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Subject: Encouragement to Attack rss

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Edwin Karat
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First off, I think there is groupthink going on in this game. Different groups will play things out differently.

Anyway, the encouragement to attack comes from the assumption that most of the connection tokens will be claimed by the end of the game. This is a big assumption and will vary in each group. I'll go back and question this assumption later. I will also assume that most attacks are from a person claiming the other end of a connection, which looks to be a fairly solid assumption.

What happens if you don't attack? Well, if you occupy a city with connections, you will eventually be wiped off in someone else's attack to claim the token. This means that you put one on a building and had one returned to your supply from your harbor. In exchange, you got one token and temporary presence. However, if you attack, you put one on a building, have one returned to your supply from your harbor, AND you get to keep one person permanently to establish a city and a connection. You also get 1 connection token for your efforts. However, you now have 2 more points of board position that you didn't have before. You've even reduced the threat to the city on the side of the connection you already had.

Put much more simply, if you assume the connection will be claimed, you are going to lose a token to the supply whether by attacking or by being attacked. In that case, it is better to be the attacker.

Of course, this is predicated on the assumption that most connections will be claimed. What about the case where everyone is a pacifist? A person who starts attacking will get 2 points on the board and a chip (worth ~2 points, plus the utility of the icon) for the cost of one person on a building and two permanently in use. However, for the same one person on a building and two permamently in use, one can double-ship from the cartographer or ship and occupy from the docks for 2 tokens (worth ~4 points, plus the utility of 2 icons). So, peaceful actions have a little more utility. However, attacking can cost the person attacked a point (2 if you disrupted their connection). Still, this isn't that great. However, as the board fills up, there will be a shortage of tokens left to claim if you don't attack.

Anyway, I'm far from an expert at this game, having only played it twice so far. I just wanted to open up these thoughts for discussion and criticism.
 
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Ben Stanley
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The amount of attacking fluctuates with the number of players in the game, but I was actually surprised to see how balanced attacking really was in most games. I think there are just the right incentives.
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Jason Clague
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karat wrote:
However, for the same one person on a building and two permamently in use, one can double-ship from the cartographer or ship and occupy from the docks for 2 tokens (worth ~4 points, plus the utility of 2 icons).


You do not get 'points' for tokens, they only advance your tracks. (Seems to be a common error, discussed all over the place including http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/445806). So Cartographer can only get you two tokens = 2 track advancements = 2 points.
 
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mojo shivers
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superbgg wrote:
karat wrote:
However, for the same one person on a building and two permamently in use, one can double-ship from the cartographer or ship and occupy from the docks for 2 tokens (worth ~4 points, plus the utility of 2 icons).


You do not get 'points' for tokens, they only advance your tracks. (Seems to be a common error, discussed all over the place including http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/445806). So Cartographer can only get you two tokens = 2 track advancements = 2 points.


The way I like to remember it is that only 8 areas in the game earn you points:

Cities
Connections
Industry Track
Culture Track
Finance Track
Politics Track
University
Cards (Resource/Governor)

And there are two areas which don't give you points:
Ships
Chips

As long as you remember Ships and Chips aren't worth points you should be able to remember what does score you points.
 
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Edwin Karat
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mojo shivers wrote:
superbgg wrote:
karat wrote:
However, for the same one person on a building and two permamently in use, one can double-ship from the cartographer or ship and occupy from the docks for 2 tokens (worth ~4 points, plus the utility of 2 icons).


You do not get 'points' for tokens, they only advance your tracks. (Seems to be a common error, discussed all over the place including http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/445806). So Cartographer can only get you two tokens = 2 track advancements = 2 points.


The way I like to remember it is that only 8 areas in the game earn you points:

Cities
Connections
Industry Track
Culture Track
Finance Track
Politics Track
University
Cards (Resource/Governor)

And there are two areas which don't give you points:
Ships
Chips

As long as you remember Ships and Chips aren't worth points you should be able to remember what does score you points.


You forgot population, which is not obvious to remember. The rules list 11 items: the 7 that you list, card/governor as your 8th, extra population, and a slavery penalty.
 
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Edwin Karat
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superbgg wrote:
karat wrote:
However, for the same one person on a building and two permamently in use, one can double-ship from the cartographer or ship and occupy from the docks for 2 tokens (worth ~4 points, plus the utility of 2 icons).


You do not get 'points' for tokens, they only advance your tracks. (Seems to be a common error, discussed all over the place including http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/445806). So Cartographer can only get you two tokens = 2 track advancements = 2 points.


The sample scoring indicates you are right, though the rulebook's text is amazingly misleading in that direction.

Nevertheless, you can still equate a status track token with an effective point due to the the value of status track ratings. Under that analysis, attacking is worth 3 points, while double shipping is worth 2. A dock action can be worth 3 (or even 4 if it completes a connection), but the number of possible uses are extremely limited to when you are the one opening up a region. Attacking still looks very good.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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I've only played it 3 times, so take my thoughts in that context. In the first game I did not have the ability to attack, and wished I had it. In the second game I have the ability to attack, and I may have even done it once or twice. In the third game, I again had the ability coupled with many extra tokens in my harbor (I had more non-action buildings), so I attacked 3-5 times. Had I had less tokens available, I would not have.
 
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linoleum blownaparte
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@ Edwin - No, your analysis is off I think.

You can complete a connection by occupying one end and attacking the other (5 workers) for 2 tokens + 3 glory. (effectively 5 points gained for 5 workers input).

Or by occupying both ends (4 workers) for 3 tokens + 3 glory (6 gained for 4 input). Occupying is clearly superior if you have the option.

Also: in the short term what you really care about are trade tokens to advance your tracks - glory is a long term investment, and also one that can be taken away if it looks like you're winning. So how does attack stack up? It gets you just 1 token for 3 workers; compared with a token for 2 workers with a ship or occupy, and multiple "tokens" for just ONE worker with draw.

Mostly people should be using Attack to gain presence so that they can draw good cards. Other good uses include breaking up the leader's trade routes, or grabbing the blue trade tokens.

If people are attacking excessively in your games, I would switch over to a shipping strategy & crush them

1. Shipping can't be attacked.
2. You will gain several governorships because you are making more efficient use of your workers early on.
3. You should be able to draw the 4/5 cards from several regions because nobody else can build long-lasting presences as all the cities keep getting attacked.
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Dave Eisen
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:

Mostly people should be using Attack to gain presence so that they can draw good cards.


You cannot attack to gain presence. You need presence already to be permitted to conduct an attack.
 
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Jason Clague
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dkeisen wrote:
Linoleumblownaparte wrote:

Mostly people should be using Attack to gain presence so that they can draw good cards.


You cannot attack to gain presence. You need presence already to be permitted to conduct an attack.


I guess he means to INCREASE presence, to be able to draw higher cards.
 
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Edwin Karat
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
@ Edwin - No, your analysis is off I think.

You can complete a connection by occupying one end and attacking the other (5 workers) for 2 tokens + 3 glory. (effectively 5 points gained for 5 workers input).

Or by occupying both ends (4 workers) for 3 tokens + 3 glory (6 gained for 4 input). Occupying is clearly superior if you have the option.

Also: in the short term what you really care about are trade tokens to advance your tracks - glory is a long term investment, and also one that can be taken away if it looks like you're winning. So how does attack stack up? It gets you just 1 token for 3 workers; compared with a token for 2 workers with a ship or occupy, and multiple "tokens" for just ONE worker with draw.

Mostly people should be using Attack to gain presence so that they can draw good cards. Other good uses include breaking up the leader's trade routes, or grabbing the blue trade tokens.

If people are attacking excessively in your games, I would switch over to a shipping strategy & crush them

1. Shipping can't be attacked.
2. You will gain several governorships because you are making more efficient use of your workers early on.
3. You should be able to draw the 4/5 cards from several regions because nobody else can build long-lasting presences as all the cities keep getting attacked.


Sure, occupy the second part of a connection if you get the chance, but I assume such chances will be rare.

I tried the shipping strategy in an attacking game and got trounced badly. I tried attacking and tied for first place. In practice, attacking seems to work better.

Also, getting the 4/5 cards from several regions is unrealistic in a 5 player game. I got 3 governorships and still came in 4th.

Unless you never settle at all, it is still better to attack than to be attacked. I suppose I can try not settling at all and doing a pure shipping game. However, there is a lot of groupthink in this game. It is possible that in your games someone can occupy and neither attack nor be attacked.
 
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David Hoffman
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Last night we played and I went for a heavy attack strategy. I scored well (54 points at game's end) but still lost to the guy who went crazy shipping and collecting cards (he took something like five cards in his final turn and we all had to sit there watching him adjust his tracks as he discarded).
 
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Jim bo
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i don't think you can base a complete strategy around heavy attack and expect to win more than your fair share of games.

occupying is always more cost effective (if you have the chance) and arguably so too is shipping if you can back that up further down the line with the governer and/or drawing deep into that region's assets.

it's certainly an advantage to have early attacking potential firstly because threat is sometimes better than the execution and it's sometimes possible to snap up 1-2 choice action tokens during that mid game period where tokens from connections are still available.

attacking for a connection trade token is moderately valuable but attacking for a connection action token is highly valuable.

in short complimenting a mainstream strat with surgical strikes can be very effective but pursuing a heavy attack strat can box you into a corner.

 
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Ben Pinchback
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I just won a game last night using a heavy occupy strategy. I think I had something like 20 points from just cities and connections, which was huge. All that said, I think I attacked a grand total of 3 times. Whenever possible, occupy is obviously a better use of your workers. But, having enough people (Culture, again with the culture) to pull off a full well planned attacks can easily gain you tons of points. All the time you see people attack and gain a city that gets them 2 connections at once. That's huge.

But, over-attacking, especially early, is a recipe for last place.
 
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