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Subject: How to deal with Embassies? rss

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The player playing an aggressive Embassy strategy (me), won all the times.

How can you deal with it? If he gets a 3 value Embassy early and a card providing an 8 attack you can hardly stop him before he acquires another (same color) Embassy and it is downhill for the other players after that...

Any advice?

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People need to team up on him. The table should see what that player is doing and actively work to prevent them from owning on color alone.

Also, you can make him use his 8 on a feint attack and then smack him on a second attack. Then another play can follow up and take more.

James
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GeoMan wrote:
The player playing an aggressive Embassy strategy (me), won all the times.

How can you deal with it? If he gets a 3 value Embassy early and a card providing an 8 attack you can hardly stop him before he acquires another (same color) Embassy and it is downhill for the other players after that...

Any advice?



Embassies are quite possibly the most powerful aggressive force in Hegemonic. The best way to deal with it is through coordinated attacks and preventing any player from gaining too much of one color. Some players will dislike that style of play, but Hegemonic encourages and even requires it at times.
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Because of the limited range of Martial/Industry during the first rounds of play, a player getting two strong Embassy tiles of the same color early, can place them next to his home tile without any other player being able to reach them (or with enough force to knock any of them down).

You can easily calculate the exact card needed to fend off an attack if you are stronger than your opponent, so you don't need to always burn an 8 card to guarantee a win.

Even if an opponent then also gets a strong Embassy of the same color, the player who is already ahead in that color can easily steal this Embassy using Takeover (because of the Agent unlimited range) and increase his strength even further...
 
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MyParadox wrote:
GeoMan wrote:
The player playing an aggressive Embassy strategy (me), won all the times.

How can you deal with it? If he gets a 3 value Embassy early and a card providing an 8 attack you can hardly stop him before he acquires another (same color) Embassy and it is downhill for the other players after that...

Any advice?



Embassies are quite possibly the most powerful aggressive force in Hegemonic. The best way to deal with it is through coordinated attacks and preventing any player from gaining too much of one color. Some players will dislike that style of play, but Hegemonic encourages and even requires it at times.


So the game becomes a race - who gets the most Embassies of each color first, else you have no hope...???
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That has been my (very limited) experience. We now call it "Race for the Embassies".
 
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chris1nd wrote:
That has been my (very limited) experience. We now call it "Race for the Embassies".


If that's the case then the Embassies as they stand now unbalance the whole game...

Since they are so powerful they should:

1) Cost more to build, or
2) Have a lower strength per tile, or
3) Less tiles of their type should be included in the game

I'll wait for someone (designer?) to post a real way to counter them before dismissing the game... but from what i see i am not hopeful!

 
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In my experience, embassies are perceived to be too powerful, often times because it can be much easier to build a strategy around them. With my primary group of play testers that helped all through development we actually felt industrial was the strongest by a little margin, which is funny because most people think it's the weakest!

Back to Embassies ...

(1) First, don't let one player grab all the high power embassy tiles in one of the factions. Although in my experience this is also true for the 3-power industrial and 3-power martial tiles. If any player gets a concentration of those, then it can be tough. And for reference, there are more 3-power industrial or more 3-power martial tiles than there are 3-power political tiles within the same faction.

(2) People forget that you can target Agents directly (if there isn't an Embassy where they are, otherwise they assist on defense). Political power can be far-reaching, but it relies on Agents in order to attack, and they can be targeted and killed. If a player jumps an Agent to attack an off-color political faction and wins (e.g. you were trying to build up political power in a different faction), you should be able to relatively easily counter attack and kill their agent in the process, forcing the political player to spend more turns building agents and moving them around.

(3) People really really underestimate the power of gates for leveraging industrial power and extending it's reach - and in particular forget that you can spend CAPS to relocate gate pairs during your build action. Keeping gates configured to protect your core industrial sectors often keeps their power up.

If agents DO attack non-political and win - that instantly creates a situation (if there isn't also an Embassy in the sector) where their agent is 'stranded' and vulnerable to attack. Since political factions can only support 1 agent per turn, usually the agent will die very easily.

(4) In political situations - don't forget that players can lend power to each other. You can use this to make a weaker political faction more resistant to being taken over by a stronger player.
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I don't have a lot of substantial info to contribute to this thread as I've only played the game once, but one thing I did notice about Political vs. the other tracks is that it if you grab the Level 3 embassies and put them in safe locations they are incredibly cheap ways to increase your political power which just isn't possible for Military or Industrial. If you haven't built a lot of embassies yet then you are spending 4 caps for three power, whereas the cheapest cost of getting that much power in the other tracks is 9 caps (minus any tech bonuses). I realize the inverse is true (you could end up spending a lot more to build a level 1 embassy later in the game), but it seems early in the game that it's a lot easier to get a political engine going provided you get the right tile draws since it's so much less expensive and money is so very very tight in this game. Again, I've only played once, and I'm not even sure political actually is imbalanced (it wasn't much of an issue during our game, mostly because there were not a lot of powerful embassy tiles until later in the game), but I can see how people would think it is.
 
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One more thing I see most often is that people will only grab (explore) for tiles THEY can use/want. Sometimes you have to just take something to prevent the other player from getting it.

James
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RPGShop wrote:
One more thing I see most often is that people will only grab (explore) for tiles THEY can use/want. Sometimes you have to just take something to prevent the other player from getting it.

James


Regarding the Embassies that doesn't make much sense if someone is ahead in that Embassy color. You will get the tile so he doesn't take it and then no matter if you built on it or not, he will attack and get it. You have to be more powerful than him to stop him but that's rarely the case near the beginning of the game.

As an example during the first round a player gets 2x3 strength Industry tiles, another 2x3 Martial tiles and i get 2x3 same color Industry tiles. I can built my Embassies away from the others so they can't reach me but i am also the only one who can attack any of their tiles. That's a great advantage!

The problem with Embassies is that there is no way to stop the player who gets ahead early in an Embassy color, as he can easily grab any same color Embassy tile that appears. "Strong getting Stronger" syndrome. And of course he will have more than one Agent on the board to avoid repeated attacks and "kill the Agent" tactics in the same round.

Also if the Embassy strategy is the easiest one, i see no reason for the players to persuade other more difficult strategies and not stick with this which also is the most powerful.

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Another way to deal with embassies is, paradoxically, to help the politically-strong get them.

Remember, the game isn't about who has the strongest force, it is about who has the most points via sector control. If there's an embassy that you know another player is going to want. The place it in a sector where he already has an embassy.

If he isn't diverse enough, then while he would have top control of a few sectors, he wouldn't have the ability to keep control of non-political locations (or political locations of the wrong color) in other sectors. Any attack by his political might on such locations could be regained with stronger military or industrial counterattacks.

In this way, the political powerhouse player might not be keeping up in the points race. And that's what really matters.
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omnipaul wrote:
If he isn't diverse enough, then while he would have top control of a few sectors, he wouldn't have the ability to keep control of non-political locations (or political locations of the wrong color) in other sectors.


It also works the other way around. He can use the extra power you give to him to wipe out the presence of his opponents in his "own" galaxy boards, where his opponents will be weaker or out of range.

Also a strong Embassy player will grab the Core as quickly as possible for the extra VP.
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I honestly can't imagine a player being able to get the tiles needed to win on politics. My experience has been that the ability to lend political support to conflicts is so useful of a negotiating tool that everybody wants to be able to do it, leading to everybody taking embassies even when they're not focusing on the political tech tree. I don't think I can remember the last time I've seen someone end up with more than six power from a single faction at a time simply because people contest them so much.
 
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I draw an early 3 power green Embassy as one of my 2 setup tiles and i place it next to my Home base. With my first action(s) i build it plus one or two Agents and i recycle my cards if needed so i get a card in my hand with an 8 Embassy Attack (if i don't have one already).

As soon as another Embassy tile of the same color appears in the pool i grab it. Or if another player draws and builds it i immediately attack it with my Agent (+1) plus +3 from my Embassy plus +8 for my card.

How can you stop me? There are no other Embassies of the same color yet to lend political support.

The only way is if the new tile is also a 3 strength Embassy and another player gets and build it (plus at least one Agent) and assuming that he also has an 8 Embassy Attack card. If any 1 or 2 Green Embassy (or any other color) appears i can get it immediately. And i get stronger.

There are times of course that you will never get an 8 Embassy Attack card in the first rounds or that the 3 strength tiles will appear late in the game, but the whole conversation here is how to deal with an early 3 strength Embassy before that player gets too powerful.
 
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GeoMan wrote:
There are times of course that you will never get an 8 Embassy Attack card in the first rounds or that the 3 strength tiles will appear late in the game, but the whole conversation here is how to deal with an early 3 strength Embassy before that player gets too powerful.


Actually, that is not what the whole conversation has been about to this point. The title and original post were addressing an "aggressive" embassy strategy, in general, which is why I subscribed. Edge cases such as the ones you have gone on to later describe also are useful to explore, but not indicative of typical play. However, the arguments as presented also contain a large number of assumptions about the card ordering, tile ordering, and the behavior of other players.

While you may draw a good run of cards and tiles at the beginning of the game, the likelihood then increases that another player will draw a good run of cards and tiles for their specialization, as well. Also, that you will later draw a bad run of tiles.

Instead of only rebutting everyone's strategies against embassies, why don't you extrapolate upon their suggestions even more deeply to identify a case where that strategy might become viable. Your arguments seem to assume good luck and perfect play only for the embassy player. This seems to be unlikely in the wider world of gaming groups.

I am enjoying this thread, but only a couple people have chimed in about embassies being overpowered. I would assume that other folks can also describe good strategies for other specializations that would seem unstoppable, but are also dependent upon gaining certain tiles early on, and my hope is that those scenario descriptions emerge within this thread. Encourage that possibility and more people will post. Maybe even change the title of this thread to be more inclusive of "unstoppable" scenarios of any kind.

Too bad a poll thread does not exist about which strategies people win with the most...
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What i am trying to say is that between equally good draws for all players in the beginning, the one with the Embassy has an advantage because of the unlimited range.

So start posting alternate strategies with Industry/Martial. It will be interesting to read.
 
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Keep in mind that building a couple Embassy will also set you back a lot of money. You can't keep doing that and ignoring industrial. Esp since it also costs money to initiate attacks every round.

Also note that someone with a 3 Martial tile can certainly protect their Embassy against your threat and keep it to themselves.

I agree that Political is very powerful, I also believe that players need to know how to play against it to do something about it. I don't believe it's broken though.

James
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GeoMan wrote:
What i am trying to say is that between equally good draws for all players in the beginning, the one with the Embassy has an advantage because of the unlimited range.

So start posting alternate strategies with Industry/Martial. It will be interesting to read.


I believe a number of strategies have already been suggested. Have you ever tried to specialize in anything other than political power?
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I have won this game many times with all powers.

- To win with sole Industrial you need to spread out quick and fast. Build a few gates and concentrate on tech and area control points. You'll have a huge score early but then get picked on the rest of the game. Having all tech 3's at the end of the game should seal your victory though.

- To win with Martial power, you need to drop a 3 point outpost near the apex of 3 galaxy boards (one being the central board). Then turtle down and control those 3 boards the entire game shooting for as many exclusive bonuses as you can. Get the tech to make your ships have more range and power.

- I think you all figured out Political already....

James
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RPGShop wrote:
Also note that someone with a 3 Martial tile can certainly protect their Embassy against your threat and keep it to themselves.


How can he protect his Embassy with a 3 Martial tile against a Takeover if i am stronger in Embassies of the same color?
 
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Few thoughts, more later as I don't have a to mod time at the moment.

The first two embassies cost 8 Caps. The first FOUR industrial complexes cost 9 Caps. If I'm super lucky and my opponents let me get two 3 power embassy tiles, il have 6 power, versus five power for industrial (counting home sector). With political, I'll be on three boards at most, whereas with industrial I can get onto four boards If I spread out or chain build. Certainly that makes me weaker but ill get an initial point advantage. So that's something to consider. Yes, perhaps you can counter attack next turn, but it remains cheaper for me to rebuild than establishing more embassies. And also, you can deny up paying 5 or 6 or 7 caps late game for only 1 point of power too, much more expansive than industrial or martial.

Also, if you invest heavily or exclusively in political, losing one 3 power embassy can be a big blow, as it now is much more expensive to rebuild it and it weakens your embassies everywhere for other people to attack. Also, people under estimate the power ofmfast cheap destroy actions. It's often better to destroy an embassy than take it over, because with destroy they can't jump their agent in and take it over in the same move, they have to use another action to build.
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GeoMan wrote:
RPGShop wrote:
Also note that someone with a 3 Martial tile can certainly protect their Embassy against your threat and keep it to themselves.


How can he protect his Embassy with a 3 Martial tile against a Takeover if i am stronger in Embassies of the same color?


I think he means protect a different color embassy to build up. If you attack it with an agent, when defending it might now have much power and it will be easy to take back over with military power.
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GeoMan wrote:


So start posting alternate strategies with Industry/Martial. It will be interesting to read.



One of my strongest plays was a mixed Martial/Industrial setup. I never even managed to get a 3-stack martial tile in that game. But virtually every tile I had was a power 2 outpost with a single industrial space with a good web of gates (or just simple adjacency) connecting them. Most of my other tiles were single-stack military with one or two industrial spaces. The industry boosted my economy and gave me the ability to extend the range of my outposts with gates. I also got the tech card that gave my fleets the ability to attack tiles adjacent to them. With this setup, I could attack almost anywhere on the board and could use my entire military power multiple times a turn since I had so many outposts that could initiate the attacks.

The one weakness to this strategy was that I would have to set up my attacks in advance by moving my gates around. It gave my opponents a little time to mount a defense. But with that tech that I mentioned, I had more options for where to attack in order to gain territory in time for the vital point-scoring rounds. With plenty of money to rebuild my fleets, gates everywhere, and 5 movement fleets, I didn't even care too much if I left my fleets in vulnerable locations.
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GeoMan wrote:
RPGShop wrote:
Also note that someone with a 3 Martial tile can certainly protect their Embassy against your threat and keep it to themselves.


How can he protect his Embassy with a 3 Martial tile against a Takeover if i am stronger in Embassies of the same color?
Easy. An uninvolved player with an embassy in a another color lends political support to the defender to keep you from concentrating too much power. That's pretty much all it takes. Embassies are valuable enough that everybody wants them, but they're also powerful for keeping one player from getting all of them.
 
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