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Subject: State General Strategies Generally Stated rss

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THREE KINGDOMS REDUX

STATE GENERAL STRATEGIES GENERALLY STATED

By Chas


I've been gaming solitaire to prepare for my first First Edition game with live opponents. Here are the observations that have come to me so far. This simple list, while it won't be news to veterans, may be useful to the Second Printing newbies, as this new wave will be coming out soon, and hopefully introduce many new players to this great game.

1. (Rule Book: Tips For Players) Note synergies between Generals and State Enhancement Cards.

2. (Rule Book: Tips for Players) Attribute card numbers and skills are stronger in inverse proportion.

3. Balance your state's Generals between Administration and Combat values.

4. There is sometimes synergy among different Generals. For example, two may help with the same sequence of actions.

5. If you “station” useful Generals on a border, they become unavailable for bidding, but earn Military Vps each turn. Their powers won't work unless specified to do so after stationing.

6. Bidding early in a turn gives your strategy away; bidding late may lose ties.

7. On Turn 5 the number of available Generals recruited equalizes among the states.

8. Because player game resources are open (except for Generals just recruited on Turn 1), it is possible after that to calculate a bid that your opponent(s) cannot match in a counterbid.

9. It is more efficient to station 2 armies at once rather than only one, since each stationing loses you you a general for bidding, and you get one military VP per turn per army stationed. Of course, each army stationed costs 1 rice and 1 gold maintenance each turn!
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Jean-Yves Moyen
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* My usual advice to beginners concerning the initial recruitment is:
1/ look at the powers (and try to find combos); 2/ balance administration and combat; 3/ pick some 5!

5 are often overlooked by beginners because or their not so good powers (compared to other) but 5 cannot be overbid by a single general and that makes them extremely powerful per se.

* Also, try to avoid generals that have special powers on the very same action, as you won't be able to use both powers…

* Try to maximise the use of your generals powers. Powers are usually worth around half an action. That's a lot of actions over the course of the game and you don't want to lose that much actions… There is little use in recruiting Sun Ce if you never send him recruiting troops.

* Cao Cao actually has an intimidating power. As long as he's available, Wu and Shu will be reluctant to put anybody on an ADM bidding space. Thus, especially on round 1 and 2 where Wei got the last bid, he must normally be kept until the end. Even if his power is not actually used, it was useful. I often see beginners Wei deciding that "I never got to use the 'win ties' power, let’s bid with him on round 4" and suddenly Wu and Shu go crazy on the administrative spaces… (even worse in the game where Wei decided to send Cao Cao see the emperor…)

* OTOH, Sun Jian sucks. He (almost) forces your first action to be military and thus prevents you from preempting administrative spaces on the rounds you'd like to do so. Don't hesitate to station him early.

* With only 3 generals on rounds 1-2, Shu cannot really afford to lose an action. My usual Shu early bids are 1/ alliance space; 2/ Lui Bei + 2 Popular Supports (you want to lose one to diminish upkeep and it can reach you 6 in ADM thus above Cao Cao); 3/ Tribal Relation (it's wasting gold on round 1 but I feel it's better than losing a common bid). This obviously depends on my generals, but globally, do not take risks with Shu on rounds 1-2.

* The early game looks more like a workers placement game. All actions are good (you haven't really started a strategy yet) and paying 2 generals to do one means wasting one action (typically, paying 2 generals to overbid means that both I and you will lose one action, thus the third player will benefit most). So it's first come, first served. OTOH, do no hesitate to overbid if you can do so with only one general (especially as Wei, exploit your initial manpower).
The late game looks more like a bidding game. There are now some actions that are worth way more than others (depending on your overall strategy) and paying 2 or 3 generals to do it becomes reasonable.
Obviously, the choice of generals may change that a bit as some actions may become very strong and worth paying 2 generals to do it (and also Li Dian and Pang De want friends).

* Stationing generals with permanent powers (Zhou Yu, Ma Dai, …) is good as you do not lose any power doing so.

* Try not to station all your good military generals or you'll end up in a situation with no military strength (see "balance administration and military"). This is usually not such a problem before round 5 (as you can recruit to complement your rooster) but becomes one after that. I've seen many people reaching round 7 or 8 with nobody better than 3 in military and it can hurt a lot…
The corollary is try to station administrators when you can (when your opponent has no trained armies, or exploiting the "alternate borders" rule for 2nd general [and let Hugues complains about it, you'll change rules later if you feel it's needed ]).

* Be in the Alliance! The alliance is good as it almost guarantees a top-priority action (even if you're not leading the alliance, you can usually agree with your ally on a good action). I feel it is often worth doing some otherwise borderline things to stay or sneak in the alliance. I sometimes prefer losing one (not so good) action just to sneak in. As Wu, I try hard to station on round 2 to guarantee my place on rounds 4-5. As Wei, I try to go see the emperor to sneak in (and also, Li Dian and Pang De want friends and can sneak you into the alliance and make Wu cry). Count your actions carefully and do what you can to be in the Alliance!
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Hugues Richard
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Jym77 wrote:
The corollary is try to station administrators when you can (when your opponent has no trained armies, or exploiting the "alternate borders" rule for 2nd general (and let Hugues complains about it, you'll change rules later if you feel it's needed)

May that false sense of security be the only thing that I don't miss. You wanna station a strategist? Be patient and wait for your last move or be tricky by challenging me on something else that'll make me over commit.

Fun fact: my GF once started with Dev (6), Emperor (5) and Dev (Alliance) with Shu. Albeit I wasn't Wei, it wasn't a beginner's game and she was still able to carry all her actions. She had the balls to do it but also the brain to understand how Wei and Wu perceive themselves early.

Jean-Yves gives great advice on which I will only add to "try to maximise your generals power" : ... but don't lose sight of the bigger picture, you don't win games by having the largest unequipped army ever, Sun Ce.


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