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Subject: Breaking the mould of RG or Trainer opening rss

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Max G
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A lot has been written about openings and that the game narrows it down into either the RG or Trainer as the only viable options.

After having played quite a bit now, I think there is an over emphasis on the need to either go Trainer or RG first.

A key point which over values the openings of RG’s and trainer, and in fact every opening, is the fact that these openings are made stronger by the more people that take them – strength in commonality. So once everyone concedes to a certain opening, that opening becomes inherently more powerful. E.g. if everyone takes RG first turn, then that allows everyone to take trainer turn 2 and score that milestone to. The conclusion is the power of the RG. To contrast this versus an extreme of say everyone taking marketer first turn, that would allow RG second turn and the conclusion would be the power of first turn marketer, not RG.

You can see the weakness contrasted to this now if say on turn 1, in a 4 player game the 4 players take EB, marketer, RG and trainer. The RG opening is significantly weaker as they have lost out on 3 milestones they would normally get ( first to market, first to throw away and first EB ). In fact the RG seems fairly weak now in relation to the others.

While EB and trainer are still obviously the solid go to opening moves, I have now won a number of games going marketing or EB first ( against everyone else going Trainer and RG) when the situation allows. Remember everytime you go Marketer or EB first you are weakening the relative strength of the RG's:

Marketer:
Feasible If you can place a billboard that covers 2 houses. Take marketer in round 1, then take EB in round 2 and RG in round 3 to get more options. You will most likely have $30 income a round from the sale of 2 drinks plus first to market bonus, that gets you probably the $100 bonus first and you can easily rush to game end. Jeroen even said in his interview that in their playtesting that if 2 players took marketer first they would probably beat trainer or RG. I think the same still holds if 1 takes it. Ideally you need to use the $100 reserve in this opening.

Errand boy:
Feasible generally for 2 or 3 player games. This really needs no drink of one color on the map but I have also won easily with only 1 or 2 drinks of that color if others have limited access.
Basic idea is take EB on round 1 which gets you freezer and 2 drinks a turn pick up, round 2 hire marketer for drinks then pop down a marketing campaign for drink then hire trainer and rush to the radio ( or plane ) to flood the town. You may even get lucky and get the first to train milestone if everyone goes RG first turn ( in this case hire Trainer round 2 and not Marketer to get milestone ). All the while you are storing up drinks of the one type that others cannot store as they don't have freezer. By the time the radio hits you probably have 10 drinks of that type stored up as well as a couple of EB’s to back up future demand. You can even throw in a luxury manager to ram it home. Regardless of what others do, they are going to be really limited without the freezer and the extra drink pick up ability. I have found this very powerful in the right situations and won easily.
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Capeguy wrote:


You can see the weakness contrasted to this now if say on turn 1, in a 4 player game the 4 players take EB, marketer, RG and trainer.


In theory this would make the RG a slower start, however, I have not seen many people pass up on the RG, especially being high up in the turn order. RG allows you to adjust to what any one behind you is doing fairly quickly.

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Andi Hub
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Going straight for marketing and producing makes you pretty vulnerable to being undercut in price. If your direct neighbor starts with RG, they will be more likely to get pricing manager and a Waitress while you struggle to get some more employees in the structure. The game might be already over for you at that point. I would not risk this. Or you will be cross marketed and cannot meet the demand.

Errand boy might work under special conditions. For me either RG or trainer is the way to go.

Edit: For people who read this and think that there would be only one dominant strategy: This is just the very first turn. This is like taking wood on first turn in Agricola, just a good opening. That does not mean the game is solved or anything like that.
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Max G
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Yip, I forgot to add if you go marketing first you ideally also want to be a few spaces away from the nearest RG to avoid being undercut until you can get some pricing defence up with your own RG by turn 3 or 4. Opening up with marketing board right next to a RG would be very dangerous. An isolated 2 houses in an island would also work very well but harder to come by.

As I said, im not doubting the strength of RG and trainer, I am just finding that im being as successful in the right situations with EB and Marketer.
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Alessandro Cingolani
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Capeguy wrote:
Errand boy:
Feasible generally for 2 or 3 player games. This really needs no drink of one color on the map but I have also won easily with only 1 or 2 drinks of that color if others have limited access.
Basic idea is take EB on round 1 which gets you freezer and 2 drinks a turn pick up, round 2 hire marketer for drinks then pop down a marketing campaign for drink then hire trainer and rush to the radio ( or plane ) to flood the town. You may even get lucky and get the first to train milestone if everyone goes RG first turn ( in this case hire Trainer round 2 and not Marketer to get milestone ). All the while you are storing up drinks of the one type that others cannot store as they don't have freezer. By the time the radio hits you probably have 10 drinks of that type stored up as well as a couple of EB’s to back up future demand. You can even throw in a luxury manager to ram it home. Regardless of what others do, they are going to be really limited without the freezer and the extra drink pick up ability. I have found this very powerful in the right situations and won easily.


Do you really think, especially in 2 players, that your opponent who opened with the RG will let you get the Radio after you took EB on 1st turn and a Marketeer on the 2nd turn?
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Grayson
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Capeguy wrote:
After having played quite a bit now, I think there is an over emphasis on the need to either go Trainer or RG first.

A key point which over values the openings of RG’s and trainer, and in fact every opening, is the fact that these openings are made stronger by the more people that take them – strength in commonality.


There would be more variance if milestones were exclusive to a single player (and if multiple players achieve one on a turn, then turn order decides who gets it). Given our current situation, RG allows more milestones to be acquired because of the bandwidth of employees and Trainer is powerful in terms of engine building toward the end game. That's why we see two dominant openings; it's an engine building game without a governor on the milestones. I'd expect this sort of outcome given that context and dare say the first 3 turns are relatively scripted unless someone is really making a point to do something different.
 
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Adrian Todea
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I really can't see how you'd get the Radio if you open with Errand boy followed by Marketing Trainee. It would probably only work in 4-5 player games where there are multiple 1x employees. And even then, you'd probably not get the Radio milestone and just market 1 drink/house after the main Radio does its thing. (assuming they pick #1 tile and they market tons of pizzas, burgers or even drinks)

That's not to say these alternative openings don't work, it's just that IMHO they only work with higher number of players and on specific maps.

In a 2-3 player game I think going Grey first is the norm. I'm happy to be proven otherwise though as I think this game should've had more than a few viable starting options.
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