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

Subject: The ‘winning strategy’ myth rss

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Alex vT
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I have noticed many attempts to identify the ‘winning strategy’ in TTA – econo-military, early culture production, and so on. People seem to advise new players to “always get Alchemy” or “always take Napoleon, even for three civil actions”. In my view, it is a mistake to go about every game with a certain strategy in mind. Rather, the game rewards efficiency and adaptability above all else.

To reach deep for Knights (for example) because that’s just how you always play, might be to deprive yourself of precious civil actions that could be better utilised. Maybe you have Genghis in play, in which case Swordsmen would be a far better choice than Knights.

Without Rich Land/Efficient Upgrade, there may be little point in taking Iron from the card row. It may be more efficient to invest in military and attempt a Raid/Plunder for extra resources during your next political phase.

Theocracy doesn’t provide any extra civil actions, so many players tend to ignore it. But maybe you have Pyramids – what a good opportunity to upgrade your government cheaply. Add Joan, and you have 5&4 actions plus a powerful artificially-enhanced military, all with a nice science discount.

Shakey might seem like a tricky leader to exploit properly, but maybe you already have a Printing Press, and can take him for one civil action. Make it work and the rewards will come.

These are merely examples. My point is, adapt. Use what you already have in play, and what you can take cheaply from the card row. Get the most out of every turn, and the game will provide!

Despite having played many times, I am regularly struck by the brilliantly balanced nature of the game. Any card can benefit your civilisation in the right circumstances.

Having said this, there are some strategy tips that apply to any game you play:

- Always keep that unused worker ready during the Age A events
- Never stockpile food unless you can account for Rats
- Avoid corruption – you can probably be using your resources more efficiently
- Keep an eye on that age deck – a dead leader or antiquated cards/wonders is awfully wasteful
- Adapt your military to suit the tactics card(s) you draw, not the other way around
- When the game is coming to a close, figure out how many resources and actions you will need to complete that Age III wonder

Any feedback is more than welcome. One thing I’m sure we can all agree on is that Vlaada has created an absolute masterpiece in this game.
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Ben Kyo
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Well, I liked the first part of your post, obvious though it was, and then you broke it by adding maxims.

No, you shouldn't always keep that unused worker. The extra food you get and CA you save by not creating the worker can have a higher value than the *possibility* of a free temple and/or warrior. Weigh the probabilities and make your choice.

Stockpiling food *might* backfire, but you can't play in fear of Rats either. Do what you need to do in your game.

I don't understand your point about Tactics. You can't determine what Tactics you draw, but if you have a choice of course you adapt your Tactics to the military you have. "Potential" military is often the best kind - I like to take the tech cards I can as insurance.
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Alex vT
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What a quick response, thanks!
Admittedly, I should have mentioned that I tend to play 4p which increases the chance of drawing Development of Warfare/Religion and Rats.
Re tactics, I believe that the tactics cards you draw should influence which military technologies you take. If I draw Medieval Army for example, then I want Knights, whereas if I draw Legion then I’m more likely to take Swordsmen, Genghis, Great Wall, etc.
 
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Ben Kyo
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I'm in a 4-player game now, in which I saved food by not making that extra worker, which paid off as the Age A events didn't come out, then got Irrigation early and cheap, upgraded, had 7 food, and - ouch - Rats was one of the first Age I events out, just before I spent a turn making a huge army. Disastrous, but I'm not going to change my play based on a result. I think I played correctly based on the probabilities in this particular game, it's just that this one time it didn't pay off. In other words, I think I'd still make the same choices in an identical game. In another game, I might have the CA/MA free to keep my food stockpile low and I'll do so.

In other words, I'm just agreeing with your post up until the part where you wrote specific tips "applicable to any game".
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Matt Bowles
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avt_12 wrote:
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Re tactics, I believe that the tactics cards you draw should influence which military technologies you take. If I draw Medieval Army for example, then I want Knights, whereas if I draw Legion then I’m more likely to take Swordsmen, Genghis, Great Wall, etc.
i think Ben was saying the same thing.
The point he might disagree with is one I have a slight problem with aswell.. you suggest matching military building to your tactics, and not the other way round.

What the heck is the "other way round"? Do you mean people might build a military in the hope of drawing something?
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Brent Celmins
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avt_12 wrote:
What a quick response, thanks!
Admittedly, I should have mentioned that I tend to play 4p which increases the chance of drawing Development of Warfare/Religion and Rats.
Re tactics, I believe that the tactics cards you draw should influence which military technologies you take. If I draw Medieval Army for example, then I want Knights, whereas if I draw Legion then I’m more likely to take Swordsmen, Genghis, Great Wall, etc.
I'm not sure why Legion would make you more likely to go after Genghis. Heavy Cavalry, sure, but Legion?

Knights is a pretty safe bet that you'll be able to make it useful at some point. Especially in 4p, one of your opponents is bound to play a tactic with cavalry at some point during the game, so even if I have Legion, I'm still likely to go after Knights simply because it works with so many tactics without being antiquated.
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Alex vT
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Whoops, I meant Genghis for Medieval Army, and of course, Heavy Cavalry
 
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Alex vT
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Yes, for example taking Knights purely for the “potential” to fulfil a future tactic. I wouldn’t go about it this way, personally
 
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Ben Kyo
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avt_12 wrote:
Yes, for example taking Knights purely for the “potential” to fulfil a future tactic. I wouldn’t go about it this way, personally
I believe that (at least) a single CA here and there is essential to avoid a situation where an aggressive opponent suddenly gets a huge army and you have no answer to it. Of course, you probably won't develop the tech until you have the tactic to go with it, but not taking it all can be fatal.

A warmonger is much more likely to target the player that cannot possibly tech up into a strong army than the player who has the cards, science, rocks, and food to potentially neutralise or even beat him (they don't know whether you have the tactic, after all).
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Alex vT
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Benkyo wrote:
I'm in a 4-player game now, in which I saved food by not making that extra worker, which paid off as the Age A events didn't come out, then got Irrigation early and cheap, upgraded, had 7 food, and - ouch - Rats was one of the first Age I events out, just before I spent a turn making a huge army.
Ouch! It’s for situations like this that I will almost always grow my population pre-Rats if I have sufficient food. Useful for Pestillence too.
 
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Benkyo wrote:
avt_12 wrote:
Yes, for example taking Knights purely for the “potential” to fulfil a future tactic. I wouldn’t go about it this way, personally
I believe a single CA here and there is essential to avoid a situation where an aggressive opponent suddenly gets a huge army and you have no answer to it. Of course, you probably won't develop the tech until you have the tactic to go with it, but not taking it all can be fatal.
Taking a military tech but not playing it unless I need to is something I do as well. Not sure it's necessarily a great idea, but my thinking is that I (a) want to be able to respond if I'm attacked, but (b) I'm not going to get much benefit out of spending the science to implement the tech if I'm not attacked. So grabbing a card and sitting on it can sometimes seem like a prudent defensive measure.

Plus, it can also throw some doubt in the opposition's mind about whether I may have a matching unplayed tactic card in my hand. Although to be credible you need to have enough MAs to both build the new units and play a new tactic card on the same turn.
 
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Ben Kyo
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avt_12 wrote:
Benkyo wrote:
I'm in a 4-player game now, in which I saved food by not making that extra worker, which paid off as the Age A events didn't come out, then got Irrigation early and cheap, upgraded, had 7 food, and - ouch - Rats was one of the first Age I events out, just before I spent a turn making a huge army.
Ouch! It’s for situations like this that I will almost always grow my population pre-Rats if I have sufficient food. Useful for Pestillence too.
Sure, but it's for all the other games where it doesn't happen that I'll play more efficiently without worrying about whether the next event is Rats. I'm not disagreeing with the practice of using food up, I'm disagreeing with it being a hard and fast rule defined by the absolute "Never".
 
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Alex vT
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Fair! Maybe you’re more of a gambler than me. You’re right though, the whole point of my post was to encourage flexibility, yet here I am with absolute strategy rules. I guess these are my personal tips which I would advocate, but I am always interested to see others’ approach to these issues. Testament to the quality of the game design I suppose!
 
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Brent Celmins
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avt_12 wrote:
Fair! Maybe you’re more of a gambler than me. You’re right though, the whole point of my post was to encourage flexibility, yet here I am with absolute strategy rules. I guess these are my personal tips which I would advocate, but I am always interested to see others’ approach to these issues. Testament to the quality of the game design I suppose!
You seem to be excessively worried about a single event, so much so that you're overcompensating by spending CAs to pop workers when those CAs could be used toward better things at that moment. Moreover, by worrying about one event, you're playing into a different-- and potentially worse-- event: Rebellion.

This is the antithesis of flexibility.
 
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Jack Rudd
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balzi wrote:

What the heck is the "other way round"? Do you mean people might build a military in the hope of drawing something?
Yeah, pretty much. The classic example is 2 Knights and 2 Swordsmen in the hope that Classic Army comes up later.
 
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Matthew Charlap
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JackRudd wrote:
balzi wrote:

What the heck is the "other way round"? Do you mean people might build a military in the hope of drawing something?
Yeah, pretty much. The classic example is 2 Knights and 2 Swordsmen in the hope that Classic Army comes up later.
Although that setup is also good for Medieval and Phalanx, so the odds are good that you'll draw or get access to at least one of them.
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Paul Oakley
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Qurqirish Dragon wrote:
JackRudd wrote:
balzi wrote:

What the heck is the "other way round"? Do you mean people might build a military in the hope of drawing something?
Yeah, pretty much. The classic example is 2 Knights and 2 Swordsmen in the hope that Classic Army comes up later.
Although that setup is also good for Medieval and Phalanx, so the odds are good that you'll draw or get access to at least one of them.
... Or Conquistadors. Not far off a switch into Heavy Cavalry or antiquated Shock Troops if desperate either.
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Jochen Wiesner
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The only thing everyone with some experience always does is probably to build a mine on turn 2.

also, my interpretation of the word "strategy" seems somewhat different. IMHO most of the mentioned decisions are of tactical nature in the scope of the game.
 
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Wes Holland

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The_Crimson_King wrote:
The only thing everyone with some experience always does is probably to build a mine on turn 2.

also, my interpretation of the word "strategy" seems somewhat different. IMHO most of the mentioned decisions are of tactical nature in the scope of the game.
And even then, there's exceptions.

Example: If you get Eng.Genius and Library of Alexandria, your second turn can be to grab/recruit leader, grow pop, and get a rock-producing Yellow, then third turn complete the Library. (Some will do this even for Pyramids, but I feel the loss of science outweighs the 1-2 CA you gain.)
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Mark van der Werf
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This thread is stating the obvious kinda. And then it ends with some tips which immediately break with what's said before which is ironic. You shouldn't always keep a worker around for age A events, if you can it's nice but often it's better to get a guaranteed +1 food than a potential temple or warrior.
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Joe Blow
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This thread inspired me to play Bach for my first time!




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Mark Strik
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And how did he work out for you?
 
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Joe Blow
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Worked out decent. I only got 9 culture out of him before trading up to an age 3 leader, but I won the game easily.
 
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