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Subject: Consistency rss

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Kevin Cioffi

Pennsylvania
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A couple of recent low scoring Egyptian games in a row (low 50's) have left me desiring more consistency. I was hoping to get a discussion going on how to more reliably score closer to 70, 80 or even 90, especially when it seems the odds are against you and you aren't drawing the cards you want.

Let's talk about Egypt specifically, though I assume a lot of this discussion could apply to the other factions as well.

A problem I seem to run into often as the Egyptians is not generating enough Workers. They produce 3 Workers a turn which obviously is not enough to both draw enough cards and also spend them into some of the Egyptian VP generators. Should I be relying on drawing a common card like Village to generate more? Should I be aggressively Dealing with a number of my faction cards to ramp up Worker production?

Another frustrating situation is when I just cannot seem to get good resource production going in the early rounds, which severely cripples my late game scoring. How do you overcome situations where you might have a good amount of gold producing/stocking up, but then you are forced to burn them as wood, or, god forbid, stone, just to get some common locations up? Should I be more focused on diverse production? For example securing a source of wood instead of razing for it?

How do you guys balance those oh-so-important card draws between Common and Faction decks? Whenever I draw from Faction and get a dud, I regret it and wish I would have drawn from Common for a chance at a cheap location as a foundation, or a Village, Watchtower or Castle. Whenever I draw from Common and get a dud, I regret it and wish I would have drawn from Faction for a chance of a Pyramid or something. How do you deal with that decision between Common and Faction drawing, and how do you make the most of what you draw, even if it isn't ideal?

I think the obvious, ideal situation for an Egyptian player is the following: By turn four or so, have a couple Pyramids out along with some nasty stone production (Temple of Bast, etc.) Have a couple Sphinxes out. And finally, in the action row, have your point engines (stone, gold and workers for VPs) with enough resources to make them all pop. How do you more consistently make this happen?

I guess beyond these more specific examples I am more interested in hearing what in general can be done to achieve more consistency. If I finish a game at 53 points, am I always to blame? Or should I expect a handful of 50 point games? What can be done to combat luck of the draw and make the most of what you have? Is it possible to always score high through strategic use of sub-optimal draws?

Thanks!
 
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Scott Douglass
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In my experience, the other factions are more consistent because of stronger card draw options, and Egypt can struggle to get the card draw that they need. If you really struggle for card draw, you'll often not score that well. You will sometimes score less than usual depending on your cards, but I think you can consistently get higher than 50.

I tend to focus more on drawing faction locations over common locations all else being equal. The faction location deck is much smaller, and you can more consistently dig for the cards that you need. I try to draw my entire faction deck by the end of the game. Your scoring engine is going to be primarily due to your faction locations. That said, you need to draw both kinds of locations.

Prioritize common locations that let you gain card advantage (card draw, Settlers, workers...), and raze enemy locations that have 2 cards in the raze field if you don't absolutely need the resources from razing another location.
 
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Kevin Cioffi

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Thanks, that is solid insight.

I got a few good games in against the wife last night, so I thought I would add a bit more to the discussion.

First game I tried Egyptian again. I played a bit better and ended with a score of 75 or so. My main source of points was Sphinx Alley with double Sphinx in the Feature row. I would have broken 80 but my wife was Roman and Engineered my second Sphinx Alley on the last turn, so instead of using it I had to pay a gold to the swimming pool to use my first one again, which I was only able to afford it once after the pool tax.

Second I played Barbarian. I had a ridiculous amount of Workers the entire game, but was hurting a bit for other resources. I was able to draw through most of my Faction deck, but did not have the resources to play it all and ended with quite a bit left over in my hand. Still, I ended with a score of 85 or so.

Finally I played Roman, a faction I typically struggle with. I basically had The Perfect Game. All Administrations early, refunds and points on grey and red buildings from both Faction and Common locations. I drew my entire deck and built everything save for 4 deals I made. The efficiency of the engine was ridiculous. The gold refunds I was getting every time I built allowed me to easily dump out more Common locations. I wasn't hurting for a single resource. At the end of the game I built a Statue for 12 points, and dumped my leftover gold on Young Sculptors and Colossus. Final score: 151

It's hard to imagine scoring significantly higher than that with the Romans, and I was really kind of in awe with how insane my score was. What I really want to do is reach a similar score with the other Factions. Does anyone have advice on how to reach similar heights with the other Factions? I imagine it would require "Perfect Games" just like I experienced with the Romans, but what do those Perfect Games look like with the other Factions?
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Nick Sephton
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I am amazed that you can score so highly with the Romans. They seem by far the worst faction, their buildings are expensive and they don't have good resource generation like other factions.

Could you give me a rough idea of how you were playing to do this? Romans consistently come last in our games, and Barbarians almost always first.
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Kevin Cioffi

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Yeah, no problem. I will try to lay it out.

As a preface, I have played Roman maybe 3 times before this, and scored low, in the 40-50 range.

This time, however, I had a really good start and got all three Administrations out very early (When you build Roman, gain 1 gold or 1 VP). This effect stacks, so whenever I built a Faction location I was able to gain 3 gold. Yes, I agree that the Romans are expensive, but with this in play, you are basically making money by laying Faction locations, not spending it, and you can easily get a chain going, limited only by the common locations you have out for foundation costs. This effect was further amplified by the Common card Supplier that I played (When you build Grey gain 1 gold AND 1 VP). Now, building a Grey Roman location can refund 4 gold. Pretty insane, right?

Romans also have a card that awards 2 VP when building Red. There is another Common card that awards 1 gold and 1 VP for building any Red. With all of these cards in play at once you have the option to make money almost every time you build, or take the VP instead from Administration when you know you have enough gold to finish the round.

Resources are hardly an issue at this point, so the name of the game is draw draw draw. Between Watchtowers, Castles, Roman Legionnaires, and cashing in 2 Workers for 1 card, I was able to draw through my entire Faction deck, and also draw a ton of commons to fuel my Faction production. Mid-round Four, and especially Round Five, it is time to use this incredible engine to endlessly build, and gain massive points.

Imagine gaining ~5 VP or ~5 gold for building a Roman location and hopefully you can see how this score was possible. Build a couple Roman locations, store up a ton of gold, build some more, and take pure VP. Also keep in mind that Trade Colonies are both Grey and Red, so the bonus there is even more ridiculous.

I was also lucky enough to draw and play the Common location Statue at the end of round five (1 VP per grey location at time of building) for a whopping 12 points because of all the grey I had built up.

At the very end of round five I was almost at 100 VP. I finished the game by spending my excess gold on Colossus (4VP) and the Young Sculptors I had out (2 VP each I believe).

I had built my entire faction deck except for ~4 that I made deals with throughout the game. That means about 25 built faction locations. At 2 points each, that added 50 VP to my final score, leaving me with 151.

This made me realize that Imperial Settlers is all about chains and efficiency. The more efficient you are, and the more you are able to chain plays into more plays, the better you will do. The key is learning to spot these opportunities, which takes practice. Sometimes it is better to hold onto a card so you can play things in a more efficient order. Finding and playing these combos is where the depth and enjoyment lies for me in this game.

Make sure you are aware of some basic rules also. When you first play a production card, it produces right away. When you make a deal, it produces right away. When you play a Feature like Administration (Build a Roman location and gain 1 gold or 1VP) it triggers right away. This is how you chain one play into another.

Here is a basic example: Let's say you have no resources on the board except for 1 sword, but you have some cards in hand. Let's say you use that sword to Raze from hand for 2 Wood. You then use that 2 Wood to build a Common wood production for 2 more Wood. You use one of those Wood to build a Village and immediately gain 2 Workers. You just got 4 Wood and 2 Workers from 1 sword, plus laid down two production cards that will continue paying each round. Pretty efficient, right?

In my case, I just happened to have the perfect storm in play and all of my actions were ridiculously efficient all game, which then converted into a massive VP engine at the end of the game.

Let me know if you have any more questions. Romans might start off a little slow in rounds one and two, but can explode at the end of the game if played correctly.



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Nick Sephton
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captainsqually wrote:

When you first play a production card, it produces right away. When you make a deal, it produces right away. When you play a Feature like Administration (Build a Roman location and gain 1 gold or 1VP) it triggers right away. This is how you chain one play into another.


We were playing these wrong initially, but noticed after a couple of games. When you say a feature "triggers right away", you don't mean ALL features, just ones that would trigger on building a building of it's own type?

captainsqually wrote:
As a preface, I have played Roman maybe 3 times before this, and scored low, in the 40-50 range. This time, however, I had a really good start and got all three Administrations out very early


This matches up with my experiences of the Romans. You normally score low, but then you happened to get a massive score when you got lucky. They seem very luck driven - you need your administrations early, otherwise the other faction's buildings are just more efficient than yours.

captainsqually wrote:

Romans also have a card that awards 2 VP when building Red.


This building seems rubbish, as the Romans have only 5 red buildings in their whole deck. I know you can draw common cards that are red, but the Headquarters seems much better, as you have 18 grey buildings!

Romans seem like a much weaker faction. Compared to the Barbarians, they are almost comically rubbish. Barbarians have ridiculous resource production like Village and Primeval Forest, both of which cost 1 resource, generate 2 resources, are faction buildings and don't require a foundation! SO GOOD! Egyptians have Pyramids which are basically the same deal. And both Barbarians and Egyptians have more efficient VP generation engines (Expedition, Dark Chapel, Raze; Sphinx, Sphinx Alley, Goldsmith). I don't really understand what Romans get in exchange!
 
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Koolin
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Romans are easier to learn, but hard to be good with. The Romans can be played from the beginning and are decent in scoring, but if you want to be good with the Romans you need to plan ahead and need a bit of luck. The other factions also need a bit of luck, but have more VP generating possibilities. Luck is an important factor for re-playability, so it is not surprising that it is embedded in all factions.
 
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Scott Douglass
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In my 3 plays with the Romans, I've always gotten over 100. Admittedly 2 of those games were solo, but still. I'm pretty confident that you should be able to score consistently over 50 points with them.
 
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Nick Sephton
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sdougla2 wrote:
In my 3 plays with the Romans, I've always gotten over 100. Admittedly 2 of those games were solo, but still. I'm pretty confident that you should be able to score consistently over 50 points with them.


Rather than just saying "I did it", can you explain how? I suspect it was just that you got luckily in drawing Administrations early.

Barbs/Egyptians can draw most everything in the wrong order and still score decently. Romans seem to REQUIRE lucky draws to get a decent score.

Edit: Also, "consistently over 50" is very different to always scoring 100!
 
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Winston Spencer
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Romans are my best scoring and I never scored less than 80 with then. If you have lucky draws you will score more, but you don't need more luck than the others factions, because Romans can wait to begin combo-roll.

You don't necessary need administrators or headquarters in the beginning to score above 80 with Romans, but you need wise drafts of commons cards.

What I normally do is building a lot of commons I keep most of my factions cards in hand to build them in round 5 (or round 4) when I have more administrations and headquarters (commons that give you points are good to save too).

With Romans you will score a lot in the last rounds if you have enough foundations, so you need to prepare and don't worry if you have less than 10 points in the beginning of round 4.
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Koolin
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Some planning is involved indeed and importantly, don't rush things, be patience.
 
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Nick Sephton
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Aztarun wrote:
What I normally do is building a lot of commons I keep most of my factions cards in hand to build them in round 5 (or round 4) when I have more administrations and headquarters (commons that give you points are good to save too).


OK, I'll give that a try.
 
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Scott Douglass
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Well I don't have a large sample size, so I don't know if I can consistently break 100, but I have trouble seeing a situation where I couldn't at least break 70 with them.

The Romans need a lot of card draw and locations. Use Legions, Architect, Watchtower, workers, and Castle to get cards. Use workers for cards unless you have a better action for them or you desperately need another resource. Make a few deals early to get production started, preferably with Roman Bank, Sculptor's Workshop, Colossus, Young Sculptor, Engineers, and/or Spies. You don't want to make too many deals, but it's a good idea to make ~4 deals. It's good to build Stone-Cutters, Builders, and Barracks early in order to get production started.

Never make deals with Administration or Headquarters.

Whenever you can raze a common location of an opponent that will give you 2 cards, strongly consider doing that.

Early on prioritize common locations that give you extra cards (Watchtower, Castle, Town), locations (Settlers), or are net free to build, particularly ones that have good production (Old Forest is great, but Lumberjack, Quarry, Armory, and Ruins are worth considering too). The Romans benefit the most from holding off on full scale faction location production the longest (at least if they don't get their engine cards early), so benefit significantly from getting good income from common locations.

Once you have a decent start on production, you can more easily branch out to the more expensive common locations that can offer larger benefits like Rubble, Supplier, and Statue. The locations that reward many grey locations tend to be really strong for the Romans.

You may be able to wait on building your Trading Colonies until you have your Administration, Headquarters, and Gardens set up, though if you desperately need them to get your production started, you can play them earlier.

The Romans don't need as much production as other factions because they can chain locations with Administration and Headquaters as long as they have enough cards. You should be aiming to draw your entire faction deck and a similar number of common locations. The disadvantage of the Romans is that they don't have any faction locations that don't require a foundation and have relatively weak production, which leads to having relatively slow starts. Administration and Headquarters make up for this, and allow the Romans to really start chaining moves together, and should allow you to score quite well in the last 2 rounds.
 
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Paul Rupp
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I played a 4 player game over the weekend, and the Egyptian player got the Oasis building out very early in the game. I don't have the card in front of me, but basically every time an opponent trades 2 workers for 1 wood/stone/food/card, Egypt gets a worker from the supply.

He didn't have any worker shortage issues for the rest of the game, to the point where I'm wondering if we played something wrong (other than the obvious, 'stop trading 2 for 1').

 
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Koolin
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That is correct, it forces the opponent to check if he really needs to trade. It is a powerful card. I had that card once and suddenly I was just trading workers for cards, just because had a lot of spare workers.
 
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Roger Reisinger
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Interesting that you guys find the Barbarians and Romans the strongest factions, it has been my experience that the Japanese and Egyptians are king.

Maybe because you are all playing solo or 2p, I only play with 4.
 
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Koolin
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I guess it also depends on the players you play with and if you switch factions often.
 
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