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Danger Don
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This analysis is based on games played on Yucata.de, my favorite online board game site. All games played on Yucata.de are publicly available for replay and the format used is not overly difficult to parse for analyses like this one. I used all games played by the top 10 ranked RTTA players, plus my own (DangerDon) games, with resigned games thrown out. This adds up to 7,870 unique games of RTTA, 1,963 unique players, and 586,046 final dice played.

This article assumes a good knowledge of the rules of RTTA.

Tables are difficult to format on BGG forums, so I put the analysis here:

http://www.dangerdon.com/roll-through-the-ages

Respectfully Submitted,

DangerDon
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Steve
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Wow! Amazing, deep and thorough analysis. Kudos.
 
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David Nichols
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Terre Haute
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Excellent news! The game has now been solved.
 
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Der Einsielder
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DangerDon wrote:


First: Thanks for the real great analysis. I really enjoyed reading it and got a lot of new facts from it!

I never played the game on Yucata.de, but I assume the rules are the same as in the original board game. But I played lots of real 4 player games.

If this is the case, then there must be a analytical error in the chart "Avg. Rounds in Game by Number of Players".
This chart says that the average number of rounds in a 4 player game is 13.

In my opinion the is no way that a 4 player game last more than 9-10 rounds. Most will be finished in 7 rounds.
The average can't be 13!! I bet there isn't even a single game that lasts 13 rounds (only if all 4 players are really stupid players).
This can't work because there is a limit of 6 goods in the game.
Players are forced to buy developments very often! (I assume no one just gives away goods without buying developments).


My guess is that there is a misinterpretation of the data you have... probably you have to divide the 13 by 2 because you counted player turns but not rounds or something like that.

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Danger Don
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D'OH! You are exactly right. The culprit was a cut-and-paste coding error. The article has been corrected. Thanks for the catch!
 
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Lawrence K
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Great analysis! The Leadership/Irrigation and Medicine 2P/4P discussions were very interesting. I've always thought Quarrying was a little too cheap and nearly a must-buy; picking it up on turn 2 and collecting an extra stone each subsequent turn is pretty powerful.

I wonder if swapping costs for Quarrying and Caravans would make for some more varied decisions. Quarrying would likely still be a good deal at 20, and the 4 points for the weaker Caravans could become a bit more attractive at 15.
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Yokohama Baystar wrote:
Great analysis! The Leadership/Irrigation and Medicine 2P/4P discussions were very interesting. I've always thought Quarrying was a little too cheap and nearly a must-buy; picking it up on turn 2 and collecting an extra stone each subsequent turn is pretty powerful.

I wonder if swapping costs for Quarrying and Caravans would make for some more varied decisions. Quarrying would likely still be a good deal at 20, and the 4 points for the weaker Caravans could become a bit more attractive at 15.
I'm also a big fan of Quarrying. As long as you collect at least 2 goods per turn, then you're getting a nice boost in $. Caravans would probably work better with Quarrying since you tend to end up with more goods (not only an extra hit of stone, but to accumulate them for better rewards, and to encourage you to often collect goods), so ironically enough, I can see some folks getting both anyways.
 
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dr robotnik
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Hey, great analysis thanks!

Could you please provide some advice on how you pulled together all that data? I want to try something similar with Stone Age on yucata
 
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Larry Welborn
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Anderson
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Very nice. Thanks for posting.
 
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Danger Don
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yaiir wrote:
Hey, great analysis thanks!

Could you please provide some advice on how you pulled together all that data? I want to try something similar with Stone Age on yucata


Each game played on Yucata is available for replay. The HTML code that drives each replayed game includes JavaScript that contains all of the information about the game. For example, the game history for a game of RTTA includes JavaScript code that looks like this:

HistoryStatus[11] = '000,±°,´°,°°,°°,°°,²°,³³,´´,µµ,°´,°°,°°,°°,°°,°°,³½,°°,µµµµµ±µ,±°,°°,±°,±±,°°,±°,°°,°°,°°,°±,°°,°°,°±,°°,°°,°°,°°,·¾,´¸¶¸¸¶°,¸¹¸,¸®¯¸«¸,,,,,,';

That series of characters represents the game state after move 11 has been made. The non-punctuation ASCII characters represent numbers for various parts of the game. By comparing how the game status changes move-by-move against the moves from the replayed game, the meaning of each value can be deduced. (You don't have to figure out all of the numbers, just the ones you need.)

I use an Adobe Air app built with FlashBuilder 4.x to load and parse the JavaScript. There are probably better tools for the job, but this one is the fastest for me. The program outputs a series of tables in CSV format that I import into Microsoft Access. One could theoretically import the data into Excel, but the type of analysis needed is best done with a relational database, not a spreadsheet.

To automate the process of importing thousands of games, you can load and parse a given player's game history (http://www.yucata.de/en/ranking/player_name) and pull out the game IDs for the games you're looking for.
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Stephen
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I think the temple is in three player games and the hanging gardens isn't.
 
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Derrill
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Thanks for this. Pretty much all of it makes sense, but what I don't get is why Caravans is not recommended. It just says it isn't used by winners, but an explanation isn't given. I don't see how it's possible to have bought all those high cost developments (Empire, Architecture) without Caravans. When you save up your goods you get a multiplying effect: e.g. the right most pegs on the top rows give you +20 more for only 1 good increase.
 
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Derrill
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Never mind. I started playing it more and it makes sense now. Quarrying+Engineering makes it so you're constantly building Monuments. You're way ahead in points that you don't need the Developments until the end of the game.
 
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Danger Don
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derrill wrote:
Never mind. I started playing it more and it makes sense now. Quarrying+Engineering makes it so you're constantly building Monuments. You're way ahead in points that you don't need the Developments until the end of the game.


Setting aside engineering, having quarrying means that you want to let your stone build up as far right as possible to buy architecture and/or empire. This means that you buy the cheaper developments with the non-stone goods and save your non-caravan storage space for stone.
 
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