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Peloponnes Card Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: City Cards - Analysis rss

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Simon Maynard
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I've been giving a lot of thought to the different city cards and the array of advantages they give you and the strategy they direct you towards. Some certainly seem more advantageous than others. Below I consider each city card in turn and rate them on how good I think they are.

In General

* They all start with 2 power points but variable populations.
* Each card has a number (bottom left) that indicates the turn order for the bidding. This has no baring on the solo game. Whether it's good or bad to come earlier or later in the bidding order is debatable. Given the limited nature of the auctions in this game, once you've made your bid it can't be modified (only transferred or withdrawn), so there is some advantage in coming later in the bidding order. On the other hand, you get first crack at the conquest row (and the patronus cards in the expansion) but that's only useful if you get a suitably large amount of coin cards to start with.
* 4 out of the 10 cities come with catastrophe symbols (top) that are certainly useful in giving you a head start in getting protection from those dreaded catastrophes.
* You may notice that I've cited the plague as the most feared catastrophe more often than any other. Not only is this the only catastrophe that effects the starting city card but it is arguably the most devastating because it takes out your population as well any resources your are producing.


Arcadia



thumbsup 2 tempest symbols.
thumbsup 7 coin cards (the highest of all city states).
thumbsup 5 population (again the highest of all city states).
thumbsdown No resources.

Naturally you are going to want to focus on landscape cards to start with. You will want to quickly make up for your lack of starting resources and with only one more symbol against tempest needed, these acquisitions should be pretty safe.

Not only will you be able to pretty much get whatever card you want on the first turn, your purchasing power should be maintained due to your huge starting population. Be prepared to take a dramatic cut in income though if a plague strikes and of course you will need to ensure that you get your hands on grain over the first few turns to make sure you're not caught out in the first supply phase.

Most feared catastrophe: Drought



Argos



thumbsup 1 wood + 1 stone resources
thumbsup 4 population
thumbsdown 3 coin cards (joint lowest of all city states).

Argos comes quite late in the bidding order which is just as well with it's low coins to start with. Second highest population (and hence income) somewhat helps compensate for the poor start but, like Arcadia, needs to ensure that it secures a decent amount of grain before the first supply phase.

Starting with 1 wood and 1 stone is not to be underestimated though. Can put itself in a position to construct buildings and acquire luxuries sooner than most others.

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Corinth



thumbsup 4 Grain (second highest amount of grain)
thumbsdown 3 coin cards (joint lowest of all city states).

With a low amount of coins and only a medium income, it is not a great city to start with. Couple this with the lack of stone or wood and catastrophe symbols, it is really difficult to get off the ground.

Grain in your starting city is great because it can't be touched by the drought. Ideally the drought will happen early, before you have had to buy any cards that produce grain so you can simply avoid it. Trouble is that grain doesn't help you at all in age A, it's benefits only come in to play later. As long as you don't get hit by the plague that is...

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Delphi



thumbsup 1 plague + 1 drought symbol
thumbsup 6 coin cards (second highest)
thumbsdown 1 population (joint lowest).

Delphi starts rich but can quickly become impoverished if it doesn't use its first few acquisitions to boost population/income. A lack of building materials needs to made up for too but starting with a small amount of grain and a couple of catastrophe symbols is very useful.

In multi player games, goes last in the bidding order. Combined with its high starting coins, puts it in an excellent position to outbid players that have gone before it.

Most feared catastrophe: Tempest



Messene



thumbsup 5 grain (highest of all cities)
thumbsdown 1 Population (joint lowest)

This one's quite similar to Corinth but with one more coin to work with at the start but a tiny population/income. Shares many of the same concerns with the additional need to focus early on population.

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Patras



thumbsup 5 coin cards
thumbsup 1 wood + 3 grain
thumbsdown 2 population

Two other city states also start with 5 coins but they both have 3 population and consequently Patras needs to make this starting money count more than they do.

Still some building materials and a decent amount of grain are always useful.

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Pylos



thumbsup 5 coin cards
thumbsup 2 stone (highest of all city states)

I couldn't think of anything particularly bad about this one. Decent starting money, moderate population/income and good supply of building materials. Needs to ensure it establishes a supply of grain at some point and also needs to get some wood.

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Sparta



thumbsup 2 wood + 1 stone (highest amount of building materials of all cities).
thumbsdown 2 population

Best placed to get constructing buildings early but also needs to ensure its population is buffed, and not far behind that, the grain.

Most feared catastrophe: Plague



Syracuse



thumbsup two plague symbols
thumbsup 5 coin cards

This city state gets to go first in the bidding order. And with coins to play with on the first turn, can quite probably help themselves to whatever they like from the conquest row. A middling income population/income should keep it steady and should also need not worry about the Plague. A strong contender.

Most feared catastrophe: Tempest



Thebes



thumbsup Special ability: -1 to conqest row cost
thumbsup Earns 1 luxury per turn
thumbsup 5 coin cards
thumbsdown 2 population

Low population is more than made up for earning 1 luxury per turn coupled with a the reduced cost of acquiring cards from the conquest row. If you can get the barracks and the stockade, you can effectively get cards from the conquest row at no extra cost.

Needs to really focus first on getting immunity from decline, then building up its population. But a great card to start with, that's for sure.

Most feared catastrophe: Decline

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Kevin B. Smith
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I would probably quibble with some of the opinions, but this is a nice analysis.

EDIT: It would be interesting to think more about the pros and cons solo, vs. 2-player, vs. 5-player. I suspect they vary more than what you have mentioned so far.
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Simon Maynard
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peakhope wrote:
I would probably quibble with some of the opinions, but this is a nice analysis.

EDIT: It would be interesting to think more about the pros and cons solo, vs. 2-player, vs. 5-player. I suspect they vary more than what you have mentioned so far.

I have to admit that I've never played with more than 4 players so you might have a point. But in what ways do you think that the player count has a baring on the value of the city cards?

Turn order surely becomes more important the more players you have but I'm not sure whether going earlier or later in the turn order is inherently more or less beneficial. It only effects the first turn anyway.

Besides that, I can't really think how the number of players in the game has much of a baring...
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Kevin B. Smith
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Fried Egg wrote:
Besides that, I can't really think how the number of players in the game has much of a baring...

One that comes to mind is Thebes' ability to conquest for less. On the one hand, with 2p, there are more choices for conquest. On the other hand, conquesting in a multiplayer game is probably more valuable (to stay out of the crowded bidding fray).

I played Thebes 5p recently, and I also managed to get the power card that grants an additional -1 to conquest cards. Needless to say, I conquested a lot that game.

Wealth/income might be more important with more players, since there might be more competition and thus higher bids. On the other hand, at lower counts it's valuable to be able to conquest.
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Simon Maynard
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peakhope wrote:
Fried Egg wrote:
Besides that, I can't really think how the number of players in the game has much of a baring...

One that comes to mind is Thebes' ability to conquest for less. On the one hand, with 2p, there are more choices for conquest. On the other hand, conquesting in a multiplayer game is probably more valuable (to stay out of the crowded bidding fray).

Good point. That's one of the main changes with more players; the cards available on the conquest row diminishes. But, as you say, it's difficult to say whether conquering is more useful or not at the higher player counts.

I certainly think is one of the best city cards, whatever the number of players (or even solo).

 
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