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Subject: To go or not to go (to the factory), that is the question! rss

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J A
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We here (in eastern Canada) were snowed out yesterday (schools closed, etc.). So what better way to spend a snowy late weekday afternoon than playing a good game snugly at home!

In our session yesterday, I was pleased to discover yet another interesting strategic subtlety of the game: namely that it is not always a good idea to go for the Factory in your last couple of turns.

I was playing Saxony/industrial, and was neck to neck with the Rusviets/agricultural at 5 stars each. I occupied 2 out of the 3 land hexes in centreboard around the Factory with my mechs (having earlier completed the Divide and Conquer objective), and used Underpass to position a mech and Gunter on the vacant Factory. With 2 combat cards in hand, and my wall of mechs enclosing my position, I felt pretty snug at the Factory.cool

The Ruskies came out of nowhere it seems with their Township ability (yes, I know, I should have known better!blush), and landed 1 mech+1 worker, and Olga on the Factory. That was 3 combat cards versus 2; my opponent had a hand of 6, and used a 5 and 2 4s. I hand a hand of 2, a 3 and a 4. We both had 7 power to burn. I didn't stand a chance. Gunter and his mech were dislodged and sent back home.

I then discovered that the MOVE action for a 5-star player can be VERY powerful and an effective/optimal way of triggering endgame. By taking a move action in their last turn, the Rusviet player occupied 2 additional spaces (by moving a mech 2 spaces and depositing a worker along the way), and captured the factory (3 hexes) by moving 2 other units (1 mech/worker + Olga) there.
That was a sudden death move for the Saxons! Two units, Gunter and a mech, on their faction's home base and occupying no spaces (what a sad place to be when someone else's 6th star hits the Triumph Track). Whereas with their final MOVE action, the Rusviets gained 5 territories and 1 star. I'm not great at math, but isn't that a 7 point differential in terms of occupied spaces?

Moral of the story:
1. It is not always wise to control the Factory at endgame. Saxony would have done better, given the Rusviets' military advantage and Township ability, not to go for the Factory. If Saxony had occupied 2 regular territories somewhere else with those 2 units instead, there would have been only something like a 3 point differential.
2. The MOVE action is a powerful final action for a 5-star player if it allows them to win the game-closing star through combat and increase their spread. Move is powerful because in effect, this action allows you to do 2 point-generating things: occupy more territories and win a star through combat.

Man, Scythe is fun!






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Robert Heisler
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If your opponent is at 5 stars and can still receive a combat one, no where is safe. They'll throw the highest cats they have and the most power they have. I agree that being on the factory end game in that position is not ideal. It's going to be strategical best place to go anyway. Knocking you back home is icing as your score goes down too. Scythe is very much a player interactive game. You have to be aware of your neighbors always. I feel this gets overlooked a lot when people complain it's too much of a solo game. It's the threat of combat and smart positioning that will make or break you.
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Jerome Nowak
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I like to go to the factory first thing
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Oliver Kinne
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It really depends on your faction. However, I also like to get the factory card early on and then hog the center - or at least make sure my opponents can't get it easily.
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J A
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twilight2188 wrote:
Knocking you back home is icing as your score goes down too.


Nicely said, that is exactly how it felt! shake

twilight2188 wrote:
Scythe is very much a player interactive game. You have to be aware of your neighbors always. I feel this gets overlooked a lot when people complain it's too much of a solo game. It's the threat of combat and smart positioning that will make or break you.


Agreed on all points! Let no one say the game lacks player interaction! (if they do, they clearly do not know the game well enough, I believe)
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Brent Gerig
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Good lessons! I think the better lesson here is that it's almost always best to end the game on your terms, if at all possible. Part of that is to try to figure out any way that an opponent can finish the game, and take that into account (as you alluded). After all, the Rusviets controlled the Factory at end of game, and it was definitely an advantage. The difference is that the Rusviet player also ended the game on the same turn as taking control of the factory. But yes, sitting on the factory in the last few turns definitely makes you a target, so you have to know you can hold.
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Richard Parker

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One could argue it was a very wise move for your "opponent" to go for the factory on "their" last move.
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Darcy Dueck
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The game often ends with a player winning their final star in combat by taking the Factory. It is a massive point swing and usually is the difference between winning and losing.

If you have even an inkling that the end game is soon, you must be certain that you can hold the Factory until the end of the game before you move to the Factory.

If you find you can't hold the factory, the turning point was earlier in the game where you didn't build your combat abilities sufficiently.
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J A
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flaquito wrote:
I think the better lesson here is that it's almost always best to end the game on your terms, if at all possible.


Wise words indeed! In effect, by occupying the Factory, when I should have anticipated that I probably couldn't hold it, I gave the Rusviet player the opportunity to win their 6th* star on advantageous terms for them. shake

MysteryMan_007_007 wrote:
One could argue it was a very wise move for your "opponent" to go for the factory on "their" last move.


*She* is a very wise person indeed, not least of all when playing Scythe and delivering a serious thrashing to those Saxons


ChelseaSquare wrote:
If you find you can't hold the factory, the turning point was earlier in the game where you didn't build your combat abilities sufficiently.


Agreed, I needed an extra card and unit to have a chance at holding onto the factory. Under the circumstances, the Saxons would have better invested their move action by moving those 2 units into unoccupied territory somewhere else. Not that it would have won them the game, but it would have improved their score.
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Brent Gerig
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Caylusboy wrote:
Agreed, I needed an extra card and unit to have a chance at holding onto the factory. Under the circumstances, the Saxons would have better invested their move action by moving those 2 units into unoccupied territory somewhere else. Not that it would have won them the game, but it would have improved their score.

Yeah, when you get to the point where you need 3+ units to hold the factory, it's probably best to look into spreading out elsewhere instead, if you can.
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J A
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flaquito wrote:
Yeah, when you get to the point where you need 3+ units to hold the factory, it's probably best to look into spreading out elsewhere instead, if you can.

Yeah, so beware the Rusviets: my impression is that they have a leg up when it comes to finishing the game by occupying the factory. With Township and People's Army, they can paradrop a worker-toting mech + any other combat unit (3 cards), and outmuscle virtually any other faction!
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Neil Brock

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If the Nordic faction attacks the Factory at the end of the game, say with three combat units, and loses, if they have their Seaworthy Mech built, they can retreat into the three lakes that surround the Factory. So a loss at the Factory doesn't create as big of a point loss than other factions would have.

This actually brings up a question. Can a Nordic combat unit (with Seaworthy built) retreat onto a lake that is occupied by a Mech from another faction, such as Polonia? If so, who controls that Lake territory? Or does a "secondary" combat happen to determine territory control?
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Brandon Irvine
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brockneil wrote:
This actually brings up a question. Can a Nordic combat unit (with Seaworthy built) retreat onto a lake that is occupied by a Mech from another faction, such as Polonia? If so, who controls that Lake territory? Or does a "secondary" combat happen to determine territory control?


I believe answer, based on another thread discussing this, is that Nordic may not retreat to a lake that is already occupied by Polonia.
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Caylusboy wrote:
2. The MOVE action is a powerful final action for a 5-star player if it allows them to win the game-closing star through combat and increase their spread. Move is powerful because in effect, this action allows you to do 2 point-generating things: occupy more territories and win a star through combat.


Confirm this.
MOVE really seems like a powerful way to end the game when 2 players are neck to neck at 5 stars.
In my last play (a 2-player with Polania/Rusviets), Polania at 5 stars had the opportunity to take a MOVE action (with 3 units). The white player was lower than red on Power, and had a shitty hand of cards, so white's combat potential was relatively weak.

The Factory was currently unoccupied. On its turn, White moved 3 worker-carrying mechs, disseminating the workers along their path and increasing white's spread. The first mech ended its movement on the Factory. The second in an enemy territory occupied only by 1 worker, thus robbing the Reds of 1 hex (and sustaining no popularity loss thanks to Polania's Camaraderie). White ended the movement of its third mech in an enemy controlled territory, thus initiating combat.

The result was that: with its MOVE action, the White player had given the Reds a combat star, thus triggering endgame, but this had denied the Reds the opportunity to follow up with a move of its own to reclaim the Factory and make up for lost territory.

So in my experience MOVE + COMBAT, whether or not it results in winning a star, seems like a powerful way to end this game.
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Brent Gerig
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Caylusboy wrote:
The second in an enemy territory occupied only by 1 worker, thus robbing the Reds of 1 hex (and sustaining no popularity loss thanks to Polania's Camaraderie).

Polania would take a popularity hit in this situation. Camaraderie only applies to workers displaced due to winning combat.
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Oliver Kinne
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flaquito wrote:
Caylusboy wrote:
The second in an enemy territory occupied only by 1 worker, thus robbing the Reds of 1 hex (and sustaining no popularity loss thanks to Polania's Camaraderie).

Polania would take a popularity hit in this situation. Camaraderie only applies to workers displaced due to winning combat.

Well, usually even with one popularity loss you're probably still in the same scoring range as before. So a single pop loss isn't usually an issue.
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Oliver Kinne
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Caylusboy wrote:
Caylusboy wrote:
2. The MOVE action is a powerful final action for a 5-star player if it allows them to win the game-closing star through combat and increase their spread. Move is powerful because in effect, this action allows you to do 2 point-generating things: occupy more territories and win a star through combat.


Confirm this.
MOVE really seems like a powerful way to end the game when 2 players are neck to neck at 5 stars.
In my last play (a 2-player with Polania/Rusviets), Polania at 5 stars had the opportunity to take a MOVE action (with 3 units). The white player was lower than red on Power, and had a shitty hand of cards, so white's combat potential was relatively weak.

The Factory was currently unoccupied. On its turn, White moved 3 worker-carrying mechs, disseminating the workers along their path and increasing white's spread. The first mech ended its movement on the Factory. The second in an enemy territory occupied only by 1 worker, thus robbing the Reds of 1 hex (and sustaining no popularity loss thanks to Polania's Camaraderie). White ended the movement of its third mech in an enemy controlled territory, thus initiating combat.

The result was that: with its MOVE action, the White player had given the Reds a combat star, thus triggering endgame, but this had denied the Reds the opportunity to follow up with a move of its own to reclaim the Factory and make up for lost territory.

So in my experience MOVE + COMBAT, whether or not it results in winning a star, seems like a powerful way to end this game.

Nicely done... I have to remember that. Take territory and allow some else to place a star, as long as I can make enough territory to make up for the 5 point loss, or rather the extra 5 points that the opponent will (probably) get for their star.
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flaquito wrote:
Caylusboy wrote:
The second in an enemy territory occupied only by 1 worker, thus robbing the Reds of 1 hex (and sustaining no popularity loss thanks to Polania's Camaraderie).

Polania would take a popularity hit in this situation. Camaraderie only applies to workers displaced due to winning combat.


Good catch! Mistake on our part, thanks flaquito for pointing that out! Though Polania was well advanced into the 3 rd tier, and Rusviets were on the 2nd, so not that it would have changed much.
 
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Brent Gerig
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Caylusboy wrote:
Good catch! Mistake on our part, thanks flaquito for pointing that out! Though Polania was well advanced into the 3 rd tier, and Rusviets were on the 2nd, so not that it would have changed much.

No problem! Often it doesn't matter too much, but it can potentially have a huge impact on strategy decisions, both by Polania, and defensively for other players.
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adam mcdonald
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My experience: focusing on the factory isn't always productive. Most of my wins do not include the factory. I find people focus on it and let them. Focus on your main strat, your secret objective (if obtainable) and expand your territories.

Like you said move 2 workers it's the same difference, but when opportunities arise take advantage of them.
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Richard Young
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jnowak415 wrote:
I like to go to the factory first thing
Getting first choice of the available factory cards can be important. Being able to capitalize more often on a good factory card by getting it as early as you can is also important.

But, I've also been in games where none of the factory cards were all that splendid and the bottom row "double move" so situational that the main game actions, especially where you are doing both bottom and top row actions, meant the factory cards ended up being rarely used. In which case whoever has the factory space last is way more important than who got there first.

Bottom line for me is try to get there fast, as long as it doesn't overly detract from your main strategy.
 
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Oliver Kinne
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Bubslug wrote:
jnowak415 wrote:
I like to go to the factory first thing
Getting first choice of the available factory cards can be important. Being able to capitalize more often on a good factory card by getting it as early as you can is also important.

But, I've also been in games where none of the factory cards were all that splendid and the bottom row "double move" so situational that the main game actions, especially where you are doing both bottom and top row actions, meant the factory cards ended up being rarely used. In which case whoever has the factory space last is way more important than who got there first.

Bottom line for me is try to get there fast, as long as it doesn't overly detract from your main strategy.

I think it depends on the faction a lot. Some factions can get to the factory quickly, such as Rusviet, but don't really need the factory card until maybe towards the end of the game. Other factions are very slow and really benefit from a factory card, such as Togawa.

So it really depends for me on what faction I have as to how quickly I try to get to the factory.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Once someone is on four stars with good power (or medium owner if others are weak), or maybe even three stars if they are looking at their objectives, I treat every Move action as a potential game-ender. If anyone is on five stars with a combat star left to win, a Move action is almost certainly a game-ender.

I know, because I have often caught players out with a big spreading final move with two attacks pretty often. I'm happy to let others faff about slowly building up, getting a couple of stars on the board and putting out popularity, workers and buildings if I can end the game fast as the winner, even if my popularity is low.
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