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Subject: Seafall Tactica. **No Spoilers** rss

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Troy G
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Introduction
My group and I are 10 games in. We have 4 players. We are very close to finishing the entire campaign, but still have 1 box to unlock. I intend to offer a general tactica with no spoilers based upon our experience. Part of my motive for doing so is to determine how different other groups experiences have been, so I invite disagreement, and debate, but try to keep it spoiler free.

1) Winning isn't everything. Seafall is a social experience, and it is important that you keep the game fun for yourself, and your friends, so the optimum strategy isn't always the right one. That being said, the rest of this tactica is about winning games.

2) Glory is what is Important.
Goods, Money, Structures, Ship Upgrades, Advisers, Treasures, and Milestones are just tools to get you glory. Don't cost yourself glory by becoming too obsesses with any other part of the game.

3) The Paths to Glory:

A) The Unlocker - The Unlocker goes for big plays, and milestones. But these plans are slow and complex with opens them up to failing big, or coming in 2nd. It is a gamble to play as an Unlocker, and you have to know when to abandon your plans. High risk / high reward.
B) The Trader - The Trader buys goods, and essentially exchanges them for treasures, buildings, and upgrades. This is a relatively easy path to glory so long as you don't have much competition. The best thing about this approach is that the Trader typically doesn't have to roll dice, and thus isn't nearly as vulnerable to bad Luck.
C) The Raider - You typically won't win a game only by raiding. You've got to find advisers that improve your reputation, Fortune, and of course glory. Reputation and fortune are very important. They let you keep your enmity under control. Note that Raiding a Dock gets you 2 glory because you get 1 for raiding, and 1 for taking an upgrade. Typically a Raider is also a builder / upgrader. They Raid, and buy goods, then build and upgrade, then repeat.
D) The Explorer - The explorer needs to be dedicated to win. They need to do very little trading. Very little raiding, and really focus on upgrades and advisers that help them Explore. The explorer has a harder time engineering multiple glory turns, but when they get lucky, and do score extra glory it tends to be a lot. The explorer is vulnerable to competition form other explorers.

4) Go your own way.
If you and another players are both seeking glory in the same way, for instance exploring. Chances are you'll get in each others way, and both end up with less glory. If there are multiple trader / Builder types you'll get in each other's way, and both get less glory. Find the path that is open, and original.

5) Each Game is short.
The nature of a round is 6 Turns then Winter. We've never seen a 3rd winter. So our longest game was less than 18 turns. Our shortest game was 6 turns, we never even saw 1 winter. A Typical game doesn't go as many turns as the target glory. That means you should plan to average roughly 1 Glory per turn. A little less in your 1st few games, a little more in your later games. If you have a plan to accumulate glory, make sure the plan is fast enough to make it worth it. 4 glory 6 turns from now probably isn't worth it.

6) Use the Last turn.
Keep an eye on your opponents. When they have a likely path to victory, re-evaluate your plans, and make sure that you won't have half completed plans when someone ends the game. It is OK to abandon a strategy to try and get just a few more glory points. Just because you lose one particular battle, doesn't mean you will lose the war. Every glory you can get is worth it.

7) Don't fight for milestones (unless you are going to win). If a milestone says Do X of this type of thing, and you've done x-4, and another player has done x-3, it's probably time to change strategies. Completing a Milestone 2nd gets you nothing. Pick Milestones where you have an advantage, or that others haven't picked.

8) Use your game end/milestone upgrades: After a number of games it will become easy to spot player's preferred path to glory, and choose a specialization for yourself. But... Upgrades can game that, and explorer that gets a bonus to enmity might consider transitioning to a raider. An Unlocker with a bonus to build things, might consider becoming a trader. Don't fight your advantages.

9) Keep some cash OR reputation handy. Advisers are so important to this game, and when the right one comes up, you need to be ready to snatch them up before someone else gets them.

Conclusion. I have been pleasantly surprised by the varied routes to victory in this game. In my opinion it does have a run-away leader problem, but I think anyone willing to commit to a strategy sufficiently, who is flexible enough to recognize when it is time to switch can do quite well in this game. Where players in my group have struggled the most is when they tried to diversify too much, and do a little of everything.

What do you think?
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Nathanaël Dufour
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tag8833 wrote:
Introduction
5) Each Game is short.[/b][/u] The nature of a round is 6 Turns then Winter. We've never seen a 3rd winter. So our longest game was less than 18 turns. Our shortest game was 6 turns, we never even saw 1 winter.


Do you not count the first Winter ?

Our games are typically 6-7 turns, with the longest being 10.
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Nathanaël Dufour
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tag8833 wrote:
Where players in my group have struggled the most is when they tried to diversify too much, and do a little of everything.


You mean inside one game, right ? I feel like over the whole campaign you absolutely need to do a bit of everything.

I would like to add that the Raider is an excellent choice for the Count/Baron/Lord due to (spoiler box 1)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the extra enmity tokens they get, which makes it easy to attack the prince/Duke/etc

On the other hand, it is hard to consistently raid when you're the Prince, since you start with -1 to -3 enmity and you probably wont have enough raid/reputation tokens to get it back at the end.

For much the same reason, being far behind on Campaign Glory gives you enough seed money to start a Trader strategy, which is harder for the Prince/Duke.

Therefore, that leaves the Prince and Duke with a strong incentive to focus on Exploring.
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Troy G
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Osuniev wrote:
You mean inside one game, right ? I feel like over the whole campaign you absolutely need to do a bit of everything.
Agreed for the most part. I think your group dynamics, and position in the campaign may push you to specialize in certain ways.


Osuniev wrote:
I would like to add that the Raider is an excellent choice for the Count/Baron/Lord due to (spoiler box 1)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the extra enmity tokens they get, which makes it easy to attack the prince/Duke/etc

On the other hand, it is hard to consistently raid when you're the Prince, since you start with -1 to -3 enmity and you probably wont have enough raid/reputation tokens to get it back at the end.

For much the same reason, being far behind on Campaign Glory gives you enough seed money to start a Trader strategy, which is harder for the Prince/Duke.

Therefore, that leaves the Prince and Duke with a strong incentive to focus on Exploring.
My observation is almost completely the opposite direction. It is so hard for the Prince to explore, because a dedicated explorer will make use of the catch-up mechanic to accelerate their explore engine by buying early upgrades and advisers. Because they go before the prince they can secure those things before the prince gets a chance.

Trading requires basically 12-15 starting gold. A trader will go out and buy 4-5 goods on turn 1, then can sell those goods for gold to keep their trade engine going.

Raiding doesn't require much starting gold. Frequently you can raid and tax in the same turn. Raiding other players has such a huge enmity cost that unless they are raiding you back, most raiders will focus on raiding islands. If you have a dedicated explorer of lower rank than the prince, it is typically easiest for the prince to become a Raider.
 
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j n
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Having been a 5p prince for 9 straight games now, I'd say that nothing is particularly easy after a while. While you can set some kinds of game goals before you start but you will mostly be playing around the other players and the luck of the advisor deck, which you can't know for sure until your turn rolls around.
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Darren Nakamura
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lactamaeon wrote:
Having been a 5p prince for 9 straight games now, I'd say that nothing is particularly easy after a while. While you can set some kinds of game goals before you start but you will mostly be playing around the other players and the luck of the advisor deck, which you can't know for sure until your turn rolls around.


crycry
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Anthony K
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Dexter345 wrote:
lactamaeon wrote:
Having been a 5p prince for 9 straight games now, I'd say that nothing is particularly easy after a while. While you can set some kinds of game goals before you start but you will mostly be playing around the other players and the luck of the advisor deck, which you can't know for sure until your turn rolls around.


crycry


Hey, it ain't easy at the top.
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Dexter345 wrote:

:cry::cry:


It wasn't meant to be a whine, but rather tactical advice :P
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Scott Douglass
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I have trouble seeing how trading can be considered a viable path. Unless they manage to pick up a milestone or two along the way, do you see people actually win games by focusing on trading? Maybe in the first couple of games, before players are good enough at raid and explore to successfully do endeavors consistently, but after the first few games, trading seemed pretty terrible to me.
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Blake Douglass
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My group had a completely different experience than your group has been having when playing Seafall. We have finished our campaign, and I will avoid any specific spoilers and try to talk in generalities so as to not ruin any of the story.

In my experience the ONLY time that trading was a viable strategy in a game was when there was a milestone for it. The person in our group that tried to build for trading and building / upgrading fell so far behind they were getting an average of 4-5 instances of compensation every game. They were forced to try to compete in explore and raid in order to have any hope of getting back into the campaign. She did stop dropping so far behind and actually managed to win a couple of games, but the main reason that happened was because of all of the compensation she was getting combined with being able to keep a really good explore / raid adviser between games while the person that won the game was more restricted in what they could keep.

One thing that really hurts a trading strategy is the way buying treasures / advisers works. You can only buy one or the other at a time, and you can only do this at the beginning of your turn. In addition, people can raid you for things in your treasure room. This in combination with the fact that the most cost efficient treasures are the ones that cost 10 gold means that it is best to get several 10 cost treasures rather than a single higher value treasure. IF you do get a larger treasure you run the risk of someone raiding you for it, making a huge point swing in their favor.

We did not have a dedicated unlocker, the milestones were generally done by whoever was best at that kind of activity. Scott was the raider of the group and so he generally got the raid milestones while I generally got the explore milestones and the last member got the majority of the trading milestones due to her advantage in that area with compensation. There were exceptions to all of this, but that is generally how it worked out.

I was the explorer of the group, and we found that exploration is the single most consistent way to get points in the game, until you have explored every single location on the board. The way the exploration works also means that the rewards for exploring vary wildly depending on what kind of location it is and what specific entry you randomly choose from the locations map. Sometimes I would just get a bunch of resources for no reason from exploring that I would then use to upgrade and build a bunch. Other times I would get a bunch of money, which was a mixed blessing depending on when that happened, as you have no opportunities to spend money at the END of your turn, and so I would sometimes get this influx of money at the end of a game and it would give me no benefit at all. We also found that the explorer was usually the person that pushed the story forward, unless there was a specific milestone that needed to be completed that was not done through explore.

Due to the way enmity works the raider in our group, Scott, did have to branch out a bit into other areas, and sometimes explore some of the less difficult sites that I had not gotten around to yet to supplement his glory engine. As the game progresses some things come out that help with the enmity problem a bit, but I won't go into any details about it. It did allow Scott to use more enmity in later games without worrying as much about leaving permanent enmity all over the board that would make it harder in future games.

In our campaign we never got to third winter, counting first winter where setup happens, which means we never made it past turn 12. I think the average was between 6-8 with the longest game taking us to turn 10 or so.

I wish you luck in completing your campaign, as the rules for unlocking the last box are extremely vague, and some of the things that lead up to it are not mentioned at all in the rules. Our group played a total of 17 games excluding the prologue and if the rules had been more explicit it would have ended at about game 13-14 instead.

When you do unlock the last box.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The last challenge was REALLY easy for me, and the group was disappointed in that last game as a result. I completed the last challenge in 2 turns.
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Troy G
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sdougla2 wrote:
I have trouble seeing how trading can be considered a viable path. Unless they manage to pick up a milestone or two along the way, do you see people actually win games by focusing on trading? Maybe in the first couple of games, before players are good enough at raid and explore to successfully do endeavors consistently, but after the first few games, trading seemed pretty terrible to me.
I think I've won 4 of our 10 games so far. 2 of those I won via trading. I might have raided or explored once or twice, but my main focus was on buying goods, and then exchanging them for buildings upgrades and treasures. I was able to leverage advisers and upgrades to maximize the glory I received.

A Typical series of turns might look like this. Sail and buy 4. Sail and Tax. Build & upgrade. Build & Upgrade. Sail and Raid (or Explore). Raid and Tax (Or Explore and Research). Winter. Buy 4 goods and sail. Build and Upgrade. Build (or Sail) and Upgrade. At that point you are 9 turns in and have scored a minimum of 9 points (more if you got help from upgrades or advisers). You are much more developed than other players, and typically can take on big endeavors, or you have so many bonuses to sell that you can Do one more Buy / sell run, and buy enough treasures to get you over the top.


If you are going the route of exploring, you rarely get more than 1 point per turn (until late into the campaign). If you are Raiding the same is true. Trading is a fairly easy way to average 1 point per turn, and doesn't have to roll dice, so it has less opportunity to fail catastrophically. I will say that a trader has to adapt to the rules changes throughout the game much more than an explorer or raider, but they also have many opportunities to become an unlocker.
 
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AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
In our campaign we never got to third winter, counting first winter where setup happens, which means we never made it past turn 12. I think the average was between 6-8 with the longest game taking us to turn 10 or so.

Wow. An average game for us is probably 10 turns or so. We've definitely had one that went to turn 14.
 
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After the first 2 games though, 9 points in 9 turns is pretty awful, and even in the first few games it's nothing special. It also assumes that you can buy 4, which is not a given.

Here's a pretty reasonable first 3 turns using raid.

Turn 1: Upgrade + Sail (1 point)
Turn 2: Sail + Raid (2-3 points)
Turn 3: Raid + Tax or Raid + Sail (3-5 points)

At this point I can potentially have 5 points with 3 upgrades. Without decent advisors it can be hard to pull off 2 raids on docks in the first 3 turns until later in the campaign, but even with only one of the raids being on a docks, that's 4 points including 2 upgrades in 3 turns, which puts me ahead of your merchant opening.

A merchant strategy will be able to afford higher quality upgrades, at least early in the campaign, but you're getting it so slowly that you'll barely get to use them before the game ends. In addition, raiding early gets you out to those more lucrative sites, while you often have to head home in the middle for a merchant strategy, which precludes actually doing any of the high value endeavors anyway.

It requires advisors to even be able to buy/sell 4 goods at a time, and investing in advisors that help you perform harder endeavors is a much better use of your resources in my experience.

Further into the campaign, people can afford the more expensive upgrades and more valuable buildings from the beginning of the game, and can get gold more efficiently from raiding mines than by trading, which means a merchant strategy is glacially slow. There's just no way it can keep up with the action efficiency explore and raid offer.
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tag8833 wrote:
AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
In our campaign we never got to third winter, counting first winter where setup happens, which means we never made it past turn 12. I think the average was between 6-8 with the longest game taking us to turn 10 or so.

Wow. An average game for us is probably 10 turns or so. We've definitely had one that went to turn 14.


Our games were more in the 6-8 round range like Blake mentioned. We started out going for around 8 rounds or so, but later on that dropped to about 6, so we stopped seeing a second winter in our games. That answers my question.
 
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sdougla2 wrote:
After the first 2 games though, 9 points in 9 turns is pretty awful, and even in the first few games it's nothing special. It also assumes that you can buy 4, which is not a given.

You are assuming upgrades and advisers that improve the glory of raiding / exploring, and also assuming an absence of advisers that improve the glory of building or upgrading.

Both assumptions are questionable. Because of upgrades and advisers, starting with a merchant strategy for me if I were to do it would look like this. Activate 2 things at the start of the game that instantly give me 2 glory.
1 - Sail and Raid a mine for some gold. - 3 points.
2 - Buy 4 goods and sail (I need an adviser to do this, but +2 buy is super easy). - 3 Points.
3 - Build and Upgrade - 7 points.
4 - Build and Upgrade - 9-10 points depending on adviser
5 - Sail and Build (or Raid). - 10 - 12 points.
6 - Sail and Build (or Raid). - 11 - 13 points.
Winter - 12 - 14 points.
7 - Build and Upgrade - 14 - 19 points.

It's the same way that doing things worth 1 Glory add up to more than 1 glory a turn for a raider or explorer. Later in the campaign, you've got upgrades and advisers that improve the glory generated.

I haven't done a pure trade game in a few, because right now you can raid / explore for 5 points fairly easily, so I've bean hitting that starting on turn 6 or so, but it is my merchent roots that keep me regularly in 2nd place despite everyone else having huge start of game bonuses.
 
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I notice that your "merchanting" strategy involves not selling anything. This is both good (because selling for 6 is weaker than discounting for 8) and also why we aren't really calling it a "merchanting" strategy so much as maybe a builder strategy, or given its dependence on raids for both plunder and glory, a mixed raid/build strategy.

That kind of strategy served me pretty well in my first two games, before I left enough permanent stickers on the near islands to make both raiding and buying basically worthless there.
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Brad McCoy
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I would like to toss a couple tips into the pot as well.

As you play the game more advisors get added to the deck and people start to learn what most of them do. There is no doubt one or two that are pivotal to a strategy. If you suspect the game is ending soon, use the Guild Hall to wash the board repeatedly and find your desired Advisor. Big explorers, raiders (Pirate, Soldier's Patron), or economic start enablers. This is a big play for 2nd-5th place, or anyone who has a clear plan going into the next game, especially for some midgame milestones.

The second tip is that I believe it is strictly & objectively good for the leading player to specialize some in Raid. Going last for the first 6 turns (which is often over HALF of the game) means people will beat you to resources, explore sites, and fulfilling milestones.

Raiding players is like surgery. You have limited attempts and want to minimize your footprint. This is why the Pirate advisor is so good for long-term raiders.

If you are suffering from turn order blues, keep an eye out for plundering key resources off a ship, stealing a powerful advisor, or blowing up a vault if you see a window for it, among other things. Some of these actions (especially the advisor one) can swing the game and cripple a player, for a relatively small and recoverable Enmity cost. Never go for the higher raid targets like Treasure Rooms and [spoilers] unless it will win you the game, because the Enmity cost will be staggering.
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Blake Douglass
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Quote:
You are assuming upgrades and advisers that improve the glory of raiding / exploring, and also assuming an absence of advisers that improve the glory of building or upgrading.

Both assumptions are questionable.

Actually, Scott was assuming no points from advisers or from upgrades to the player board giving extra points. You can easily get an average of more than 2 points per round doing raid or explore in the late game. The trading person in our group got an extra point for the first treasure, the first upgrade, and the first building they made and they were still falling significantly behind me and Scott nearly every game until they switched to trying to do some exploring and raiding of their own. The only times she did not fall behind in points in an individual game was when there was a milestone that had to do with commerce or when she was doing mostly raiding and exploring.

Quote:
I haven't done a pure trade game in a few, because right now you can raid / explore for 5 points fairly easily, so I've bean hitting that starting on turn 6 or so, but it is my merchent roots that keep me regularly in 2nd place despite everyone else having huge start of game bonuses.

For those raid and explore endeavors that give 4+ points, I could start doing those turn 2-3 and not stop until the game ended. And I wasn't getting no points in those first 2-3 turns either, I was building/raiding for an upgrade and moving out. The only problem I had with exploring those sites was the inconsistency of whether I would get 1 point or 5 for an individual endeavor. I feel that the number of points you got for one of those endeavors varied too much. I think the game should have evened it out a bit. Of course, sometimes the game would just hand me a bunch of resources or money from one of those endeavors as well, which let me get more points there from random blind luck.

Quote:
Because of upgrades and advisers, starting with a merchant strategy for me if I were to do it would look like this. Activate 2 things at the start of the game that instantly give me 2 glory.
1 - Sail and Raid a mine for some gold. - 3 points.
2 - Buy 4 goods and sail (I need an adviser to do this, but +2 buy is super easy). - 3 Points.
3 - Build and Upgrade - 7 points.
4 - Build and Upgrade - 9-10 points depending on adviser
5 - Sail and Build (or Raid). - 10 - 12 points.
6 - Sail and Build (or Raid). - 11 - 13 points.
Winter - 12 - 14 points.
7 - Build and Upgrade - 14 - 19 points.

How does winter give you points? You also make a huge leap in points on turn 7, which seems strange, as I assume you already put upgrades and buildings in the locations that gave extra points. Even with the adviser giving an extra point you should only be getting 3 points from that turn, not 5, unless you are taking one of the late game buildings that gives more points, but those are very easy for a raid player to remove and thereby remove a huge chunk of points from you. They also aren't even worth any points to someone who has done no exploring anyway, or at least raiding of other players for those things. The other method for getting those 5 points would be doing an explore, but it is not guaranteed that you would get 5 points from that.

You seem to be assuming that a raiding player would not target your ships / your province / those things you activated at the beginning of the game in order to take resources from you / destroy buildings / take the activatable things from you. For most of your points you rely heavily on things that can be taken from you or that can be destroyed. They would only really be able to do that once a game, but later on they would be able to do that pretty consistently every game if you did manage to get a decent number of points from builds / upgrades / activatable things. When you have 2 upgrades per ship, and you are buying goods, the raid player would see a huge opportunity to sink one of your ships, remove 2 of your points, and slow you down significantly. If the raid player had the right adviser for it, they wouldn't even need to give you that much enmity to do it either.

At no point do you mention doing anything to get money back, and if you are activating those things at the beginning of the game you should have significantly less money to start with already, so unless you are so far behind the lead person you are getting 30 or more gold from compensation I don't see how you are sustaining constantly buying goods / building / upgrading / grabbing advisers. Even raiding a mine or 2 and then getting the adviser for making buying goods cheaper would not be enough to be able to pump out the buildings and upgrades you are talking about.

Between 1/3 and 1/4 of the games we played ended before the second winter and the others usually didn't last long after. The main issue is, you need to go out and buy goods, then bring them back and use them to build/upgrade. This means you would only get 2 points for 2 turns without advisers helping, and with advisers giving you extra buys you get 4 points for 3 turns. This is all assuming that you have enough money to be able to do nothing but buy goods, upgrades, and buildings without selling any of the goods for money, which would take another turn to sell as well.

This is also assuming that the person that won the game only got the minimum number of points required to trigger game end. A significant percentage of the time the winning player in our group got a few more points than that, and occasionally they would get a good 5-8 points above the game given goal.
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Scott Douglass
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I was not assuming any extra points from advisors for what you are doing in either case. I figure there are at least as many raid/explore advisors that give extra glory as merchant advisors that do, you can put bonuses that are much more meaningful on the raid/explore advisors, and the raid/explore advisors let you take stronger turns than merchant advisors.

The builder's guild is the payout guild that you use to turn money and goods into points and temporary (only this game) improvements, and you can afford to use it without focusing on the merchant's guild. Strong builder's guild advisors are good for raid and explore heavy strategies as well.
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Troy G
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AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
How does winter give you points?

Trying to keep it spoiler free. Suffice to say later into the game there is an upgrade / building or adviser with that sort of ability that works better for a Trader than other strategies.

AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
You also make a huge leap in points on turn 7.

Once again, no spoilers. But I have 2 ways I can make such a leap. One is to simply buy a treasure. The other would be a spoiler. Typically I would hold off making that leap until the end game is in sight, but I was illustrating how I could maximize points as efficiently as possible.


AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
You seem to be assuming that a raiding player would not target your ships / your province / those things you activated at the beginning of the game in order to take resources from you / destroy buildings / take the activatable things from you. For most of your points you rely heavily on things that can be taken from you or that can be destroyed.
Definitely. Every single game they talk about raiding me. I'm the primary raider in our group, and between raiding them, and being the prince for 9 games straight I have trouble raiding them. They could raid me, but I've never been raided once. I hope they do catch on, because honestly that is their only hope to catch up. Winning the game doesn't help them close the gap unless I lose by a sizable margin.

AnArmyOfBunnies wrote:
At no point do you mention doing anything to get money back
Yeah, I hardly ever sell goods. The exchange rate to convert them directly to points is too good to run them through cash. I am so far ahead of everyone else right now that gold is definitely tight in the 1st few turns. There are 2 ways I mitigate that. #1) raiding mines for gold. #2) I have some bonuses to Tax, and make use of them. I typically don't buy advisers for gold. Sometimes, but rarely. I use reputation when possible.

Our group dynamic might account somewhat for the viability of a Trading strategy. I honestly think that any of the 4 strategies can win you glory and games, but the key is playing towards the open path and avoiding competition.

In our group of 4 we've settled into roles:
Player 4: He is an Unlocker. He always goes for long complicated strategies that, when they pay off net him a bunch of glory all at once. But, in most games, the game ends before his strategies pay off. He has won games, but in every game he didn't win, he's been in last place. He is currently about 50 points behind the leader
Player 3: He was a trader in the early games, and actually did most of the trade / build oriented unlocks. He has now transitioned into an explorer. The only time he ever raided was to get an adviser to complete a milestone. He and Player 2 have changed places a couple times. He is about 22 points behind the leader.
Player 2: Has been a dedicated Explorer the whole way. It wasn't working terribly for him until he fell sufficiently behind the leader to get big starting bonuses. Also, he has enormous research bonuses at this point. He is about 18 points behind the leader.
Player 1 (Me): I am much more of a raider than the other players. I ran into some enmity problems for a while and transitioned into a Trader. I take a more trade / raid focused path based on how the other players start out, and what advisers / milestones pop up. The one thing I rarely do is explore. There is far too much competition on that path. For instance, by the time I take my 1st turn all of the starting explore advisers are gone, and the 3 best ship upgrades to help you explore.

My biggest objection to Seafall is that there isn't enough of a catch-up mechanic. I mean, it has become quite difficult for me to Win a game, but I'm always right there in 2nd, and typically the winner just beats me by 2 or 3 points, and then in the next game I regain my margin. Player 2 and 3 have been trading off wins.
 
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Scott Douglass
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I disagree with you about the viability of trade as a strategy, but I agree about the catch-up mechanism. There's enough of a catch-up mechanism to prevent the gap between the leader and the other players from growing massively if they leverage those resources, but not in a way that really gives them a shot at winning the overall campaign. The real issue is that some of the permanent abilities are much better than others, especially in combination. If one player gets a very strong set of abilities compared to the other players, they will have a huge advantage that giving the trailing players gold won't fix. The underlying reason for the score gap isn't going to go away, and if they do manage to close the gap, they start to lose out on the gold that let them close the gap in the first place, which will cause them to fall behind again.
 
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