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Subject: How often does a low action player win? rss

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JonGetsGames
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I have only played HT once, and while I loved it I still have a concern. This game has been described by many as a "many paths to victory" game, but in the game I played it seemed pretty brutal for the 2 guys who never could get past 3 actions (and took half the game to get up from 2 actions).

Its entirely possible that this is just due to lack of experience, but I was curious about how this has played out for those geeks who have played it many times. How often have you had someone win with 3 or less actions? Have you ever seen anyone win with only 2 actions at the end of the game?
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mojo shivers
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With only 2 actions I haven't seen anyone win.

But I've seen someone win with only 3 actions many times. While 4 is kind of the optimum spot, I'd say it's doable to win with 3 actions about 40% of the time if you take cities, connect a network, and otherwise optimize other portions of your board and the map.

While actions are an important part of the game, if you can compensate with the other "paths to victory" there really isn't one track you need to focus on.
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jbrier
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HappyHexagon wrote:
it seemed pretty brutal for the 2 guys who never could get past 3 actions (and took half the game to get up from 2 actions).


The problem for those guys wasn't not getting past 3 actions. It was not getting past 2 actions until halfway through the game.

I have seen plenty of victories from players with "just" 3 actions. In fact, I will often abandon the actions track after getting to 3 actions because I'm more in a hurry to do other things quickly. Of course I will still block someone going for extra actions, just like I'll block someone going for any other route.

Getting that 3rd action is of course critical, and having players start with just 2 is an intentional part of the design that sets the tone for the early game. Otherwise the early game would lack tension as all the paths would be roughly equally desirable. Once you get to the mid-game this is no longer an issue as there are various races that occur for other technologies and control of the board.

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Adam O'Brien
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I agree with previous posters that 3 actions/turn is the minimum for success.

I will add that gaining on the Bursa track if you get locked out of actionnes is clutch. Because in a way, the Bursa equals extra actions also, as they are re-stock actions you won't have to take as often. Re-stocking once you've reached the "C" level is a very powerful play.

Now I haven't found it to be that powerful myself, but i have seen players build up the Liber Sophiae track, in order to block a bunch of routes with traders, then do big sweep moves to claim routes using the re-locate action. In combination with a lot of route-blocking, that move can be fairly effective as well.

And of course, a third alternative is to focus on the Bonus Markers, since claiming a +3 or +4 action marker (and possibly chaining into other bonus markers in following turns) can be very powerful as well. Not to mention the Improve Status bonus markers to improve your action track.

So I hope that gives you an better idea of the "multiple routes" for victory.
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JonGetsGames
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Great points, thanks for them guys I think you just swayed me into purchasing this beauty. I almost feel like the +1 to a track bonus chit should also be a starting piece as another option for instead of the action track, but it does seem like things balance out as long as people make the sacrifice just once early game to displace an opponent to get to 3 actions.
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J R

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I played it once and destroyed with only three actions. I started early on the move action and freed a lot of merchants. I used these merchants to block other players and get lots of traders on the board. Then I claimed a route almost every turn. I ended up taking VPs twice in Colleen, and ended the game quickly by having 7 Kontors which people kept feeding. I imagine it was a low scoring game, since we were all playing for the first time, but two of my opponents had 5 actions, but couldn't keep pace. I suppose they were displacing too much instead of being flexible which benefitted me greatly.
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jbrier
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Beowuulf1 wrote:
two of my opponents had 5 actions, but couldn't keep pace. I suppose they were displacing too much instead of being flexible which benefitted me greatly.


I think this is a key concept- while on one hand it is important to have a strategy and be efficient about pursuing it, on the other hand the game is very interactive with a high level of opportunism.

The game encourages (A) getting in other people's way, and (B) controlling cities next to where a lot of action is happening. Conversely, it is disadvantageous to give other players these benefits by displacing them and/or completing routes next to cities they control.

A player that ignores these factors in pursuit of a predetermined strategy will generally lose.
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Brian Bankler
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HappyHexagon wrote:
I have only played HT once, and while I loved it I still have a concern. This game has been described by many as a "many paths to victory" game, but in the game I played it seemed pretty brutal for the 2 guys who never could get past 3 actions (and took half the game to get up from 2 actions).

Its entirely possible that this is just due to lack of experience, but I was curious about how this has played out for those geeks who have played it many times. How often have you had someone win with 3 or less actions? Have you ever seen anyone win with only 2 actions at the end of the game?

Last night we played two games. First play for all but one of us. In the first game (4 player), the big loser had 5 actions, and the rest of the players had three. In the second game (3 player), one player got a 3rd action quickly (2nd or 3rd turn), but then we locked up that route with merchants. Another player got a 3rd action in mid-game; the last player never got a 3rd action and won. By the time he could get a 3rd action, he declined to focus on plays that scored.

Perhaps the newbie factor contributed, but it's possible.
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Eric Knauer
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verandi wrote:
HappyHexagon wrote:
it seemed pretty brutal for the 2 guys who never could get past 3 actions (and took half the game to get up from 2 actions).


The problem for those guys wasn't not getting past 3 actions. It was not getting past 2 actions until halfway through the game.

I have seen plenty of victories from players with "just" 3 actions. In fact, I will often abandon the actions track after getting to 3 actions because I'm more in a hurry to do other things quickly. Of course I will still block someone going for extra actions, just like I'll block someone going for any other route.

Getting that 3rd action is of course critical, and having players start with just 2 is an intentional part of the design that sets the tone for the early game. Otherwise the early game would lack tension as all the paths would be roughly equally desirable.


Bingo. Someone in the forums recommended starting the game with three actions because the early game was too slow and scripted but this is where small mistakes can be made and when players can take advantage of small opportunities that can have significant impacts down the road.
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