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Subject: How to Manage Discard Piles rss

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Glenn Massey
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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Curious to hear people's thoughts on successful strategies to manage the discard piles. I've only played twice, and this aspect of the game has definitely challenged me... In the second game, I piled up all my "1" cards in one pile and never picked it up.
 
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Phil Hendrickson
United States
Seward
Nebraska
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Don't think of them as discard piles. Think of them as future hands that you are building, one card at a time. The card mechanism makes advanced planning crucial in this game. There is not much flexibility to change your plans on the fly - a little, but not a lot.

Determine what major action (bookkeeping, exploring, diamonds, buying cards) you want to do in each of the upcoming turns. Then identify which cards will be essential (required) for that action to work. If your plan is to buy cards, it doesn't really matter which commodity you use (bananas, coffee, etc.), as long as you have enough of it to buy the card you want. But if you are planning to do bookkeeping, you will need specific cards to match the books you have chosen to place on your track. So I use a card-buying turn to allow me to play certain cards and get them placed into the discard piles where they are needed for future turns.

It's not an easy game; have fun experimenting to find what works.
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Helena Hovancova
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I never manage long time planning actually. I just want to have a strong helmet hand in the last round. Also, it is very helpful to monitor other players' discard piles. That way you can predict majorities. So for me, it's a mix of 1-2 rounds ahead of planning & reacting to what players are discarding or buying.
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clovis chan
Singapore
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I have only played once and in general I SUCK at long-term planning so I think one round at a time (so in some sense Mombasa is not 100% suitable for me).

IF you are like me and just pick the stack with the most cards, I discovered that a rule of thumb MIGHT be to putting your WORST card in the column with the MOST cards.

Why? Since I pick the stack with the most cards (let's say it's column A), I will not be picking column A again for the next 2-3 rounds. Therefore, I want my worst card to there so I pick it up last.

To generalise it, it might be a good idea to put the worst card in the stack that you want to pick up this turn.
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Michel Kangro
Germany
Bonn
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I have 3 plays experience, so that's my grain of salt here.

I have a kind of "greedy algorithm" (for the computer science students among us) running in my head, because laying out more then one turn into the future in details is not for me. So by turn 3 you have ususally one or two stacks with three cards, which is the one I usually pick up. That's my 'waste', because I probably won't pick that stack up again very soon or at all. Then there are one or two two-card-stacks, which are those I will probably pick up next turn. I want to maximize their value, which I usually do by grouping alike cards together. Helmets to helmets, bananas to bananas and so on. After those thoughts, I don't spend much time on deciding the other one or two.

Only exception are bookkeeping requirements, which I try to plan more thoroughly.
 
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