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Subject: Just me or are the Cats by far the weakest faction? rss

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Lord Loki
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Archonsod wrote:
JohnnyOffice wrote:
You can also save the military you've already built with your field hospitals.

You need to be careful doing that. Common mistake I see new Cat players make is to burn cards on field hospitals and end up with a massive horde of doom sat in the corner opposite to where all of the action is. In that situation you're usually better off either crafting the card or using it for extra wood (and turning that into an extra recruiting station closer to the front, letting you replace that warrior and probably more while earning a couple of points in the process).

MCLondon wrote:

I don't see how this cripples WA. They just add back the sympathy with the card you've given them. On the meantime the Cats have lost at least one of their three turns Which they'd rather spend on building saw mills, recruiting, marching and crafting. The WA is the big dinner from this exchange IMO.

The point for removing the sympathy token is unlikely to be significantly less than what Cat would get for building in turn 2 to begin with. Particularly if she's wanting to focus on a single type of building - more than likely WA have just fed her a point she'd otherwise have missed out on while stockpiling wood for the next round.

Oh, and if Eyrie are in the game my favourite opening is to march three times. First two to collect as many cats as practical in the two clearings adjacent to the Eyrie's home roost, third march to move them into that clearing. Much hilarity usually ensues.


Does this work? Doesn't this mean you've left the alliance unchecked and have just lost a buildings?
 
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Ken Brown
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As posted before, even the designer mentioned the cats being difficult to win with. My personal experience suggests that this is true because the cats are steady, whereas every other faction tends to explode in points once their engine gets rolling, but the cats have a general increase.

Next time you play cats, try this: first, look at your starting hand. Rabbit crafting cards offer great boosts, more so than other suits. If you have some good cards that craft with rabbits, consider starting in a rabbit clearing.

Then, look at who you’re playing against. Eyrie and Lizards mean you might be fighting a lot. Vagabonds and Riverfolk offer the opportunity to gain more cards for crafting. The Alliance is probably your biggest threat - they don’t require much fighting, but they will sap your card strength to keep them down and can really damage your economy if you don’t. They require a balanced approach.

Finally, decide if you need to focus on fighting or building and crafting. Eyrie and Lizards - fighting. Vagabond and Riverfolk - building and crafting. Alliance - a little fighting for squashing sympathy, a little building to make up for the card loss for squashing sympathy.

Once you’ve settled on a strategy - don’t try to do both well. If you decided to fight, work on building recruiters. Only build one or two sawmills, just enough to get you a recruiter every turn or two. Set up your recruiters in a centralized area (near the keep, but not on the keep - that’s too far away from the rest of the board!) and focus on dominating 4-6 clearings around your keep, and then you can send small parties of warriors out from there to mess with your opponents. I would recommend keeping sawmills with the keep and putting recruiters in the three adjacent locations. Don’t worry about your stray warriors around the board - moving them back towards you is a waste of actions. Leave them to make it a little more difficult for your opponent to do stuff. Don’t spend cards on field hospital unless your keep is threatened. The keep itself isn’t that important, but think of it like the keep is your heart, and all your power flows from there. If opponents get in there, it’s like having a heart attack - your entire body is vulnerable. The upshot of a fighting strategy is that the cats have a huge army and are very good at fighting. The downside is that they don’t have a huge scoring potential from it - you’ll want to keep your core set of clearings safe, but you need to continue to build, even if those buildings on the outskirts are vulnerable (and that’s ok, you don’t have to protect everything, just the stuff you need).

If you decided to build and craft, focus on building workshops. You still want to make sure you don’t build too many sawmills - they’re point farms for your opponents if you can’t defend them! Some of the best passive effects are crafted with rabbit clearings, and mouse and fox clearings are good for crafting items. Build multiple workshops in single clearings - two workshops in a single rabbit clearing lets you craft almost any rabbit crafting card while only needing to protect one clearing. You’ll need a couple recruiters to keep your army big enough to defend you, but don’t lose focus - put a couple recruiters in a central location that lets you recruit and send warriors to defend your workshops and sawmills when they’re threatened. Don’t worry about protecting your buildings at all costs - you can afford to build replacements here and there, but You can’t afford to waste a bunch of actions building a huge defense that you’re never going to use. Take advantage of the Riverfolk and Vagabond if they’re present - you’re the easiest faction for the Riverfolk to sell to because of your huge reserve, and you’re the easiest faction for the Vagabond to trade with because you’re everywhere. But don’t buy too much from the Riverfolk or allow the Vagabond to aid you too much (especially if you’re crafting items!) or they will walk all over you. If the Riverfolk get more than one or two trading posts in your core territory, cut them off financially (if they get too much power they can attack you from inside your territory or worse, force you to pay for their mercenaries so you can use your buildings!) and if the Vagabond gets too close force him to go hostile (he will be able to score points from your warriors, but moving around the map will be a nightmare for him). They upshot of the building and crafting strategy is that you can get tons of points. The downside is that you’re going to be more vulnerable to combat - just remember to keep your sawmills few and safe from harm, and only focus enough on recruiters and recruitment to keep you relatively safe.

If you’re not sure which strategy to choose, pick one and stick with it. Trying for balance is tempting, but don’t fall for it. Every other faction will go from scoring one or two points a turn to scoring three or four times that during the late game. They cats can score two or three pretty easily during the first couple of turns, but will only be scoring maybe five or six a turn at the end. If you try a balanced approach, you will still be scoring only three or four points by the late game, because you won’t be crafting high level cards or building high level buildings or destroying tons of tokens and buildings. You can’t make up for an early game drought of points with a late game flood like basically everyone else; you have to make sure you’re scoring some points every turn.

This went way longer than I’d intended, but I hope this helps you get a feel for the cats - they aren’t weak, but they are probably the most difficult to master.
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Lord Loki
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SepiaPenguin03 wrote:
As posted before, even the designer mentioned the cats being difficult to win with. My personal experience suggests that this is true because the cats are steady, whereas every other faction tends to explode in points once their engine gets rolling, but the cats have a general increase.

Next time you play cats, try this: first, look at your starting hand. Rabbit crafting cards offer great boosts, more so than other suits. If you have some good cards that craft with rabbits, consider starting in a rabbit clearing.

Then, look at who you’re playing against. Eyrie and Lizards mean you might be fighting a lot. Vagabonds and Riverfolk offer the opportunity to gain more cards for crafting. The Alliance is probably your biggest threat - they don’t require much fighting, but they will sap your card strength to keep them down and can really damage your economy if you don’t. They require a balanced approach.

Finally, decide if you need to focus on fighting or building and crafting. Eyrie and Lizards - fighting. Vagabond and Riverfolk - building and crafting. Alliance - a little fighting for squashing sympathy, a little building to make up for the card loss for squashing sympathy.

Once you’ve settled on a strategy - don’t try to do both well. If you decided to fight, work on building recruiters. Only build one or two sawmills, just enough to get you a recruiter every turn or two. Set up your recruiters in a centralized area (near the keep, but not on the keep - that’s too far away from the rest of the board!) and focus on dominating 4-6 clearings around your keep, and then you can send small parties of warriors out from there to mess with your opponents. I would recommend keeping sawmills with the keep and putting recruiters in the three adjacent locations. Don’t worry about your stray warriors around the board - moving them back towards you is a waste of actions. Leave them to make it a little more difficult for your opponent to do stuff. Don’t spend cards on field hospital unless your keep is threatened. The keep itself isn’t that important, but think of it like the keep is your heart, and all your power flows from there. If opponents get in there, it’s like having a heart attack - your entire body is vulnerable. The upshot of a fighting strategy is that the cats have a huge army and are very good at fighting. The downside is that they don’t have a huge scoring potential from it - you’ll want to keep your core set of clearings safe, but you need to continue to build, even if those buildings on the outskirts are vulnerable (and that’s ok, you don’t have to protect everything, just the stuff you need).

If you decided to build and craft, focus on building workshops. You still want to make sure you don’t build too many sawmills - they’re point farms for your opponents if you can’t defend them! Some of the best passive effects are crafted with rabbit clearings, and mouse and fox clearings are good for crafting items. Build multiple workshops in single clearings - two workshops in a single rabbit clearing lets you craft almost any rabbit crafting card while only needing to protect one clearing. You’ll need a couple recruiters to keep your army big enough to defend you, but don’t lose focus - put a couple recruiters in a central location that lets you recruit and send warriors to defend your workshops and sawmills when they’re threatened. Don’t worry about protecting your buildings at all costs - you can afford to build replacements here and there, but You can’t afford to waste a bunch of actions building a huge defense that you’re never going to use. Take advantage of the Riverfolk and Vagabond if they’re present - you’re the easiest faction for the Riverfolk to sell to because of your huge reserve, and you’re the easiest faction for the Vagabond to trade with because you’re everywhere. But don’t buy too much from the Riverfolk or allow the Vagabond to aid you too much (especially if you’re crafting items!) or they will walk all over you. If the Riverfolk get more than one or two trading posts in your core territory, cut them off financially (if they get too much power they can attack you from inside your territory or worse, force you to pay for their mercenaries so you can use your buildings!) and if the Vagabond gets too close force him to go hostile (he will be able to score points from your warriors, but moving around the map will be a nightmare for him). They upshot of the building and crafting strategy is that you can get tons of points. The downside is that you’re going to be more vulnerable to combat - just remember to keep your sawmills few and safe from harm, and only focus enough on recruiters and recruitment to keep you relatively safe.

If you’re not sure which strategy to choose, pick one and stick with it. Trying for balance is tempting, but don’t fall for it. Every other faction will go from scoring one or two points a turn to scoring three or four times that during the late game. They cats can score two or three pretty easily during the first couple of turns, but will only be scoring maybe five or six a turn at the end. If you try a balanced approach, you will still be scoring only three or four points by the late game, because you won’t be crafting high level cards or building high level buildings or destroying tons of tokens and buildings. You can’t make up for an early game drought of points with a late game flood like basically everyone else; you have to make sure you’re scoring some points every turn.

This went way longer than I’d intended, but I hope this helps you get a feel for the cats - they aren’t weak, but they are probably the most difficult to master.


Thanks for taking the time. I still think they are screwed if WA goes first, maybe it's worth house ruling that cats always go first?
 
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Matt R
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One other thing to consider with the cats is that if you start running out of building locations then you may want to encourage the other factions to swoop in and destroy them simply so you can retake control and then rebuild to earn those building VP's all over again. "Oh look... now I've had to go and leave that clearing with 3 building spots in the center of the board completely unguarded to concentrate my warriors elsewhere. Sure would be great if the rest of you factions could just ignore swooping in there to destroy my buildings for some free VP's. I sure would just *hate* to get in there and rebuild all over again..." whistle
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Mark Watson
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MCLondon wrote:

Does this work? Doesn't this mean you've left the alliance unchecked and have just lost a buildings?


Only if you're behind WA in turn order, and they already placed a sympathy token on their turn (plus have the cards left to trigger the revolt).
Even then it's not a huge issue. The Eyrie are on the opposite side of the board, if WA want to take one of your clearings with a building it'll be one adjacent to your keep and still surrounded by warriors. Put the sawmill in the same clearing as your keep and you should have enough actions on your second turn to rebuild the lost workshop/recruiter, march a few cats into the WA clearing and clear them out, or simply claim rule assuming you still rule the adjacent clearings and effectively lock them in place (also note this can be useful to you if they hit your recruiter, since you can then rebuild it in a more central location). As far as WA goes the risk is they take advantage of the action themselves. You'll likely have emptied the clearings next to the Eyrie while tying up the Eyrie themselves for a couple of turns. If WA can spread into those now vacant clearings it'll be a turn or two before either of you can effectively respond, which gives them a chance to solidify a board position (should that happen try to force them into conflict with Eyrie too; they don't have the warriors to sustain two fronts for any length of time).

In terms of how well it's likely to work a lot depends on the Eyrie player - if they panic there's a good chance they'll tie themselves in knots trying to deal with it, at which point you're free to bring all your guns to bear on WA for the next few turns. If they don't it's still a fairly significant obstacle they need to work around and it'll slow them down for a couple of turns at least.
I usually see Cat's strategy as being more about pressure than conquest as such so it does the job in that respect. It's another reason I wouldn't be too concerned about a WA revolt in one of my building clearings at that stage in the game; in an ideal scenario it means you've got the game virtually locked down at a cost of only one or two of your actions per turn.

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John Rogers
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MCLondon wrote:
maybe it's worth house ruling that cats always go first?


We normally go in order of the letters (A-G) on the back of the player mats. Cats are letter A BTW.
 
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Guy Shalev
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MCLondon wrote:
I don't see how this cripples WA. They just add back the sympathy with the card you've given them. In the meantime the Cats have lost at least one of their three turns Which they'd rather spend on building saw mills, recruiting, marching and crafting. The WA is the big winner from this exchange IMO.

WA is in no rush to get that base up, It's not like board presence matters to them, and they get a.steady amount amount cards from people entering their clearings. Eventually they will be able to get a base somewhere, but literally no reason not to keep harassing the cats.


WA takes off late game, right? They're not taking off late-game because they choose to, but because they need to set it up.

You've just pushed them back a turn. An entire turn. When someone wins the game, how often would've someone else won later that same turn? This is huge.

Furthermore, you revole and then build your base. You say bases don't matter, but you complain about cat action economy, well, without bases (and thus officers), WA have no economy to speak of.

WA are *extremely* dependent on cards. They need that base to get more cards to both craft and actually be able to spread sympathy. Otherwise, they're just replacing the same sympathy turn by turn, and maybe 1 more. 1-2 VPs a turn do not a winning game make.

I recommend playing WA. This is a classic "The grass looks greener on the other side" mentality. Try to put yourself in the WA shoes, and you'll see how what you're describing is wrong.

Yes, removing that first turn sympathy is expensive for the cat. It's even more expensive for the WA. That first base is critical. That is your engine. As a WA player, I rarely place my first sympathy in a cat clearing, exactly because I don't want it removed. The 5-entry fox clearing is often the go-to for me, as it allows you to earn more cards as you spread from it outward.

WA placing their first sympathy in a building position, unless cat was greedy going first and doing so far away from where they start, is a huge gambit. And honestly, if you keep placing in that clearing and the cat keeps clearing, only the other factions will benefit. WA wants to spread away from the spotlight early, as fits their theme. They need a turn or two to get started, and picking a fight with cat at the get-go will hamper the cat, but will hamper you more.
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Noonespecial wrote:
One other thing to consider with the cats is that if you start running out of building locations then you may want to encourage the other factions to swoop in and destroy them simply so you can retake control and then rebuild to earn those building VP's all over again. "Oh look... now I've had to go and leave that clearing with 3 building spots in the center of the board completely unguarded to concentrate my warriors elsewhere. Sure would be great if the rest of you factions could just ignore swooping in there to destroy my buildings for some free VP's. I sure would just *hate* to get in there and rebuild all over again..." whistle


To me, this is the real key to playing the Cats. I think people get all wrapped up in the fact that it is more or less impossible to hold all the clearings or even just the ones with your buildings with them. The only clearing you really need to defend is the one with your keep and that one is immune to WA influence. Otherwise, as long as you keep getting logs, you can keep scoring for rebuilding what you have had destroyed. I recommend not crafting items until the final turn or two if the Vagabond is in the game.
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Jay M
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TerrapinStation wrote:
Noonespecial wrote:
One other thing to consider with the cats is that if you start running out of building locations then you may want to encourage the other factions to swoop in and destroy them simply so you can retake control and then rebuild to earn those building VP's all over again. "Oh look... now I've had to go and leave that clearing with 3 building spots in the center of the board completely unguarded to concentrate my warriors elsewhere. Sure would be great if the rest of you factions could just ignore swooping in there to destroy my buildings for some free VP's. I sure would just *hate* to get in there and rebuild all over again..." whistle


To me, this is the real key to playing the Cats. I think people get all wrapped up in the fact that it is more or less impossible to hold all the clearings or even just the ones with your buildings with them. The only clearing you really need to defend is the one with your keep and that one is immune to WA influence. Otherwise, as long as you keep getting logs, you can keep scoring for rebuilding what you have had destroyed. I recommend not crafting items until the final turn or two if the Vagabond is in the game.


Right. It's all about the wood economy. Wood translates into approximately 1 victory point per piece. It doesn't matter if your re-building or building for the first time. If you can protect your sawmills, and create supply lines to new building sites, getting buildings destroyed is not a problem.

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Guy Shalev
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You also easily have the largest army and honestly, a very mobile one as well, as the Cats.

Thing is, you don't need to fight people to build. You just move in, and start building. You can let them destroy and take control of stuff later. You just need to be able to ensure the wood can flow.

The wood must flow.
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Jay M
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Thunder_God wrote:


The wood must flow.


I swear I almost added a Dune/Spice joke to my post. thumbsup
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Lord Loki
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Thunder_God wrote:
MCLondon wrote:
I don't see how this cripples WA. They just add back the sympathy with the card you've given them. In the meantime the Cats have lost at least one of their three turns Which they'd rather spend on building saw mills, recruiting, marching and crafting. The WA is the big winner from this exchange IMO.

WA is in no rush to get that base up, It's not like board presence matters to them, and they get a.steady amount amount cards from people entering their clearings. Eventually they will be able to get a base somewhere, but literally no reason not to keep harassing the cats.


WA takes off late game, right? They're not taking off late-game because they choose to, but because they need to set it up.

You've just pushed them back a turn. An entire turn. When someone wins the game, how often would've someone else won later that same turn? This is huge.

Furthermore, you revole and then build your base. You say bases don't matter, but you complain about cat action economy, well, without bases (and thus officers), WA have no economy to speak of.

WA are *extremely* dependent on cards. They need that base to get more cards to both craft and actually be able to spread sympathy. Otherwise, they're just replacing the same sympathy turn by turn, and maybe 1 more. 1-2 VPs a turn do not a winning game make.

I recommend playing WA. This is a classic "The grass looks greener on the other side" mentality. Try to put yourself in the WA shoes, and you'll see how what you're describing is wrong.

Yes, removing that first turn sympathy is expensive for the cat. It's even more expensive for the WA. That first base is critical. That is your engine. As a WA player, I rarely place my first sympathy in a cat clearing, exactly because I don't want it removed. The 5-entry fox clearing is often the go-to for me, as it allows you to earn more cards as you spread from it outward.

WA placing their first sympathy in a building position, unless cat was greedy going first and doing so far away from where they start, is a huge gambit. And honestly, if you keep placing in that clearing and the cat keeps clearing, only the other factions will benefit. WA wants to spread away from the spotlight early, as fits their theme. They need a turn or two to get started, and picking a fight with cat at the get-go will hamper the cat, but will hamper you more.


I have won all seven games I've played as WA. I think they're too strong, and are the least dependent on drawing the right cards.

By placing sympathy they are guaranteed to get the cards they need. And they have super high action economy, placing sympathy is a free action, as is crafting (they make great crafters).

Once they get 5 officers it's game over.
 
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Jay M
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MCLondon wrote:

I have won all seven games I've played as WA. I think they're too strong, and are the least dependent on drawing the right cards.

By placing sympathy they are guaranteed to get the cards they need. And they have super high action economy, placing sympathy is a free action, as is crafting (they make great crafters).

Once they get 5 officers it's game over.


I have not come to a final conclusion, but my working theory is that WA is the most powerful faction and the easiest to win with.

I call them the "game timer." A win by WA is inevitable (if played competently) within about 5-6 turns (don't hold me to that), and the only question is whether another player can do something to dramatically win first.

(Which is the essence of a game, I think -- it's just that the other players do need to look at this game as a revolutionary insurgency that is taking over the forest, and work against it).
 
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J Ruble
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I don't know about the WA. They have an uphill battle if they are surrounded by 3 warriors in each clearing. And it gets even trickier if the cats dump warriors in a base's clearing.

If the Cats and the birds DON'T fight it's a completely different game for the WA.

If the Cat and Bird player can agree to build without fighting. Life becomes tough for the WA and the vagabond. It's best for the bird to not battle the cats and for the cats to concede a few clearings to the birds. Then they fill up the map. If one or both go hostile against the vagabond, that makes life tough for the vagabond.

The game says the cats and the birds have a grudge match. It's not true. If the cats and birds can forge a truce for the first 4 or 5 rounds, they can keep the WA surrounded and knock off sympathy strategically.

The Cats are really weak if they fight the birds. They're REALLY weak if they think they have to kill everybody that steps into their clearings.

Honestly, if the cats have a building in a clearing before the birds come in, establish rule and build a roost. Then, after the birds have their roost, there's little reason to fight.

I'm not saying the Cats are the strongest. I'm just saying if they work with the birds they can be less of an underdog, er, cat.
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Felipe Bulhões
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I really can't see a bird winning without fighting.
 
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The cats scratched out a victory in my last game, but that relied heavily on gaining the cooperation of other factions to help stifle the WA and then the Eyrie. If everyone played their own game, the Marquise wouldn’t have fared well at all.
 
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Jonas Egel
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Cats are by far worst faction in our group.

But the only time i played root with other people it actually where the cats who did win that. (It was the only time i saw the cats winning btw.)

You can see that game in this forum in the "play-by-forum"-section.
 
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Miguel Pacheco
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yonek wrote:
Cats are by far worst faction in our group.

But the only time i played root with other people it actually where the cats who did win that. (It was the only time i saw the cats winning btw.)

You can see that game in this forum in the "play-by-forum"-section.


Wait what? No, the Alliance won that game!
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