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Subject: Winning scores/Length of game? rss

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Christian Heckmann
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Played my first four player game of Yunnan tonight and... I don't wanna say that I am concerned about something, not trying to call this game broken or what have you, this is meant simply as an inquiry. We played with advanced rules and therefore tracked the rounds. The game ended after the eighth round and the winning score was around 114 points, while the other three players were stuck in the vincinity of ~65 points. After reading a few of the highscore-posts, this seems incredibly bad (not only the winning score, but especially the losers scores), but direclty after the game, we had a short discussion, about the possibility of simply sending your three traders on their merry way at the start of the game, having them lounge around Yunnan and grabbing something in the ballpark of ~15 points each turn, starting from turn one. The game would be over after turn six and the guy who did absolutely nothing would be at something like 90 points, about 50% more than we achieved with two turns more and putting real effort into it. If the guy trying that would be the starting player on the first turn, he could also use his starting money to build a teahouse in Yunnan, securing twelve points at the expense of a single worker during the first round and with the additional benefit of being safe from displacement by the gray guy there.
So all of this is hypothetical, I haven't tested this, I'm not saying it works, we're probably just incredibly bad at this game. What I'm asking is, how long do your games usually last? Would 90 points for a total of six turns be a score that'd be a contender for the podium? Would this be easily counterable?
 
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Nico
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Mh just an example:

Turn 1: advance horse, send two traders two Yunnan, 12 gold
Turn 2: build teahouse in Sichuan (12 points), move one trader to Sichuan, take 15 points and 1 present (3 points at the end)
Turn 3: move your third trader to Sichuan, take 12 points, two presents (6 points), keep 12 money for a trading post
Turn 4: build a trading post in Yunnan, move last trader to Sichuan, take 28 points
Turn 5: 28 points
Turn 6: 28 points

--> 132 points

maybe don't try to get the get the early presents and build a trading post in Yunnan early otherwise an opponent displacing your lonely trader in Yunnan can be disastrous.

Advancing the horse twice and building a bridge to Qamdo is also really strong.

Just camping in Yunnan would be:
Turn 1: tea house (12), 12
Turn 2: 18
Turn 3: 18
Turn 4: 18
Turn 5: 18
Turn 6: 18

--> 114

So I think your strategy works but is not the best. I also depends really on the other player, their bidding for influence. With only two movement points it can happen that you are not able to bring all three traders to Yunnan after beeing displaced.
 
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Peter R.
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When we started playing Yunnan, someone did exactly the same as you propose. This is a viable strategy if the others let you do this unharmed. But there are counter measures even to this. Part of the fun is to learn these strategies.
 
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Christian Heckmann
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But how exactly would you counter this without putting yourself at a disadvantage? You would have to invest in influence and camp out in Yunnan yourself a lot, which doesn't net you a lot of points yourself and makes you vulnerable against the province-commisaire or whatever he's called? The proposed strategies sound... err... sound I guess, but they are pretty dependent on circumstance, riskier in general and easier to counter, aren't they?
How about this, don't go for a teahouse on your first turn, get a fourth trade. Nets you twelve points on your first turn and if everything goes well, 24 each following turn. The game would be over after turn four and you'd sit at 84 points. Perhaps it would last five turns if people would start to displace you. But they would need money for this, run the risk of angering the gray guy and wouldn't get that much money in the process, plus that's very little time to build up for big payments.
 
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Nico
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Mh, I think my example is nearly as risk free as your strategy (since I build a tea house in Sichuan) and nets more points. And I came up with this example yesterday night, by think more about there are sure a lot of better strategies. Don't forget that you can also buy two or more advancements in one round and which bridge and horse you can be really fast in the provinces far away.

IIRC I won a game by advancing the horse twice, building a bridge two Qamdo and putting all workers there. A tea house there then saved me from the province inspector. Was around 160 points but I don't know how many turns it took.

Regarding the influence. I think I have never seen someone winning with high influence. You have to be really carefull where to place your traders otherwise you lose everything.
 
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Christian Heckmann
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It does net more points, but only from turn five onward. If the game ends after turn four, you wouldn't have reached 80 points yet. Also I think you miscalculated the use of your traders since in your calculation, you use a trade to buy a trading post and move it to Sichuan on the same turn. Also people could drive up the prices. Or beat you to the tea house in Sichuan. Or notice that you have already advanced your horse, bid on influence and displace your traders right away since you seem to be in the lead. Those are all minor risks, but risks nonetheless.
 
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Nico
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Harblnger wrote:
It does net more points, but only from turn five onward. If the game ends after turn four, you wouldn't have reached 80 points yet. Also I think you miscalculated the use of your traders since in your calculation, you use a trade to buy a trading post and move it to Sichuan on the same turn.


You're right, a forgot this trader.

Harblnger wrote:
Also people could drive up the prices. Or beat you to the tea house in Sichuan. Or notice that you have already advanced your horse, bid on influence and displace your traders right away since you seem to be in the lead. Those are all minor risks, but risks nonetheless.


At least it's easier for them to get the things with lower prices since one player doesn't compete at all with them.

Harblnger wrote:
Or notice that you have already advanced your horse, bid on influence and displace your traders right away since you seem to be in the lead. Those are all minor risks, but risks nonetheless.


Or they notice that you get some points from the beginning of the first round and will displace use with influence. Especially when you just get points with your traders in the first round and you have the highest income, you will be the first player next round in the travel phase and you can be displaced by every other player.

I agree you can make a lot of points with staying in Yunnan but I don't agree this strategy is overpowered. It really depends on what the other players are doing.

Yeah, would be really nice to know how many turns other players needed to get to 100 points.
 
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Christian Heckmann
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ZdadrDeM wrote:
Or they notice that you get some points from the beginning of the first round and will displace use with influence. Especially when you just get points with your traders in the first round and you have the highest income, you will be the first player next round in the travel phase and you can be displaced by every other player.

That's true. Somehow The thing is, both the tactic I described and the tactic you described don't interact with each other, so unless there's a third tactic that is superior to both of those, it's up to the other players to basically decide which of those two players to hinder. And hindering them usually means that you aren't going to make any substantial points yourself, since you'll be stuck in Yunnan and perhaps Sechuan, forced to invest in influence to be able to displace other players' traders and then possibly get hit by the inspector because you're at a higher influence level, lose points yourself and generally just play kingmaker between two other players. So without interference, my proposed "strategy" would end the game at the end of turn 4 with a score of 84 points (12 on the first turn and 24 on the next three turns).
I'm not trying to bash the game, since I really liked it last night. The thing is, I'd hate to find out that in order for player A to win, player B needs to stop player C from facerolling the whole thing without any real gain for himself.
 
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Nico
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Maybe write to
Aaron Haag
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He is the designer, from Germany and his game was heavily playtested with the guys at http://www.westpark-gamers.de/. It's unlikely that no one else tested such a simple strategy.
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Christian Heckmann
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I think I'll do that. Maybe he'll chime in
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Aaron Haag
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As Peter mentioned above: the strategy you describe is one way to win the game but definitely not the only one. It only works if the other players do not react accordingly. There are ways to counter this and to win nonetheless.

This could be regarded as a problem of the game as what you describe is such an obvious strategy for beginners especially if you are used to playing games with less interdependencies. But I would not want to change it. Take the challenge to counter it with other strategies. They do exist.
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