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Subject: Don't use this strategy! rss

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Merric Blackman
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With Randy joining us, we were four again. Having about an hour until dinner time, Randy pulled out Taj Mahal from his shelf and we settled down to an entertaining game.

We also settled down to a game in which I was not competitive at all. This was due to an entirely mistaken strategy of getting out of the card-playing at the earliest opportunity; that is, before I'd played any cards at all; and just taking the two "best" cards on offer. Then I'd play my hands on provinces that "mattered".



There's a basic problem with that strategy: it requires (a) you to realise what the best cards are and (b) to use them to win the provinces you do contest!

Randy groks this game a lot more than the rest of us do. Above you can see the result of the first turn: Randy has three palaces on the table already, with Rich the fourth. Josh went for an elephant strategy, which actually worked quite well. It certainly worked well at frustrating Rich, who, whenever he thought he had the elephant advantage, Josh would play another double elephant card!



After four turns, I still thought (poor fool me) that my strategy was working. I've got a nice line of palaces, and, in turn 7, I would be able to get two more palaces and connect to the middle and many, many points would (potentially) be mine. There's one problem with that: it assumes that I actually had a good set of cards to win the seventh round with. And I didn't.

Oh, ignore the two King markers on the board: Randy's placed the wrong marker. (Instead of passing the First Player marker to me, he's put it on the board).

When the seventh round came around, I discovered you need more than a lot of cards of the same colour: you also need people of the same colour as well. Incredibly, I didn't win anything during the seventh round. With my score a distant 11 to Rich & Josh's 22 and Randy's 31... I was in so much trouble that I don't have the words to express how much in trouble I was in.



I'd like to say I played well for the rest of the game, but, honestly, I can't. I played sort of okay but not really. Randy just made bigger and bigger chains of palaces and Josh continued to elephant his way to points. Lots of trade goods? Very nice indeed. I really began to wonder if he could take the game from Randy.

Rich wasn't playing badly, but he was being squeezed a lot by Josh and Randy, and often he'd fall afoul of the turn order and find his placements to not be in the best position. The worst came during the final round for him: finally, my huge run of cards worked for me and I was able to win four of the contests, shutting out everyone but Randy (who took the centre palace and the +4 points). Unfortunately, I wasn't anywhere adjacent to the final province, which rather reduced them impact of placing four palaces: a measly one point!



I got a few points from cards in hand at the end of the game, but nowhere near enough to be competitive. I'd stopped Rich from gaining four points by not letting him take any cities, but making sure Rich was 3rd place whilst I remained far behind in 4th place and not stopping Randy at all? That's not a winning strategy.

Indeed, the next time I play Taj Mahal, I'll definitely have to try something different. It's an excellent game, but hoarding any cards you can find of one colour? Not good.

Final scores: Randy 56, Josh 39, Rich 30, Merric 26
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MerricB wrote:
Indeed, the next time I play Taj Mahal, I'll definitely have to try something different. It's an excellent game, but hoarding any cards you can find of one colour? Not good.


Now I finally know what you were trying to do

It reminds me of the time we played Notre Dame, and I wanted to try out the "gimme rats" strategy... I didn't win It good and fun to try out new strategies, specifically in short "under 1-hr" games. It's a bit more painful in 4hr games...

I think I do Grok the Taj, but only because I've been there!




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Ben Jackson
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" I was in so much trouble that I don't have the words to express how much in trouble I was"

Thanks for a great report, I have played this once.

I would sum my experience up as , "I was in trouble and didnt even know it".



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Jim Cote
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MerricB wrote:
This was due to an entirely mistaken strategy of getting out of the card-playing at the earliest opportunity; that is, before I'd played any cards at all; and just taking the two "best" cards on offer. Then I'd play my hands on provinces that "mattered".

You didn't mention it, but I assume you know that if you withdraw before playing any cards that you get an extra card from the deck.
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ekted wrote:
MerricB wrote:
This was due to an entirely mistaken strategy of getting out of the card-playing at the earliest opportunity; that is, before I'd played any cards at all; and just taking the two "best" cards on offer. Then I'd play my hands on provinces that "mattered".

You didn't mention it, but I assume you know that if you withdraw before playing any cards that you get an extra card from the deck.


Um, no we didn't know that!
 
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Merric Blackman
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ekted wrote:
MerricB wrote:
This was due to an entirely mistaken strategy of getting out of the card-playing at the earliest opportunity; that is, before I'd played any cards at all; and just taking the two "best" cards on offer. Then I'd play my hands on provinces that "mattered".

You didn't mention it, but I assume you know that if you withdraw before playing any cards that you get an extra card from the deck.


Oh really... we'd forgotten about that rule (if we ever knew it). These pesky games we don't play enough of!

That would have changed things...

Thanks muchly, Jim!

Cheers!
 
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Werner Bär
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MerricB wrote:
Indeed, the next time I play Taj Mahal, I'll definitely have to try something different. It's an excellent game, but hoarding any cards you can find of one colour? Not good.

I once won a game by hoarding cards of one color (plus white ones). Not to use them at all, but for the endgame scoring; i had more than 20 points from cards. Works better in 5 player games when trade goods are more contested, and palace chanins harder to get. The random cards from the hidden draw were used to win a few points here and there.
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Werbaer wrote:
MerricB wrote:
Indeed, the next time I play Taj Mahal, I'll definitely have to try something different. It's an excellent game, but hoarding any cards you can find of one colour? Not good.

I once won a game by hoarding cards of one color (plus white ones). Not to use them at all, but for the endgame scoring; i had more than 20 points from cards. Works better in 5 player games when trade goods are more contested, and palace chanins harder to get. The random cards from the hidden draw were used to win a few points here and there.
Awesome. I'd tried that before, but I don't remember for sure if it was in a 5 player game. I'll have to give it a go next time.
 
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John Farrell
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GeneSteeler wrote:
I think I do Grok the Taj, but only because I've been there!


Dude, you totally photoshopped that. Here's the original:

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Friendless wrote:
GeneSteeler wrote:
I think I do Grok the Taj, but only because I've been there!


Dude, you totally photoshopped that. Here's the original:



Aw Man! laugh


 
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