Jeremy Avery
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I wonder if some of you newer to the game (or those who haven't played the game) would enjoy seeing a series of posts on different strategies tried. Let me know in the comments if you are interested in me posting these.

I'm at thirteen straight days of playing A Feast for Odin. I've never ever done something like this with a board game, which (for me, at least) really speaks to the quality and depth of gameplay.

In the last week or so, I've heard some people complaining about "weak" starting Occupation cards, or weak combinations of cards. I've actually been one of those who has complained, but the last few days I've been thinking about it, and I've changed my tune.

Weak starting occupations - My current theory is that weak (2 VP) occupations probably allow a player to have more flexibility with their strategy when they hits cards two and three. A "good" (0 VP) occupation probably steers you more strongly and can set you up for difficult decisions should you hit cross-purposes with your cards. In theory.

Anyways, I've decided I'm going to play all my non-Solo-Challenge games for the next little bit with the "weak" cards to see what I find. Today's card was Steward (Before Income Phase, [you may put a Wood or Stone into a shed and gain 1 Silver). This was excellent, as it would allow me to justify a Round 1 Shed, which I had never done before. (Generally I hate sheds.) I was also trying to avoid Raiding/Pillaging and Whaling, if at all possible, since I keep hearing how necessary those are as strategies. (Talk about handicapping!)



Mountain Guard looks like a good combo if I focused heavily on crafting, but in solo play, carfting has to be paired with something else. I only got two uses out of the Guard for a total of two Hides. I got my use out of Dorestad Traveller, but the other cards were a waste.

Still, I got my Shed full, and did reasonably well on the Longhouse I built later:


My problem was that I was playing an unfamiliar strategy, and wasn't sure whether I should go with a player board focus, or an Exploration board focus. I decided on player board for the extra bonus resources to fuel crafting actions and give me what I needed to power the Steward. To that end, I used all my silver to surround bonus goods before the bonus phase. I also grabbed some livestock for upgrading because it was taking too long to get the board filled by crafting only.


At Round 5 it was fairly obvious was score wasn't looking very good and that I would need one of the big Exploration boards. That, in turn meant I needed a Longboat. So I ponied up the 8 silver (which slowed me down a bit), bought the boat, and grabbed Labrador, managing to surround the Clothespin special tile, which was nice. Still, I felt like I'd lost some tempo with that surround, since those tiles didn't go towards my player board and the 18 income I was steamrolling towards. With the Longboat kicking around, I decided to squeeze in one Raid and one Pillage. They helped.

At I sped towards the end, I desperately threw down in Labrador, but my cards felt wasted (I got no use out of two of them, and a third never came into play), and Labrador had negatives. I felt behind on my scoring curve and stumbled across the finish line, feeling like I'd end up around 90 points.



FINAL SCORING
16 . Ships
18 . Emigration
38 . Exploration Boards
25 . Sheds and Houses
.. . Sheep and cattle
07 . Occupations
05 . Silver
18 . Final income
-----------------
127
-11 negatives
-------------
116 FINAL SCORE



!!!

That is a low-average solo score for me, but the fact that I got near my average with a number of missteps bodes very well for strategies that I didn't really think had a good chance of succeeding. I wonder if my player board strategy was a good one (unlike Andrew, I prefer early focus on Exploration boards), but all in all a decent score from a totally uncomfortable strategy. I feel like I could easily improve it next time. Given the right cards of course.
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Helena Hovancova
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Thanks for this. I have pre-ordered this weeks ago but still await my copy to arrive.

Meanwhile, I got bit scared regarding the cards in the game as some users claim some are OP / too weak and are already coming up with variants mitigating the luck of draw.

Reading this report any worries I had are gone. Good to know you can be competitive even with "weak" starting hand.

Also, as mentioned, when you put all eggs into 1 basket and go with 1 strategy only [boosted with strong cards], it's probably much easier to block you out in the multiplayer game.

Anyway, thanks for the effort you put in this & my anticipation increases even more.
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Jeremy Avery
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helena_poprad wrote:
Thanks for this. I have pre-ordered this weeks ago but still await my copy to arrive.

Meanwhile, I got bit scared regarding the cards in the game as some users claim some are OP / too weak and are already coming up with variants mitigating the luck of draw.

Reading this report any worries I had are gone. Good to know you can be competitive even with "weak" starting hand.

Also, as mentioned, when you put all eggs into 1 basket and go with 1 strategy only [boosted with strong cards], it's probably much easier to block you out in the multiplayer game.

Anyway, thanks for the effort you put in this & my anticipation increases even more.


Glad to hear you are enjoying the content!

I think some people are going to shift to the "Draw 2, Keep 1" idea, and I don't see in any way that being a bad thing to be honest. Another idea I had was to let people return a brown card to the bottom of the stack whenever they took a 2-Viking action - I think that players should have to give up something else as well, like one or two red Weapon cards, but something like that should work without affecting the balance of the game.

As for intentional blocking, I really only see that happening in a 2p game. In a 3p game, if Player A tries to get in Player B's way, Player C is the one that benefits the most. So 3p is more accidental block and racing for spaces; 2p is more intentional targeting blocking with a bit more freedom otherwise.

I do think that people's concerns about "weak" cards are mostly due to unfamiliar strategies. My best solo score is 130, but I hit 119 fairly regularly. As I said above, I found this strategy to be very strange and still got 116 points. As you play this game more and more, it becomes like the starting hand in Agricola: instead of saying "These suck", you think, "Cool...so how do I use these well?"

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Andrew Brooks
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I would love more of these articles! I'm amazed at how many different possible strategies there are (particularly in solo) and would really enjoy seeing what others are trying out.

And what crazy timing, I just played a solo game with Steward last night as well! I'm not sure the first turn shed is necessary as you'll only be able to trigger it 6 times with a single shed (and a 2nd shed seems excessive given limited resources) but that's the way I opened as well. I went the pure building route which was likely a mistake since I was already committing resources to my shed each turn but I wanted to try a no ship strategy and stuck with it. I ended up with 8 houses (2-2-4 by size for 104 points) by the end of the game and scored right around 115 if I remember correctly. It wasn't a great game (like yours) but was my first attempt at no exploring and I'm pretty sure I can refine the no-ship building path to get up into the 130s. Princess may be the easiest way to pull it off.


familygaming wrote:
I think some people are going to shift to the "Draw 2, Keep 1" idea, and I don't see in any way that being a bad thing to be honest. Another idea I had was to let people return a brown card to the bottom of the stack whenever they took a 2-Viking action - I think that players should have to give up something else as well, like one or two red Weapon cards, but something like that should work without affecting the balance of the game.


I'm taking the stance that I don't think there are any problems with how the card draw works until proven otherwise. You should have a decent option that you start the game with and I don't see drawing and playing cards as stronger than any other strategy in the game as of yet. It takes actions to draw and play cards, or going on the 3-4 viking spots which means you'll be going later in turn order. If you don't draw good cards then you can spend you actions on other (likely comparable) actions. I simply haven't seen anyone run away with a game because of their occupations. In fact, my best solo game yet involved only 2 early occupation cards with 2 more played purely for points. I based my strategy around my starting occupation and the second one provided some support, I didn't need a ton of synergy and I scored very well.

I'll also say that I don't think drawing one additional card is going to have much affect, you'll have marginally better results but the combined deck is going to be streaky even with a bit of mitigation. Best to just embrace it than get frustrated. In my opinion the card draw is somewhat comparable to die actions. There are strictly better results and you don't have any control over it. Relying on those actions (or card draw) is a calculated risk, if feels like a very intentional design choice to me.
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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dotKeller wrote:
In my opinion the card draw is somewhat comparable to die actions. There are strictly better results and you don't have any control over it. Relying on those actions (or card draw) is a calculated risk, if feels like a very intentional design choice to me.


This, I think, is the crux of the matter, and it reminds me of Seasons and Macao, two of my favourite games. It's all about the calculated risks- and how far you're willing to mitigate it.
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Thanks for posting this! I would definitely be interested in seeing more of these as well
 
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