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Saint Petersburg» Forums » Strategy

Subject: I'm so bad at this game it's getting depressing rss

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Kevin Bourrillion
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My BSW record is 3 wins out of 27 games. On average, I tend to lose by about 30-40 pts.

I am doing everything I can think of. Trying to make sure I always have enough money for workers in the first half, trying to keep up with my opponent's VP generation power with buildings (or get ahead if possible, but it never is possible), trying to diversify my aristocrats, thinking ahead... I don't know, I'm trying with each decision to be very careful to think it through and do the smartest thing, and I feel like I'm doing well, and then I lose by a wide margin.

All the time I just keep seeing my opponent build all these cool things and I think, how can he possibly have any money for that???

Man, it would be so cool if y'all who keep kickin' my ass could share some of your secrets. Till then, I think I'm just gonna cry like a little baby. :-)
 
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Anthony Simons
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kevinb9n wrote:
My BSW record is 3 wins out of 27 games. On average, I tend to lose by about 30-40 pts.


Oh, I see; you want all us real losers to know you've had three wins on BSW?
 
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Michelle Zentis
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Hmmm...I'm certainly not kicking your ass on BSW, but I have learned a very important secret to St. Pete's that I'll share with you: the only way to win is not to play. laugh

I too suck monumentally at this game, and one day I asked myself why I kept playing it since I didn't enjoy it (not even on those rare occasions where I happened to do well). So I now avoid St. Pete's whenever possible, and I'm a happier person for it.

Oh, BTW, if you're still determined to beat your head against the wall:

1. Go for aristocrats. Get different ones if they're not too expensive; otherwise stack up on cheap ones (since they get cheaper as you get more) and snag as many aristocrat upgrades as you can.

2. Don't run out of money.

3. If you can get at least one of each basic type of worker you'll have good opportunities for upgrades.

4. Keep an eye on the end of the game. For the last round or two (or maybe even three), don't buy workers unless you'll immediately make at least your money back; better to keep your money for aristocrats.
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Kevin Bourrillion
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caesarmom wrote:
Hmmm...I'm certainly not kicking your ass on BSW, but I have learned a very important secret to St. Pete's that I'll share with you: the only way to win is not to play. laugh

I too suck monumentally at this game, and one day I asked myself why I kept playing it since I didn't enjoy it (not even on those rare occasions where I happened to do well). So I now avoid St. Pete's whenever possible, and I'm a happier person for it.


Heh, well, actually, despite my subject line, I am actually having a lot of fun getting my ass handed to me daily. I just think, you know, wouldn't it be nice to win sometimes?

K
 
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Dave Peters
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Another way to get slightly better at St.Pete is to try the AI from westpark-gamers.de - http://www.westpark-gamers.de/download/sp_pc_e.php

Unless you're very careful, it'll teach you some not-entirely-optimal habits; but you play a game in a couple minutes - and can back up and replay a game to investigate different strategies, if that floats your boat. [edited to fix typo.]
 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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rynelf wrote:
Another way to get slightly better at St.Pete is to try the AI from westpark-gamers.de - http://www.westpark-gamers.de/download/sp_pc_e.php


Thanks Dave... this and the PR evolver are enough to make me kinda sorta want a Windows machine...

Course you and I could play if you ever showed up at Wed. night game night :-)
 
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Steve M
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Ok, this is the single most important thing that *I* learned when learning St. Petersburg:

Create spaces during Phase 2 (buildings) and Phase 4 (upgrades) so that you guarantee yourself something during phase 1 (workers) and phase 3 (nobles)... but don't create spaces which will give something away to your opponent.

For example, lets say you're playing a 2 player game. You're picking first in the buildings phase (2), and you know you'll be picking second in the next phase, the nobles phase (3). If you take a building, you'll create one space which will be filled by a noble, which your opponent will get next phase, whilst you get nothing. If you take that building, you'll have to take a SECOND building to get yourself a noble, which will most likely be too costly for you. So, wait for your opponent to create a space first; if he does, then you create one, so you both get a noble, and if he doesn't, then you don't create one either, and neither of you get a noble.

Give particular attention to phase 1 in round 3... remember that cards with a -1 token on them at the end of round 2 will be dissapearing to create extra spaces. Ensure that enough spaces exist so that you get AT LEAST as many workers as the other players.
 
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Paul Harrington
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I know how you feel; I was like that in Funkenschlag (Power Grid) for a long time. You are doing the right thing. BGG is an awesome place to find strategy hints. Late in my 0-21 run, I dove into BGG and found some strategy hints and became competitive. Unfortunately, a lot of them are buried under 'gemeral' rather than 'strategy' and are hard to find. Let me dig up a few that helped me:

This thread was by far the most helpful.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/26300

If this hasn't totally toasted your mind, other threads that might be helpful (even if some of them have my biased opinion in them ) are:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/24273

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/34701 (I don't even believe all the things I said in this article but it may get you thinking about things you didn't think about before)

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/92363 (at least this one is under Strategy)

Another thing, when you say you play on BSW, I think you play a lot of 2 player games. Want to win more often? Play 4 player games! Advertise for them. How could you possibly win more often with 3 opponents than with 1? Well, several reasons:
a. The two player game has many more decisions, and thus gives the better player far more of an advantage
b. BSW players have played mostly 2 player games and even some of the better ones don't play 4 player St Pete that well (they should be played differently) but have had enough practice to play 2-player games very well
c. Because people play differently, there is more randomness in a 4 player game
d. If you advertise for a 4-player game, you will (at least in my experience) attract weaker players. I do advertise for 4 player games sometimes not because I want weaker opponents but because I prefer 4 player St Pete.

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Linda Baldwin
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I have to agree that the two-player game is VERY unforgiving -- and makes the learning curve much steeper, since you don't just get beaten, you get murdered. I had the same problem, but with experience in 3-4 player games, I started getting a better feel for when to buy what, how much to safely spend, when to put a card in my hand and when to pay for it, etc.

The hard lessons for me were:

Don't get seduced by buildings and upgrades in the early game, or even expensive aristocrats, in the early game. Save that cash for workers until you have a good income. Cheap stuff is OK in moderation.

Don't put the big shiny expensive card in your hand, figuring you'll get it out sooner or later. If you don't get it out soon enough, it won't pay for itself; if you do, you'll be broke, and screwed.

Don't forget there's no income or scoring after the upgrade phase. Nothing like buying a really nice upgrade, only to realize you're now broke for the worker phase. Put it in your hand and bring it out on the phase it scores in, if possible. (To me, upgrades are the single best use of the hand.)

In the endgame, don't buy anything (worker/building/whatever) that won't pay for itself. Cheap dupes are nice for workers & buildings, and dupe nobles if you have upgrades available. Remember, a dupe noble doesn't count for your noble bonus, but neither does upgrading a non-dupe. (Noble bonus seems to decide most games, at least with 3+ players.)

Once you've got a really good 3+ player game going, you can try going back to 2p, but you may still get kicked around a bit. Now, though, you'll be better prepared to learn from it.

 
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Kevin Bourrillion
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I appreciate everyone posting advice. Thanks.

What's truly depressing though.... is that all the advice in here is stuff I knew already, and I still lose constantly. My win rate now is 15 out of 67; again nearly all 2-player games.

I wish I knew what I was doing wrong.

Despite all the losing I just upgraded my rating from a 9 to a 10. I'm super addicted to this game!
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