Sean Shaw
United States
Idaho
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Four players, I got 33 points at the end, the winner got 68, and the middle ground guys got between 40 and 60. Now I can understand somewhat of why I lost, after reading the strategy guides, but I can't figure out how the guy won.

He started out with winning a jester for a lot of florin, but he only got two jesters the entire game. The other two people got the other jesters, and one of them had a jester and 3 builders.

It was my first game, so it's understandable how I lost, but the winner didn't seem to follow any set strategy. He had the most works completed at the end, but basically had 60 points by th end of round 6. He bought a prestige card with his final 200 florin whilst the others of us bid for other items (I wanted to get another forest to round out my prestige card goals, another guy got a lake to be able to place his final work, and the other also had a jester to help boost his final work). He then, couldn't do anything else so he sat back and watched the end show of the 7th round.

He seemed to concentrate only on two jesters, a builder, and then he got landscapes. He got no recruiting cards, and only one prestige card.

I suppose next game I should try to get jesters purely, and what else?
 
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Alvin Chen
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Bellevue
Washington
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I'm certainly no expert, and I'm not sure if I can piece together all the details of your session, but it seems like the winner got by with pretty cheap auctions once he started picking up landscapes and a cheap prestige card. To complete the most works without picking up recruiting cards, does this mean that people let him buy multiple works cards? From what I can tell, it's generally a first round must-buy for a lot of people, since they provide a work value boost to all works (half a jester) and the potential to produce another work, while not requiring an auction battle to acquire. If a player doesn't need much money, then works can go mostly toward prestige points. It's also odd that he managed to fulfill (I'm extrapolating here) an eight-point prestige card in the last round, though I suppose that's easier in a four-player game, and he could probably shoot for various "most landscapes" bonuses if he really had been buying them across the board.

Personally, I really prefer the five-player game, since it forces the auctions and also makes many resources run out (e.g., works cards, freedoms). Jesters never make it to the seventh round, do they?
 
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Carl Bussema
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Lansing
Michigan
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A first-round jester may be worth as much as $1k or $1.2k, and possibly more but it's pretty hard to justify that. The value drops a little starting in round 3 or 4 and rapidly by round 6 or 7.

Your initial draw should focus on synergy: it's easiest to prioritize freedoms and landscapes because it's rare to do more than 2 works with the same building, and buildings aren't an especially good investment without a builder, which itself is not usually a priority purchase at auction. There are building-heavy strategies, but I'm not good at them so I'll let someone else comment.

Get 2 recruiting cards if you can, and get them as cheap as you can. You probably won't do a work in round 1 and maybe not round 2 so your money needs to stretch. Purchase at least the landscape you think you'll use the most of, and maybe the second if you get outbid for jesters or recruiting cards (your priority targets). Avoid builders, if you really can't get a recruiter, jester, or landscape, go for prestige (but these favor the building strategies).

Use your first-round actions to (in order): get a new profession card and get the freedom you'll use the most. In round 2 if there are still profession cards left, get one. If your secondary freedom is available and you think you'll need it for 2-3 works (or more, remember recruiters will probably get you good stuff), pick that up; else a Bonus card can work, or even a low-valued work if you're going last and can be assured of getting the 3PP bonus for best work.

From here it's going to get fuzzy. Look for works that you'll have trouble getting out later because you won't make the minimum value with what you have (try not to rely on assumptions like "if I get a 3rd jester", and try not to get to where you have to buy a landscape for only 1 or 2 works). Your goal is going to be 7-8 professions in a 4-player, 6-7 in a 5-player (lower availability of initial cards and recruiters), which means you need to carefully count your remaining actions--rounds 6 & 7 will probably be 4x profession, if you do one in round 3, that's 5 total and leaves up to 3 more actions between rounds 3, 4, and 5. You'll probably want to buy one building (large ones are a good choice often) and try to use it for 2 works, using your recruiter carefully (remember this doesn't cost an action, and remember it adds +1 to work values whether in your hand or on the table because someone recruited one of your guys)... if you're really lucky/clever, you can recruit an ideal candidate (matches building, landscape, freedom) BACK after someone else recruits it away because it's an ideal or near-ideal candidate for them.

Play bonus cards to clear minimum work value if needed, or save them for when you think you can get best value. Take money early because you will need it eventually and switch to 90-100% points once you have a good amount. Getting a third jester is nice but can be costly: count how many works you have left to do x2 -- that's your max bid and you don't profit on it unless you otherwise couldn't get a work out or you manage to get best work that round.
 
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Kevin Beckey
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Minneapolis
Minnesota
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GreyLord wrote:


I suppose next game I should try to get jesters purely, and what else?


1. Buy a Profession Card and a Freedom during your first action phase.



 
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Sean Shaw
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Idaho
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Thanks for the advice. I figure a purely jesters strategy isn't the best one, now that I've gotten several more plays. You get blocked a lot, but it did get me to score relatively high. The next game I got into the 50's with just jesters, I got lucky and got quite a few. I tried a builder strategy and also got into the 50s, but had more fun then just doing jesters.

Last game though, I got a jester right off for around a thousand, but got a lucky card draw where basically I had lab, forest, and religion as the three basic items that I needed overall in the cards, even with the professions which I drew first and second round, as well as the freedom. Never built a builder, but did have that luck with the three sets, and even with others getting a good number of jesters, I got to 65 points and actually won!

So thanks!

My wife tried a different type of strategy which seemed a little odd at first, but worked well. She DID get two jesters, which helped her, but she also concentrated on Prestige cards. She seemed to have lower points during the game, but at the end of the game, her score shot up to 63, so it was VERY close on her part to me. I was surprised on how much prestige can affect the game in some ways.
 
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Joe Geerkin
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Eden
New York
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There is no one strategy to this one. Jesters are strong but so are architects. Prestige cards are great early because you can plan for the endgame.

I try to do something different every game. I love this one, I never get bored with it.
 
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フィル
Australia
Ashfield
NSW
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I've got an 808 and a 303 and a record collection like the ABC
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My wisdom: a profession card is worth half a jester, so you want those. Having a couple of prestige cards also helps.
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