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Subject: Space by Space. A strategic review of all 61 action spaces in A Feast for Odin rss

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Ryan Feathers
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Madison
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1. Questions and Answers

Q.What is this?
A.As per the title, this is a massive post reviewing every action space's usefullness in the game A Feast for Odin.


Q.Isn't this format totally ripped off?
A.Yes, this is a total rip off of Alex Chen's Card.By.Card strategy reviews in Agricola.

Q.Does that mean you're going to do this for all the occupation cards in A Feast for Odin?
A.I may yet try that sometime, but no promises.

Q.What do your ratings mean?
A.My rating system:

Weak

This action space should rarely if ever be taken. It is only useful in extremely niche circumstances. It is unlikely that players will ever be fighting for this space.

Below Average

This action space should generally not be taken. It may have some nice uses in various circumstances. It will rarely be contested by other players.

Average

This action space if fairly average. It may be generally useful or may be a useful backbone to a strategy. This space may be contested by other players but rarely will be the focus of anyone's strategy.

Above Average

This action space is good and will generally be taken when available. It is either generally useful or particularly powerful in certain strategies. This space will almost always be taken every round and may be the source of fights.

Excellent

These action spaces define the game and will be critical points of contention. They will either be almost always taken every round or will be key tenets of strategy and races to spaces. These are the sorts of spaces that players will jockey for starting player for.


Q.Are you going to do half stars?
A.No. That would be too much work, plus it's hard to expect that level of precision in sorting the spaces into their categories. Five categories is plenty enough for this analysis.

Q.How much experience do you have with A Feast for Odin?
A.I've had the game for quite a few months now and have played over 30 times. I've mostly played solo, but have several multiplayer games in.

Q.Are you even good at the game though?
A.I like to think I'm pretty good. I certainly have been competitive and won several of the weekly solo competitions for this game. I'll admit my multiplayer skills may be a bit lacking.

Q.What are your average scores?
A.For solo I'm averaging around 160 and for multiplayer around 130.

Q.Would you like to thank anyone?
A.Of course! First off thanks again to Alex Chen's excellent Agricola strategy articles which I am entirely ripping the format for. I'd like to thank GAF Blizzard for organizing and running the weekly solo competitions which have really made me addicted with this game and forced me to try a wide variety of strategies. I'd like to thank dotKeller for his very useful strategy tips in a variety of threads, as well as the many other regular contributes to the solo competition who offered up their strategy thoughts. Their early efforts really shaped my understanding of the game.

Q.I disagree with your rankings! How can I convince you to change?
A.I'm pretty open to reasoned arguments for why I'm wrong about a space. I'd love to have good discussions about the strategy of this game and I consider this a living document that I'll happily update to reflect the community's thoughts. I'm but one person and likely am wrong about some of the spaces.

Q.What is the player count in mind here?
A.These rankings will be more skewed towards the solo game for that is what I know the best. However I've tried my best to keep them useful and meaningful for all player counts. I will make a mention for those spaces that I think matter more or less for various player counts.

Q. Is this for the short or long game?
A. Everything here assumes the long game. I don't know anyone who seriously plays the short game, nor do I recommend it.

II. Important Background

The goal in a Feast for Odin is to score points. You start the game with -86 points on your home board and through 7 rounds you will place a total of 63 Viking Meeples to try and get a good score. The rulebook says 100 points is a good challenge. So that means you have to manage to produce at least 186 points with those 63 Vikings! This comes out almost perfectly to be 3 points per Viking which will be the baseline efficiency we should be expecting out of our Vikings. If a space earns much more than that it will likely be considered a great space by me, while a space that earns much less will likely be considered an awful space by me.

The tough part of course comes from trying to judge the point values of various goods tiles. Putting blue tiles on negative points obvious earns you those points effectively. Therefore a 2x2 blue chest is basically 4 points when used this way. But if you use it elsewhere it may not be covering up negatives. This makes it difficult to assess value in this game. Using some tips from DotKeller, and also having some discussions with other contributes in the solo strategy threads, I think it has generally been shown that blue tiles are roughly worth their spaces in victory points. Green goods are worth about 90% of that (in general a green can be used anywhere a blue can, but you may run into slight placement issues which makes them a tad less valuable.) Orange and Red goods are worth about half of their spaces--this can be seen most clearly in the case of the Long House where you can place Orange or Red tiles but for the most part will wind up only able to cover about 1 negative point for every 2 spaces of tile you use.

These are just rough heuristics and not meant to be perfect. But in general I have found them to be useful tools to consider when evaluating spaces and so I will lean upon them a bit here when grading the spaces.

Finally, I should state roughly the background strategy. After plenty of discussions in the solo strategy thread and through my experience, it seems clear to me that the only way to get truly great (150+) scores in this game is to get lots of bonus goods and income generating. That is the only source of points in this game that aren't directly earned from using your Viking Meeples and so to get beyond the 100 point barrier you'll really need to prioritize generating income and bonus goods. As such this strategy guide will work from that premise.

III. Action Space Review

1 Viking: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Shed

Sheds are 8 points, but require 3 wood and 3 stone to score all those points. In total that means you're spending 1 Viking, 5 wood, and 3 stone for 8 total points. And I'm here to say that's a pretty awful deal. I didn't address it above, and it is hard to figure out the exact value for these resources, but in general you can turn those goods into even better payouts on other spaces.

Now admittedly this is mostly in the solo game that I think Sheds are really really bad. In a four player game with all players working on home board progress, there will be lots of bonus wood and stone being produced and so storing some in a shed may pay off. If this was a solo guide this would be one star, it earns two pretty much solely for those 3 and 4 player games where many players are earning wood and stone as bonuses from their homeboards.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Exchange 1 Stone to build a Stone House

Stone Houses are decent. They score 10 points although filling in all the negatives can be hard. They do offer a decent bonus good, but it takes quite a lot of tiles to surround that bonus and is difficult to do without spending some silver. Overall Stone Houses can be decent plays if you have the materials and little else to do, but most other options are generally better.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Stone to build a Long House

Long Houses have several bonuses, and provide 17 points if you can fully fill them--which is hard to do given the "posts" you must work around. Still you get to draw an occupation card which is useful and Long Houses can be a part of many strategies as long as you plan to have an excess of orange and red tiles. Towards the end of the game in particular this space may be contested as players try to find any last way to score a few points. In higher player count games this space also becomes more valuable as the only other way to get long houses will be hotly contested.

Rating:

1 Viking: Exchange 1 Wood to build a Whaling Boat

This is an alright trade, A Whaling Boat is 3 points so that sits right at the 3 points per Viking efficiency we want to aim for. However it costs a wood. Still at times you may really want a whaling boat and don't have the 3 silver to outright buy one. This space in particular may be contested very early in the game when silver is tight but a boat allows whaling or exploration, but towards the end of the game it won't often be contested. Overall then this gets a fairly average rating, but keep in mind early game it may be more valuable than that.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Knarr

2 Vikings to 5 points should immediately have you wary, but then the fact it costs 2 wood as well--this is not an efficient space points wise. Therefore the only good reason to use this is if you really need the Knarr to do something and will make up for the lost efficiency here. In the race to explore an island that may make sense, else you probably should stay away from this.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Longship

This falls in a very similar situation to the prior space--the efficiency of 3 Vikings for 8 points is not good, especially when you consider that you have to spend 2 wood. At least you get an occupation and Longships are arguably more important than Knarrs as they allow you to do more actions. In particular they give you access to the very efficient pillaging action along with allowing you any exploration. As such there may be a rush in the early game to get this space so you can build up a pillaging boat. Overall though this is largely a space to avoid unless you have a pressing need for a Longship. If you do however, this is a good space in the early game. (In the mid to late game you should aim to buy a longship instead).

Rating:

4 Vikings: Exchange 2 Wood and 2 Stone to build a Stone House + Longship OR a Long House + Knarr

To begin with, I must state the obvious. This is quite simply better than doing these actions separately. If you want to build a Stone House + Longship or a Long House + Knarr it will cost you the same 2 wood, 2 stone, but it will cost you 5 Vikings instead. Plus you'll only get to draw an occupation instead of playing one, and playing occupations is quite a bit better. Therefore this space really shines. In the early game it can be hard to assemble that many goods or spare 4 Vikings but towards the middle rounds this space will begin to be contested and by the late rounds it may well be the first action taken. It's a strong space you should attempt to work into your strategy.

Rating:

1 Viking: Hunting Game

Hunting is a great way to get some tiles. You get a 1x3 green which is almost 3 points in itself, but then you also get the 2x3 red tile Game Meat which is also roughly worth three points. The downside is you will want/need some bows and wood to succeed and success is never guaranteed at any of these dice actions. Still most of these dice action spaces are pretty efficient if you do roll pretty well, and rolling poorly isn't the end all. This space in particular will likely be taken most rounds and is probably the most efficient space in the game if you succeed.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Hunting Game

Everything I just said about hunting is absolutely true, but when it takes 2 Vikings to do it, the efficiency is pretty poor unless you get the best of rolls. Therefore you generally shouldn't be taking this space unless you have a lot of bows stockpiling and keep getting beat to the better option.

Rating:

1 Viking: Gain 1 Fish

Remember that efficiency we are aiming for? You'll be hard pressed to make this fish net you 3 points. Unless you are going to be short at feast time, and this is the only 1 Viking space available to you, you probably have no business being here. In fact I'll just shorten it to you probably should never be on this space unless you've screwed up while planning.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Laying a Snare

The 2x4 fur tile is worth almost 8 points, so for 2 Vikings that is pretty good. Once again though you're going to probably need to get a little lucky and spend some snares and maybe some wood, so overall the efficiency is a bit less than that. I'd argue this comes right around to being worth about 3 points per Viking you place here which is my definition of average. Of course if you wind up with a bunch of snares and are nearly assured of success it becomes a bit better.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Whaling

Whaling is good. You get 8 spaces of green and 9 spaces of red which is roughly 12 total points for 3 Vikings. You also get an occupation which is always a nice touch. Now whaling does have you using the 12 sided die so getting those low numbers is less of a guarantee. However this space allows you to really stack some discount if you can get a whaling fleet assembled. I generally put ore on my first whaling boat and then if I get anymore I leave them open. Still that means by the end of the game I can pretty easily have a discount of 4 to whatever I roll before factoring in any weapons or wood. This means you can really turn this space into a vital part of your strategy if you find a way to get 3 whaling boats--which is not that hard given they are not all that expensive to buy after you start unlocking some income. Finally at the end of all that, this is probably the single best failure space in the entire game as 1 Viking for 1 Spear, 1 Wood, and 1 Occupation is not a bad deal at all. It may even in very niche cases be worth it to whale even if you expect to fail.

As such this space will be taken every chance you can if you're pursuing a whaling strategy (and in general at least someone should be).

Rating:

4 Vikings: Whaling

Much like Hunting, this second whaling space suddenly gets a lot worse. You can only use one whaling boat, the items you get are the same. At least you get to play an occupation here. But failing is a bit expensive here since you are spending 2 Vikings for 1 wood, 1 spear, and 1 played occupation which is not a good deal. All around not an awful spot, but it's clearly worse and just barely manages to hit the efficiency we are seeking if you succeed. As such I'd generally not expect this space to get used unless players have a lot of spears building up and keep getting beat to the other whaling spot.

Rating:

1 Viking: Pay 1 silver to gain 2 Fish

This space is relatively bad, mostly because it is hard to see how the 2 Fish can be turned into 4 points (Again we want 3 points per Viking plus we spent 1 silver which is 1 point). Unlike the 1 Fish space from before though there is a way we can make this work--in a Long House it is relatively easy to place the 2 fish such that each covers 2 negative points. Overall this space is pretty clearly better than the 1 fish space and is even a pretty good option if you have long houses.

Rating:

1 Viking: Pay 2 silver to gain 2 Salt Meat

This is very similar to the above space, however you are paying 1 silver more and gaining 2 more total red spaces. According to my rough guide above this would be an acceptable trade, but in general I think this space is just a bit worse--and it is entirely because of how the Long House is laid out. You still can only cover 2 negative points in a Long House with these tiles and it is otherwise hard to find ways for these guys to earn points for you. They do help a lot at feast time and that may save you enough other tiles you can put in a House to be worth the effort, but once again this is a niche play and rarely will this space be worth visiting.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Pay 1 silver to gain 1 Sheep

Discussing breeding strategies in this game would take another entire article but suffice to say they are viable but I consider them the toughest thing to learn to do well in this game. In general the rough guideline is that if you are going to breed animals you'd like to have a pair of them by the end of action on Round 3 so you can breed 2 new ones and upgrade them all to get on your board to cover massive negative points. Eating animals is inefficient, and scoring animals for points at the end of the game is inefficient. With all that said, breeding can work but it isn't stronger than other strategies and in general I don't think you'll find these spaces being fought over very much. More useful if you've gotten an occ or two that helps support breeding. This space in particular is a good one to visit though if you're trying to breed sheep.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Spend 3 Silver for 1 Cattle and 1 Milk

The milk is a rather nice bonus to get along with the cow as it can help out quite a bit in a feast. 3 silver is a pretty hefty prerequisite but overall this is a solid action space if you're going to be breeding cattle.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Earn 1 Sheep OR pay 1 silver for 1 Cattle

This space is a bit worse than the two prior. In general you'd much rather pay one silver to use one less viking which is the tradeoff for the sheep. For the cattle you're paying 2 less silver but using 1 more viking and forgoing the milk. You do however get to draw an occupation if you go here. Overall this space seems a bit suboptimal to me but it's not really that bad. It's right on the edge of almost deserving two starts, but I think it still should get three.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Pay 3 Silver to earn 1 Sheep AND 1 Cattle

This is a fantastic space if you're trying to breed both types of animals as it is more efficient than trying to get those animals separately and you get to play an occupation to boot. I'd go so far as to say pretty much any strategy that involves breeding both types of animals will be visiting this space. As such you may actually see a bit of competition for this one at times.

Rating:

1 Viking: Gain 1 beans AND 1 silver

So this is pretty bad. The beans need to be worth two points which they are if you place them in a Long House. But given they are orange and you get them consistently during the feast and there are a variety of bonus spaces that also give beans you probably already have too many beans tiles anyhow. Not to mention beans don't fit in a long house all that well as the posts mean limited places to place beans. Overall this isn't awful, but for the most part I'd avoid taking this.

Rating:

2 Vikings for 1 silver, 1 Flax, and 1 Fish

Our rough guidelines say that 3 spaces of orange, 3 spaces of red, and 1 silver is worth about 4 points for 2 vikings. That is really bad. This is even worse than that though since it is once again harder to actually turn those red and orange into points. Compare this to sending the vikings to collect 1 Beans and a 1 Silver and then spending that silver to get 2 fish. In that case you have 2 fish and 1 beans which is quite a bit better than what you get from here. And those two spaces I just listed aren't even that good.

Rating:

3 Vikings to gain 1 Fruite, 1 Oil, 1 Salt Meat, 1 Silver

This one is a bit hard to evaluate because you get so much stuff. Still 9 spaces of orange, 4 spaces of red, 2 spaces of green, and 1 silver is roughly 9 points and that is being a bit generous. The Fruit is very hard to make score more than 4 points in a Long House, and even if you do use one you are covering up a potential bonus good and making other placements harder. Overall this space does little to help develop your homeboard or exploration boards where you will get the majority of your income and bonuses from, which means it only is really good for helping fill a long house which is not a priority until the end of the game when you're trying to get some points. By that time you should still have other better ways of earning points than visiting this space. Very niche.

Rating:

1 Viking for 1/2/3 Milk for having 1/2/3 Cattle

This space is obviously highly dependent on if you have cattle. For only 1 milk I wouldn't go here as that's just not good efficiency. For 2 or 3 millk the space is pretty reasonable. You still need a decent plan for what you are going to do with that milk (which should be feasting on it and using it in a long house) but assuming you have uses for it, this is an alright space. Rarely will be contested though as usually players don't have 2 or 3 cattle sitting around for very long. If you actually have the cattle though this is probably worthy of 3 stars, but given how niche this space is I'm probably going to give it 2.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Gain 2 silver and 2 mead

This space if flat out bad. Our rough guidelines help reveal why: You're only gaining 4 points (2 silver and 4 total spaces of red) but using 2 vikings to do so. I almost never go here unless I desperately need the money, and even then you should probably be able to plan to do something better anyhow.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Gain 1/2/3 Wool for having 1/2/3 Sheep

This pretty much falls under the exact same analysis that the cattle space did. Although here getting even 2 wool isn't that good. But 3 wool is pretty reasonable for 3 sheep, plus you draw an occupation. So if you have those three sheep sitting around this can be a nice play that is unlikely to be contested almost ever. But once again this is quite a niche circumstance so this space pretty well deserves its two start status.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Gain 1 Spices, 1 Silver, 2 milk from a Cattle, 1 wool from a sheep

This space gives you quite the mixed bag of stuff and requires you to have a sheep and a cattle. To start with this space is only worth it if you actually meet that pretty onerous prerequisite. Even then you're on the edge as to how valuable this space is depending on how useful that milk can be to you. Probably a 3 star offering if you have the animals, but given it does require both animals in general this space is probably deserving of a 2 star.

Rating:

1 Viking: Craft 1 Flax into 1 Linen

Turning a flax into a linen is a pretty good deal. The linen is basically 4 points, the flax is barely worth a point. Given flax is readily available it isn't too hard to set up the circumstances to use this. Overall a solid option most of the time.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Craft 1 Linen and 1 Hide into 1 Clothing and 2 Silver

2 Vikings to turn 7 spaces of green into 12 spaces plus 2 silver is a bit more than our 3 points per viking level which means this is a pretty good space. Plus large green tiles are better than several smaller ones as it is a bit easier to work around and fit more total green on your board. (And by extension if your board has more green that means you "wasted" less actions on upgrading green tiles to blue generally leading to a better score). But this space does have one pretty big drawback, which is that the prerequisites can be difficult to obtain. If not for that this space may be used almost every turn. As is, it will be used occasionally.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Craft 1 Ore into 1 forged tile

Here you are rather limited in what you can pick and you have to give up an ore to do it. Still to get the 3 points per viking we want you'd have to manage to get at least a 10 space tile which is impossible. At best you can forge stuff like the Fibula or Throwing Axe which take up 9 spaces so the efficiency leaves just a bit to be desired. Still sometimes you really want that one specific shape to make everything work, and this space may be worthwhile. But given the slightly poor efficiency coupled with the prerequisites to use this space, this will be infrequently visited.

Rating:

1 Viking: Craft 1 Stone into 1 Rune Stone and 1 Silver

This isn't very good deficiency. 1 Stone is probably worth at least 1 point, so you're not getting a great deal here. Still small blue tiles can be vital to filling in tricky spots on exploration boards and silver can help out a lot too. Finally depriving on how much bonus stone you are unlocking, this may be a good visit.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Craft 1 Wood or 1 Ore into 1 Chest and 1 Silver

This efficiency is also a bit poor, but for many of the reasons to the space prior this can still be useful depending on how much wood you currently have and what you're using it for. These are some of the few spots in the game that directly give you blue tiles and that means they can be very useful in quite a few circumstances where you need just one more small tile to be able to unlock some critical bonus good or reach that next income tier.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Craft 2 Wood and 2 Stone into 2 Chests and 2 Rune Stones

3 Vikings to gain 12 blue tiles is really good--the tough part then is to figure out the value on all that stone and wood. Mostly you want to use this space when you need lots of smaller blue tiles to fill in some vital spots on an exploration board, and in that case this can be really good. Like the spaces before it the pure efficiency calcs say these are slightly suboptimal but small blue tiles are worth a little extra because of what they can allow you to accomplish while placing goods.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Craft 1 Wool, 1 Silverware into 4 silver, 1 Robe, 1 Jewellery

The pure stats on this say it is pretty good. You're gaining 4 silver, 5 blue spaces, and 5 green spaces which is roughly 14 points for 4 Vikings plus you're getting to play an occupation. So this is a really pretty good space. But the really tough part is that getting a silverware and wool to use in the first place is difficult, and then adding to the problems is that those large tiles may be difficult to get placed on your boards. When you can make this work it is really good, but the limited situations that arises keeps this at 3 stars.

Rating:

1 Viking: Gain 2 resources off of a Mountain Strip

Resources are good. Gaining 2 of them for this one action is a nice level. This does vary a bit by what is being offered. 2 Silver items are generally better than any of the other resources so this space (and the following others) gets a bit better if you can take 2 Silver. On the other hand, ore is a bit less valuable in my opinion than wood or stone, so take that into account when using this space. Overall though this is a solid way to get some resources but it isn't incredible.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Gain 1 Wood per player and 1 Ore

This action space varies tremendously based on the number of players. In solo games it is awful and gets a 1 star--sending 2 Vikings to get 1 Wood and 1 Ore is really bad. In 2 person games it's a 2 star space. It's not a great option but can be alright if you really need the wood. In three player games this space is good. You get 4 total resources so it is like you got to use the 1 Viking space twice in a row. Overall it probably gets 3 stars. But in 4 player 4 Wood and 1 Ore is incredible value. It likely will be the first action taken in the 1st round and will be a spot that sees plenty of competition throughout the game.

Rating: 1 per player

3 Vikings: Gain 3 resources from one mountain strip, 2 resources from another

This space is alright. Compared to the 1 Viking for 2 resources space it is a bit behind since you get only 5 total resources, not six. You do get an occupation placed here which is nice, but the restrictions on how you can take your resources here can also make this tough to utilize well. Overall this space might deserve three stars but I'm going to give it two as for the most part I think there are better ways to get resources.

Rating:

1 Viking: Gain 1 resource from a mountain strip AND get 1 single upgrade

Now this is a pretty nice deal. As we'll soon see on my discussion of the pure trade spaces, the 1 Viking for 2 upgrades is a very nice space. This gives you one upgrade while also giving you resources you might need. Overall the combination offered here allows 1 Viking to accomplish multiple things that you might need or want. A very good space that will be taken almost every round.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Gain 3 resources from a mountain strip AND get 1 single upgrade

This is pretty much the same analysis as the prior. 3 Resources and an upgrade is a nice exchange for the labors of 2 Vikings and usually this space too will be taken most rounds.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Gain 3 single upgrades AND 4 weapon cards

This space is kind of bad. The weapon cards are hard to value, but I don't think they are worth this price. You're probably better off just trying to do whatever weapon action you wanted to do and if you fail you'll get another weapon that way along with a more valuable resource, plus you'll at least have already had the chance to succeed. The upgrades are nice, but there are other spaces that allow you to upgrade as many goods for less vikings. Overall this is a niche space that you probably don't want to be taking but maybe need to if all the other upgrade actions are already taken.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Gain 4 resources from a mountain strip AND gain 2 double upgrades

4 Resources is worth about 2 Vikings, so the real question here is how good is 2 Vikings for 2 double upgrades and an occupation played?

The answer is pretty good. Spending 4 Vikings on this space is the tough part. You are using a lot of your workforce to accomplish this task so you better hope those double upgrades can really pay off along with having a good use for all those resources. It can be a bit hard to find the right situation for all that to come together, but when it does this is a pretty useful space. Overall I'll rate it as average.

Rating:

1 Viking: Perform 2 single upgrades

Let's cover upgrading goods. If you take a 9 space red (such as whale meat) and upgrade it to a green, by our rough guidelines that means you have earned about 4 points because you can now use it on your home board or exploration boards where it is generally worth quite a bit more. Therefore if you can upgrade 2 whale meat here you're doing a really good job of getting a lot of spaces covered on your boards.

It's hard to figure out exactly how much to value upgrades at though, but overall this is a really useful space, especially if you've been hunting or whaling and have some good sized red tiles. Breeders may also want to upgrade their animals here. Given that this is the most efficient upgrade per viking spot on the board, this will be taken very often and fought over. It's a very good space that will be heavily utilized by many.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Perform 3 single upgrades

The prior space gives you a ratio of 1/2 Viking per single upgrade. This one takes that to 2/3 of a Viking per upgrade. That is a bit worse, but as discussed prior upgrades are still very important and this is a plenty good trade. This space will likely still be taken pretty often as it is only slightly less good than the prior one.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Perform 4 single upgrades

Now we're using 3/4 of a viking per upgrade action. The efficiency is getting worse and that means to get the value out of this you really need to have 4 large tiles to take advantage of. That can be hard to achieve. Overall if you have the tiles and need the upgrades, this can be a fine spot still, but its usefulness is more limited.

Rating:

1 Viking: Pay 1 silver to perform the overseas trading action

Overseas trading is an interesting action. Getting to upgrade a bunch of green tiles is nice but it can be a bit easy to overuse this space and become reliant on always using blue tiles on your boards. Still you do need blue tiles at times and this is a great way to turn a bunch of things blue quickly. I'd generally try to only use this if you have at least 5 green tiles, and preferably a few bigger ones. This space also tends to be more visited towards the end of the game when players do tend to have more total tiles in their supply to upgrade with. Particularly in the last round this may be fought over.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Pay 1 silver to perform the overseas trading action

This is hard to be efficient with. If you find you need to take the overseas trading action, then try to make sure to use the 1 Viking space. If you find yourself going to this space too often you will probably be losing. Like many others this may have some niche uses, but in general stay away.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Take the special sale action

Getting to buy two tiles is pretty good. In general you can net about 4-5 points from each tile you buy, so this space should get you from 8-10 points which is pretty average. Add in the drawn occupation and the fact that some of the special blues can fit just how you need them to and this is a pretty good space. You do need a Knarr to use it though and the space gets worse and worse the more special goods that have already been taken. Still, it can be hard to evaluate just how important it can be to have just the right shaped tiles to fit on some exploration boards to unlock a bonus or income earlier than you'd otherwise be able to. As such this may often be taken during the mid game when people have Knarr and are trying to find the perfect arrangement of tiles to fit onto a tricky board.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Gain 2 resources from 4 different mountain strips OR Perform 3 double upgrades

So gaining 8 total resources is a fair value for 4 vikings, but the real question is are you going to have 4 mountain strips with at least two goods on each to actually be able to use this option? I tend to find that is pretty niche. Beyond that though, what are you going to do with all those goods anyhow? Just go put them in a shed? Well remember a shed is turning those goods into only one point each, so that would mean you're turning most of these into one point, so you're spending 4 vikings for 8 points.....which is bad efficiency. As for the 3 double upgrades, you're far better off most of the time using the space above this one where you get 2 double upgrades but also 4 resources. As such, this space is almost always a trap and a bad choice. This will however be more useful in 3 and 4 player games where the competition in the late game for upgrade actions can be fierce and this may be one of your only options. If you have 3 large (8+ space) orange or red tiles than this can be quite the worthwhile option.

Rating:

1 Viking: Go Raiding

Raiding is alright. You can't use ore on a longboat to help out so you either need to roll well or use some weapons and stone. If you're able to come away with at least 3 spaces of blue/grey tiles from here then you're at the efficiency you want to be. In the long run I think that's just about exactly what you stand to gain from this space, so it is pretty average overall.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Go Pillaging

Pillaging however is quite a bit better. You get to use the 12 sided die, and you can take advantage of ore in your longboat. By raiding you can also go for the English Crown which is worth 2 points plus all the spaces it covers. There are quite a few other nice large tiles you can gain from this space. The downside is that once stuff like the Crown, Shield, and Chalice are gone the massive efficiency you can get from this space is diminished. Still if you're able to gain 8+ spaces of blue or grey here you're doing very well for yourself and generally you will be able to. The prerequisites make this a bit harder though, and you do have to factor in the value of the ore you may be using. Overall this is perhaps the best way in the game to consistently earn large tiles to put on your board.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Go Pillaging

This is just the same as before except now you are spending another viking to take this action so you have to make sure you're still being efficient enough. It isn't that hard to get at least 9 or more spaces of blue or grey from here though so it can still be a good option. It's just that this space is pretty average while the prior one is one of the better spots in the game.

Rating:

4 Vikings: Plunder

Spending 4 Vikings to gain 12 spaces of blue is just on that edge of the efficiency we're looking for. The tricky part is that such a large tile is nice for the end of the game filling negatives on your home board and that's about it. In general it doesn't fit well on most exploration boards. Also this space requires 2 longboats in order to use it and that is a pretty onerous prerequisite. As such this space will likely be infrequently visited for most of the game.

Rating:

1 Viking: Explore Shetland or Faroe with any boat

Exploration boards are one of the main ways to score very well in this game. Exploration boards are not only worth some points but they tend to produce lots of bonus tiles and income which translate into more points. Overall the fight for exploration boards is one of the central fights in multiplayer games and one of the main skills in solo games is knowing when and what exploration boards to go for.

With all that being said, Shetland and Faroe are pretty good but not great islands compared to some of the other options. They are gone by the midway point in the game. The fight can be intense for these, but not quite as bad as some of the others. Overall a very important space early in the game though.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Explore Iceland or Greenland or Bear with a Knarr or Longboat

Iceland is perhaps the best island in the game, Greenland is plenty useful too for high income and the whale meat, and even Bear Island has some uses. This space will likely be highly contested in multiplayer games in order to get the Iceland and Greenland exploration boards. It is a very important space. If you are able to utilize it you probably should and as such it gets the highest rating.

Rating:

3 Vikings to explore Baffin or Labrador or Newfoundland with a Longboat

These are all excellent exploration boards that provide the owner lots of points and nice bonuses. Much like the above, if you are in the position to take this space you probably should and there likely will be stiff competition for it in multiplayer.

Rating:

1 Viking: Draw 1 Occupation and gain 1 Silver

This is tough to see how you can earn the 3 points or more per viking we are aiming for as the drawn occupation needs to be quite valuable. One of the few ways this is possible is to use this space during Round 1 of the game so you can see what occupation you draw and then try to plan a strategy around making the most of it. Pretty much any other way and this space will not pay off in the long run.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Emigrate

Emigration is a good source of points plus it slightly reduces how much food you need to eat which can gain you a few more points. Still emigration is a bit of a trap for never players as they can wind up prioritizing it over board development during the early rounds, and board development strategies will be able to outdo emigration heavy strategies if executed well. With all that being said towards the end of the game many players will likely want to emigrate to earn a few points. Even up to the final round of the game this space at least maintains at a minimum the 3 points per viking efficiency from the value of the emigration alone, without factoring in the value of the saved food. Therefore overall this is a strong space that will have some competition throughout the game.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Emigration

Everything said above applies to this besides the points per viking stuff--this space if obvious worse and the efficiency loss means towards the end of the game you will be around the 2 points per viking level which is pretty bad. If you want to emigrate make sure to get to the other space to do it. If you go here too often you will wind up losing to the more efficient other players. Still there are times where this will be the best choice to earn points, but it is far better to try and avoid those situations and plan to be more efficient in the first place.

Rating:

4 Viking: Exchange a whaling boat for a knarr, emigrate

This space is pretty bad. Compared to the 3 viking space to emigrate you're getting the added benefit of turning a whaling boat into a knarr which is only 2 points, plus an occupation. If you can get a few points from the occupation then this is a bit better, but it still can be iffy. This space is spending a lot of vikings to earn some points, and it can be hard to ensure you are getting enough points for this to be worth it. This is almost always a trap in the early to mid game because during those times you should be focusing on getting more income and bonus goods which in turn will total more points throughout the game. By the end of the game hopefully you have a few better ways of scoring points than this space which barely hits the efficiency levels you are hoping for.

Rating:

1 Viking: Exchange 1 Stone or 1 Ore to play 1 Occupation and gain 1 Silver

If you can get about 3 points from an occupation than this space works out to be about right. Still you usually are better off working on earning more income and bonus goods for most of the game which this won't help you with, unless you have a good occupation. If so, this can be a good way to get it into play if you have no other way. But overall this is a niche option.

Rating:

2 Vikings: Play 1-2 Occupations

Playing 2 occupations and getting at least 6 points worth out of them can be tough. Once again if those occupations help set up some nice actions and options that will help you push for more bonuses and income, then go for it. Else this is basically a late game play for pure points and it can be hard to have the occupations that will let this be efficient enough to be worthwhile.

Rating:

3 Vikings: Play 1-4 Occupations

You do get to draw the occupation for using this space and potentially put it into play right away here. Now it can be hard to have 4 occupations you want to play, but assuming you do and think you can get enough points out of them, this can be a great space. It's not that hard to get 2-3 points per occupation, so if you can manage to net 8-12 points from going here you're doing pretty well.

Rating:


Thanks for reading this far! Please consider thumbing this thread at the top of the page to help others discover this. Please leave comments and criticisms below. I'm open to discussing where I'm wrong and updating rankings for spaces that I have over valued or under valued.
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Andrew Brooks
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Fantastic article, I really enjoyed reading through it! If I understand correctly your rating system correlates with the frequency that actions are taken within a game and/or consistency between games. So for something to be 4-5 it would need to be something that you're very likely to do every game or would do 3+ times in a game given the right scenario? I could see the rating of some actions being highly dependent on personal preference, livestock being the main one that could vary from to depending on whether you regularly ignore them (me) or strongly utilize them.

Based on my own playstyle, here are:

Actions that I would upgrade to

1 Viking: Hunting Game
It's not guarenteed but 6 points for 1 viking (minus a variable amount of resources) is an incredible deal. I take this spot at least once a game and if I draw bows then I'm very likely to do it 2-3 times.

2 Vikings: Go Pillaging
If you can get a longship with 3 ore then you should be spamming this spot every opportunity that you get. I think it's slightly stronger than whaling because it has degrees of success rather than succeed/fail which makes it safer and only requires 2 vikings. I don't think it's necessarily something you need to do every game (like exploring) but when you pursue a strategy with longships it feels almost mandatory given how good the return can be with very low risk. You could make the case for 3-viking whaling to be here as well but I'll give the nod to pillaging.


Actions that I would upgrade to

3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Stone to build a Long House
It's true that the 4 viking spot has a better point return but I don't think that obsoletes this spot. In the solo game the heavy building strategy is dependent on alternating between the 3 and 4 viking spots to hit 4+ buildings. In the multiplayer game the 4 viking spot could be contested and the 3 viking spot is a strong alternative for building. There are also times when you'd rather draw a card than play a card or can't afford the extra viking which makes the 3 viking action situationally stronger than the 4 spot.


Actions that I would upgrade to

1 Viking: Pay 1 silver to gain 2 Fish
I feel like I'm in the minority on this one but I think it's a solid 3 point action. 3 point 1-viking actions are great (similar to build a fishing boat or craft a rune stone). It can be really important for rapid buildings to get their bonuses going or fill in the feast in a pinch. If I'm doing a building strategy I will almost definitely do this 1-3 times per game. Some islands can provide fish as bonuses but it's really hard to have too many fish when you're trying to fill up multiple long houses.

1 Viking: Exchange 1 Stone or 1 Ore to play 1 Occupation and gain 1 Silver
I put this in the solid 3 point 1-viking action category. It's great early game for getting an occupation in play (plus a silver) if you can get the stone. Late in the game it's an easy way to get an occupation in play without having to use so many vikings or hit your 3 pt/viking ratio with the last viking of the turn. Of the 1 viking actions in this category this one is the most situational and can easily be worthless (no/bad cards) or exceptional (exactly one great card without extra vikings to spare).


Actions that I would downgrade to

1 Viking: Gain 1 beans AND 1 silver
If I want a silver then I will pick the Draw an occupation spot instead of this every time. The beans bonus is almost worthless

3 Vikings: Craft 1 Ore into 1 forged tile
This might be a little harsh but compared to pillaging and special sale actions it's very bad. Those actions both have prerequisites of boats but the barrier to entry their is so low that I don't consider it to actually make this spot worth using in the early game when you don't have a boat yet. I never use this spot, I need a great return to commit 3 or 4 vikings

4 Viking: Exchange a whaling boat for a knarr, emigrate
I personally think this spot is terrible and I've never done it. Too many vikings to commit early when emigration has a good point return, not enough points late game to compete with other point sources.
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dotKeller wrote:
Fantastic article, I really enjoyed reading through it! If I understand correctly your rating system correlates with the frequency that actions are taken within a game and/or consistency between games. So for something to be 4-5 it would need to be something that you're very likely to do every game or would do 3+ times in a game given the right scenario? I could see the rating of some actions being highly dependent on personal preference, livestock being the main one that could vary from to depending on whether you regularly ignore them (me) or strongly utilize them.



Indeed you've basically got the gist of the rating system. To be honest the system somewhat evolved as I was writing the article, so I probably should go back and edit the explanations to be a bit clearer. But ultimately I wound up largely valuing the actions for in general how often they would/should get used if you are playing for the highest scores. It is tough to figure out exactly how to rate them though since the solo game is different than multiplayer, and certain things like Breeding are really dependent on if you decide to do them. Ultimately in the end I was working somewhat on the mental idea that if I was playing dozens of games, what spaces would I find got used repeatedly and what spaces did not. I should likely go edit my post to better reflect this. But essentially by the end a 5 star space is one that I would expect to be used almost every time it is possible in a multiplayer game and used frequently in solo games.

Still even with all that, spaces like Whaling is tough to figure out how to judge. If someone does load a whaling boat with an ore, they should probably go there all the time and it is five stars, but there are some solo games where I may only go there once when I have some spears.

So if anyone has some brilliant ideas on how to better explain the various values, please do so, but that roughly is what I'm working from. For what it is worth, Andrew's later suggestions for corrections all seem very fair to me.

Quote:


Based on my own playstyle, here are:

Actions that I would upgrade to

1 Viking: Hunting Game

2 Vikings: Go Pillaging



I heavily rely on Hunting, Whaling, and Pillaging in most of my strategies as well. I am pretty open to moving all of these to five stars as they are all really good actions that can form the backbone of strategies. As I said above I have a somewhat hard time of figuring out exactly what my rating system is trying to convey, but realistically I think in the end it is trying to convey what spaces get taken the most. (With an obvious caveat for spaces like exploration which we would have to qualify since those spaces aren't useful every round like Wahling and Raiding is).

With that being said, I think these are fair suggestions and I probably will be changing these. (And adding in the 3 Viking whaling space, unless you have serious objections to that. As I said, I will also admit it is a bit hard to judge these things as my personal biases want to shine through here and whaling is my favorite).

Quote:

Actions that I would upgrade to

3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Stone to build a Long House

Hrmmm, perhaps. I'm not as agreed on this one. Then again in multiplayer games where the 4 Viking spot is being taken often, the 3 Viking spot is still pretty important. I may not build long houses quite as much as you though, especially when coupled with your next suggestion.

Quote:


Actions that I would upgrade to

1 Viking: Pay 1 silver to gain 2 Fish
I feel like I'm in the minority on this one but I think it's a solid 3 point action.



Oh gosh it's not just me. I thought the same way you did that basically nobody else did this or liked it so I gave it a 2 star, but frankly I find myself using it decently often, particularly if I am doing a strategy that involves long houses. The fish work so well for helping to unlock the oil bonus on the long houses. I will up this one with my next edits.

Quote:

1 Viking: Exchange 1 Stone or 1 Ore to play 1 Occupation and gain 1 Silver


Hm, I almost never use this. Which may just be my own shortcoming. But I also haven't seen anyone else use this much either in multiplayer. This is probably the suggestion thus far I just flat out disagree on. The rest of them I pretty much agreed with, but I'm not swayed on this one. I think it is a pretty situation niche action that will see play only occasionally. I mean I agree there will come that time every rare while when you have one occupation you really want to get down and don't have any other way to do it....but I guess I just don't think that happens more than once ever few games, which makes me hesitant to give this three stars. I think it just is too niche to be used as often as most of the other 3 star actions.

Quote:

Actions that I would downgrade to

1 Viking: Gain 1 beans AND 1 silver
If I want a silver then I will pick the Draw an occupation spot instead of this every time. The beans bonus is almost worthless


Yeah I was really tempted to give this one star the first time around as well. This is a spot I just don't find getting used almost ever. I'll probably change this with my next update.

Quote:

3 Vikings: Craft 1 Ore into 1 forged tile

4 Viking: Exchange a whaling boat for a knarr, emigrate


If I was doing this based purely on what I personally do I would agree these are one star actions. I don't think I've assigned Vikings to either of these spots in forever. And as such they maybe should be 1 star actions. But when I try to theory the value on each of them, they don't always seem truly awful--but I suppose the truth is there is almost always better options for how to use your vikings that are at least a bit better.
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Ranior wrote:
But essentially by the end a 5 star space is one that I would expect to be used almost every time it is possible in a multiplayer game and used frequently in solo games.

Still even with all that, spaces like Whaling is tough to figure out how to judge. If someone does load a whaling boat with an ore, they should probably go there all the time and it is five stars, but there are some solo games where I may only go there once when I have some spears.

So if anyone has some brilliant ideas on how to better explain the various values, please do so, but that roughly is what I'm working from.


The ratings are really tough when things get as conditional as they do in Odin. You essentially have to be card agnostic to even start rating actions but being strategy agnostic is very difficult since certain actions play to the strength of different strategies with others being general purpose utility spots. I've played games where I did no building, whaling, or pillaging but I consider all of those to be very strong actions within a strategy that utilizes them. In that respect I would split the ratings into two categories: general actions and strategy specific actions. That way you can show that certain actions are conditionally great within a commonly used strategy. Maybe use different color stars to distinguish the two categories?

Things like exploring, upgrading, gathering resources, crafting, and emigrating could fit into general actions. Building, Whaling, Pillaging, and livestock would fit more into strategy specific.

A specific case that we slightly disagreed on is the 3 and 4-viking building actions. I'd consider the 4-viking building to be 5 general action. The 3-viking building would be 3 general but 4 strategy specific (in my opinion).


Ranior wrote:
dotkeller wrote:
1 Viking: Exchange 1 Stone or 1 Ore to play 1 Occupation and gain 1 Silver


Hm, I almost never use this. Which may just be my own shortcoming. But I also haven't seen anyone else use this much either in multiplayer. This is probably the suggestion thus far I just flat out disagree on. The rest of them I pretty much agreed with, but I'm not swayed on this one. I think it is a pretty situation niche action that will see play only occasionally. I mean I agree there will come that time every rare while when you have one occupation you really want to get down and don't have any other way to do it....but I guess I just don't think that happens more than once ever few games, which makes me hesitant to give this three stars. I think it just is too niche to be used as often as most of the other 3 star actions.


This one fits a specific strategic use so I can see leaving it at 2 but I really enjoy utilizing it instead of the 2-viking occupation playing or 4-viking spots. I have a preference for micro action strategies and this spot provides a great alternative to 4-viking card playing. The silver is very nice early on and if I only have one card that I want to play I'd much rather use one viking to gather the stone and one to go on that spot than send both vikings to the 2-viking occupation spot. Instead of playing two cards you end up with one card plus 1 silver and either an extra resource or an upgrade depending on how you gathered the stone. If you already have the stone on hand (potentially from a bonus somewhere) then you save yourself 1 viking AND get a silver (with one fewer card played which is often fine). On top of that, I really enjoy getting my starting occupation in to play quickly and don't like using the 4-viking actions to do it so I almost always rely on this spot if I'm going to play it in the first 2 rounds.

I'm not trying to say people should be using this spot regularly but I do think that it has a very reliable use within the micro action playstyle.
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I have only played multi-player, as my own copy is still on order. I agree with most of the ratings.

Ranior wrote:
This comes out almost perfectly to be 3 points per Viking which will be the baseline efficiency we should be expecting out of our Vikings. If a space earns much more than that it will likely be considered a great space by me, while a space that earns much less will likely be considered an awful space by me.


I would adjust this by adding 1 VP for drawing an occupation and 2 VP for playing one.

Quote:
Using some tips from DotKeller, and also having some discussions with other contributes in the solo strategy threads, I think it has generally been shown that blue tiles are roughly worth their spaces in victory points. Green goods are worth about 90% of that (in general a green can be used anywhere a blue can, but you may run into slight placement issues which makes them a tad less valuable.) Orange and Red goods are worth about half of their spaces--this can be seen most clearly in the case of the Long House where you can place Orange or Red tiles but for the most part will wind up only able to cover about 1 negative point for every 2 spaces of tile you use.


Large reds are worth more than this; a Whale Meat may only be worth 4 VP in a Long House, but it takes half a Viking action to turn it into a Robe which can cover 9 spaces, or two half-actions to turn it into a Treasure Chest. I would say that a minimum value for a red is 3 VP less than the corresponding blue, and for an orange is 3 VP less than the corresponding green. This means 5 for Game Meat, 5 for Sheep (plus breeding value), 5 for Fruit, 6 for Whale Meat, 9 for Cattle (plus breeding value, but see below).

Also, large blues and greens are hard to place, which you noted when you devalued plundering. 2 Stone and 2 Wood for 2 Runestones and 2 Chests is often very good even though it fills just 12 spaces, as you can surround bonuses effectively, or place blues all around your Wool. This also significantly reduces the value of Cattle; it can be hard to place all your upgraded Cattle on your boards.

This analysis also reduces the value of upgrade actions. In a solo game, you should be able to get all the upgrades you want; in multi-player, they may be in contention.

Quote:
1 Viking: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Shed

Rating:


I would go . This is a bad move in general, but it is a common last move, particularly in multi-player. After you have gone on your last raid, and failed on your last snare-hunt, using one Viking converting leftover Wood and Stone to VPs at 1:1 is good.

Quote:
3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Longship

This falls in a very similar situation to the prior space--the efficiency of 3 Vikings for 8 points is not good, especially when you consider that you have to spend 2 wood. At least you get an occupation and Longships are arguably more important than Knarrs as they allow you to do more actions. Once again though this is largely a space to avoid unless you have a pressing need for a Longship such as racing to explore an island.

Rating:


I would go with two or three players, and with four. Every player will probably do this exactly once, as getting an early Longship allows you access to the strong raiding and pillaging actions, and those will be in contention. The first player to get a Longship can raid and pillage unchallenged until someone else joins in.

Quote:
1 Viking: Hunting Game

Hunting is a great way to get some tiles. You get a 1x3 green which is almost 3 points in itself, but then you also get the 2x3 red tile Game Meat which is also roughly worth three points. The downside is you will want/need some bows and wood to succeed and success is never guaranteed at any of these dice actions. Still most of these dice action spaces are pretty efficient if you do roll pretty well, and rolling poorly isn't the end all. This space in particular will likely be taken most rounds.

Rating:


I would say ; it is the most efficient thing you can do with a single Viking. A raid which gets Spices for 9 is only as good as this, requires a Longship, and still takes the same amount of weapons and resources (one with a perfect roll).

Quote:
3 Vikings: Whaling

Whaling is good. You get 8 spaces of green and 9 spaces of red which is roughly 12 total points for 3 Vikings. You also get an occupation which is always a nice touch.


So this is a value of 13, minus some number of Wood and Spears.

Quote:
Finally at the end of all that, this is probably the single best failure space in the entire game as 1 Viking for 1 Spear, 1 Wood, and 1 Occupation is not a bad deal at all.


The fail is close to break-even, because the Spear is as good as Wood until the very end of the game; you'll use it on your next whaling run.

Quote:
I'm tempted to also give this a 5 star rating but I think that may be my bias showing through (as my personal favorite strategy in the game is based on heavy whaling.). Instead I will give it "only" a 4 but make no mistake this is an important space.

Rating:


I recommend . In multi-player, this will be used every turn, and early; everyone can get a Whale Boat, and whaling even with one boat is worthwhile

Quote:
4 Vikings: Pay 3 Silver to earn 1 Sheep AND 1 Cattle

This is a fantastic space if you're trying to breed both types of animals as it is more efficient than trying to get those animals separately and you get to play an occupation to boot. I'd go so far as to say pretty much any strategy that involves breeding both types of animals will be visiting this space. As such you may actually see a bit of competition for this one at times.

Rating:


I would downgrade to . While the action is theoretically strong, breeding is an early-game activity, and you won't have enough Vikings early in the game to breed both types of animals. But just looking at the base value of the animals (including their upgrade value), you get 13 for the animals, plus 2 for playing an occupation. That makes this a good move if you want to breed Cattle and turn Sheep into Fur.

Quote:
3 Vikings to gain 1 Fruit, 1 Oil, 1 Salt Meat, 1 Silver

This one is a bit hard to evaluate because you get so much stuff. Still 9 spaces of orange, 4 spaces of red, 2 spaces of green, and 1 silver is roughly 9 points and that is being a bit generous. The Fruit is very hard to make score more than 4 points in a Long House, and even if you do use one you are covering up a potential bonus good and making other placements harder.

Rating:


I would go with . I would score the Fruit at 5, assuming you will upgrade it to a Robe. That makes the total 10, and 11 including the occupation. You'll need a lot of upgrades, though, so you aren't likely to take this action more than once.

Consider this the poor man's whaling. You get Fruit instead of Whale Meat (downgrade), Salt Meat instead of Skin and Bones (downgrade and two fewer spaces), but you get one silver and don't need to take chances or spend Wood.

Quote:
1 Viking for 1/2/3 Milk for having 1/2/3 Cattle

If you actually have the cattle though this is probably worthy of 3 stars, but given how niche this space is I'm probably going to give it 2.

Rating:


(note the correction; it is 1/2/3 Milk, not 1/3/5).

The rating depends on how you define quality. It is a strong move if you have three cows, and the cattle breeder may take it every turn. (Since upgraded cows are difficult to turn into bonuses, there isn't much of an incentive to upgrade until late in the game.)

Quote:
3 Vikings: Gain 1/2/3 Wool for having 1/2/3 Sheep

This pretty much falls under the exact same analysis that the cattle space did.

Rating:


Again, the same situation.

Quote:
4 Vikings: Gain 1 Spices, 1 Silver, 2 milk from a Cattle, 1 wool from a sheep

Probably a 3 star offering if you have the animals, but given it does require both animals in general this space is probably deserving of a 2 star.

Rating:


By straight-up value, 6 for spices, 4 for two milk, 3 for wool, 1 silver, 2 for a played occupation makes 16. That would be 4-star or 5-star quality if you have both sheep and cattle, but it is rare to have both. The rating is right if you consider how rarely this is playable. (This is the same issue as with the 4-Viking craft; it's a great move if you have silverware and wool.)

Quote:
3 Vikings: Craft 1 Ore into 1 forged tile

Here you are rather limited in what you can pick and you have to give up an ore to do it. Still to get the 3 points per viking we want you'd have to manage to get at least a 10 space tile which is impossible. At best you can forge stuff like the Fibula or Throwing Axe which take up 9 spaces so the efficiency leaves just a bit to be desired.

Rating:


Counting 1 for the occupation makes this worth 9, which is break-even. Still, this is likely to be used only once. The Fibula fits well on several expansion boards, but by the time you need the other two or have the silver to fill in their odd shapes, you will probably have a Knarr or Longship which is a better way to get them, or, in multiplayer, someone else will have taken them in a pillage. I agree with the rating.

Quote:
3 Vikings: Take the special sale action

Getting to buy two tiles is pretty good. In general you can net about 4-5 points from each tile you buy, so this space should get you from 8-10 points which is pretty average. Add in the drawn occupation and the fact that some of the special blues can fit just how you need them to and this is a pretty good space. You do need a Knarr to use it though and the space gets worse and worse the more special goods that have already been taken. So overall a pretty average option.

Rating:


I rate it . Getting the right pair of tiles is important. Get your Knarr, explore Greenland, and then pay 2 silver for the Horseshoe and Glass Beads to surruond the Whale Meat bonus. You gained 10 spaces, but you also got exactly the tiles you needed for a valuable bonus. In the late game, you can get two big tiles for 10 extra spaces (11 if you get the Round Shield, although that is usually taken by a pillager first), plus draw an occupation, which is comparable in value to emigration.

Quote:
1 Viking: Go Raiding

Raiding is alright. You can't use ore on a longboat to help out so you either need to roll well or use some weapons and stone. If you're able to come away with at least 3 spaces of blue/grey tiles from here then you're at the efficiency you want to be. In the long run I think that's just about exactly what you stand to gain from this space, so it is pretty average overall.

Rating:


In multiplayer, this should be . The pillaging will be taken, so this is a good place to convert swords and stone into lots of points; it's not hard to get Spices for 9 or Jewelry for 10.

Quote:
2 Vikings: Go Pillaging

Pillaging however is quite a bit better. You get to use the 12 sided die, and you can take advantage of ore in your longboat. By raiding you can also go for the English Crown which is worth 2 points plus all the spaces it covers. There are quite a few other nice large tiles you can gain from this space. The downside is that once stuff like the Crown, Shield, and Chalice are gone the massive efficiency you can get from this space is diminished.
Still if you're able to gain 8+ spaces of blue or grey here you're doing very well for yourself and generally you will be able to. The prerequisites make this a bit harder though, and you do have to factor in the value of the ore you may be using. Overall much like whaling I view this as another very good way to get nice large tiles for your board and am tempted to give it 5 starts but will put it just short of that.

Rating:


And I rate this . As long as you don't have Cattle to compete for spaces on your home board, you can almost always place Jewelry for 10 or Treasure Chest for 11 (or the other big special tiles if available), and a high roll is 15 for a Silver Hoard. You did give up three Ore to arm your Longship, but adding three to your roll on four pillages is worthwhile. In multiplayer, failing isn't too bad, as you get an extra sword and stone, and block another player.

When I played multiplayer and was up against another armed Longship player, this was always the first action taken (and the other player took the 3-Viking pillage).

Quote:
3 Vikings to explore Baffin or Labrador or Newfoundland with a Longboat

These are all excellent exploration boards that provide the owner lots of points and nice bonuses. Much like the above, if you are in the position to take this space you probably should and there likely will be stiff competition for it in multiplayer.

Rating:


This becomes better the stronger you are as a player. The main value of Labrador and Newfoundland is as a place to put more tiles for lots of VP; the bonuses are a few extra VP towards that goal. In multiplayer, this will probably be taken only once (assuming that a Knarr took Iceland or Greenland), but it may well be good enough to decline Pillaging and take with your first action.

Quote:
2 Vikings: Emigrate

Emigration is a good source of points plus it slightly reduces how much food you need to eat which can gain you a few more points. Still emigration is a bit of a trap for never players as they can wind up prioritizing it over board development during the early rounds, and board development strategies will be able to outdo emigration heavy strategies if executed well. With all that being said towards the end of the game many players will likely want to emigrate to earn a few points. Even up to the final round of the game this space at least maintains at a minimum the 3 points per viking efficiency from the value of the emigration alone, without factoring in the value of the saved food. Therefore overall this is a strong space that will have some competition throughout the game.

Rating:


I would make it . On turn 4, buying a Knarr and emigrating is 2 Vikings and 9 silver for 18 VP and probably 4 more from saved food; that is a great ratio. If you have to build the boat first, building a Longship and emigrating is 5 Vikings, 2 Wood, and 4 silver for 22 VP (including the occupation draw) and probably 4 more from saved food; still better would be to build a Knarr and a Long House to store the saved food, then emigrate. In multi-player, this is another space which will be in early contention.

Quote:
3 Vikings: Emigration

Rating:


In multiplayer, , as there won't be enough emigrations on the other space to go around; even this one may be in contention.
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Lots of great discussion! I will respond to points and make the first round of updates sometime early next week--weekends tend to be busy for me.

My experience with multiplayer is sadly lacking so I am particularly thankful for more discussion on that side of things as I am sure some ratings should be adjusted.
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Ranior wrote:


2 Vikings: Spend 3 Silver for 1 Cattle and 1 Milk

The milk is a rather nice bonus to get along with the cow as it can help out quite a bit in a feast. 3 silver is a pretty hefty prerequisite but overall this is a solid action space if you're going to be breeding cattle.

Rating:



This isn't just a good action space for breeding. It's actually quite good for just about any strategy. I've come to realize just how few action spaces provide tiles, and that this is a great way to work toward filling up your home and exploration board. Most of the tile-providing action spaces have some requirement, and 3 silver is actually one of the easiest to get, since you'll likely have at least that much in income.

With 2.5 vikings (.5 to upgrade to clothing), you get 11 points (12 minus 1 silver; 2 silver is about equal to milk). This comes out to 4.4 points per action. I count whaling as 17 points (exlcuding occ) for 3.5 vikings (upgrading whale meat): that's almost 4.9. Not as good as whaling then, but still quite strong, I would say. [EDIT: The cattle space has the benefit, however, of not being able to fail. I played a 4 player game recently where I failed whaling four out of my first five attempts, rolling nine or higher almost every time.]


Ranior wrote:


4 Vikings: Gain 2 resources from 4 different mountain strips OR Perform 3 double upgrades

So gaining 8 total resources is a fair value for 4 vikings, but the real question is are you going to have 4 mountain strips with at least two goods on each to actually be able to use this option? I tend to find that is pretty niche. Beyond that though, what are you going to do with all those goods anyhow? Just go put them in a shed? Well remember a shed is turning those goods into only one point each, so that would mean you're turning most of these into one point, so you're spending 4 vikings for 8 points.....which is bad efficiency. As for the 3 double upgrades, you're far better off most of the time using the space above this one where you get 2 double upgrades but also 4 resources. As such, this space is almost always a trap and a bad choice. In very rare circumstances should you ever find yourself going here.

Rating:


I have to respectfully disagree quite strongly. No, this isn't a space that gets taken a lot, but in a 3 or 4 player game, I expect this one to be quite valuable in the last couple of rounds. As with tile-providing spaces, there is a limited number of upgrade spaces. Assuming you are getting some amount of bonuses that are orange or red, 6 upgrades for 4 vikings is quite good. This is like taking the 3upgrade/2viking action space twice, plus you get an occ. This, of course, will not be helpful to someone who has lots of green and blue, but those people should be looking at overseas trading anyways, or will likely block you by first by taking the 2upgrade/1viking action.

Sure, the choice of 2res from 4 mountain strips is terrible, but the upgrade choice is great for 3-4 player endgames. So I guess by your standards, this should be two stars.
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Once again thanks to all for taking the time to read and discuss--I partially wrote this with the hope this would see some community discussion on the strategy for this game and I'm glad to get so many voices.

I'll find time soon to reply to some more of the comments and make some updates on some of the rankings.

I will admit that my experience with 3 and 4 player games is quite limited which means action spaces that get taken often at those player counts may escape my attention particularly as I do mostly play solo and my analysis likely has a bit of a solo bias to it. So I'm glad to hear from those of you who do have experience at those player counts who are pointing out some spaces I've overlooked.

Again I'll get around to replying to everyone's points soon and making a few tweaks. Thanks all!
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David Grabiner wrote:
Quote:
1 Viking: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Shed

Rating:


I would go . This is a bad move in general, but it is a common last move, particularly in multi-player. After you have gone on your last raid, and failed on your last snare-hunt, using one Viking converting leftover Wood and Stone to VPs at 1:1 is good.

I agree with this. I have played only 3-player and someone always has extra wood and stone at the end of the game. This means that once or twice per game this is 6-8 points for 1 Viking, which is an amazing move. Because it doesn't come up that often, I'd still leave it at 2-star but it's important to acknowledge how good it is when the time is right.
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Alright, finally getting around to updating and replying to the excellent comments and discussion here thus far!

To begin I'm moving 1 Viking Hunting, 2 Viking Pillaging, and 3 Viking Whaling to 5 star actions at the advice of the group plus that fits my only thoughts pretty well as I debated when drafting this article what ratings those spaces deserved.

Beyond that I think the majority of the disagreements thus far largely fall into the fact I'm mostly playing solo and most of the criticisms seem to come from those quoting experience with higher player counts. As should be clear, it is difficult to balance those competing cases to assign a singular rating to such a thing. The most critical of which is:

Dormammu wrote:
David Grabiner wrote:
Quote:
1 Viking: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Shed

Rating:


I would go . This is a bad move in general, but it is a common last move, particularly in multi-player. After you have gone on your last raid, and failed on your last snare-hunt, using one Viking converting leftover Wood and Stone to VPs at 1:1 is good.

I agree with this. I have played only 3-player and someone always has extra wood and stone at the end of the game. This means that once or twice per game this is 6-8 points for 1 Viking, which is an amazing move. Because it doesn't come up that often, I'd still leave it at 2-star but it's important to acknowledge how good it is when the time is right.


In solo I never touch this. There just almost always is a better spot to utilize my resources. But I can totally understand how in 3 and 4 player games, if all players actually develop their home board and are producing wood and stone, and all players are heavily competing for some of the best spots, then there just will be lots of wood and stone and not many options left for where to use it all...and as such I can see why that then becomes a much better spot.

Accordingly, to represent that that can be a fine action in some situations, I will adjust it to two stars and add a note about how the space becomes more useful at higher player counts.

David Grabiner wrote:


Quote:
3 Vikings: Exchange 2 Wood to build a Longship


I would go with two or three players, and with four. Every player will probably do this exactly once, as getting an early Longship allows you access to the strong raiding and pillaging actions, and those will be in contention. The first player to get a Longship can raid and pillage unchallenged until someone else joins in.



I agree that this is a fair criticism. I'll up to 3 stars. The point efficiency isn't great, but as you note it gives access to some of the more important actions like raiding, pillaging, and exploration and as such many players may do this to get an early longship.

David Grabiner wrote:




Quote:
4 Vikings: Pay 3 Silver to earn 1 Sheep AND 1 Cattle


I would downgrade to . While the action is theoretically strong, breeding is an early-game activity, and you won't have enough Vikings early in the game to breed both types of animals. But just looking at the base value of the animals (including their upgrade value), you get 13 for the animals, plus 2 for playing an occupation. That makes this a good move if you want to breed Cattle and turn Sheep into Fur.



I would disagree with the idea that you can't breed both types of animals. At the very least I know in solo it can be done and be competitive with the other top strategies in the game. The solo community has several examples of such games.

So once again the issue comes down to is multiplayer significantly different? I'm not sure. I did a heavy breeding strategy in 3 player that went very well for me, but once again I tend to play against people with only a handful of games under their belts and so I can do well and win pretty much regardless of what I do. Overall I think I'm going to leave this one be at 4 stars for now though unless others want to speak up against this one. Plus as you mention, it is possible to buy the animals just to upgrade one and the efficiency overall is still pretty reasonable.

David Grabiner wrote:


Quote:
3 Vikings: Take the special sale action


I rate it . Getting the right pair of tiles is important. Get your Knarr, explore Greenland, and then pay 2 silver for the Horseshoe and Glass Beads to surruond the Whale Meat bonus. You gained 10 spaces, but you also got exactly the tiles you needed for a valuable bonus. In the late game, you can get two big tiles for 10 extra spaces (11 if you get the Round Shield, although that is usually taken by a pillager first), plus draw an occupation, which is comparable in value to emigration.


This is an excellent point. Getting just the right shapes from your tiles to unlock bonuses or enable placements for tiles can be worth a lot. Plus this action isn't usually in competition with the tiles that have been pillaged, so you should have plenty of options to pick from. I probably will up this one.

David Grabiner wrote:

Quote:
2 Vikings: Emigrate

Rating:


I would make it . On turn 4, buying a Knarr and emigrating is 2 Vikings and 9 silver for 18 VP and probably 4 more from saved food; that is a great ratio. If you have to build the boat first, building a Longship and emigrating is 5 Vikings, 2 Wood, and 4 silver for 22 VP (including the occupation draw) and probably 4 more from saved food; still better would be to build a Knarr and a Long House to store the saved food, then emigrate. In multi-player, this is another space which will be in early contention.

Quote:
3 Vikings: Emigration

Rating:


In multiplayer, , as there won't be enough emigrations on the other space to go around; even this one may be in contention.


I'm very hesitant to give Emigration 5 stars, and for the 3 Viking space to be upped to 3. The main reason why is that I personally think emigration is overrated. It is good, and most good players will perform a few emigrations. But in my experience it seems most new players quickly latch on to the idea that emigrations are the easiest source of points (they are) and make the mistake that mass emigration is the dominant strategy (it is not). The very best strategy in this game is all about finding the few ways to generate points without using vikings--the main ways to do this is to get massive bonuses and incomes through good exploration boards, some houses, and potentially the food reducing benefits of emigrations. I think many players still overvalue emigrations just because the pay off is easy to calculate and can be shown to be good, when in reality a board like Iceland though still pays off even better in general in my opinion just from the sheer points from income.

However once again I will admit in 3 and 4 player games the exploration boards likely get taken quickly and there will be less need to generate tons of tiles as there will be nowhere to put them all....and as such there may be a greater focus on emigration emerging. But overall I'd prefer to leave emigration as is, if for no other reason than to make it clear to newer and beginning players that exploration and the actions that provide lots of tiles to get those bonuses and income from exploration boards is the dominant strategy in the game. As such the exploration actions along with hunting, pillaging, and whaling are going to be rated 5 stars, and I think it is fair to keep the good emigration at 4 stars.

bobsledai wrote:


Ranior wrote:


4 Vikings: Gain 2 resources from 4 different mountain strips OR Perform 3 double upgrades

Rating:


I have to respectfully disagree quite strongly. No, this isn't a space that gets taken a lot, but in a 3 or 4 player game, I expect this one to be quite valuable in the last couple of rounds. As with tile-providing spaces, there is a limited number of upgrade spaces. Assuming you are getting some amount of bonuses that are orange or red, 6 upgrades for 4 vikings is quite good. This is like taking the 3upgrade/2viking action space twice, plus you get an occ. This, of course, will not be helpful to someone who has lots of green and blue, but those people should be looking at overseas trading anyways, or will likely block you by first by taking the 2upgrade/1viking action.

Sure, the choice of 2res from 4 mountain strips is terrible, but the upgrade choice is great for 3-4 player endgames. So I guess by your standards, this should be two stars.


I will update this one based on your excellent explanation. I'm sure late game upgrade spots get hogged heavily in 3 and 4 player games and as such I can see a person going to this space with something like the Fruit from the Round 6 Harvest, a piece of whale meat from whaling, and a sheep or cattle that they've been breeding. Upgrading those goods is a reasonable play if you can't get to the other upgrading spots (which does seem likely for the late game with numerous players).


Once again thanks all for the excellent discussion!

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Summary of changes:

Upgraded to 5 stars from 4:
1 Viking Hunting
3 Viking Whaling
2 Viking Pillaging

Upgraded to 4 stars from 3:
3 Vikings: Build a Long House
3 Vikings: Special Sale action

Upgraded to 3 stars from 2:
1 Viking: Pay 1 Silver for 2 Fish
3 Vikings: Build a Longship

Upgraded to 2 stars from 1:
1 Viking: Build a Shed
4 Vikings: Perform 3 double upgrades OR 2 resources from 4 different mountain strips

Downgraded from 2 stars to 1:
1 Viking: Gain 1 beans and 1 silver



Huh, after putting it like that I clearly lean towards giving things too low of ratings rather than too high. Which I suppose once again makes sense as my ratings rely partially on how often I think the spaces will be used, and had to theorize about how 3 and 4 player games would go more so than having a good amount of experience with those.
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Matthias Reitberger
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Most of my games are 4 player.
Generally the 1 Viking actions are often taken because starting the next round is a big advantage.
After winning some games with Iceland second round, it is now often taken first round.
The stone/ore bonus of Iceland is very strong, because resources, especially stone, are rare in 4 player. Sometimes there is no mountain strip available mid game.
Money is also an issue, it makes you flexible. If you can buy any kind of boat you are able to take all available actions and are not likely to get blocked.
Breeding alyways seems to fail. The chaep upgrading actions are always taken early and if you get them it only helps filling up your home plan.
Best action is Exchange 2 Wood and 2 Stone to build a Long House + Knarr and then emigrate the Knarr.
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I feel like you may be underrating stone houses a little bit. A stone house enables you to use the combination of the flax into linen and linen and hide into robe + 2 coins every harvest round. Thus, it allows you to convert 3 workers into 14 points, which is a 5 point efficiency upgrade every harvest. Assuming you can use it for 2 harvests, this gives you 10 points over the course of the game, which is not bad for 2 workers and a stone. To add to that, it already has 3 points on it and also produces the hide the other 1-2 non-harvest turns, so 16-19 points for 2 workers and a stone is very good.

The bonus is somewhat hard to fill but it's quite doable with some leftover food and 1 silver, especially if you've unlocked the mead bonus on the homeboard. On the other hand, the food bonuses from the long house are not as good and the barrel bonus I find impossible to actually surround early enough, without burning through silver.


In a multiplayer game, I may not go for stone houses if someone else already has since it can be iffy guaranteeing the combo, without which, you only get a return of 9 points, which is now questionable. But in a solo game, a stone house is pretty good since it generates points in a nice alternating pattern.

Of course, the stone house + longship is way better, and is generally my preferred choice from the 4 worker action.

A second question I wanted to ask is: are you sure 3 points per viking is the par score you should be aiming for? Since you have 63 viking actions, this means you would score 189 - 86 = 109 points, well below your average of 160. I would say a par solo score should be somewhere between 120-140, which would require generating 206-226 points, for an average of 3.25-3.5 per viking. If you want to set the par at 160, that's 246 points for roughly 4 points per viking.

1869 wrote:
Most of my games are 4 player.
Generally the 1 Viking actions are often taken because starting the next round is a big advantage.
After winning some games with Iceland second round, it is now often taken first round.
The stone/ore bonus of Iceland is very strong, because resources, especially stone, are rare in 4 player. Sometimes there is no mountain strip available mid game.
Money is also an issue, it makes you flexible. If you can buy any kind of boat you are able to take all available actions and are not likely to get blocked.
Breeding alyways seems to fail. The chaep upgrading actions are always taken early and if you get them it only helps filling up your home plan.
Best action is Exchange 2 Wood and 2 Stone to build a Long House + Knarr and then emigrate the Knarr.


Would you say it's worth sacrificing some income generation to ensure Iceland in round 1? As first player, I imagine the moves would be wood + ore -> Knarr -> Iceland. You then get 1 income at the end of the round if you burn the ore and none if you don't, and 2 wood leftover.
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André Heines
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I haven't played that many times, but concerning the double upgrades, they can be combined almost perfectly with a breading strategy. If you have e.g. three cattle towards the end of the game, you can turn them into 36 blue pieces and cover about half of the negatives on your home board. The value of this spot heavily depends on the timing. And the (up to) 8 resources may be turned into (up to) 8 points with one viking, if you can fill a shed with them.

I understand the negative rating (for both spots), but used at the right time, they can get you a lot of points.
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Sidnv wrote:
I feel like you may be underrating stone houses a little bit. A stone house enables you to use the combination of the flax into linen and linen and hide into robe + 2 coins every harvest round. Thus, it allows you to convert 3 workers into 14 points, which is a 5 point efficiency upgrade every harvest. Assuming you can use it for 2 harvests, this gives you 10 points over the course of the game, which is not bad for 2 workers and a stone. To add to that, it already has 3 points on it and also produces the hide the other 1-2 non-harvest turns, so 16-19 points for 2 workers and a stone is very good.


I think you're messing up the accounting on this one which is making you overvalue the stone house.

The linen and hide into robe + coins is a nice space, but it is not a great one. Yes the robe and coins are effectively 14 points, but you're spending 3 workers AND a flax AND a hide in order to do it. So taking out the hide alone and you're already at 11 points, and the flax is worth probably 1 point, so now we're at 10 points for the three vikings it takes to do that whole conversion. Then finally the large robe tile is good if you're working on your home board where you can hopefully place it, but those 3x4 tiles are almost worthless on most exploration boards. Therefore all around I find the action space to gain the robe and coins to be pretty average while the stone house I still find to be a bit below average given the limited bonus goods you can get from it and how difficult it is to fill up without just putting a bunch of silver on it.

Quote:
On the other hand, the food bonuses from the long house are not as good and the barrel bonus I find impossible to actually surround early enough, without burning through silver.


The beans are pretty worthless as rarely do you need more of those. The extra peas may have a little bit of a use to fill in more houses, but in general I agree that long houses don't provide much in the way of bonus goods. As for the oil bonus though that is pretty useful and it pretty doable--use a fish, a flax, and a peas along with a single silver and you easily have the oil bonus. I tend to use a cabbage and s silver to get the pea bonus and usually ignore the bean bonus.

Quote:

Of course, the stone house + longship is way better, and is generally my preferred choice from the 4 worker action.


I'd disagree with that. Long House and Knarr is in general the thing I'd go with on that space. Again, I think the main issue is you're overvaluing that hide bonus and that one conversion space which is throwing off your judgement of how good each option is. With that being said Longship and Stone House is still a good action too, but in general I'd prefer getting the other combo.

Quote:

A second question I wanted to ask is: are you sure 3 points per viking is the par score you should be aiming for? Since you have 63 viking actions, this means you would score 189 - 86 = 109 points, well below your average of 160. I would say a par solo score should be somewhere between 120-140, which would require generating 206-226 points, for an average of 3.25-3.5 per viking. If you want to set the par at 160, that's 246 points for roughly 4 points per viking.


To be fair my personal evaluation of spaces for solo does really make me want to get 4+ points per viking. But that can be tough to do, and a lot of the extra points comes from earning income and bonus goods which aren't reflected in the rough accounting I've been doing above. But you are correct that I rarely am aiming for 3 VP per viking, but the main point of this article was to try and show which spaces were average and which were better than that--and to do so I wanted to establish a rough framework for evaluating spaces. Each individual player should set their own par for what they want to aim at.

Quote:

Would you say it's worth sacrificing some income generation to ensure Iceland in round 1? As first player, I imagine the moves would be wood + ore -> Knarr -> Iceland. You then get 1 income at the end of the round if you burn the ore and none if you don't, and 2 wood leftover.


I don't play a lot of multiplayer, and even less so against skilled players. I suspect though that the moves you outlined would be a good option--heck they honestly may even represent optimal play. Getting a good exploration board is crucial to doing well and Faroe simply isn't that great, Shetland is nice but mostly is useful for helping you to fill in other boards, and so that leaves the start of the game as a rush to Iceland and Greenland. Ensuring you get probably the best island in the game (Iceland) seems a very viable opening to me. Losing out on the early silver isn't that big of a deal as you can just get it starting the next round.

Rukus wrote:
I haven't played that many times, but concerning the double upgrades, they can be combined almost perfectly with a breading strategy. If you have e.g. three cattle towards the end of the game, you can turn them into 36 blue pieces and cover about half of the negatives on your home board. The value of this spot heavily depends on the timing. And the (up to) 8 resources may be turned into (up to) 8 points with one viking, if you can fill a shed with them.

I understand the negative rating (for both spots), but used at the right time, they can get you a lot of points.


I agree both of them have their niche uses. But in general I'd say they are just that--niche.

I also try to learn to place goods that are green as often as possible since that is more efficient. Anytime I look at a players board and see almost entirely blue/grey I think they're wasting some actions by doing too many upgrades, which means they are leaving points behind. Still if you have lots of very large tiles then the double upgrade spot has its use, particularly in games with many opponents who are taking the other upgrade spots.

And yes, I agree getting the shed is fine if you have all that stone and wood. My continuing point will be that I think if you're playing optimally you won't have that much leftover wood or stone as you should be using it for other things that are even better than converting the goods for 1 point each and using a Viking to do it. Still in 3 and 4 player games if everyone is getting wood and stone as a bonus goods, there will be so much and there are only so many places to use that wood and stone so I can see where sheds may be valuable then. I still mostly play solo where I would argue no one should ever be using a shed as you should use those resources for something else. (The 3 Viking spot to get 2 chests and 2 rune stones or the 4 viking spot for the house and boat being the main ones).

Thanks all for the continued comments. As always I'm happy to discuss and continue to correct the guide wherever I may be wrong.
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My accounting was just trying to put a value on the stone house. I didn't include the hide since it was free from the stone house and I wrote only the final value given after conversion. So, on the harvest turns (giving a point for each flax which I missed), you use 3 workers + flax for 14 points.

Even without the conversion into clothing, a stone house by round 3 with bonus covered, will generate 12 points + it's own value. I can also cover the bonus with 2 silver fairly easily (fish/flax + peas/mead).

Also, yeah, the clothing is hard to place onto the exploration boards, but you get three clothing this way and I'm always able to place 3 clothing onto my home board without problems. The stone house also does generate hide on the non-harvest turns which I can place on the exploration boards.

I don't think it's an amazing combo by any means and the stone houses aren't something I gun for but I think it's worth three starts by your rating since it's not a below average action to take a stone house and I don't think it's that much worse than a long house. I think the 3 worker spot for the long house isn't two stars better since it's an extra worker for an occupation (which is below value) and an extra stone for a slightly better tile.

As for the 4 worker spot, you might be right in going for Knarr + Longhouse. Looking back at my games, I think I've taken both an equal amount of times in multiplayer and in solo. It does also depend on the number of swords I have and the competition for overseas trading in multiplayer.
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Sidnv wrote:
My accounting was just trying to put a value on the stone house. I didn't include the hide since it was free from the stone house and I wrote only the final value given after conversion. So, on the harvest turns (giving a point for each flax which I missed), you use 3 workers + flax for 14 points.

Even without the conversion into clothing, a stone house by round 3 with bonus covered, will generate 12 points + it's own value. I can also cover the bonus with 2 silver fairly easily (fish/flax + peas/mead).



Alright, but I'm still trying to value each action space for its own merits and you still seem to be overvaluing the hide because of its use to enable that conversion. My main point continues to be that you could spend those three vikings somewhere else and get some goods while retaining the hide for use.

I also think getting a stone house that early is probably sub optimal compared to the many other bonuses and income you can be unlocking on an exploration board or the home board. Finally while I agree you can likely earn the bonus fairly easily that way, you are leaving at least one -1 space that you can never cover with orange/red tiles so the overall points you are getting from the stone house are limited. I think you'll earn more points from getting a long house, utilizing those same goods plus one more to unlock the oil bonus. Sure the oil is one space worse than the hide, the long house offers more points and other bonuses (even if those bonuses are pretty bad).

So overall I do think long houses are significantly better than stone houses. To be fair I still am pretty solo biased given that is where most of my games are though. But in solo I think the best players rarely if ever build stone houses. If they do though I suspect it almost always is at the 4 viking spot. I just don't think players often will build stone houses at the stone house space. In fact I actually suspect the most used stone house source among great solo players is Newfoundland's bonus stone house.

I am willing to accept that in multiplayer the stone house build space may become a bit more attractive, but I'm still not even convinced it is an average use of vikings when there are so many other great options.

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Ranior wrote:
Sidnv wrote:
My accounting was just trying to put a value on the stone house. I didn't include the hide since it was free from the stone house and I wrote only the final value given after conversion. So, on the harvest turns (giving a point for each flax which I missed), you use 3 workers + flax for 14 points.

Even without the conversion into clothing, a stone house by round 3 with bonus covered, will generate 12 points + it's own value. I can also cover the bonus with 2 silver fairly easily (fish/flax + peas/mead).



Alright, but I'm still trying to value each action space for its own merits and you still seem to be overvaluing the hide because of its use to enable that conversion. My main point continues to be that you could spend those three vikings somewhere else and get some goods while retaining the hide for use.

I also think getting a stone house that early is probably sub optimal compared to the many other bonuses and income you can be unlocking on an exploration board or the home board. Finally while I agree you can likely earn the bonus fairly easily that way, you are leaving at least one -1 space that you can never cover with orange/red tiles so the overall points you are getting from the stone house are limited. I think you'll earn more points from getting a long house, utilizing those same goods plus one more to unlock the oil bonus. Sure the oil is one space worse than the hide, the long house offers more points and other bonuses (even if those bonuses are pretty bad).

So overall I do think long houses are significantly better than stone houses. To be fair I still am pretty solo biased given that is where most of my games are though. But in solo I think the best players rarely if ever build stone houses. If they do though I suspect it almost always is at the 4 viking spot. I just don't think players often will build stone houses at the stone house space. In fact I actually suspect the most used stone house source among great solo players is Newfoundland's bonus stone house.

I am willing to accept that in multiplayer the stone house build space may become a bit more attractive, but I'm still not even convinced it is an average use of vikings when there are so many other great options.



Fair enough, I will grant you that I'm probably overvaluing the conversion space. I totally accept your statement regarding solo play. You've played a lot more solo than I have I think and you get better scores than me so I trust your judgement there.

Personally, I don't really use that spot much either and if I get a stone house, it will be from the 4 worker spot. I don't think that the stone house spot is 2 full stars worse than the long house spot but I agree that it's at least one star worse so I accept your leaving the ratings as is.
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Siddharth Venkatesh
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So I played 10+ solo games this week and my mind on this matter has been changed completely. I've come around to your way of thinking on this matter. The long houses are much better than stone houses. They score way better since it's much easier to fill up the negatives. The oil and the hide are equally hard to surround and the other bonuses of the longhouse, while unspectacular, are very easy to fill and allow you to fill more longhouses.

Longhouses seem to me to be a perfectly viable side strategy while stone houses absolutely are not and that by itself is worth the higher rating. It's just too hard to fill up the negatives of the stone house without silver and I generally have better uses of wood and stone than burning them on the house. So, I take back what I said before entirely.
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Northern Polarity
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Great article! I need to play some more to get an idea for some of the other tiles, but one space I had a question about was the 3 vikings for 1 occupation, 3 upgrades, and 4 weapons. This is currently rated as 2 stars, but it seems a lot better than that to me. 2 vikings for 3 upgrades is currently rated at 4 stars, so you're paying a viking for 4 weapons and an occupation card. While these things can be much more volatile in value, even if we end up only using 2 of the 4 weapons, this tile still translates to ~2 wood/ore and an occupation for a viking, which seems great to me.

One trend I've noticed in the review is that getting/playing occupations seems undervalued: I might just not have enough experience with the game to determine whether or not that's because occupations are too high variance, but it might be something to look out for.

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Ryan Feathers
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Great questions and good job calling attention to that one space.

The short answer is that I don't greatly value drawing occupations or playing them. But mostly it is more so I tend to value the 1 and 2 viking actions more so than committing a lot of viking to 3 and 4 viking actions. Getting to use smaller number of vikings not only helps you fight for start player but it also allows you to get lots of different things done which can be quite valuable compared to getting only a few big things done. In particular early on committing 3 vikings can be a big step.

I think in particular the reason I rate that one space lowly though is because you don't often need to perform 3 upgrades early in the game. Upgrading is more something I'm doing in the mid to late game.

Early in the game maybe you have 1 or 2 things that need upgrading and so you're best served by going to the 1 upgrade and resource spaces or the 2 upgrade space.

But now if we're into the mid to late game, weapons become less valuable as you have less time to use them. Occupations also tend to be a bit less valuable to me as the game goes on as I have less time to work them into my strategy. (An early occupation I can make work in a lot more situations as I can shape my strategy to play to its strengths, but many occupations when drawn towards the mid to late game are relatively worthless).

Those are the main reasons why I don't find myself using that space very often...but the theory you present does suggest I may be overlooking it a bit especially given how much I've been valuing the other upgrade spots. I will say in solo there pretty much is never a great reason to go there as all the other occupation spots are better but perhaps I am once again underestimating the use of a space that could see quite a bit of action in a 3 or 4 player game. I'll be paying attention to it a bit more to see how I feel about it and see if it should get raised to 3 stars.

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Northern Polarity
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Ranior wrote:
Great questions and good job calling attention to that one space.

The short answer is that I don't greatly value drawing occupations or playing them. But mostly it is more so I tend to value the 1 and 2 viking actions more so than committing a lot of viking to 3 and 4 viking actions. Getting to use smaller number of vikings not only helps you fight for start player but it also allows you to get lots of different things done which can be quite valuable compared to getting only a few big things done. In particular early on committing 3 vikings can be a big step.

I think in particular the reason I rate that one space lowly though is because you don't often need to perform 3 upgrades early in the game. Upgrading is more something I'm doing in the mid to late game.

Early in the game maybe you have 1 or 2 things that need upgrading and so you're best served by going to the 1 upgrade and resource spaces or the 2 upgrade space.

But now if we're into the mid to late game, weapons become less valuable as you have less time to use them. Occupations also tend to be a bit less valuable to me as the game goes on as I have less time to work them into my strategy. (An early occupation I can make work in a lot more situations as I can shape my strategy to play to its strengths, but many occupations when drawn towards the mid to late game are relatively worthless).

Those are the main reasons why I don't find myself using that space very often...but the theory you present does suggest I may be overlooking it a bit especially given how much I've been valuing the other upgrade spots. I will say in solo there pretty much is never a great reason to go there as all the other occupation spots are better but perhaps I am once again underestimating the use of a space that could see quite a bit of action in a 3 or 4 player game. I'll be paying attention to it a bit more to see how I feel about it and see if it should get raised to 3 stars.



In the mid to late game though, remember that you only need to use 2 of the 4 weapons to make this spot break-even, since 2 wood/stone saved is generally worth a viking, and that makes this spot give you a free occupation card. You don't need to actually play the occupation card to make this spot average, so I'd argue that this is a good spot in any solo game where you need the 3 upgrades, are able to do all of the dice rolling options, and plan on doing them at least twice throughout the rest of the game. I imagine this spot also gets a lot better in the weekly challenges where you know ahead of time what the occupations are Let me know how future games go!
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Ryan Feathers
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I will be sure to let you know.

But I also want to point out the one error you keep making which is equating the weapons as equivalent to wood/stone. That is only true if you happen to need to use them. Else they are worthless. So even if I go pillaging and hunting I have to actually wind up needing both of those weapons to make them worth it, and that is up to the dice to decide. Therefore it is entirely possible I don't wind up making any use of those weapons and then they turn out to be entirely worthless.

Therefore your conclusion that this space if worth it if you need the 3 upgrades, can take the dice actions, and plan to do so at least 2 more times doesn't hold up because there is no guarantee you will actually need those weapons during your next 2 die attempts. It may take many more before those extra weapons actually equal a saved wood or stone.
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Northern Polarity
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Ranior wrote:
I will be sure to let you know.

But I also want to point out the one error you keep making which is equating the weapons as equivalent to wood/stone. That is only true if you happen to need to use them. Else they are worthless. So even if I go pillaging and hunting I have to actually wind up needing both of those weapons to make them worth it, and that is up to the dice to decide. Therefore it is entirely possible I don't wind up making any use of those weapons and then they turn out to be entirely worthless.

Therefore your conclusion that this space if worth it if you need the 3 upgrades, can take the dice actions, and plan to do so at least 2 more times doesn't hold up because there is no guarantee you will actually need those weapons during your next 2 die attempts. It may take many more before those extra weapons actually equal a saved wood or stone.


Correct, weapons are pretty hard to evaluate as a result since there will be times where they're worthless. On the flipside though, these weapons also enable you to take actions that you wouldn't even attempt otherwise. You probably wouldn't attempt to lay a snare or hunt without at least 2 weapons of that type, so getting extra weapons to push yourself over certain thresholds can also be incredibly valuable, even if you don't end up using them. You could have instead used a viking to get 2 wood to attempt hunting/snaring, but if you were willing to do that then you might as well use the 4 weapon space, since if you end up using the wood/weapons then you get two extra weapons out of this space. You can argue that 2 wood is obviously a lot better than 4 weapons if you get lucky, but that's not quite the average case scenario, and in the average case scenario where you had a bow (or 1 weapon card of some other type) and resources that you would be willing to pay 1-2 of to succeed the action, it shouldn't be very hard to turn 4 weapons into 2 wood/stone.

This does require you to be more flexible though, since if you really need hunting to succeed then you'd probably just get 2 wood as opposed to praying that some of your 4 weapon draws are wood. If you are able to make use out of all 4 spots though, then it seems rather good to me.
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Regarding the 3 upgrades and weapon draw action, I agree that it's in an awkward spot in the base game. I'm generally tight on actions early so I'd rather save a viking and use the 1 upgrade + 1 resource and 2 upgrades or 3 upgrade spot. Wood and Stone are more flexible than weapons so I'd rather have 1 wood than 2 bows/snares/spears most of the time, I'd maybe make an exception for bows because hunting is excellent and doesn't get the same discount whaling does. Of all the weapons I'd most want swords because you can spend them to boost pillage/raid actions, the more the better, whereas bows/snares/spears are spent as needed and are inherently less useful to stockpile. If I could be guaranteed sword draws, or even all the same type of weapon, I would definitely value that spot. Chances are you are going to get a split between the weapon types which just isn't very useful.

Late game the card draw isn't useful and the weapons are even less useful because late game hunting/trapping/whaling can be more risky than I'd like as the compensation is most likely wasted.

It's an interesting thought experiment to say if there was a 1 viking "Draw 1 card, Draw 4 weapons" spot, would it be good? I'd say yes, you could even make a case for just "Draw 4 weapons" being decent. However it's the 3-viking part of the spot in its current form that limits it for me. I do agree that I overlook that spot when I have an extra viking and could bump the 3 upgrades action up to the 3-viking weapon draw spot but that's mostly because I don't have an extra viking most of the time, I tend to run very tight action chains.

This gets into the discussion of how good occupation cards and their associated 3/4 viking spot bonuses really are which Rainor touched on. Early on I value cards to the point that I will go on the "Draw an occupation, Gain a silver" spot if I can spare the action in the first two rounds to see if I can get a decent card to plan around. However, I will only go to a 3-viking action if it fits into my plan (Build a longship early, exploring later, and whaling any time). I simply prefer to take more 1 and 2 vikings micro actions to allow for more control than rely on random card draw from the 3-viking spots, especially once you get to mid-game. That's all said from a solo perspective where you have the freedom to dominate the 1 and 2-viking actions. In multiplayer games you have to start valuing 3 and 4-viking actions more out of necessity.

This can change a little bit when I know what cards I'm going to draw, but even then I tend not to favor many 3-viking actions. I find the 4-viking action's card play to be a much better investment because you know exactly what you're getting so it's not a risk.
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