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Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Powerful Age III buildings rss

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owen oliver
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One thing I'm a little concerned with in this game is the power of the third age buildings.

In two of the games I've played, one person has gotten rich early and kept getting richer as the game went along; dwarfing the other players income. This is generally due to buying early money generating capital buildings (Incan Empire, taxation, Privateer, etc...) which gives them a boost allowing them to buy more "money" buildings which allow them to buy more, etc... Doing this in conjuction with a strong economy means that by the third Age the rich player is able to buy multiple (4-5) buildings, while everyone else can afford one at the most (or in the case of some players - none). Many of these buildings can easily be a boost of 10 VP or more.

Both senarios this happened, the player buying multiple buildings at the end has won in a landslide- even if other people have bought one III building with strong economies or a strong presence in the new world or a large majority on discoveries. The problem is the rich player has a main strategy as well, so they are relatively even with the other players before the extra 20-30 point boost from the multiple III buildings.

As I play more, it may become more obvious how to prevent this from happening. Perhaps being more aware of the capital buildings early. (IE: doing everything possible to keep one person from getting several money making capital buildings) Or trying to fill up the Capital building slots in Age III even if you don't intend to buy one (but that keeps you away from finishing off your strategy in the other event boxes, just to stunt the rich player). Restricting players to only being able to buy one building a turn seems a little extreme, but it seems that might solve this issue.
 
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Jared Heath
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Why would you let one player get all the money making buildings? One of the most important strategies in this game that I can see is busting other people's strategies....
 
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Wade Broadhead
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Good point. The problem is, the buildings are expensive and for you to buy one out of spite usually severly retards your own position. I suppose if someone is really beginning to amass money buildings it would be worth the loss of cash. You must bash on people who have gotten to effective with their particular strategy.
 
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owen oliver
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The problem so far has been initiative, lack of money, and luck of the draw really.

You don't know what building are coming out until the end of the turn- which is too late to adjust your initiative to get in front of the "rich" player. Being first in initiative isn't always viable anyways as there are often times you want to place your piece in front of other players elsewhere. If you are first in initiative, it's almost a waste of one of your colonists to stay there. You get one $, but you are limiting your colonist supply for doing any other strategies. If you don't secure your spot, you are vulnerable to the rich player taking the initiative back. Is it worth putting yourself at a disadvantage for most of the game just to keep your position with the anticipation of the right capital building being turned over?

Also the person in turn order able to do something about the capital building situation will often be just shy of having the money to buy the building as well. That has happened several times. As the "money" capital building give you a $$ boost, a player that's bought one can easily afford another one. It's a cycle that seems to just build on itself.

It hasn't happened every game, but the fact that out of a handful of initial plays this happened twice seemed strange. I guess the main reason for pointing this out is for people to look for this when playing. It's not entire related to the money buildings, though those compound it. If someone is amassing money throughout they game, they are going to be in position to score a lot of VP's in Age III. I'm afraid that will make economy a more viable strategy than some of the others due to the relative power of the Age III buildings.
 
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Glenn Drover
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Since money is used mainly for Capital Buildings (and occasionally Warfare or a Specialist), a player with a very strong economy will have an advantage in acquiring Capital Buildings for sure.

The offset is:

1) Unless it is a two-player game, the other players are still vying with him (or her) to get the best buildings. Even if the rich player has the ability to buy more buildings, they may not get the good VP generating buildings. Note: A player may only buy one Capital Building per colonist that they place in a Capital Building space. This means that the other players can prevent multiple Building buys by a rich player by taking up those slots!!!!

2) While a Money --> Capital Building Strategy is very powerful indeed, it can be beaten by a well executed Colony or Discovery strategy (especially if the other players see what is happening).

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Steve Malczak
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Our first game (4 players) went very much the same way. One player got a huge money econ going (mostly due to Rum Distillery) and easily ran away with the game. He also had a strong Colonial presence so the cash/buildings werent his only schtick.

In our second game, he attempted a similar strategy and came in dead last. The other players made more financial moves and also limited him in the New World with Soldiers. It appears to be pretty difficult to pursue a money strategy and still have enough actions left to keep a strong Colonial presence in the face of opposition.

In order to pursue a good money strat you probably have to be putting actions into Purchase Buildings (obviously) but also into Initiative as well. Without that, the chances of getting the optimal buildings for your strat go WAY down in the face of alert opponents. And if you are selecting Purchase Buildings with your early actions you are likely neglecting getting more Specialists (very popular in our group) or getting on the boat to the New World.

All in all we were pretty impressed with the mechanics (at least with 4 players). A powerful econ can be a great way to earn points, but money in and of itself doesnt score much unless you can get Wealth in Age3. And there is no guarantee that it will even come up in a given game. I think that randomness is very important and will keep the game from getting stale.
 
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Glenn Drover
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That's what we've found. The fact that the mix of Discovery, Trade, and Capital Buildings counters is unique in every game (but with a limited variance) makes each game play differently. The replayability factor in this game is pretty high.
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Greg Durrett
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Budley wrote:


2) While a Money --> Capital Building Strategy is very powerful indeed, it can be beaten by a well executed Colony or Discovery strategy (especially if the other players see what is happening).



This is what happened in a recent 4-player game. I was aced out of the money-making buildings early on, and it took several turns to build up my trade-based income, but I had been shipping off to the colonies every turn where the big money makers had not.

By game's end I had earned 66VP's in colonies alone, and I had only earned enough for one additional building purchase in turn 8 (Glory, of course). I crushed the money makers handily and had only two buildings by game's end.
 
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