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Subject: Multiple Church builds too powerful? rss

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Houserule Jay
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It seems that an optimal strategy has emerged on BSW. I haven't got a chance to try it myself but after seeing it executed yesterday I dont see a good way to counter or compete with it. Im at a loss why an article has not been written about this unless I missed it?

The first person to build a stone building, will build the Church, this is 3 points and a favour, no biggy, yet. Now when they get set up for a Castle build and know they will end up with the favour (easier in 2 or 3 player game) they use the building on the track to build a residence (forget the name) and build OVER the Church. This action costs them 2 dollars total and a purple cube, they get 2 points.

When doing the Castle build, they take a favour and rebuild the Church, this will only cost one cube total for the actual building. In return, 3 points plus a favour.

Where this works is first of all, you advance like crazy on the favour track and second, this is more points than you can get ANYWHERE else (besides Prestige buildings which are late to end game).

Once you have the VP favour track advanced, which you should do asap, even before you start this, this is now 7 points and later 8 points for one favour and very little cost. In total the cost is 2 dollars (of which is one to place the worker which shouldnt even be counted) and 2 cubes.

These add up big time. Can someone please enlighten me on where you can get that kind of return elsewhere in the game, because I sure dont see it!? Even some of the prestige buildings while they give you more, cost more but I am not including them as they dont come into play until near the end and every player has access to them, so other then the Prestige buildings.

And lets not get into, "well if you know this then just try to stop it" etc The worse part is, once it is started, it is almost impossible to stop so its virtually locked down for one player.

Hopefully some experienced players or BSW players who have tried it or seen it done can comment.


The building track is already thought by most (as far as I can tell) to be possibly the best track and I would agree with this mostly. By itself, not a problem at all, everyone has access to it. Combined with this Church strategy, that is another thing by the looks of it.
 
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Daniel Corban
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The easy answer is to not play with only three players, which likely means not playing on BSW at all. *shrug*
 
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Houserule Jay
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Actually it would work even better in the 2 player IMO as you can be more confident about the Castle.

Not playing on BSW though, that point is taken
 
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Joseph DiMuro
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jayjonbeach wrote:
And lets not get into, "well if you know this then just try to stop it" etc The worse part is, once it is started, it is almost impossible to stop so its virtually locked down for one player.


It's almost impossible to stop? In order for him to keep cycling like that, he has to be able to play on the lawyer AND get the favor from the castle build during the same turn. Plus he needs to get a cloth cube in advance to build the residence. Surely you can stop him from doing one of those things.
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Houserule Jay
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TrojH wrote:
jayjonbeach wrote:
And lets not get into, "well if you know this then just try to stop it" etc The worse part is, once it is started, it is almost impossible to stop so its virtually locked down for one player.


It's almost impossible to stop? In order for him to keep cycling like that, he has to be able to play on the lawyer AND get the favor from the castle build during the same turn. Plus he needs to get a cloth cube in advance to build the residence. Surely you can stop him from doing one of those things.


Remember in the post, I said, "lets not go there" for a way to prevent it? shake

A cloth cube, r u serious?

Generally, players will alternate getting the Castle favour, not to say it has to be this way but its usually how it plays in my experience especially with 2 players and it is pretty tough for the first half of the game to "outfavour" someone.

There is also more than one way to execute this, the favour spot can be taken to build the green building and then on the road use the building that lets you build a stone building. Again, this is all easier with only 2 players I would think.

Even if it "could" be prevented, I dont want to have it play towards this and adjust my whole game because there is one move that is too powerful for cheap, which is why I want to focus on if there are actually ways to counter this with an 'equally' efficient way to get VP's.

edit - I forgot to clarify that in total it is 2 cubes and 1 dollar for 9 - 10 points.
 
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Daniel Corban
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Why are you specifically avoiding ways to prevent it, or even to get the jump on doing it yourself? If there is an overly powerful way of gaining VPs, obviously you need to either do it yourself or stop the other person from doing it. Enforcing limitations on yourself in a desperate attempt to find a alternate route for gaining an equal amount of VP doesn't seem like the way to go.
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Ryan
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It can be a good combo sometimes, but it is hardly broken. The player doing this is committing 2 cloth every time he uses this trick. This alone will weaken his ability to win at the Castle. You may scoff at the concept of losing a mere 2 cubes but, trust me, it adds up fast and severely compromises your ability to vie for prestige buildings while still being able to contend for Castle wins. Giving your opponent(s) more Castle wins translates into more favors for them and is usually a better investment of cubes in my opinion.

Note that you can also preform this trick by building a residence over the Church from either the Joust or the Lawyer and then using an Architect to build a prestige building with a favor, then rebuild the Church (so long as the Church was unoccupied during this turn, which is often the case). The Mason can also be used in this way if it is after the Lawyer or if you used the Joust to build a residence over the Church. The problem with the Mason and Joust is that they both use 2 cubes to make a building which is often bad mid-late game.

Personally I would rather own the Bank, as people will be using it almost every turn, thus giving you extra points (and it is worth 6 points at the start, instead of 3 + a favor; which may or may or be better than the Bank's 3 extra points at the time). With the Bank you aren't continually sacrificing cubes to it to gain more points. Opponents are going to it and giving the points to you automatically, while you use the cubes you saved on better things. People rarely use the Church except for at the end of the game to convert leftover money into points. Gold is worth at least 3 points but is worth much more when used to build prestige buildings, especially those with favors, the Hotel, and the Cathedral.

I see players overuse this strategy sometimes. The result is that they end the game having too many residences and not enough prestige buildings and/or Castle wins/batches. The reason for this is that they are using too much cloth for the trick. This means that when they do build at the Castle they are having to use stone for batches instead of cloth. This is stone that could have been converted into the valuable prestige buildings (all stone prestige buildings are good-excellent). And if they need to win at the Castle, they are often unable to do so because they have bled too many cloth cubes into this endeavor.

Residences are great when built early on (before phase 3 starts), but thereafter I would only build as many as I needed to convert into prestige buildings. Having 7 residences and only using 1 or 2 of them to build prestige buildings on is a sure way to lose against a good player. The reason is that most of those residences were built late in the game and did not provide much income. They are also only worth 2 points each. A far better approach is to focus on winning the Castle and building prestige buildings that come with favors to advance the point track. Using the Joust late game to advance the point track is OK as well.

Don't get me wrong though, this trick is useful once or twice during the mid to early-late game but, if you over do it in the late game, you're not making the best use of your cubes.

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Houserule Jay
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dcorban wrote:
Why are you specifically avoiding ways to prevent it, or even to get the jump on doing it yourself? If there is an overly powerful way of gaining VPs, obviously you need to either do it yourself or stop the other person from doing it. Enforcing limitations on yourself in a desperate attempt to find a alternate route for gaining an equal amount of VP doesn't seem like the way to go.



Your right, as I dont think there is a way to counter it by gaining as much VP's as efficiently as that.

Like I said in the 2 player, I'm quite sure it is not preventable. I would rather not have to adjust my game towards this but heck, if someone thinks there is a bonified way to stop this in the 2 player game, lets crack it open.

Note that if I am going to win, I dont want it to be because I locked down the most optimal move in the beginning and midgame, so my simple solution will be to houserule that building so it can only be built once. My suspicion all along as soon as I seen this surface was that would be the end result but lets see what becomes of this thread.
 
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Sam
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Multiple Church builds is simply just one strategy, albeit not necessarily the best, and certainly not one used by all players, all the time.

Therefore the solution is to counter whatever strategy is put on the table by your opponents... and if the counter is "prevention" then so be it. It shows that you have caught onto what your opponent is going to do, and hence would be less likely to use the same strategy again...

The game is not "broken" , nor are any house rules required (in my opinion) if one simply doesn't want to counter/prevent an opponents strategy by using a method that your "not happy" to use... but then again each to their own, and feel free to change the rules as one likes
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I must be missing something here. Can't you stop it just by building the church yourself.

Your example was they get a favor and build the residence over the church. Then its back in general supply so next turn if you build a stone building first you can build the church to keep it away from him?
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Ryan
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Sislar wrote:
I must be missing something here. Can't you stop it just by building the church yourself.

Your example was they get a favor and build the residence over the church. Then its back in general supply so next turn if you build a stone building first you can build the church to keep it away from him?


In his example, the player owning the Church knew he would win the Castle favor for that turn. So he uses the Lawyer to build a residence over the Church during the building activation phase. Then, once he builds his batches at the Castle and wins the favor, he uses it to rebuild the Church and then uses its favor to advance his prestige track further. The only way another player could build the Church before him would be if they used the Mason or an Architect that was built after the Lawyer AND if the Church were not occupied on this turn.
 
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Jeff Bridgham
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jayjonbeach wrote:
It seems that an optimal strategy has emerged on BSW. I haven't got a chance to try it myself but after seeing it executed yesterday I dont see a good way to counter or compete with it. Im at a loss why an article has not been written about this unless I missed it?


I'm not sure where you are getting your data from, but I have played on BSW quite a bit (and I have observed at least as many games as I have played) with every number of players possible, from rookies to the best on the site and I have never seen this played as an optimal srategy.

Sure people will do this once or twice in the game, but usually only if they have nothing better that turn. I have seen it used more than that, but not usually for the win. It is way easy to block in a 3+ game and, in a two player, you just spend a couple of rounds collected cubes while your opponent plays with his church and he will never win another castle favor for the game! If he fights you for the cubes then take the lawyer. Again, it is way easy to stop.

That said, this can be part of a successful strategy, if you do it only when it falls into your lap. Honestly though, it works just as well to over build a six point building and rebuild it later as it does with the church.

In my opinion, to concentrate on this strategy even to the point 'only' doing it every other round, is a sure way to lose against good opposition! Actually, even average competition, because I am sure I could win against this strategy!
 
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Kevin Beckey
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shroud wrote:
Sislar wrote:
I must be missing something here. Can't you stop it just by building the church yourself.

Your example was they get a favor and build the residence over the church. Then its back in general supply so next turn if you build a stone building first you can build the church to keep it away from him?


In his example, the player owning the Church knew he would win the Castle favor for that turn. So he uses the Lawyer to build a residence over the Church during the building activation phase. Then, once he builds his batches at the Castle and wins the favor, he uses it to rebuild the Church and then uses its favor to advance his prestige track further. The only way another player could build the Church before him would be if they used the Mason or an Architect that was built after the Lawyer AND if the Church were not occupied on this turn.



My understanding is that you are allowed to build over occupied buildings.
 
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Steve Duff
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beckeykevin wrote:
My understanding is that you are allowed to build over occupied buildings.


You can. And it doesn't stop the worker on it from using the building.

It can change the timing of when the building tile becomes available again however, as technically you can't complete the "building over" until that building has been activated.
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Ryan
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beckeykevin wrote:
shroud wrote:
Sislar wrote:
I must be missing something here. Can't you stop it just by building the church yourself.

Your example was they get a favor and build the residence over the church. Then its back in general supply so next turn if you build a stone building first you can build the church to keep it away from him?


In his example, the player owning the Church knew he would win the Castle favor for that turn. So he uses the Lawyer to build a residence over the Church during the building activation phase. Then, once he builds his batches at the Castle and wins the favor, he uses it to rebuild the Church and then uses its favor to advance his prestige track further. The only way another player could build the Church before him would be if they used the Mason or an Architect that was built after the Lawyer AND if the Church were not occupied on this turn.



My understanding is that you are allowed to build over occupied buildings.


You can build over an occupied building that you own, but that building does not go back to the supply until the activation phase is over. So the first opportunity to rebuild such a building would be from winning a royal favor at the Castle that turn. This is how BSW interprets the rules, so this is what I go by. There was a discussion about this a few threads back, but no official ruling was given. Note that if the building were unoccupied it would go back to the supply immediately and could be rebuilt via the Mason or a favor from a prestige building built from an Architect later during the activation phase.
 
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Joshua Horst
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Stock up on cubes.

Take the gate.

Use the worker on the gate to go to the castle behind your opponent.

If you can out build them, do so and take a favor.

If you cannot out-build them, throw in one batch, or throw in no batches and take the 2 point penalty.

You should now have some cube superiority for the following turn, or the favor from the castle.
 
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Houserule Jay
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Well I knew this would be the end result as there simply is no other move in the game where in total, it is 2 cubes and 1 dollar for 9 - 10 points. I knew as soon as I seen the move, not sure why the person I was playing with couldnt see it.

Take all the options in the game, or any them, and there is no other way to score those points that cheap, period.

That would be fine if it could be fought over but the way it works here is one person gets to lock it down, thats the real problem. The easy thing to do is just have a rule that the Church can only be built once. Its not like I will stop playing or anything, I rate the game a 9 afterall, but Im not about to play a game of chess where the other player has 2 Queens, so to speak, exagerated example but you see the point.

The gate, one of the better ideas but in a 2 player game you are never going to "out-castle" the other player, he would have to screw up pretty bad.

No there is no real way to stop it at all and there is no way to compete with it either. Can you do a bunch of castle builds? Well of course, and so will the other player, its not like this is the only thing he is doing. Remember also castle builds require THREE cubes, they also go down in points albeit the VP favour should be going up but regardless it will not be more points than the Church and it is more expensive.

Think about it, basically this is locking down the cheapest Prestige building in the game, and it can be done fairly early on, unlike the Prestige which require GOLD. The damn Church itself is 8 points, the only Prestige buildings close are 7 plus a favour and 10. The 7 pointer cost one GOLD and two grey, the 10 pointer cost 3 cubes plus a GOLD. There is no comparison here.

Could the strategy be beat? Sure if the other player isnt that good or makes mistakes. If 2 pretty equal players sit down to play, I would sure want to be the one monopolizing the Church, but like I stated before, that wouldnt feel like a real win to me.
 
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Ryan
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jayjonbeach wrote:
Well I knew this would be the end result as there simply is no other move in the game where in total, it is 2 cubes and 1 dollar for 9 - 10 points. I knew as soon as I seen the move, not sure why the person I was playing with couldnt see it.


It is actually 2 moves, since it requires 2 workers (1 to the Lawyer and the other to the Castle). Furthermore, you are using a total of 5 cubes (a net of 5 compared to opponent if you beat him at the Castle) and gaining 3 extra points for the Castle batch (for the sake of argument, we'll assume we are in phase 3 of the game), giving you a total of 12-13 points for the 2-part maneuver. An example of 2 moves which earns a few less points, but saves you 2 cubes, is taking the Gold Mine and winning the Castle favor by proxy from the Gate. That is 3 cubes for 10+ points, assuming the favor goes toward a point track which is already at 3-5 as you illustrated in your example; and gold is worth a minimum of 3 points.

Most of the time a player won't go to the Castle if you are at the Gate and can overbuild them. Even if they do you still only have to use a net of +3 cubes more than them to win the favor. So it is actually worse for them to go to the Castle and lose to you, as they have essentially wasted a worker. Another example of 2 moves which can earn you as many points, yet save you 1 cube, is using the Joust (costs 1 extra denier) for a 4-5 point favor and then winning the Castle for a 5 point favor. These two moves earn you 12-13 points (same the Church trick), saves you 1 cube, and costs the same amount of deniers. You do not have the benefit of the residence, however. Still, this move is roughly as strong as the Church trick, and does not require that you own the Church. Another option is to either take the Joust for points then the Mason for a 6 point stone building or take the Mason and win the Castle for a point track favor. The former gains you 10-11 points, saves you 2 cubes, and costs the same, compared to the Church trick. The latter earns you 13-14 points, costs the same amount of cubes and costs 1 denier less. Both options leave you without the residence, but this is not a large concern if you already have the residences you need and the game will end soon.

These are just minor examples which illustrate anyone can keep pace with the Church trick. The real meat for getting points is in prestige buildings. Saving your cubes up to build these is crucial in obtaining victory.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Take all the options in the game, or any them, and there is no other way to score those points that cheap, period.


You are vastly underestimating the value of the prestige buildings which come with favors. Building the Monument from an Architect can earn you up to 25 points. It costs 4 stone and two gold, gives you 14 points, and comes with 2 favors. If your point track is already at 4-5, then you can use one of its favors to earn 5 points. You can use the other one to build a 6 point stone building for one cube. This costs you a total of 2 gold and 5 cubes. If you use the end-of-game point conversion chart it would be 25 - 6 (2 gold) - 2 (5 cubes rounded up to 6) for a net gain of 17 points. The Cathedral is a net of 14 points. The College and Theater are both worth a net of 12 points if you use the point track. The Hotel is worth a net of 9 points plus it provides an income of +2 deneirs (net +1 since it is building over a residence) so it is good to build early in phase 3. The Statue is worth a net of 8 points. Even the Weaver is worth a net of 8 points, and it doesn't even come with a favor. Granted you have to accumulate the cubes and gold before you can cash in, but surpluses naturally build up over the course of the game anyway.

It is also worth mentioning that the cubes used on prestige buildings could have been used at the Castle instead, making them potentially worth a net of +2 points per 3 cubes, compared to the 1 point per 3 cubes using the end-of-game conversion chart. It is not possible to give an exact figure because it depends on many things. Surpluses of a certain cube type will build up for a player during the game and perhaps he could not have used all of them for Castle batches anyway. And there is a net point turn-around for beating your opponent to certain prestige buildings, particularly the Monument and the Cathedral. That is to say that if your opponent manages to build the Monument before you, he gets the bonus points it provides instead of you getting them over him. Its extra favor gave him 5 extra points instead of you. Had you gotten it, you would be 5 extra points up on him instead, so it is a potential 10 point turn-around to whoever wins the race to build it. That is a simplistic example, but to go into the building and timing of each prestige building in a given game situation in detail would take many pages of written analysis. I certainly don't know all the details and I doubt few, if any, know or will ever know. The point is that the +2 net points per 3 cubes I mentioned is probably not an actual +2 net, but somewhere in between 0-1.5, depending on how the game unfolded and the options available at a given time (i.e. early phase 3, Monument is not yet built vs end game, only weaker prestige buildings are left; much room to build at the Castle vs little to no room left).

jayjonbeach wrote:
That would be fine if it could be fought over but the way it works here is one person gets to lock it down, thats the real problem. The easy thing to do is just have a rule that the Church can only be built once. Its not like I will stop playing or anything, I rate the game a 9 afterall, but Im not about to play a game of chess where the other player has 2 Queens, so to speak, exagerated example but you see the point.


I suppose now is as good a time as any to ask you how many games of Caylus have you played? I have already given you several examples of moves that earn roughly equivalent points (or, in the case of prestige buildings, much more) as the Church trick. And I explained in a previous post why over-using this trick is bad. My explanation may not have made sense to a casual player though, as it may have been too technical.

Let me say that when I first started playing on BSW, I saw others use the Church trick and I thought it was very strong too at the time. I played vs the best player in the world using it and ended the game losing by about 40 points. I had about 8 residences, but only 1-2 of them were used to build prestige buildings. He had half or less residences than I did, but he made use of every one of them to build prestige buildings. Naturally, he beat me in other ways other than just this, as I was still new to 2ers at the time, but using that strategy definitely widened the point gap ... for him.

jayjonbeach wrote:
The gate, one of the better ideas but in a 2 player game you are never going to "out-castle" the other player, he would have to screw up pretty bad.

No there is no real way to stop it at all and there is no way to compete with it either. Can you do a bunch of castle builds? Well of course, and so will the other player, its not like this is the only thing he is doing. Remember also castle builds require THREE cubes, they also go down in points albeit the VP favour should be going up but regardless it will not be more points than the Church and it is more expensive.


As I said in my other post, if you keep bleeding 2 cloth cubes every turn you will fall behind the other player in Castle building and/or your ability to build prestige buildings to match the other player, given all other things are equal in terms of cube and gold accumulation and player skill. Various ways to not just compete with the Church trick but beat it are mentioned above.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Think about it, basically this is locking down the cheapest Prestige building in the game, and it can be done fairly early on, unlike the Prestige which require GOLD. The damn Church itself is 8 points, the only Prestige buildings close are 7 plus a favour and 10. The 7 pointer cost one GOLD and two grey, the 10 pointer cost 3 cubes plus a GOLD. There is no comparison here.


Building either of the two 10 point prestige buildings is not an ideal move unless they are the only only prestige options left to you at the end of the game. I like to refer to the Granary, Library, and Weaver as "afterthought" prestige buildings, with the Weaver obviously being the best of them since it is worth 2 more points. And, again, building a prestige building takes only 1 move/favor. The Church trick requires 2 moves. Gold builds up naturally over time, as it worth good points whether you use it in building prestige building or not. Most high level games have the Bank in play by the end of phase 2, especially if the Lawyer was in play early. This, in conjunction with the Gold Mine, allows players to gather 6+ gold per game rather easily.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Could the strategy be beat? Sure if the other player isnt that good or makes mistakes. If 2 pretty equal players sit down to play, I would sure want to be the one monopolizing the Church, but like I stated before, that wouldnt feel like a real win to me.


This is a losing strategy. It can be a winning tactic, used once or twice, but you pay too high a price to continually recycle it 4+ times. I stated this in my other post, but I will reiterate. When you keep bleeding cloth cubes in this endeavor, you are forced to use stone when you do try to win at the Castle. Stone is very valuable in the mid-late game since it is needed to build the best prestige buildings (with the exception of the Theater, which requires 3 wood). Building 2-4 of these and using the 2nd saved worker (compared to having to use 2 for your strategy) elsewhere will earn you many more points than repeating the Church trick. Players trying to rely on a Church trick strategy will end the game with far too many unused residences, not enough Castle wins, fewer prestige buildings and likely an overabundance of food. None of this is good.
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Kevin Beckey
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shroud wrote:
jayjonbeach wrote:
Well I knew this would be the end result as there simply is no other move in the game where in total, it is 2 cubes and 1 dollar for 9 - 10 points. I knew as soon as I seen the move, not sure why the person I was playing with couldnt see it.


It is actually 2 moves, since it requires 2 workers (1 to the Lawyer and the other to the Castle). Furthermore, you are using a total of 5 cubes (a net of 5 compared to opponent if you beat him at the Castle) and gaining 3 extra points for the Castle batch (for the sake of argument, we'll assume we are in phase 3 of the game), giving you a total of 12-13 points for the 2-part maneuver. An example of 2 moves which earns a few less points, but saves you 2 cubes, is taking the Gold Mine and winning the Castle favor by proxy from the Gate. That is 3 cubes for 10+ points, assuming the favor goes toward a point track which is already at 3-5 as you illustrated in your example; and gold is worth a minimum of 3 points.

Most of the time a player won't go to the Castle if you are at the Gate and can overbuild them. Even if they do you still only have to use a net of +3 cubes more than them to win the favor. So it is actually worse for them to go to the Castle and lose to you, as they have essentially wasted a worker. Another example of 2 moves which can earn you as many points, yet save you 1 cube, is using the Joust (costs 1 extra denier) for a 4-5 point favor and then winning the Castle for a 5 point favor. These two moves earn you 12-13 points (same the Church trick), saves you 1 cube, and costs the same amount of deniers. You do not have the benefit of the residence, however. Still, this move is roughly as strong as the Church trick, and does not require that you own the Church. Another option is to either take the Joust for points then the Mason for a 6 point stone building or take the Mason and win the Castle for a point track favor. The former gains you 10-11 points, saves you 2 cubes, and costs the same, compared to the Church trick. The latter earns you 13-14 points, costs the same amount of cubes and costs 1 denier less. Both options leave you without the residence, but this is not a large concern if you already have the residences you need and the game will end soon.

These are just minor examples which illustrate anyone can keep pace with the Church trick. The real meat for getting points is in prestige buildings. Saving your cubes up to build these is crucial in obtaining victory.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Take all the options in the game, or any them, and there is no other way to score those points that cheap, period.


You are vastly underestimating the value of the prestige buildings which come with favors. Building the Monument from an Architect can earn you up to 25 points. It costs 4 stone and two gold, gives you 14 points, and comes with 2 favors. If your point track is already at 4-5, then you can use one of its favors to earn 5 points. You can use the other one to build a 6 point stone building for one cube. This costs you a total of 2 gold and 5 cubes. If you use the end-of-game point conversion chart it would be 25 - 6 (2 gold) - 2 (5 cubes rounded up to 6) for a net gain of 17 points. The Cathedral is a net of 14 points. The College and Theater are both worth a net of 12 points if you use the point track. The Hotel is worth a net of 9 points plus it provides an income of +2 deneirs (net +1 since it is building over a residence) so it is good to build early in phase 3. The Statue is worth a net of 8 points. Even the Weaver is worth a net of 8 points, and it doesn't even come with a favor. Granted you have to accumulate the cubes and gold before you can cash in, but surpluses naturally build up over the course of the game anyway.

It is also worth mentioning that the cubes used on prestige buildings could have been used at the Castle instead, making them potentially worth a net of +2 points per 3 cubes, compared to the 1 point per 3 cubes using the end-of-game conversion chart. It is not possible to give an exact figure because it depends on many things. Surpluses of a certain cube type will build up for a player during the game and perhaps he could not have used all of them for Castle batches anyway. And there is a net point turn-around for beating your opponent to certain prestige buildings, particularly the Monument and the Cathedral. That is to say that if your opponent manages to build the Monument before you, he gets the bonus points it provides instead of you getting them over him. Its extra favor gave him 5 extra points instead of you. Had you gotten it, you would be 5 extra points up on him instead, so it is a potential 10 point turn-around to whoever wins the race to build it. That is a simplistic example, but to go into the building and timing of each prestige building in a given game situation in detail would take many pages of written analysis. I certainly don't know all the details and I doubt few, if any, know or will ever know. The point is that the +2 net points per 3 cubes I mentioned is probably not an actual +2 net, but somewhere in between 0-1.5, depending on how the game unfolded and the options available at a given time (i.e. early phase 3, Monument is not yet built vs end game, only weaker prestige buildings are left; much room to build at the Castle vs little to no room left).

jayjonbeach wrote:
That would be fine if it could be fought over but the way it works here is one person gets to lock it down, thats the real problem. The easy thing to do is just have a rule that the Church can only be built once. Its not like I will stop playing or anything, I rate the game a 9 afterall, but Im not about to play a game of chess where the other player has 2 Queens, so to speak, exagerated example but you see the point.


I suppose now is as good a time as any to ask you how many games of Caylus have you played? I have already given you several examples of moves that earn roughly equivalent points (or, in the case of prestige buildings, much more) as the Church trick. And I explained in a previous post why over-using this trick is bad. My explanation may not have made sense to a casual player though, as it may have been too technical.

Let me say that when I first started playing on BSW, I saw others use the Church trick and I thought it was very strong too at the time. I played vs the best player in the world using it and ended the game losing by about 40 points. I had about 8 residences, but only 1-2 of them were used to build prestige buildings. He had half or less residences than I did, but he made use of every one of them to build prestige buildings. Naturally, he beat me in other ways other than just this, as I was still new to 2ers at the time, but using that strategy definitely widened the point gap ... for him.

jayjonbeach wrote:
The gate, one of the better ideas but in a 2 player game you are never going to "out-castle" the other player, he would have to screw up pretty bad.

No there is no real way to stop it at all and there is no way to compete with it either. Can you do a bunch of castle builds? Well of course, and so will the other player, its not like this is the only thing he is doing. Remember also castle builds require THREE cubes, they also go down in points albeit the VP favour should be going up but regardless it will not be more points than the Church and it is more expensive.


As I said in my other post, if you keep bleeding 2 cloth cubes every turn you will fall behind the other player in Castle building and/or your ability to build prestige buildings to match the other player, given all other things are equal in terms of cube and gold accumulation and player skill. Various ways to not just compete with the Church trick but beat it are mentioned above.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Think about it, basically this is locking down the cheapest Prestige building in the game, and it can be done fairly early on, unlike the Prestige which require GOLD. The damn Church itself is 8 points, the only Prestige buildings close are 7 plus a favour and 10. The 7 pointer cost one GOLD and two grey, the 10 pointer cost 3 cubes plus a GOLD. There is no comparison here.


Building either of the two 10 point prestige buildings is not an ideal move unless they are the only only prestige options left to you at the end of the game. I like to refer to the Granary, Library, and Weaver as "afterthought" prestige buildings, with the Weaver obviously being the best of them since it is worth 2 more points. And, again, building a prestige building takes only 1 move/favor. The Church trick requires 2 moves. Gold builds up naturally over time, as it worth good points whether you use it in building prestige building or not. Most high level games have the Bank in play by the end of phase 2, especially if the Lawyer was in play early. This, in conjunction with the Gold Mine, allows players to gather 6+ gold per game rather easily.

jayjonbeach wrote:
Could the strategy be beat? Sure if the other player isnt that good or makes mistakes. If 2 pretty equal players sit down to play, I would sure want to be the one monopolizing the Church, but like I stated before, that wouldnt feel like a real win to me.


This is a losing strategy. It can be a winning tactic, used once or twice, but you pay too high a price to continually recycle it 4+ times. I stated this in my other post, but I will reiterate. When you keep bleeding cloth cubes in this endeavor, you are forced to use stone when you do try to win at the Castle. Stone is very valuable in the mid-late game since it is needed to build the best prestige buildings (with the exception of the Theater, which requires 3 wood). Building 2-4 of these and using the 2nd saved worker (compared to having to use 2 for your strategy) elsewhere will earn you many more points than repeating the Church trick. Players trying to rely on a Church trick strategy will end the game with far too many unused residences, not enough Castle wins, fewer prestige buildings and likely an overabundance of food. None of this is good.



There is no reason to use the Gate in competitive play. If you intend to go to the Castle, play in the Castle. You waste a worker playing on the Gate, not the other way around!





 
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beckeykevin wrote:
There is no reason to use the Gate in competitive play. If you intend to go to the Castle, play in the Castle. You waste a worker playing on the Gate, not the other way around!


I strongly disagree. You go to the Gate to get to the Castle last by proxy, when you can produce more batches than your opponent. If they go to the Castle and can only build two batches, you come in behind them via the Gate when it activates, build three batches and win the Castle favor. They have wasted their worker. This is because they could have gone elsewhere and done something productive with that worker instead. Think of it this way: By going to the Castle when your opponent can overbuild you from the Gate, and thus win the favor, he has spent one more batch than you. If you go grab a cube from one of the neutral starting spaces, instead of going to the Castle, you are up a cube compared to where you would have been and your opponent still spends one more batch than you (0 to 1, instead of 2 to 3) to win at the Castle.

This tactic is even useful when your opponent can build the same or more batches than you, when you both have a lot of cubes. Pretend you can both build 5 batches. You go to the Gate. He goes to the Castle. When the activation phase begins, you come in behind him at the Castle. Now he must spend all of his cubes to earn the favor. You simply have to commit one batch. He wins the favor, but now you are up 4 batches on him and can easily win the Castle for the next 2-3 rounds. Also, if in phase 3, he has now given you free reign to build the choice prestige buildings first, as you have the cubes to do so and he does not. Many average players make the mistake of winning the Castle at this high cost and lose the game because of it. Know when it is "your turn" to win the Castle in a 2 player game and do so by going to the Gate. Make your opponent pay if he ignores the fact that it is "your turn" and goes to the Castle anyway. This is only worth doing though if you force them to build at least 2-3 more batches than you.

There are a few exceptions to getting to the Castle via the Gate, such as if you have no batches at the Castle and the current phase is about to end, or if you have some batches but need more for Castle favors at end of phase scoring. Another exception would be if you can close out a section and limit your opponent to 0-1 end of phase favors by doing so.

Perhaps you are thinking more of games with 3-5 players. In that case the same rules apply, only you often don't have the luxury of using the Gate as it becomes more of a race to get batches into each section before they all fill up. In a 2 player games, there is usually no such race.

The believe OP was referring to 2 player games mostly, although he did mention both 2 and 3 players, "... (easier in 2 or 3 player game)". In 2 player Caylus using the Gate is a huge part of the game. It can still be useful to win the Castle in a 3 player game. For 4-5 player games you probably have to race to get your batches in first, instead of using the Gate to do so. It could still be useful in phase 3, when there are 14 spots for batches and your opponents have not been stockpiling masses of cubes.
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shroud wrote:
beckeykevin wrote:
There is no reason to use the Gate in competitive play. If you intend to go to the Castle, play in the Castle. You waste a worker playing on the Gate, not the other way around!


This tactic is even useful when your opponent can build the same or more batches than you, when you both have a lot of cubes. Pretend you can both build 5 batches. You go to the Gate. He goes to the Castle. When the activation phase begins, you come in behind him at the Castle. Now he must spend all of his cubes to earn the favor. You simply have to commit one batch. He wins the favor, but now you are up 4 batches on him and can easily win the Castle for the next 2-3 rounds.



This is not competitive play. Why would anyone competent build 5 batches and put themselves in that sort of position?
 
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You were advocating going straight to the Castle and ignoring the Gate, which allows you to build there last by proxy:

beckeykevin wrote:
There is no reason to use the Gate in competitive play. If you intend to go to the Castle, play in the Castle. You waste a worker playing on the Gate, not the other way around!


The Gate gives one an advantage most of the time since building last gives you leverage and puts your opponent under the gun, and I was pointing it out. Using your strategy if we both had 5 batches, you would go to the Castle and then I would go to the Gate. I would go in after you, and you would be forced to use all five of your batches (in which case I would only build one batch) or allow me to build more than you and earn the favor.

It is a lose-lose situation for you. If you take the first option you win the Castle favor for that turn, but at a very high cost. I now have a large cube advantage over you with which I can win the next 2-3 Castle favors with and/or build a nice prestige building. This will get me quite a lot of points, much more than you got for using all of your cubes at once at the Castle. If you choose the second option you have wasted a worker by going to the Castle and losing (I cover why this is a loss my long post above). The point is if your opponent is at the Gate, and has as many or more batches than you do (3+), don't go to the Castle unless the exceptions I listed in the previous post are present.

If you want to win the Castle in a 2 player game, you generally do so by going to the Gate to posture. Most of the time smart players won't force the issue and leave the Castle favor to you for just a single batch. If they do try to force the issue, you lay the hammer down as I described above. You keep referencing "competitive play", so I assume you play or have played on BSW. If you still don't understand my point I can show you there, if you wish.
 
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shroud wrote:
You were advocating going straight to the Castle and ignoring the Gate, which allows you to build there last by proxy:

beckeykevin wrote:
There is no reason to use the Gate in competitive play. If you intend to go to the Castle, play in the Castle. You waste a worker playing on the Gate, not the other way around!


The Gate gives one an advantage most of the time since building last gives you leverage and puts your opponent under the gun, and I was pointing it out. Using your strategy if we both had 5 batches, you would go to the Castle and then I would go to the Gate. I would go in after you, and you would be forced to use all five of your batches (in which case I would only build one batch) or allow me to build more than you and earn the favor.

It is a lose-lose situation for you. If you take the first option you win the Castle favor for that turn, but at a very high cost. I now have a large cube advantage over you with which I can win the next 2-3 Castle favors with and/or build a nice prestige building. This will get me quite a lot of points, much more than you got for using all of your cubes at once at the Castle. If you choose the second option you have wasted a worker by going to the Castle and losing (I cover why this is a loss my long post above). The point is if your opponent is at the Gate, and has as many or more batches than you do (3+), don't go to the Castle unless the exceptions I listed in the previous post are present.

If you want to win the Castle in a 2 player game, you generally do so by going to the Gate to posture. Most of the time smart players won't force the issue and leave the Castle favor to you for just a single batch. If they do try to force the issue, you lay the hammer down as I described above. You keep referencing "competitive play", so I assume you play or have played on BSW. If you still don't understand my point I can show you there, if you wish.



Option 1 is not a competitive option. As you yourself just stated, it gives your opponent a large cube advantage. Would you build 5 batches in the Castle that turn?


Option 2 does lose me a favor, but at the same time my opponent is down 3 cubes for next turn. I do not consider this a total waste of a worker, especially if my opponent used an earlier worker placement on the Gate and I used my 6th worker to place in the Castle.


I would love to play you on BSW. Name a time (central) and day. If I am wrong about the importance of the Gate than I will do the smart thing and begin incorporating the "Gate by proxy" strategy into my play whenever it is a good move.

 
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beckeykevin wrote:
Option 1 is not a competitive option. As you yourself just stated, it gives your opponent a large cube advantage. Would you build 5 batches in the Castle that turn?


The point is that if you are at the Castle first, you are in a bad position. You either have to lose the favor there or use all the cubes you have to earn it. The second player merely reacts one way or the other, according to what you do. He has gained on you either way.


beckeykevin wrote:
Option 2 does lose me a favor, but at the same time my opponent is down 3 cubes for next turn. I do not consider this a total waste of a worker, especially if my opponent used an earlier worker placement on the Gate and I used my 6th worker to place in the Castle.


But the thing is, had you not gone to the Castle and lost, he would still be down those 3 cubes, as he would have built just one more batch (in this case one) in relation to what you built (nothing, since you wouldn't have been there). So it is good for him that you used a worker at the Castle and gained nothing on him. Had you used your Castle worker elsewhere (to get a cube, money, gold, etc.), you would have gained on your opponent. Even if there is nothing left, passing is better than going to the Castle to lose in this situation (unless you can't pass first for reasons involving the Provost). You'll be $2 richer, $3 in relation to him, if he would have passed as his next move.

About using an earlier worker to take the Gate, you naturally don't do this until after all the choice spots have been taken. If all that is left are the 4 neutral cube spaces, and all the spaces before the Bridge, then taking the Gate in order to win the Castle is a strong move. This way you can still get 2 of the 4 remaining cubes. You leave the Joust as an option for your opponent, but winning the Castle for a favor is almost always preferable to paying extra for a favor at the Joust.


beckeykevin wrote:
I would love to play you on BSW. Name a time (central) and day. If I am wrong about the importance of the Gate than I will do the smart thing and begin incorporating the "Gate by proxy" strategy into my play whenever it is a good move.


I'll send you a PM to figure out a date and time that works for both of us, so as not to clutter up this thread.
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Deathmatch!

I want to see a session report. My money is on Gate Guy.
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