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Subject: what matters more when choosing a race rss

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Jeremy Wilhm
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I've only played a couple of games using the recommended set up in the rules, but next time we'll play using the regular set-up rules, but I had a question for the experienced players - of the few variables in the beginning of the game, which effects your choice of race to play - the turn order, the 6 round scoring markers, or the bonus tiles? I'm just curious to see what people say.
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Michael Young
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Loaded question!

When playing Ina competitive game I look at the bonus tiles and consider which faction would do best to snatch up free points by doing actions like I'd normally play.

Whenever in doubt, you can count on a few races to do well regardless: Dwarves, Halflings, Darklings all do fairly well. Races that require some experience and better understanding of bonuses include Fakirs and Giants. The middle of the packs just need a little premeditation on how to utilize your bonuses.

Easy said, but practice makes perfect. Get a feel for how each faction plays. I find myself loving a few of them and would play for the shear joy of how fun they are.
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Jan B.
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Yes, that question is not answered easily

Race selection depends on many factors. The following are coming to my mind:

1. Am I first player?
2. What will be scored in the six rounds (Scoring Tiles I)
3. Which round bonus tiles are out of the game?
4. Which cult position will give additional resources (Scoring Tiles II)
5. If I am not first player, which races have already been selected?
6. If I am not first player, which colors are already in the game?
7. Am I last player?

1. First player?
That's easy. If you are the first to go, you have less information available, which makes a.m. list a little shorter. I still try to think about the races that might be selected after me. If I am 99% sure that race X will be selected regardless, then it might factor in my decision. But to make it simple: if you're first, concentrate on the available tiles and select the best-(fitting)-race

2. Round scoring
Big decision I: Temple race (for instance, Mermaids, Darklings, Halflings) or Stronghold race (Swarmlings, Alchemists..)
Big decision II: building up (Engineers, Swarmlings...) or out (Mermaids, Nomads...)
Late Towns? (Nomads, Witches, edit: Mermaids)
Round 4 Digging? (Darklings, Halflings, Alchemists)
Early Dwelling? (Mermaids, Witches)

3. Bonus resources
No digs? (Halflings, Darklings)
No shipping? (forget a red race, blue and green might be affected as well)
Less coins? (Alchemists, Swarmlings, Nomads, Dwarves, Cult races)
Less workers? (forget Alchemists, difficult for Engineers, Halflings, Dwarves, Swarmlings)
No priest (forget Darklings, Fakirs, but good for cult-heavy races like Auren, Cultists, Chaos Magicians)

4. Cult bonus
That's easy, if you're not color blind
The more monochrome the pattern is, the better a cult-heavy race will leverage the scoring.
But some hints: If there are lots of spades, this will benefit races that like to build out. If there are lots of workers, it will benefit Stronghold races and digging races. But at least two BGG members made entire threads out of this, so it is a deep game

5. Now factor in all selected races with above mentioned topics and select the race that finds a sweet spot in race abilites. Try to get out of the way of already predefined strategies.

6. Now factor in how the available colors match with the already selected colors. Hint: yellow and blue play well together in the West side of the map. grey and black/brown play well together in the East

7. Last player?
If you are last player, you can already define which resource tile you will select. Alchemists definitely want the Stronghold scoring tile with 2 workers, many other races want the first dig, Mermaids or Chaos Mages might want the shipping tile.

There you go
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Bart de Vos
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One important thing is to look what your opponents have chosen (if you're last or close to last in turn order). Often, races have preferred starting spaces (Witches, Dwarves, Darklings, Halflings etc.), so you might be able to predict where they'll place. Choose a race that can coexist in the same place, yet doesn't need to fight for the same spaces. It is for instance known that on the right continent Dwarves coexist well with the brown and black races.
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Pieter
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Funny thing is that a lot of the assumptions on other races are thrown overboard if inexperienced players enter the game. I have seen really experienced players lose and then complain that the reason was that an inexperienced player did not make what they assumed was the best move. While in my opinion, if your move does not restrict yourself too much but takes away a huge chunk of points from the points-leader, it is a great move.
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Eleon Forsht
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Look at which of the following races are left:

Dwarves, Halflings, Darklings

If more than one, take a look at which one will generate the most points turn to turn.

If one one, take what is left

If all of these are gone, then you have a challenge to see how close you can get to the winner with the races left ^_^....

Ok, it is not 100% this bad, but it is close (if playing with experienced players). If playing with new players, just pick the one that looks most interesting.

I have been 1st or 2nd every time I pick one of the first 3 races (and I am not sure I have lost as Dwarves or Halflings as yet).

I am hoping for some more option in the game to make the other factions have a chance at winning, and not just have 3 races that have the best shot.
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Rafael Ramus
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Eleon wrote:
Look at which of the following races are left:

Dwarves, Halflings, Darklings

If more than one, take a look at which one will generate the most points turn to turn.

If one one, take what is left

If all of these are gone, then you have a challenge to see how close you can get to the winner with the races left ^_^....

Ok, it is not 100% this bad, but it is close (if playing with experienced players). If playing with new players, just pick the one that looks most interesting.

I have been 1st or 2nd every time I pick one of the first 3 races (and I am not sure I have lost as Dwarves or Halflings as yet).

I am hoping for some more option in the game to make the other factions have a chance at winning, and not just have 3 races that have the best shot.


Well, it's not that bad...

Using Snellman's site once again: the difference between Halflings (26 win%) and Swarmlings (23 win%) is not that big, meaning that there is some balance between at least all those factions in betwen (Dwarves having a 24 win%, bellow witches and mermaids). The fact that Fakirs stats have been going up in the last few months (from 14 win% to 17%) is a hint that their actual winning rate (after the new town tiles) is probably above the 20 win%.

You're right about Darklings though (even though their win% have been going down recently).
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Petri Savola
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Actually, Dwarves are quite weak if brown and black are both out of the game. Similarly, black and brown are significantly weakened if nobody joins them in east and they have to build alone. Without spade bonus on round 3/4 the Halflings are only good, not great. Darklings are probably the best race for almost every setup.
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Eleon Forsht
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Rafael Ramus wrote:
Eleon wrote:
Look at which of the following races are left:

Dwarves, Halflings, Darklings

If more than one, take a look at which one will generate the most points turn to turn.

If one one, take what is left

If all of these are gone, then you have a challenge to see how close you can get to the winner with the races left ^_^....

Ok, it is not 100% this bad, but it is close (if playing with experienced players). If playing with new players, just pick the one that looks most interesting.

I have been 1st or 2nd every time I pick one of the first 3 races (and I am not sure I have lost as Dwarves or Halflings as yet).

I am hoping for some more option in the game to make the other factions have a chance at winning, and not just have 3 races that have the best shot.


Well, it's not that bad...

Using Snellman's site once again: the difference between Halflings (26 win%) and Swarmlings (23 win%) is not that big, meaning that there is some balance between at least all those factions in betwen (Dwarves having a 24 win%, bellow witches and mermaids). The fact that Fakirs stats have been going up in the last few months (from 14 win% to 17%) is a hint that their actual winning rate (after the new town tiles) is probably above the 20 win%.

You're right about Darklings though (even though their win% have been going down recently).


I was going by what I saw in my games and seen posted (I have played 8 to 10 of them with a mix of bad to amazing players). I also almost always play 5 player games (which makes these races a lot more appealing, as the fight for power and cult track is a lot more intense).

This is not to say an amazing player can not win with a different race, just the odds are against them if other players of equal skill play the better races.

I do not have the new town tile and there is no way to get it currently (I keep waiting for it in the shop here).

Actually if you are a new player to the game, I think I stand by those 3 as being the easiest and mostly likely to win.

I have seen swarmlings do well, but they take a more skilled player (I have also never seen them win, but place 2nd is not uncommon).

In my last two games I played Dwarves and Halflings and two players actively did all they could to stop me from getting points, and at best they could only shave about 10 points off my score (and I still won in the 120's to 130's). I have scored 140 a few times with these 3 races.

If the halflings can get the right priest (via power or bonus title pick), to have their major growth turn after they get to 1 cube Terraforming , and they have already gotten the 2 extra points per dwelling temple bonus, it makes for a crazy point turn.
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Rafael Ramus
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Eleon wrote:
Rafael Ramus wrote:
Eleon wrote:
Look at which of the following races are left:

Dwarves, Halflings, Darklings

If more than one, take a look at which one will generate the most points turn to turn.

If one one, take what is left

If all of these are gone, then you have a challenge to see how close you can get to the winner with the races left ^_^....

Ok, it is not 100% this bad, but it is close (if playing with experienced players). If playing with new players, just pick the one that looks most interesting.

I have been 1st or 2nd every time I pick one of the first 3 races (and I am not sure I have lost as Dwarves or Halflings as yet).

I am hoping for some more option in the game to make the other factions have a chance at winning, and not just have 3 races that have the best shot.


Well, it's not that bad...

Using Snellman's site once again: the difference between Halflings (26 win%) and Swarmlings (23 win%) is not that big, meaning that there is some balance between at least all those factions in betwen (Dwarves having a 24 win%, bellow witches and mermaids). The fact that Fakirs stats have been going up in the last few months (from 14 win% to 17%) is a hint that their actual winning rate (after the new town tiles) is probably above the 20 win%.

You're right about Darklings though (even though their win% have been going down recently).


I was going by what I saw in my games and seen posted (I have played 8 to 10 of them with a mix of bad to amazing players). I also almost always play 5 player games (which makes these races a lot more appealing, as the fight for power and cult track is a lot more intense).

This is not to say an amazing player can not win with a different race, just the odds are against them if other players of equal skill play the better races.

I do not have the new town tile and there is no way to get it currently (I keep waiting for it in the shop here).

Actually if you are a new player to the game, I think I stand by those 3 as being the easiest and mostly likely to win.

I have seen swarmlings do well, but they take a more skilled player (I have also never seen them win, but place 2nd is not uncommon).

In my last two games I played Dwarves and Halflings and two players actively did all they could to stop me from getting points, and at best they could only shave about 10 points off my score (and I still won in the 120's to 130's). I have scored 140 a few times with these 3 races.

If the halflings can get the right priest (via power or bonus title pick), to have their major growth turn after they get to 1 cube Terraforming , and they have already gotten the 2 extra points per dwelling temple bonus, it makes for a crazy point turn.


I believe I have to interfere once again. I hope I won't sound arrogant or pick another fight (I'm kind of tired of that stuff), but...
among experienced players, I believe you're not favorite to win with 2 of these 3 factions (Darklings being the exception) in quite a huge amount of scenarios. Even the lower tiers are good enough in a few of them.

I have a lot of TM plays in my belt, I don't claim I'm an "amazing player" but I believe I'm at least experienced enough.

Halflings are good, yes, but they are not always the better pick. Dwarves are a fairly mid faction in quite a lot of games, and their peers (the Engineers) are better than they are in a fair, fair lot of scenarios.

Sure, Halflings are a point machine, but they are too dependent on the eastern continent. The limit to their expansion is the same one of most factions: the need to upgrade before expanding. But alas, even in some games where Halflings are good, there are factions that are just better. Even among experienced players, if we are talking a game where the spade round is not the 4th round, and there is Dw points in some of the first rounds and in some of the late rounds (which is good for Halflings overall), and, let's say, the town tile is in play, I'd rather pick Mermaids or Witches than Hobbits depending on the bonus tiles that have been removed.

But even the lower tiers can have their day.

So it all comes to this: if I set 10 games with random scenarios and I pick Halflings every single time, how many times do I expect to win with them, even if Dwarves and Darklings are not in play? I don't think you should expect to win more than 4 if you're playing against people of the same level.

BTW, who are you at Snellman?
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Funny thing is that a lot of the assumptions on other races are thrown overboard if inexperienced players enter the game. I have seen really experienced players lose and then complain that the reason was that an inexperienced player did not make what they assumed was the best move. While in my opinion, if your move does not restrict yourself too much but takes away a huge chunk of points from the points-leader, it is a great move.


I cannot see any experienced player ever complaining that an inexperienced player made a move that did not restrict him (the inexperienced player) but took away a huge chunk of points from the points-leader (experienced player). In fact if such a move was there that's the move I would guess that the experienced player was expecting in the first place.

In the games you are mentioning did they lose to the inexperienced player who made the move? I've seen similar things happen and almost always its an inexperienced player makes a very poor move that hurts himself but also an experienced player. In the end an uninvolved 3rd player wins because the inexperienced indirectly played kingmaker.

In this case I've heard the inexperienced play be described as a RNG rather than a player. You have no idea if their move will be good or bad or how it will affect you and if they make a bad move that happens to drag you down too well then you just wasted the last/next few hours.

Good examples are with race selection. Generally I do my best to try and make sure that players are spread out across the terraforming circle. The last thing you want is for one player to be really isolated and the others to be bunched. If this happens it's definitely the fault of at least 1 of the bunched players. When I'm playing IRL I try assist new players in selecting factions such that this doesn't happen. Yet online I'm finding myself in games where this keeps happening.
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allstar64 wrote:
Flyboy Connor wrote:
Funny thing is that a lot of the assumptions on other races are thrown overboard if inexperienced players enter the game. I have seen really experienced players lose and then complain that the reason was that an inexperienced player did not make what they assumed was the best move. While in my opinion, if your move does not restrict yourself too much but takes away a huge chunk of points from the points-leader, it is a great move.


I cannot see any experienced player ever complaining that an inexperienced player made a move that did not restrict him (the inexperienced player) but took away a huge chunk of points from the points-leader (experienced player). In fact if such a move was there that's the move I would guess that the experienced player was expecting in the first place.

In the games you are mentioning did they lose to the inexperienced player who made the move? I've seen similar things happen and almost always its an inexperienced player makes a very poor move that hurts himself but also an experienced player. In the end an uninvolved 3rd player wins because the inexperienced indirectly played kingmaker.

In this case I've heard the inexperienced play be described as a RNG rather than a player. You have no idea if their move will be good or bad or how it will affect you and if they make a bad move that happens to drag you down too well then you just wasted the last/next few hours.

Good examples are with race selection. Generally I do my best to try and make sure that players are spread out across the terraforming circle. The last thing you want is for one player to be really isolated and the others to be bunched. If this happens it's definitely the fault of at least 1 of the bunched players. When I'm playing IRL I try assist new players in selecting factions such that this doesn't happen. Yet online I'm finding myself in games where this keeps happening.


True story. I hate to play online. I just hate it (even though I'm currently 18th at Snellman - mainly because I set myself to put Fakirs to test. I think everybody should do this kind of stuff from time to time, the lower tiers could get a bit up in the faction ratings).

I think the new factions (of the expansion) are probably going to help a lot in this aspect you mention (since they are kind of out of the terraforming spectrum).
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Rhett Morgan
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I feel like the Fakirs are a brick wall. Unless the playtesters went off in a weird direction on play-style that we haven't seen yet, they're pretty much a dud. If you can ever make them work, please post here.
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Prodigaldax wrote:
I feel like the Fakirs are a brick wall. Unless the playtesters went off in a weird direction on play-style that we haven't seen yet, they're pretty much a dud. If you can ever make them work, please post here.


First, I absolutelly agree with you: they are my very worst faction (even after the new town tiles).

Buuuut, my experience with them at the Snellmans site has not been a complete fiasco. I like to set personal challenges to myself, like the time I vowed not to take fav11 (a hard hit to my play style at the time). So I challenged myself to have a personal highter win% with them than the win% in the site at the time (14%). It was fairly easy: I just needed to win a match and tie another one in a series of 10 matches.

I just did the following: every time they were available (meaning nobody else was yellow), I had to get Fakirs. I didn't even look at the scenario all of those times. And so far... I've won 3 of 10 games (one with 3 players, one with 4 and another with 5) and I've tied another (a 3 player game). I've also won a 2 player match. Thus, I have a 35 win% with Fakirs (3-5 players only). This also means I lost 65% of all 3-5 player games I played with them at the site - this is - as should be. Of those, I got second place in 4 matches (one of them I lost by 1 point, and another of those I lost to Xevoc's cultists) - that's what got me temporarily in the 18th position in the ratings (as of today), as the ratings at the site favors the good scores with weak factions. And even dismissing the 3 players game I won with Fakirs and the tied match, it's still a 20 win% (still above average).

So, I don't think I've discovered them yet, but I believe that picking them is a fairly good first step!
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allstar64 wrote:
In the games you are mentioning did they lose to the inexperienced player who made the move? I've seen similar things happen and almost always its an inexperienced player makes a very poor move that hurts himself but also an experienced player. In the end an uninvolved 3rd player wins because the inexperienced indirectly played kingmaker.

In the several games in which I saw this happening, there were something like 2 really experienced players, one or two mildly experienced players, and one or two newbies. And the complaints were more along the lines of an experienced player now seeing his chances for victory go down with respect to his very experienced buddy.

Example: start of the game, someone places a dwelling at the top of the board, experienced player plays next to him, newbie plays right next to that, hemming the experienced player in who now has to cross the river before he can expand. Experienced player complains because there were much better spots to start for the newbie. But the way I saw it, the newbie still had a good chance to build a city there, while the experienced player was screwed. Definitely, the newbie hurt his chances to win too, but to be frank, he had no chance to win at all. He just followed the advice that he got that it was a good idea to place at least one of your initial dwellings next to someone else.

I know, it is common in games like this that newbies inadvertently play kingmaker. From my perspective it is typical for TM that complaints about that are already brought up at the start of the game.
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Jeremy Wilhm
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Thank you to everyone for responses. There is a lot of info here and I just have some follow up questions:

kent_bro wrote:

2. Round scoring
Big decision I: Temple race (for instance, Mermaids, Darklings, Halflings) or Stronghold race (Swarmlings, Alchemists..)


I don't understand what you mean by Temple Race. How can you tell that you need to build up to a temple first? Is it a Stronghold race only if that scoring tile comes out for Round 1?

kent_bro wrote:

Big decision II: building up (Engineers, Swarmlings...) or out (Mermaids, Nomads...)


Is this just a personal choice to build up or out? Is one better than the other?

kent_bro wrote:

Late Towns? (Nomads, Witches, edit: Mermaids)
Round 4 Digging? (Darklings, Halflings, Alchemists)
Early Dwelling? (Mermaids, Witches)


I don't understand what Late Towns means either. Can you/someone clarify?

kent_bro wrote:

3. Bonus resources
Less coins? (Alchemists, Swarmlings, Nomads, Dwarves, Cult races)
Less workers? (forget Alchemists, difficult for Engineers, Halflings, Dwarves, Swarmlings)


About how much constitutes Less coins or Less workers for the bonus tiles?

I hope none of these are stupid questions, but I'm just really interested in digging into this game.
 
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robertopellizini wrote:
One important thing is to look what your opponents have chosen (if you're last or close to last in turn order). Often, races have preferred starting spaces (Witches, Dwarves, Darklings, Halflings etc.), so you might be able to predict where they'll place. Choose a race that can coexist in the same place, yet doesn't need to fight for the same spaces. It is for instance known that on the right continent Dwarves coexist well with the brown and black races.


Interesting. I have started to pour through the forums, but I haven't come across this info about preferred starting locations yet. Can anyone provide a link?
 
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
allstar64 wrote:
In the games you are mentioning did they lose to the inexperienced player who made the move? I've seen similar things happen and almost always its an inexperienced player makes a very poor move that hurts himself but also an experienced player. In the end an uninvolved 3rd player wins because the inexperienced indirectly played kingmaker.

In the several games in which I saw this happening, there were something like 2 really experienced players, one or two mildly experienced players, and one or two newbies. And the complaints were more along the lines of an experienced player now seeing his chances for victory go down with respect to his very experienced buddy.

Example: start of the game, someone places a dwelling at the top of the board, experienced player plays next to him, newbie plays right next to that, hemming the experienced player in who now has to cross the river before he can expand. Experienced player complains because there were much better spots to start for the newbie. But the way I saw it, the newbie still had a good chance to build a city there, while the experienced player was screwed. Definitely, the newbie hurt his chances to win too, but to be frank, he had no chance to win at all. He just followed the advice that he got that it was a good idea to place at least one of your initial dwellings next to someone else.

I know, it is common in games like this that newbies inadvertently play kingmaker. From my perspective it is typical for TM that complaints about that are already brought up at the start of the game.


Without seeing the exact situation I would say that it was the experienced player's fault in this situation. Especially in a 5 player game the initial placement is very hard cause you have to see how/if you can get boxed in by future placements and place your dwellings with that in mind (I've learned this lesson the very hard way multiple times). If his dwelling hinged on a single spot that could be taken by another player than I would be very careful about taking it especially if the other player has yet to place and there are reasonably good places that the player can expand to.
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jwilhm wrote:
Thank you to everyone for responses. There is a lot of info here and I just have some follow up questions:

kent_bro wrote:

2. Round scoring
Big decision I: Temple race (for instance, Mermaids, Darklings, Halflings) or Stronghold race (Swarmlings, Alchemists..)


I don't understand what you mean by Temple Race. How can you tell that you need to build up to a temple first? Is it a Stronghold race only if that scoring tile comes out for Round 1?


Yes, my wording is already influenced by having played too many games of Terra Mystica.

There are two basic opening strategies in Terra Mystica. Going for temple or stronghold (3rd is going for at least six dwellings but that is very situational). A stronghold race are for instance Alchemists (or Auren, Swarmlings). I would never recommend to not build a SH in round 1 with them. Dwarves, Darklings, Engineers or Mermaids usually go for a temple. As this is nearly predefined I called them temple or stronghold races.

kent_bro wrote:

Big decision II: building up (Engineers, Swarmlings...) or out (Mermaids, Nomads...)


jwilhm wrote:

Is this just a personal choice to build up or out? Is one better than the other?


Some races are easier played by spreading out quickly, others support more to invest upgrades. If this corresponds with the point bonus, then you have another hint which race to choose for a certain setup.

kent_bro wrote:

Late Towns? (Nomads, Witches, edit: Mermaids)
Round 4 Digging? (Darklings, Halflings, Alchemists)
Early Dwelling? (Mermaids, Witches)


jwilhm wrote:

I don't understand what Late Towns means either. Can you/someone clarify?


The round scoring tile that gives 5 additional points for a town plays a significant role if it kicks in a later round. There a certain races that make it easier to build three towns (Witches, Nomads, Giants) or the Mermaids which can decide when to form a town.

All I wanted to say is: late town scoring affects a game significantly and some races are stronger in such a setup.

kent_bro wrote:

3. Bonus resources
Less coins? (Alchemists, Swarmlings, Nomads, Dwarves, Cult races)
Less workers? (forget Alchemists, difficult for Engineers, Halflings, Dwarves, Swarmlings)


jwilhm wrote:

About how much constitutes Less coins or Less workers for the bonus tiles?

I hope none of these are stupid questions, but I'm just really interested in digging into this game.


Of course not. It is a very deep game and there are no stupid questions.

What did I mean with "less coins"?

If the resource tiles with 6 coins and 4 coins are out of the game, then coins will be valued higher. Alchemists provide an advantage here, as their stronghold is giving six coins.

If the tiles that give workers (1 worker/3 power and two workers/4 points for SH/SA most importantly) are out if the game, I would focus on races that build dwellings easily, like Nomads, Witches, Mermaids or Giants. But races that need workers (Halflings, alchemists, dwarves, or Engineers) will have a disadvantage.
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Rafael Ramus
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kent_bro wrote:

A stronghold race are for instance Alchemists (or Auren, Swarmlings). I would never recommend to not build a SH in round 1 with them.


About the Auren being a Stronghold faction. Although that's true most of the time, sometimes there is a good alternative: the temple + shipping strategy works brillantly in some scenarios (specially if they can grab some "up 3 spots" in the cult tracks with the priests they'll get with the temple). For the Auren, a 2º/3º round stronghold can be acceptable or preferable given the right circunstances.
 
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Jan B.
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I saw that working once or twice, but I would recommend to go with Witches in case of a dwelling opening in nearly all cases.
 
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Aaron Gelb
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GEEZ. I've played this game around 8 times...and after reading this thread...I feel like you all are playing a TOTALLY different board game than I am.
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Jeff Hampton
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asgelb wrote:
GEEZ. I've played this game around 8 times...and after reading this thread...I feel like you all are playing a TOTALLY different board game than I am.


Right there with you...I have a single play under my belt with our usual gaming partners and felt like a stud after winning with swarmlings (I played the wrong side of the board, didn't realize they were two sided shake).
 
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Ryan Finley
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Have to agree with these last two sentiments. This is one of those games that is feeling a bit overwhelming. I'm a better reactive player than a strategic player, sadly, so I likely won't do well with this one even though I enjoy it.

Or is there a race that is a better for a reactive player?
 
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Jan B.
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I don't know about a certain race - but some races are more flexible than others - but having to be reactive is more a matter of position. As last player you have to make the best out of less options.
 
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