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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
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This was our second time playing the game. Playing the non-expert set up, player order was myself, Don, Gary and Jean. The five building tiles up for grabs were Conquest of the Emperor (gain $20 immediately), Trade Routes (1 merchant per turn), Settlers (1 colonist per turn), Conquistidor ( 1 free soldier in the discovery box) and New World Discovery (ch gives you a free discovery). Going first, I decided that getting first choice of the trade goods was the best bet (sugar was available), so I put the first token the trade good box. Perhaps in retrospect, that was not the best thing to do, since it meant I was buying last in the building phase since everyone else immediately put a marker in the buidling box. I was forced to put a colonist in the 4th spot of the buiding box in to prevent the first person from buying up two buildings after buying Conquest of the Emperor. As it turns out, Gary bought Conquest of the Emperor, Don bought Trade Routes, Jean bought Settlers, and I settled for Conquistidor. I thought I was in good shape since I also got a merchant ship and got a merchant for next turn. Don began to ship some colonists into the Carribean.

On turn two, Gary had $20, so he bought two buildings, the Monastery (gain 1 priest) and Settlers. Wiht the Conquistidor tile, I thought I was probably going to make more discoveries, so I sent one colonist on a exploratory search on Peru (where there was a sugar, and I already had one) so I could send exactly the right units to beat the native force. It was a 3 native force, and unfortunately, that information would allow Gary to go ahead of me next turn to discover Peru first. So it was a double edged sword to send out 1 unit to find out how strong the native force is, since everyone else can use it to their advantage. I'm not sure what the right thing to do, whether to send out a force of 3 blindly or wait.

On turn 3, I bought the navigator (add a captain to the discovery box. Now I did have a choice of buying training ground, so something else, but I decided to try the discovery strategy. Gary did discover Peru since he was ahead of me in turn order. Don had also sent 1 unit to New Spain on the previous turn to check on the strength of the native force, which was 4, so I sailed to New Spain instead, knowing the strength there. I had a soldier, so I got 8 gold or so, so I thought I could get my income by completely sending soldiers over in discovery.

After turn 3, the scores were Don 6, Gary 2, Jean 0, Norbert 0.

Gary by now had collected 3 indigo trading goods, and had 1 ship, so he was generating the most income. On turn 4, I bought the West Indies Trading Company (get a random trade good), instead of buying the fortress (get an extra soldier), which Don picked up. I was hoping the random trade good would start giving me sets, since I could not collect any sets. Don's strategy was to win majorities on the board, by putting colonists on the board, while Gary used his free missionaries to get on the board as well. The problem was that I was opening up new colonies and that I could not follow it up, usually letting people taking the trade good away from me, but I thought the VPs from the discovery would offset that.

On turn 5, Gary bought the market place (+1 merchant), Jean bought the Privateers (tax $1 per merchant ship that owner has) and I gambled on the Indian Allies (immediately place two soldiers) to start a war and take over control of one place from Don.

On turn 6, Gary bought the University (gain 5 VPs, one time only go first in an event box), I bought Taxation (get $10 a turn), Don bought the Military Academy (add one soldier a turn).

After the second epoch, scores were Don 26, Gary 12, Norbert 12, Jean 6.

In epoch 3, I only had $19, after failing a discovery ( I only had 5 units and the card had 6 natives on it). I was hoping to get some money from the discovery to put me over the $20 mark to afford a building in epoch 3. Unfortunately, Jean had $40, and was able to buy 2 buildings, and Gary had $20 to buy one as well. Jean bought Wealth (1VP for every $5) and Prosperity (2 VPs for each building), while Gary bought Mercantilism (gain a VP for every trade good) and Gary had at least 12 or 13 trade goods by now, and this purchase was huge for him. If Jean had bought this instead, the scores might have been closer). By now I had discovered 4 new countries.

On turn 8, the last turn, I bought Glory (gain 2 VP for every colonized country), Don bought population (gain 1 VP for every colonist), and Gary bought Navy (earn 4 VPs for every merchant ship and he had 4 of them).

The final tally was:


Gary 102 (15 trading goods, 16 points from Navy, 21 from discovery and other VPs, 4 from colonized areas, 22 income)

Don 83 (11 from Population, 10 income, 26 from colonized areas (1st place in 4 areas, 2nd place in 2 areas))

Norbert 78 (11 income, 12 from Glory, and 29 from discovery and other VPs, 14 from colonized areas (1st place in 2 areas, 2nd in 1 other))

Jean 71 (7 from Wealth, 10 income, 16 from colonized areas)

Lessons I learned: 1. Make sure you have $20 going into the third epoch, so you can buy a building and score the VPs for the last two turns. 2. To make a captain/soldier in the discovery box work, you need to follow that up with missionaries into those colonies to keep the area and gain the trade good. I discovered 4 places on the board, but only got 1 trade good out of it, and only held one area for 1st place. It's easy to say to put a colonist in the specialist box to get a misssionary, then put that missionary on the colonist ship. Part of my problem was also having next to last choice in purchasing the buildings. On turn 1, if I had a choice, I would have purchased Settlers (gain a colonist evey turn), which is more flexible than the Conquistidor, which forces you almost down 1 path. The discovery tiles range from 2-5 strength, and being all or nothing adds a bit of randomness to the game, and the cards range from 3 to 6 strength, so one really has to get lucky on the discovery if that is their main strategy. Or there must be a way to find out the strength beforehand of the colony, then be able to be the first one there. But sending out 1 colonist to find the strength of a colony allows other people to take advantage of the information. So I think discovering countries woudl be part of one's strategy, not the main one.
 
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Jacob Lee
Canada
Victoria
British Columbia
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Re: Captain+soldier in discovery box strategy needs improvem
Can you buy two buildings in one turn?
 
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Geoff Speare
United States
Bedford
Massachusetts
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tee hee, that tickles!!!
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Re: Captain+soldier in discovery box strategy needs improvem
You can buy two buildings in one turn if you send two colonists to the building track. (Each colonist allows one purchase.)
 
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Lawrence Davis
United States
Indiana
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I think the strategy of sending one colonist over to see what is there is the wrong strategy, esp. the way you are playing. I would say Houserule in the way discoveries are done. Either replace the discovery chit with a random chit on all failed discoveries or keep the number of natives secret.
 
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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Hi Jacob,

As Geoff mentions, if you place another colonist in the building track you can build twice. So we had to play defence to make sure that whoever bought the building that gives $20, we had to be careful about letting him put another colonist in the building track.

Lawrence: I agree with you. Sending out 1 colonist for discovery to see what the value of natives is for a country is a waste of time. I thought it might work, but it sort of backfired on me.
 
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Andrew H
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
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It backfired on me worse. I tried it and it failed and the other gamers read the guffaw of a spectator correctly assuming 5 natives. Then two opponents tried the same tactic and both of the lucky sods pulled 1 native chits and we had an insanely overdeveloped board after round 1.
 
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Richard Finch
United Kingdom
Woking
Unspecified
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I came 3rd with mostly discoveries (89, 88, 85) - scored 32 points for them. I got the soldier + captain free in the discovery box buildings. And most turns had at least 1 discovery done. I always sent 5 worth of people to prevent failure (captain + soldier + 2 others [colonists or soldiers]).

That way I was guaranteed a discovery. I could have taken more risk, but wanted the points at the end of game. I probably didn't win, because I messed up a turn and put my discovery colonists in 1st and missed out on other sections of the board.

Also, I had 1 colonist on the areas I found and took the 2 VP per area with colonist in at the end of the game - nice 16 points there too.
 
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Evan Stegman
United States
Minneapolis
MN
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Norbert Chan wrote:
... so I sent one colonist on a exploratory search on Peru (where there was a sugar, ...


???

Peru should have silver in it.

From the rules:

"II. Setup/Starting the Game

...

The Board: ... The trade good for each region is identified on the game board; for example Peru will have one silver trade good placed in its region at the start of every game."
 
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Evan Stegman
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Minneapolis
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Norbert Chan wrote:
... But sending out 1 colonist to find the strength of a colony allows other people to take advantage of the information. So I think discovering countries woudl be part of one's strategy, not the main one.


I have found to make the discovery strategy work, you can't be sending out one colonist to check things out first.

Not because it costs you a colonist (although that is 20% of a full 5 pt mission) but because it costs you a turn.

If you want to uses a discovery strategy, you need to send out a succesful one every turn. You can't afford to waste a turn just to take a peek. Ideally, you will get 7 successful discoveries for around 35 pts plus or minus (4 successful missions on average will get on average about 20 pts.).

7 is definately doable if you get both the building that gives you a captain and the one that gives you a soldier in the discovery box. Then you just need one more colonist to get to 4 pts worth and two more to get to 5 pts worth.

I have done it (sending out 5 pts worth most of the time, 4 pts worth occasionally) but you probably won't win with discoveries alone. Ideally you will also be able to get a missionary every turn and get him to the colony before anyone else. That gets you the trade good and puts in in contention for the majority bonus.
 
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Norbert Chan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Hi Evan,

I probably mistook Silver for Sugar in Peru. I don't have the rules, so I can't check the mistake.

Yes, sending out one colonist to check on a strength of a colony did backfire on me, as you have noted.
 
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Glenn Drover
United States
Plainfield
Illinois
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Usually a hybrid strategy is required to win. if you focus on Discoveries, you will also need to:

* Develop your economy with trade goods

or

* Dominate a few colonies for the points

and

* Get one or two complimentary Age III buildings

 
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Brian Darnell
United States
Davis
California
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Norbert Chan wrote:
Lessons I learned: 1. Make sure you have $20 going into the third epoch, so you can buy a building and score the VPs for the last two turns.


The buildings that give vp's only count at the end of the game.
 
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Norbert Chan
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Glenn: Thanks for the strategy tip. This is a great game you have designed. Keep up the good work!

Brian: Thanks for going through the session report and finding a critical rule error. We were playing the Epoch 3 capital buildings scored on turn 7 and turn 8. Now we know!
 
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Brian Darnell
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Re: Captain+soldier in discovery box strategy needs improvem
Norbert Chan wrote:
Glenn: Thanks for the strategy tip. This is a great game you have designed. Keep up the good work!

Brian: Thanks for going through the session report and finding a critical rule error. We were playing the Epoch 3 capital buildings scored on turn 7 and turn 8. Now we know!


Yeah, glad to help. I almost made that same assumption due to the way the other buildings work. Your point is still valid though, getting stuck with $19 really sucks because all of those buildings are great. In general, planning ahead to be able to afford capital buildings is a huge part of the strategy of the game for me.
 
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