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Subject: We hardly touched any goods last game (boxes 1-5 open, minor spoilers inside) rss

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Darren Nakamura
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Not really a complaint; just an observation.

Our last game ended in six rounds. We had boxes 1-4 open at the beginning of game 9. During the game, we opened box 5 during round 3. The guy who opened it also got a veteran sticker on round 2, and after it was opened he had a successful tomb exploration or two. Combined with the new source for constant glory provided by box 5, he ended the game before we hit our second winter.

When the game ended, I noted that we've gotten to the point where glory rewards are so far skewed toward exploration that we have basically given up on the Merchant's Guild. One buy action was taken between all five players throughout the whole game (so one out of sixty actions taken), and that was on the penultimate turn in order to get a discount for the Reliquary. (It's probably also noteworthy that the Reliquary is only valuable because of previous explore actions.)

I'm not sure what my point is. I think there was a very cool game here after boxes 1-2 were open, and the game we have now is very different (and not necessarily better). It seemed like there were multiple viable paths to victory then, but now it's all about the huge glory spikes that only come from a few select places.
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Rich P
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A similar thing happened in our campaign. We'd all groan when Merchants Guild advisors appeared and nobody would take them. It just wasn't worth using buy and sell actions. Adding +Buy and +Sell upgrades to advisors became a joke.

I don't know if it's a flaw in the game: it could be a deliberate design decision. But it seemed a shame to have those options available yet so clearly inferior to others. A revised set of milestones would easily solve the problem. Just add one or two into box five that encourage a mercantile strategy for some variety.
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Adam Ruzzo
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Dexter345 wrote:
When the game ended, I noted that we've gotten to the point where glory rewards are so far skewed toward exploration that we have basically given up on the Merchant's Guild.


I believe this is both an observation and a complaint for me. It is not good game design to include elements which will not have a proper use when playing optimally.

There is simply not enough time in the game for merchants to be valuable. Our games end on round 7-12 pretty much every game (we're on game 10 now). Spending 2-4 turns buying/selling goods and buying the buildings and advisers to maximize this play is a huge waste of time when others are scoring half a dozen glory points for a single tomb explore action.
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Chris P
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I have been playing the game by never raiding or exploring, so just buying and selling (I raided once
Spoiler (click to reveal)
to take over Ker because it was hurting me too much with the extra enmity)
. The 3 other people in our game have been doing everything EXCEPT buying/selling. I am in tied second place, we are 18 points behind first place after 9 games.

I have been keeping pace with everyone else by buying and selling goods to then buy treasures and buildings/upgrades. I feel that I have been doing well because there is no risk what-so-ever with my tactic where I have seen some other players sink as they failed a hard explore/raid encounter.

We have unlocked all but the last box and with the most recent box,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I feel that I may start to fall behind as the new milestones will be much more difficult for me to obtain if I stick to my strategy of never raiding or exploring.


I didn't think I would be doing so well just being a "merchant" but it's not that bad of a way to go. If interested in the games, youtube hitpointsgaming and you can see our games up till now.
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Chris Willott
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I think your fellow gamers are nice. Otherwise, raiding your stuff might be a quick and easy way for them to score glory AND goods/gold
 
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Shawn L
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Using the Merchant's Guild is more of a supplementary strategy than anything.

By itself it's rather inefficient as you spend several turns buying at most two goods for $3 each ($6) and selling for $6 each ($12), while the tax action has much better turn economy at +$3 per turn.
Add in an advisor that allows for additional buying and selling and a Marketplace or Trading Post then it becomes more worthwhile.

The only way I can see the Merchant's Guild being a good primary strategy is when the combination of most, if not all of the above exists. Even then, that can take numerous turns to set up and someone could easily beat you to the finish line.


During my first campaign, I used it sparingly aside from the generous discounts they provide for use of the Builder's Guild in following turns.

During my second and current campaign, I have used it solely to fund the purchase of buildings and upgrades.
Although at this point (Game 8), my raid boat (Crush) is strong enough to habitually storm the nearest Spice Docks and steal an upgrade for my explore boat (Squirt) with the added bonus of gaining an extra glory. In order for this to remain sustainable, I just need to leave a token or two for the remove enmity roll at game's end.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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HitPointsGaming wrote:
I have been playing the game by never raiding or exploring, so just buying and selling (I raided once
Spoiler (click to reveal)
to take over Ker because it was hurting me too much with the extra enmity)
. The 3 other people in our game have been doing everything EXCEPT buying/selling. I am in tied second place, we are 18 points behind first place after 9 games.


Interesting. I am fairly curious how that even works, because I just don't see it happening in our games. Our last two games went 6 rounds. I feel like the absolute best you could do with that is:

Round 1: Build Marketplace/Trading Port (depending on your starting gold) (1 glory) + Sail to a near island
Round 2: Buy goods (ideally 4+ with the right advisor) + Sail home
Round 3: Sell goods (ideally 4+ with the right advisor) for maybe a total of 40-50 gold + Sail to an island (ideally with a Dock)
Round 4: Buy a treasure (2-3 glory?), build a Trading Port (1 glory) + upgrade a ship (1 glory)
Round 5: Buy 3 goods + sail home
Round 6: Buy treasure + build + upgrade with the one good discounts (3 glory)

That's still only putting us at 9 or so points. With just one more turn you could hit a lot more because you could sell on Round 6 and buy treasure/build/upgrade on Round 7. Even then, that'd take you to around 14 glory, which is still not great when the target glory is around 20.

I suppose if you had the Prosperous Apellation, you could really tighten this up. But without it, I don't even see how it's possible to compete.
 
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Shawn L
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Quote:
That's still only putting us at 9 or so points. With just one more turn you could hit a lot more because you could sell on Round 6 and buy treasure/build/upgrade on Round 7. Even then, that'd take you to around 14 glory, which is still not great when the target glory is around 20.


Even then, this still assumes ideal or near ideal conditions: resources being available and nearby, the right advisors being available and not being taken by other players, the right event cards coming up, etc.

Even if you do receive a significant cash-out one turn, who's to say that it will be there the next?
If I'm near enough to the continent and see someone with $40+ gold in their vault, guess what I'm going to do.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's also the Pirate King, who, in both of my campaigns, has claimed bounties in excess of $25 numerous times.


In my opinion and observations, the merchant amasses glory too slowly and is too much of a target to be a viable long-term strategy.
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