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Subject: Strategy: Using many athletes? rss

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Michael Schneider
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I have played this now a couple of times and we found that the most viable strategy seems to be to get a second athlete early and just max the two of them out to maximize your chances to score big points in the tournament.

Thus, there seems to be little value to have three, or even four athletes, especially considering that the master has to basically spend 3 of his actions to get the third athlete and 5 of his actions to get the fourth (out of 6 total actions). Is there something I'm not seeing that makes a strategy effective that uses more than two athletes? I'm aware that they give you more actions and you get some by doing quests, thereby saving master actions. But still, it seems to be inferior to focusing on two athletes...
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Jonathan Er
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I haven't played the game, but from reading the rules, if you have more athletes, wouldn't that mean that you enter more into the tournament?

Which also means if you get them all in the same half (battling each other), aren't you guaranteed some big points through progression in the tournament ladder?

Just something I was thinking about
 
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Chris
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Jion wrote:
I haven't played the game, but from reading the rules, if you have more athletes, wouldn't that mean that you enter more into the tournament?

Which also means if you get them all in the same half (battling each other), aren't you guaranteed some big points through progression in the tournament ladder?

Just something I was thinking about


you always only start a tournament with a maximum of two athletes
 
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Michael Schneider
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adjacentbeastman wrote:
Jion wrote:
I haven't played the game, but from reading the rules, if you have more athletes, wouldn't that mean that you enter more into the tournament?

Which also means if you get them all in the same half (battling each other), aren't you guaranteed some big points through progression in the tournament ladder?

Just something I was thinking about


you always only start a tournament with a maximum of two athletes


Jup, so that can't be it
 
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Mattia Pellegrini Miani
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More athletes means more point in some different ways, for example the points from more quests, more special move, more tools and the points on the athlete himself. Obviously the goal is not use the other athletes in the tournament, but use them only to make more points. I think is a very worthy strategy. Just my 2cents.
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Juan Miguel Cano
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knurps wrote:
I have played this now a couple of times and we found that the most viable strategy seems to be to get a second athlete early and just max the two of them out to maximize your chances to score big points in the tournament.

Thus, there seems to be little value to have three, or even four athletes, especially considering that the master has to basically spend 3 of his actions to get the third athlete and 5 of his actions to get the fourth (out of 6 total actions). Is there something I'm not seeing that makes a strategy effective that uses more than two athletes? I'm aware that they give you more actions and you get some by doing quests, thereby saving master actions. But still, it seems to be inferior to focusing on two athletes...


Yeah, I thought the same thing after three or four plays. I don't think more athletes gives you that much of advantage regarding actions because if you accelerate training with the first two athletes you can take some quests and points too.

Maybe with 4 players (I only played 1-3) the game strategy changes but at least for now I don't see any reason to change it. Wich is sad, by the way.
 
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I agree - so far the player with only 2 fighters win tournaments and entire games in my games. The problem is that there is not much to do for additional fighters that could help entire DOJO (only: "get 1VP" , get reservation tile with 1st player marker and adventures if you have enough DAN level). It's much better to use your Master for accelerate training of your 2 fighters.

Maybe if athelete 1 (senpai) could go aquire new fighters and new dojo spaces it would be more worth it to have them more? Also adventure cards could give more points (maybe twice as much?) - right now we almost never use them because you need your Ki more for learning and than activating special moves.
 
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Since CMON release is available - does anyone has some new thoughts about that issue?
 
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Philip Morton
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With the caveat that I've only played a handful of times (but nobody else is volunteering opinions, so why not):

I tried an "ignore the competition" strategy in a three-player game and won easily (37, the highest score my group has seen so far). It was strong enough that I'm not sure what the counterplay is for it, though it would probably suffer in four-player or if a second player in three-player was trying for it.

Provided you can take the dojo expansions at the right time, every Sensei action can give you a point, and every athlete action can trivially give you a point. That accounts for 24 points (6+6+6+4+2). There are 14 combats during the tournaments, so blind guessing ought to net you 7 points from predictions there; down a couple because you have to be involved in four of the fights (we did misplay a bit--apparently, though it's not clear in the rulebook--and allow players to send fewer than two athletes if desired, which affected things a little here) but predicting better than chance should still get you in that area. The other six points came from recruiting exclusively 2-point athletes (you're a bit at the mercy of the luck of the draw there) and taking the two-point tier-2 special moves (paying the rank-down cost, since you don't care about the tournament).

I'm not sure how it compares to a tournament-focused strategy that manages to win the top spot in both tournaments. I haven't seen the same player win both tournaments yet; we've had some games where there ought to have been a clear favorite in both tournaments, but the dice had other ideas. Not being at the mercy of the dice is a huge upside of ignoring the tournament.

Since (it seems to me, anyway) players who are trying to win the tournament should be supervising training every round (except possibly first round to acquire a second athlete) there's not a lot of cross-strategy competition for spaces. The second-era special moves seem like the place where you'll get fought on it.

Also unknown, how this would perform in a four-player game if two players focus on the tournament and two ignore it. The dojo extensions would be the biggest pain point there.

I'm not sure how either strategy fits the Adventures in. You don't really want to take them if you're going fighting, because they don't help you in the tournament, and you'd love to take them if you're not fighting but your athletes won't meet the required dan (and I'm pretty sure it's a net negative to sacrifice the points required to get them up to that dan). The only impressive uses I see for them are a fighter using the first-era "defend a dojo" mission to save yourself from spending a sensei action on recruitment, and as a dump for a chi-heavy athlete who failed to acquire the special move they were going for.

I'd really like to see something work with a mix, like...three athletes, third athlete takes reservations and goes on adventures...but it just doesn't seem like it would work--the third athlete is going to come in late, he cost you two sensei-supervision rounds, and he's competing with your other two for the training+ki he'd need to get to the adventures. If the second-era athletes at base were competitive with a trained athlete from the first era, it might make sense to train up first era, get the third athlete at the start of second era, and use the weakest athlete from first era to go on adventures? maybe?
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interesting thoughts... so you didn't win either tournaments and still managed to win entire game? How did that happened? How many fighters did you have? I mean the winner of 2nd tournament gets 17pts 12pts just from that!!! ....


Chrondeath wrote:
I'm not sure how either strategy fits the Adventures in. You don't really want to take them if you're going fighting, because they don't help you in the tournament, and you'd love to take them if you're not fighting but your athletes won't meet the required dan (and I'm pretty sure it's a net negative to sacrifice the points required to get them up to that dan).

I'd really like to see something work with a mix, like...three athletes, third athlete takes reservations and goes on adventures...but it just doesn't seem like it would work--the third athlete is going to come in late, he cost you two sensei-supervision rounds, and he's competing with your other two for the training+ki he'd need to get to the adventures.


exactly my concerns ... that's why I play with home rules that make having more fighters more lucrative.

and now the strategy is not that obvious
 
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Philip Morton
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donatello23 wrote:
interesting thoughts... so you didn't win either tournaments and still managed to win entire game? How did that happened? How many fighters did you have? I mean the winner of 2nd tournament gets 17pts just from that!!! ....

Where are you coming up with the number 17? Isn't the top spot at the second tournament 12 points?
 
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Chrondeath wrote:
donatello23 wrote:
interesting thoughts... so you didn't win either tournaments and still managed to win entire game? How did that happened? How many fighters did you have? I mean the winner of 2nd tournament gets 17pts just from that!!! ....

Where are you coming up with the number 17? Isn't the top spot at the second tournament 12 points?


my bad blush fixed it.
But still - I don't know how did you manage to win the game without winning any of the tournaments.
 
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Philip Morton
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donatello23 wrote:
But still - I don't know how did you manage to win the game without winning any of the tournaments.

I think I laid out the math pretty well--making sure every action produces at least a point, and getting a decent hit rate on your tournament predictions, should land you around 30 points, and you can pick up a smattering more by sniping the two-point special moves (which you have an advantage at picking up because you're not supervising training) and taking two-point athletes.

What scores are your games ending up at (at what player count)?

Focusing on the tournament as much as possible ought to pick you up a few static points from your second athlete / training equipment / special moves, but you're mostly attempting to supervise training as much as possible (so your sensei's actions aren't producing points) and your post-supervision actions aren't that likely to give you points, since you're chasing Masters Crane and Bear, special moves (but the tournament-ignoring player can snipe those before your supervision ends), reservations, and ki (which might produce a point but the unsupervising player probably got to that first too).

If you're in two-player and the unopposed player takes first and second place at both tournaments, it's...9+5+12+7=33 points? I'd say the tournament-focused player in that situation has the edge, as they're already above my projected no-tournament strategy's points before accounting for betting VP (the competing player should have fewer opportunities to bet, but the non-competing player estimate wasn't accounting for being unable to bet on void-vs-void matches so that estimated score is probably a little lower). They had risk to get to that point, though--I've had athletes lose to the void dojo in the first round even after committing to as much training as possible in the first era.

Three or four-player, with the other players competing on the tournament, is where I'm pretty sure the tournament-ignoring strategy has the edge. It's nearly unaffected by the increased competition, but the other players are stepping on each other for Crane and Bear, and (most importantly) they're likely to split the tournament points, which is a big hit for the expected final score.

Now, arguably this is like saying that the best way to win Caverna is for all the other players to be competing on whatever angle you're not doing. But Dojo Kun presents itself as being all about fighting, and (almost) all the actions are geared towards fighting, so in my experience pretty much everybody wants to go fighting. I haven't seen a game yet where multiple players tried to ignore the tournament (although if they did, the tournament-ignoring strategy doesn't seem like it gets hurt by competition nearly as much as fighting does, since your most important space is the any-number one-point-per-action athlete space; losing out on a dojo extension on the proper turn hurts, but I think only by a couple of points).

What ought to happen in my group now, balance-wise, after having seen the tournamentless strategy a couple of times, is that we should have some games where everybody tries to chase it, and then somebody starts giving themselves an edge by doing just enough training to collect some tournament points, and then somebody else trains a bit more to beat that, and then it all ends up in an equilibrium point balancing between fighting and not-fighting. In practice it's ending up with "Let's not play that, it has a degenerate strategy."
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I can't remember the scorings but we played once 3player game and few times 4player games. I tried to play jack-of-all-trades having 3-4 athletes and also training for fights and ended up loosing to players focusing on tournaments :/

after first 2 plays we started applying some homerules but I'm curious enough to try it again only by official rulebook.

 
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