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Subject: Can you win if you give up four or five science points? rss

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Jon G
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My last few games on Yucata, I've made gold and science points a high priority, and scored four of the science points (and might get the fifth in one game). Meanwhile, my opponent had focused on expansion and had a slightly larger military & economy than me (obviously, ignoring a military disparity is a great way to lose!). In these games, it seems I can easily find the last 2-3 points (navigator, 10th city, 3rd temple, 5th tech, crash navy into his temple)to win the game, while the opponent's best hope is to somehow grind me down to bits before I can score those points.

So, I'm curious what people think:
Poll
1. Can you win a game of Duellum if your opponent scores four tech points?
Sure. There's nothing special about losing tech 4-1.
Yes, but it's hard
Only if they make serious errors
No, you're doomed
2. Can you win a game of Duellum if the opponent scores all five tech points?
Sure. There's nothing special about losing tech 5-0.
Yes, but it's hard
Only if they make serious errors
No, you're doomed
      27 answers
Poll created by dr.mrow


If you frequently concede four tech points and win anyway, I would love to hear a strategic brief on what you're doing.
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Unless your opponent plays really badly, you usually can't prevent him from getting 2 Kings with 10 cities, 1 Citizen with 3 temples and 1 Navigator with 7 navigator points. Together with 4 Scholars that makes for 8 personages.

Assuming the guy with the 4 Scholars is behind in development (if not he wins by a large margin), the next easiest personage to get for him is usually either the 2nd Citizen with a 6th temple or a General with some tactical finesse.

So if you let your opponent have 4 Scholars, you need to be ahead in development far enough to prevent him from getting 6 Temples or surprising you with a successful strike against one of your temples. Note that a reliable way to prevent your opponent from building 6 temples is to build 7 Temples yourself as there are only 12 available for both players.
A rarer but also possible way to keep him from 9 personages if he managed to get 6 temples or a General is to snatch the 2nd Navigator away from him with 14 points before he gets to his 7.

I have allowed my opponent to have 4 Scholars several times (at least in possible variants that might have played out, but also for real), when I was certain that when they take them, my development lead would become large enough to reliably prevent them from getting the 9th personage. The resources and actions used up to get the Scholars first and the early event cards the opponent gets from this can give him a sizeable development boost.

So in my experience, it isn't *that* hard to win with only 1 Scholar, but I have still voted for that option as I certainly wouldn't say that there is nothing special about loosing 1 vs. 4 on Scholars.

If there is a 4-1 split, you should always be very aware of the ramifications of this situation - on both sides of it. This usually includes watching out for unusual tactics to get a single General with something which might otherwise be considered a suicide attack - if that General wins you the game, you don't have to think about any counterstrike.

Being the guy with only 1 Scholar can be uncomfortable to play, it creates opportunities for fatal mistakes. So sacrificing development to go for the 4th Scholar can be a good way to play if it looks like your opponent will slowly beat you even if you develop better. Even if he would win against your 4 Scholars with perfect play, he may well slip up.

As for letting your opponent get all 5 Scholars, that usually means game over for you. With some exceptions involving getting both Navigators or your opponent concentrating so exclusively on Scholars from the start that that they didn't even get to 10 cities.
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I agree with Darador. I prefer getting 3 or 4 scientists myself, though,. This way I can win the game quicker...
It great fun if your opponent is getting stronger and stronger, but shortly before he crushes you finally, you get your ninth personality and say
One game I won with having only 3 cities left on the map this way ;-)
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Jon G
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Since Darador and Actaion are both in the top 10 on Yucata, I'm curious...

Assuming the opponent is generally building cities and temples, how do you many cities do you build before you grab Strata and/or Navigation, even though you don't yet need it? This seems to be the key decision point in getting a tech lead, since Republic & Commerce seem a bit expensive to get before you need them...

Lately I've been building two temples on gold, and letting my city count stall at 7-8 when I gather up tech points. I figure I can get the 10th city before conquest becomes a problem, but perhaps I could push it later and still score the points.
 
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actaion wrote:
I agree with Darador. I prefer getting 3 or 4 scientists myself, though,. This way I can win the game quicker...
It great fun if your opponent is getting stronger and stronger, but shortly before he crushes you finally, you get your ninth personality and say
One game I won with having only 3 cities left on the map this way ;-)


You may win like this sometimes, but you usually need luck or mistakes of your opponent for it.

It is certainly a good thing to try if you didn't manage to get a development advantage in a particular game.

But I prefer winning in a controlled way, leaving my opponent as little real chance as possible , even if that means that the game lasts a few turns longer and that he may end up with as many as 7-8 personages in the end.

Getting a decisive development advantage is usually the safest way to win in my experience! And getting Scholars too early often sacrifices development.
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dr.mrow wrote:
Assuming the opponent is generally building cities and temples, how do you many cities do you build before you grab Strata and/or Navigation, even though you don't yet need it?


I don't think that buying technologies before you need them is *generally* a good idea. Unless you do it in one massive Scientia turn where you buy several technologies and/or combine buying a technology with recruiting units that you will arm soon. This is a very important "unless", as playing a gold-centric strategy will often let you do or at least threaten this, particularly if you pay some resources to skip more than 3 rondel spaces to hit Aurum more often.

You definitely shouldn't waste a turn on Scientia to buy just Strata or Navigatio although you can't yet make use of any of them. Unless it would already be your 4th Scholar and you think trying to win with 4 Scholars despite of having a development disadvantage is your best bet in this game. (Or you want to do it to prevent your opponent from getting 4.) If it isn't your 4th Scholar yet, you haven't gained much in any case: if you for instance buy Strata, your opponent can usually buy the Navigatio Scholar instead of the Strata Scholar himself - that is only a difference of 1 gold. If you need two more Scholars, you should rather save an entire turn by waiting until you can afford both at once. Having 3 vs. 2 Scholars doesn't do you much good if you loose on development.

It depends a lot on your opening how Scholar-centric you should play. One of the great things about the game is that there are several very good openings which are very different. At least I play several different openings depending on my people, my player number (1 or 2), the starting event cards and what the opponent does.
Opening with a gold temple is obviously much better suited to fight for the Scholars than f. e. opening with Militia and expanding as soon as possible. But both are among the good openings. If you do the latter, you usually want 3 Duellums with your 2 units resulting in 9 cities asap.

dr.mrow wrote:
This seems to be the key decision point in getting a tech lead, since Republic & Commerce seem a bit expensive to get before you need them...


If that is your impression my guess would be that you haven't played many good enough opponents, at least none that pursue the usual strategy of building their cities towards you.

Res Publica should usually be the second development after Moneta.

Unless you purposely build your first new cities away from your opponent (which would usually be a bad idea, you should fight for territory from the get go except maybe with one particular strategy type involving starting with a marble temple), you will often be in contact with your opponent quite soon. And as soon as you are, Res Publica is very important, early cheap conquests of cities without Res Publica can easily decide the game (at least if it happens with more than one city, but even one often hurts a lot).

So what I am saying is that by the time you can afford Res Publica (after already having Moneta), you'll usually need its bonus very soon against a skilled opponent. It is usually much more important than Strata, Navigatio or Commercium (there are exceptions to this, but rarely in my experience).
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Jon G
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Darador wrote:


dr.mrow wrote:
This seems to be the key decision point in getting a tech lead, since Republic & Commerce seem a bit expensive to get before you need them...


If that is your impression my guess would be that you haven't played many good enough opponents, at least none that pursue the usual strategy of building their cities towards you.

Res Publica should usually be the second development after Moneta.

Unless you purposely build your first new cities away from your opponent (which would usually be a bad idea, you should fight for territory from the get go except maybe with one particular strategy type involving starting with a marble temple), you will often be in contact with your opponent quite soon. And as soon as you are, Res Publica is very important, early cheap conquests of cities without Res Publica can easily decide the game (at least if it happens with more than one city, but even one often hurts a lot).

So what I am saying is that by the time you can afford Res Publica (after already having Moneta), you'll usually need its bonus very soon against a skilled opponent. It is usually much more important than Strata, Navigatio or Commercium (there are exceptions to this, but rarely in my experience).


Funny you should mention this. I just played a game as Carthage, and used my initial units to expand in Africa and Spain, rather than expanding across Sicily. My opponent started with iron & arming and quickly pinned me in, and I found myself taking Res Publica & Strata defensively with only five cities on the board.

It worked out for me when he overbought units with his early gold, but then couldn't afford to follow with Res Publica, giving me two cheap conquests and swinging the momentum.
 
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