Hey everyone, first post here. I've been playing a lot on jsnell's site- fun stuff! I wanted to share an online game that just finished, where I used a strategy that doesn't seem to get much play (perhaps for good reason!).
I recognize the power of building temples for vp bonuses and priests, getting shipping for end-game network points, and climbing up cults. Usually, I'll get a temple in round 1 or 2. However, in the game in question I didn't build single a temple (no favours) until round 6, had 0 shipping at the end (my network was a whopping 4), and made no effort to climb any cult track until the last turn. Despite this, I ended up in first place with 157 points, purely from focusing on turn vp bonuses and end-of-round vp bonuses (BON6, BON7, BON9..). Looking at the end-game screen, without checking the scores, I doubt you'd guess who ended up winning:
Admittedly, it was a 4-player turned 3-player game due to someone dropping, so round bonuses were easier to obtain, and there was an extra end-game scoring bonus, so I don't think my score was too amazing. But it's a pretty competitive score for someone who didn't get fav10 or 11, and didn't get any bonuses from cult tracks all game. My opponents weren't slouches either, they played well, and the last round was very suspenseful.
Here's a breakdown of my round bonuses:
SPADE >> 2 (round 3): 24 points (I finished round 1 with 7 dwellings and rushed level 2 digging [for 12 points in it's own right])
D >> 2 (rounds 1 and 2): 10 points
SA/SH >> 5 (round 6): 10 points
TP >> 3 (round 5): 9 points
BON6/7/9: 8 points each for 24 total
Maybe those numbers aren't that impressive, I don't know.. but it ended up working out. I also lost only 1 vp with leeching, since I only had dwellings for most of the game (most games I usually have around -15).
Another thing this game shows is the benefit you can get from simply just forfeiting certain objectives early on in the game. I made no effort to connect my empire, and plunked my SA and SH right next to each other for the end-game bonus. I did luck out a bit in how the other players competed with one another for other objectives.. but while they spent resources fighting for the top spot, I was bringing in immediate gains every round!
Anyway, I'm sure this isn't revolutionary stuff, but I don't see people do it very often (perhaps, again, because it usually isn't viable). I just got excited with the end-game screen and how silly it looked. Hope no-one minds. I'd love to hear peoples' ideas on the matter if anyone has something to say- this may be a strategy I try out more often!
I paid 100 Geek Gold so that you can read this! :-)
One benefit in 3p games is that you'll get a lot of points for doing almost nothing:
* 6VP for network
* 6VP for additional final scoring (in your game, you had to at least build the SA; with the other three scorings, it's even cheaper, as distance and clusters are free and edge requires just one D at the edge)
* 8VP from cults if you get to step 1 everywhere (TW5 is your friend)
This also means that the player on #1 in each of these "only" gets an advantage of 12VP resp. 6VP per scoring over you.