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Subject: The Game within a Game rss

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Robert Osvalds
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AGE OF RENAISSANCE: The game within a game.
One of the reasons I appreciate Age of Renaissance so much, is that there are many choices of strategies, and many nuances to those decisions.
Most people who first learn AoR, tend to play the cards fairly soon after acquiring them. I am not saying that this is an altogether ineffective strategy. I am merely mentioning that there are other factors to consider regarding the timing of your actions. One should consider a few points.
First, if you unload that ALCHEMIST’S GOLD on turn one, will you be a target for the rest of the game? Did you get the most out of stopping the player you hit? Did the get someone who was not a threat to you?
Revenge is a powerful aspect of AoR. We have all experienced a player “ON TILT” at the table. Did this act buy you an enemy for the next 6 hours? 6 months? (Don’t laugh, I’ve seen it!) More importantly, will you be able to deal with it?
I have spoken at length to some who feel that if a game has these considerations, (pure strategy vs. calculating the emotional factor) it is less of a game. I believe that it is a real aspect of certain gaming that should be accounted for and seized upon. This is nothing new in certain games . As a matter of fact, games like Diplomacy, Risk, and especially Poker have a prevalent structure of emotional control. If you let your emotions dictate your moves, then you will probably lose. Furthermore, if you create a few enemies at the table, you may be at a disadvantage. Be aware that players won’t always target the player in the lead.
If, however, you play that ALCHEMIST’S GOLD card on someone who has taken a lead (EXAMPLE: the crusades), then you now are the hero of the table, pulling your weight and equalizing the playing field. It may be a small thing, but if a territory is needed from either you or someone else. They won’t automatically choose you for being the “bully”.
If playing this card stops that person from gaining an advance that only the two of you can get, then it is also probably worth playing it. Feel free to table talk and people will rationalize with you. In other words, do some diplomatic DAMAGE CONTROL.
Another point to holding cards is that certain ones play well with each others. (ENLIGHTENED RULER + Mysticism). Also If you have ENLIGHTENED RULER, what is the point of playing it without a reason? Obviously, if card-holding misery is an immediate concern, you may want to play it, but more times than not, I see the card’s potential overlooked. If you have a lot of written cash and a powerful leader, it may be a good time to insure that purchase with ER. You must also take measures to be first in turn order to be sure you get the play.
Regarding the military cards, you can see the income advantage of gaining a few cities, as well as a free card, but if you wait until you have a truly valuable commodity, you will gain much greater wealth. If the card is an immediate potential misery burden, then consider that as well and don’t hang on to it too long.
Also, hold that Pirates/Vikings card until it’s truly devastating. Use it when you and an opponent both have spice territories, and you are ready to play the spice card. Its not a gain for you if you are sharing the wealth! Also, if you are about to go into another epoch, hold it for a turn and blast that extra city.
Finally, there is the recycling factor to consider. It’s a good feeling to be holding that BLACK DEATH in your hand in the 2nd. epoch, but if you can hold it until epoch 3, it can’t come back into play against you.
The cards are really the soul of AoR, You should try to get more of them and the most out of them whenever you play.
Robert Osvalds
Illinois Board Stiffs

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