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Subject: Faction Discussion: Nordic rss

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J Kaemmer
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Iowa City
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Welcome to the Final Installment of Faction Discussion! Hopefully, next week I will find time to dig into the details and various strengths of each Player Mat.

Nordic

Oh boy! I can’t believe I’m already out of Factions to discuss. (Guess I’ll have to beg Jamey to let me see the expansion factions early *wink wink, nudge nudge*). This last discussion will revolve around the well insulated Nordic Kingdom led by Bjorn and Mox.

I won’t lie to you folks; I left Nordic Kingdom for last, because I dreaded doing this write-up. They are honestly the faction I struggle the most with. I KNOW they aren’t significantly weaker than the other factions, but I struggle to really make something of them. I’ve played Blue more than any other faction at this point, because I REALLY wanted to make them work… but I’ve yet to see them win, in my hands or by others. So I would absolutely LOVE to have you guys help ME this time around! I’ll try my best to find the good stuff on my own, and then you can probably tell me what I am missing. Hopefully, all that time has at least taught me how not to fail at playing the mighty northerners.



Faction Ability:
Nordic workers may cross rivers as part of a move action

Mech Abilities:
1-Riverwalk, move across rivers to Forests/Mountains
2-Seaworthy, move onto and off of lakes, you may retreat to adjacent lakes after losing combat
3-Artillery, pay 1 power to make your opponent lose 2
4-Speed +1

Starting Location:
Starting hexes = Forest/Tundra
Third home space = Mountain
Neighboring territories = Village w/ Encounter, Tundra/Tunnel, Lake, Forest/Tunnel, Farm, Village

Oddly enough, Nordic Kingdom is one that I’ve mentioned a LOT in previous discussions, particularly as somebody to watch out for. They have a knack for disruption and aggressive positioning to ruin everybody else’s day. The Nordic Kingdom actually has rarely taken last in our games. I think in the hands of a clever and aggressive player the Nords could easily dictate the game’s pace no matter the opponent(s) and take home the win.



The Expansionist Nord-Horde

The Nords bring us from the northern wastes, in addition to the coolest mechs in the game, an incredibly open game state compared to many of the other factions. Whereas I mentioned that Polania lacks defined end-game goal, or an easy focus for your Faction, they at least have the early/intermediate goal of scooping up encounters. Nords lack even that much direction, but (because?) they have a ton of flexibility in the early game. The Nords can lock down any resource and just about any territory they want, right out the gate. They can start positioning themselves as roadblocks to nearly every goal their opponents may want. They tend to do best when they spread out early and then focus in on economy afterwards.

Spreading out is especially easy when you are the only faction not immediately constrained to your starting territory. You can hop those workers to the villages or farms and then keep moving on and spreading out, staking out your territory early on. To really maximize this strategy and get the most out of your workers, you should try to upgrade your move and produce actions, as well as build your mill. Once you have those, your movements are far less limited, even without a mech, and you can get a ton of resource volume and flexibility from your multitudinous workers. This early spread makes control-based objectives trivial to accomplish. Don’t forget that workers can use tunnels on their own; you’d be surprised how widespread the little gnome-hatted fellows can get all on their own.

When I play the blue-boats, my start is usually very slow; its 4-10 turns just getting my engine set up and my gnomes positioned. After that, however, they take off. I can usually knock out that first star 2-3 turns later, and then suddenly they start pouring in like mad. Sometimes even double or triple star turns follow. Unfortunately, my final star always seems to consistently be a single turn short. Maybe my timing sucks, maybe I’m unlucky. I bet I just need to be a bit more efficient in those early rounds.

Your workers bring the distinct advantage of early buildings and, more importantly, mechs that will be built outside your home-territory. Being able to build your first mech outside of home, without the need for Mines, Riverwalk, or other movement abilities is fantastic. It again, really benefits you to be able to get those key territories before anybody else. I always build my speed mech first, and suddenly my workers are zooming around the board, that objective falls like a cardboard cutout in a gun-range, and suddenly war becomes a distinct possibility. The one drawback of Swim and building mechs outside of your home-territory, without the traditional means, is that Bjorn & Mox get stranded. Nearly every game I’ve seen has had Bjorn looking forlornly at the sunset off his cliff for half the game. He moves to that mountain for the encounter and doesn’t move again for half the game. Nords just don’t have the mobility or speed to scoop up many encounter tokens, and given you are working on more important things, it’s very likely Bjorn won’t be in any position to even try any time soon. The only way you will get any encounters is by building a mine and the speed mech to try and grab those 3 that are right next to tunnel spaces, a dangerous proposition if Saxony is in the game, and unlikely to be very fruitful if Polania is.

Poor Bjorn, so lonely on his mountain…

The Nord-Horde has to rein-in the tendency to over-expand, too. They have a very well-rounded and borderline fantastic starting territory, but it doesn’t do you any good if you just abandon it to start flooding the land with gnomes.



Starting Area:

The Nordic Kingdom consists of the holy trinity of bottom row action resources; they will ALWAYS have access to metal, wood, and oil. Unfortunately it means that their access to villages is open to disruption. Note that I didn’t complain that they are the only faction to not have a village, because technically, they still have 2 to swim to. So unless Albion (expansion) and Rusviet are both in the game, your worker supply is relatively safe. Even with Rusviet in the game, you probably will get out the necessary workers before they even bother expanding into the northeast peninsula.

Nords have the largest territory that they can reasonably claim within the first third of the game. Thanks to swim and maybe a Speed mech, literally everything east and west is up for grabs, not to mention a decent shot at the factory area.

So where do the gnomish Viking hordes go first?

The most common early expansion area is typically to the northeast peninsula, but only with workers, riding Mox over there will waste your time and get him trapped worse than that lonely mountain ever could. Hopping the river to the village is easy, one produce action and then a move later and the whole of the corner territory is yours. You want this place for 2 reasons, Albion has but 1 farm, and 3 redundant territories, but the peninsula has 2 farms and the village you need.

Food is literally the only resource you lack, “but why do I care about 2 farms vs 1?” you ask. That’s because Nords make their bread and butter off of holding large swaths of territory to get their points, and being in the way of others to slowly sap their popularity.

By holding 2 farms:
A) you sacrifice 0 production capacity by spreading out 2 solitary workers
B) this is the first place most Rusviet players will go, so you force them to sacrifice time or popularity to get access to food
C) worth more points in the end and saves you the wasted move action later. If Rusviet isn’t even in the game, then expanding into their home territory is a wonderful option to follow up with.

After you get your workforce of gnomes up and going you really don’t NEED anything else. This is a good time to spread out some workers and build for those Structure bonuses.

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t move BOTH of your starting workers out of your home territory. You can build a structure or something to help claim the remainder for end game scoring but you needlessly risk your territory bonus at the end of the game to just ditch all 3 of your home spaces.

Tunnels are your best friends, when playing the blue-boat gnomes. It gives your workers some much needed mobility and even more flexibility; but even more so, it actually wrecks the mobility of a number of other factions. Polania and Saxony, in particular, tend to rely fairly heavily on the mine and tunnel movement later in the game, even Rusviets can be hampered by staking out the tunnels because they tend to bottleneck the remaining territories so that they can’t rush off the factory to where they want to be as easily.

The beauty of this is that you can probably take at least 3 tunnels before any of your opponents start to really need them, or if the Polanians/Saxons have already built their mines and ventured out, you can then block them getting back to the center of the board. The key of this is to stake a claim specifically with WORKERS. Camping a solitary mech or character is pointless. You will be setting yourself up as a target of aggression, so you better make it cost them popularity and if you can remove the potential for a star, it will look particularly problematic to take your gnomes to task.

Normally having a fat stack of workers sent back to the home territory is bad, it burns you for efficiency and positioning, but in the case of the Nordic Kingdom it actually helps you since it was abandoned quite early.

Teleporting workers to my extra-nice start territory? THANK YOU!



Mech's and Combat

Bjorn and Mox may not be on the front lines too often, but that’s because they command some very heavy-hitting artillery. Most Factions have 1.5 combat-based mech abilities, one directly related and 1 mobility-based one. The blue-boats actually have something much closer to 2 (1.75 at the worst) combat abilities. Blue-boats bring both Artillery and Seaworthy, to the table.

Artillery is pretty obvious. Spend 1 power in combat to cost your opponent 2. This is best used mid to early game against opponents without many combat cards and with middling power. The best time to use this, is when somebody sitting on 7 power exactly and are feeling pretty safe. You strike them and suddenly they don’t have the ability to spend the max amount of power.

If you mange to hit somebody while they’re low (2-3 power) and suddenly a 5 point combat card is basically enough to ensure you win even without spending power. This ability, unlike Saxony’s Disarm, works anywhere. Meaning you are a threat to everybody’s power levels. If you see an opponent running for a max-power star, the Nords will be the best bet at preventing or least delaying that from happening.

3 power left to go for the star? Well make that 5.

It hurts someone going for a power-star doubly because not only have you caused them to need a whole extra action to get the star, but now they are currently embroiled in combat and have to choose between attempting to win the combat and sacrificing the star, or pushing on towards the star and in turn giving one to the blue-boats. More often than not, I’ve actually seen players push towards that power star and try to come back to you later, assuming they’ll have the power advantage… but they won’t. You see, that’s the beauty of the combat system and artillery. You can harass someone going for a power star to slow them done a ton (especially with 2 combats in a row), and basically guarantee a win, and if they ever turn back to attack you, all that extra power is worthless because they can only bid 7.

Thus we get back to one of the most underutilized and little understood abilities, Seaworthy. SW unlocks 2 abilities in one, the first of which is decent for mobility; because it lets you skip through those pesky lakes. I wouldn’t recommend ending your movement on one if Polania has submerge, but at the least you can take shortcuts. Important lakes to shortcut are the Albion territory and the one between you and the Factory. You may not necessarily want the Factory card, but being able to raid the Rusviet front and have access to an undefended or lightly defended Factory is nice.

The second part about the ability, however, is a doozy: retreating onto lakes. This is the best part of waging war as the Nords. Their mechs, if placed strategically, will always be able to counterattack immediately after being attacked, and they will never suffer the setback of being sent all the way home.

Seaworthy is fantastic for 2 reasons. The first is the fact your forces will typically be quite spread out during the game, so you are encouraged to block key resources and chokepoints, including tunnels with your mechs, even just 1 mech. Sure you may give up that first star but you’ll definitely get the second. You will also always keep your workers with your mechs to make it really hurt for them to take that space. It’s a war of positioning and attrition. Nords can block certain factions like no tomorrow. The second benefit is that if somebody chooses you as their end-of-game combat target, it actually doesn’t hurt that much. Every other faction loses one territory and immediately cedes it to the victor, Nords don’t need to sacrifice a territory. They, instead, get to keep the neighboring lake! (which if you didn’t know still counts for end-game scoring)

Fun fact, all 6 tunnels border a lake!

Some key places to block with your blue-boats:
-Village just outside Rusviet territory
-Forest entrance to Northeast peninsula
-Tundra neighboring the factory
-The Factory itself

Letting your opponents come to you to contest the choke-points and slowly drain themselves of power and popularity is fantastic. Nords benefit quite a bit from bolstering often, keeping the threat high, and the ability to win a war of attrition foremost in the enemy’s mind. You’ll never be sent back to start over, and can always counter-attack. Nords actually max out power more often than any other faction, in my experience. Once they’re dug in, they don’t need to move much, so bolstering for those 3-coin actions is solid and keeps them well rooted.

Did you know that the Nautical-Nords can actually beat the Red-Rush? Not with an actual character, mind you (Mox is slow as hell), but the Nords can get to the Factory in as little as 4 turns if they have the trade or produce actions paired with deploying a mech. (trade metal, move forest worker to tundra, trade metal/deploy speed mech, move mech to Factory). With the Industrial mat the Nordic Kingdom is guaranteed to beat the Rusviets to the Factory. The neat thing is if you get Engineering or Agriculture, you can get to the Factory AND pick up that encounter early. This is the best option possible, especially if you get a second mech out of it.

Perhaps even better is the fact that when Rusviet rushes a 4-5 turn run at the Factory, you can take an early combat run at them. They rarely expect you to hit them turn 4 or 5. If you prefer to take seaworthy, you actually have direct water bridge to the Factory by which to attack. You can attack the Factory turn 7 with at least 1 mech and Bjorn, even after a bolster.

Nords start the game with 4 Power, second most out of any faction, but only get 1 combat card. Fortunately that is usually enough to take care of those pesky Communists. Just be wary if your opponent is in a position to throw that Township mech at you.

Bjorn and Mox are really born for camping on the Factory. They have tons of practice from waiting patiently on that mountain, I guess. Again, the fact of the matter is that moving the workers early is typically far more useful than rushing for encounters, so by the time Bjorn leaves his perch to wade across the lake with Mox it’s too late to bother with encounters. Stick them down on that factory, fight for it if you must (bring a mech). Even IF they manage to uproot your musk ox, later, they’ll lose power and you’ll still be right next to them, ready to blaze.

Did you know that the rules on Seaworthy make no mention of retreating to the same territory for all of your units? Even if you lose the factory, you could claim 2-3 territories with Bjorn and any accompanying long-boat mechs. Wild, right?

Damn Seaworthy is cool.



Final Thoughts

The crux of the Nordic Kingdom’s success seems to ride on 2 factors- strategic preventative placement, and how efficiently you use your bottom-row actions.

Stranding your workers outside of your home can be dangerous proposition, and buying a Riverwalk mech just to ferry them back over is a little silly, but you might need to. Make sure you utilize bottom row actions as often and as early as you can, the slow start of the blue-gnomes isn’t doing you any favors. I think it depends a lot on the mat, maybe more so than any other faction, because Nords don’t bring any strong economy of their own to the table.

Opening ideas:

-Have the Industrial mat? Move to east village, and the mountain. Spam workers and get that first mech turn 6 along with all 6 of your workers. Move onto recruits from the farm, and trade for wood (because you’ll move a lot)

-Engineering? Move east, you can easily work in 3 produces and 2 trades after that. 3 produce gets you all 6 workers and an upgrade, the 2 trades is your first mech. After that start spreading out and recruiting often.

-Patriotic? Alternate trade and movement to get an upgrade every other turn, get that first encounter, and stake out your village of choice. If you upgrade deploy 3 times, you can start alternating producing and bolster/deploy with only a single miner. I like this mat a lot, because you get a strong economy off only only 5 workers (1 on mountain, 2-3 on farms, 1 wherever). Once you get the necessary workers, move off the village to the farms and now you can recruit and deploy every turn.

-Mechanical? Try keeping a worker on tundra to start. Produce turn 2 for a worker and oil, then trade for an upgrade to the upgrade action. You can then do whatever and then trade/upgrade every other turn, at least. Pretty quickly you can start turning out mechs for cheap.

-Agriculture? Trade for oil first. Second Turn move then upgrade. After that, you’ll want to probably try for alternating between three actions by producing workers/oil, trading for metal, and then moving/upgrading. It’s a bit slow to start, but at certain point all the gears click into place and this engine takes off. I love the feeling of 4 stars in as many turns mid to late game.

I want to point out 3 of these mats focus heavily on recruiting early and I think these are the strongest mats for the Nordic Kingdom. The early boosts to power and cards help you stake claim to territory without fearing attack and get you well on your way to that max-power star. If you are next to a Rusviet player, you are practically guaranteed 6 power from that recruit alone (factor in the +2 one-time bonus and you’re at 12/16 power without a single bolster action. That’s not even counting your own upgrades or your neighbors!). Nords probably benefit the most out of anybody from those early recruits. Crimea LOVES the card bonuses, but that’s just one of many strong aspects they have. Nords sort of need that early game boost and supplying them with their primary war currency is great. Getting them to that max-power star is fantastic since its their only advantage and it is rather rare for other factions to get there. The blue-nerds (*ahem* Nords) get max-power almost effortlessly, by comparison.

I also think that a full 6 workers is basically necessary for Bjorn to be victorious. The blue-boats benefit from an early and wide presence. Workers are pretty easy to churn out and spread out as little speed-bumps or even roadblocks. That huge swath of territory is only possible from a high-volume of gnomes, 4 mechs just won’t cut it. Not to mention that you could at the very least accompany your 4 boats with 2 gnomes a piece to keep your attrition game on point. The sheer weirdness of the Nordic start really puts them behind in raw resource output and the additional workers can help fix that… but trade still be your go-to for the first half of the game.

Because of your need for mobility, spreading out, and that first village your resource game will be divided and focused practically on the wrong thing for an early game set up. This is why Nords start so slow and I struggle with them. They lack production efficiency, you need to be trading for practically everything in the first 5-10 turns, that costs you money, and just isn’t good for a long-term solution. At some point you need to break the reliance on trade and stop wasting all that valuable coinage. Not knowing where that break-point is, probably is what will hold back the blue-boated gnomes of the north the most in highly-competitive games.

I think finding that ideal break -point is where I'm going to focus the rest of my Scythe research.

That's all for weekly Faction Discussions! I hope you learned something and had a little fun with me along the way... Anywho:

Who wants to school this fool about the cool blue Nordic gnomish dudes?



Edit-

Other Faction Discussions:

Rusviet
Crimea
Saxony
Polania
Albion
Togawa
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Jeff Watts
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Mount Juliet
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"They are honestly the faction I struggle the most with. I KNOW they aren’t significantly weaker than the other factions, but I struggle to really make something of them. I’ve played Blue more than any other faction at this point, because I REALLY wanted to make them work… but I’ve yet to see them win, in my hands or by others"

"Food is literally the only resource you lack, “but why do I care about 2 farms vs 1?” you ask. That’s because Nords make their bread and butter off of holding large swaths of territory to get their points, and being in the way of others to slowly sap their popularity. "

Nordic have done fine in our plays. I've won once and scored a second place in the two plays I've done as that faction. And they were a faction in all 4 games and have never been last.

However, my approach seems to be fundamentally different than yours. I haven't attempted to spread out the workers and grab territory. Instead, I've marched across the river to the Food spot (but only one spot) and quickly went to 7 workers (while building up oil with the other worker). Then I concentrated on creating an efficient engine. Since you don't need Mechs to move workers to the optimal resource location, you have a lot of flexibility to concentrate on the cheaper areas of your Player Mat.

Granted, moving workers individually is inherently inefficient. But no more so than moving them individually to grab territory.

I think their faction ability is best used for efficiency rather than territorial control.
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Drew Lawson
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Costa Mesa
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Side question: where is that 3D render of the mech at the end of the OP from, and are there renders for the other factions?
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J Kaemmer
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Iowa City
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ajpl wrote:
Side question: where is that 3D render of the mech at the end of the OP from, and are there renders for the other factions?


The watermark says uniquevoodo.com, and thats where I believe they were made. You can see the mech sculpts and characters for every faction right on their home page. The image I used was from artstation.com and the page actually includes a youtube flyby. I've used these images in 3 of my 5 discussions and love them.

Edit: https://www.artstation.com/artist/uniquevoodoo
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RavenMad
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Another great faction write up! Thanks

ajpl wrote:
Side question: where is that 3D render of the mech at the end of the OP from, and are there renders for the other factions?


https://uniquevoodoo.artstation.com/

All the factions' mechs and characters are there. In multiple angles. And glorious 3d rotations.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
Canada
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iswearihaveajob wrote:
Because of your need for mobility, spreading out, and that first village your resource game will be divided and focused practically on the wrong thing for an early game set up. This is why Nords start so slow and I struggle with them. They lack production efficiency, you need to be trading for practically everything in the first 5-10 turns, that costs you money, and just isn’t good for a long-term solution. At some point you need to break the reliance on trade and stop wasting all that valuable coinage. Not knowing where that break-point is, probably is what will hold back the blue-boated gnomes of the north the most in highly-competitive games.

I think finding that ideal break -point is where I'm going to focus the rest of my Scythe research.


I am still struggling to find that break point myself. I seem to find myself 2-3 turns short of really maximizing my Nordic game every time. Last game I was 2 turns away from gaining my final 3 stars and a bunch of territory (around 8 hexes!), when my opponent beat me to the endgame. I think your analysis is spot on, Nordic Kingdoms is a challenging but rewarding faction to play. It takes a laser focus on when to switch from the opening game strategy to pushing into a closing strategy.
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D. Fox
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FWIW: I've played with the Nordic faction twice and won both times in 2p games. My basic strategy has been to utilize the faction ability to get both of my initial workers across the rivers and into villages to populate ASAP. Leaving at least two workers in the village, I then continue to populate and get all workers on the board as quickly as possible (earning a star) Then I double or triple them up in resource production. This allows a quick amassing of resources. What I've noticed is that this will initially put me behind my opponent - as prioritizing in worker population sacrifices doing other things. But once your full army of workers is out there and then double / triple teaming production - you build up so many resources so quickly that you can really capitalize in bottom row actions.
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Philip Morton
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Cyclodog wrote:
FWIW: I've played with the Nordic faction twice and won both times in 2p games. My basic strategy has been to utilize the faction ability to get both of my initial workers across the rivers and into villages to populate ASAP. Leaving at least two workers in the village, I then continue to populate and get all workers on the board as quickly as possible (earning a star)

What's your rhythm for getting this going?

I can see opening with move the two workers to the two separate villages, but once you've got your workers produced and they're split 4/4, it seems like it will be really inefficient to move them all out individually (and you won't have Move upgraded yet since you haven't produced oil, unless you traded for oil, I guess). Trading for a mech only helps one of the villages and has limited directions it can go.

Or do you spend a second move action initially to get both workers on one village?
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Matthias Reitberger
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I would move after the first produce, emptying one of the 2 villages then produce 2 workers + 2 Metal, trade for 2 metal and build a Mech on the village with the 4 people. Works good if you can produce the mech with either trade or produce.
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Philip Morton
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1869 wrote:
I would move after the first produce, emptying one of the 2 villages then produce 2 workers + 2 Metal, trade for 2 metal and build a Mech on the village with the 4 people. Works good if you can produce the mech with either trade or produce.

I might be misremembering/misreading the map, but I don't think either of those villages is adjacent to a mountain.

And it seems like it would be a little awkward to either only move two people out of the (second) village or move two people back into a village later to pick up your last two workers (but maybe less awkward than trying to move out 4/4)...
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J Kaemmer
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Chrondeath wrote:
1869 wrote:
I would move after the first produce, emptying one of the 2 villages then produce 2 workers + 2 Metal, trade for 2 metal and build a Mech on the village with the 4 people. Works good if you can produce the mech with either trade or produce.

I might be misremembering/misreading the map, but I don't think either of those villages is adjacent to a mountain.

And it seems like it would be a little awkward to either only move two people out of the (second) village or move two people back into a village later to pick up your last two workers (but maybe less awkward than trying to move out 4/4)...


There is a mountain, He would have to go back to the starting position.

Edit: nvm its wood and oil. So no. Not possible.
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D. Fox
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Nordic Faction start position: Workers on Wood (to the West) and Oil (to the East).

Turn 1: Produce
Turn 2: Move Workers across the rivers - one to the East and one to the West - into the adjacent villages
Turn 3: Produce (populating two new workers)
Turn 4: Move one worker from both the East Village and West Village back across rivers into production hexes, thereby leaving one worker in each Village.

Then prioritize unlocking production upgrade (first) so that each time you produce - you are producing extra workers in the villages. Then work on unlocking move upgrade (second). Each time you produce two new workers, move them out of the village into adjacent territories so that they can do more conventional resource production. In this fashion I try to keep the pedal down on getting my workers out as fast as what is reasonable, obviously keeping tabs on other things. Once you get all workers deployed, I double or triple them up on conventional resource hexes to maximize production.

Yes - it seems like you are behind your opponent in the early phase - but I've caught up and surpassed them with the abundance of resources in the long run. I just think having workers that can cross the rivers and having two villages just across the rivers is a great way to combine and utilize the starting conditions.

But the caveat here - is I've only played 2p games. So this could be shot to hell in a multiplayer game.




Chrondeath wrote:
Cyclodog wrote:
FWIW: I've played with the Nordic faction twice and won both times in 2p games. My basic strategy has been to utilize the faction ability to get both of my initial workers across the rivers and into villages to populate ASAP. Leaving at least two workers in the village, I then continue to populate and get all workers on the board as quickly as possible (earning a star)

What's your rhythm for getting this going?

I can see opening with move the two workers to the two separate villages, but once you've got your workers produced and they're split 4/4, it seems like it will be really inefficient to move them all out individually (and you won't have Move upgraded yet since you haven't produced oil, unless you traded for oil, I guess). Trading for a mech only helps one of the villages and has limited directions it can go.

Or do you spend a second move action initially to get both workers on one village?
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M Niggel
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I played a 4p game (no Polania) as the Nords/Mechanical. My start was very slow compared to all the other factions, who had 2–3 stars each before I had any. It was looking pretty bleak, as I had almost no territory control also. I had concentrated on the structure bonus at first and made some other efficiency mistakes in the early game, but my early mobility enabled me to scoop up something like 5 encounters. As the game started to close, though, I suddenly found that I had an abundance of workers and plenty of area to expand into with my mechs adjacent to so many lakes. I expended rapidly and unopposed, then took an encounter on the same turn I placed my last star. I was very surprised that I got all 6 out first, but once my economy got going it didn't slow down. I just banged out a ton of bottom-rows one after another after another.

I won by 2 coins. The Crimean player should have beat me but misunderstood the structure bonus. However, if my final encounter had drawn an elusive "gain 2 popularity" the win would have been definitive as I was only one step short of tier 3. (I would have made tier 3 easily but my neighbors refused to build structures!)

The Nords had great mobility, access to any resource I wanted, access to territory that couldn't be contested, and an economy that can shift focus as needed. I definitely don't feel like it's that hardest faction to play among the group I'm with.
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J Kaemmer
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Just making sure: you know only characters can do encounters right? Also you know that "swim' only applies to workers?
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M Niggel
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iswearihaveajob wrote:
Just making sure: you know only characters can do encounters right? Also you know that "swim' only applies to workers?

Yep! Your comment is fair—I was also really surprised at the encounter total. I think I got a mech from my first encounter and my first mech purchase wasn't too far behind, so I had Seaworthy and Speed. Move was an early upgrade.

I basically carried most of my workers around the board in mechs, stopping on whatever resource I wanted to produce next. I moved often to enable different parts of my engine. Since I typically only needed one move (a mech) to shift the resource type to produce, it gave me strong mobility for my character. I was headed close to the encounters anyway because that was the structure bonus, so I often had workers nearby. If Polania isn't in the game, it's not too hard to get both of Albion's (because you can easily get there first) and Polania's (because it's hard for others to get there unless they're concentrating on it.) I think the other one I got was Togawa's, which Crimea was adjacent to but hadn't picked up yet. They were concentrating on resource production.

My group tends to not initiate combat until either provoked or stable. Honestly I should have been a massive target for the Saxons, hopping around the tunnels carrying a small horde of resources as I went—but it would have cost them a lot of popularity, and I didn't take any positions which looked aggressive to them.
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Drew Lawson
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Costa Mesa
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Beavercow wrote:
My group tends to not initiate combat until either provoked or stable. Honestly I should have been a massive target for the Saxons, hopping around the tunnels carrying a small horde of resources as I went—but it would have cost them a lot of popularity, and I didn't take any positions which looked aggressive to them.


Usually Saxony looks at fat stacks of workers/resources, looks at their 0 or 1 popularity, and says "hell yeah" before diving right in to a combat situation. arrrh
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M Niggel
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ajpl wrote:
Usually Saxony looks at fat stacks of workers/resources, looks at their 0 or 1 popularity, and says "hell yeah" before diving right in to a combat situation. arrrh

Yeah, in retrospect it was exceptionally risky—but knowing your opponents is a much bigger piece of this game than many seem to believe at first.
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J
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Alexandria
Virginia
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I have a question. You say:

Quote:
I always build my speed mech first, and suddenly my workers are zooming around the board, that objective falls like a cardboard cutout in a gun-range, and suddenly war becomes a distinct possibility.


I really don't get what you mean here. For starters what do you mean that "my workers are zooming around the board?" Speed only increases the move of mechs and your character according to the rulebook so are you carrying them in your mech?

Additionally I don't know what you mean by "that objective falls like a cardboard cutout in a gun-range." Aren't starting objectives random? So how can you guarantee that it will be doable?

Gonna be honest with you I don't really see speed first as being such a great option if Bjorn is trapped in his homeland. Personally I'd go with Seaworthy first and follow that one up with speed so Bjorn isn't trapped and can possibly have a direct route to the factory. Nords have one of the fastest routes to the factory really only behind Rusviet when you consider their starting encounter is on the way to the factory and unlike Polania they aren't metal starved if they want to get early mechs.
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J Kaemmer
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Iowa City
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Good question, I guess it can be a little presumptuous to say what I did.

First question: the primary advantage I see in Speed+1 for most factions is the resource flexibility. I am very well aware that the movement only works for mechs, but more importantly the most efficient way to move workers is to carry them in a mech- especially considering there is no carrying capacity limit. You can also drop workers off freely. So if you have a stack of 3-5 workers you can spread them out onto the next 1-2 resource spaces you actually need. In my mind the "workers are zooming..." is about them riding their sweet mech boats willy-nilly to all the locations that are best for your given strategy.

Second question: There are quite a few objectives that deal with controlling territory. Be it encounter spaces, near the factory, tunnels, farms, mountains... what have you, its just territory control. Territory control is probably one of the most prevalent objective types, so if you have large amounts of workers and high mobility and one of your objectives is territory control (pretty likely) they are trivial to achieve. Nobody can stop you from a territory control objective because nobody can really get out of their home territory that fast.

Lastly: I get what you are saying. Seaworthy is great, moving Bjorn is great, the factory is nice. I just think that speed mech is better. Here's why:

1-W/ Speed+1 you can move Bjorn once to get to encounter instead of twice.

2-With a mine and Speed+1 you have much more range and flexibility than Seaworthy AND can still get Bjorn off the rock and closer to encounters.

3-Higher mobility/utility for your stack of workers you obviously built, no wasted move actions.

4-Easier to get to those key resources or choke-points with a military force

5-Seaworthy is slow and not immediately useful beyond factory access and combat. It NEEDS speed +1 to be really useful for mobility, Speed+1 is good on its own, however.

6-Nords get to the Factory in 7 turns just like everybody else. If Rusviets aren't in the game, its still a race between you and your neighbors. I have yet to see a sub- 7 turn plan for getting Bjorn/Mox to the Factory (encounter giving free mech does not count)

7-Encounters are not readily available to Bjorn, he really needs speed+1 to be efficient at getting them and the nearest ones are in dead ends. You can go that route in 2-3 player game, but otherwise extending into enemy territory to grab encounters doesn't seem particularly productive.

8-Bjorn can't transport workers, so if encounters aren't easily available his movement helps me nil. The additional mobility of crossing lakes is nifty... but not as much as moving 2 spaces. If you go east with your workers its a waste of a mech because you gain nothing in movement. If you go west it can help shortcut that lake, but Albion isn't any marked improvement over East and the shortcut takes you to the dead end of Polania's river-walk exit.
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Mathue Faulk
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+1 that Speed is great with Nordic

The only reason it's not the first upgrade for other factions is because they're tied to their Home Base....
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Philip Morton
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mfaulk80 wrote:
+1 that Speed is great with Nordic

The only reason it's not the first upgrade for other factions is because they're tied to their Home Base....

I'm still a fan of Speed first with other factions if their home territories match what the action mat is telling me to do.
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Erwin Anciano
Philippines
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I played my first game of Scythe today with the Nords.

I won the game handily with 72 points, the runner up was 50-something.

But I didn't win it with an nomadic expansionist strategy. Somehow, I managed to outdo the Russians at economy and stole the game with a good engine. Beginner's luck probably and everyone else was new to the game, too.

Riverwalk wasn't used much, so I will rectify that trying your strategy the next time I play Nords.

I totally didn't realize that Seaworthy let my defeated units retreat to the lake. That would have made my game a lot easier.
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mark van der werf
Netherlands
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Nordic mechs seem pretty weak, the riverwalk isn't very good given the starting territory, the lake ability is meh and the combat ability is quite awful outside of 2p games.

The thing they got going for them is their flexibility with workers though and not really needing mech tech to get across the water. The +2 mech and just making your mechs beyond the water seems the way to go for them. Just plan to never lose a battle before you get the laketech so you never have to retreat to your home island. Overall I would just character be stuck on the home island unless you got a mat or encounter that supports building an early mine or possibly get a free mech, in which case you can rush the factory.


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Luke Hector
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Portsmouth
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This is interesting . . . . . considering in all of our Scythe games Blue is consistently the weakest faction having only won one single game compared to Yellow and Red who consistently win the most.

Blue requires you to get the perfect player board. You have two choices, grab those two villages right away and find a way to manage the significant cost in production from then on, or you don't and stick to barely any workers or with one village for a little bit. But while you are messing around grabbing workers and then moving then back slowly to the resources, the others have already upgraded stuff or got mechs out, the Red has already reached the factory quicker than you ever can with Township. And you are only getting one encounter, period in the entire game.

I've always had easiest time with yellow. That wild resource is constantly the saving grace to allow you to do bottom actions.
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basil mckeon
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Portland
Oregon
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Interesting comments so far, people really seem to struggle with Blue! I only have two 3-player games under my belt and a number of 2p games, but everyone who I have played with all like playing Blue. I have won with them the two times I have played them.

Honestly I think Blue's early game is to rush the factory. Taking an early Submerge, being the first to get a 5th ability, and then camping the factory to force your opponents to fight you if they want a card, is a solid tactic. I suggest moving both your character and your 1st mech to the factory.

I may be wrong, but, I think Blue has the second best (if not the best) factory rush, depending on the player mat. Obviously Red is the faction you think of when you think "factory rush," but I haven't done enough simulating to test the specifics.

Once on the factory Blue can then look to expand their economy without the need for a second mech. If no one is contesting the middle you can move your character to get an encounter while leaving your mech.

I'm eager to play more games, but I have a feeling that Blue is meant to be played aggressively like Black. You want to rush mech production and gain a fast and strong presence on the board, then bully around your opponents with your advantage in power.
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