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Subject: general strategy and balance rss

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Geoff C
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Im finding that the vagabonds or alliance are winning every game. They are very strong. The vagabond is very sneaky and need protect nothing but himself, and once hostile scores vps in both offense and defence, while never giving up vps in combat. The alliance can explode in peoples clearings with revolt, destroying everything there and scoring in the process.

The Eyrie seem strong at first glance, the only faction able to gain vps by just having roosts turn to turn, but their decree is...challenging at best, crippling at worst.

The Marquise is just...wow. handicapped by having to hold terrain everywhere and not enough actions to do it all in. They must build and then must protect those buildings and...yeah. Weakest so far I think.

So...balance assessment correct?

How to deal with Vagabond and Alliance?

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Mike Stevens
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Well I can't speak for the other factions but I will say that in our 5 games the Cats have been beaten by the Eyrie every time. The last game the Cats were so close to winning with a 29-20 lead and those Dirty Birds scored 10 points on their last turn to win 30-29. We have each played the Cats and the Eyrie and neither of us can seem to win when we play against the Eyrie.

Any tips or suggestions for some good Cat strategy?
 
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Stephen Owen
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The Vagabond - hit him hard and often and remember he expends an extra boot to enter hostile clearings (except when slipping). Deny him items by minimal crafting.

The Alliance - containment; surround their clearings; 3 warriors means an extra same suit card to play sympathy. Don't overreact - the threat of revolt is significantly more important than doing it. Remember all the clearings of the suit of a revolt are now completely safe (except from Favor cards!)
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Stephen Owen
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Cats - lots of good advice in the Forum threads. Essentially pursue one strategy - usually recruiters; don't look for balance. Generally if birds/lizards fight; vagabond/riverfolk craft/build; WA contain. Decide where your keep is going to be based on your starting hand. Concentrate on the section of the board radiating from your keep. Don't save your troops unless the keep is threatened. Build 2 workshops in one clearing - they are easier to defend. Don't move peripheral warriors - waste of actions. Build your recruiters closer to the action - no point in having troops in your keep who are then isolated. Allow some of your buildings to be taken on the periphery - you can then rebuild for more VPs. Remember it is all about control. As the designer says the cats are the forest police force. If you lose control you will never regain it.
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Jonathan Rowe
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The problem with the Vagabond is that no one thinks dealing with him ought to be _their_ job - but a cross-party anti-Vagabond policy is needed. If the other players make an agreement (1) not to Craft items and(2) to bash the Vagabond whenever they have powerful force to bring to bear, then he should be contained. You don't have to injure the Vagabond often (in fact, just the once is probably enough) because if you force him to spend a turn in the woods licking his wounds you've probably disrupted his route to victory.

Alliance is more complex. In the first couple of turns, an agreement between the Cats and Eyrie to annihilate Sympathy wherever it appears is probably a good plan. The Eyrie will probably get extra VPs for doing it if they have their standard buzzard leader. However, you're feeding the Alliance support cards by doing this and they gain VPs every turn just be placing Sympathy back onto the board, so after 2 or 3 turns of driving them off you'll definitely want to switch to another tactic.

This other tactic is 'containment'. Once the Alliance appear in a corner of the board, you allow them to keep their little patch. They can no longer pop up anywhere on the board and have to spread normally. Destroying Alliance Bases represents a real setback for them, the sort of thing that tends to take them a turn to recover from.

The other players (say, Cats and Eyrie) have to recognise they have more to gain by allying against Vagabond and Alliance and more to lose by fighting each other.

The Alliance has an interesting choice about whether it offers safe haven to the Vagabond (and Crafts for it) rather than joining in the general hating.
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Andy Daglish
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steveowen wrote:
Cats - lots of good advice in the Forum threads. Essentially pursue one strategy - usually recruiters; don't look for balance. Generally if birds/lizards fight; vagabond/riverfolk craft/build; WA contain. Decide where your keep is going to be based on your starting hand. Concentrate on the section of the board radiating from your keep. Don't save your troops unless the keep is threatened. Build 2 workshops in one clearing - they are easier to defend. Don't move peripheral warriors - waste of actions. Build your recruiters closer to the action - no point in having troops in your keep who are then isolated. Allow some of your buildings to be taken on the periphery - you can then rebuild for more VPs. Remember it is all about control. As the designer says the cats are the forest police force. If you lose control you will never regain it.

I don't think Keep location is very important. All other Cat clearings can be infiltrated by sympathy so the 'containment' nonsense is just that. Often saving eliminated warriors is all you can do with a card, and this promotes the idea of having lots of them. Building two workshops in a rabbit clearing is obvious and an equally obvious target. Recruiter location hardly matters as the Cat gets two moves per action, and anyway they come to you, as they must. 'Allowing your buildings to be eliminated' is condescension gratefully accepted by opponents, and rebuilding without sawmills is a bit hard. If the Cats are the police, they start the game with their police stations on fire. They have to move before the WA for this reason, and for them 'control' means not being attacked more than twice a game turn. The Vagabond can walk away with their 'control'.

All this said, I suspect Her Grace the Marquise [is she a diamond?] will often end with VP in the mid-20s. To win her cats need to craft the right cards for the last few VP, but they may not draw them, which suggests they can't win, except maybe versus the weakest opposition.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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A lot depends on how the opponents approach the cats. If they raid to score VP for destroying the occasional building, it can backfire if the cats are able to reclaim and rebuild, likely scoring more points for the Marquise than the raider gained.
 
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Erikk Teschlog
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The Marquise shouldn't focus on holding territory everywhere, they need to turtle up to build infrastructure and protect assests. If you don't have an early strong crafting hand, best practice is to pump out recruiting buildings.

If the birds are on the board, you should tactically retreat on the early turns to basically lead them in the direction you want them to go. If the WA player is placing sympathy next to key structures just keep smashing them for free points.

Out of the 6 games I've played I've seen a very even spread of victories (2 Vagabond, 1 Woodland, 1 Marquise, 1 Eyrie, 1 Lizard Cult). Woodland Alliance is almost unstoppable if they get a strong presence on the board, same if the Vagabond gets loaded with items (especially swords) I actively do not craft swords or hammers if the Vagabond is in play. Disrupting the Alliance is pretty straightforward, If you can hit an alliance base it disrupts them very effectively. If you can't or don't want to hit them, then surrounding their sympathy with 3 or more Warriors will also slow them down.
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Mark Watson
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Talonz wrote:
Im finding that the vagabonds or alliance are winning every game. They are very strong. The vagabond is very sneaky and need protect nothing but himself, and once hostile scores vps in both offense and defence, while never giving up vps in combat. The alliance can explode in peoples clearings with revolt, destroying everything there and scoring in the process.

The corollary to that being WA are relatively easy to wipe off the board once they do explode somewhere, and since you can't wipe the Vagabond off the board you're free to wail on him until everything he owns is broken
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The Eyrie seem strong at first glance, the only faction able to gain vps by just having roosts turn to turn, but their decree is...challenging at best, crippling at worst.

The decree is Eyrie's strongest asset; using it right you'll get far more actions than any other faction bar Riverfolk can muster per turn, and you're the only faction that can switch your special ability halfway through the game.
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The Marquise is just...wow. handicapped by having to hold terrain everywhere and not enough actions to do it all in. They must build and then must protect those buildings and...yeah. Weakest so far I think.

Cat is more like the middle point. It's rare she can muster a high scoring turn, but she does tend to score every turn. She's also on the opposite trajectory than the other factions - she starts strong and gradually gets weaker over the course of the game. That's kind of key to her strategy; use the limited time you've got your strength to delay the other factions just long enough that you can coast over the line ahead of them.
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How to deal with Vagabond and Alliance?

Kind of depends what they're doing, you've got lots of options

For Vagabond, keep an eye on what items he seems most interested in as it'll clue you in on how he intends to score. Remember he usually needs to be in a clearing of a specific suit to do most things that get him points, so if you can predict what he needs and where he's going to be you can usually arrange for him to have a little accident on the way, or at least try to hamper his access to necessary clearing types.
Don't get too eager playing whack-a-mole with WA sympathy tokens. The threat of revolt isn't as dangerous as it first appears. Note their main weakness is a lack of warriors which makes it relatively easy to contain them simply by locking down clearings via rule and making it impossible for them to move their warriors. Timing the destruction of their bases tends to be key - on the one hand it hurts them due to the loss of officers and supporters (remember they're limited to five supporters if they have no bases, a few WA players can overlook that) on the other it also opens up the ability for them to revolt in that type of clearing again.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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Archonsod wrote:
Timing the destruction of their bases tends to be key - on the one hand it hurts them due to the loss of officers and supporters (remember they're limited to five supporters if they have no bases, a few WA players can overlook that) on the other it also opens up the ability for them to revolt in that type of clearing again.

It allows them to revolt in that type of clearing again eventually. In the short term, they've lost all their Supporters matching that suit.
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Geoff C
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Saw our first Eyrie win last night. They were in a fight with the cats all game, while I blew up 3 cats clearings to put my bases into play. Vagabond tried to attack me on the suggestion that I was the most experienced player so most likely to win, they lost both battles setting her back a turn.

Containment worked quite well against me, having the stronghold on one side and a large bird force on the other preventing an easy move past for sympathy really did slow me down.

Eyrie put together a royal flush (card that rewards vp for every clearing you rule) and a few good turns to push to the top (30) for the win.

I have a new respect for the eyrie, the cats ability to score every turn if you blow up his buildings, and the alliances difficulty in expanding if you dont lose your stuff but have nowhere to go...
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Mark Watson
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Amaranth wrote:

It allows them to revolt in that type of clearing again eventually. In the short term, they've lost all their Supporters matching that suit.


Usually WA will want to remove the base before the sympathy token, so there's a good chance that short term will be less than a turn long.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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Archonsod wrote:
Amaranth wrote:

It allows them to revolt in that type of clearing again eventually. In the short term, they've lost all their Supporters matching that suit.


Usually WA will want to remove the base before the sympathy token, so there's a good chance that short term will be less than a turn long.

How so? Revolting in a space with no sympathy costs a minimum of 3 cards of the same suit over a minimum of 2 turns, and having your sympathy destroyed gives you a maximum of 1 card of the relevant suit.
 
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Andy Daglish
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Talonz wrote:
Im finding that the vagabonds or alliance are winning every game. They are very strong.
One of my last games playing the WA turned on the turn 2 problem that I could not put sympathy down becasue there were three warriors in the magic clearing. That wrecked everything thereafter.

It doesn't help to play the WA versus a torpid side like the Lizards in a three-player.

Bases are cheap to overrun because the cards you hand over are immediately discarded by the defeated WA. This seems not quite right in design terms.

Revolt is both unlikely and expensive.

In one game I had three clearings which were only adjacent to fox clearings and the Keep. Weird but possible. For supporters I had one fox, one rabbit and about seven mice. Not very useful. After two wasted turns I managed to use all the mouse cards, but this sympathy was happily converted to VP by the other sides.
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Talonz wrote:
Im finding that the vagabonds or alliance are winning every game. They are very strong. The vagabond is very sneaky and need protect nothing but himself, and once hostile scores vps in both offense and defence, while never giving up vps in combat. The alliance can explode in peoples clearings with revolt, destroying everything there and scoring in the process.

The Eyrie seem strong at first glance, the only faction able to gain vps by just having roosts turn to turn, but their decree is...challenging at best, crippling at worst.

The Marquise is just...wow. handicapped by having to hold terrain everywhere and not enough actions to do it all in. They must build and then must protect those buildings and...yeah. Weakest so far I think.

So...balance assessment correct?

How to deal with Vagabond and Alliance?



This is spot on. Of the base 4 factions I would say WA>Vagabond>Eyrie>Cat

Over twenty games and the only time I've seen the cats even be in contention was in a game with lizards and no wooden alliance. WA hurts the cat player so much it's too unbalanced IMO.
 
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Mark Watson
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Amaranth wrote:

How so? Revolting in a space with no sympathy costs a minimum of 3 cards of the same suit over a minimum of 2 turns, and having your sympathy destroyed gives you a maximum of 1 card of the relevant suit.


If it's the only clearing of that suit that's sympathetic I can understand why it's getting burned down in the first place

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Geoff C
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MCLondon wrote:


Over twenty games and the only time I've seen the cats even be in contention was in a game with lizards and no wooden alliance. WA hurts the cat player so much it's too unbalanced IMO.


Whats interesting is that in my last game as WA all of my bases came at the Marquise' expense. He even continued to add bases and warriors where I warned him of the possibility of a revolt under martial law...it still didn't hurt him as much as I thought.

All he did (in addition to fending off Eyrie advances) is build build build. Being able to put cheaper buildings on the map turn after turn paid off in the long run, he was in the running even at end of game for winning.

Im wondering if everyone just needs a little push, either way, to win or lose...and therefore timing and a little luck (my pbem cats are hurting for trying to keep others down and never drawing bird cards for extra actions) are key....?
 
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Jay M
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Talonz wrote:
MCLondon wrote:


Over twenty games and the only time I've seen the cats even be in contention was in a game with lizards and no wooden alliance. WA hurts the cat player so much it's too unbalanced IMO.


Whats interesting is that in my last game as WA all of my bases came at the Marquise' expense. He even continued to add bases and warriors where I warned him of the possibility of a revolt under martial law...it still didn't hurt him as much as I thought.

All he did (in addition to fending off Eyrie advances) is build build build. Being able to put cheaper buildings on the map turn after turn paid off in the long run, he was in the running even at end of game for winning.

Im wondering if everyone just needs a little push, either way, to win or lose...and therefore timing and a little luck (my pbem cats are hurting for trying to keep others down and never drawing bird cards for extra actions) are key....?


All of the Cats' buildings are close to a 1-to-1 ratio in wood cost to victory points. There are couple of exceptions, but most buildings are in that ratio. So if the Cats can keep the wood flowing (i.e. not too many sawmills destroyed), and build every turn, they are generating as much victory points rebuilding destroyed buildings as they are building the advanced ones to the right.

It takes more actions up (so they can't get as much done), but bottom line if the Cats are making wood and building with it every turn, they are competitive even if they are getting destroyed.
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