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Tigris & Euphrates» Forums » General

Subject: Red tiles rss

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James Barton
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So we've had about 10 plays of this game so far. I'm pretty sure we get the game, but we aren't having the same positive experiences as everyone else.

It just seems to be about red tiles. Nothing else seems to matter, if you get red tiles you win, if not you lose. There doesn't seem to be much you can do if you don't have any red tiles. A couple of monuments get built, and without red tiles you can't sit on them. Somone with red tiles uses them to Internal Conflict you off. Even if you build up a little then try take the monument back with an external conflict you are likely to lose it the next turn when the red tiles come back and take it back off you with another internal conflict.

I'm figuring we must be doing something wrong. The 2nd ranked game can't just be a contest to see who can pull the most red tiles out of a sack, can it?
 
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Thomas Eager
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Don't forget that you can use an action to "flush" your hand of any or all of your tiles. The trick is learning to walk the fine line between trying to use the tiles drawn to best advantage vs. recognizing the moment when a "flush" may be necessary to garner some red tiles.
 
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Rob Rob
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While there may be some highs and lows, in general each player has the same chance of drawing a red tile as any other player. When you don't have any/enough you can either "flush" your hand (as suggested above) or concentrate on building up your empire and/or conducting external conflicts in the other three colors. Remember, you don't have to build a monument. If you are playing someone you know likes to steal monuments then just don't build any, let them invest all their tiles while you "flush" your hand for those reds you need. Finally, every red spent (after the first) is one less red VP earned. It's an expensive way to earn a single red VP and if you let them win (and dump their reds) you can always take it back the next turn.
 
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The Seal of Approval
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Always remember you can remove enemy leaders next to a single temple with a catastrophe tile (unless there's a treasure on the temple).
This is often a way to take over an empire cheaply. Maybe he'll try to take it back next turn, with an internal conflict. But then you know beforehand how many red tiles the other player spends, and can either decide to lose (which means the other player loses, say, 3 red tiles, and you none), or match the number.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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T&E is certainly not a contest to pull the *most* red tiles out of a sack, but a player who draws very few red tiles (say, just three red tiles all game -- a low odds proposition, but it does happen) is going to have a harder time of it than a player who draws very few tiles of any other color.

There's basically three cases that T&E players learn to play:

1. You get, over the course of the game, a fairly average distribution of tiles in all four colors.

2. You are seriously short in one color, other than red.

3. You are seriously short in red.

Let's take a look at these different situations.

In the first case, remember that an average distribution is actually going to be fairly "streaky" (lots of one color, none of another) at times during the game (it is a well-documented psychological effect that most humans are bad at predicting variance; people tend to expect distributions to be far more average then they actually are).

So, if you are playing and spending all your red tiles at times, expecting that you'll get one or two back when you replenish, you're going to get caught short some of the time. That's why it's important not to spend your red tiles too freely and, sometimes, to consider whether it's ok to lose the current conflict in order to preserve your red tiles for a later one.

For example, let's say that you've constructed a monument to both green and black (from green tiles) and you own both the green and black leaders in that kingdom. Then, some player tries to oust your green leader, spending three red tiles to do so. Now, suppose you've been hoarding and also have three red tiles -- should you defend? Do you really need more green (you just got at least five green from constructing the monument)? And, if this kingdom now doesn't have any green tiles, maybe your green leader is better off in another kingdom (possibly earning treasures) from which you can connect up with this kingdom and oust the green leader (using a tile advantage and green tiles, not red tiles, to win this external conflict).

This approach allows you to save your red tiles to protect your black leader instead. (And, if someone then attacks your black leader, say, using four red tiles, use your three red tiles to immediately counter-attack -- your odds are quite good that your opponent didn't replenish three red tiles in just one draw.)

When constructing your kingdoms, by spending a red tile or two to create a "honeycomb" of your leaders and adjacent red tiles, your attackers will often be attacking your leaders internally at -1 (before spending tiles); this bolsters your defense against successive attackers, which tends to both disuade attacks and make efficient use of whatever red tiles you do draw.

So, in the average case, you can generally work around temporary shortages of red tiles by picking and choosing your conflicts. Your goal is to have the most complete sets of all four victory cubes -- don't fight every fight!

In the case where you are extremely short of a color besides red, you have to make up the resulting color deficit by either controlling the appropriate monuments for a long time or by engineering an external conflict that gives you a bunch of the color you need.

In the monument case, you want to look for a player who has constructed the monument in the color you need (say, green) to get the other color of that monument (say, black) and who, therefore, is less likely to oppose you if you try to oust them in green but leave their black leader alone. You goal is to share the monument, not take over the entire kingdom.

In the external conflict case, that's where you usually need red tiles, to horn into a kingdom with a lot of the color you need (green) just before it comes into contact with another kingdom, also with a lot of green tiles (for you to remove by external conflict to earn your green VPs).

But, sometimes, there's another way (and this is very useful when you have seen only a few red tiles). Suppose the leader you need to oust is off to one end of the kingdom. Try splitting the kingdom into two parts with a disaster and placing your leader in the half with the tiles you need. Presto, no internal conflict needed and you're ready to go with external conflicts (and, possibly, a victim right at hand in the portion that you just split off)!

If I have very few red tiles, I typically spend them to honeycomb my red leader and to create a monument in another color that includes red (from which my red leader will +2-3 to defend against internal conflicts). I don't care if my other leader is then ousted. I then watch the board like a hawk, intending to use my disasters to fend off any approaching red external conflict.

So, yes, a *real* shortage in red is a hard slog, but, mostly, it's what a player does with the tiles, not what tiles are drawn, that determines victory in T&E.


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Robert Kelly
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Also add to the above that you can use an external conflict as a way to disemble a kingdom. If the monument is black/green (the most common one to hit the board) you can build up a black/green strength and attack. Because it is an external conflict the battle is fought with colours of the opposing leaders. You don't need the red of an internal.
 
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Daniel Corban
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I am one of those players who should probably be more frugal with my red tiles. I spend all my red and will be drawing four tiles, so I should get at least one, right? Wrong. This means I am frequently weak against internal conflicts.

I have developed a tactic to help with this. As one of "my" kingdoms (usually my black and green/blue leader) grows in strength, I start to close off all positions next to temples. This forces any internal conflict instigator to first play a temple, then the leader. This seems to be a strong deterrent against attack.
 
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