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Subject: Interesting Strategy Experiment rss

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Arthur Field
United States
Greer
South Carolina
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Hi All.

My son and I tried an interesting experiment. We set up a 4 player game and assigned a personality to each board:
a) the money guy-- he advances the $ track, taxes a lot;
b) the even guy--he advances all tracks simultaneously;
c) the colonist guy--he advances colonists, ships and spice and ignores the expedition cards --his goal is to have 3 10s, 2 6s but bring the last column down in the last turn gaining lots of extra actions;
d) the Alex guy--he advances expedition and spice to the bottom before others, then ships to 3, then colonists and $ to 2.

We kept each hand in persona during auction phase, both bidding for tiles that helped the identity progress and the amount of bid.

Here were the scores:
$ guy 40
Even guy 41
Colonist guy 40
Alex guy 41

Even guy won on tie breaker since he got stuck with the most money in last round, since the money guy outbid him for everything and he, ironically, never got to buy a tile. Incidentally, the two mission tiles were the ones that didn't get dealt in the blue round, just by chance. This may have affected the score.
 
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Jim Campbell
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
ArthurF (#45692),

If by "Alex guy" you mean Alex Rockwell, I think you are misunderstanding his approach to the game. Alex's highest priority is to advance the card track to level 3 so that he can start drawing 2 cards. Frequently, the fastest way to accomplish that involves upgrading the colonist track to level 2. If I had to specify a track that Alex advances several times in addition to the expedition card track, that would probably be ships rather than spice.

The scores in your test game seem very low, but I didn't see the game so don't know why. From your description, I suspect that most of the tiles are being sold far too cheaply. The money strategy fails badly if the tiles are properly priced, but can thrive (or at least achieve parity) if they are consistently underbid.

Jim
 
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Nicholas Goedert
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Silver Spring
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
jimc (#45745),

What prices do you usually see tiles going for?

In our games, most tiles and the flag in part A go for around 7 (give or take), with the exception of the red tiles that go for 10-12.

In part B, plantations are widely varied...sometimes up to 10-12, but sometimes you get cornered into auctioning a plantation no one needs. Double extra actions and special tiles (like swap of vice king) go as high as 15. Other stuff is slightly higher than in part A.
 
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Jim Campbell
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
goedert (#45770),

Prices of around 7 for the first flag, 7 for most tiles and up to 12 for excellent tiles (such as the double nutmeg and double clove tiles) are appropriate given the circumstances in turn 1. After that, prices will tend to escalate even if no one uses actions for taxation. By turns 3 and 4 I would expect the occasional situation where a tile is sold for only 6 or 7, but generally expect prices to reach at least the 10-12 range for anything worthwhile.

The tiles in group B are stronger and are purchased from a quite inflated money supply, so bids of 10-12 seem to be a routine baseline for most items. Bids readily escalate into the 12-18 range and occasionally go to 20 or more.

To explain a bit further, in my games with Alex Rockwell no one ever buys their own tile except in dire endgame situations when that tile is the only way for them to reach a particular point total. So money almost never leaves the game, the exception being the occasional 6- or 12-ducat upgrade purchase. Players rarely if ever use the taxation action, so the 5-ducat cards and perhaps some large-scale spice sales in the midgame inflate the money supply by 10%-15% per turn.

In our games players are also very scrupulous about maintaining good cash flow. They try to avoid situations in which they will start the following auction round without the flag and/or at least 10 ducats. Players take advantage of being on the auctioneer's left by deliberately bidding a bit higher than they normally would; they can do that because they are about to sell. Players are also very free with their money when they have purchased the flag earlier in the round, for the same reason. Finally, players understand that holding a lot of money (especially more money than the other players) at the end of the round is usually a sign of failure. There is little purpose for ducats besides buying the tiles, and failing to buy tiles is a big setback during all turns of the game.

Jim
 
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James Stuart
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New York
New York
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
jimc,

Quick puzzle: is black or red more valuable on turn one? My thinking is that black currently is, because it lets you advance colonists first turn, but alas, the drawback is that in a game of good players, there will possibly be no level 6 red colonies to pick up.

The Alex strategy is best described as:

"all resources to developing expedition level 3" (the quickest way to do this being advancing colonists to 2 early)

"draw cards, and then based on that, and tile draws, identify strength between ships and harvests (for example, lots of ships/no spices cards means advance harvest; the opposite means advance shipbuilding)"

"focus on advancing strength, and trying to waste as little time as possible advancing/acquiring the opposite resource as well as advancing expedition"

"draw cards almost anytime you can get the full benefit"

"don't advance colonists past 2 or taxation anywhere except for good reasons (late game actions/victory points)"

"don't buy your own auctions unless it's unbelievable, and value the flag highly"

Of course, the endgame is just about maxing out victory points. But I think that's the basic strategy for goa: there are ways to deviate from that, based on what's before you, but that strategy is oodles better than a "harvest and expedition to 5 first" strategy.


 
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Jim Campbell
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
anonystu wrote:
is black or red more valuable on turn one? My thinking is that black currently is, because it lets you advance colonists first turn, but alas, the drawback is that in a game of good players, there will possibly be no level 6 red colonies to pick up.


I prefer double nutmeg, which gives the following opening (assuming no other tile purchases):

1. Colonize Quilon, take a Clove colony.
2. Upgrade card track
3. Upgrade card track

That works 2/3 of the time, with the other 1/3 being a failure to colonize Quilon in action 1. Using that action for one colonist is not a horrific failure (because actions are rlatively low-yield on turn 1), but is irritating. The sequence Colonize (fail)-Colonize (succeed)-upgrade is still pretty good, although there is often a run on clove colonies which can make delay costly.

Drawing two cards at the beginning of turn 2 is stronger than any other turn 1 outcome that doesn't presume specific expedition card draws. Double clove is also quite nice, leading to this sequence:

1. Upgrade colony track.
2. Colonize Quilon (nutmeg)
3. Upgrade card track.

Now all one must do is find a way to get a nutmeg without using the harvest action, thus enabling the second card track upgrade. That's not always easy but can usually be managed somehow on turn 2.

Jim
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Lynnwood
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Re:Interesting Strategy Experiment
anonystu wrote:
Quick puzzle: is black or red more valuable on turn one? My thinking is that black currently is, because it lets you advance colonists first turn, but alas, the drawback is that in a game of good players, there will possibly be no level 6 red colonies to pick up.


They are both worth bidding all your money on, if people are valuing correctly (or if you have more than anyone else, bid as much as the amount of money held by the highest opponent). Double nutmeg is probably better, because it achieves the goal faster, but double clove gets the job done with the upgrade of the colonist track, and more colonies founded, already completed.
Also, single nutmeg and single clove plantations are nearly as good as the doubles. They allow you to do the same thing, but you have to spend an action to replenish one spice. This wasted action is worth a bit more than the point that comes on the plantation, but still, they are a great buy.

I'd rank my top four turn 1 tile purchases as:

Double Nutmeg (just found quilon and you are there...)
Double Clove (upgrade colonists, found quilon (nutmeg), found the second colony (nutmeg), and upgrade expeditions twice)
Single Clove + 1pt (same as above, but take an action for a clove)
Single Nutmeg + 1pt (found quilon (clove). upgrade expedition, take a nutmeg, upgrade expedition).


James described my strategy very well.


 
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