Johannes Nelson
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Ever since the game came out there have been a lot of speculation regarding emigration.
Is it too strong? It it necessary to emigrate at least 1-2 times for a good score?

I decided to give myself a challenge to try to get a competitive score with three different strategies that includes no emigrations what so ever. I decided that around 120 is a good enough score to aim for, seeing as a full emigration usually score around there (4 longship + 2 knarrs) and the winner in my multiplayer games so far have scored, more or less, around that number.

(I do realize this post sort of belong in the "Session" part of the forum aswell, but it was the emigration strategy talk that got me thinking in the first place, so that's why it ended up here)

Raiding and exploring
The first, and most obvious strategy I could think of was raiding paired with explorations. One early exploration board for the income and then Labrador and Newfoundland in the late game for the scores. The game was pretty straight forward, no really too interesting occupation, expect maybe Deer Hunter (pay 2 silver after a successful hunt for a 2x3 green tile). I could have optimized my game a whole lot more for a higher score, but I didn’t feel I had to prove anything here as most people seem to agree that exploration and raiding is strong enough to compete with emigration.



Ship: 16
Emigrations: 0
Exploration: 86
Occupations: 6
Silver: 32
Final income: 8
English crown: 2

Home board: -5
Exploration boards: -20

Final score: 129

Housing
My next strategy to try was housing, or I decided that would be my strategy when I got the master Bricklayer starting occupation (-1 stones for housebuilding). I got two early stone houses, and with the help of the two green 1x3 bonus tiles I focused most of my effort on my home board until the mid/late game where I picked up 4 additional houses for the score. I ended up with 70 points in housing and a solid enough score of 122 points in the end. It was a really fun game, as I’ve never tried to go full out on houses before.




Ship: 8
Emigrations: 0
Houses: 70
Sheep and cattle: 11
Occupations: 10
Silver: 14
Final income: 18

Houses: -9

Final score: 122

Income and silver
The last strategy I wanted to try out was the income/silver one. I wanted to see if I could get in to 100s without any houses, exploration or emigration. And this was a lot harder than I first thought.

In my first attempt I started out with a really strong occupation card; Apprentice Craftsmen (take one mountainstrip resource before taking a crafting action). I abused the occupation to a point where I, in combination with the bonus tiles on my home board, ended up with 6 additional ore aswell as 4 stones.



With the use of a knarr for trading, some stray actions and the crafting spaces I managed to fill my board completely by the 5th round, and could enjoy my 18 income for two rounds. My final score was 105 with 59 silver in the end. I thought however I could do better, seeing as how I got some low scoring occupation cards and opted for the ships too late, and only got three.

Ship: 18
Emigrations: 0
Sheep and cattle: 2
Occupations: 8
Silver: 59
Final income: 18

Final score: 105

My second attempt failed miserably though, and I got so frustrated in the 4th round that I just try a third game instead.

My starting occupations was the Tutor (pay 1 silver to play one occupation) and I could smell the potential. Like in the first try I managed to cover my whole board by the 5th round, and the last 2 rounds where used trying to squeeze out every last point on the board, as I couldn’t take any extra boards or emigration. I planned a lot better for the ships and managed to get four of them, as well as 10 occupations. But I must have been too liberate with the silver between Tutor and Silk Stitcher and only ended up with 44 silver, I did however still manage to beat my first try by 4 points for 109.



I might try to revisit this strategy later (maybe a full home board is possible on round 4!?), but I think 109 is good enough. An easy improvement would be to manage my silver even more carefully (as well as better luck with high scoring occupations).

Ship: 29
Emigrations: 0
Sheep and cattle: 2
Occupations: 16
Silver: 44
Final income: 18

Final score: 109

Conclusion
There are several things to take in consideration here. I’m not the best player, and I don’t strive to show you how amazingly high scores you can get with these strategies. And in exception for the last strategy I didn’t try to optimize my score. These were my last 4(5) solo games the last couple of days, so they don't prove that much. But at the same time they do, as these were games I didn't try too hard to beat emigration. To show that even an average Joe can get a decent enough score to compete with emigration.

Another thing to take in consideration regarding this "observation", is that this is solo play, and there are of course a couple of benefits playing solo with these strategies. As there are no competition for exploration or house boards as well as mountain strips. Which mean that you can carelessly plan for when you're going to pick up resources to maximize the gain, as well in which round you want the different exploration and house boards. If you play multiplayer you might wanna be more flexible with you’re strategy and at least have in mind that you might not get all three exploration boards or six houses.

But even if you don’t have other player to take in to account in solo, you have to plan more carefully as you block yourself. For an example, because of the self block in my first game I couldn’t cheese spam the 1 worker raid action for an easy special tiles every round. And the self block also meant that I couldn't explore Newfoundland until the last round because I explored Labrador in the 5th round. Which in turn meant I lost out on the "cloakpin-bonus tile" on Newfoundland, and had to raid for the pin instead.

In the end I think you got to be flexible with your occupation cards and spread wide on the scoring sheet to excel in AFFO. Emigration is strong both for the score and the extra red and orange tiles you'll end up with. But I personally wouldn’t call it broken, even in a sologame. And if you play in a multiplayer game with more experienced players you can’t simply go for emigration and expect to win.

Maybe emigration is like the big money strategy in Dominion? A simple and obvious strategy that gives you a rather high score. And sort of like a benchmark to beat if you want to test your competence.

But at the same time emigration is nothing like that, as you can throw in a little bit of emigration in you strategy just for the extra points. And this is what makes AFFO so compelling to me. There are so many different strategies and combinations of strategies to try out, and they all get modified by your occupations. You can score 60 in two categories or 10 in all of them, and still be as competitive.
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Rich P
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Thanks for the report. It's good to hear about some of the other possibilities the game offers.

charmiggnu wrote:
Like in the first try I managed to cover my whole board by the 5th round...


In the games where you were trying to maximise silver income and filled your home board quickly, did you ignore the bonuses and cover up those squares?
 
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Philip Morton
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woodnoggin wrote:
Thanks for the report. It's good to hear about some of the other possibilities the game offers.

charmiggnu wrote:
Like in the first try I managed to cover my whole board by the 5th round...

In the games where you were trying to maximise silver income and filled your home board quickly, did you ignore the bonuses and cover up those squares?

This is visible in the pictures of his final boards, right? The first no-extra-boards game appears to have the wood bonus covered up but the other four activated. The second shows the mead covered up but the wood and the others activated.
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Rich P
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Chrondeath wrote:
woodnoggin wrote:
Thanks for the report. It's good to hear about some of the other possibilities the game offers.

charmiggnu wrote:
Like in the first try I managed to cover my whole board by the 5th round...

In the games where you were trying to maximise silver income and filled your home board quickly, did you ignore the bonuses and cover up those squares?

This is visible in the pictures of his final boards, right? The first no-extra-boards game appears to have the wood bonus covered up but the other four activated. The second shows the mead covered up but the wood and the others activated.


Oops. I was reading a text-only version of the thread.
 
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Johannes Nelson
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woodnoggin wrote:
Oops. I was reading a text-only version of the thread.


Well the quality on the picture is pretty rubbish so it's hard to tell even if you see them...

But your question still got me wonder, maybe I could have gotten a full board by the 4th round if I was more reckless with my placements?

It's just by habit that I try to get the bonus tiles whenever possible, even if I don't necessarily need them or not. I'll definitely try that if I come around to further try to optimize the score again.
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M Van Der Werf
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This post only enforces the idea of migration to me.

Migration mixes well with hunting/raiding strats by doing some hunts/raids, getting an island and then migrating the boat. So the best of these 'non-migration' strats was just better off with a few migrations I guess.

But I can see that a focus on migration isn't a must and doing a little can just be fine. Heck sometimes maybe even none. I haven't seen livestock do well at all though. Seems too much effort to get going for what it's worth, the oppurtunity cost of just getting a better engine going (more income, bonusses etc.) seems just so high.

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Johannes Nelson
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Markwerf wrote:
This post only enforces the idea of migration to me.

Migration mixes well with hunting/raiding strats by doing some hunts/raids, getting an island and then migrating the boat. So the best of these 'non-migration' strats was just better off with a few migrations I guess.

But I can see that a focus on migration isn't a must and doing a little can just be fine. Heck sometimes maybe even none. I haven't seen livestock do well at all though. Seems too much effort to get going for what it's worth, the oppurtunity cost of just getting a better engine going (more income, bonusses etc.) seems just so high.



Yes, of course. I agree. My point was not that emigration is bad, or that you shouldn't incorporate it into any of these strategies.
It was more of a comment on the speculations that arisen on whether or not emigration is TOO good, or even broken.
So my point was to show that the game is not "solved" and you wont automatically be in a disadvantege because you didn't emigrate 4 times in a game.

I do think all these strategies I showcased would get further enhanced by emigrating aswell.
But just in the same way that an all out emigration strategy would benefit from a house or a exploration board.
These are not optimal strategy alone for themself. I think you have to spread yourself wide in AFFO for a really high score (as my conclusion in the end of this post).

I haven't seen livestock as an integral part of a winning strategy yet aswell.
If I use the sheep and cattle it's mostly to upgrade for a green tile or if I get an occupation card that incentives me to go for them.

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Jonas Vanschooren
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In my last game I focused on getting the B Island (can't remember the name) fast, filling it up as fast as I could keeping al resources on it. This gave me from then on free sheep every round, I got some cows in combination with that. I upgraded them al during the game and they covered almost every -1 spot on my main board. Allowing me to use my smaller tiles on buildings.
Worked pretty well. It won me the game, only 89 points but take into account this was only our 4th game and that was my best score so far.

I really liked the B island, I'm sure gone go for it again sometimes, if I should get some nice animal based occupations or something.

Animals do seem nice, they take an investment early on, but they build up after that giving a nice steady flow of big red tiles you can easily upgrade to green.
But the investment might be a tad high if you got no occupation to profit from it.
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charmiggnu wrote:
Markwerf wrote:
This post only enforces the idea of migration to me.

Migration mixes well with hunting/raiding strats by doing some hunts/raids, getting an island and then migrating the boat. So the best of these 'non-migration' strats was just better off with a few migrations I guess.

But I can see that a focus on migration isn't a must and doing a little can just be fine. Heck sometimes maybe even none. I haven't seen livestock do well at all though. Seems too much effort to get going for what it's worth, the oppurtunity cost of just getting a better engine going (more income, bonusses etc.) seems just so high.



Yes, of course. I agree. My point was not that emigration is bad, or that you shouldn't incorporate it into any of these strategies.
It was more of a comment on the speculations that arisen on whether or not emigration is TOO good, or even broken.
So my point was to show that the game is not "solved" and you wont automatically be in a disadvantege because you didn't emigrate 4 times in a game.

I do think all these strategies I showcased would get further enhanced by emigrating aswell.
But just in the same way that an all out emigration strategy would benefit from a house or a exploration board.
These are not optimal strategy alone for themself. I think you have to spread yourself wide in AFFO for a really high score (as my conclusion in the end of this post).

I haven't seen livestock as an integral part of a winning strategy yet aswell.
If I use the sheep and cattle it's mostly to upgrade for a green tile or if I get an occupation card that incentives me to go for them.



Doing a few migrations and getting an extra island almost seems a must to me. I don't neccesarily see this as a problem though, family growth being a must in agricola works fine too. Livestock not being worth it could be a shame though.

Lots of actions with the market and everything are probably intended to be weak though but are in the game to help weaker players out with feeding. The setup of Uwe's games with negative points and feeding is a bit stupid imo, it just means that new players will score very low and be forced to use actions on securing food sometimes while for experienced players it's a minor inconvenience.

The whole harvest and feeding felt like it could have been scrapped from this game with minor loss. I just don't get why Uwe insists of keeping these feeding things in his games. In agricola it at least makes some sense to balance family growth but it could easily have been skipped in Feast imo reducing some of the clutter.
 
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Joe Masinter
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I thought 100+ points was really good until we tried the full 7 round game. Obviously the points will be higher with a full extra round, but in a 3 player 7 round game the scores were approx. 110, 140 and 150.

Incidentally, in that game I emigrated 4 times, mostly early, and ended with a substantially lower score than the other two players who mostly just focused on filling up their main board early for income.
 
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