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Subject: Division 1 first impressions and game analysis (Season 17) rss

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I'm sharing my perspective on the games I (xnor/Alex) played in Division 1 (Season 17), my first time in Division 1. I follow here in enkidu's footsteps:
enkidu wrote:
To me, post game analysis is a considerable part of the fun of playing TM: If I lose, I can talk a bit of my frustration off; if I win, I may be excused for gloating a bit.

I'll be focusing on my own position and plays. I welcome other players to share their views or tell me how I could have done better.

Overall impressions

Division 1 was tough. My opponents' play was tight, rarely leaving opportunities to get valuables for cheap. Faction picks, power actions, pass tiles -- anything good gets grabbed quickly. Network and cults set a high bar, leaving me with lower ending scores than I had been expecting in the midgame. In games I thought went very favorably for me, with good luck and no real setbacks, where I might hope to coast to an easy victory, I was in close competition with players who did not have the same benefit.

Div 1 play was vicious. Games had players aggressively target their competitors in game placement, much more than I've seen in past leagues, though it might just be an unusual sample. Three of my four games had a player dig an opponent's hex on Round 6 solely to deny it. With everyone keenly aware whose ending scores would be close to theirs, the games took on a different tenor at the end: tactical, sharp, and player-versus-player. I found myself doing a lot of analysis in planning like "If he does this, then I can respond my doing that, but only if I haven't already committed those resources there", then finding it too knotty and going with what looks good heuristically. Even just the threat of opponents' attack made planning to the endgame hard. In-league placements add another complication, giving players preferences for others' results in a way that links separate games.

Some of the fights swung on third parties whose game placement was assured, making their decisions feel somewhat arbitrary. Or, sometimes they were motivated to manipulate the results a specific way. When more than two players were in contention for a rank, there were often multiplayer complications of "If I attack them, the third player will attack me", etc. I was always happy when two other players fought. Given that these fights appear common and sometimes game-deciding, I feel I should lean more towards setting up for them just in case: advancing dig, reserving connection spots, having spare ending resources, being Darklings.

I liked the feeling of mutual knowledge that came with playing with Div1 opponents. When there was, say, an important hex to race for, I knew other players were well aware of it and knew I was aware of it, and I wouldn't be able to slip anything by. I felt like I could rely on players making the best moves for themselves when I planned ahead. I suspect though this is largely psychological and the same is true for other divisions.

I ended with 13 points and 4th place, which I'm quite happy with. Two points behind the league winner. My bad games had finished first, leaving me feeling unqualified for Div 1 and worried I'd demote, but then the other two games turned out (close) wins.

Looking at my faction picks, the earlier I chose, the better I did. I won with Darklings (1st pick) and Engineers (2nd pick), and got 3rd and 4th with Mermaids (3rd and 4th pick), both with Engineers and Darklings unavailable. I picked Mermaids because I couldn't find a better faction for the setups. Picking from that situation is hard, and I feel I could be better aware of setups where specific faction shine.

I didn't build a 3rd town in any of my games. It always seemed like there was no good location for it once I was out of the early game. I suspect other players were making more an effort to reserve space early on.

G7: 1st pick Darklings

Smooth sailing with Darklings, then endgame disruption secures a win.

I'm very happy to first-pick Darklings here. The early-round cults are Water and Earth, BON1 (Spade) is missing, and Darklings are generically great. Engineers don't seem worth the risk to first-pick.

Opponents are Witches, Nomads, Giants -- great, no terrain neighbors. With Giants clearly going for SH, there's no race to FAV11 (D>>2vp) and I can immediately send my priest to Water and get it back next round. This does mean no dwellings on a D>>2 round, but I plan to make it up next round with SPADE>>2. I consider opening with an econ favor, but I have too many coins for FAV9 (3c) and FAV7 (w+pw) is meh, so boring old FAV11 it is.

I have a smooth midgame following the scoring tiles.
Round 2: Fast dwellings in the west, happening to let Witches off Nomads
Round 3: Upgrade them to TP's for a fast TW1 (+6c)
Round 4: SA with FAV12 (TP pass scoring) to score the TP's, compensating for no FAV10 (TP>>3vp).

On Round 5, I'm looking to build dwellings quickly so I can pass after Nomads to take BON9 (pass-vp D's) for Round 6, but when Nomads do pass, I still have more to build. I opt to squeeze out one more dwelling, reasoning Witches still need to take ACT4 (7c). I don't want to press my luck after that, so I pass -- Witches deny my BON9 at the cost of passing early.

My Round 6 position looks promising for 1st, but Nomads and Witches are close by. I have little to do for score except build my SH -- I can't connect and had already given up on a 3rd town.

But, I'll have 6 priests! So, the name of the game is disruption. There's lots of opportunities for attack:

- Build C2 with ACT5 (spade) + 2P, blocking the Nomads' town. Nomads preempt this with a costly first-action ACT6 (2 spades).
- Dig H8 from Witches to stop their town. They preempt this by building there on Round 5, leaving G1 exposed instead.
- Dig G1 to stop witches from connecting.
- Dig H1 to block a Nomads dwelling. I double-advance ship do this. I believe Nomads would have outscored me otherwise. Looking back, going via F1 would have been faster and safer.
- Dig a hex to red so that Giants can get 1 higher network if they choose TW1 (+6c). I wind up prioritizing other things and Giants don't take TW1.
- Contest Nomads in Water.
- Contest Witches in Earth.

I feel confident I can push down one of Witches or Nomads, but worry I'll be left exposed to the other overtaking me. I'm relieved when Nomads dig back G1, undoing Witches' dig in preparation to ACTW, putting both in a weaker position relative to me.

With an assured win, my only decision is whether to dig G1 back to Witches to put them back above Nomads to 2nd. As this is the last game in the league, I know this will knock mikaeljt (Nomads) from winning the league to placing behind me, pushing me from 4th to 3rd. I decide not to manipulate the game with this extra knowledge.

G6: 2nd pick Engineers

Clawing out a win in a vicious endgame fight.

With Darklings first-picked, I pick the other powerhouse of Engineers. The setup is not ideal for Engineers, but no other faction seems better. I'm hoping for the favorable Nomad + Mermaid picks to follow for MEND (though no FAV10 for mermaids), but third pick is terrain-neighbor Chaos Magicians. Oh well, at least it's not Witches.

The always-great Darkling leech partnership in the east gives me power for ACT6, also worth +4VP. I take G6 to not risk getting cut off there, as CM's are on D7. I get two temples with the usual FAV11 (D>>2vp) and FAV7 (w+pw), even better with the Earth cult scoring tiles. Building on G6 takes a painful conversion and burn to 4 for the extra dwelling and stall for BON1 (Spade) for next round. Though this loses me power income later, I think it's well worth it. This looks like a great start for Engineers, who tend to go far with a good start.

In Round 2, I take D4 and secure E9. Engineers are often limited by digs, so I'm happy to get these. By the end of Round 3, I have a town with TW6 for great cult position and lots of economy.

I fumble with poor planning when awarded two cult spades. If I dig C3 or D5, Chaos Magicians can steal with their BON1 first action. I should have advanced shipping beforehand to transform G3, which is really important to connect. I transform I11 and I12, putting me no closer to a 3rd town. Chaos Magicians rush to take D8, suggesting I could have dug C3 instead.

I pass Round 5 unable to get a scoring tile, but a BON1 shovel seems useful for dwelling scoring next. Chaos Magicians haven't expanded out of their corner where they are stuck without neighbors, giving me great chances to put down lots of dwellings on pristine grey hexes. I plan to take I5, G1, and F1, but Darklings position to take the entry point I5 for a third town.

In Round 6, it looks like Nomads and I are competing for 1st, a good deal ahead of Darklings and CM's. I worry Nomads will destroy my precious grey hexes. I take A6, which has a double purpose of taking a red hex from CM's to better compete on network, and potentially threatening the Nomad town. I'm trying to figure out tactics on cults. I really want to overtake Nomads on Fire or Air, but they could then retake it and perhaps overtake CM's, so I want to decide which one after they've passed or committed. The tactics are complicated and heavily depend on what Darklings and CM's do; I can't read out what will happen.

The Nomads throw down the gauntlet by expensive-digging A2 before I can take it. Losing a dwelling and network point hurts a lot. Lots of planning tells me Nomads will likely edge me out like this, so I attack back. Spending three workers left Nomads with almost no leeway for building their town. I first get power to threaten the ACT1 bridge Nomads need for their town, then expensive-dig A1 once they commit to the bridge, denying the 11vp town. This is war!

I think I made a mistake of declining power earlier. One more power would have let me use ACT5 on Nomads instead of an expensive dig, and threaten the bridge earlier. Mercifully, Darklings give me the crucial leech for ACT5 and one more dwelling.

The Nomads and I have done so much damage that CM's are on our heels. Nomads desperately sandstorm a hex to help CM's take network from me, but CM's don't have enough. In a close finish, I win with 133, and Nomads tie with CM's at 131. The CM's needed only 1 more power to win outright. It goes to show you can't count yourself out of the running.

G4: 3rd pick Mermaids

Awful the whole way through.

With Engineers and Darklings the first two picks, I'm in a common crummy position. Nomad and Mermaids are the usual continuations, putting E>D>M>N on average. Not wanting to be the Nomads here, I pick Mermaids hoping to Nomads for the last pick.

Unfortunately, third pick takes CM's. Though red and blue are in theory color opposites, it's hard for Mermaids to partner anywhere with CM's, especially if CM's open D7, which they did. Nomads would make much better neighbors. Darklings start on B5, blocking that town area, and my opening position looks awkward.

On Round 2, I expensive-dig C4 to get a neighbor for a TP. I'll have too many workers anyway. I get my first leech of the game after I pass.

Round 4 goes well. I advance ship, throw down dwellings for points, and pass for BON10 (ship vp).

On Round 5, I'm looking to upgrade to TP's for points for a Round 6 in the lower left, but everyone is avoiding touching me like I'm contagious. I had hoped CM's would neighbor me on E3, or Darklings on E5 or E2, but I'm left to build expensive trading points with coins I don't have. I dig E5 for a neighbor, just before Darklings go next to me on E2, which costs me a TP or ship advance. Aargh!

In the end, I find it a mercy to get 3rd. Darklings got a huge score of 186, perhaps compressing everyone else down. This is a game where I felt I didn't have good options, but I suspect a better player would have seen opportunities I didn't consider.

G1: 4th pick Mermaids

Thought I was doing well, but lost sight of the big picture.

Picks of Engineers, Alchemists (!), and Nomads push me into an awkward MEND-style position with fourth pick. Round 6 dwelling scoring also makes having a terrain neighbor costly, as well as potentially being cut out of FAV11. I weigh possible picks.
- Witches are bad against Engineers and put out dwellings too early for scoring.
- Mermaids can do well to throw down lots of dwellings for points on round 3 and round 6. Shipping is good to maneuver around Alchemists if they are dig happy at the end. No BON10 (ship vp) is bad.
- Swarmlings are tempting with Round 1 TP scoring and pass tiles to scoring SA/SH and TP but not D. But Round 5 TP scoring is awkward, and it's easy to get boxed in before Round 6. Also, I don't really understand Swarmlings.

I decided on Mermaids, though looking back now though, Swarmlings seem better.

Round 1 puts me off to a good start. I get FAV11 (D>>2VP) in last seat because Alchemists opt for FAV7 (w+pw). Phew!

Round 3 allows me a great dwelling spree. I regret not racing to B5 before Alchemists take it. This constrains my town and gives the Alchemists and easy connection. I think I'd reasoned that I didn't have the power or workers to spare, but I should have willing to make the tradeoff.

I made a similar mistake in letting Alchemists take H5 in Round 5 with the spade pass tile. Taking it would give me access to I10, a blue space for a dig-free dwelling.

I thought I was in a good position for the end with 14 network, but that was only good for 0 points compared to everyone's 15 (except Engineers got attacked down to 14). Div 1 is tough. Getting to 15 would have swung scores a lot, and if I'd planned better, I could have gotten there with resource-giving town tiles. I had been grabbing points without seeing the big picture.

I thought my one shot not to get last place was Alchemists attacking Engineers to take 1st. I dug with ACT5 to deny it to Engineers, hoping that Alchemists would then deny A2 to make it really hard for Engineers to get dwellings. It's funny one player moving aggressively against another makes them a target for others. Alchemists wound up not denying A2, though it likely still wouldn't have been enough. Last place for me.
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Luke J
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This type of recap is so helpful for players like me who are just trying to reach beyond "intermediate!" Thank you. Also, I agree that talking out a game afterward is a very fun part of board gaming!

I was just going to ask you a question about one of your decisions, but then I thought it through and reached the same conclusion that you did in your game

Edit: Game two picking second after Darklings, there is no way I could resist picking Dwarves in that setup. But then that is why I'm down in Division 4...
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Chris Sandman
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Thanks a lot for this brilliant and in Detail overview of the games from your point of view! It was a very good read!!
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Steinar Nerhus
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Great! This was a very interesting read

All those "if I do X, then they does Y" situations are messy to navigate, but I guess if you want to perform well in the top division(s) you have to put in the work. Do you feel you have to use a lot of time on each move in these situations? I remember I did more of those calculations earlier, but it gets a bit boring after a while...

I also like that you did not metagame in that one game!
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Great analysis, thanks for sharing. One additional thougt:

xnor wrote:


G4: 3rd pick Mermaids

Awful the whole way through.

With Engineers and Darklings the first two picks, I'm in a common crummy position. Nomad and Mermaids are the usual continuations, putting E>D>M>N on average. Not wanting to be the Nomads here, I pick Mermaids hoping to Nomads for the last pick.



It's true that nomads are tough to play, and I have always been more succesful with mermaids. Still, game analysis gave me the impression that in a MEND-game it's rather E > D > 3rd pick > 4th pick: In many setups, FAV11 can make a big difference.

If that's the case, then - other things being equal - I would prefer picking nomads. You have that precious 3rd initial dwelling. You can be quite sure that the 4th player will pick blue or green, both of which suit you well (especially if he picks witches - quite possible in a game with two white cult bonuses).

I guess it's worth learning to play the nomads well. In this season's D1 they were quite successful.
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Gambia
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enkidu_77 wrote:

Still, game analysis gave me the impression that in a MEND-game it's rather E > D > 3rd pick > 4th pick: In many setups, FAV11 can make a big difference.


That's why more players now like to pick Cultists from seat 3.

4th player usually pick Nomads, Cm, Witches, Mermaids or Swarmlings. That makes these scenarios (* being the last pick):

E > D > N* > C
D = C > E > Cm*
D = C > E = W*
E > C > M* > D
E > C > S* > D

If the 4th players don't pick a lot more often Nomads, it's statistically better to pick Cultists in the 3rd seat.
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ljwoodw wrote:
Game two picking second after Darklings, there is no way I could resist picking Dwarves in that setup.


The setup does look like a great fit for Dwarves: Early Earth cults, SH round 5, dwellings round 6. Maybe I should have picked them. I have little experience with them, which I should fix. I don't have a feel for how much of a boost they need to catch up to the generic strength of Engineers.
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Stones wrote:
All those "if I do X, then they does Y" situations are messy to navigate, but I guess if you want to perform well in the top division(s) you have to put in the work. Do you feel you have to use a lot of time on each move in these situations? I remember I did more of those calculations earlier, but it gets a bit boring after a while...

I spent quite a while on these calculations. Combined with my overall slowness as a player and my traveling at the time, it really slowed down those games.

I found that calculating out a game tree was useful only at the very end of the game. Before that, I couldn't be sure of a sharp calculation being right enough to rely on it. What if the opponent got two more coins from leech? What if a third player did something that needed immediate response? What if I missed something? All this noise smoothed out decisions, which I think is good for discouraging these boring kinds of calculations. Instead, I mostly went for what seemed good overall and kept my options open.

However, rougher calculations were very useful. Planning out to see the rough endgame state tells you what place is realistic to aim for, who your rivals are, whether additional network is worth going for, etc. I wish I'd done them earlier, like rounds 4 or 5. It seems like one could invest an enormous amount time in these and still get marginal benefit.
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xnor wrote:
ljwoodw wrote:
Game two picking second after Darklings, there is no way I could resist picking Dwarves in that setup.


The setup does look like a great fit for Dwarves: Early Earth cults, SH round 5, dwellings round 6. Maybe I should have picked them. I have little experience with them, which I should fix. I don't have a feel for how much of a boost they need to catch up to the generic strength of Engineers.


I think they're my highest delta faction, but even then I have only won 3/8 games with them, and certainly have reservations about picking them in a competitive league! For instance, more often than not, I end up depending on the H6-I9 connection, and even though they are three spaces away on the color wheel, aggressive Darklings are plenty capable of triple-digging one of those hexes, or even transforming once just to make it inconvenient.

Note, this has never actually happened to me, but it's a constant threat that often means using resources inefficiently to defuse. And then Green is obviously a huge problem, but even terrain wars with Mermaids or Nomads in the center of the map can make a game very difficult.
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xnor wrote:
ljwoodw wrote:
Game two picking second after Darklings, there is no way I could resist picking Dwarves in that setup.


The setup does look like a great fit for Dwarves: Early Earth cults, SH round 5, dwellings round 6. Maybe I should have picked them. I have little experience with them, which I should fix. I don't have a feel for how much of a boost they need to catch up to the generic strength of Engineers.


I've played Dwarves once in 200 games, so I'm about the last person who can comment on how to play them well. But I've noted before that one of the biggest problems with Dwarves is that everything they like in the setup phase Engineers also like.

If there's early cult bonuses engineers can grab fav7+fav11 (which they often want anyway) and benefit basically the same amount as dwarves from the earth cults. Round 5 SH is about when engineers can usually afford to build it and bridges to get the points from their SH. Both like to get worker income from cults more than most factions. Both build lots of dwellings in the last round.

So it's really rare to find a setup that is has great potential for dwarves that isn't also potentially great for engineers. Sadly, the reverse is not true.
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CTKShadow wrote:
If there's early cult bonuses engineers can grab fav7+fav11 (which they often want anyway) and benefit basically the same amount as dwarves from the earth cults. (...) Both build lots of dwellings in the last round.

Two points where I slightly disagree:
Dwarves have a much easier time to reach 4 earth (for a spade), unless engineers start with bon2, and I feel like engineers might prefer to build their dwellings a bit earlier, as they often want to have them on the board to get enough workers.

In general engineers like high scoring games (many points just for building much stuff and passing with much stuff), Dwarves often pass with less buildings and are good at using their own ability to score.
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
CTKShadow wrote:
If there's early cult bonuses engineers can grab fav7+fav11 (which they often want anyway) and benefit basically the same amount as dwarves from the earth cults. (...) Both build lots of dwellings in the last round.

Two points where I slightly disagree:
Dwarves have a much easier time to reach 4 earth (for a spade), unless engineers start with bon2, and I feel like engineers might prefer to build their dwellings a bit earlier, as they often want to have them on the board to get enough workers.


I disagree that it's easier. They either need to pass on fav11 in favour of fav7 (which is not bad for dwarves but relieves pressure on opponents to rush fav11) or they need a priest (like engineers) or bon2 (like engineers). If engineers get a priest, which is not difficult, they will get to at least 5 on earth and it's not impossible to get two priests to cult in round 1 and make it to 8. Also here. Also if engineers are picked from an early position BON2 is not a horrible option because it saves the need to convert pw to c or take act4 in round 1 and still get two temples. If lucky enough to start bon2, and get act6 and act3 (requires 10 leech + 1pw from earth), it is theoretically possible to end R1 with 2D+2TE+cult spade+fav7/11. That won't happen many games but act5+3pw to w will get D+2TE+cult spade+fav7/11, and only requires act5 to pull off while still being a very strong start. And all of this is in the most challenging scenario of round 1 cult spade instead of round 2 cult spade or round 1 coins.

Quote:
In general engineers like high scoring games (many points just for building much stuff and passing with much stuff), Dwarves often pass with less buildings and are good at using their own ability to score.


I agree that engineers are likely to want to start round 6 with 8 dwellings, but they also are likely to upgrade as many as 4 of those in the last round, usually resulting in 3-4 dwellings being built in the last round as well. TP scoring would be better, but dwelling scoring is still solid.

So I'm not saying that engineers require those conditions, I'm just saying that engineers can also easily use them without going much out of their way, while being an intrinsically stronger faction - and this means that even in setups that are good for Dwarves, they are also good for Engineers. It's not impossible there is a setup where the second best potential for all factions is for Dwarves, but the best potential is for Engineers. This could be the case even if such a setup was literally the best possible setup for Dwarves (if such a thing as a "best setup" exists), while not being the best possible setup for engineers.

In a hypothetical variant where, for example, the worker favour and dwelling vp favour were water cult and not earth cult, this would be very different. In that case engineers would prefer early water cult bonuses, while dwarves would prefer early earth cult. This would create a clear demarcation in the type of setups they would like. It just so happens that the two preferred favour tiles for engineers are both the same cult, and both the same cult as what dwarves start with, removing a potential advantage dwarves would otherwise have had.

By way of comparison, consider that Darklings tend to like coin BONs and things that give coins, and an absence of spades, while Alchemists tend to like worker and spade BONs and an absence of coins. In this way, while Darklings are a stronger faction in general, there are setups that favour Alchemists more despite the difference in base faction strength because Darklings and Alchemists (which obviously share a colour) have different factors that can help them succeed (or cause them to fail).

For the most part this is not true at all of Engineers and Dwarves. Even in a setup with tons of income and very little scoring potential (say only scoring bon is bon7 and poorly placed round bonuses for all factions like rd1 town, rd6 TE, etc), you can't conclusively say "Dwarves because they have built in digging points" because Engineers can get built in bridge points and are WAY more competitive in final scoring, which combined is going to be worth more.
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
CTKShadow wrote:
If there's early cult bonuses engineers can grab fav7+fav11 (which they often want anyway) and benefit basically the same amount as dwarves from the earth cults. (...) Both build lots of dwellings in the last round.

Two points where I slightly disagree:
Dwarves have a much easier time to reach 4 earth (for a spade), unless engineers start with bon2, and I feel like engineers might prefer to build their dwellings a bit earlier, as they often want to have them on the board to get enough workers.

In general engineers like high scoring games (many points just for building much stuff and passing with much stuff), Dwarves often pass with less buildings and are good at using their own ability to score.


Dropped in to post something like this.

Dwarves faction scoring ability is easier to use, so they're better in low-scoring situations. Also, they can send whatever priests they get to the cults - Engineers will probably have at last one early shipping advance, so while in theory Fav7+Fav11 = 2 starting cult steps + Fav11, in practice, Dwarves end up a bit higher.

Also, sometimes you can start with Fav7 with Dwarves, which puts you on the 4 spot. Add a priest to that, and you're already up at 7, and you get 4 power from that priest. Especially if round 1 is spade scoring, that's a huge boost to the early economy. I've also played a face-to-face game where I got to 8 for two free spades.

Last, I think round 5 is actually a bit late for the Dwarven stronghold. You'll probably want to tunnel a couple of times before then just to ensure that you're not cut off.

Here's probably my best snellman game with Dwarves - taking a look at where it is at the end of Round 3, it played out quite differently from an engineer in the same situation. Of course, I didn't win (2nd in strong competition) when some meanie transformed a gray hex to green, even though it didn't affect his overall standing...

I did also win a game with Dwarves against still-decent competition, and again, the position after 3 rounds looks nothing like an engineer game
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ljwoodw wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:
CTKShadow wrote:
If there's early cult bonuses engineers can grab fav7+fav11 (which they often want anyway) and benefit basically the same amount as dwarves from the earth cults. (...) Both build lots of dwellings in the last round.

Two points where I slightly disagree:
Dwarves have a much easier time to reach 4 earth (for a spade), unless engineers start with bon2, and I feel like engineers might prefer to build their dwellings a bit earlier, as they often want to have them on the board to get enough workers.

In general engineers like high scoring games (many points just for building much stuff and passing with much stuff), Dwarves often pass with less buildings and are good at using their own ability to score.


Dropped in to post something like this.

Dwarves faction scoring ability is easier to use, so they're better in low-scoring situations. Also, they can send whatever priests they get to the cults - Engineers will probably have at last one early shipping advance, so while in theory Fav7+Fav11 = 2 starting cult steps + Fav11, in practice, Dwarves end up a bit higher.

Also, sometimes you can start with Fav7 with Dwarves, which puts you on the 4 spot. Add a priest to that, and you're already up at 7, and you get 4 power from that priest. Especially if round 1 is spade scoring, that's a huge boost to the early economy. I've also played a face-to-face game where I got to 8 for two free spades.

Last, I think round 5 is actually a bit late for the Dwarven stronghold. You'll probably want to tunnel a couple of times before then just to ensure that you're not cut off.

Here's probably my best snellman game with Dwarves - taking a look at where it is at the end of Round 3, it played out quite differently from an engineer in the same situation. Of course, I didn't win (2nd in strong competition) when some meanie transformed a gray hex to green, even though it didn't affect his overall standing...

I did also win a game with Dwarves against still-decent competition, and again, the position after 3 rounds looks nothing like an engineer game


To be clear, Dwarves and Engineers don't play the same way and I'm not arguing they do. But, for different reasons, they like the same things. Or at least, Engineers can do fine with the things Dwarves like (the reverse is not the case).

The strategy you would employ, even in identical setups, would be quite different. And I'm not saying Dwarves can't win because Dwarves can dominate. I'm just saying that in setups where Dwarves can dominate, so can Engineers (there is obviously absolutely no way Engineers would have lost that game I just linked). Engineers will go about it differently, but that's not the point. Good for Dwarves means good for Engineers too.
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enkidu_77 wrote:
Still, game analysis gave me the impression that in a MEND-game it's rather E > D > 3rd pick > 4th pick: In many setups, FAV11 can make a big difference.

I'd be interested the stats on this. I might still prefer Mermaids 4th to Nomads 3rd on an average setup, getting a solid opening with a last-picked round tile and FAV9, and looking for FAV10 points and 3 towns to compensate for no FAV11.

It's true that Nomads 3rd are safe, unlikely to have a disaster game like I did. Nomads did place 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd in Div 1 this season, which doesn't look stellar but might what one looks if not Darklings or Engineers. It suggests a boring consistency.

I've noticed an overall tendency to pick Nomads when riskier-but-lucrative options are available. It might be psychological: if you get unlucky, it's frustrating to play a long hopeless game where you regret your choice. And, Nomads feel like they're doing well when expanding a lot even when they score poorly doing so. And perhaps players who climbed quickly to Div 1 have been conditioned to play safe because they have been playing against weaker opponents where consistently average results suffice. I consciously tried to avoid this.

The 6/3/1/0 scoring certainly encourages risk. Even more so playing to win the title. Maybe that's why early Engineer picks are common: when they start well, they win big, and two 6-point games can propel you to the win the league. When this fails miserably (say Witches are picked), it's hard to know if the luckier worldlines counterbalance this, or if you just chose poorly.

Of course, playing to avoid demotion is the opposite. Here, the safety of Nomads is a plus. I wasn't sure if I was playing to win, or playing to not get booted from the league.
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Petri Savola
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xnor wrote:
I get FAV11 (D>>2VP) in last seat because Alchemists opt for FAV7 (w+pw). Phew!

I just wanted to play it safe and took act5 early, which cost me fav11. I absolutely needed either act5 or act6 in the game or I lose on round 1, so I didn't want to risk it. I generally like to play without fav11, but not really when I play Alchemists with a TE opening because that means I'll end up converting a lot of money to points.

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I thought I was in a good position for the end with 14 network, but that was only good for 0 points compared to everyone's 15 (except Engineers got attacked down to 14). Div 1 is tough. Getting to 15 would have swung scores a lot, and if I'd planned better, I could have gotten there with resource-giving town tiles. I had been grabbing points without seeing the big picture.

I could've also gone to network 16 if there was more competition at 15. Now I calculated that 15 is better than 16 for me because I need to convert less VPs to coins.

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I thought my one shot not to get last place was Alchemists attacking Engineers to take 1st. I dug with ACT5 to deny it to Engineers, hoping that Alchemists would then deny A2 to make it really hard for Engineers to get dwellings. It's funny one player moving aggressively against another makes them a target for others. Alchemists wound up not denying A2, though it likely still wouldn't have been enough. Last place for me.

I had plans to dig two gray tiles to push Engineers further down, but didn't have enough tempo to do it. In fact I was hoping you would do it instead of taking my cults because you may have had a chance to beat the Engineers if they had only 13 area. For me the most important thing was to push them down from 15 to 14 because that would give me more network points. I also needed to take tw3 before Nomads or I would not have any chance to win. I also took act3 instead of act4 because it seemed that Engineers don't have enough workers and I tried to win.
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Jose Silva
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I'm curious about game 1 - u not make a move that can improve your league position. What everyone think about It. If it's me i Will do It.
 
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