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Subject: Mare Nostrum Strategies rss

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Jonathan Wu
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I am new to the game and I would like to hear from some experienced players what their strategies are. Like what hero for what country, which country to attack first, etc.

much appreciated
 
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George Van Voorn
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First of all: hose the tax income by Egypt. If you are playing the original game, without expansion, beware that, if uncontested, Egypt or Rome will win. Therefore, ensure the Carthaginian player understands trade. Rome and Egypt cannot be allowed to amass their resources.

Secondly, do not go to war without an ally. Long-term conquests are almost impossible in this game. This is not a wargame. War serves only to put down a leading or annoying player.

Always maintain some type of fleet to secure your homeland.

Always obtain caravans the first round, to ensure a reasonable income for the rest of the game.

Always build your defences first! Select fortresses over legions, before you start war-mongering...

Do not play this game alone, but seek some friends. Be aware of the subtleties of trading and diplomacy.

If you can, go for the Trading Role. Trading = power.

For the rest, most of it will become apparent after a few plays.

Oetan
 
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Jonathan Wu
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I still dont understand how to utilize negotiations and trade. To me, being the Director of Commerce only allows me to get the card that I want. Can anyone offer other types of strategies involved with the roles?

Having played it a few times, I notice that Babylon can easily win because of its specific hero power of free influence. If Babylon just keep building caravans around its provinces, by the third turn it can have 8 caravans/cities plus 2 tax from the turn before. So by the third turn, it can buy the second hero. And on the fourth turn, it can take in 8 cards plus the one left over from the 3rd turn. Thus with 9 cards again, it can buy the third hero by the fourth turn! The only other players that can buy a hero by the third turn is Greece and Egypt but if they do, they would only reap 7 resources in the 4th turn.

please confirm or criticize this observation and offer other insights into the game!
 
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Richard Young
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Victoria
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There aren't enough caravans available from the limited number provided to have Babylon do what you propose unless the other players are asleep at the switch and let her buy up all the caravans. Then, the variety of goods produced in and around Babylon aren't sufficient to allow the purchases you describe unless you are scoring the goods you need during the trading phase. The necessity for the Director of Commerce to insist on large trades each turn (five, six or more cards), while aimed at preventing Egypt from amassing large numbers of tax cards also serves to curb a nation that aims at diversity (usually Rome, but you're suggesting that Babylon can become another Rome so you should be getting hosed along with her). Large trading blocks ensure that no-one is able to maintain the types of cards they wish (be it either tax cards or diverse goods) in the early stages of the game.

This curious form of "economic warfare" is designed, along with the deliberate limiting of infrastructure (caravans, temples, markets and cities), to provoke player interaction of a military kind. If any player is able to cruise to a victory through peaceful expansion, trade and building has not been playing with others who understand this game. After the initial land-rush and exhaustion of available infrastructure (which should be such as to put no-one in the driver's seat), the next stage of the game is intended to be more militant as the only route to getting more of what you need to build the "nines." In the basic game, Rome's cheap legions make a more aggressive stance easier to implement - which was the driving force behind the expansion which is really needed to balance the game more properly.

In the middle to end game the push is to become the Director of Commerce so that at the opportune time, you can shut down trade altogether such as to preserve the mix of cards you have worked hard to achieve. Once people learn how to work trades, you'll never be able to get what you need that way. Conquest followed by the extinction of trade is the recipe. At this stage, if Egypt has been allowed to amass cities and temples in the early game (which she shouldn't have been allowed to do), and then keep them (ditto), then she would appear to have the inside track again and will be building first (usually). So, the Director of Commerce has to keep the timing carefully in mind in order to make his move when he is at least one "nine" build ahead of Egypt in the race to completion.

The expansion gives all factions more tools to do what is needed, which is initially to prevent Eyypt from cornering too many tax cards and from allowing Rome to diversify too quickly. Trade is the greatest weapon in this followed by judicious conquest. I would offer that this is indeed a war game but the implements are not all military...
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George Van Voorn
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Quote:
I would offer that this is indeed a war game but the implements are not all military...


It is not a wargame since the goal is not military, but that is just my definition. For the rest, I agree with what you say (I put it into single lines).

If Babylon wins, it is indeed because you broke the first rule: buy caravans/cities. Many newbies tend to build their defences too early, so they spend their hard-earned cash on a fortress, e.g. They miss out on income the next turn, yadi, yadi. This is utterly useless. First round, go for caravans/cities. Second round (if possible), go for a temple/marketplace. Third round, go for defence. Only then go to war, if necessary.

This is of course too strictly put, but ONE SINGLE PLAYER SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO GO UNCHECKED. Babylon: prevent limitless expansion/buying of caravans. Especially Carthage must do this. Rome: prevent that Rome obtains the Director of Commerce. Especially Carthage must do this, by buying caravans (hint). Egypt: prevent the amassing of tax. Especially Carthage must do this, by being the Director of Commerce (hint, hint). NEVER LET THE ROOKIE PLAY CARTHAGE.

This is one thing I didn't mention in my review at the time, but after even more plays I've found that Carthage is the kingmaker. Rome or Egypt win, unless they're really stupid, in which case Babylon wins. Carthage must do something (and in the process aid himself, but unfortunately this is secundary).

So one more time: not one single player should be allowed to go about his business unchecked (except Greece, in the base game Greece sucks). And that is where the warfare comes in, and that is why this is not a wargame, because war is a means to obtain a non-military goal: intervene in the plans of Rome, Egypt or perhaps Babylon.

Oetan
 
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Stephen Crawford
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BGG user Philip Thomas has written a general strategy article, as well as a specific one for each nation in the forums for Mare Nostrum: Mythology Expansion. He has experience, and I found his advice very helpful in the game I played.
Take a look at those and see what you think.
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Eric Clark
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This is a very general thing, but I would also recommend against playing Mare Nostrum with casual gamers. They'll frequently let one of their neighbors easily walk away with the game because they're focusing all of their agression on their OTHER neighbor (the game has combat, so you should just kill the other players, right?), or because they'll be inattentive during the trade phase.

"Okay, Mr. Commerce Director. Keeping in mind that Egypt has two tax cards left over from last turn, just collected nine tax, two papyrus and one slave, and can turn any commodity card into a tax card, how many resource cards do you suggest we offer up for trade this turn?"

"Durrr....one!"

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upandawaygames.com
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Some suggestions here: http://spotlightongames.com/analysis/mare.html
 
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