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Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Strategy tips on BGA rss

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Nate Dorward
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Boardgame arena recently added a "Strategy Tips" tab for all games. I've contributed a couple of them (Madeira and Tash-Kalar). Here's what I've got so far for Tash-Kalar: corrections or additions would be very welcome! Also, it is only for High Form as I am terrible at Deathmatch--if someone who's competent at the latter would like to chip in that would be great.

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

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== High Form Strategy ==

'''1) Hand Management'''

''Learn the decks and Legendary Beings.'' To play Tash-Kalar well you need to be able to recognize patterns that your opponent is trying to form, and know what's coming up in your own deck that might be useful.

''Track the cards.'' If you are playing a turn-based game, use the Notes feature of BGA to keep track of both your cards and your opponent's.

''Anticipate cards in your deck.'' Don't just set up existing patterns in your hand (though do that too!); if you know a useful card is in your deck, try to keep a few pieces on the board that will help you achieve that pattern. It might be the next card you draw. (E.g. if you have the Highland deck, try to maintain a few pieces at the corners of a green square in anticipation of Ritual Master, or a bow-shape for Warlord / Eagle Lord.)

''Play or discard cards rather than letting them go stale.'' Don't grow too attached to a card unless you're absolutely sure you need to use it soon to accomplish a task. If it's not helping you, get rid of it by summoning it or discarding, even if you can't trigger its effects. The smaller your deck, the more precise your endgame play will be, as you will know with certainty what you will draw; and if you cannot score 9 points, you want to be the person who triggers the endgame by running out of cards. -- By discarding you can also get rid of a flare that is hard to trigger, or Legends that are not useful.

'''2) Flares'''

''Be wary of flares.'' Extra actions are extremely valuable in Tash-Kalar--often they are the deciding factor in claiming a task or totally reshaping the board--so don't let your opponent get flares easily. If you are ahead in piece-count, try to stay ahead by a maximum of 2 heroic pieces and 3 pieces in total--this guarantees that only one flare (the 2/5 flare in the deck) is playable. If you must exceed that limit, avoid triggering top and bottom flares at once. (The top number of flares ranges from 2 to 5; the bottom from 4 to 6.)

'''3) Board Management'''

''Keep your piece-count down.'' If a piece of your own is not helping your position and you have a chance to destroy it, do so rather than destroying an enemy piece--this puts you rather than them closer to a flare. If you're ahead in the game and your piece count is high, consider discarding cards or summoning a being on top of your own piece (oversummoning) to avoid placing another piece on the board.

''Keep your pieces together.'' If your position is dispersed, those pieces will add to your piece-count, making it impossible to get a life-saving flare while being useless for summoning or claiming tasks.

''Place pieces on or around coloured squares by preference.'' Even if there's no coloured summoning/conquest task on the board, one will eventually pop up. (Caveat: do not casually leave pieces on red squares if you are playing against Highland and they haven't yet played Blood Shaman.)

''Do not let your opponent set up camp far away from you.'' Make sure you are always able to destroy a piece or two of theirs.

'''4) Tasks'''

''Prioritize 1- and 2-point tasks, not 3-pointers and Legends.'' In particular, Side Chain and Corner Chain are very difficult to achieve without an exorbitant cost. Legends are good but since the 1 point they give is no better than an easily achievable 1-point task, and can be taken away from you, they should not be a major priority unless they help accomplish a task. You need to claim very easy tasks before your opponent does, as they stack up quickly--in particular, never leave End of Legends, Heroic Destruction or Rainbow Domination unclaimed for long, as they are the easiest 2-point tasks to claim.

'''5) Opening Moves'''

In general (though this advice is dependent on your initial draw and the first tasks available), place your first pieces be near the centre but somewhat off-centre, and in the vicinity of coloured squares. This maximizes control of the board, positional flexibility, and ability to engage in direct conflict or move away from it. If your hand is full of 2- and 3-piece patterns, being right next to your opponent's pieces is good, as you will be able to destroy their pieces easily. If it's full of 4- and 5-piece patterns, keep more distance at first.

'''6) Patience'''

Tash-Kalar games tend to have a dramatic mid-game "bounce": it is very hard to hang on to an early lead, because the player in the lead will have typically grabbed all the tasks they can easily grab, used their best cards, and be on the verge of giving up flares. If you are behind, even by a substantial number of points, do not give in easily, especially since you will have a more precise sense of what's in your deck and your opponent's and can plan accordingly. If you are ahead, be wary: start reducing your piece-count, and if you have a strong lead, try to summon (or discard) Beings as much as possible to hasten the endgame.

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Paul Zagieboylo
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These look pretty good, thanks! I would definitely stress flare management more. My opponents' lousy flare management has won me at least a third of my games on BGA. I deliberately let the opponent get very far ahead in piece count because there were no tasks on the board that really benefited from that, and then flared them out of existence. This also speaks to your midgame swing: one of those games went from me behind 0-5 with a hopeless board position to winning 14-6 (thanks Time Elemental).

I've also won at least one game by completely ruining the position of an opponent just after he claimed Corner Chain. On the other hand I've won another game by claiming Side Chain with exactly 9 pieces on the board. These two in particular are clearly high risk objectives, but the 3 points are tempting. I would add Line Dominance to that list too; it's basically equivalent to Side Chain most of the time, and with just as much possibility to get the center of your position torn out. The other big 3-point task in my experience is Color Conquest, which tends to inspire a lot of fighting. The Red/Green Legends tasks are hard to take because you pretty much just summon a legend wherever you can, which usually isn't going to be on a colored square.
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Alison Mandible
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I like it. I might reorder the first section-- right now it feels like it roars out of the gate with "memorize all the cards", which I think is what a lot of beginners FEAR is the way to get better at the game, and it's not (at first).

If it were me, I'd maybe start with "Play or discard cards instead of letting them go stale" (good advice even when you know 0 cards), then "Anticipate key cards in your deck" (good advice once you know your bomb cards), then "Track cards" (good advice once you know what they all do without having to look it up-- otherwise tracking will be frustrating).

But maybe I'm wrong and memorization is more key than I give it credit for!
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Nate Dorward
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Thanks for the feedback! I've reordered and edited the page now, which hopefully improves it a bit.... Memorizing the deck is of course inevitable if you play the game a lot, but, yeah, it's more important that beginners grasp the fundamentals of play. -- Yeah, it is impossible to overstate the importance of flares in the game. Occasionally you can get away with being a Hulk-smash kind of player, especially if you can totally wipe your opponent off the board rather than just doing minor damage, but in most games it's a disastrous approach.

Re: Red/Green Legends tasks--this is one area where the Everfrost deck is at a distinct disadvantage, as it's the only deck with absolutely no card that allows you to move a legendary piece once summoned. (It's arguably the best deck for killing an opponent's legendary piece, though, so I guess that's balance?)
 
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Γοργοπόδαρος
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Nate Dorward wrote:
Thanks for the feedback! I've reordered and edited the page now, which hopefully improves it a bit.... Memorizing the deck is of course inevitable if you play the game a lot, but, yeah, it's more important that beginners grasp the fundamentals of play. -- Yeah, it is impossible to overstate the importance of flares in the game. Occasionally you can get away with being a Hulk-smash kind of player, especially if you can totally wipe your opponent off the board rather than just doing minor damage, but in most games it's a disastrous approach.

Re: Red/Green Legends tasks--this is one area where the Everfrost deck is at a distinct disadvantage, as it's the only deck with absolutely no card that allows you to move a legendary piece once summoned. (It's arguably the best deck for killing an opponent's legendary piece, though, so I guess that's balance?)


Why is the best deck to kill legendaries? Every deck has cards to kill legendaries one way or another.
Moreover thawing effects is the balance mechanism, with them its easier to summon legends on green/red squares.
 
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Nate Dorward
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Every deck has a few cards with the ability to kill legendary pieces but some are more useful for that purpose than others.

Sylvan is the least useful--only one card (Kiskin Leafsplitter) that can directly kill a legendary piece. Centaur Chieftain will do it if you already have a legendary piece on the board but it's a little tricky to set up.

Highland has only one card that can directly do it (Legend Slayer). War Drummer or Warlord can be used to kill a legend if you yourself have one.

Imperial has 3 cards: Assassin (the only 3-piece legend-killing pattern!), Champion and Time Mage. (The 3rd is the least versatile for this purpose: your opponent is unlikely to let you surround their legendary piece with 4 of yours.) Plus you can use Cavalry and Infantry Captain if you've got a legend of your own.

Everfrost has 2: Glacier Giant and Deathbringer. They are relatively easy to summon, and Deathbringer has the bonus ability to totally remove the legendary piece from the game, which can be really powerful.

Can't speak to Nethervoid as I play almost exclusively online at BGA.
 
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George I.
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Nate Dorward wrote:
Everfrost has 2: Glacier Giant and Deathbringer. They are relatively easy to summon, and Deathbringer has the bonus ability to totally remove the legendary piece from the game, which can be really powerful.
On the other hand, Everfrost are the only faction to be completely unable to move Legends, neither with standard nor with combat moves. I would agree that the Imperial School is the easiest one to kill Legends with, but it comes at a cost; difficult and predictable patterns to form.
 
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