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Subject: 10 strategy tips for second-time players rss

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Marco Pix
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I have played four 4-player games. As I did with Agricola, I would like to attempt some tips for players who have already learnt the rules, played their first game and are looking forward to some general guidelines to improve their final score.

This game is less luck driven than it may seem at first sight. It is in fact possible, to a certain extent, to control things like payoffs for the chosen actions, adventurers assignment and combat cards effects. The more experienced players are able to gear the "luck factor" to their advantage. This is probably the red thread linking many of the following tips.

1) Before choosing an order, always look at the other players' inaccessible orders. This, together with the order of play, should provide you with useful information to optimize the outcome of your orders while (maybe) making things a bit more difficult for the other players devil. A further step could be checking if there are any clearly forced moves on the board that you can turn to your advantage.

2) Don't get fooled by the fact that you select your three order cards altogether. They will be executed in order, as illustrated on the central board (left to right and top to bottom). For example, even if you don't have food or gold right now, you can choose to buy traps or recruit imps because during the execution phase you will get food or gold before that, provided you have chosen the appropriate action.

3) Be aware of which action you will be needing again in the next turn. Remember that if you are not shut out from an order, in the next turn you can only reuse the order card in your first order space. This becomes particularly important when planning to collect resources over multiple turns to pay taxes or monsters or when in need of hiring multiple monsters.

4) Learn to manipulate the evilometer to your advantage. This does not necessarily mean you have to be the nicest or the most evil. Look at the adventurers: which one would you like to have, according to the monster/traps you have or plan to have? A rule that is easy to neglect is that ties on the evilometer are broken according to play order.

5) Don't underestimate the "improve reputation" order. In addition to helping you manipulate the evilometer, it will probably allow you to have a look at a combat card. This may prove very useful to fine-tune your monster/traps strategy.

6) Beware of pursuing the "evil strategy" at all costs. It is relatively easy to implement, rather appealing (who doesn't want to be evil in a game like this?), but always tricky, and very situational. On the positive side, you have a chance to get 5/10 points more for imprisoning the paladin(s), plus 3 points for being the Lord of Dark Deeds. On the negative side you get stronger parties. This on average means a higher number of conquered tiles, less adventurers imprisoned, and reduced probability to get some of the other titles. Having stronger adventurers also increases the probability of suffering from nasty spells that may play havoc with your plans. I fondly remember when I carefully planned to imprison the second paladin, but the "Create Food" spell in one case, and "Metamorphosis" spell in another case messed up my plans completely. My friends are still teasing me because my demon got turned into a sheep . The ideal scenario is to have many strong monsters, imprison every adventurer without loosing too many tiles and finally imprison the paladin after he has been weakened by another player. Possible, but far from being easy.

7) Always pay all taxes. Losing 3 points for each gold due is a lot for the final score, so you really have to do the math and see if the possible alternative is worth.

8) Don't be afraid of having resources left after having payed taxes and monsters in the second year. Traps like Poisoned meal and Cursed ring still require food or gold, and combat cards like "Suggestion" and "Detect Treasure" may require resources too. In addition, having some resources left can put you in a good position for being Lord of Riches.

9) Rooms are generally cool. Some rooms are in my opinion cooler than others. Among the production rooms I like Mint, Souvenir Shop, Mushroom Bed, Chicken Coop, and Tool Shed in this order. They are are worth points at the end, so make sure to put them where they cannot be reached. They also help optimizing the usage of imps and basically are an additional source of resources. Among the scoring rooms the no-brainer is the Hall of Fame: grab it even if you don't benefit much from it, otherwise someone else certainly will! Combat rooms are not so good in my opinion. They are very situational, and the potential benefits you get are not worth on average the likely cost of having them conquered. I suggest to attempt the following simple strategy and see how it works: focus on production rooms and point-scoring rooms. The idea would be trying to get as many rooms as possible. This in turn makes it easier to plan accordingly for tunnels and imps.

10) Don't underestimate the "no conquering, no fatigue" skill of the slime goo. Every turn you hold the adventurers party in place, it means 2 more points for you. So having 2 slimes x 2 years = 8 points, which is not bad.


I hope you will find these tips useful. I welcome comments and suggestions. Happy dungeoning for your second game!
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sonny sonny
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Calpurnio wrote:
10) Don't underestimate the "no conquering, no fatigue" skill of the slime :goo:. Every turn you hold the adventurers party in place, it means 2 more points for you. So having 2 slimes x 2 years = 8 points, which is not bad.

it is powerful, but it needs to be used in a room, and you need other monsters or traps with good effects to have it really work this way.

one defeated adventurer gives as many points as you lose from one destroyed tunnel. and the slime does not only prevent destruction, it also prevents exhaustion and it means you're playing one monster that doesn't do any damage.

if you don't delay the adventurers but kill them instead before round 4 you also prevented destruction, but you also got points for killing them.
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David Williams
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letsdance wrote:
Calpurnio wrote:
10) Don't underestimate the "no conquering, no fatigue" skill of the slime :goo:. Every turn you hold the adventurers party in place, it means 2 more points for you. So having 2 slimes x 2 years = 8 points, which is not bad.

it is powerful, but it needs to be used in a room, and you need other monsters or traps with good effects to have it really work this way.


You don't need to fight in a room to use a slime, especially if you can avoid thieves. Using a slime + fire wall might work out really well.

Quote:

one defeated adventurer gives as many points as you lose from one destroyed tunnel. and the slime does not only prevent destruction, it also prevents exhaustion and it means you're playing one monster that doesn't do any damage.

if you don't delay the adventurers but kill them instead before round 4 you also prevented destruction, but you also got points for killing them.


This is the problem I see with #10. You are really looking to defeat the adventurers completely. So a slime is only worth 2 points if the damage you inflict during the slime's "attack" allows you to defeat the party 1 turn earlier than otherwise.
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David Barry
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Calpurnio wrote:
7) Always pay all taxes. Losing 3 points for each gold due is a lot for the final score, so you really have to do the math and see if the possible alternative is worth.


Disagree with this one. The negative 3 per unpaid tax is harsh, but there are many situations when it is worth taking the hit, so that you can have a gold or two available for your next critical action. And yes, it's still possible to win with four unpaid taxes, etc. whistle

Managing a good "cash-flow" - in this case including food as well as gold - is key. You MUST have at least enough to do your actions. (Production rooms can be very helpful in this respect.) If you run out of either resource (especially in the second year), you can easily get stuck in a death spiral, being shut out of many actions, and end up having your dungeon wrecked by those pesky adventurers.

(My other prime directive in this game is a variation of the OP's rule #1. That is, make sure that you are never shut out of an action. Losing an action is BAD. Losing multiple actions is a game-losing play. If all four players are able to play an action, you must either play that action first, or not at all - choose something else. Of course, if you can consistently cause someone else to be shut out - lose their action - that's excellent play ninja ).
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Alex Rockwell
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davidb3 wrote:

Disagree with this one. The negative 3 per unpaid tax is harsh, but there are many situations when it is worth taking the hit, so that you can have a gold or two available for your next critical action. And yes, it's still possible to win with four unpaid taxes, etc. whistle


While at a given point in time, it might be more efficient to use a gold for something and then get an unpaid tax (because its more critical to do something that will enable you to kill the adventurers for example), this is never a situation you should find yourself in (if you are going to win). It is necessary to plan ahead sufficiently to avoid this scenario.

You might be able to beat new players with unpaid tax, but you should not be able to beat experienced players in this way. In my experience, the winning score is generally over 40, or at least close to it.


Quote:
(My other prime directive in this game is a variation of the OP's rule #1. That is, make sure that you are never shut out of an action. Losing an action is BAD. Losing multiple actions is a game-losing play. If all four players are able to play an action, you must either play that action first, or not at all - choose something else. Of course, if you can consistently cause someone else to be shut out - lose their action - that's excellent play ninja ).


I completely agree, it is extremely bad to lose actions and you must play to minimize the chance of this. Often that involves planning ahead and getting extra of a resource that all players will need (gold before tax/food before payday), in advance of the round it is needed.

It is sometimes worth a calculated risk to make a play which might result in a lost action, if the risk/reward is good enough and you feel you have a good idea of what your opponents will do. This is probably better late in the game, when you have already set up your production capabilities, and you might have actions to spare that would otherwise be only marginally helpful.
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Danny O'Donnell
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Calpurnio wrote:

9) Rooms are generally cool. Some rooms are in my opinion cooler than others. Among the production rooms I like Mint, Souvenir Shop, Mushroom Bed, Chicken Coop, and Tool Shed in this order. They are are worth points at the end, so make sure to put them where they cannot be reached. They also help optimizing the usage of imps and basically are an additional source of resources. Among the scoring rooms the no-brainer is the Hall of Fame: grab it even if you don't benefit much from it, otherwise someone else certainly will! Combat rooms are not so good in my opinion. They are very situational, and the potential benefits you get are not worth on average the likely cost of having them conquered. I suggest to attempt the following simple strategy and see how it works: focus on production rooms and point-scoring rooms. The idea would be trying to get as many rooms as possible. This in turn makes it easier to plan accordingly for tunnels and imps.


The Workshop is one of my favorite rooms, A good selection of traps is nice, and you can always use those extras to pick up a golem or two. I also prefer to have traps prevent conquering rather than monsters, since the damage-dealing potential of traps is much more easily reduced than that of monsters. And also because of one of my other favorite rooms...

The Labyrinth. For the most part, combat rooms are pretty situational, but I almost always find myself wanting the Labyrinth. It lets you use 3 sources of damage without using resources, and I can't always afford that extra gold at the end of the game to play traps in rooms, especially if I have Cursed Rings I want to play. And once any thieves are dealt with, a big damage trap along with one that prevents conquering is a powerful combination.


Also, this can easily change depending on the situation, but in general the my order of preference in adventurers is warrior, wizard, priest, and then thief. The wizard is a bit of a judgment call, since they can certainly be the nastiest class if they get the right spells, but if they get the wrong ones they can also be completely worthless. I think in general they're less dangerous than the priest and thief, especially if you can see the first spell or two and prepare for them. Priests are not quite as bad as thieves, since it's possible at least to take them out before their damage reduction kicks in. And the warrior's extra health is almost always easier to beat through than any of the special abilities.
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Steve e^(iπ)+1=0
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Great tips. The tax penalty is very situational. If you get hit with taxes w/o having a decision, you will lose. But if you do have a decision (two traps versus one cube) it may be worth it. I chose the two traps when I had none, and it won me the game.

My first game I played nice 1st year and evil 2nd. This allowed me to setup a kill of the Paladin on the first round, and the rest of the party in 2 more. Controlling the evilmeter is key.

I would add one more:
11) Titles! Titles! Titles! Focus on 2-4 titles and make sure you get them. Balance this with killing the heroes, and points will be flowing your way.
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Marco Pix
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About the slime, I agree that it is more effective if it comes with good trap support, or if coupled with another good monster in a room, and that it is in general better to give priority to imprison all the adventurers minimizing the conquered tiles. Sometimes, though, this is not possible. That's where the prevent conquering effect of the slime can be useful. In addition, it is very cheap to buy and can be a good meal for the demon. I completely agree with Alex's analysis.

About the rooms, I played another couple of games and I think I have started to appreciate the Tool Shed, and thanks to Dan, the Workshop and the related trap-centered strategy.

About the heroes, I prefer warriors, then priests, wizards and thieves. I am happy if I have 2 warriors and a priest or a wizard.
Finally, it is absolutely true that focusing on titles like Steve suggests is of the essence.

Thanks to all for the feedback!
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Paul
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I was wondering what was your best score in DL?
 
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John McGeehan
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I love the Labyrinth room, along with the Workshop. I find it is far easier (especially in the second year, when you can use a room twice per turn) to load up on traps rather than load up on monsters (although you definitely need a few of them) - you don't have to pay them a second time, and it lets you take the Golem to get rid of the useless traps that you may have drawn.

Using the Labyrinth, you can pair one no-conquering/fatigue trap with one damaging trap, and just keep the adventurers there almost the entire battle period.
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Marco Pix
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Hiko Bunta wrote:
I was wondering what was your best score in DL?

4 players: 23 shake
3 players: 34
 
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marre kanna
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Tarrant wrote:
I love the Labyrinth room, along with the Workshop. I find it is far easier (especially in the second year, when you can use a room twice per turn)


Workshop is the one room you cant use twice during the second year.
I’m not that experienced (3-games) but i generally don’t like the souvenir and mint shop. all the other rooms is just better, when you can get a lot of gold quicker by the order cards. My favorite room is by far printing press, it allow you to almost every time get the adventurers you like, and i never had an adventurer escape my nasty dungeons jet.
 
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Aaron Bredon
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marre_kanna wrote:

Workshop is the one room you cant use twice during the second year.


It is hard to use the workshop twice (you need 8 free imps), but you certainly can. The only thing is that you don't get the take an extra trap return any 1 trap that you get with the Buy Traps action in the 2nd year.
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Steve e^(iπ)+1=0
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Hiko Bunta wrote:
I was wondering what was your best score in DL?


52 on the first game, since no one else figured out that titles where so important & was lucky enough to bet the best work placement almost every time. Mostly a fluke - won't happen again!
 
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