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Subject: Anyone win with the machines? rss

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Dustin Boatman
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Hey guys, just wondering if any of you have won any games as the machines? I got this game at Gen Con and the machines looked the coolest so I have played them a few times and came in 3rd in a 4 player game and just lost in a 2 player game. The more I try to come up with a viable strategy, the more I seem to think they are hard to win with. I am not one to say a game isn't balanced, so it could just be me, which is why I would like to hear what other machine players have done to win. The issue I have is that most other factions either have a secondary victory point ability(like the pilgrims) or have an easy time spreading out to get majority or crystals(Trogs and Humans). The buildings are really cool for the machines, but besides one random VP occasionally on a build action card, they don't help you get VP at all. When you are building you aren't moving taking areas, and battles happen so quickly that you don't have time to set up bunkers. The only possible strategy I can think of is trying to combine their ability to score double points for attrition and combo that with the terrain cards that allow you to resolve objectives in reverse order so you don't always lose control. Any thoughts?
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Tony Mastrangeli
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I've won twice as the machines (2p games). There is a thread on here where I posted my play session (look in the big one about humans being strong).

I'm still learning strategies, but basically it seems like a good move for the machines is to be constantly messing with other player's troops, and then secure the prime crystal locations with your bunkers. Once you camp down a bunker, it can be hard to bust a machine out.

The orbital lasers are great for nagging other units who are just hanging out in areas. The shredder drones are great for playing king maker in battles. I'll use them even when i'm not involved in a battle just to make sure my opponents lose.

You're right though, as the only main faction without a secondary way to earn VPs, I think they just have to focus on area control and winning the war of attrition vs other factions. I played an entire game with the machines and didn't use the recruit action once.
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Dustin Boatman
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Interesting battle report. I would like to see how you do in a 4 player game, because you have even less time to build buildings and set up bunkers. One of my main issues is you cant use your special ability to move bunkers into battle regions, which would be a huge help. I am not going to say under powered at this point, just trying to see if I can figure out a way to win with them. In my 4 player game the Trogs literally steam rolled everyone by 15-20 points. The humans were second and I was a distant 3rd. The two player game the Pilgrims beat me by 15 or so, because while I built buildings in the early game he took most of the board and after I took it back, he just spent crystals for points. The pilgrims also have a building that is better than the bunker in my opinion. He could drop a soldier into an adjacent battle region. The bunker pretty much sits there hoping people come to you. Maybe I need more drones/snipers.
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Thomas Leitner
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I've played the game four times now, twice with three and twice with four.

While I have no 2P experience, I can imagine the Machines being quite competitive with the other two factions, and Tony's experience listed above seems to bear that out a bit.

In my multiplayer games, the Machines have finished anywhere from dead last to distant third place. They have not performed well at all, and their inability to manufacture points outside of combat and territory control seems to really hurt them.

As people gain more experience, I'll be very curious to see what strategies evolve. Right now, however, the Machines have me stumped and I just don't see how they win.
 
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Tony Mastrangeli
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I am definitely curious as to why the machines don't have a default way to earn VPs as a faction like the other two do.
 
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James Mathias
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In the other thread, Grant (One of the Designers) said.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23453503#23453503
Quote:
Machines gain points from newly acquired Territory.


But never expanded on how, even when asked directly. The RAW have no mention of this or anything implying it, and none of the skills or buildings activate any such ability. This is specifically why I think something was accidentally left out of the RAW for the Machines.

And the fact that they are the only main faction without an alternate VP engine, strengthens this hunch.
 
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Tony Mastrangeli
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jmathias wrote:
In the other thread, Grant (One of the Designers) said.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23453503#23453503
Quote:
Machines gain points from newly acquired Territory.


But never expanded on how, even when asked directly. The RAW have no mention of this or anything implying it, and none of the skills or buildings activate any such ability. This is specifically why I think something was accidentally left out of the RAW for the Machines.

And the fact that they are the only main faction without an alternate VP engine, strengthens this hunch.


Maybe he just meant that they have the easiest time conquering and holding territories and gain their VPs through battle and Crystal occupation?
 
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James Mathias
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BoardGameQuest wrote:
jmathias wrote:
In the other thread, Grant (One of the Designers) said.

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23453503#23453503
Quote:
Machines gain points from newly acquired Territory.


But never expanded on how, even when asked directly. The RAW have no mention of this or anything implying it, and none of the skills or buildings activate any such ability. This is specifically why I think something was accidentally left out of the RAW for the Machines.

And the fact that they are the only main faction without an alternate VP engine, strengthens this hunch.


Maybe he just meant that they have the easiest time conquering and holding territories and gain their VPs through battle and Crystal occupation?


Quite possible, but they don't have an easier time acquiring new territory than any other faction. The Humans can acquire up to 4 territories, and 20 points in round one without moving a single figure, even against a very aggressive Machine player. The Machines have to battle for every territory, and they have a disadvantage of going into Trog regions blind. And they can't build any buildings (arguably their bread and butter) until they control a region, so again the Humans have the advantage.

I honestly don't think the game is unbalanced, and I don't think the Humans are OP. I just think that the Machines are missing a key ability or rule that makes them competitive.
 
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Dustin Boatman
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I definitely agree that the machines feel like they are missing something. Whether it is a rule accidently omitted or a strategy I am clueless about I am not sure. They are my favorite faction anyway. I love the game and don't want anyone to think I am bashing or that I regret preordering. They seem like they are meant to sit back and build up buildings and then slowly steamroll the map using their ability to move buildings and soften up enemies with snipes and drones, but the nature of the game doesnt seem to give them enough time to do so. They are also usually far behind in points by the time they get powerful but dont have an extra way to score to close the gap. The game I played against the pilgrims I won every battle i was in, made him spend actions recruiting troops because of snipes, but still lost by about 15 points due to him scoring his crystals every chance he got.
 
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James Mathias
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Official FAQ https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/136001/official-cry-havoc...

Nerfs Scouting in 2 and 3 player games, but not really. This has little affect on the first round spread. Scouting becomes nearly useless in later rounds.

Quote:
SCOUTING: Place one of your Control tokens on any unoccupied Region.
In a 2 or 3 player game, Scouting may only be used on regions adjacent to a region that contains a Human Control token.


Also no mention of potential Machines' missing abilities.

It also makes Airfield a bit stronger, as it can be used on a mini free, but already controlled region, switching control to the Humans again without needing figures.

Quote:
Airfield: Can I use the Airfield on an unoccupied region that has an opponent’s control token already in it?
A: Yes.
 
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Bryan K
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I played last night with the Machines vs. the Humans in a two player game. As the Machines, I won in a tight game. The first turn I built an orbital sniper and matrix to get terrain tactic cards. I went first for most the game and this seemed to help because I could build and activate buildings before my opponent could attack me. I built a drone shredders on a space near all the action. This combination proved very frustrating for my foe. With six build, I could kill two of his soldiers and get a tactic card. This proved very frustrating for my foe. I placed a factory in the same space of my shredders and could then deploy a guy, and kill two of his guys (orbital and shredders) with three build. The advantage of the Machines seems to be that they can get their troops out in the field with out recruiting then moving. The Human could deploy 6 troops in one turn, then move them the next. But, before he could move into battle, the Machines could kill two and place one in a region. Having battle cards at my disposal also proved extremely advantageous. As moving troops around the battle field or bringing a troop from my reserve to a battle objective of my choice would sway the battle in my favor. Another advantage of the machines is that they can do everything with build action. Want more troops in a region? Just move a factory or a barracks, then use build. You can get tactic cards on the Matrix, build Machines, kill their troops all in one turn. Overall, seemed like a pretty strong race in my play. They did get third in my first 4 player game over the Pilgrims.

Also, we are just playing with default skill cards. Maybe things change later. Excited to bring on more skill card in during my next game.
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James Mathias
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ZombieDad2 wrote:
I played last night with the Machines vs. the Humans in a two player game. As the Machines, I won in a tight game. The first turn I built an orbital sniper and matrix to get terrain tactic cards. I went first for most the game and this seemed to help because I could build and activate buildings before my opponent could attack me. I built a drone shredders on a space near all the action. This combination proved very frustrating for my foe. With six build, I could kill two of his soldiers and get a tactic card. This proved very frustrating for my foe. I placed a factory in the same space of my shredders and could then deploy a guy, and kill two of his guys (orbital and shredders) with three build. The advantage of the Machines seems to be that they can get their troops out in the field with out recruiting then moving. The Human could deploy 6 troops in one turn, then move them the next. But, before he could move into battle, the Machines could kill two and place one in a region. Having battle cards at my disposal also proved extremely advantageous. As moving troops around the battle field or bringing a troop from my reserve to a battle objective of my choice would sway the battle in my favor. Another advantage of the machines is that they can do everything with build action. Want more troops in a region? Just move a factory or a barracks, then use build. You can get tactic cards on the Matrix, build Machines, kill their troops all in one turn. Overall, seemed like a pretty strong race in my play. They did get third in my first 4 player game over the Pilgrims.

Also, we are just playing with default skill cards. Maybe things change later. Excited to bring on more skill card in during my next game.


It's hard to tell without a full turn break down, but you said you built two buildings on your first turn? How? You can only build in a region you control. Which mean you'd first have to spend turns moving before you could build.

I agree once they are up and running the Machines seem like they'd be powerful. The problem is getting them there before another team beats you in the points game. a 20 point swing is very hard to overcome, when the machines have no alternate scoring ability.
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Bryan K
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Yeah, by turn, I meant round that time...misspoke. I could've been more clear, moved first, next turn built and activate..Actually, if I remember the first round correctly. I believe I grabbed the terrain tactic card that gives two move...Then, did a four movement into two different spaces. Then for the third action did a build and activate with six build. I remembered the machines didnt have a lot of movement, so first turn I grabbed a terrain card to help negate that for the rest of the game.
 
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G B
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I won a 2p with machines last night vs pilgrims. Main strategy was to shred and shred and orbital striker. Move city enabled more tactical shredding and then finally, I used factories to make units. I never recruited, and I mass built as often as I could, activating 3 buildings per activation, minimum.

The game was pretty one sided as the shred drones made most of the battles very one sided. It was very frustrating for the Pilgrim player. They had a constant shortage of troops, leaving them vulnerable.
 
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Tony Mastrangeli
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ghbell wrote:
I won a 2p with machines last night vs pilgrims. Main strategy was to shred and shred and orbital striker. Move city enabled more tactical shredding and then finally, I used factories to make units. I never recruited, and I mass built as often as I could, activating 3 buildings per activation, minimum.

The game was pretty one sided as the shred drones made most of the battles very one sided. It was very frustrating for the Pilgrim player. They had a constant shortage of troops, leaving them vulnerable.


That's been my strategy so far. Keep bleeding your opponents. Force them to waste actions recruiting and moving forces over and over. Not sure how well it works in 4p game, but i've used it well in a 2p.
 
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G B
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Yes, it seems a very strong strategy in 2p. I agree in 3 or 4 player games it will play very different.
 
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Remus Rhymus
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Played my second game of CH yesterday. Both were 4 player games, and yesterday was my first time playing Machines. I was in dead last rounds 1 - 3 and shot into first place in round 4 scoring (which I enabled). Unfortunately I ended the game in second place, 5 points behind the humans. My main strategy was using Shredder Drones and The move skill to gain battle advantages. I mainly went for regions with the most crystals (first two were Trog regions near their HQ and then a Pilgrim region in round 4). I built an early Matrix and Orbital Sniper as well, but used them sparingly compared to the Shredders. I never built a Bunker, but built a factory (I think that's what it's called - the one that allows a recruit) late game. I didn't use the recruit action once the entire game and had 3 prisoners for the last 3 rounds of the game.

Unfortunately, some of the events hurt me more than the other factions. For example right after I took over the two big Trog regions (but before I was able to score them) the event was "remove two crystals from the region with the most crystals". It would've been closer had the events favored me more than they did, I may have even won the game.

That said, it was my opponents first time playing and only my second. Mistakes were made by all. I still have much to explore in this game, but I'm getting the sense that the factions are balanced, you just need to discover the right strategies for each faction. I think the Trogs are the most straightforward and the Machines are probably the least obvious, but they all seem to have viable winning strategies.

Our game was fairly close until final scoring. We always seemed to be within 6 points of each other. After the final scoring, the gap between winner and last place was about 12 points. No one was ever out of it.
 
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Joe Bowers
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Yes. You just use drones and lasers and smash faces.
 
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Dustin Boatman
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I played another 4 player game last night with two guys who were brand new. I taught the humans player how to play and in minutes he had twenty points on the board. It ended close between the Trogs, Pilgrims, and Humans though with the Humans winning. Unfortunately the most experienced player (myself) was still trying to figure the machines out and it didn't work out. I am 0-5 with the Machines in the game, lol. Still had a lot of fun but there was so little I could do to keep my score up. I think I had about 40 points and everyone else was in the 60-70 point range. I just couldn't generate enough points. Even using my attrition scoring ability didnt work well because although I scored double points, they would win the region and score for that and crystals. I built a ton of buildings and probably used the build action 80 percent of the game. Back to the drawing board I guess, lol.
 
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Dan Mixer
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How are you building with the Machines on turn one?

You can't build on an area you don't control or that has a battle marker on it, so there is no way for the Machines to build on turn one.
 
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James Mathias
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Icedanno wrote:
How are you building with the Machines on turn one?

You can't build on an area you don't control or that has a battle marker on it, so there is no way for the Machines to build on turn one.


This assumes the other player(s) don't stop you. But generally speaking against good opponents a building on round 1 is tough cookies, but technically possible in magical Christmas land. Unless of course you are human with the ability scout.

Action one, move to side area with no units or trog tokens, take control.

Action two, build in new controlled region.

Action three, do whatever you want.
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Dan Mixer
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Oh, that's right, I forgot about that little side area with no trog stuff next to the HQs.
 
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Scott Rogganbuck
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Do the machines ever get points when they kill with Shred Drones or Orbital Sniper?
 
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James Mathias
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Finklestein wrote:
Do the machines ever get points when they kill with Shred Drones or Orbital Sniper?


No.
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