.

Also, if it starts to be a race, and my opponent tries what I am trying, then it all comes back to some delicious decisions. How many resources will I spend in a 2 player game to get that 8 point advantage. (because if I don't get the 4 points, then they will).

And it is in these decisions that Nations shines.
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Pap Qaq
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Park City
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RustanR wrote:
p1q0 wrote:
In my view books are the weakest early resource. They accomplish nothing for your engine. Fighting is very strong, gold and ore are good, food is important for population, stability is somewhat important if you don't have fighting, but books is just a loss buffer and slow long term victory points. The long term victory points will be overshadowed by your falling behind in other areas.


You wrote you had only played 2-player games, books work a bit different than compared to with more platers.


Very much agreed. Books seem much stronger with more players as the victory points are more meaningful.
 
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Pap Qaq
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crambaza wrote:
RustanR wrote:
p1q0 wrote:
In my view books are the weakest early resource. They accomplish nothing for your engine. Fighting is very strong, gold and ore are good, food is important for population, stability is somewhat important if you don't have fighting, but books is just a loss buffer and slow long term victory points. The long term victory points will be overshadowed by your falling behind in other areas.


You wrote you had only played 2-player games, books work a bit different than compared to with more platers.
But still in a 2 player game, it's like chicken. You want to spend very little in the beginning to grab that lead, and press it into 4 victory points.

I have found that if I can divert a minimal amount to securing a small book lead that I can press it into points.

Also, if it starts to be a race, and my opponent tries what I am trying, then it all comes back to some delicious decisions. How many resources will I spend in a 2 player game to get that 8 point advantage. (because if I don't get the 4 points, then they will).

And it is in these decisions that Nations shines.


Agreed, although in 2P there aren't that many point involved. I would still rather have pretty much any other resource, particularly on a recurring source like a colony or a wonder.

As a side note, books can be important as a buffer for being bankrupt in another resource and facing wars / events.
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James Rousselle
United States
Metairie
Louisiana
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Rustan, I agree, but...

A few weeks ago, I was in a 5 player game. I was last to pick and I was stuck with China. The 1st event gave a bonus worker to the highest stability. There was no Ziggurat on the board, so we all knew that Persia would get an extra worker. I placed 3 workers on my Pagoda. None of the other players wanted to place 4 of their 5 workers on a lousy 1 stability building, so I ended up getting an extra worker.

The 6 books were a great bonus. I took the early book lead and maintained it the entire game. The VP's that I received at the end of each era offset the VP losses due to the wars. High stability negatated any resource losses due to these wars.

This game is very tactical. In general, I agree with your assessment, but players must be able to adjust to what the card row and event deck throw at them.

BTW, thanks for making such a fantastic game. I play it every chance I get.
 
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