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Subject: Exploration seems too strong rss

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Chris VanWell
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In a three player game, if you go third you get an extra gold.

First buy speed 2. Second, move 2.
Buy additional marker, now 2 are on Lisboa. Second, move ships.
(First ship will discover unless someone beat you to it, one marker on Lisboa goes to Historian, the other moves to a trade good.)
Sell goods, move ship to banker. Move 1, discover.
Buy marker. Move ships, discover with lead ship and get on goods with Lisboa ships.
Sell goods, move ships.
Rinse & repeat... By the time you are going to discover India you should have a spare 2 gold to buy a church on your last turn. 9 points unless another player is doing the same thing, you can't lose. And if they are doing the same thing then it will end in a tie, and you will probably lose due to the extra turn.

Game seems broken to me... Marketplaces are useless and most tech is useless against this strategy.

Edited for clarity
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David Jones
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Already discussed

I have a similar feeling about the harbor maintenance technology. If nobody is doing an exploration strategy and somebody picks that tech up, they usually win. I think I even had one game where I had six ships on the board and was able to sail them all twice. Won by seven points, I think, which is a large margin in this game. I've not actually played the game enough to confidently say the game is broken, but there do seem to be certain early game setups that can't be countered or stopped once they get going.
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Christian K
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I tried it and lost by one point since the others get an additional turn after it. So that at least suggests that it is pretty balanced to me.
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Dave Martin
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Before I bought the game I thought that exploration was too strong, so as soon as I bought, I sat down to test it.

We've played about 15-16 games now (many have been two player, but often playing as 3 or 4 players).

I don't think either of you are correct, although maybe we haven't perfected individual strategies, as we've tried several different strategies.

Pure discovery is a better than average play, usually comes in first or second, but more often second than first. Other players must respond accordingly to a player's strategy threat. One possible move vs discovery is the renaissance card, 3 pts with 1 action (after you got the money, that is). I think your strategy is 7-9 pts (if you can get the money and cube to buy the church) in 7 turns. I'd have to replay it out to see if you can actually accomplish the 9 pts in 7 turns - you need 1 discovery ship, 2 historians, sometimes a banker, 2 wealth at the end, and wealth, actions and cubes to sell goods and buy more cubes as the game progresses. So the other players will have 8 turns to respond (your example uses the 3rd player).

We always have thought that going 3rd or 4th with more money is an advantage.

As for Harbor Maintenance, it has also done better than average, but last game I came in 3rd with that one. The player with architecture and lots of buildings came in first.

If the game goes long (no one after pure discovery) then players with guild, East India Company or Mission Church (if someone has two of those, they probably won) have the advantage.

Overall, our experience is that there are likely 5-10 legitimate strategies to pursue, and the interaction between them (and using techs to your advantage) is what makes a great game.

But if you can do 9 pts in 7 turns, you may have won.
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Chris VanWell
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VS Harbor Maintenance
Harbor Maintenance is a strong tech, but it seems balanced by the fact that you need to have 3 ships to even get it going... which will take quite a few actions to get to, and you need to sell trade goods to get that much income to afford those ships, and you have to buy the tech and you will either need to grab a stronghold to make it work or upgrade ship speed to get around the early trade good blockages.

The issue with Exploration Strategy is that it is so cheap and doesn't require all that many cubes. All you have to do is get ship speed 2, then go. Especially if you start with more than 2g, then you can get your cash flowing in with your lagging ships. Unless the other players keep the first two ports resources tied up when it's your turn for the entire game, you can get the small amount of gold you need to fund your historians. Once you get on the resource you will be on there the rest of the game after the first few rounds; on your turn you will sell goods, then move ships and get right back on those resources while at the same time advancing your leader ship.
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Dave Martin
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Did a few 'test runs' the other day:

Yes, you can get 9 pts in 7 turns with discovery strategy starting with 3 coins.

So I spent a little time on other strategies, starting with 2 coins and going 8 turns (as that would be the players going against them).

I stopped after I found 3 strategies that beat it, but see large asterisk below:

1) You can get 10 pts in 8 turns with a Printing Press + Metallurgy + Renaissance strategy (3 pts Renaissance, 3 pts Printing Press, 2 pts for selling goods, and 2 pts for a church).

2) You can get 11 pts in 8 turns with a Metallurgy + Harbor Maintenance + Renaissance strategy (3 pts Renaissance, 6 pts combined Harbor Maintenance and selling goods, and 2 pts church).

3) You can get 10 pts in 8 turns with a Metallurgy + Mission Church strategy (4 pts churches, 4 pts Mission Church, 2 pts selling goods).

It follows that a guild strategy or a East India Co. strategy would be 8 pts in 8 turns, + whatever pts benefit the buildings could confer in that amount of time (possibly none, vs the way I played it here - again, see below).

The large asterisk here is that I played all of these as only one player, with no moves ever being blocked. For my 3 strategies that's unlikely to occur, although sometimes you can time a tech purchase or a block purchase for the moment you're being blocked. The discovery may occasionally be blocked, but more likely that someone joins them instead - haven't really studied what happens then...
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David Jones
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Quote:
Yes, you can get 9 pts in 7 turns with discovery strategy starting with 3 coins.

I feel like I've missed something here. There are nine undiscovered towns at the start of the game and the rules prohibit discovery by the same player twice in one turn. Shouldn't the discovery strategy net you 10 points in ten turns if it goes uncontested? Similarly, I don't understand how you can get nine for seven unless you had time to buy a tech (or some other action) along the way. Edit: After re-reading OP, I can see that you buy a church for two points, but you still need ten turns to complete discovery and India is worth two points, not one. So isn't the OP strategy really 12 points in ten turns?

Otherwise, I don't contest Dave's analysis, but I'm wondering how much these strategies rely on the expectation that somebody is going to rush-end the game via exploration. If the explorer slows down to do something else (Map Tech? East India?) do your three strategies stand up once the game goes longer? If not, it still seems like the explorer has an advantage. If the explorer threatens to win by playing a short game, you box yourself in with a short term strategy. The explorer then switches to a long term strategy that is less efficient for you. For example, what happens if, three turns from the end, the explorer takes her stockpiled money and buys two marketplaces instead? She now has a money engine you don't, so she can profit from Bank/Guild in way that Renaissance/Printing Press can't.

Slightly changing the "theme" of the post, I think my real disappointment here is that I hate to see India turned into a competition of "quick" strategies. I realize its a micro-game, but I still like the engine building aspect of the game. Fortunately nobody else in my gaming group reads this forum, nor have they caught on to any rapid-ending strategies. If this were to devolve into a game where "he who ends the game first wins," then I would probably stop playing it. My complaint isn't that exploration might be overpowered, but that if exploiting exploration becomes a standard strategy, the game becomes uninteresting. I wonder if having a "minimum game length timer" (15 turns?) might be a solution.
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Neil Christiansen
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The best solution would be an expansion that provides some advantages to other paths to victory that get ignored if one rushes exploration!



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Dave Martin
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davypi wrote:
After re-reading OP, I can see that you buy a church for two points, but you still need ten turns to complete discovery and India is worth two points, not one. So isn't the OP strategy really 12 points in ten turns?


I think that you're right in 4 player - but the OP referred to 3 player, so that's what I stuck with.

You're also right that Printing Press and Renaissance are short term strategies, and get beat in a longer game by someone who builds up an engine. If it's the discoverer who switches to longer term - well, doesn't that make an interesting game?!

I also kind of like your minimum number of turns idea, or just using all the cards, like someone else suggested.



 
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Bill Eldard
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siejai wrote:
Harbor Maintenance is a strong tech, but it seems balanced by the fact that you need to have 3 ships to even get it going... which will take quite a few actions to get to, and you need to sell trade goods to get that much income to afford those ships, and you have to buy the tech and you will either need to grab a stronghold to make it work or upgrade ship speed to get around the early trade good blockages.


Additionally, the point bonus only applies for every 3 ships that begin in Lisboa and/or strongholds. Unless one has a stronghold with in ship speed (range) of the the next unexplored port, the bonus is often gained at the expense of exploring. Executing the exploration strategy with the Harbor Maintenance probably requires a minimum of 4 ships available each turn.
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Dave Martin
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davypi wrote:
I think my real disappointment here is that I hate to see India turned into a competition of "quick" strategies. I realize its a micro-game, but I still like the engine building aspect of the game. Fortunately nobody else in my gaming group reads this forum, nor have they caught on to any rapid-ending strategies. If this were to devolve into a game where "he who ends the game first wins," then I would probably stop playing it. My complaint isn't that exploration might be overpowered, but that if exploiting exploration becomes a standard strategy, the game becomes uninteresting.


I agree with you, the game is more fun with the engine-building elements.

But I also think that the game needs a tension between long and short term strategies for everything in the game to be useful; and the players decide the game length.

For example, if we always knew it would be a long game, buying one or two of Guild/East India Company/Mission Church becomes quite important - but in a short game they cost too much for their reward. In the short game you would buy things like Printing Press/Metallurgy/Renaissance. Harbor Maintenance is likely good for both.

In our 'group' (which has mostly been just my wife and myself) we usually intentionally ignore discovery strategy, at least for a little while.


PS. I hope I'm not talking too much in this forum, but both the game and this discussion interest me.
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David Jones
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Eldard wrote:
Additionally, the point bonus only applies for every 3 ships that begin in Lisboa and/or strongholds. Unless one has a stronghold with in ship speed (range) of the the next unexplored port, the bonus is often gained at the expense of exploring.


There is no "expense" of exploring with this strategy. If you have four boats, traveling is one point. Claim four different goods and sell - you get another point. If you can't claim four goods or if you have only three boats, returning ships to Lisboa is a free action, so send everybody home and sail them again. Thats two point per turn, every turn, until you have to start buying historians to keep up with the pace of your VP generation. On top of that, you're making enough money that putting six ships on the board isn't that hard, so that two points for sailing and you have an action to spare. Once you get this wound up, it outpaces exploration. The explorer has to have the Map tech or some other secondary strategy to keep up with you.
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David Jones
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Dave Martin wrote:
But I also think that the game needs a tension between long and short term strategies for everything in the game to be useful; and the players decide the game length.


I agree, but I also think a game that runs too short just becomes boring. I can't believe the player running the quick exploration strategy is actually having fun playing the same two moves every round. Similarly, I can't believe that the player responding to her is having fun running one of the scripts required to beat exploration. All of the choice goes away from the game at that point, so why even call it a game? The type of tension you're talking about works well in a game like Village, because even in a short game a partial strategy has time to play out and score points. Quick exploration in India simply shuts down every other strategy on the board. Its one thing to cut off a player who has a built an engine to stop them from catching up to you. Its a completely different thing to prevent every other player from ever building an engine in the first place.
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Andre Bronswijk
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davypi wrote:
Thats two point per turn, every turn, until you have to start buying historians to keep up with the pace of your VP generation.

Please note: There should be an erratum for Harbor Maintenance. It can be used only once per turn. So you can use 1 action for 1 VP with 3 ships or for 2 VP with 6 ships. But you can't use your second action for using the Harbor Maintenance again.

This has been decided by the game designer some weeks ago, and it will be implemented in the German version (published in October in Essen).
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Jon Gameson
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Thygra wrote:
davypi wrote:
Thats two point per turn, every turn, until you have to start buying historians to keep up with the pace of your VP generation.

Please note: There should be an erratum for Harbor Maintenance. It can be used only once per turn. So you can use 1 action for 1 VP with 3 ships or for 2 VP with 6 ships. But you can't use your second action for using the Harbor Maintenance again.

This has been decided by the game designer some weeks ago, and it will be implemented in the German version (published in October in Essen).


Will there be anything official from AEG or the designer about this for those of us with different version of the game already?

Would be nice to hear it from them is all
 
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Andre Bronswijk
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TheOneEared wrote:
Will there be anything official from AEG or the designer about this for those of us with different version of the game already?

I don't know, sorry.
 
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Jon Gameson
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Thygra wrote:
TheOneEared wrote:
Will there be anything official from AEG or the designer about this for those of us with different version of the game already?

I don't know, sorry.


Not to worry, though it best to ask anyhow
 
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Brandon Brockway

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Played for the first time last night and tried the exploration strategy with the Map technology (gain 1 extra VP for discovering new locations). This was a 3 player game with 12 cards and I flipped all but the starting 3 and 1 other. I ended the game with 18 VPs and if I would have played a little better should have had over 20. It was a close game though as one player was buying up marketplaces with the Guild tech and finished with around 15 VPs.
 
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pascal bons
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If exploration rush is too strong or ends the game too fast, a house rule can deny the additional VP for discovering India ?
 
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Hardy
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Edgecrusher100 wrote:
Played for the first time last night and tried the exploration strategy with the Map technology (gain 1 extra VP for discovering new locations).


You don't gain 1 VP, you can buy 1 for a gold.
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val ivanoff
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A small house rule has somewhat changed the situation with getting too many VP by discovering new locations. The ship discovering a new location is immideately placed on Lisboa card. This way we consider them to be settlers, who land and stay at location permanently, "bringing Christianity to the barbarians"
 
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Rafael MB
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Thygra wrote:
davypi wrote:
Thats two point per turn, every turn, until you have to start buying historians to keep up with the pace of your VP generation.

Please note: There should be an erratum for Harbor Maintenance. It can be used only once per turn. So you can use 1 action for 1 VP with 3 ships or for 2 VP with 6 ships. But you can't use your second action for using the Harbor Maintenance again.

This has been decided by the game designer some weeks ago, and it will be implemented in the German version (published in October in Essen).


That's very interesting! Do you know if there any more errata?

 
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