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Subject: Thoughts on Strategy rss

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Antti Tarvainen
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Here are some of my thoughts on strategy of Traders of Genoa. I have only played five games so far (3-5 player games), so I am by no means an expert. However, I won four of those games and came close to winning the fifth, so I hope I have understood at least something about the game.

We have a couple of house rules that might differ from what others are using. Firstly, placing the tower on the center square with Any Start Place doesn't shorten the game. This is because we thought that the ability to decide when the game ends would give too much of an advantage to the last player. Secondly, it is possible to make binding contracts with payments that will be paid right after the action. So, it is possible to make offers like "I'll let you use that Metals, if I'll get the copper".


So, here are my thoughts on strategy:

There is a surplus of money in the game, except in the end, when money is all that matters. It is very rare to run out of money (and if you do, it is not necessarily a bad sign), so you don't have to worry about cashing in your investments until late in the game. Consequently, at the early stages of the game, there is no need to use much of your resources to deliver large orders, for instance. If there's an opening for you to deliver a message or an order and it doesn't cost you much extra, then by all means go for it. But be very careful not to waste your 1:1 or Any Good -cards, or pay too much for the delivery action too early.

So, a good strategy is to build potential early on and convert that potential into money during the last few turns. You should gather just enough resources, so that you can cash it all in during the last turns. Any Start Place -cards aren't worth much in the beginning but rise in value during the game, because optimizing the last turn is big, whereas at the beginning of the game you don't care what resources you get, as long as you get them for a decent price.

If you have lots of unused resources at the end of the game, you have probably misplayed somehow. If you have an undelivered large order, why didn't you trade it for someone who could have delivered it? Don't be afraid to trade a large order and all the three goods to go with it, if that's your only chance to get profit of them. The same goes for all types of resources.

Usually one player has all the privileges at the end of the game, earning him 600 ducats. If two players splitted the privileges, their total worth would be 500 ducats at maximum. So, both of the players would have done better if one of them had traded all of his privileges to the other. If they split the gains, they would both net at least 50 ducats. I haven't done the math but I am fairly confident that this generalizes to more than two players. However, with more than two players owning privileges, you should be extra careful when trading them.

Suppose players A, B and C have all the privileges so that A's privileges are worth 100 (4 in a row), B's 100 (4 in a row) and C's 200 (6 in a row). Now, if any two players combined their privileges, they would net 50 ducats each. For example, if A traded all his privileges to B for 150 ducats, A would gain 150 - 100 = 50 and B 300 - 150 - 100 = 50. But then B could trade his privileges again to C and earn another 50. Then A would net 50, B 100 and C 50. So A wouldn't want to make that trade with B. Instead, A should trade his privileges to B for 75 ducats. Now A would earn 75, B 25 + 50 = 75 and C 50. The situation is symmetrical, in the sense that it doesn't matter which two of the players do the first trade, they always end up better than the third player.

The player who is involved in the best trades usually wins. The amount of money created by a trade of an item equals the difference of the values the players have for the traded item. For example, if my privilege is worth 10 ducats for me and 50 ducats for you, then my trading it to you creates 40 ducats. If we split the gains we are both better of. Likewise, if I need a good that you have and don't need, then there is a way to make a deal that would benefit both of us. So, whenever there is a chance for a trade and a positive difference in value, then there should be a trade.
Money's value is the same for everyone. Therefore, money should only be traded if there are no items with positive value difference that could be traded instead.

However, for the sake of enjoyment, trades should be done quickly and it is not practical to find out the relative values of each item between the traders. And even if we don't consider the time issue, it is more important to be involved in as many trades as possible than to make the maximal trade each time. A good way to encourage other players to trade with you is to play fast enough so that no one feels uncomfortable. However, when making a big, complicated trade, you should take the time to explain properly why the trade is fair and benefits both of you equally.

I could go on about the supposed values of the different items, but I am not too sure about them myself. However, in my opinion, a fresh privilege should be bought for about 25-30, a large order for roughly the same, a single good for about 10 and a 1:1 for 15-20 (because a single good + a 1:1 equals a large order or a privilege). Further actions are worth more in three player games than five player games because in the latter you can usually just pay someone to do your actions for you.

Okay, that's about it. Enjoy the game!
 
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Luca Iennaco
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Re:Thoughts on Strategy
tarvaina wrote:
We have a couple of house rules that might differ from what others are using. Firstly, placing the tower on the center square with Any Start Place doesn't shorten the game. This is because we thought that the ability to decide when the game ends would give too much of an advantage to the last player.

But without that rule being the last player becomes a severe disadvantage.
Besides, once everyone is aware of the possibility, it just adds more strategy to the game (and note that not only the last player, but also the last-but-one could use this option).
Aside: we only play Traders of G. with 5 players (it really loses much for every "missing" player, in my opinion).
 
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Mikko Karvonen
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Re:Thoughts on Strategy
tarvaina wrote:
Secondly, it is possible to make binding contracts with payments that will be paid right after the action. So, it is possible to make offers like "I'll let you use that Metals, if I'll get the copper".


I'd like to point out that this is actually found in the official rules as well. At least in the english version I have, that is. Quite an important rule, I might add.
 
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Bruno Emans
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Re:Thoughts on Strategy
I never played the game, but I hopefully will do so tonight.

When reading the rules, I was wondering if placement on the market would benefit the last player, like you are stating above. So I could figure this out from the rules alone, without even playing.

Good to hear that there are two sides to this. I will check myself when I play my first game (can't wait).

Best regards,
Bruno
 
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Nate Sandall
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My understanding is that you can use a start any space special card to start in the marketplace but that does not shorten the game like rolling it would. I think this is a common misinterpretation of the rules that is covered in a FAQ somewhere but I forget where.
 
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Nate Sandall
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Ahh here it is:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...
The official ruling from Alea is that you can't use the start any space special card to advance the turn marker. Only rolling the marketplace will do that.
 
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Damon Asher
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Cavedog_pdx wrote:
Ahh here it is:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekforum.php3?action=viewthrea...
The official ruling from Alea is that you can't use the start any space special card to advance the turn marker. Only rolling the marketplace will do that.


Doesn't the mini FAQ at that link say the opposite?

"2) If I start in the market using a 'start in any space' token, it the turn marker advanced?

yes "

 
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