Game Log Here.
The underlying concept in my strategies is to make the opponent's best move worse at the expense of making his second best (or other) move better.
1. Mounted Amazons 
2. Bivouacking Humans 
3. Seafaring Priestesses 
4. Catapult Halflings 
5. Historian Elves 
6. Berserk Skeletons 
bob bob: 5 drunkenKOALA starts
My lights lit up when I saw the Mounted Amazons. A turbo spread out (conquer 9 regions on turn 1) to set up a decline on turn 2--it doesn't get any better than that. But then I saw the Seafaring Priestesses two slots down and my troubles started. If he opens with the Seafaring Priestesses, then I would be forced to "reclump" my forces to hit him on turn 2, essentially undoing the work I had done on turn 1 setting up a decline. So I would either decline on turn 3 on a clumped up position, or respread on turn 3 and decline on turn 4.
On the other hand if I took the Seafaring Priestesses myself, he could take the Amazons to hit me on turn 1, spread out on turn 2, and decline on turn 3. He doesn't have to "waste" a turn because he gets to react immediately to my opening. This is why I said that I wished I was going second.
The opening I settled for was using the Amazons, and instead of spreading out as much as possible I decided to preemptively make the board unfavorable for the Seafaring Priestesses.
I took 6 regions instead of the maximum possible 9, and hugged the water regions making it impossible for the Seafaring Priestesses to reach 2 water regions. (His declining on turn two on 2 water regions and grabbing the Skeletons on turn 3 could be bad.)
I don't know if he would've otherwise, but with the board I left him with he chose not to open with the Seafaring Priestesses. He took the Skeletons instead and hit my Amazons for 3 regions.
Milking Some Points While Maintaining Status Quo
Now that he has committed to an opening, I am ready to spread out to set up my decline. I spread out as much as possible, taking regions in a linear pattern and putting my extra redeployments on choke points. (I could've held more of a linear pattern by taking 12 instead of 2, but I decided to try to roll to get both instead.)
He abandons everything and hit me for 3 regions again.
I should elaborate a bit here on the decision to "spread out to set up my decline." Since he didn't pick the Priestesses, I don't need to hit him unless I want to go for token play, which was unnecessary because A. in general it is more efficient (token and region-wise) to set up a decline and grab a second race and B. specifically I cannot win an active/prolonged head to head fight against the Berserk Skeletons. Therefore, I want to decline without hitting the Skeletons/reducing their token count.
I have two options here as far as Declining goes. I could decline immediately on turn two, or spread out and decline on turn 3. In this situation the point of spreading out isn't necessarily to set up a bigger decline. Essentially, I want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of declining first.
One factor to consider is the parity of races at the slots. If there is one very good race for cheap, then I'd want to rush my decline and grab it first. If the races are all priced "accurately" (better ones are also more expensive), then I'd want to let my opponent pick his new race first, so I can either pick a (formerly) higher slot for cheaper, or a lower slot and have him pay me to do so.
In our situation I felt that the better races were also more expensive so I was in no hurry to get first pick.
As far as setting up the region count for our first declines, it is actually more or less the same whether I decline on turn 2 or 3. Either way I will be declining on ~3 regions with him clumped on ~3 regions. So basically I chose to maintain the status quo decline-setup-wise while milking an extra turn of scoring more points. And he chose to decline on turn 2 ahead of me, I am not worried either because A. as mentioned the races available have parity and B. he’d be letting me decline on 7 regions instead of 3/4.
I decline as planned. He chose not to follow me into decline and spread out to set up his decline first.
Berserk Skeletons is a very good active race, but I felt that he paid too much to get a good active race that wasn’t particularly awesome as a first decline race. He can keep hitting me towards a token count advantage, which is great for a second or third race trying to endure but as a first race it is keeping him one turn behind on going into decline and he is scoring fewer points in the meantime.
Digging in the Holes
I have more points, and am one turn ahead with the decline, but on the other hand his decline is at 7 regions versus my 1. I could set up a new decline (Seafaring Priestesses), or pick a "normal" race and hit him with. I decided that I want to hit him (for at least 3 regions), and I had two options here: Catapult Humans and Peaceloving Kobolds (their token count is worth it even if I don’t score their Peaceloving bonus every turn, and I won’t on the first turn because I would be hitting the Skeletons.) I picked the Catapult Humans because they were cheaper.
I wanted to cut the map in half to limit his mobility and to set up a position where my Catapult can access as many regions as possible, so I took regions 14 and 3. I took 10 for a third region.
He declines on 4 regions.
Reverting My Spreadout and Delaying My Decline
I took mountain 9, and used the Catapult from there to take regions 2 and 7.
He takes the Seafaring Priestesses. To be honest I was expecting Humans, Elves, or the Kobolds. But it makes perfect sense. He only has 1 Skeleton region left, so he may as well set up a new Decline and then grab the next active race for cheaper (either one slot lower or with one more coin on it).
I Map Out the Rest of the Game and Make a Decision
I have two options here: hit his Priestesses and give up the Kobolds to him, or decline first and grab the Kobolds myself.
If I take the Kobolds, we’ll both be scoring lots of points (me on Peaceloving, him on Seafaring). If I don’t, we’ll both be hitting each other and scoring fewer. I decided to take the latter option since I get to pick a new race after him and therefore for cheaper. I played out the rest of the game in my mind, and the net swing of 2 points for picking second (he’d be giving me one coin for using Bivouacking Humans) would just about give me the win.
So I hit his Priestesses. I anticipate him to decline, and myself to spread out on turn 7, which would force him to give up the Peaceloving bonus (not hitting my decline of 7 regions would cost him more). I take regions 22 and 26, so I can just take regions 2, 7, 10, 21 next turn.
He declines as expected, on 2 immune decline points per turn.
I spread out as planned. The Catapult was quite useful. It is part Flying, part Commando, and part Heroic. It helped me both on offense and defense, and the "Flying" part means it would cost him more to take down my Halflings when they go into decline.
He picks the Peaceloving Kobolds as expected. However, he doesn’t attack me and score the Peaceloving bonus instead.
He takes down some now in decline Halflings.
Turns Nine and Ten
I take the Bivouacking Humans. It’s an okay race, but there are only 2 turns left anyways and the Humans had 4 coins on them for the taking.
I deliberately hug his Kobolds. He wasn’t going to attack me (Peaceloving). So he will either leave my decline Halflings alone, or leave behind some empty regions for me to take (in order to have enough tokens to hit the Halflings).
He does come after my Halflings, which was probably the right choice. He runs the Kobolds for the rest of the game.
Point of Interest
The game is actually a lot closer than the final score indicated. If he had given up the Peaceloving bonus and hit me instead on the Kobold's first turn, by my calculations I'd have won by only ~2 points.
- Last edited Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:52 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Apr 7, 2011 9:05 am
FYI - I could be wrong, but I believe that when you take the halfings the first two regions must be adjacent to each other (though you can start anywhere) and the hobbit holes must go in those two regions - and cannot be moved later. So you can't have a hole in 3 and 14.
I could be wrong though.
FYI - I could be wrong, but I believe that when you take the halfings the first two regions must be adjacent to each other (though you can start anywhere) and the hobbit holes must go in those two regions - and cannot be moved later. So you can't have a hole in 3 and 14. I had Catapult.
I could be wrong though.
On turn 4:
"and I had two options here: Catapult Humans and Peaceloving Kobolds (their token count is worth it even if I don’t score their Peaceloving bonus every turn, and I won’t on the first turn because I would be hitting the Skeletons.) I picked the Catapult Humans because they were cheaper."
It took me a few turns to realize what was going on there. ._.