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Subject: Building strategy rss

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Alliantie AJ
Belgium
Rijkevorsel
België
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Found no indept review about the building strategy in the forum. Anyone has an idea? I read about that some think it needs a boost?
I played the building strategy once and got a good amount of points out of it but didn't play the rest very good. Is it possible to focus mainly on the buildings? It seems so tempting, good point, no expensive building cost, better actions each time, blocking others and getting extra cash.

It think it doesn't really add up to the caddle.

And I'm not sure how everyone gets some many points at the end of the game. 2 player game, first got 77, 3 player game, first got 75. We saw some improvement possible but to go over 100 seems very very hard.

Does it give a difference in point with different people?
 
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Danwarr
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I was under the initial impression that buildings were kind of "meh". Ok to have, but generally not great. More recently, however, I've been trying to build them as much as possible for a couple reasons:

1. The Risk actions, especially after the water hazard, are very good. Any place where you can spend additional actions to thin your hand and get benefits is great.

2. From a money/points ratio, constructing a building is one of the better actions you can take for a small investment. If the baseline for a single point in GWT is $5, then getting 1 point for $2 is decent. If we upgrade that building once to level two, that is now worth 3 points, net 2, for $4, so this is still a +$6. If we continue this all the way to 6, as I think each player can make an average of 6 deliveries per game, then you would've paid $12 for 8 points, which is more than the value of the highest value Longhorn. Additionally, given that this neutral building allows for the trading of a Green cow for 2 coins, you are essentially going money neutral if you do this every time. Obviously this is only the upgrade scenario and not taking advantage of the level 4 builder space.

Cows and hazards are probably the most point efficient in the game overall, but buildings do provide a point benefit for generally minimal investment as well as creating board position, giving you value, or taxing your opponents.
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Dvonn Yinsh
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Toronto
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8 games in, and no one in our group has been able to make a "builder strategy" into a winning one.

The players with the cowboys who are buying cattle rush the game, and make deliveries to Kansas as fast as possible. This always seems to negate the builders strategy.
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Scott Douglass
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Between good players, I don't know. My brother got 10a out in two games. He won one of them, and lost the other by a point. I was hoping to try a building heavy strategy in my last game, but no builders came out for the first 6 deliveries or so, and I had to abandon that idea.
 
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Phil Hendrickson
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Seward
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I think that "building strategy" may be a misnomer. You can't get enough points from buildings to simply focus on buildings for their own sake. There is only one location on the trail to build or upgrade one building each trip to KC, so a player can only hope to get 5 or 6 buildings built at a maximum.

However, several of the buildings can play important roles in various other strategies. Buildings can provide easy certificates to make big deliveries. They can provide a great deal of cash to use to buy hazard tiles or hire workers. They can enable long train movements and drawing significant value from trains. These are just a few examples.

My point is that players can build a strong strategy around a combination of a few buildings, and numerous combinations are possible this way. Buildings are not a standalone strategy, but part of a larger, well-planned strategy that includes many facets of the game.
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Alexander Pfister
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I agree with what some already posted: A building strategy without using the powerful actions of the buildings probably won't work. Therefore buildings support other strategies. Best example is building 9a: move X steps back with your train and make a delivery to city with worth X. Without using its action only worth 9pts. But combined with some engineers and therefore delivery to San Francisco, worth another 9pts (14 pts with the San Francisco contract).
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Tahsin Shamma
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DrumPhil wrote:
Buildings are not a standalone strategy, but part of a larger, well-planned strategy that includes many facets of the game.


The one time I have tried a building strategy, I have lost. It was precisely due to what Phil describes. I went too deep with just buildings. They can form the backbone of a good strategy and the boost they give you in VP can be that deciding factor in a win over others.
 
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Roland Sanchez
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I can see tons of room for an expansion that could add buildings that make it as a singular strategy more viable. That said, it wouldn't necessarily make the game any better to do so.

Which now makes me think - has anyone played the game enough to come up with a good tile "seed" that makes it the most viable? I did notice that the more expensive B side tiles seems to cost a bit less, and might be easier to get built before the game ends, but since they are worth less VP, it might be a wash.
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Alliantie AJ
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Rijkevorsel
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Ok, that clear's a lot, thx for the replies.

I was somewhat disappointed during the game, so many building spaces, so many cool buildings, risks and many more but it is not a strategy.

However, I'm deeply impressed by the game!
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Justin Pope
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Houston
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I agree that you can't solely win on a building strategy. But I believe the going builders means you are going a hybrid route with either the Cowboys or the Conductors (purple people). I went builders and built 5a to get those builder rewards really quickly which helped get 10a down really quickly. It helped me win the game soundly. If I knew what I was doing I could of paired it nicely with upgrading stations to try and grab those bonuses and try and trigger the builder bonuses multiple times.
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In my experience the "builder strategy" is the most versatile and arguably most powerful of the three broad approaches to the game. To be clear, by "builder" or "cowboy" or "engineer" strategy what I mean is focusing on hiring a lot of that worker type, thus maximizing the benefit of the associated action.

Even if you don't hire a bunch of builders, buildings themselves are an important part of the game. If someone consistently wins without placing buildings it means his opponents are too passive with their own building placement. An example- let's say at the beginning of the game (or soon after) there are 3-4 hazards on a single path, then building on the alternative route becomes a compelling opening move. If someone doesn't build there quickly then he risks getting shut out of building along that path completely. Unless the neutral buildings on BOTH ends of that path are useful to him, that player will quickly be stuck wasting turns taking a single auxiliary action. In my games the threat of this type of situation is very common- a particular area of the board starts getting filled up, accelerating the rush to get at least one building in there.

While not necessary to avoid getting shut out, focusing on hiring a lot of builders - the "builder strategy" is very strong IMO. You can place buildings that benefit yourself, tax others, and/or slow others down/shut them out as described above. This will grind the cowboy strategy down to a crawl for one. The highest level buildings have amazing abilities which can be the backbone of your strategy, for example the one that maxes out your ribbons. While focusing on cowboys means you'll have a hard time moving your train, focusing on builders means you will have a variety of actions available to you from increasing ribbons to getting money to moving your train; the epitome of versatility. You'll get 30+ VP from buildings which goes a long way towards a competitive score (you'll also be doing a decent amount of what other players are doing). The free building action for hiring your 4th builder is very strong; if you can turn him to a station master and reuse the space all the better. This also allows you to build more than once per cycle.

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Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
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Thanks John, this is really helpful.

What bother me with the builder strategy is that it is expansive : you will have to recuit builders AND pay to build buildings while the cowboy strategy doesn't need to build heavily.

Could 6a be of great help mid+ game ? It seems hard to synhronize a yellow cow with this building + it depends on where it is built // to B building.
 
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fdubois wrote:

What bother me with the builder strategy is that it is expensive: you will have to recruit builders AND pay to build buildings while the cowboy strategy doesn't need to build heavily.


Well the cowboy strategist spends more money on cows, the builder strategist spends more money on buildings. I think a key element of GWT is being judicious about where you spend your limited funds; doing stuff that supports your long term strategy and not being distracted by other things. In a recent game I saw someone who had already hired a lot of engineers spend most of his money at the cattle market buying a cow; shortly afterwards he moved his train but didn't have the money to place a station token. Why did he spend his precious money buying the cow? That was a mistake. I've noticed beginners tend to make more stops along the trail and reflexively spend money on what's in front of their noses rather than be judicious in budgeting for the things that matter to their strategy.

I also think the different strategies have distinct advantages that need to be exploited. For example, an engineer strategy doesn't make money easily but has the advantages of (a) seldom paying crossings when delivering to Kansas City, and (b) removing a lot more tokens from his personal board, gaining more abilities. To get the most out the builder strategy I think requires spatial awareness: place buildings to hinder your opponents' options when moving along the trail, and tax them!! It's up to you as the builder strategist to "build the rondel" in such a way that helps you the most and hurts your opponents.
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Fabrice Dubois
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La Garenne Colombes
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I just saw this picture of a 4 players game (copyright Vind'jeu : http://www.vindjeu.eu/2016/12/28/great-western-trail-video/) :



The final scoring is not mentionned but we can see that blue led a building strategy and managed to deliver to 6 cities. He built 7a and 10a in order to improve his breeding value (obviously, his certificate ability is to its maximum). 5a is built just before Kansas City.

He scored 34 points for 7 buildings on the board (6a was upgraded away), manage to move his train behond the bend. 9 recuitments and 2 station masters.
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Jonny
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Lots of interesting thoughts here! I am staggered that people are reporting scoring 120+ in a game as we usually score about half that number! Perhaps we are undervaluing the risk paths for placing buildings? The highest score so far was around 80, using a cowboy strategy.

Are scores in 2 player games generally lower?
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Alliantie AJ
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Rijkevorsel
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That's a great picture!! I would love to see a more importent role for the buildings, especially with the map designed like it is.
 
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Roland Sanchez
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Uphillspin wrote:
Lots of interesting thoughts here! I am staggered that people are reporting scoring 120+ in a game as we usually score about half that number! Perhaps we are undervaluing the risk paths for placing buildings? The highest score so far was around 80, using a cowboy strategy.

Are scores in 2 player games generally lower?


As I quoted here in my solo 2 player simulated game, I achieved 150.

Re: Can a "train strategy" work?
 
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Fabrice Dubois
France
La Garenne Colombes
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fdubois wrote:
The final scoring is not mentionned but we can see that blue led a building strategy and managed to deliver to 6 cities. He built 7a and 10a in order to improve his breeding value (obviously, his certificate ability is to its maximum). 5a is built just before Kansas City.

He scored 34 points for 7 buildings on the board (6a was upgraded away), manage to move his train behond the bend. 9 recuitments and 2 station masters.

Without cows and money (these can't be seen), we can see that the blue player scored at least 112 VP.
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Jesse
United States
Chattanooga
Tennessee
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MMMM- Look at those points!
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Uphillspin wrote:
Lots of interesting thoughts here! I am staggered that people are reporting scoring 120+ in a game as we usually score about half that number! Perhaps we are undervaluing the risk paths for placing buildings? The highest score so far was around 80, using a cowboy strategy.

Are scores in 2 player games generally lower?


I just played my 6th 2p game, and I scored 134! I was playing a newbie. My scores with experienced players have been closer to 100
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Jonny
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Great job! I broke 100 points in my last game for the first time. Once buildings and hirings are up and running you can really capitalise off them in the last third of the game.
 
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Alliantie AJ
Belgium
Rijkevorsel
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First game of the evening Nippon and then GWT whistle

Just finished playing, two player, and super happy with 113 points!

Took the train over the bend, had every trainstation at that point, combined with teepees and some hazards, build a few buildings (with the one return your train that got my San Francisco), 4 goalcards, only 2 cows bought (one in last turn).

Great game!
 
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