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Subject: Strategy tips? rss

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Fruit Eating Bear
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I've played this five or six times now, and am still trying to get to grips with the strategy of the game. Clearly getting jobs/partnerships/projects that complement each other, an engine if you like, is beneficial. Do you often choose overtime? Do you often take stress for taking the same action twice? What benefit would make you consider taking stress voluntarily? Do you ever willingly take stress for having more than three jobs/partners/projects? Do you ever quit your job or partner? My 'life' seems to be quite linear, so I think I'm missing something important.
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Christian Amey
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I played my third solo game last night and feel like I finally got all the rules right (and won; scored 54 LTH). I won't lie and tell you I understand the strategy but my 3 life goals were, #1 gain +3 STH in one round, #2 have 2 pets, and #3 die when entering Old Age.

My early strategy focused on getting the +3 STH completed and buying a pet while balancing my stress level. I didn't want to push too hard in the beginning and lose an hourglass but, once I entered adulthood and got a job, I started to choose overtime to gradually push my Stress level towards the red so I could gain that final goal.

I never got a promotion as money was not a big problem; I actually struggled with having other resources necessary to advance projects/items/activities and I died alone since it didn't further my life goals and didn't provide many benefits

I'm not sure if I like PoH better than CV yet. I got CV for my non-gamer wife last Christmas since she claims her favorite games as a child were Yahtzee and The Game of Life. CV feels like you're accomplishing more during life whereas PoH is more of a balancing act. I will need to play a few more times solo and with a group to form a better opinion.
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Dave Moore
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Due to the large number of cards and different options, it is difficult to suggest a specific strategy re card combos as I haven't seen enough repetition in the games we have played which will guarantee success.

I have learned that too often we have waited too long to start collecting Long Term Happiness and it has come back to bite us later when we fall just short.

I now try and use my first action to get short term happiness, so that I can get the bonuses for the turn. That'll allow me to save resources for larger purchases/projects/jobs later on. Group projects are great, grab them while you can, as they give good bonuses of LTH and also only last one turn.

My 9 year old son's strategy was to get his first car, but he didn't have enough money to buy it. His solution? Date a girl from a rich family to get 5 coins and so he could buy his car!
This was worrying enough, but after 3 turns, he didn't want to save any resources and couldn't afford the upkeep, so lost his job!
I am really concerned that this is a preview of the future........!
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David Jones
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I think I've played this four times now. Its honestly hard to prescribe a specific strategy. At the end of the day, this is just a resource conversion game. So choices often boil down to how do I get the most out of what I already have. You really want to avoid taking the play/learn/etc actions on the main board as they are the least efficient. After that, you're just trying to figure out how to create conversion chains that get you the most point. The chains are going to change depending on what cards are on the board, so you can say any specific thing is always going to work or not work. Just as a few examples, I played one game where I never got a job. Projects kept coming up that were allowing me to convert resources and make money and I think my relationship was also providing some income. But I can't say that this is a consistently valid strategy as I've played other games where the projects yielded little to no money. Similarly, I've played game without ever taking a relationship and games where getting to the family stage was crucial to keeping my job/money/upkeep engine running smooth.

I haven't ever tried taking overtime, nor have I seen another player do this, so I can't say if this is a viable strategy or not. Two stress for only one extra action doesn't seem worthwhile though. I typically only take stress if I can work the acquisition of a stress relieving card into conversion chain. There may be some exceptions if there is a critical card I need, but you don't want to go past the next break point. Losing actions is rarely a good thing in these kinds of games.

I tend to like getting short term happiness. Again bearing in mind that this is a resource conversion game, STH usually increases that efficiency. This is a balancing act though. Since STH goes away at the end of the round, you usually want to have projects in front of you already, get the STH early in the round, and then hit projects as often as you can with your last three or four hourglasses. (I remember once getting two STH and picking up a project that started with giving me a third. Did all four steps with a three resource discount. Points Galore!)

Team projects seem to be the most lucrative. In particular if you can do two of the goals and convince at least one person to do a third, the payout can be huge.
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Trevor Schadt
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davypi wrote:
I haven't ever tried taking overtime, nor have I seen another player do this, so I can't say if this is a viable strategy or not. Two stress for only one extra action doesn't seem worthwhile though. I typically only take stress if I can work the acquisition of a stress relieving card into conversion chain. There may be some exceptions if there is a critical card I need, but you don't want to go past the next break point. Losing actions is rarely a good thing in these kinds of games.
I have seen situations where taking Overtime is incredibly useful. One that springs immediately to mind is if you need that last hourglass to complete a project that gives you Good Health. Even if you spend the extra HG the next round to Rest the Stress away, you're still coming out ahead in the long run.

Because the first two Stress you take have basically no effect, you can think of Overtime as "borrowing" an hourglass from a future round, because you can spend an HG in a future round to Rest and erase the Stress (or you can concentrate on cards with Relax icons). And as it gets near end-game, you might not even bother to "pay it back," since the Stress you get from Old Age will kill you at the same rate even if you have two extra Stress.
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Christian Amey
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ryudoowaru wrote:
davypi wrote:
I haven't ever tried taking overtime, nor have I seen another player do this, so I can't say if this is a viable strategy or not. Two stress for only one extra action doesn't seem worthwhile though. I typically only take stress if I can work the acquisition of a stress relieving card into conversion chain. There may be some exceptions if there is a critical card I need, but you don't want to go past the next break point. Losing actions is rarely a good thing in these kinds of games.
I have seen situations where taking Overtime is incredibly useful. One that springs immediately to mind is if you need that last hourglass to complete a project that gives you Good Health. Even if you spend the extra HG the next round to Rest the Stress away, you're still coming out ahead in the long run.

Because the first two Stress you take have basically no effect, you can think of Overtime as "borrowing" an hourglass from a future round, because you can spend an HG in a future round to Rest and erase the Stress (or you can concentrate on cards with Relax icons). And as it gets near end-game, you might not even bother to "pay it back," since the Stress you get from Old Age will kill you at the same rate even if you have two extra Stress.


I actually had the Life Goal to die when entering Old Age and taking/managing Stress was crucial in achieving that goal. It definitely comes down to the player's unique requirements in each game.
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Thomas Ting
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I've played twice, won twice, each with over 60 points per game (75+ on the second game).

I would say the key points are as follows:

1) Be willing to take stress as long as it doesn't lower you to the next level that causes the lost of an action pawn. You can always math it out in the first place. Pawns are in many ways your most precious asset in the game and using them efficiently is how you score well.

2) Multi-stage projects are in fact generally inefficient at generating VP compared to action pawns spent, unless it improves health which grants additional action pawns. Avoid them unless the resources generated by the project are vital for getting a good job.

3) Speaking of jobs... I find that upkeep for level 2 or 3 jobs is generally too punishing. I instead advocate sticking to a level 1 job and gradually earn up money, or to grab a level 3 job and then immediately retire before upkeep so that you can get a pension. The latter also nets you a huge windfall in money that makes it easy to buy lots of items/activities, which gets converted quickly into VPs with just a few actions.

4) Similarly windfalls in resources (e.g. ideas) are best dumped on one-time projects like game shows. They cost a lot of resources, but only one action pawn to complete. You can get 5-6 LTH VP per action pawn this way.

5) Marriage/Raising a Family is honestly a trap option in this game. Spending two action pawns in upkeep to net 4 VP means you're getting just 2 VP per action pawn - a rate which is easily eclipsed by one-time projects or money + items/activities. You should Raise a Family only when your character has largely run out of money+resources to buy items / do projects.

Being in a relationship however is generally a good idea - because you generally get 3 resources plus one happiness for an action pawn in upkeep, or you can get nine resources for 3 money with Katherine/Cameron which is a very efficient rate of exchange.

Finally, be completely willing to sacrifice short-term happiness to reset the board. If the board doesn't have anything that you can play efficiently, then reset it. I would do it multiple times especially in the early game just to get a health improvement project early. Having a good life in this game - just like in real life - requires that the player to actively seek out new opportunities even if it causes some discomfort. Just hoping on luck to carry you through life will lead to lower scores and hence a less happy life .
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David Jones
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Zinegata wrote:
I've played twice, won twice, each with over 60 points per game (75+ on the second game).


I'm winning my games with similar scores, but with different strategies.

Quote:
2) Multi-stage projects are in fact generally inefficient at generating VP compared to action pawns spent, unless it improves health which grants additional action pawns. Avoid them unless the resources generated by the project are vital for getting a good job.


I don't know that I agree with this. I don't want to do a full mathematical analysis, but looking at a few cards, what I notice is that one shot project give you more points per resource, but they give no resources. Multi stage projects give you VPs and resources, which you can then use to fuel your next project. Your strategy requires spending more actions to acquire resources. Given that we are coming in with similar scores, I'm more inclined to think that this is actually well balanced. I would also add to this that I only have 10 one shot projects in my deck. Those aren't coming out often enough to build a strategy around.

Quote:
3) Speaking of jobs... I find that upkeep for level 2 or 3 jobs is generally too punishing...


Again, I think I have to go back to my previous post and point out that each game is situational. I had one game where I bought a bunch of stuff on an L2 job and then moved into an L3 job on the fourth round of the game. Because my job was giving me the money to pay the upkeep on the items, the hourglasses I was spending was generating enough points to make it worthwhile. I think my relationship was giving me the resources to keep the job which was giving me the money to pay the upkeep on the items. But this is obviously not a combo you can pull off every game.

Quote:
5) Marriage/Raising a Family is honestly a trap option in this game. Spending two action pawns in upkeep to net 4 VP means you're getting just 2 VP per action pawn - a rate which is easily eclipsed by one-time projects or money + items/activities.


Again, I'm not seeing the math on this. Robot Wars requires 4 books and 6 light bulbs then yields five points and 3 dollars. Its going to take you three actions to acquire the books/bulbs and a fourth to claim the project. Netting you six points and four dollars. Six points divided by four actions is 1.5 points per action. Family is better deal.

 
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Thomas Ting
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davypi wrote:
I don't know that I agree with this. I don't want to do a full mathematical analysis, but looking at a few cards, what I notice is that one shot project give you more points per resource, but they give no resources. Multi stage projects give you VPs and resources, which you can then use to fuel your next project.


First of all, I think you're deeply misunderstanding the premise of the post. It's a response to a player who's having trouble "getting" how to score well in the game.

And, quite frankly, the reason why players score poorly in this game is because there are a lot of "trap" options. Yes, you can pull off some great combos if you set it up properly. But if you are not able to set it up properly then you will crash and burn. Most of the "don'ts" in my post are meant to help players avoid choices that are potential traps.

For instance, I think you missed this bit:

"Multi-stage projects are in fact generally inefficient at generating VP compared to action pawns spent, unless it improves health which grants additional action pawns. Avoid them unless the resources generated by the project are vital for getting a good job."

The point isn't to never take multi-stage projects.

The point is that they are in fact very action-pawn intensive, and that you should avoid getting them unless you have a specific goal in mind (and generally speaking, getting a good job and getting retired is one of the best goals to have in every game).

Getting resources from multi-stage projects sounds great (albeit I will note that directly taking resources from the action spaces is generally more efficient until you push the project near the end and you discount the cost via happiness), but a very common newbie mistake in this game is to take too many of them leading to a pile of unspent resources. The biggest reason for low-scoring games from newbies in this game stems from unfinished projects and unspent resources from projects.

Quote:
I would also add to this that I only have 10 one shot projects in my deck. Those aren't coming out often enough to build a strategy around.


Not really. The game allows you to clear the board at the cost of short-term happiness, which is reset anyway. You can generally force the issue if you really need to.

Quote:
Again, I think I have to go back to my previous post and point out that each game is situational. I had one game where I bought a bunch of stuff on an L2 job and then moved into an L3 job on the fourth round of the game. Because my job was giving me the money to pay the upkeep on the items, the hourglasses I was spending was generating enough points to make it worthwhile. I think my relationship was giving me the resources to keep the job which was giving me the money to pay the upkeep on the items. But this is obviously not a combo you can pull off every game.


Retirement gives you income without restricting your action pawn count, in addition to substantial bonuses for getting signed to a level 3 job plus fulfilling the retirement to begin with.

You'll of course be richer if you stay on your level 3 job, but the simple reality is that you'll basically be on auto-pilot for the rest of the game if you do so. If you didn't correctly setup your engine before you get into the level 3 job, you can be stuck generating more money that can be converted into VP due to your limited action pawn count. Remember, a level 3 job and raising a family requires 5 pawns on upkeep. You might not have any action pawns left to use at all during the action phase.

Quote:
Again, I'm not seeing the math on this. Robot Wars requires 4 books and 6 light bulbs then yields five points and 3 dollars. Its going to take you three actions to acquire the books/bulbs and a fourth to claim the project. Netting you six points and four dollars. Six points divided by four actions is 1.5 points per action. Family is better deal.


Your math is already showing why it's a trap option; because you focused on the VP gains and ignored the 4 money you gained.

You didn't score 1.5 points per action (via one of the least efficient methods, I might add). You earned 6 points and four dollars for 4 actions.

And money doesn't grow on trees. You need actions to gain them too. In fact, the board shows us the baseline: One action pawn for $3 via the part-time job action.

So you in fact spent three actions to get 6 VP (2VP/action) - equaling the "efficiency" of raising a family - and you had a more-efficient part-time job action that earned you $4 rather than $3.

Robot Wars is thus at least $1 better than simply raking in the VP via raising a family (not to mention action pawns spent upgrading the relationship to begin with) for the same number of action pawns spent.

Moreover, there are lots of items that grant you a considerable number of resources for fewer actions. Wine collection for instance gives a ton of handshakes for only 1 action. That's why I advocated getting items in the first place - that's where you can really get a lot of resources with only a few actions.

Now, it's true that items require money, but that's also precisely why I advocate "getting a good job and retiring early" as one of your primary goals every game.

Lastly, I again have to go back to the issue of "tying" your pawns to job or relationship upkeep. Sure, you might earn 4 VP for 2 pawns. But will you have enough pawns to do other VP-earning projects?

The approach I advocate - early retirement, relationships only (no raising of family until the end) in fact keeps your action pawn upkeep to just one, freeing the rest of your pawns to do other things. This lets you fix mistakes like early projects that were never finished.

By contrast tying 4 or 5 pawns to job and family essentially leaves you with very few options. Indeed, a lot of players will find that they can't even retire anymore by the end of the game because they're unable to generate the resources necessary with the pawns they are left with.

As I said in my closing statement, the game is about pursuing opportunities. You'll have a hard time pursuing them if your action pawns are already mostly locked in upkeep.
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David Jones
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Again, I'm not seeing the math on this. Robot Wars requires 4 books and 6 light bulbs then yields five points and 3 dollars. Its going to take you three actions to acquire the books/bulbs and a fourth to claim the project. Netting you six points and four dollars. Six points divided by four actions is 1.5 points per action. Family is better deal.


Your math is already showing why it's a trap option; because you focused on the VP gains and ignored the 4 money you gained.

You didn't score 1.5 points per action (via one of the least efficient methods, I might add). You earned 6 points and four dollars for 4 actions.


Ok, so three dollars will get you one VP from an item. That comes to 7.33 VPs for four hour glasses, which is 1.83 VP per, still less than the 2VP per hourglass you get from the family option.

If you feel I've provided an inefficient example, please provide a typically efficient one. The problem I'm seeing in the way you are counting things is that you aren't accounting for the steps needed to acquire the resources to pay for the action. Similarly, if you are going to advocate spending an STH for the purposes of force cycling a one time project onto the board, you have add the opportunity cost of not using that STH on a long term project.

I have to admit that early retirement, as a strategy, is not something we've experimented with in our games.
 
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