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Macao» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Some thoughts on managing cubes and cards in Macao rss

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Ethan Larson
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Here's a situation. You have some red cubes and some blue cubes on 3 and 5 respectively. There are three cards you're interested in, and you need some idea of how likely it is you will be able to play them assuming you want to use some of your existing cubes when you do.

The blue/black card only needs two more blacks. So if the black die rolls 5 now, 4 next turn, 3 the turn after, or 2 the turn after that, you'll be able to play it. So you have 4 one-in-six chances of getting to play that card.

Next, you look at the red/green card. You need two more greens, so you need to roll a green 3 this turn or a green 2 next turn. That means you have two one-in-six chances of getting to play this card. So this is less likely than the blue/black card. I'd need pencil and paper to say exactly how much less likely, but that doesn't matter.

The green/red/black card needs one more green and one more black. So for this you need to get a green 2 or black two next turn, and/or a green 1 or black 1 the turn after. So you have two 1-in-6 chances to get your green and two 1-in-6 chances to get your black. I'm not completely sure how this works out, but it seems less likely than both of the other cards.

So all I've done is evaluate how likely the three cards are relative to each other, rather than the actual probabilities. You don't ever need the real probabilities, since it only matters which is most likely.

So I would pick the blue/black card if it's important to me to choose a card I'm likely to be able to play.

If I see a power I want, and it's less likely, I might take that and then play safer cards on coming turns so I don't get stuck with too many cards. This is of course easier if I am first on the turn track.

If I pick this blue/black card, I won't choose another card later that depends on the blue/black lining up. I don't like putting all my eggs in one basket; I try to spread out the chances among all the dice.

None of this takes into account the chances of getting more blue or red cubes on the way; but it does give a good guide.
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Corin A. Friesen
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Good ideas.

But the cool thing about Macao is that your card draft depends on 2 things:
A) What the ability vs. activation probability is, and
B) What you want. Who cares if it's not the "best" play?

Gosh, I have so much fun playing Macao.
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Ethan Larson
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Nice game. So far, I've won every game I've played, so I thought I'd post some of what goes on in my head. :)
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Dan Schaeffer
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There's also the fact that you're rarely choosing in a vacuum, at least after the first couple of turns. You know if you have a card that will allow you to generate AC, and whether those AC will be of a specific color, or your choice of color. You know if you'll have a shot at grabbing a Joker. There are so many variables and so many ways to build an engine (or greater or lesser efficacy) that it's not possible to say how you'll respond in the given situation.

This is one of the reasons I love this game so much.
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Tom Cannon
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Another aspect of "activation probability" is the number of dial spaces missing any cubes since these represent penalities if not filled. (i.e. 3 spaces in the diagram above at 1 - 2 - 4.) I neglected space '6' since it occurs beyond the OP's planning horizon. So you should plan on at least one die selection in the upcoming turns going to fill each of these spaces. This will make cards requiring multiple colors to activate even less attractive.
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Brett Nuske
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wtcannonjr wrote:
Another aspect of "activation probability" is the number of dial spaces missing any cubes since these represent penalities if not filled. (i.e. 3 spaces in the diagram above at 1 - 2 - 4.) I neglected space '6' since it occurs beyond the OP's planning horizon. So you should plan on at least one die selection in the upcoming turns going to fill each of these spaces. This will make cards requiring multiple colors to activate even less attractive.


That's another decision that is not so straight forward. If I have no cubes on the next space on my dial, it may not be in my best interests if the PPs I can earn or potentially earn are large enough to make the -3 insignificant relative to the other players. Also, if all other players (or most of them) also have no cubes on the same dial space you are missing cubes, there may not be any incentive to take a cube for that space because everyone is taking the same penalty.
 
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Matt Musselman
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Ambrose wrote:
Good ideas.

But the cool thing about Macao is that your card draft depends on 2 things:
A) What the ability vs. activation probability is, and
B) What you want. Who cares if it's not the "best" play?

Gosh, I have so much fun playing Macao.


Not just that, but
C) The diminishing returns of getting some cards out there too late.

To me, that was the biggest tension on the game: it seemed that once you finally had a good cube supply coming in, any cards you activated only had 3 or 4 turns left to be of any use. For some, this can make a huge difference (e.g. the office cards, and cards which give you shipping, coin, or PP bonuses each turn, etc).

So yes, the blue/black card is more likely that you'll get all the right stuff, but with two whole turns fewer to use it, as opposed to the red/green card, which is harder to activate, but has the potential of giving you a lot more bonus for the money.
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