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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How best to handle the mid-game? rss

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Marco MacDaddy
South Africa
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So I've played new TTA for some time, and have recently been playing a lot on boardgaming-online. I often come second, and I never win thus far. It's great seeing how skilled people can be in this game, and I aspire to such levels.

I normally get a decent start, with three mines and a second philosophy early on (turn 2 or 3). I have learned to build decent armies so I don't get smashed as weakest player. I prioritize upgraded farms and science, but still often get iron when it's cheap. I normally start trying to generate culture from the middle of age 2 - often through drama/opera/movies - but I have tried the library route too.

Then I get into late Age 3 and my opponents smash me with their huge end-game bonuses, even if I was the culture leader before ending Age 4.

I've read a lot about the early game strategy and the advice has been very helpful. I was wondering if anyone out there is prepared to do a treatise on mid to late game development and how best to leverage your infrastructure to get big bonuses.

What is a good main line? What should my Age 3 setup look like to be well placed to score? Any kind of ideal progressions (like always try for leader X if you have technology Y and combo that with wonder Z)?

All replies appreciated. This game is worth talking about!
 
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jonas havreglid
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The problem is that it is hard to talk about it in detail as it is situational. It seems from your brief description that you might be upgrading to much and commiting to little. My advice would be to look at it this way:

Pushing culture and military is active, upgrading your infrastructure is reactive. Culture gives a slowly increasing lead which often need to be stopped by military. You can not fall too much behind in military or die but to win with it someone else must fall behind you.

Upgrading you infrastructure gives you an increased flexibility to react to what the other players are doing which is great. However, the payback time is usually long, so think of it as getting an advantage in the next age. The later it gets in the game, the faster the payback time must be. It is worth it so long as it helps you to push so much more efficiently later on that it makes up for the lost time.

To win the game you have to commiting to some kind of a combo. Upgrading is a way to stay flexible, to improve your possibilities to commit more fully later on when you get a good opportunity. The longer you wait, the btter it has to be. If you are trailing culture badly in age 3 then you have to build something like two classical armies with air forces or 3 operas and chaplinwood to make up. This is very demanding on your population, so I usually disband some or all of my mines. This is why I often avoid the mine upgrades, they have the longest payback time while also being the resource easiest to supplant with action cards and military strength. Iron pays itself back by the time I'm ready to disband them for military whereas I could have made a tidy profit from code of laws and a wonder or warfare and an additional army.
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Marco MacDaddy
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Ok good advice. I seldom if ever disband, and I see that's a key weakness.

I have heard all the advice about iron being a poor choice, but I don't understand it. How do I build things with only bronze mines? They seem so slow and inefficient, and risk corruption due to using so many blue tokens. I know that yellow cards can supplement, but I don't see how they can replace a decent ore generator. Armies, buildings, etc all need ore. I'm not disagreeing, I'm just struggling to visualize.
 
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Tilou
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Dratsabius wrote:
Ok good advice. I seldom if ever disband, and I see that's a key weakness.

I have heard all the advice about iron being a poor choice, but I don't understand it. How do I build things with only bronze mines? They seem so slow and inefficient, and risk corruption due to using so many blue tokens. I know that yellow cards can supplement, but I don't see how they can replace a decent ore generator. Armies, buildings, etc all need ore. I'm not disagreeing, I'm just struggling to visualize.


The thing with Iron is that you need a lot of ore just to upgrade your bronze mines to iron (9 for 3 mines). If you add that cost to the income generated by the yellow cards, you'll do just fine skipping that step and using the science otherwise.
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Matthew Kameron
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Agreed. I can't remember the last time I used Iron. Coal occasionally... Iron only if there is literally nothing else to do.

The key to avoid corruption is to continually spend resources!

The key to not needing much rock is (other than yellow cards) to not buy things that you don't need. You can often win if you get a small (30 culture) lead by the start of Age III, and then can just hang on through Age III.

It is rare that Age III wonders are built by the winning player (in my observation), since the winning player rarely has enough rock for one and often (if they are defending an early lead) they are using their rocks to avoid losing a war.
 
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Marco MacDaddy
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Very interesting. I hadn't really factored in the 3 turn loss each upgraded mine represents before it pays for itself.

I also must admit that I still buy stuff I don't want or need. I often find myself with a card in hand that I no longer want to build/can't afford that sticks there until game end.

Will try a no iron strategy on BGO for a while and see what efficiencies I can realize there. Thanks!

And don't feel like this topic is closed. Any extra advice and insight is hugely appreciated!
 
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Chris Maloof

Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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I quite like iron now, in the new game. It's a long-term investment, yes, but right around the end of age I there's often nothing better to spend your resources on, and it makes the late game soooo much easier than trying to scrape by on bronze mines and yellow cards that mostly cost 2-3 actions.

If you have alchemy, you can probably afford the science. If you don't have alchemy, you'll want the resources for scientific method or journalism.

Drama tends to lead to the result you describe, where an early culture lead evaporates by the end. Opera can work well with Bach in shorter 3p games especially, but you generally have to throw all your effort toward that + military, which does tank your impact scores. Journalism is still solid, especially with architecture.
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Artur Rymanowski
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I also like playing with iron / coal. Bronze is ok in 2 player games when its not a big problem to grab few yellow cards. In 3-4p games you need to remember that age III units and buildings cost 7-11. Its hard to acumulate that many resources with 3 bronze mines (coruption hit hard).
 
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Garth Tams
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Fizi wrote:
Agreed. I can't remember the last time I used Iron. Coal occasionally... Iron only if there is literally nothing else to do.

The key to avoid corruption is to continually spend resources!

The key to not needing much rock is (other than yellow cards) to not buy things that you don't need. You can often win if you get a small (30 culture) lead by the start of Age III, and then can just hang on through Age III.

It is rare that Age III wonders are built by the winning player (in my observation), since the winning player rarely has enough rock for one and often (if they are defending an early lead) they are using their rocks to avoid losing a war.


And suddenly every player is grabbing every yellow rock card. This in theory sounds good, but can be hard to achieve.
I find the best way to upgrade your infrastructure is by cheating it. Use yellow cards when you can, use aggression cards to gain the rocks. Never go Oil unless you have Transcontinental already built, you at least get your rock investment back immediately with the that wonder completed.

To me, it sounds like you are just turning on your end game engine a couple rounds too late. Timing is everything.
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Alan
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Dratsabius wrote:
So I've played new TTA for some time, and have recently been playing a lot on boardgaming-online. I often come second, and I never win thus far.


That's because you never played against me!
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Marco MacDaddy
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Now we're getting to some nitty gritty issues that I've been wondering about. I have heard the 'No Iron' talk for a while, but often I find everyone else has heard it too and I seldom have yellow cards reach me for 1 CA. Interesting some of you guys say that Iron is ok at the end of the Age. I have noticed that I do better when I get Iron late, since I've then spent more time doing more directly useful things to my infrastructure. Also some yellow cards eat CAs like there's no tomorrow! One CA (if you're lucky) to take the card, one to play it, one to spend the resources (in the case of Stockpile for instance). Hard choices to be made there.

Lol @ tequila_j : well I'm keen to play anytime and we can race to the bottom together
 
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Jack Liu
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Dratsabius wrote:
Now we're getting to some nitty gritty issues that I've been wondering about. I have heard the 'No Iron' talk for a while, but often I find everyone else has heard it too and I seldom have yellow cards reach me for 1 CA. Interesting some of you guys say that Iron is ok at the end of the Age. I have noticed that I do better when I get Iron late, since I've then spent more time doing more directly useful things to my infrastructure. Also some yellow cards eat CAs like there's no tomorrow! One CA (if you're lucky) to take the card, one to play it, one to spend the resources (in the case of Stockpile for instance). Hard choices to be made there.


I'm also confused by the no iron talk. Maybe it is more viable in 2p as there are more yellow cards to player ratio.

But I mostly play 4p and sometimes 3p and very rarely is bronze enough to win (usually need to pickup bill gates or there is a weak player at the table that you can plunder/raid a lot). Iron is solid though as well as coal. Oil rarely is worth it.

I usually prefer iron, picked up early in A1 or late. Early = use rocks to build iron before your A or A1 wonder. Late = end of A1/beg of A2 when people are transitioning and saving sci for techs. Iron development is good here.




As for the OP question of how to win, you need to develop good infrastructure in A1/2 and use that to generate culture in A3. While it's possible to run away with culture early with certain combos, these usually get heavily punished in 4p games due to weak military.

Instead focus on having enough military and creating a solid setup. Something like: CM gov, SB, Iron/Coal, Sci method or enough sci to jump on an early computer/multimedia. Sci plays a huge part in A3, there are so many powerful techs and you need to be able to research them. Also half of the A3 leaders deal with sci

Most culture is not actually generated from making culture but from getting lots of points from events (sci is king for this) or having a strong built up at this point army and playing WoC.
 
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El-ad David Amir
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I'm using the note-taking feature in boardgaming-online.com, and I notice that one of my common notes when age II begins is "how do I win here?". I think that the OP has the right idea:

Dratsabius wrote:
What should my Age 3 setup look like to be well placed to score?


There are many strong age 3 setups, but most of them require you to start planning in advance. For example, Einstein, Gates, and Sid Meier are three leaders that convert science to points very effectively, but you need to be ready with suitable science for them. Upgrading a Drama to Movies early could net a nice chunk of points, but you need the Efficient Upgrades or resource supply to do it. Another idea is flipping to an Age III government as early as possible, doesn't really matter which one, but you need a stash of Science to pull it off. Choose one or two plans that seem feasible given your board state at the beginning of Age II, then build up through the Age so you're prepared when Age III begins.

Dratsabius wrote:
even if I was the culture leader before ending Age 4.

Planning for the Impact bonuses is tough to develop as a skill. There are fifteen different impacts and it's not always clear which ones are in the deck (heck, it's not clear which ones *you* should put in the deck!). One of the things that helped me is figuring out how to hedge my bets: balancing obvious gain with potential impacts. For example, if I have seen neither Impact/Competition nor Impact/Strength, and I need to choose between a last-turn Opera (three points) and a last-turn Cavalry, I might go for the Cavalry. Like many other things in TtA, there are a lot of "ifs" to consider. Here's an exercise that might be useful: on the turn that Age IV begins, go over the Impacts and see how you're doing on each. It's probably too late to fix anything too disastrous (if you're last on Science in a 4p game, for example) but it would give you ideas for the next games.
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