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Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is the Incan Conquest Overpowered? rss

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Mark C
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I've noticed a very high correlation with this building being available on turn 1, and the winner getting it as their first action. In essence, the 20 gold allows you to get 2 buildings if you're willing to forgo first choice of building, which is almost always a very good deal since there are many good level 1 buildings. The problem seems to be that this advantage kick starts your game enough to give a sizeable advantage throughout.

Granted, it may not come out, or not on the first turn, but assuming it is in the opening line of buildings, do you feel it's overpowered? Is there some other action you would chose over Incan gold if you had first position?

I'm considering putting this always on the bottom of the stack of level 1 buildings so it's less of an issue. Just seems to be such a windfall to whoever gets it.
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Normally, the obvious pick in the very first turn is to go after buildings.

If you pick Incan Conquest, yes, you get 20 gold, but you probably will get the worst "real" buildings (those which give benefits through the game) available, or you will have to wait one more round to get something interesting.

Is Incan Conquest better than the building that gives you a Misionary each turn? Mmm, though decision. Of course, if you pick Incan Conquest, the Misionary building won't be there when you pick a "real" building.

In my last game I pick Incan Conquest first and lost, tied in points with the one who chose the Misionary building. He was able to get a lot of points out of the regions of the map. Consider that the first tiebreaker is the points out of colonies in the 8th turn, his strategy proved to be real hard to beat.

Anyway, before using a house rule, I'd start with the advanced official rules. There is an auction to be the first player, so the possible advantage of being first vanishes if you have to pay a lot of money in order to do so.

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Mark C
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So you would take the missionary over Incan Conquest and the 2 other buildings you could get with it?
 
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Jon Quinn
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Gamer_Dog wrote:

So you would take the missionary over Incan Conquest and the 2 other buildings you could get with it?


I think the Incan conquest only gets you one additional Age I building.

It gives you a one-time $20 but costs you $10 to buy it to begin with for a net gain of $10. That will buy you one other building.
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Nick Case
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jwquinn wrote:

I think the Incan conquest only gets you one additional Age I building.

It gives you a one-time $20 but costs you $10 to buy it to begin with for a net gain of $10. That will buy you one other building.


Precisely, why do people miss this point? IMHO Incan Conquest isn't all that. If you buy it then your game suffers in two areas;

1/ Assuming it comes out in Round 1 you have forfeited one round benefit of an action that another Building would have given you. Already you are one step behind the pack.

2/ You miss out on any good buildings in the first draft and are sweeping up whats left after that.

With considered play (with order and trading goods), the purchaser of the Trading Post and/or free Merchant should be able to buy a second building in round two. The owner of Incan conquest, might get first pick of capital buildings in round 2 but must be satisfied with 4th or even 5th pick after that.

So Incan Conquest gets you a hopefully decent building one round later then everybody else and some dregs that no one else wants. Well done, you are already in 3rd position after 2 rounds. Why is this liability of a card so well thought of?





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jwquinn wrote:
Gamer_Dog wrote:

So you would take the missionary over Incan Conquest and the 2 other buildings you could get with it?


I think the Incan conquest only gets you one additional Age I building.

It gives you a one-time $20 but costs you $10 to buy it to begin with for a net gain of $10. That will buy you one other building.


That AND you have to spend three colonists to take them, leaving you vulnerable in other areas.

Gamer_Dog wrote:

So you would take the missionary over Incan Conquest and the 2 other buildings you could get with it?


Granted, the Inqa is powerfull but not overpowered, I've won and lost both with and without the building. Free discovery is also a nice bonus and of course Missionary and Merchant (one of my late favourites)
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The Pillow Demon
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Quote:
I think the Incan conquest only gets you one additional Age I building.

It gives you a one-time $20 but costs you $10 to buy it to begin with for a net gain of $10. That will buy you one other building.


Not quite. A net gain of $10 doesn't mean you *only* have $10 to spend after you buy the building. It's a $10 net gain in addition to the $10 you spent on it for $20.

Like this.

Starts with: $10

Pays: $10

Gets: $20

Has: $20.

Enough to buy two more buildings.

It's not that great though.
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Paul Holman
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jwquinn wrote:
I think the Incan conquest only gets you one additional Age I building.

It gives you a one-time $20 but costs you $10 to buy it to begin with for a net gain of $10. That will buy you one other building.


Um, that's a net gain of $10 - ie: on top of your original $10. So after buying the Conquest of the Incas you have an Age I building and $20 cash - enough for two more Age I buildings, which will probably be one more than most other players on turn 2.

Big Bad Lex wrote:
1/ Assuming it comes out in Round 1 you have forfeited one round benefit of an action that another Building would have given you. Already you are one step behind the pack.


Only in a game with 5 or 6 players. With 4 players or less you buy two buildings in turn 1 (Incas + other), and another building on turn 2. Few players will be able to afford a building on turn 2.

Even with 5 or 6 players, you are well ahead of them to afford your second building.

Big Bad Lex wrote:
2/ You miss out on any good buildings in the first draft and are sweeping up whats left after that.


In my limited experience, there aren't any bad Age I buildings, and for your second turn purchase financed by the Incas you have good opportunity to get an early choice of more good buildings.

Big Bad Lex wrote:

With considered play (with order and trading goods), the purchaser of the Trading Post and/or free Merchant should be able to buy a second building in round two. The owner of Incan conquest, might get first pick of capital buildings in round 2 but must be satisfied with 4th or even 5th pick after that.


Indeed, Trading Post is an excellent building, and I'd probably go for that instead of Conquest of the Incas if both were available. Merchant is also very good and worth considering instead of Incas.

I think the Incas building drops significant in value in 5 or 6 player games, and is much more useful in game with 4 players or less - the fewer players the better.
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Nick Case
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OK Maybe I am incredibly stupid and the majority of the AOEIII gaming community are substantially brighter than I am but I can't help but think that people are getting hung up on how many Capital Buildings they own, and ignoring how effective they are;

Leaf Ninja wrote:

Not quite. A net gain of $10 doesn't mean you *only* have $10 to spend after you buy the building. It's a $10 net gain in addition to the $10 you spent on it for $20.


While you are not wrong in principle, the main point being made is that apart from the chance that you may pick up a couple of extra points at game end for owning an extra Capital building, once you have spent the 20 gold the IC card gives you, IT IS USELESS FOR THE REST OF THE GAME so that first 10 gold is lost. Meanwhile the guy who bought a building that generates 'x' for the whole game for 10 gold has an active investment until game end for +1 round.

Imagine: At the end of round 2 the owner of the IC card has a 1st and 4th choice Capital building (which has cost 3 colonists to achieve) and has been able to action neither. Meanwhile a player who followed the Merchant route with some trade goods (for the same 3 colonists) has a colonist out west, and a contribution to an income stream throughout the game as well as the same number of capital active buildings.


Leaf Ninja wrote:

Like this.

Starts with: $10

Pays: $10

Gets: $20

Has: $20.

Enough to buy two more buildings.


Pum_ wrote:

Um, that's a net gain of $10 - ie: on top of your original $10. So after buying the Conquest of the Incas you have an Age I building and $20 cash - enough for two more Age I buildings, which will probably be one more than most other players on turn 2.


Or to put it another way;

Yes two 'more', but the first building is next to useless so in reality it is only two 'proper' buildings, not three. Meanwhile, as you congratulate yourself for owning 3 capital buildings compared to others who only have 2,you have lost a round where you could have actioned a 'useful' capital building.

I agree there aren't any 'Bad' Age 1 buildings, there are however options that best suit where you are aiming. I believe you need to have made in-roads into your main strategy by round 2 and the correct selection of capital cards is instrumental in not tripping yourself up. If you are forced to play a bland open strategy for round one in order to best suit the building draw of round two, and even then be forced to take whats left for your second draw, then you have lost a march to those players who focused on the set up in round one and solidified in round 2.

My comments are based upon 5 player games. Less than <5 and there is so much less competition and squeeze as to make any general strategy advice pretty meaningless.

That's my 2d worth.

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Matt Smith
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I think what players who complain about the Inca building are really saying is it dictates the action the turn it is available. When Inca is out on turn 1, if players don't all grab a building with their 1st or 2nd action, then one player could end up with Inca+Trading Post+Merchant on the first turn. This puts him up either one Merchant or $5 on the other players, who could only afford one building on turn 1. Also, it's very rare for a player to be able to afford a building on both turns 1 and 2, so the Inca player gets another turn bonus from his extra turn 1 building (with respect to the other players). The Inca player also has a leg up for the Prosperity building. Some players feel this is too much of an advantage to give to their opponents, so they feel compelled to grab a building early, just to keep it from the Inca player.

The opportunity cost of getting three buildings on turn 1 is the lack of other resources your are collecting. You're not likely to get the Merchant Ship, nor build an expeditionary force, nor get a presence in the Carribbean, nor get a decent trade good, nor get a good (or any) specialist.

So, is Inca overpowered? No. However, it can dictate the action when it's on the board, which some players find annoying.

Another data point: In my last 4-player game, the player who took Inca and two other buildings on turn 1 came in third place. We're all experienced players and it was very close (91-91-90-76), but Inca didn't cut it that game.
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Mark C
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Interesting replies.

I think some of these are flawed, though, since Incan Conquest will get the best 2 buildings on turn 2, practically uncontested since it's unusual (though certainly possible) for players to get 10 gold again on turn 2, or if all good buildings come out on turn 1, a good building on turn 1, plus an additional best building on turn 2. Some of the counter-argument seems to be you don't get return on Incan gold, but most players would take such buildings for their 2 buildings that the gold nets you, so that seems weak.

I disagree with the statement that it's not overpowered even though it's the only choice you would ever make if it's on the board. If it's the only action you would ever consider when it's on the board, it IS overpowered. If you think it's not overpowered on turn 3, for example, when other actions may be more important for scoring, that's one thing, but I'm specifically asking about turn 1, first player.

Would you take a specialist over it?
Would you place for the ship or a trade good?

For those who say it's not all that, what action do you find yourself taking instead? I'd like to hear what alternatives you find better.

The reason I find it so strong is for the same reason another player said it isn't --there aren't any bad age I buildings. Because there aren't any bad ones, getting two instead of one seems like a noticeable advantage.

One fairly minor additional point is that it also sets you up favorably for the Age III building that gains VPs for capital buildings.

I do feel it's the best draw in the game, but I'm interested in hearing players who've passed on it (not theoretically, but actually done it) and still believe they've been better positioned, what they took instead, and how it worked out for them. Anyone actually do that?
 
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Filip W.
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A lot depends on what other buildings there are. For example: a trading post gives you only a single colonist less than the Incas and it's a continuous thing (Incas: 1 colonist = $10, Trade routes: 1 colonist = $5/turn + $5 from 1 colonist placed on Merchant training + colonization in next turn - note that the merchant training doesn't lose you a colonist, only delays it one turn).

Same thing with trade routes (= 1 colonist to take and 1 on merchant training + 2 to colonize for $10) and it's also continuous.

Training grounds and monastery are equally valuable, although I would easily take the Incas if there were only Settlers and Cartography as alternatives.

So no, I don't find the Incas overpowered, even on the first turn.
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Nick Case
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mvettemagred wrote:
When Inca is out on turn 1, if players don't all grab a building with their 1st or 2nd action, then one player could end up with Inca+Trading Post+Merchant on the first turn.


How can 1 player afford 3 capital buildings in round 1? You don't get 20 doubloon immediately, you get them at the end of the round to spend next time around. Is this entire thread based upon a misplay of the rules?

If not then it's official, I don't understand the pro-Incan card lobby at all and whilst no one offers a substantiated counter argument to the reasons I offer I remain terminally stupid.

Time to up the meds.
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Matt Smith
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
mvettemagred wrote:
When Inca is out on turn 1, if players don't all grab a building with their 1st or 2nd action, then one player could end up with Inca+Trading Post+Merchant on the first turn.


How can 1 player afford 3 capital buildings in round 1? You don't get 20 doubloon immediately, you get them at the end of the round to spend next time around. Is this entire thread based upon a misplay of the rules?

If not then it's official, I don't understand the pro-Incan card lobby at all and whilst no one offers a substantiated counter argument to the reasons I offer I remain terminally stupid.

Time to up the meds.

The Inca building specifically says "Immediately take $20." (emphasis added by me). That means you get the money as soon as you buy the building (during the Resolution phase), not during the Capital Building Benefits phase.

The same holds true for the Indian Allies building. In both cases the timing of the benefit is extremely important, because it can give you the money (to buy more buildings) or soldiers (for warfare) needed later that same turn.
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Jon Quinn
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Quote:
The same holds true for the Indian Allies building. In both cases the timing of the benefit is extremely important, because it can give you the money (to buy more buildings) or soldiers (for warfare) needed later that same turn


First, I do not think it is a bad building - I just do not think it is all powerful. I don't think its possessor is guaranteed a win at all.

Matt, I think the only way you could buy more buildings later in the same turn would be if you had placed more colonists in some of the 5 capital building boxes at the beginning of the turn in addition to the colonist you put in the first box to guarantee your getting Incan Conquest. If you had placed a colonist in the first capital building spot, and Inca Conquest was available, you would be insured of getting it, but if there are 5 players, my experience has been that those 4 other spaces will fill completely up pronto because everyone is afraid they will miss out on a first turn capital building. This would not be a problem in a 2 player game, and likely not so much in a 3 player game. In a 4 player game there would be a guarantee of an opportunity to another building if the 2nd colonist had been placed, but I think having an opportunity to place 3 colonists in the captial building boxes so as to get Inca Conquest plus 2 more buildings the first turn is an impossible dream in a 4, 5 or 6 player game. Also, in a 5 or 6 player game there would not be even a guarantee of getting any other building the first turn besides the Inca Conquest.

Of course, the player would be all set for the second turn, and could probably easily land 2 buildings then, and as others have said, whatever buildings were bought the first turn, there are no Age I bad buildings.
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Matt Smith
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Agreed, the 1st turn benefit of Inca is very dependent on the number of players. I've played mostly 4-player games, and seen the Inca player get three buildings on the 1st turn several times. Either one player is not paying attention, or doesn't see a building they really want and decides to wait until turn 2.

Again, I've seen three 1st-turn buildings still lose, so I don't think it's overpowered at all.
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mvettemagred wrote:

The Inca building specifically says "Immediately take $20." (emphasis added by me). That means you get the money as soon as you buy the building (during the Resolution phase), not during the Capital Building Benefits phase.


Yoi! I stand corrected, but now understand that this question can only be posed if there are less than 5 players and/or there are inexperienced players in the mix.

With 5 experienced players everyone will go for a Capital building and the previous comment stands that you will only be able to spend your newly acquired 20 doubloons in round 2. Even then you will be slugging it out with the trading post holder and the extra merchant so my earlier reservations still stand.

With 4 players each should go for a capital building as well which means the IC card holder will only get one 'proper' building as a last choice.

Only if you played with absolute novices could you ever contemplate picking up IC and 2 others in round 1 and as such you should be able to do what you like and still win.

I don't think I'd want to play this with 3.
 
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Howard Wagner
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I played a game against my son last night. In the first round, I took the Incan Conquest and he took the building giving him a Merchant each round. He got enough money to buy a second building in the second round. I started falling behind and never could catch up the entire game. I ended up losing to him. I don't think I like the Incan Conquest and will not take it in future games.
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Mitch Willis
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It's a great building but I wouldn't go as far as calling it overpowering. In our last game, I could've purchased it on turn 1 but chose to purchase the +1 Merchant building instead. The player after me selected Incan Conquest and while the game was very close, I edged him out by 4 points and the person finishing in 3rd was only a point behind him. If the merchant building hadn't been available, I would've taken Incan Conquest...but I figured the extra figure to place each turn, along with the extra income potential of using the merchant through either the colonist dock or to claim the merchant ship would be better in the long run. That proved correct for at least that particular session. So I think the value of the Incan Conquest depends upon the buildings that show up with it...
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Robby Boey
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I won't say it is overpowered. In general, I find AoE III one of the best balanced games of late.
In the games we've played so far it's always been a close game. Excellent combo's can occur throughout the game (for instance, having both the free Captain and Soldier in the discovery box is money!) and no matter what strategy you take, results can be surprising.

I remember even in one of my first games, I decided to purely focus on Soldiers and Warfare. Always buying the soldier building, sending them to the New World and fighting my way to 1st place in the different areas. I know focussing on this as a strategy is risky, but it turned out to be quite successful giving me a 2nd place in a 4 player game (the disruption you cause to the other players is fun as well, and so are their faces when you fight each round).

Anyways, what I wanted to say is, no, there's in my view not one strategy or building that's overpowered. It's an excellent mix and a fine balance to find the gamewinning strategy each game.

Best regards,

Robby
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Mark C
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Good comments, all.

I do think the trading post and merchant buildings are worth considering, but I've yet to see anyone pass on it and the 2 buildings it can buy in round 2 (or round 1, depending on the number of players). Certainly in a 3 player game where getting buildings is not as competitive, it seems like the money is quite powerful.

 
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Glenn Drover
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No one can pass on it because it just looks so damn sexy! Just like AK in poker (we call it Anna Kornokova...looks great, never wins...) LOL

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Tony Chamberlain
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Note: I assume in this argument that any +people building (colonist or specialist) is better than the other Age I buildings ON TURN 1/2.

I realize this post is about a month late, but I would agree with the original poster that is a very strong first play. Whether its an "overpowered" play is debatable. Its a specious argument to say if a play is the only play you'd take every time, then its overpowered. (I use overpowered in the sense that it gives an overwhelming advantadge). As a counterexample.. Imagine a game whose ending scores are in the 100ish range. If turn 1 there was a 6pt play and Four 5pt plays, I would ALWAYS take the 6pt play, but i woudln't say it was overpowered. Plus the total net gain on IC is much less than you would think (see breakdown below).

I also disagree with number of players making it weaker or stronger. Your goal with this card is to get 2 +people buildings. If poeple all build in turn 1. You get 2 uncontested builds turn 2, If poeple skip building in turn 1, you get to drop another guy in turn 1 and actually get one of your people buildings earlier. It is fairly rare you don't get 2 people buildings after taking IC on turn 1.

Here is a number breakdown of what I calculate your net gain on IC to be. The following incorporates ideas expressed in a few different responders but hopefully in a more consice clear way, with all the factors taken into account. The biggest thing people miss with IC is the fact you DO spend 2 extra guys to get this combo. Again the following is assuming your comparing your Two R2 people buildings vs someone's R1 people building.

Start/End of Turn 1 -- You are even with poeple (everyone built age 1)
Start of Turn 2 -- Everyone has +1 guy over you.
End of Turn 2 -- You are -2 (-3 total) more guys from having to build 2 buildings.
Start of Turn 3 -- You net one guy 1, -2 total atm
Start of Turn 4 -- You net 1 guy , -1 total atm
..
Start of Turn 8 -- You net 1 guy, +3 total

So by the end of the game you are up 3 guys, however it took you till turn 5 to even up. It is quite possible that people turned their early +guy advantadge into more points further degrading our net profit from turn 1 IC. Though this is slightly balanced by the fact that starting from Turn 3 onward, even though you are NET behind in guys.. for that turn you should be even or possibly +1 guy on people's current totals to play. (Depending on how many specialist trainings poeple do). So you get some net advantadge from getting extra goes. You have a better opportunity to steal the merchant ship, you can choose to go first without giving people money if no one picks Turn order, etc. This advantadge can be further increased by hammering the specialist squares early.

You now have to decide relative strength of the various +people buildings. Clearly +1 merchant is better than +1 colonist. But how do +1 captain in the box stack vs merchant or missionary. I think +1 missionary is extremely strong, and would clearly by my pick during turn 1-3 even over IC. (The more people in a game the stronger missionary gets, as discoverys happen sooner and more often.) Mixed wth cathedral, I do think the strategy is overpowerd (esp if you can clinch it with milita on turn 7 Though I would take a turn 1 IC as 2nd best pick, as i don't feel the other +people buildings are that much stronger than me getting 2 buildings.

Tony Chamberlain

P.S. I found another building annoying in the OTHER direction. WHy do people pick +5 gold a turn. To me its technically worse than +1 merchant-- since i can get 5 gold and a guy on the field with that. Also even if you pick it turn 1.. you don't break even till turn 3. By turn 5 you are up 10 gold.. but you need 14 to buy a buiding.. by turn 7 you are up 20 gold, so you do get 1 more extra 3 building.. at the cost of +some people building for 6 turns. I"m not sure an extra 3 building is worth 6 soldiers or 6 captains int he box, etc. (and i KNOW its not worth 6 missionaries). and if you pick it later than turn 1 its just that much harder to see any net gain out of it.

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I played my first game ever of Age of Empires tonight. I luckily got to go first, place my first guy on Incan Conquest, and placed my second guy on another building. I didn't end up with any trade goods on turn one. I ended up getting the free soldier on the explore box each turn building as my second turn 1 building.

I won the game by a vary narrow margin (less than 10 points) with the 2 / building and the 2 / 5 gold late buildings. I had no idea that Incan Conquest was overpowered but I guess it worked out fine for me.
 
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Brendan Shaw
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It looks over-powered.
It feels over-powered.
No one who's taken it has won either of the 2 games we have played so far (it was out on the first turn in both games).

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