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Subject: Theory: Epic Tale cards vs. clans on the board rss

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Joshua Smith
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tl;dr at bottom of post

First, thanks to many of you on these forums that have shared some great thoughts on this deep, tactical game. Thanks to Kris for his constant presence and input on the forums as well!

This is still an idea rooting around in my brain, but applying this advice has made my most recent plays of Inis that much more fantastic. I would love to hear from the more experienced players on this forum.

My idea is that Epic Tale cards and clans on the board have an inverse relationship of strategic value relative to game progression. I believe that early- to mid-game, gaining an Epic Tale card is a higher strategic priority than simply putting more clans on the board. As the game progresses, clans on the board grow in strategic value as players approach victory conditions. As this happens, drafting in such a way to gain Epic Tale cards becomes less important relative to placing, maintaining or moving clans on the board. This should dictate how players draft Action cards as the game progresses.

In the first half of the game, when players have fewer clans on the board, gaining an Epic Tale card is almost always a better investment than placing clans on the board. Clans are easily lost, while it is nearly impossible to lose Epic Tale cards from your hand (exception i.e. Deidre’s Beauty card). Furthermore, gaining more Epic Tale cards earlier and saving them longer means having a better chance of creating card synergy for powerful card combos later in the game.

Consider the rule that a player without any clans on the board at the beginning of his turn may then place two clans anywhere he likes. This rule helps mitigate the cost of pursuing Epic Tale cards at the expense of missing out on placing clans on the board. In the early-game, players rarely have more than a tenuous hold on any one win condition and are usually still sorting out their path to victory. If a player does happen to find himself removed completely from the board, he can simply hop back on with two clans anywhere and is usually not far behind his opponents. On top of that, the investment he made in gaining Epic Tale cards provides substantial gain enough to make up any deficit, as well as possibly inform his strategy better for later in the game.

Because of this rule, I would even go as far as to say that in the early-game, gaining an Epic Tale card is still the right move even if it means losing a clan. In the first or second round, a player may find it helpful to do this if it somehow means gaining additional Epic Tale cards. I refer here particularly to the Gates of Tir Na Nog and Stone Circle territories. The cost of losing a clan in one of these territories is minuscule compared to the benefit of gaining an Epic Tale card, especially early in the game.

The delicate aspect of this is that each player must gauge the pace of his opponents' development on the board, and, as the game progresses, decide if drafting for Epic Tale cards or clans is more valuable to them. Mid-game on, clans on the board are more important to each player as their respective owners approach victory conditions, so gaining Epic Tale cards at the expense of putting new clans on the board (much less losing clans all together), may incur too much cost. A player prioritizing getting Epic Tale cards may suddenly find himself behind in the race towards victory.

Let me make it clear that this only applies to what Action cards to draft during the Assembly phase--it does not mean that playing Epic Tale cards already in hand earlier in the game is more valuable than later in the game. On the contrary, Epic Tale cards are especially suitable for amassing through the rounds for tremendous combo plays late in the game. This theory applies to the card draft itself--I believe that those players drafting and using Bard, Master Craftsman, and Sanctuary for Epic Tale cards early on set themselves up for more success as compared to players rushing towards a victory condition at the expense of not gaining Epic Tale cards.

Again, the game is very tactical, and situations can change rapidly, so this is just a general theory. What is interesting though is that in the three games I've played since really implementing this strategy (and sharing the idea with my opponents during those games), each game saw well over half of the thirty Epic Tale cards played. Furthermore, the victor in all three of those games was the player who managed to play the most Epic Tale cards (albeit there are a lot more variables involved in that i.e. correlation does not equal causation). This does make me think, however, that this theory is a good response to those who complain that the Epic Tale cards are too swingy, and/or that you don't see enough of them during the game.

I would love to hear feedback on this. Perhaps it is not as momentously insightful as I think it is, but I haven't seen anyone postulate this theory on the forums yet. Thanks for discussing!

tl;dr
Early on, prioritize gaining Epic Tale cards as opposed to placing new clans on the board.
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Nork Sharkfin

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tuned2g wrote:
The delicate aspect of this is that each player must gauge the pace of his opponents' development on the board, and, as the game progresses, decide if drafting for Epic Tale cards or clans is more valuable to them...
Again, the game is very tactical, and situations can change rapidly, so this is just a general theory.
I agree that this is generally true. One fun counter-strategy though (especially if you know others are focusing on epic tales) is to be hyper-aggressive on the map: try to get the Bard at least once to score an easy deed against other people's sparse clans, swarm the capital, become Brenn. These tactics position you to get a victory condition by the 3rd season or even the 2nd. Then your opponents have to burn the epic tales they collected just to keep you on the edge of victory.
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Joshua Smith
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Quote:
One fun counter-strategy though (especially if you know others are focusing on epic tales) is to be hyper-aggressive on the map: try to get the Bard at least once to score an easy deed against other people's sparse clans, swarm the capital, become Brenn. These tactics position you to get a victory condition by the 3rd season or even the 2nd.


Oooh, that's a very good point. In many of my experiences though, a player getting a Deed within the first two rounds ends up losing it! I tend to only pursue my first Deed once I feel comfortable with where my clans are and their security on the board. Different styles of play...

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Chris Merritt
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tuned2g wrote:
Quote:
One fun counter-strategy though (especially if you know others are focusing on epic tales) is to be hyper-aggressive on the map: try to get the Bard at least once to score an easy deed against other people's sparse clans, swarm the capital, become Brenn. These tactics position you to get a victory condition by the 3rd season or even the 2nd.


Oooh, that's a very good point. In many of my experiences though, a player getting a Deed within the first two rounds ends up losing it! I tend to only pursue my first Deed once I feel comfortable with where my clans are and their security on the board. Different styles of play...



You can only lose deeds by losing all your clans. Do your players just go after someone with a deed that early and clash until they are wiped out??
 
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Joshua Smith
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Quote:
You can only lose deeds by losing all your clans. Do your players just go after someone with a deed that early and clash until they are wiped out??


Yep. Your playgroup must be a lot nicer than mine!

As I said, it really only occurs early in the game when there aren't enough Citadels out yet.
 
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