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Subject: A review of Building Strategy in the first 6 PBF games rss

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Jason Clague
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With (currently) six PlayByForum games of Endeavor underway, we have a unique opportunity to review the different Building choices of 30 players.

My intent with this list is to show the wide variety of different Building Strategies seen in these games.

For the purposes of this analysis - I am working on the theory that Building Order is important. Thus - Workshop>GuildHall>Shipyard is a different strategy to Shipyard>Workshop>GuildHall.


First up:

Building Choices at the End of Turn One (after 6x 5 player PBF games)


Something very obvious about this data - not one of the 30 players opened with a Market. Workshops were slightly more favoured than Shipyards.

Carrying on:

Building Choices at the End of Turn Two (after 6x 5 player PBF games)


Already we can see a range of strategies appearing. It is worth noting however, that 80% of the players now have a Workshop.

Now on to Turn 3:

Building Choices at the End of Turn Three (after 6x 5 player PBF games)


This is what I am talking about! We are not even halfway through the game, but we now have 19 different building arrangements between 30 players. Thirteen of them are unique to a single player. A trend is still apparent - almost two-thirds have some combination of Workshop + GuildHall.

What I take from this early data is that there is certainly a common tendency toward the Workshop+GuildHall path, but the sheer number of different combinations (and after only 3 turns) demonstrates Endeavor's high replayability. These different strategies are (at least in part) a product of the random board layout. A single strategy is not guaranteed to win every game. And then of course, someone may get to the building you want ahead of you!


(I will continue to update this list as all players complete the building phase of rounds 4 to 7. Watch this space!)

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Jamie Pollock
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So I guess the big question is - is the market ever a valid choice to open with?
 
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Steve Duff
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The market is a more extreme opening, more difficult to carry off. No surprise it hasn't been tried yet.
 
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Carl de Visser
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Jambo wrote:
So I guess the big question is - is the market ever a valid choice to open with?


In a five player a market is certainly less viable, as the limited spaces in Europe/Med tend to force occupies early on.

One possible reason to go Market in five player is to delay a choice between Shipyard and Workshop (so if you are occupying anyway a M/W or M/S is the same as S/M or W/M only the other way around).

Another is also focused on flexibility of card draws, if you can occupy for an occupy/draw marker, and then don't use it on the first turn. You then have a lot of options the next turn, based on being able to use the marker to occupy, and then having two population left that can be used for draws or occupies depending on what other people do with the decks.

Both are moderately risky in five player , and you'll note you don't actually use the market on the first turn. In four and three player a market opening will have more options, as if you delay occupying there are still going to be some spaces left in Europe/Med for a while.



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Jarratt Gray
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It's also really tough to do in a 5 player game which all the pbf games are.

Really the Market is an important building because it is a tier 1 Draw building all players have access to. More often than not the Markets are not all taken in a game either. Drawing cards is pretty integral to winning, just like building connections, so not having a draw available to you can really hurt. Clearly the versatility of a Guild/Hall or the double draw of a Trade Office a much better choices than a Market, but if you can't reach high enough to get them then the Market is damn important. It's just rarely important in as an opening building.

That said there are some pretty solid openings with the Market if the circumstances are right, though those circumstances are more likely with less players.
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Asa Swain
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Good job with the pie charts, they look really nice. But I'd be interested in seeing a chart of the possible combinations, instead of permutations each turn. I'm less interested in how the order the players built their buildings, than in what they have available on turns 2 and 3. Also by turn 3 there are so many options in the permutation pie chart that it's hard to read the chart (and of course this will only increase in later turns). It would be interesting to see a chart of all the combinations becuase it would combine the various choices that have the same result, and allow us to more easily see which options are popular.

But thanks for the analysis, it's neat to see someone using the PBF games for strategy discussion.
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Mikael Ölmestig
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One thing that is interesting in game 4 which I run and participate in is that in the 4th turn I have bought three level one buildings (2x shipyard 1x market) and a bank and I am doing well. I have had immensely luck in coming in the right position, but it shows that a low building strategy is a viable option. My build is Shipyard, Shipyard, Bank, Market.
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Mike Allen
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Thanks for the interesting data.

I'd be curious to know if there was any correlation of the "End of Round 2" pie chart to Player Seat Position?

.......... Mike

 
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Jordan Booth
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If you look at the beginning of game three, Jarratt mentions that he would have taken a Market first turn if he had been 2nd player. It also depends highly on the token distribution and more importantly how many/what kind of action tokens will be taken on the first turn. For that reason I don't think you can just lump all of the games together because they all have different seeding values. Also the choices made on turns after the first will be influenced by which tokens each player was able to collect and the actions taken by/available to opponents.
 
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Dave Eisen
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You can't make the kind of conclusions you would like, but you surely can make some conclusions. No one was taking market. No one was completely ignoring workshop.

The bigger limitation in drawing conclusions is that these are all 5 player game games and that no one yet has any claim to expertise at the game. This sort of study will be much more reliable a year from now, although presumably we will all know what the answers are by now from experience. Science always starts at a lower level than experience does.
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Asa Swain
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Here are two charts I made of the buildings built at the ends of turn two and three, independent of order. My pie charts aren't as pretty as the ones above, but I hope they are still readable.



As you can see, more than 75% of all players build a workshop in the first two turns, and in general shipyards are more popular than guildhalls.



By turn three the number of options are so diverse it's hard to read the pie chart, but workshop, shipyards and guildhall is the default selection for a large amount of players. It might be easier to analyze the selections if we divided buildings into categories. But later in the game, what you build is more and more dependent on board position, so I'm not sure how much we can generalize.

(My percentages don't quite match the turn three pie chart above, because the percnetages in that chart only added up to 97%. But I think the results are still pretty similar)

P.S. Thanks Mikael for showing me how to embed images in their original size. Much appreciated.

P.P.S. Yes, I'm missing the Shipyard (x3) build from the turn 3 chart. It should be one of the 3% choices. My mistake. Still with so many choices it doesn't make a big difference on the overall totals.
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Mikael Ölmestig
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linoleum blownaparte
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What pops out at me in quartex's chart is about a third of people relied on a Shipyard for their shipping capacity, about a third relied on Guild Hall, and about a third built both. Interesting...

EDIT: and cool charts, both of you! I have my own series of charts I'm preparing, that look at how many actions each player takes over the course of the game.
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Jason Clague
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Thanks to all for the comments. I'm not really expecting to unearth any groundshaking revelations here - and I know we're comparing 5 very different games. That's why I am particularly looking for the common trends between games.

Also, I'm very curious to see how the six winning strategies compare!

Thanks for the charts quartex - those were next on my list to do - now you've saved me some work!

If anyone has any other ideas of what we could get out of this data, I'm happy to crunch the numbers!
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Jason - Thanks for taking the plunge and working through some initial analytics - it has seeded some great discussion that, constructively, will be of great value as you and others keep analyzing away. Looking forward to all the insights.
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Jason Clague
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quartex wrote:
(My percentages don't quite match the turn three pie chart above, because the percnetages in that chart only added up to 97%. But I think the results are still pretty similar)


Hmmm - mine do only add up to 97%! That is because all of the 3% ones are actually 1/30 = 3.33%.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Re: Market.

In my second game, I built a Market on turn one (while two players built Shipyards and one built a Workshop), since there was a "recovery" token in Europe. I grabbed it and then, after earlier players in the round used their draw card chips to draw both "0" cards (they had shipped earlier to obtain them), I was able to exploit my "1" presence in Europe to draw the non-slavery level "1" card. On turn 2, I again went to Europe, claimed a card draw chip, and drew both level "2" cards. It was a very good and fast start (I won).

I wouldn't do this without a recovery chip in Europe, though.
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Jim bo
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Re: Market.
I wouldn't do this without a recovery chip in Europe, though.

it sounds risky. what would have happened if one of the players before you picked up the payment token?

secondly i'd suggest the 2 other players cashing in their draw tokens and picking up both 0 assets knowing that you'd built the market in turn 1 made a mistake. if they had waited until turn 2 they would have been looking at a 1 or possibly a 2 asset.
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darksurtur
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Re: Market.

In my second game, I built a Market on turn one (while two players built Shipyards and one built a Workshop), since there was a "recovery" token in Europe. I grabbed it and then, after earlier players in the round used their draw card chips to draw both "0" cards (they had shipped earlier to obtain them), I was able to exploit my "1" presence in Europe to draw the non-slavery level "1" card. On turn 2, I again went to Europe, claimed a card draw chip, and drew both level "2" cards. It was a very good and fast start (I won).

I wouldn't do this without a recovery chip in Europe, though.


This whole sequence seems tenuous. Why would someone ship for a card draw chit on turn 1 when there was one in Europe? Grabbing that would make it iffy for you to get Europe 1, which I think is more powerful turn 1 than Europe 0 or Slavery 0 or Europe 2. And why wouldn't the fourth player grab that chit after you? I've never seen a European draw chit stick around past turn 1.
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Jarratt Gray
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Med0 is awesome. A much better early game card than Med1. The finance is so amazing it isn't funny. There is so little finance in the tokens that getting 1 from the card means you only need 1 more to get your engine ticking over.

The 1 culture is easily augmented by the Shipyard which is an amazing building. Sure a Workshop, blue chit, Med1, Guild Hall start is pretty good but you are still looking for 2 Finance. I snipe Finance every chance I get.

Just saying.


Of course all things depend on distribution and sometimes Finance is a dime a dozen and sometimes Med1 can be awesome. I generally would never worry about giving it away however.
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linoleum blownaparte
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Weirdly, I agree with darksurtur here (that Med1>Med0).

The cost of drawing a card is that you reveal the next one... this is always a negative to be factored in, but it can be a bigger or smaller negative depending on what the next card is.

Drawing Med0 reveals Med1 which is a really nice card. Drawing Med1 reveals Med2 which is a fairly useless early-game card (although it can be handy later).

I would never turn down drawing Med1, but I think I wouldn't draw Med0 on turn 1 if anyone else had the ability to draw Med1 on the same turn.
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Jim bo
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
Drawing Med1 reveals Med2 which is a fairly useless early-game card (although it can be handy later).

like all things it depends on the situation.

i would take the Med2 asset in turn 2 if i knew i would be the first person in turn 3 with the opportunity to obtain 3 presence and hence take the Med3 asset. the +4 to politics is a big 2 level boost and sets you right up in turn 4 to take an attack building and make a play for the med4 asset which is one of the most valuable assets in the game.

the beauty about gaining it so early when other players may be unprepared is that once you've got it it's yours to keep even if your presence in europe drops below 4. the only way you can lose it is through not having enough politics to cover your assets but even in that unlikely event i'd suggest it's going to be one of the last cards you'd get rid of. as there are no politics tokens in the slavery assets you'd never be forced to do this, it would only be of your own choosing.
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Martin Jeffreys
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jarratt wrote:
Med0 is awesome. A much better early game card than Med1. The finance is so amazing it isn't funny. There is so little finance in the tokens that getting 1 from the card means you only need 1 more to get your engine ticking over.

Jarratt is definately correct.
Med 0 is the most awesome starting card.
It's this card that makes the Market opening powerful.
Followed up with a Shipyard build to generate 3 workers, and finding a finance token gives you a almost ideal position going in to turn 3.

I think I've used the Workshop/Guild Hall opening once, and that was in the my 1st game I played at the release tournament at Wellycon.

I think many players over value workshop and industry in general.
Within my playgroup, many people did this while I was winning with strategies that had better culture and finance.
Now they have adjusted to use less Industry and compete for Culture & Finance more actively.

---Martin
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Jarratt Gray
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Korhil_NZ wrote:

I think many players over value workshop and industry in general.
Within my playgroup, many people did this while I was winning with strategies that had better culture and finance.
Now they have adjusted to use less Industry and compete for Culture & Finance more actively.

---Martin


Which in turn will make INdustry more valuable because if the Worker wealth is shared around the double actions and better value buildings add efficiency.

I would be keen on seeing the stats from some of the other finished games.
 
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Jason Clague
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jarratt wrote:
I would be keen on seeing the stats from some of the other finished games.


I am working on some stats at the moment, including the all important "percentage of games won by New Zealanders"

Oh and BTW - I won a 3er game yesterday with the Market-Med0 start. Weak building indeed. laugh
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