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Hostage Negotiator» Forums » Strategy

Subject: My recipe for success (75% win ratio) rss

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Filip Laeveren
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Hi negotiators all over the world.

I recently bought this game because I went on a holiday.

Each evening, when my kids were in bed, I put this game on the table.

I love the game, but after a few games, I had find out that my tactics in the base game were very similar. When I used this tactics, I won almost every game (at least 3 out of 4).

This is how I play:

1. I start with Keep Cool (x2). If succesful, that is nice, but if not, no problem because conversation continues.

Objective of playing keep cool is of course getting 3 dice. Bonus is that some terror cards (don't test me, I see what you are) are good when threat level is low.

2. Then I continue with What our your demands, also twice, exception with Edward Quinn. There are too many terror cards that increases the threat level, so it is neccessary to know what the demands are.

3. I finish with Small Talk. If succesful, I play it twice, otherwise conversation ends. So it happens often that after the first turn, I have no cards left, or sometimes only 1 card, so I often draw 2 consecutive terror cards.

4.If I am able to purchase cards, I will buy Always threat lowering cards: Just stay calm and when I already have 3 dice, A bold lie.

Also I purchase whenever possible "What I meant was".

5. Next turn when I can play cards again (turn 3) again starting with Keep cool, If any unrevealed demands what are your demands, then the other threat lowering cards to finish wit Small talk.

Objective from turn 3 is to extract hostages by lowering the threat level beneath S.

At this point cards can be used when rolling a 4 to convert it into success (main candidates are what are your demands). If not, I use these cards to increase conversation points by discarding them.

If available conversation points, I use them again to purchase just stay calm or a bold lie. Excellent cards with 3 dice.

In turn 5, again, keep cool twice.

6.
I never purchase you need to trust me.

7.
Just a few more minutes is a card that I only take when negotiating with Edward Quinn when I want to concede his major demand.

8.
Minor extraction is a card you need to go for when there are only a few hostages left.

9.
I almost never purchase an empty promise. I did it once against Edward Quinn.

10.
I am coming in to talk is a very nice card against Donna. This will increase the possibility of saving or killing a hostage. Very nice if you can combine it with a bold lie.

11.
I almost never purchase a major extraction.

12.
Almost all my wins (over 90%) are coming from surrendering (extracting an extra hostage), so the hostage taker never gets killed. Therefore Sniper take the shot and all units get in there now are almost never purchased.


This conclusion is based on playing more then 20 games (I will not count my first games when I was learning the game).

I really love the game, but my way of playing is very similar each game. Only in extreme situations, I must change tactics.

Maybe other players can confirm this playstyle?

Are the expansions more challenging?



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Mike Martins
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Very similar to my typical play style for the base game abductors and my record is similar.

The abductor packs are much more challenging... Especially those coming with the new crime wave expansion. One abductor pack doesn't allow you to save abductors by reducing the threat level below S, and another can have you lose conversation cards. All of this to force the player to switch up their game style and try different approaches to win... It's quite interesting, and rewarding to beat the more challenging abductors from the abductor packs... Strongly suggest getting them if you're enjoying the game.

There's still some time left in the Crime Wave kickstarter if you want to get all the newer content.
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Xenothon Stelnicki
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Similar to my default, too, but I use a lot more cards for points. I truly am horrible with dice, so the expected ratios almost never work in my favor. I also almost never roll anything that would give me CP if I'm already negative. I'll take my free reset and play the other cards the following round.
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Rob Rob
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Avalon18A wrote:

12.
Almost all my wins (over 90%) are coming from surrendering (extracting an extra hostage), so the hostage taker never gets killed. Therefore Sniper take the shot and all units get in there now are almost never purchased.

This is true for me as well.
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Iain
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I'd recommend have a read of this blog post by Morten Pedersen who has designed one of the abductor packs for the new game. In it he talks about trying to mess with the dominant strategies and turn the game on its head a bit.

I'm really excited about these because I think, as with most games, the dominant strategy can become apparent after a number of plays.


https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/56779/cult-automa-how-the...
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Jim Greenwood
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Good review. I'd have to say I found out virtually the same thing when playing the base game. I can almost always bring the abductor in alive with no or minimal hostage loss. I can think of only one time each that I used the "Sniper.." or "All Units..." cards.

Even after a couple of dozen plays with high a win ratio, it is still a pretty enjoyable solo game of dice mitigation and tactical card play.

The extra abductor packs give more challenge. Well, at least the first two. I haven't played packs 3 of 4 yet. About to start pack 3. Pick the extra packs up and keep it going.

However, I have little desire to get the new "Crime Wave" version.
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Julien Regnard
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IMO this is the natural way of playing with the best reward vs risk.
Reducing threat level lowers risk (3 dice) and increases reward at the same time (frees hostages ) this is not very gamey.

There is a variant to change this: instead of rolling 3 dice for S and 1 die for K do the opposite. (you roll 4-dice count on the board)
 
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Peter Kossits
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Avalon18A wrote:

1. I start with Keep Cool (x2). If succesful, that is nice, but if not, no problem because conversation continues.

Objective of playing keep cool is of course getting 3 dice. Bonus is that some terror cards (don't test me, I see what you are) are good when threat level is low.

2. Then I continue with What our your demands, also twice, exception with Edward Quinn. There are too many terror cards that increases the threat level, so it is neccessary to know what the demands are.


I realize this is an oldish thread, but there's not too much strategy talk happening. I thought I would throw another idea into the mix.

The original poster noticed that revealing the demands was very important, so why not make that the focus of turn 1? Playing threat reduction first, is nice, but even if you hit both of them, it's not enough to get 3 dice on turn 1 or 2. Why not save Keep Cool to possibly use to convert a 4 when revealing a demand?

I start with "What Are Your Demands?". If I get a 4, I use Small Talk to convert it into 1 success. On the 2nd "What Are Your Demands?", I can score with a 4 again because I kept my Stay Cools.

After that, I play the Stay Cools if I still have any. Usually these will be to repair damage to the threat level caused by misses on "What Are Your Demands?".

And after that the Small Talks.

Don't only use the Reroll cards on your conversation rolls. The "What I meant was" reroll cards are great to use on cards from the terror deck that can kill or save hostages. The easiest hostage saves can come from Escape Attempt off the terror deck, so use your rerolls here.

Another great place to use them is on "I've Taken More Hostages". Nothing raises the difficulty of the scenario like getting 3 more hostages. Use reroll to get that down to 1.

Don't be afraid to give up on getting the threat down. A lot of times it doesn't get below 2 no matter what you do. If it's not happening, it's usually better to use those "Keep Cools" as well as the "What Are Your Demands" for 3 or 4 extra conversation points every 2 rounds. Keep a Stay Cool handy in case the threat gets as low as 6 or K though.

You don't need the big cards to get into a winning situation. Minor Extraction for 3 points coupled with a You Need To Trust Me for 2 points and possibly a Reroll card is a pretty strong and inexpensive combo that usually gets the 2 hostages released, especially if you're lucky enough to have 3 dice. Play that combo twice and you've managed to release 4/7 hostages in the first scenario. Now you don't have to worry so much about kills coming off the Terror deck any more. Ironically, they actually help you now!

Always keep an eye on the Demands. Most of them can't be safely invoked until the final conversation but there are some low impact ones like Food, Water and Media Coverage. Also, remember that you can kill any penalties incurred by demands by killing the hostage taker, so you can do a combo like this:

o Concede Release Fugitives to get 2 free cards. Make one of them the Sniper card. Concede other demands if possible.
o Use the Sniper to kill the Abductor and any penalties for conceding demands are now gone!



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A.J. Porfirio
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Good stuff Peter, I do however want to correct one thing...

peterk1 wrote:


Another great place to use them is on "I've Taken More Hostages". Nothing raises the difficulty of the scenario like getting 3 more hostages. Use reroll to get that down to 1.




"What I meant was" may not be used on that Terror card as it is NOT a Threat Roll. You are just rolling one die and applying the result.
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Peter Kossits
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Yeah but - "This card may also be played during the Terror Phase". That's sort of implying that you can use it on terror effects too.

I see that Hostage Escape attempt says to make a single Threat roll, so it's good there.

So...does that mean that it's also not allowed on Don't Test Me where you compare die value with current threat value?
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A.J. Porfirio
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peterk1 wrote:
Yeah but - "This card may also be played during the Terror Phase". That's sort of implying that you can use it on terror effects too.

I see that Hostage Escape attempt says to make a single Threat roll, so it's good there.

So...does that mean that it's also not allowed on Don't Test Me where you compare die value with current threat value?


Correct. Neither of those (I've taken more Hastages and Dont test me) cards are Threat rolls.
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Marco Grubert
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How are you able to lower the threat to S? I have a hard time just keeping it away from K.

Getting a threat reduction of 2 is necessary just to counter all the +2 terror cards, which does not leave much in terms of gaining conversation points. As a beginner my only wins against Arkayne have been by utilizing "All Units" with boosters and demands conceded.
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Peter Kossits
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It's difficult to Get Arkayne to S. With Donna and Ed Quinn, it's much easier and you can start using 3 dice right in the first conversation with a bit of luck. With Arkayne, the best you can hope for is to get him to 2 and then to not have a Red card threat increase in the Terror phase. That almost never happens.

I would argue that if you start a conversation with threat at 4-5, perhaps it would be better playing one or both 0-cost threat reduction cards for conversation points instead and simply defend against the move to 6 or K by keeping one threat card in reserve.

A lot of threat reduction effort can be wasted due to the Back To Square One terror card. If that card has come out already, then threat reduction becomes a bit more worthwhile. Also, a good thing to remember - Pivotal Events never increase threat (well, with one small exception), so if you made it through all the red cards and have a low threat, you'll at least start the final conversation with 3 dice.

With Donna and Quinn, since the threat starts at only 3, you have a shot at getting to 3 dice right in the first conversation, which is definitely something to pursue before trying to expose their demands.
With Ed Quinn, of course, threat reduction (and building up a large hand of cheap cards to trade in for CP) is pretty much all that matters.

I'm going to go against the original posters suggestion to only use Minor Extraction when there are a few hostages remaining. I love these 2 cards and they are my main vehicle for hostage release. For 6 points you have the possibility of rescuing 4 hostages. The other rescue cards are more expensive in terms of cost per hostage. I usually only play them when I have one or both Reroll cards in hand. If I only have 2 dice, I'll try to buff them with You Need To Trust Me to turn 4s into successes. I'll get those 2 Minor Extraction cards into play twice and sometimes even 3 times per game for 8-12 potential releases.

I'm pretty much never purchasing any cards that cost over 3 points and almost never try to kill the hostage taker. Final hostages and/or the "victory release" are very often rescued via a demand concession on the last conversation.
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