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Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization» Forums » Strategy

Subject: How do you value MA's compared to CA's? rss

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Andrew Hardin
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As I continue to play more my views continue to evolve. One discussion I don't see as much is the tradeoff between focusing on more MA's versus more CA's.

In my games to this point I have seen the following:

Going from 4 CA's to 5 CA's is one of the most important things you can do in the game. It isn't so much that you get an extra CA (which is important) but that this particular CA is so critical.

The main reason is really about corruption. In most game situations you really need at least 1 CA building something to avoid corruption, and you often really need 2. That puts a tremendous strain on your CA's. It makes pulling a critical card for 3 CA a big decision and it tends to make 2 CA grabs somewhat problematic. You can't build 2 things, play a tech that allows you to build something and grab anything for 2 or 3 unless you have this 5th CA.

Immediately after that is the 3rd MA. Drawing 3 cards is much better than drawing 2, and being able to actually build something and still draw more than 1 card is crucial. Staying alive in military is much easier if you are the one drawing the tactics. Grabbing colonies is easier with blue cards and the game is much smoother if you are the one pushing the events you want.

(This is why my preferred opening is Pyramids/JC in terms of leaders and wonders. JC is by far the easiest way to get 3 MA's quickly and I have found that to be pretty huge).

I don't imagine these opinions to be too controversial, but I am curious about how you value them after that. The extra 1 CA and 1 MA is a big deal and why I really like Monarchy (and wish Theocracy wasn't quite so gimped).

I personally prefer the 4 MA to the 6th CA. I value being able to draw 3 cards and still push up military without needing yellow cards. In many games having that 4th MA pays off with steady military builds and plenty of cards. 3 MA's is still good, but this threshold is still important.

The 6th CA is something I am more than glad to get. The extra card in hand is nothing to sniff at and it makes the yellow cards easier. But in my experiences so far it doesn't pay off like the 4th MA. As the game goes on it gets more important as the late game really relies upon drawing yellow cards to sustain a late military/culture push. But right about the time this becomes a problem the 6th CA is easier to get.

Getting the 4th MA is actually fairly difficult until Age 2, depending on either a government build plus a leader (of which there are only 2 choices until Age 2), or Warfare. And as useful as Warfare is it has the problem that Strategy is really much better in the middle game and they don't stack.

After the 4th MA I do consider the 6th CA better than the 5th MA, but I really prefer to get to the 5th and 6th MA over more CA's until very late in the game. MA's do lose some of their value once you have more than 5, but even then I have found plenty of uses (they allow you to copy a tactic without gimping your military build, they allow military buildups and they make attacks cheap).

I have read a lot about the importance of getting more CA's but I don't see as much discussion on the criticality of getting more MA's. But in my experience winning the game on 2 MA's is actually harder than winning on 4 CA's.

So in practice I value the the first extra CA more than the first extra MA but after that prefer getting the next MA before the next CA. In practice you often get both at the same time but if I had to make a choice it would go that way.

How do other people see this decision?

- Lex

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Dan Bradshaw
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I'll be watching this discussion with interest because I know that this is one of my weakest areas in this game (among many, MANY other weak areas). Usually I'll grab Pyramids if possible, of course, or JC. Other than that I usually figure I'll just wait for ConMon or Republic...it always feels like Warfare or Code of Laws or Monarchy are a waste of science.
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Grant
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I think your analysis is pretty spot-on. However, in the early game I usually prioritize a third MA over a fifth CA, but both are critical.
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Edu Avalon
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... sorry, but what are MA and CA? surprise blush
 
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Martin
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MA = Military Actions
CA = Civil Actions
 
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Brad Keusch
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edugon wrote:
... sorry, but what are MA and CA? surprise blush


Military Action / Civil Action
 
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Jon W
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I generally prioritize 5th CA, then 3rd MA, but I'm fine either way.

I always prioritize 6th CA over 4th MA. Mostly as I like the flexibility with the card queue, esp. the ability to grab a yellow or two.

I find the noticeable next MA threhold to be the 6th MA, where you can declare a war and still upgrade your military (edit: esp. a tactics change) all in one turn.
 
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Colin Sham
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Late game, having 6 MA also makes Ghandi a non-starter for your opponents, which is useful for a lot of reasons (especially if you're not the Culture Lead and might need to bank on a War). Flexibility to get that 6th MA is probably the key here. I'd prioritize that before going crazy on CA, which is why I tend to undervalue Republic.
 
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Riku Koskinen
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The game itself values CAs more, because blue techs give red tokens for cheaper cost than white ones.

But in my experience winning the game on 2 MA's is actually harder than winning on 4 CA's.
Now both are very tough spots, and could occur when you have very low science output throughout the game. I still think that winning with 4 CAs is way harder. A plausible scenario might be that a player uses Republic but never gets more MAs from leaders, techs, or Kremlin. I think winning with it is easier than with 4CAs and 10 MAs. Even when comparing a 5CA-2MA setup to 4CA-4MA one, I'd rather have the former.

The thing is that if opposition is competent, military dominance is very hard to achieve even if one has a normal amount of 6-7 CAs after age II. And if you can't wage war or aggressions, the impacts drawn are not going to be too useful, because with 4 CAs the player's infrastructure is likely so bad that he or she just has to discard majority of them.

With 2 MAs but a decent amount of CAs it is possible to build up sufficient military to not die, and score culture via normal methods.

I personally prefer the 4 MA to the 6th CA.
My take is that the fifth CA is super important, and after that it is important to get the third MA. However, I'm content with 3 MAs, but not with 5 CAs, so I aim to get more CAs at that point, but I don't necessarily need more MAs after the third.

What this means in practise is a different story though, because cards like Napoleon and Strategy are so good.
-In age I, with Despotism and Monarchy I'd rather have Code of Laws than Warfare, unless I have Pyramids. I try to grab Joan of Arc if it seems I am not getting a third MA from Warfare or Monarchy.
-In age II, Strategy outperforms Code of Laws/Justice System with its 2 tokens and 3 strength, so I'd certainly go Monarchy into Strategy for 5CA-5MA+3str than just 6CA-3MA. Constitutional Monarchy is obviously better than Republic, so no hard decision there. Napoleon is great always, so there is generally no reason not to pick it, if it becomes available for a CA cost you can afford. Kremlin is there to help boost both action counts, and is a good pick for civs that have the necessary happiness infrastructure for it.
-In Age III, Military Theory is generally more impactful than Civil Service, even if you have Warfare at your table (not so much with Strategy ofc). They cost about the same, so I'd choose the red tokens if they were both available and I can afford only one. This depends on the game state a lot though. If I am still 5 CA Monarch, Civil Service is going to be very high priority if it comes up early. And Military Theory is not that needed with Constitutional Monarchy, unless the strength boost is crucial in some way.
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Andrew Hardin
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Padish wrote:

The thing is that if opposition is competent, military dominance is very hard to achieve even if one has a normal amount of 6-7 CAs after age II.


In the games I typically see it is very hard to build your military to defend, get the cards to defend, and play any reasonable amount of useful events cards on 2 MAs.

A player with 2 MA's is an easy target even if you have a very small advantage. There are simply not enough defense cards to protect yourself while both using up your very few MA's to stay close and defend against even mild attacks. Against a player with 2 MA's I would be more than happy to send out waves of aggressions with advantages of even 3 military. Against 2 MA's they have to have a defense card and if they are trying to sustain military parity they are going to have trouble drawing replacements. It is not unlikely they will come up empty on an attack, and if they aren't they are coming up very short on cards.

I find playing with 4 CA's is manageable, but hardly optimal.

I don't ever really recall winning with either condition, but I have had a much more competitive game with 4 CA's than getting pounded on and struggling to get decent cards with only 2 MA's. In practice I don't ever actually recall ending any game with just 4 CA's or 2 MA's though I have sometimes gone fairly deep in with just 4 CA's and still done okay.

- Lex

 
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Riku Koskinen
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LexH wrote:
Padish wrote:

The thing is that if opposition is competent, military dominance is very hard to achieve even if one has a normal amount of 6-7 CAs after age II.


In the games I typically see it is very hard to build your military to defend, get the cards to defend, and play any reasonable amount of useful events cards on 2 MAs.


Your post assumes the 2 MA player is weaker, but MA count does not limit build-up that much. Drawing suitable tactics is harder, but you can copy a tactics in the common pool anyway. It's more important to pick each kind of unit tech (which you can do if you have CAs), so that you can utilize whichever tactics becomes available.

Barring colonizing, you usually don't build more than two units in a turn anyway, because extra population doesn't come that fast. If I'm stuck at a low MA count, I do all I can to keep my current military strong enough that I don't even have to defend. Even if this means upgrading Knights to Cavalrymen, picking Transcontinental Railroad higher than normally etc.

Having little to say about the event deck is a significant drawback, but playing with 4 CAs is still much more limiting.
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Andrew Hardin
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Padish wrote:
LexH wrote:

In the games I typically see it is very hard to build your military to defend, get the cards to defend, and play any reasonable amount of useful events cards on 2 MAs.


Your post assumes the 2 MA player is weaker, but MA count does not limit.


This is a fair point, though leaders and techs that increase MA's often give just enough extra military that it is often easier for the person with more MA's to get a slight edge.

Maintaining parity while not getting hit by crappy events (since it gets hard to seed them) while waiting the extra turn to use up all your MA to match a tactic is hard. There just aren't enough MA's to do all that.

Getting stuck with 4 CA's can be managed, but it is hard too. That 5th CA is crucial though. I do value the 5th CA more than the 3rd MA so I suppose I agree with you in practice anyway. I just find it easy to bully players who don't push to get more MA's.

Perhaps more relevant is that if you don't work to improve both MA and CA count you are likely in for a tough slog.
 
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Wes Holland

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I tend to avoid changing my government more than once in a game. For that reason, I almost always avoid Monarchy/Theocracy. I prefer to spend 6 on Code of Laws than 9 on Monarchy, because that 5th CA is extremely valuable, while the 3rd MA is merely useful.

I've noticed that I've stopped picking Warfare as highly as the old story. I think that slight cost increase managed to take it out of usefulness; I'd rather wait for Strategy or Military Theory if I'm going to take it. Similar for Cartography/Navigation.

I find that I only take Republic if I have Robespierre, and plan on or already have a Blue military tech. (Warfare/Strategy/Military Theory)
 
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JH
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Unless you're going heavy military, I find MA's are most useful for defense, because they allow you to beef up a full army in one round if someone declares a war. It's also usually useful to have a decent hand of cards to play or use for defense or colonization. But MA's are chancier and less obvious in their use, and their potential benefits may not play out in the random draws you get. I find extra civil actions are generally the way to go, but you probably want 3-4 MA's by the end of a game. I think the most well-rounded government is Constitutional Monarchy.
 
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Jack Liu
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All I have to say is
Riku Koskinen
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is correct

5 CA > 3 MA > ??

You can't look at things in a vacuum because TTA is a relative game and there are only certain jumps. After A1, you usually aren't comparing things on a 1 to 1

Things to consider are:
how important is military to your strategy this game? do you need to draw the right tactics and wars or can you play defensive and just copy?

More MA gives you an advantage in pushing aggression, wars and exclusivity to tactics for a turn. More CA gives you better control over the card row, especially when going for important A3 techs
 
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Neil Lender
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One thing that comes to mind when considering this question is that in some ways MAs aren't even the most similar thing to CAs, so it can be a little misleading. I tend to find that to succeed in the late game you need *either* lots of CAs or lots of rocks. Having both is nice (and CAs are probably better in most cases), but if you have neither you are probably doomed. You need to get your rocks from somewhere, and you are going to have to get them either from actual rocks or from yellows.

Sort of perversely, I think MAs compare better to culture per turn. Both MAs and CPT are ways to push for a victory; if you have neither you are doomed since there aren't any ways you can win. Having both is nice (and MAs are probably better in most cases), but as long as you have one or the other you probably have a shot. Either you are protecting a lead with your CPT and using your few military actions to desperately defend and stall, or you are behind and need excessive amounts of MAs to declare wars, cycle events, fish for impacts, etc.

So after this convoluted argument I've just made, I'd say the value of CAs drops if you already have a high rock derivative and the value of MAs drops if you already have a culture/cpt lead. Practically I usually shun Iron in Age 1 so getting the 5th CA from CoL is very important, but in the rare case I get Iron I might be less excited to spend 6 sci on CoL and instead try to hold out for Strategy or a quick Constitutional Monarchy in Age II.
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Mark Strik
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As for every commodity, I would say the more the better. But you can't always get what you want. Constitutional Monarchy is definitely the most balanced government. But I wouldn't spit on a cheap and preferably early Monarchy either. For only 2 science more than Code of Laws, you get an extra MA and increase your urban building limit.

I used to be more about CA, and I would still go for the fifth CA over the third MA. But I usually go for at least 4 MA. I wouldn't discover Republic without extra MA and maybe not even without Strategy, or Warfare + an MA-leader.

For colonizing and, ironically, defending, an increased hand size is great to keep bonus cards. While still being able to control the event deck.

Being able to perform a military action and still draw the maximum number of 3 cards can be a great advantage. Apart from the obvious hand size. And come Age III, you're ready to declare War over Culture and play an exclusive tactic on the same turn.
 
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