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Chinatown» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Alternate Strategy? What are your favorite ways to play? rss

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Brandon Aeschleman
United States
Arizona
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So, I've had this game for a while. I've played around 10 times or more as all my friends love it. I'm in a love hate relationship with it. Like, I love the idea. It's an awesome game on paper and in practice...I just suck at it. I seem to always focus on the wrong thing and then get taken advantage of by other players, essentially becoming their patsy. So I lose all the time. So, after my last play I asked myself, "Brandon...you seem to lose a lot at this game. You keep trying to win, but always lose. What needs to change? Do you need to go get a math degree so you can whoop your friends? Is winning worth $50k in debt? Yes...yes it is...but how can you win quicker than 4-6 years from now?" (That's my inner monologue)

So I looked at what my goals were in the game. I always seemed to try to focus on getting complete, big businesses. And in that journey, people see it...and they confuse me into getting my pieces I need for mega bucks and then it really doesn't matter if I complete it, because they are way ahead of me in cash and it's pretty tough to catch up in this game if you are way behind...so I said to myself, "Brandon...what if instead of trying to get a big complete business, you just start throwing out single tile business on the board on turn 1? Think about it...everyone is trying to not show their hands by holding on to their tiles until they have something worth while to put out...so most likely, the only person, turn one with tiles on the board, will be you. You need to stop caring about completing a business, and just try to start making money as soon as possible. Not only that, but since everything is public knowledge anyway (except for money) people already have an idea of what you are going for. If you drop a Take out Restaurant smack dab in the middle of the board, even if you don't eventually plan on going for Takeout, other people don't know that...and now it's committed on the board, so it takes up a spot that maybe they were planning on trying to get because it's close to one of their lots...but now instead of them seeing that lot as a place they want to put one of their own pieces on, now they see it as a nice bargaining chip for you. Also, it forces people to make deals. You are officially making more money than them at the moment and forcing them to play catch up. It will put you more in control, rather than hoping...and...if they don't want to trade with you, make little business of the tiles they want from you...Is it mean? No? Is it bullyish? No, not really...is it personal? Nah...is it Business? Yeah."

So that's what I did. I plopped down a couple random businesses...got a little lucky in a tile/card draw. I just started caring less. The less I cared, the more things worked out. I didn't squirm one time. I had a bunch of incomplete 3 tile and 4 tile businesses. A 5 Tile Restaurant is great, because that means that someone can't complete a 6 tile Restaurant as there aren't enough Restaurant tiles...and if they have 1 tile, but see you have a bunch already, their tile becomes less valuable to them...and while it's cool for you, it's only an extra 20k at the end of the turn compared to where you are already bringing in. So, they really can't sell it to you for a ton of money. If you get it, awesome, but if you don't...oh well. By the time the game was over, I won and had a Complete Floral shop, Complete Take Out, a 4 tile antiques, a 3 tile laundry, and a handful of little one tile shops scattered about the map. By turn 6, I had 4 new location cards and only 3 colored tokens left. I had to actually not play a card because I was out of tokens. Something clicked for me that game. I can't say whether this is the best way to play, but it was the most fun I've ever had playing the game and it worked for me. Thanks for Reading. There aren't a lot of strategy posts on here, so I figured, I would post one that looks to be the exact opposite of the other "Tips" post. :-)
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Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
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Yep, complete sets are lovely and satisfying, but don't pay so much for them that doing so costs you your profit.
 
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Travis Fischer
Canada
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I will consistently trade 2 or 3 plays away, meaning player 1 has something I need but I have nothing for them, player 2 has something that player 3 needs but 3 doesn't have what 2 wants, but I have something player 3 needs, so I trade to player 3 either equitably or in my favor because I don't stand to gain really anything from the trade. I then trade my gains from 3 to 2 again equitably because they don't see the strategy, then I trade my gains from 2 to player 1 and make a huge trade that is in my favor.

The other strategy I employ is high volume trading. If I make completely equitable trades with player 1 then player 2 then 3 and so on then I don't gain against any one player in the trade but I gain against all others. So if other players aren't trading because they are stubborn or don't close the gap between another player in trading they will not trade whereas I allow them to close the spread with me in a trade but at the same time I extend the gap with everyone else. Now do this as many times as possible with every player every round and you really put yourself ahead.
eg
20k value for 20k value with player 1: gain against player = 0
20k value for 20k value with player 2: gain against player = 0
40k value for 40k value with player 3: gain against player = 0
70k value for 70k value with player 4: gain against player = 0

total gain: against player 1 = 130k
against player 2 = 130k
against player 3 = 110k
against player 4 = 80k

It is actually ridiculous how many people will not employ this strategy because they feel they have to get the upper hand in a deal (don't get me wrong this is nice) and not improve their position against everyone else.
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