clovis chan
Singapore
flag msg tools
mb
Gotta say this is a very addictive game. It plays fast, but can be exciting towards the end as all the animals are near the finishing line.

In this post, I will first talk about how I think players rooting for each character should play. In the second post, I will talk about what I think are good bet combinations for each initial bet.

Here, I define thrashing as playing multiples of an animal which you are not betting on. For the purpose of character selection, I assume a 5P game where all the animals have at least 1 person rooting for each of them.

Hare
An overall strong character. 1 card for 2 movements is the best ratio and allows Hare players to keep Hare cards for consistent playing every round.

The punters: It is ok to play 1 Hare at the start of round if Hare is not in the lead. If Hare is in the lead, I will be more conscious of playing Hare early in the round as non-Hare players can thrash their Hare cards such that Hare does not move (4 Hare cards total).

Against: I think it's ok to thrash Hare anytime. The 2nd, 3rd or 4th copy of Hare does not increase the number of steps the Hare moves, so you are not benefiting the Hare in any way. However, if Hare is in the lead by 2 steps or more, I might keep 2 Hare cards (or 3 if you suspect a lot of Hare supporters).

Lamb
Another strong character, in fact one which many will say is the strongest. Unlike the Hare, there is no drawback to staying in first place and cards are harder to be thrashed since they contribute to movement (unless stopping at the river).

The punters: Lamb cards can be slowly played one at a time. For it to move 2 steps every turn is already difficult for other animals to catch up. When near the river, you might not want to play your Lamb card since others might trash theirs, and you can play another animal to further your non-Lamb bet.

Against: Trashing when near river and during howls is obvious. I can't think of much counterplay sadly.

Tortoise
A reliable character. While it is difficult to finish first, finishing 2nd or 3rd is possible if everyone does not sneak in 1-2 fox cards or a few wolf cards.

The punters: You would have to trash other cards to amass Tortoise cards. This will also increase the likelihood of the round ending with 4 animals instead of 8, which limits other animals' movement. Early in the game, it might be worthwhile to put out 3 Tortoise cards to find your Tortoise partner. If you see your Tortoise partner playing 1 or 2 cards every round, it might mean they have a lot of Tortoise cards, in which case you play yours in the hopes that you collectively have 4.

Against: Thrash tortoise so that it ends with 8 animals or it's impossible to have 4 tortoise (e.g. 4 cards are out and you play 3 tortoise). Generally it's safer to thrash the later in turn order you are. Sneak in 1 wolf or fox card while you can, to ensure your wolf or fox moves at the same pace as the tortoise.

Wolf
Wolf can be powerful if there are 3 or more backers. The privilege of being the only one to move when howling helps it, but other than that isn't that strong.

The punters: I believe the most efficient use of Wolf cards is to play it one at a time AND to do so every turn - playing all the cards yourself, the 2nd card contributes no movement, 2nd + 3rd contributes 1 movement (avg 0.5) while 2nd+3rd+4th contributes 2 movement (avg 0.67). This also has the advantage where if others thrash 2 wolf cards, you will get a return of 1:1 for the additional Wolf cards you play.If others trash only 1, you just keep it and wait for an more efficient turn.

Against: Cards should be trashed in pairs, and same as the tortoise, the later the better/safer.

Fox
And finally we have what I think is the weakest character. The lamb moves almost strictly better AND have the same card count. Its advantage over the Wolf is that the 2nd Fox card also counts towards the Fox's movement.

The punters: Fox doesn't really care if it moves every turn - it's always a 1:1 ratio. BUT you have to beware of the Howling wolf if you are throwing all your Fox cards at a go. For this reason, I would choose to play Fox cards when I have a pair, so that I refresh 2 cards instead of 1.

Against: Like the lamb, there's no real countermeasures other than the obvious ones. But why would you want to specifically counter the Fox, when it moves 1:1 while others like the Hare and Lamb can do better?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Neau
msg tools
mb
Don't forget the order of movement. That is a deciding factor in about half the games we play.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
clovis chan
Singapore
flag msg tools
mb
I think you mean in the case of multiple animals crossing the finishing line in the same turn? Yup I'm not neglecting that. It contributes to Hare being good. It blunts Lamb's advantage but not much (since it's not a remote possibility that the Lamb leads the others by a large margin).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
clovis chan
Singapore
flag msg tools
mb
Part 2: Character Selection
Character Selection
Because they move 2 or more steps if they manage to move, Hare and Lamb are safe bets but might not get you first place among your friends. Imagine you have a Wolf*-Hare bet while someone else has a Lamb*-Hare bet or Hare*-Hare bet. The only way you would win is if
- Wolf is in first position & Hare is in third position; OR
- Wolf is on the podium while Hare isn't.

To that end, as a Tortoise*/Wolf*/Fox* player, it might be worthwhile to pick something else to have a better shot at being the first place player (though if you fail, you might do badly).

Below are some thoughts, with recommendations in bold.

Tortoise
As Tortoise requires aggressive cycling to get Tortoise cards, Tortoise*-Fox will be a suitable combination if we ignore Hare and Lamb. Fox is playable regardless of how many copies you draw, while Wolf is bad to play 2 copies together.

But seeing as Tortoise*-Fox might have trouble thrashing Lamb cards safely (to get the requisite Tortoise cards to play), Tortoise*-Lamb might be the best combination for a Tortoise* player.

Wolf
Wolf really wants to play 1 copy of Wolf at a time, and thus has low cycle-potential. Wolf*-Fox seems ok. Wolf*-Fox can be really good at keeping other animals' cards in hand as he is fine just playing 1 Wolf/Fox at a time.

Fox
Same reasoning as the above actually. Fox*-Wolf is better than Fox*-Tortoise as the latter has more trouble keeping other animals' cards in hand.

In summary,
Tortoise*-Lamb
Wolf*-Fox
Fox*-Wolf


double up on the same animal is a possibility, but these 3 animals are the underdogs for getting first or second place.

I expect to get a lot of flak for this and I will be testing the above in practice (rather than just theorizing), but I just want to see other combinations working rather than seeing the Lamb and Hare powerhouses consistently winning.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Neau
msg tools
mb
I just won with Wolf Tortoise
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
clovis chan
Singapore
flag msg tools
mb
Nice! What were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd animals? Btw I'm not saying it's impossible to win with other combinations. How did you manage to cycle to get many tortoise cards, when wolf is better played 1 card at a time? Were many people backing wolf such as that wolf often had 3 to 4 cards?

Would be helpful if you can challenge any false assumptions I have of how each of animal should play.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dr Neau
msg tools
mb
When I have the Tort, I won't play a single Tort card unless I can get 4 out. What's the point otherwise?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
clovis chan
Singapore
flag msg tools
mb
the thing is you know you have a tortoise partner out there since you started with Wolf. So collectively, you might be able to play 2 tortoise cards out while your partner plays the other 2. This allows you to cycle more quickly into other tortoise cards (though you might also draw into other animals...)

would be good if you can provide more info on that game, such as what I asked above.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.