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Subject: strategy 101: Course outline rss

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Fred Wojtkielewicz
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these are my general considerations playing this game and getting 100+ every game.

ships:
your are gonna need one of each.
Do not emigrate until you are finished pillaging and over seas trading

emigration:
no more no less than twice, otherwise you will be out of balance.
there is not dominant emigration strategy

exploration boards:
yet to figure the reason for all the boards yet
greenland: income and bonus goods
newfounland: points if you can get em’

sheds and houses:
great points at the end if you can’t do anything else and have extra wood and/or stone; Red/yellow goods can be placed on only these.

sheep and cattle:
breed cattle if you can!!!
collect rewards for such then fill er’ up. Cattle upgraded fills 12 negative

occupations:
depends?!?
score points for cards at end game at the very least. (i’ve seen 13 points here)
Try to create some combos and synchronisty between the cards and what you plan on doing as early as possible!!!

income:
get 2 income on the first round.
my game is all about income and you can’t stop me…
filling spots on home board and fast.
end game scoring!!! (26+)
buying forged goods
as well as emigration late (after getting many uses for ships)

Bonus goods:
odd shaped pieces are key for early bonus goods and income
these are huge, I usually get 6-9 on the last few rounds.

negative points:
big space fillers: (moderate costs)
whaling
cattle
pillaging


what can i add here? let’s work on the curriculum.
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Thibaud Dejardin
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Quote:
exploration boards:
yet to figure the reason for all the boards yet
greenland: income and bonus goods
newfounland: points if you can get em’

I now tend to ignore my player board (I complete the -1 at the end of the game but usually stay at 2 income, but I get the ore as soon as possible, and the rune if I upgrade to 4 income) to fully focus on exploration boards. It works quite well!
My best solo game so far was 146 points, with both shetland and newfound land.

They give you three bonus types: good tiles, income, and/or points.

Shetland: You must get it as soon as possible to maximize this one.
Don't bother with the main board, this one gives you an income of 3 (easy to complete), an oil and silver forks. Don't hesitate to use money and ore to get those bonuses, it worth it on the mid/long term.

Feroe Islands: This one is tricky to use, but can be really powerful. One sheep each turn is a huge bonus, if you can reach it fast enough. The income doesn't come so easily, but the island also provide you one fur, one milk and one oil. Its shape makes it hard to complete, you need multiple small tiles instead of big ones that don't fit.

Greenland: An obvious choice: big fast income! The ore+stone and the oil is welcome, too. The island offers a big point bonus, too, and can provide you some money if you get it later.

Iceland
: This one offers some income, too, but is harder to complete. The bonuses are not so great (help with the feasts), but iceland gives up to 6 money when taken, and some victory points.

Bear island
: Gives a not so hard to get income, and the ore+rune is great. Like all reversed tiles, it also gives you some victory points.

Baffin island: You get this one quite late in the game, but it has great bonuses: a good income (easy to get), oil, another green tile, ore (all need few tiles to unlock), and some points.

Labrador: This one gives you a lot of points and two nice bonuses (you can get them two times). Don't hesitate to use ore or coins to unlock them because all those bonuses are surrounded by -1 squares. One coin in your inventory or on a -1 square is basically the same.

Newfound land: This one is awesome! You can only get those bonuses one time before then end of the game, but they worth it. One special tile and one house are great for the end game! PLus, like labrador, the island worth 38 points.


Edit: edited about the rune. You indeed have to upgrade to 4 income to get it. Thanks to have pointed it out.
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Jason Hinkley
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Archange227 wrote:

I now tend to ignore my player board (I complete the -1 at the end of the game but usually stay at 2 income, but I get the ore and the rune as soon as possible) to fully focus on exploration boards. It works quite well!


How are you able to get a rune without covering the 4 income space? I thought you had to cover each of the previous income spaces (as well as the spaces below and to the left of said income space) to cover up any income space and you had to surround all 9 spaces around a given bonus space in order to claim a bonus good.
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Jeremy Avery
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I'm really hoping for a good strategy primer but - with respect to OP - this isn't it.

Most of the things you suggest being good and bad are largely situational, and depend a great deal on Occupation cards and what the other players are doing.

I'm a 118+-points player. A couple of objections to OP:

- Players can score 130+ with 0 Emigration and with 7 Emigration. I will usually go with 0, 2, or 4-5, depending on my need for ships and occupation cards. Emigrating early is something you WANT to do if you want serious points, as it is much cheaper (i.e. worth more points) early on.
- It's possible to score 130+ with 3 Exploration boards - in different combinations - so they have a point.
- Besides victory points, different exploration boards provide different bonus goods that support different strategies.
- It's possible to score 130+ points
- Getting one of each ship - as a general strategy - is a terrible idea. This game very much works around specialization. I can think of very few games in which I want all three kinds of ship.
- Cattle/sheep is not considered a powerful strategy (yet), and getting exactly one every game as a strategy is not something I would be likely to do unless I needed that exact shape and had no other way to get it (i.e. clothing/hoard).


This advice is well-intended but not that good. Sorry OP! I'm at 118+ and reluctant to give advice because there are players scoring 160+ every game.
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Brian Petersen
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These are my experiences:

- If possible only unlock 2 income, and optional ore and/or mead bonus on your main board before exploring.
- Never get Farao Islands. It's just bad.
-(Almost) always attempt to get Baffin, it is in my opinion the best exploration board there is. However my highest score has been without Baffin so maybe I'm wrong.
- The (solo) games I've had 150+ point I've had 2 exploration boards, 2-3 emigration, 2-3 houses.
- It's not worth it to upgrade pieces smaller than game mead, buy a house. Edit: There's definetly exeptions to this
- Its VERY important to not have tiles laying around. Get them on a board asap.
- Efficiency is more important than strategy.

Keep in mind I yet to explore a lot of different routes and keep falling into the same strategies I know "works" for me.
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Thibaud Dejardin
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Armsved wrote:
- Its VERY important to not have tiles laying around. Get them on a board asap.
- Efficiency is more important than strategy.

There's at least two cases where it's better to keep some pieces lying around:
1-When you will take an exploration board, to fill it up quickly and get the income/bonuses fast.
2-To have 1 of each green before taking an upgrade action (with the ship).
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Brian Petersen
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Archange227 wrote:
Armsved wrote:
- Its VERY important to not have tiles laying around. Get them on a board asap.
- Efficiency is more important than strategy.

There's at least two cases where it's better to keep some pieces lying around:
1-When you will take an exploration board, to fill it up quickly and get the income/bonuses fast.
2-To have 1 of each green before taking an upgrade action (with the ship).


I completely agree. There's definitely exceptions to what I wrote. Except Farao Island, that one is so bad
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Armsved wrote:
Archange227 wrote:
Armsved wrote:
- Its VERY important to not have tiles laying around. Get them on a board asap.
- Efficiency is more important than strategy.

There's at least two cases where it's better to keep some pieces lying around:
1-When you will take an exploration board, to fill it up quickly and get the income/bonuses fast.
2-To have 1 of each green before taking an upgrade action (with the ship).


I completely agree. There's definitely exceptions to what I wrote. Except Farao Island, that one is so bad

Faroe is so going on a future solo challenge.
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Andrew Brooks
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I hesitate to write too much in regard to strategy because it may ruin the discovery process for others but I can at least respond to your notes with what I think. I'll point out that solo and multiplayer are much MUCH different experiences that allow/require wildly different strategies.

Solo provides much better planing but encourages more diversification in actions (due to self blocking) while simultaneously allowing more specialization in areas that have limited availability (exploration, special tiles, building) or are likely to get contested. Multiplayer forces more flexibility in terms of unpredictable action blocking by other players but potentially allows more niche specialization for action spots with less competition. In both cases, occupation cards can be a big driving force in what's viable and valuable.

I hesitate to say that there are too many rules of thumb because I have seen so many different strategies work (at least in solo). Every time I think something is optimal I try the opposite strategy and have been pleasantly surprised to find out that also works.

For instance, these pairs of opposite strategies have all resulted in very good scores in solo:
*Exploration focus (3+ islands) & no exploration
*Emigration focus (5+) & no emigration
*Filling in home board & ignoring home board
*Playing lots of occupations & playing 1 or no occupations
*Taking a lot of dice actions & taking few or no dice actions

My conclusion is, as of yet in solo, I have not seen any clearly optimal strategies (such as building in Arle). The fact that opposite paths are viable should be a very good sign of that.

Now on to your thoughts. Hopefully this doesn't come across as me trying to contradict you, I'd simply warn against getting stuck in one way of thinking and encourage experimentation.

---

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
ships:
your are gonna need one of each.


Ships, like pretty much everything else, don't seem to be required to do well but they certainly open up more very action efficint paths. You can take advantage of the actions from all three ship types within the same game but you're not going to NEED any one of them specifically. Ship diversity seems like it is much more important in multiplayer where it provides more options and flexibility.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
Do not emigrate until you are finished pillaging and over seas trading


I wouldn't worry about emigrating a ship tied to an action that you want to use more (except for those containing ore) since you can always buy ships with silver before taking an action. On that note, buying ships is a great point-neutral way to save actions but doesn't obsolete the ship building actions which can be good early when silver is tight. If you are planing to pillage/whale then loading up with ore sooner is ideal so you can see better returns from that investment.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
emigration:
no more no less than twice, otherwise you will be out of balance.
there is not dominant emigration strategy


As I mentioned above, I've seen heavy and no emigration do well. I don't think balance is necessary. I do think it's important to understand the food saving benefit of emigration and use it more heavily in strategies that would benefit from food (such as building). You do get enough food during harvest to easily feed with no emigration assuming you have some source of red tiles.

Early emigration is very point efficient but hurts board development tempo so I'm not convinced it is either over powered or required.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
exploration boards:
yet to figure the reason for all the boards yet


Exploration boards provide a great source of income and bonuses, and if flipped, also points. The easiest way to make their benefits clear is to think of them as a source of free actions. The bonuses provide tiles each round, just like action spots, but without requiring a worker. All income can be translated directly to points generated per round with the additional benefit of being flexible enough to buy ships, aid with actions, and fill in boards. If you get an early exploration board it will likely be more efficient to fill (or nearly fill) before working on your home board.

I would say that getting at least one exploration board as soon as possible should be a priority every game but I've seen no (or late) exploration work so it's not a requirement to play well, it's just a very powerful option. In solo, you can abuse the availability of exploration and it is possible to fill up 3 of them while still covering up most (or all) of the negatives on your home board. In multiplayer, I would expect exploration boards to go very fast with experienced players and wouldn't count on them getting to their back sides often.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
sheds and houses:
great points at the end if you can’t do anything else and have extra wood and/or stone; Red/yellow goods can be placed on only these.


Focusing on building early is a viable path but it does seem to be more dependent on having an occupation to help in some way. Grabbing a building late game in multiplayer could prove problematic as several players may have the same idea and block the actions or their supply could run out.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
sheep and cattle:
breed cattle if you can!!!
collect rewards for such then fill er’ up. Cattle upgraded fills 12 negative


I don't have as much experience with livestock but it should be noted that getting them breeding early requires a significant action and silver investment which will stunt early game tempo for late game benefit. It's a tough trade off and obtaining livestock is absolutely not necessary to do well. They seem stronger in mutliplayer and have very few occupations that support them compared to other strategies.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
occupations:
depends?!?
score points for cards at end game at the very least. (i’ve seen 13 points here)
Try to create some combos and synchronisty between the cards and what you plan on doing as early as possible!!!


I agree that early card draw is very important if you want to actually plan a strategy around them. The great thing about occupations is they increase the value of certain actions which makes sub-optimal or situational actions much better. If they are dynamic enough then you can plan a whole strategy around 1 or 2 cards. As of yet I haven't seen them be so strong as to dominate but they absolutely open up more paths that wouldn't otherwise be viable.

Whaling is perhaps the best way to boost card draw since it has great failure results on the 3-viking spot. Because of this, very early whaling with limited resources isn't really a gamble since you're fine with failing.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
income:
get 2 income on the first round.
my game is all about income and you can’t stop me…
filling spots on home board and fast.
end game scoring!!! (26+)
buying forged goods
as well as emigration late (after getting many uses for ships)


Income is the one thing that I'm not sure you can ignore. If you do ignore the income on your home board then it seems necessary to supplement with income from an exploration board. I haven't experimented with low income strategies so I can't say how viable they are but it is possible to get silver from other sources. Heavy income strategies can net 60+ points at game end between silver and final income.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
Bonus goods:
odd shaped pieces are key for early bonus goods and income
these are huge, I usually get 6-9 on the last few rounds.


I'd also add that Silver is incredibly useful for filling in the cracks to complete bonuses and increase income. Since income is gained before bonuses you can place silver from income to help surround bonuses.

wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
negative points:
big space fillers: (moderate costs)
whaling
cattle
pillaging


I'd also add in hunting/trapping (2x3 and 2x4) and bonuses (2x3 and 3x3). Special tiles can also be purchased with a Knarr and the 3-viking crafting spot can fill 12 spaces. In addition you can upgrade the 2x3 and 3x3 orange tiles gained during harvest.

I'll also mention silver again here. If you are covering up -1 spots with silver then it is point neutral but if you increase your income in the process you are netting points. If you aren't investing heavily in emigration or buying boats then silver can be a very effective way to boost income while covering negatives. But be careful not to fill boards to aggressively with silver such that you are left with unused large tiles. This is especially true if you get 12 income on the home board and are left with a 2-wide space that can't hold 3-wide tiles (except in the top corner).

---

Hope that helps, keep exploring!
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Andrew Brooks
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Armsved wrote:
There's definitely exceptions to what I wrote. Except Farao Island, that one is so bad


I want to believe that nothing in this game is bad, merely situational. The more I experiment, the more I've found that to be the case. Never write anything off, otherwise why is it in the game? I have yet to get Faroe in the 30 games that I've played so I absolutely agree that it appears very weak but that just makes me want to prove that it can absolutely work all the more.
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Fred Wojtkielewicz
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My scores are right up with yours so I don't feel my strategies are "not that good"

-Breeding cattle is a very strong strategy in my opinion, and has proved very successful and certainly is not a "terrible idea"

Having all types of ships has helped greatly when other spaces are blocked and weapon cards reinforce using one strategy over another.

Of course exploration boards are important and I am slowly playing through them to discover strengths and weaknesses.

and of course everything is situational and depend on cards but, my scores prove that a little bit of everything helps greatly to keep your options open.

Also your tone is a little negative and unappreciated, therefore I challenge you to a duel!!

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Ryan Feathers
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I for one am curious here, but OP are you mostly playing solo or mostly playing multiplayer? I will admit it would seem many of the most prolific players right now are getting the most games in with the solo game and I suspect the strategies there can be quite varied compared to multiplayer. (As dotKeller notes, I suspect having a variety of ships to keep options open is important in 3 and 4 player games but is simply not a concern in solo play).

Overall I have been enjoying the discussion in this thread. I tried my first game (solo) yesterday and came away with a respectable enough score of 85 with a minor error that likely netted me a few extra points. (I somehow thought the long house bonus was fruit and not peas so I messed that up twice or so). I'm happy to read some of the strategy pointers here to know what to focus on and try out. I'm also really happy to hear that there are many different paths that can achieve similarly high scores.

Finally I too rather want to try out Faroe island soon. To my inexperienced eye it would seem Faroe offers a ton of nice bonuses and income for filling it within the first few rounds so I don't see why it is considered so bad. I suppose many others offer easy income and bonuses too, but I can't immediately see why Faroe should be so much worse than the others....

Perhaps that just has more to say about how I am not good at all yet though than it does about Faroe's competitive viability.

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Fred Wojtkielewicz
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I use solo play to explore strategies for use in multiplayer games. My solo scores easily reach 130+ and multiplayer vary from 100-130.
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Brian Petersen
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Ranior wrote:
I for one am curious here, but OP are you mostly playing solo or mostly playing multiplayer? I will admit it would seem many of the most prolific players right now are getting the most games in with the solo game and I suspect the strategies there can be quite varied compared to multiplayer. (As dotKeller notes, I suspect having a variety of ships to keep options open is important in 3 and 4 player games but is simply not a concern in solo play).

Overall I have been enjoying the discussion in this thread. I tried my first game (solo) yesterday and came away with a respectable enough score of 85 with a minor error that likely netted me a few extra points. (I somehow thought the long house bonus was fruit and not peas so I messed that up twice or so). I'm happy to read some of the strategy pointers here to know what to focus on and try out. I'm also really happy to hear that there are many different paths that can achieve similarly high scores.

Finally I too rather want to try out Faroe island soon. To my inexperienced eye it would seem Faroe offers a ton of nice bonuses and income for filling it within the first few rounds so I don't see why it is considered so bad. I suppose many others offer easy income and bonuses too, but I can't immediately see why Faroe should be so much worse than the others....

Perhaps that just has more to say about how I am not good at all yet though than it does about Faroe's competitive viability.



I think you are spot on with the first point. What people are talking about on this forum is mostly solo play and solo scores. In multiplayer you often have to settle for whatever exploration board is left for you.

That's also the issue with having all choices available from the start. The first player simply gets to choose what he wants to do and then the 3th and 4th player are often forced into strategies, but thats a whole other discussion.

My parents are from Farao Islands so I sure hope it's good, but I just don't see why one would want it over the other exploration boards or houses Maybe I'm just burnt since I picked it a ton in the start.

It is Uwe we are talking about, so it's probably balanced
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Jonas Vanschooren
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I went for Farao 1 game so far, I had a sheep occupation early (get pregnant sheep I think) and when I got a second occupation having to do with sheep and cows I went for Farao straight away.
It's not the easiest thing to get the sheep on it fast, you have to fill the whole income track for it, but once I got the board filled I got some nice tiles every turn.
I found it to be a very cool island and should I ever get some sheep focused occupations again I'll certainly pick it up again.

This was a 2 player game btw, my gf didn't really focus on animals so pretty mutch got those spaces for myself.
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Jeremy Avery
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wojtkielewicz67 wrote:
My scores are right up with yours so I don't feel my strategies are "not that good"


Yeah, that's what I'm saying! I'm not that good!
modest

Quote:
-Breeding cattle is a very strong strategy in my opinion, and has proved very successful and certainly is not a "terrible idea"


I hope you are right - I can't say for sure myself = but I based my objection of high-level players not having shown animals to be a highly effective strategy. Yet.


Quote:
Also your tone is a little negative and unappreciated, therefore I challenge you to a duel!!


Not intending to be negative, just offering counter-points because I feel that the strategies aren't that sound. But you challenged me to a duel, so it doesn't matter anymore. Now we must fight. And in the ancient tradition of dueling, I accept, and therefore get to choose the time, place, and weaponry.


Time: Noon, 20th of Sh'vat, 5982


Place:



Weapons:

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Don Quichotte
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After 5 solo games, with scores between 94 and 145, I would like to add that early cattle breeding can be very good as it was my main strategy in my highest scoring game.
Also, in that game I only emigrated once during the last round.
Having all three types of ships is definitely not necessary in the solo game.
As for the Faroe Islands, I used this board in my most recent game with mixed results; it's true that it offers nice bonuses, but it's not clear to me if filling the islands quickly in order to get to that sheep bonus (and more than that meager 1 coin income you can easily get by filling only 1 space in the bottom left corner) is really worth it. However, in the unlikely situation that this exploration board is indeed underpowered, we can always revert to the misprinted, more income rich extra Faroe Islands board (we have all received it, right?).
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Matthias Reitberger
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Don Quichotte wrote:
However, in the unlikely situation that this exploration board is indeed underpowered, we can always revert to the misprinted, more income rich extra Faroe Islands board (we have all received it, right?).


No, it's not in the German version.
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Marcel Van Assen
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Oops. I have realized only now, that you can buy ships at any time without using a worker... That helps!
I took Faroe Islands twice in a solo game, and twice I only succeeded to fill it in the penultimate round... Giving me just one sheep. :-(

I dislike sheep.

Unlike cattle, they did not bring me anything useful in the solo games yet.
Oh, and I am allergic to wool.
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Josh aka "Ossian Grr"
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I would like to subscribe to your curriculum newsletter.

I just played my very first solo game, and my final score was...

6.

I just had no idea what to focus on, so I went for a little bit of everything, and ended up with a huge swath of negative area in my home board.

Obviously I have some learning to do...
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Brian Petersen
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Don Quichotte wrote:
After 5 solo games, with scores between 94 and 145, I would like to add that early cattle breeding can be very good as it was my main strategy in my highest scoring game.
Also, in that game I only emigrated once during the last round.
Having all three types of ships is definitely not necessary in the solo game.
As for the Faroe Islands, I used this board in my most recent game with mixed results; it's true that it offers nice bonuses, but it's not clear to me if filling the islands quickly in order to get to that sheep bonus (and more than that meager 1 coin income you can easily get by filling only 1 space in the bottom left corner) is really worth it. However, in the unlikely situation that this exploration board is indeed underpowered, we can always revert to the misprinted, more income rich extra Faroe Islands board (we have all received it, right?).


I kind of hope that it's bad and that it stays bad. I enjoy the tension it creates as players attempt to get a ship and starting player ready for Baffin. It really reminds me of the family growth action in agricola. Often we have 2 players competing for Baffin and as one player realises he can't get it, he needs to decide whether he wants to settle for farao and deny baffin or ignore it.

If all the initial exploration are strong, then the starting players gets to choose which they want and the last players can't do anything about it. If players need to wait for a board to be turned over, then at least they can set them self up and compete for them. Much like how family growth only becomes available i later rounds in agricola and caverna.
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Curt Frantz
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dotKeller wrote:
I hesitate to write too much in regard to strategy because it may ruin the discovery process for others but I can at least respond to your notes with what I think. I'll point out that solo and multiplayer are much MUCH different experiences that allow/require wildly different strategies.

Solo provides much better planing but encourages more diversification in actions (due to self blocking) while simultaneously allowing more specialization in areas that have limited availability (exploration, special tiles, building) or are likely to get contested. Multiplayer forces more flexibility in terms of unpredictable action blocking by other players but potentially allows more niche specialization for action spots with less competition. In both cases, occupation cards can be a big driving force in what's viable and valuable.

I hesitate to say that there are too many rules of thumb because I have seen so many different strategies work (at least in solo). Every time I think something is optimal I try the opposite strategy and have been pleasantly surprised to find out that also works.

For instance, these pairs of opposite strategies have all resulted in very good scores in solo:
*Exploration focus (3+ islands) & no exploration
*Emigration focus (5+) & no emigration
*Filling in home board & ignoring home board
*Playing lots of occupations & playing 1 or no occupations
*Taking a lot of dice actions & taking few or no dice actions

My conclusion is, as of yet in solo, I have not seen any clearly optimal strategies (such as building in Arle). The fact that opposite paths are viable should be a very good sign of that.


I can't stress this enough. I don't think there is one right way to play this game. I've not seen a heavy-animal strategy win yet, but they've certainly been competitive. My scores have ranged from 112 to 121 (if I recall correctly) and I've mostly taken a very balanced approach between completing my main board and exploration board/buildings. I will likely try to branch out and try some new approaches in my next games. A few notes, some of which have been mentioned:

1. The timing of emigration isn't that important, because boats can always be bought later if they're needed for actions. If you're planning on emigrating, it might make sense to get one done early to save the VPs and food during feast.

2. I'm not sure there's been any game where I've had one of each boat (certainly not all at the same time). There have been games where I didn't perform any whaling actions and games where I didn't perform any raiding/pillaging actions. It partly depends on what the other players' focuses are and what's available to you early in the game.
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Don Quichotte
Romania
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i have played twice with the misprinted Faroe Islands tile (for those of you who didn't receive it, it's basically a bit more generous in terms of coins, as well as providing with an extra cabbage bonus located close to the lower left corner - which I didn't get to use, by the way). Now it's definitely a competitive tile, but it didn't seem overpowered to me. Perhaps some of you would like to try it and share their findings?
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Erik Burigo
Italy
Belluno
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“Don't try the paranormal until you know what's normal.” - Granny Weatherwax
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Don Quichotte wrote:
i have played twice with the misprinted Faroe Islands tile (for those of you who didn't receive it, it's basically a bit more generous in terms of coins, as well as providing with an extra cabbage bonus located close to the lower left corner - which I didn't get to use, by the way). Now it's definitely a competitive tile, but it didn't seem overpowered to me. Perhaps some of you would like to try it and share their findings?


I wasn't aware of a misprint.
Have you got an image of the corrected mat, please? I've searched for it but I think my google-fu is not powerful enough.
 
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John Wimbush
United Kingdom
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Sorry for the lousy quality. Income on replacement lower and cabbage bonus removed.
 
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