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Subject: Strategy tips on BGA rss

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Nate Dorward
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I wrote a brief list of some fundamentals for Madeira strategy for Boardgame Arena's new "Strategy Tips" tab. I'm by no means a great player (have recently been working harder to improve) so I'd be grateful for any revisions or suggestions that improve the page. It is available here as a wiki page:

http://en.doc.boardgamearena.com/Tips_madeira

and this is what I wrote:

Worker Placement
You will need at least one worker in Regions 2 and 3 most of the time, as the building actions here are vital to winning. And you will of course also need a worker in the forest. Ideally you want one worker in every region, so that all character, harvest and building actions can be effectively triggered, but Region 1 is less important, given that it has only one building to activate, unless your strategy depends heavily on workers in the colonies (in which case, move them there as soon as possible to maximize the number of turns they will produce).

Region 2:
''Moinho'': If you have 3 workers in this region you get 5 bread, just before you need to feed your workers.
''Capitania'': The main way to move workers into the city. If you have 3 workers in the region over 5 turns you can earn an easy 15 points, also (3 points bonus x 5 turns).

Region 3:
''Casa da Coroa'': Important once you have accumulated guild favours.
''Fortaleza'': Places one or two workers in the City Watch: this accomplishes 3 things simultaneously so is the most powerful spot on the board (discards 3 or 6 pirates, gives you the potential to earn 4 points or block someone else from earning 4 points in the Honor phase, and sets you up next turn to use pirate dice for extra actions).

Getting and Losing Pirates
The main way of discarding pirates is placing workers in the City Watch, via the Fortaleza building action or other means (Scout, the 3rd passing favour, the King's favour). All of these actions will discard 3 pirates (or 6 if you activate Fortaleza's stronger ability). And when you acquire pirates from not paying for building actions, the maximum you can get each time is 3. Therefore, always when you take pirates try to leave yourself with an amount that is evenly divisible by three.

(Constable allows you to discard half your pirates; it is the only exception to the rule of 3.)

If you have a worker in Region 3, putting a guild die on Fortaleza means you can skip paying for earlier building actions, and then discard the resulting pirates at Fortaleza. This is a good way to conserve money if there is a building action you don't wish to use.

Bread
Never start a round with no bread, as you will need it to modify dice. It is usually preferable to take a few pirates and hang on to a little bread.

The Windmill
Do not neglect to use it to trade goods, gain bread, etc., if this allows you to accomplish an optimal move. Whenever you have a chance, especially early in the game, move up the windmill to save on bread later.

Passing
More actions is not necessarily better: try to pass early, once you've completed all actions you absolutely have to do, and grab a spot as high up as possible. Taking the 2 reals to guarantee first pick of dice, favour, and guild to unflip is often a good move.


*

That's what I have so far. I think the other key thing to add is advice about what crown requests to grab. My general impression: guilds is the hardest to fulfil and the worst to get stuck with in round I or III as you're unlikely to get more than 5 or 10 points without really working at it, and it's hard to make it pay off to the max at the end unless you work VERY hard; money is not great early on as you will want to conserve money, but great at the end to soak up unused cash; the two ship requests and city request are the best as you want to get money/favours from ships and get workers in the city anyway; combining city + guild requests or money + shipping are the best/most natural combos.
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Chris Hayes
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I like it. Perhaps emphasizing how important the King's Favors are would be of use. Not sure how to do that without carrying on and on. Costs of guilds and their synergies with the Favors factor in as well.
Money is the worst Crown Request to fulfill. Especially early. Maximum of 15 points. However, it's really only a maximum of twelve since 5 reals equals 1 victory point at the end of the game. Having extra money to purchase wood is also usually important.

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Nate Dorward
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Yeah I hate getting the money request at the start of the game, as normally I'm trying to conserve money at that point. I still haven't quite figured out the best approach to claiming requests later on in the game (aside from the imperative that you end up with 3 different requests on the final round, as you're unlikely to score high for the duplicate request: double guild or ship requests are particularly punishing).

I think I haven't placed enough weight in my own play on the king's favors: yes, they are a great way to get nearly the same results as character or building actions without requiring a spare die / a worker in a region.

Thanks for the comments!
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Colin
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I've played Madeira quite a bit on BGA and have really gotten to know the game from a 2 player perspective due to all the tournaments. The 2 player strategy is going to be quite a bit different than the 3 and 4 player strategy. I haven't played it enough to comment on the latter, but here are a few things I have learned about the 2 player game.

Knowing what favors are available and being able to choose the one you want are key to maximizing your victory point total.

Influence of the Guilds favor is very powerful and if you can score 20 points in rounds 3 and 5 for it, you are going to be well off.

Try to avoid getting both Market Routes and Expeditions, managing 6 ships is a hard thing to do.

Area 1 is pointless in a two player game. It's only there for scoring purposes.

Up through round 3 only have your workers (3+) in area 3, this will allow you to maximize production of good as well as being able to discarding pirates. Moving workers into the city watch is powerful and serves many purposes! It allows you to discard pirate tokens, it allows you to play pirate dice in future rounds and will also give you 4 points at the end of a round if you have the majority.

Always place 1 of your dice in Fortaleza, so you can place workers in the city watch.

Play as many Pirate dice as possible. This is dependent on having workers in the city watch.

Don't be afraid to get pirates. Most games I try to limit my self to 6 pirates per round, since I know I can get rid of them by adding workers to the city watch.

Take advantage of the empty city so you can produce extra goods.

Try to move up the windmill track so you don't have to feed workers as much. If the Miller guild is cheap, buy it in the first round and play it as often as possible to work your way up.

Remember you can move down the windmill and gain 3 coins. This is important to remember when you are short on money, or scoring the last round so you can maximize your coin.

I'm sure there is much more that can be added, and many of these strategies may not work well in a 3+ player game. If you would like to talk more, please let me know.
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Michael Cabral
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I thought the maximum pirates you can get is 4 (1+pirate die 3)

In a 4- player game it could get as high as 10 pirates! 1 guild die with the action marker and 3 pirate dice. Ouch...

In a 2-player game I try to go for the Urbanization and Guild Crown Requests. In Round III and V I can get up to 40 PP (20 PP in each of the scoring rounds with 4 different-coloured Guild Tiles.)

Zone 1 can be handy if you go the Colonization route and the dice are low. Especially if the Ambassadors Expansion is in play which makes using Zone 1 useful. You produce resources at the end of each turn for every worker placed on a colony plus the PP added if ships are present. The Crown Rewards occur each time you place a ship.

Depending on the Crown Rewards available, you can chain and combo the rewards, guild tiles and pirate dice to move 3 ships on one turn. Use the Navigator to move a ship onto a colony that has the Guild Favor flip reward. Then use a pirate die to use the Commander's character action to move 2 other ships, one colony that has the City Watch reward to return the removed worker back in! Plus your pick of another King's Reward for the 3rd ship. I have surprised many opponents with this combo in the physical format of the game especially in round III where the harvest action is great with 4 workers there and I make sure to place 2 workers onto the colony that has the most ships. PLUS combined with the Expeditions Crown Request you could add a further 18 Prestige Points.
 
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Nate Dorward
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Cabralicus wrote:
I thought the maximum pirates you can get is 4 (1+pirate die 3)

Yes that is correct--I just fixed the sentence on the BGA wiki to read "And when you acquire pirates from not paying for building actions, on average you will receive 3 (1 + the result of rolling one die)."

Quote:
In a 4- player game it could get as high as 10 pirates! 1 guild die with the action marker and 3 pirate dice. Ouch...

This is incorrect, though. Only one pirate die may be placed on each character/building space. See p.9 of the rulebook, under "Dice Limit". (If you play the game on BGA the software will enforce this rule.)
 
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Michael Cabral
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Doh! Good catch. Good thing my friends avoid pirate dice. I will try to add some more correct advice during the holidays.
 
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Nate Dorward
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Here's my summary of the tips on crown requests--see if this looks OK, it's definitely one of my weakest areas as a novice player.

*

Crown Requests


When selecting crown requests, consider whether they work well together, what round you will fulfill them in, and what requests will be left unclaimed for future rounds.

It is vital to avoid getting stuck with multiple copies of the same request in Round 5, as the 2nd copy will score little or nothing.

Urbanization (city workers) is the most useful request, in Round 1 especially, as you are guaranteed to score some points from it with no effort, and scoring 12 or 15 points is relatively easy against unwary opponents.

Wealth of the Nations (money) request is poor in Rounds 1 and 3, but better in Round 5; money is too useful before then to waste on it. At game end it effectively scores only a maximum 12 points (as 15 coins would be worth 3 VP at game end).

Influence of the Guilds is least valuable in Round 1, but can yield 15 or 20 points in Rounds 3 and 5, the highest potential return on a single request.

Market Routes and Expeditions both score up to 18 VPs, but avoid having to fulfill them simultaneously, especially in Round 3, as the upkeep in wood/money on 6 ships is high, and ships cannot be sent Home.

It is helpful to have complementary requests in hand: Market Routes + Wealth of the Nations (trade routes get you money); Influence of the Guilds + Urbanization (claiming Guild favours clears space for urbanization).
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Michael Cabral
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Good stuff so far.

I noticed that Region 1 isn't really mentioned other than saying that it isn't important.

I think you should still put in some strategies as I think Region 1 is the most underrated way of playing the game.

In a game I am currently playing on BGA. One player got the Colonization Crown request and picked the other Colonization CR. They then proceeded to place 2 ships into India making 6 PP (the 3 PP Crown Reward was selected). They then put 3 workers into Region 1 with I presume they have the intention to put 2 workers onto the colony to gain an additional 4 PP. Plus the 12 PP for the Crown Request.

That is 22 PP (or 33 PP if they placed a 3rd ship) in one round!
 
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Chris Hayes
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I have yet to make region 1 work against top competition. In my experience, it requires near perfect play along with some mistakes by others. In a two-player game it is a complementary region. Pirates are my downfall.
That being said, region 1 does seem to provide an opportunity to make a lot of points if played correctly. A few of us were discussing the maximum points available in a round without fulfilling requests. I think we got to 61 in a 4-player game.

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Michael Cabral
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Oohhh do tell! I would like to hear about the 61 PP.

Is the intention of this wiki entry for new players or for the top competition? Is it for all player counts or just 2-player? If it is the former, I would at least say something about the benefits of Region 1. I'm not trying to say it is a main way of winning, it is just an inexpensive way to get PP and resources generated without having to use a harvest action and if you do a harvest action it is only a 1 expended.
 
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Nate Dorward
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It's simply an attempt at a brief "here are some good general pointers" for relatively new players, rather than a full account of strategy (in any case, it's a game where the random distribution of tiles, favours and requests means that a lot of strategy is specific to individual games). I also find that because there are a lot of moving parts to the game, fundamental principles get buried in the rulebook--for instance, it is not obvious how to deal with pirates from reading the rulebook because information on the City Watch is scattered throughout and not emphasized. (Even worse, on BGA the rollover text for Fortaleza fails to mention that you get to discard pirates.)

I'll see about adding a note on Region 1 and the colonies--I haven't yet figured out how to incorporate that effectively into my on play yet which is why I didn't write anything yet. -- The colonies seem a lot more vital in the mini-expansion (which adds 4 Guild favors that all involve colony actions), and I hope BGA implements it at some point.

If anyone here feels like adding stuff to the document, btw, it's a wiki page so it's freely editable!
 
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Michael Cabral
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wyofan87, can you tell us the 61-point play? I might open up a new room for just Beginners and Apprentices and try it out.

Prerequisites:
- 3 workers in each Region (9 deployed)
- You have the Lady, Miller and Scout guild tiles
- 9 Wine tiles!
- Lots of wheat and your Windmill must be at the maximum level

Here are the possible scoring opportunities that I came up with that add up to 58. Did you theorize that you could use a Guild Favour flip?

- Use the Miller to gain 1 PP
- 1 PP for each time you convert 2 wheat
- Move 6 ships into the colony with the 3 PP Crown Reward (6 ships x 3 PP = 18)
- Use the Lady guild tile on the Alfandega building action to move 2 workers onto the colony (6 ships x 2 workers = 12)
- Use Passing Area II to gain 1 PP
- Pay for the Capitania to gain 3 PP (if 3 workers present in Region 2)
- Pay for the Alfandega Building action (with 3 workers in Region 1) to move 2 workers onto the colony (6 ships x 2 workers = 12)
- Use the Scout guild tile to move a worker into the colony (6 PP)
- Gain 4 PP from Honour at the City Watch
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Chris Hayes
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I'll try this. Mistakes are likely. I have not tried this, only a random thought I brought up during a realtime game on BGA so we were distracted by that as well.

4-player game. Has to be round 5 to even attempt....

3 Workers in regions 1 and 2
1 worker in region 3
9 wine
2 workers in the City Watch (preferably none from other players)
3 workers home (or on board somewhere besides City Watch)
Lady, Bishop, Scout, Navigator
(I think we didn't take into account the windmill, although you are absolutely correct about that.)
+ Miller
Minimum use of 3 guild dice and 1 pirate die.

Action marker Captitania.
Action marker Alfadenga.
Action marker Casa da Coroa.

2 Commander character actions (He must be in one of those buildings)
(1 with a Pirate die) and 1 Navigator guild action.
Medal must be a King's Favor.
5 Ships x 3 points each time from Medal = 15 Prestige Points (PP)
Miller to bump windmill point. = 1 PP
Scout guild action after all 5 ships in the colony = 5 PP
worker from home
Use Lady for Alfadenga action after all 5 ships placed = 10 PP
workers from home (or extra on board)
Pay for Capitania building action = 3 PP
Use Bishop to move an action marker from Capitania to Fortaleza.
Pay for Alfadenga building action = 10 PP
workers from region 2
Pay for Casa da Coroa. Flip Lady.
Use Lady for Alfadenga action before paying for Fortaleza. 10 PP
workers from anywhere allowed
Honor reward = 4 PP

Putting me at 58 PP

+ bumping windmill 3 times with wheat

= 61 whistle

Sooooooo, I believe you have it correct after all. However there are only 5 ships maximum in a colony.

Where I went wrong: thinking that region 3 needed 3 workers and I was getting phantom points from somewhere. I think that we were using the Scout again to score 5 more points but that isn't possible.


Edit-I missed another way to get more points! Passing using the ship action. Guilds King's Favor to flip Scout. Get another 5 PP. (In theory)
Or just do as you said and get the 1 PP for the city passing spot.

59 Prestige Points!
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James Klemm
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Instead of 5x3vp Medal favor, how about instead using the untap favor three times for more activations of Alfadenga with Lady? This would give 4+8+10vp rather than 3+3+3 for an increase of 13vp.
 
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