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In the Year of the Dragon» Forums » Strategy

Subject: a money strategy? rss

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Lowell Drake
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Meridian
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I’ve played YotD three times. The first game it was new to all of us, and three of us tied for first. I won because I was a few points ahead on the person track. A fluke, to be sure. The second game I let myself get too low on money and it screwed me - I came in dead last. (Very embarrassing since I own the game.) The third game I chose a tax collector as one of my beginning subjects (trying to learn from my mistakes). One player built lots of palaces - a proven strategy - and stayed ahead on the person track. He won. I felt that I didn’t make any mistakes during the game, but my strategy was obviously flawed.

HOWEVER, I can’t shake the idea that if I took a tax collector as one of my two starting subjects, then took a second tax collector on my first turn and built a palace OR bought a privilege that turn, then on my second turn collected taxes, this should be a strong strategy. I hate having to choose weak subjects in performance so that I can stay in the race on the person track. If I had enough money on hand to pay for actions, I could blow off the race on the person track and have the freedom to do most anything I want in the way of actions.

So, for those of you more familiar with the game, I’d appreciate your insights and opinions.
 
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Chris Linneman
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Yes, that strategy can work. I've won and lost with it. Usually you won't get one of the two best actions (privilege/palace) on the first turn if you start with a Tax Collector, since they only give you 3 person points. Of course, you can pay 3 yuan to take any action, so one strategy I sometimes use if other players are competing heavily for turn order, is start with Tax Collector/Builder and pay to build on turn one, take another Tax Collector and pay (if necessary) to tax on turn two. You can play online if you want to test this strategy out (play by email):

www.mabiweb.com
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Steve Bauer
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I don't think I am an expert but I have played a few times.

It could work but you can't let the player leading on the position track off to easy. You are going to need a lot of money to compete with the first player who is getting all his placement choices for free and you are going to have to pay for all of them. If several of the other players are leapfrogging each other and choosing the young subjects and still having to pay for actions then you have a chance. If one player manages to not pay for there actions for a good portion of the game and you are always having to pay you will spend far to many actions getting money and not be able to gain the vp to win.

I find you need to try a little of everything in this game. You need to build palaces and not discard to many subjects, you need to have enough money that you don't get locked out of actions you need to take. You need to at least partially alleviate most of the disasters. I think focusing to much on one thing will not win the game.
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Chris Linneman
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Steve is right. This strategy will not work if one player is always in front (as in a 2p game, for example). It has a good chance if the other players are all fighting for turn order.
 
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Chad Ellis
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I like this strategy more the more people there are in the game. You basically start with tax collector and craftman (although sometimes you actually start with collector and court lady). You build on the first turn (expecting to pay for it) and then tax on the second (having added another tax collector, and again expecting to pay for it).

The basic idea is that you want your opponents to compete on the PP track while you take better people. I usually try to have as many action choices available as possible (e.g. my next person will often be a farmer, even if famine isn't coming soon) and when you can do something good without paying you usually do so.
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Måns Bruun
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I am defenitely not any expert at this game and I had the same feeling as you do about the tax collectors. You got very relevant answers from the others in this string. What I would like to add that what strategy to choose in IYoD for me seem to be a variant of what in game theory is called a Hawk and Dove game.

Hawk is the dominant (and normal) strategy in this case it would of course be competing for the PP-position. Dove (money) strategy will (or might) work when most players are beeing Hawks. As soon as majority of the players go for Dove the remaining Hawks will always get upper hand since they can dominate the game.

I have not had the oportunity to fine tune the money strat, in 4 and 5 player games, enough to see if you have to be alone to choose it to be successful or if it is possible to play it when other do too and still have a good shot at the win. So far I have always lost (to a Hawk) when more than I have tried to start slow on the PP-track.

I guess the more experienced player can fill in the gaps in this reasoning but so far I think what strat to choose is dependent on what the other do, like so much else in this game
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Matt Albritton
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Ludentotten wrote:
Hawk is the dominant (and normal) strategy in this case it would of course be competing for the PP-position. Dove (money) strategy will (or might) work when most players are beeing Hawks. As soon as majority of the players go for Dove the remaining Hawks will always get upper hand since they can dominate the game.


This reminds me of the strategy evaluations in Princes of Florence.
 
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Alan Kwan
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One important concern is the event order. If you're starting with two tax collectors, this reduces the number of other persons you can get early on, and also reduces your fodder availability until the point in the game where you have already taxed enough. So you do not want to play this strategy in a game where there are lots of early person-intensive events such as Mongols and especially Contagions. Famine (being probably the most troublesome event) may also get in your way, but Festivals are better because you can ditch the Pyrotechnists after getting your Fireworks. It works best when there are early Taxations, I guess.
 
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