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Subject: A few notes on teaching, thoughts, and a few strategy tips. rss

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aaron belmer
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-When teaching the game I've found it's easier to 'get' the last round scoring by going through a mock end-game scoring. Really helps to visualize the HUGE impact influence has on the board.

-Also, for new folks, when teaching, I highly recommend playing one 6 rounder first, before going to the 8 rounder.

-this game plays VERY different from 2 to 3 to 4 people. I like them all, but if I had to pick, I'd say I prefer with 3. 2 is also just a great 2'er game, and 4 feels like a full on area control war game in 25 minutes. Crazy how good this game is and how well is scales.


A few strategy tips. I'm by no means an expert, but some things I've gathered from multiple plays.

(1) Each placement, I'm either looking to scope out new land, or completely block off an opponents piece. But it's a trade off. If I claim large pockets of land early, I'm almost assured to lose some or all by end game. If I play 10-20 pieces early, then I lose their end game effectiveness. So generally (assuming an 8 rounder) I'm playing 30-60 for the first several rounds.

(2) Once the board has been set up a bit, then I look for where my opponent has blocked himself from placing, and try to find a nice pocket of land with an 80-90. I can't really stop an opponent from blocking me off, but I can watch what he's played, and can minimize it by watching where he can't play. I don't want to put my 'claim 3 movement fields' dude on a space just because it gets me 8 fields instead of 7 fields. I want to put it there because I may get less, but have a safer placement.

(3) A thought: being able to move a piece is a nice option of course, but the majority of the time I find that where I put them is where I want them, so I'd say more than half the time I'm not moving them. The times I move them are late game when the board fills up. Which leads me to want to save my moving dudes until late game. Which conflicts with my 'keep 10 until the end' strategy path. So with more testing will have to see how that goes. But for now, moving isn't a top priority (to date, I've only played with missives, haven't even tried suns, so this of course may change).

(4) The dudes that let you place a conflict marker are enormously powerful. Don't place them early game, save them until maybe 2/3 through the game, as their use can win you the game.

(5) Try to stay away from mountains, especially with 80-90. I know this is kind of a no duh, but really I see it happen a lot, myself included in first few games. I mean, played next to a mountain, you're guaranteeing yourself you've cut off an entire side. At least playing out in the open, an opponent MIGHT cut you off, but maybe not. Don't think that by backing up to a mountain you're somehow safe, I just don't see it as a good play in any circumstance.

(6) City denial: The golden rule of the game. If you can't take a city, block a city. 10-20 can swoop up crucial cities in the end game, but if you just don't see a way to get them, place your dudes on top of cities, place markers on them, take them away from your opponent.

That's all for now, please post any strategy thoughts you have, love to discuss them.
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Jessica "Kit" Cain
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I like your strategies. Typically, I've found the best way to go is to start with mid-level tiles to claim some key areas, then use low-level ones to block, and high-level tiles to claim areas that are left.

Also, avoiding mountains is a good strategy, but there are ways to use mountains to block your opponents from getting certain areas of the board.

Another tip for teaching new members is to stick with the *0 side of the tiles (10, 20, 30, 40, etc) because the other tiles are more complicated.

 
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JB Lawton
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Niggling newbie thoughts
I finally picked up my copy at Origins on Sunday (thanks, Chris!) and got a chance to try it out with my brother that night. Here are some thoughts we had as two newbies trying to figure out how to play with only our wits and the rules. (These comments may be useful if the rules get tweaked before the final version comes out.)

1) The Special Short Game Rules section ought to come earlier. It's embarrassing to admit this, but my brother and I spent entirely too much time looking at the possible board setup options at the top of page 3 trying to figure out why there was even an illustration of a 2-duchy setup when the rules had just stated:
Quote:
Use one [duchy] for each player, and then one additional duchy. (emphasis added)
Obviously, once we read down to the bottom of the page, everything was clear, but we kept trying to figure out if there was some kind of one-player option or something.

2) References to "speed" are counter-intuitive.

Quote:
Each piece's priority number dictates the speed at which it acts in both placement and end game scoring. Lower is faster, and higher usually indicates more powerful pieces. (p.2)

But lower speed isn't faster. And speed doesn't really play a role in the game, anyway. Perhaps it would be clearer to say that each piece's priority number indicates the order of placement (with ties going to the Presumptive Heir)and the order of resolution for end game scoring. Lower-numbered pieces act and score first, but higher-numbered pieces are usually more powerful.

3. Clarify that you can't claim the squares that your pieces occupy. Again, perhaps my brother and I are just dough-heads, but we fought over cities initially by placing our pieces right on top of them. (What better way for a Knight or Agent to claim a city than actually occupy it, right? Nope!)

4) Do Conflict Markers block scoring? The Scoring Example on page 8 doesn't include any Conflict Markers. And the Rule of Nature that Obstacles block everything appears on page 4 as part of the "Placing Pieces -- Restrictions" section. Are they supposed to stay in place during the end of game scoring, or are they removed? The Play Example on page 5 suggests that they remain in place, but the reference is pretty oblique:

Quote:
After placing, Green uses the Knight's special ability to place a Conflict Marker three squares away, further blocking the Baron.


Okay, the Baron is blocked, but is does that mean he is blocked from future movement and scoring?

-----------

Now, I know these are pretty picayune comments, but please understand I'm making 'em 'cause I like the game and would like it to do well. I'm not nit-picking just to be a jerk.

Thanks, Eric 'n' Chris for Fealty: the Game of Medieval Sudoku!
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Chris Cieslik
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jbliii wrote:
I finally picked up my copy at Origins on Sunday (thanks, Chris!) and got a chance to try it out with my brother that night. Here are some thoughts we had as two newbies trying to figure out how to play with only our wits and the rules. (These comments may be useful if the rules get tweaked before the final version comes out.)

1) The Special Short Game Rules section ought to come earlier. It's embarrassing to admit this, but my brother and I spent entirely too much time looking at the possible board setup options at the top of page 3 trying to figure out why there was even an illustration of a 2-duchy setup when the rules had just stated:
Quote:
Use one [duchy] for each player, and then one additional duchy. (emphasis added)
Obviously, once we read down to the bottom of the page, everything was clear, but we kept trying to figure out if there was some kind of one-player option or something.

2) References to "speed" are counter-intuitive.

Quote:
Each piece's priority number dictates the speed at which it acts in both placement and end game scoring. Lower is faster, and higher usually indicates more powerful pieces. (p.2)

But lower speed isn't faster. And speed doesn't really play a role in the game, anyway. Perhaps it would be clearer to say that each piece's priority number indicates the order of placement (with ties going to the Presumptive Heir)and the order of resolution for end game scoring. Lower-numbered pieces act and score first, but higher-numbered pieces are usually more powerful.

3. Clarify that you can't claim the squares that your pieces occupy. Again, perhaps my brother and I are just dough-heads, but we fought over cities initially by placing our pieces right on top of them. (What better way for a Knight or Agent to claim a city than actually occupy it, right? Nope!)

4) Do Conflict Markers block scoring? The Scoring Example on page 8 doesn't include any Conflict Markers. And the Rule of Nature that Obstacles block everything appears on page 4 as part of the "Placing Pieces -- Restrictions" section. Are they supposed to stay in place during the end of game scoring, or are they removed? The Play Example on page 5 suggests that they remain in place, but the reference is pretty oblique:

Quote:
After placing, Green uses the Knight's special ability to place a Conflict Marker three squares away, further blocking the Baron.


Okay, the Baron is blocked, but is does that mean he is blocked from future movement and scoring?

-----------

Now, I know these are pretty picayune comments, but please understand I'm making 'em 'cause I like the game and would like it to do well. I'm not nit-picking just to be a jerk.

Thanks, Eric 'n' Chris for Fealty: the Game of Medieval Sudoku!


Nope, those're totally valid comments, and they're appreciated. A big part of the short-run model is seeing what people don't understand even though we think it's clear.
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aaron belmer
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jbliii wrote:
I finally picked up my copy at Origins on Sunday (thanks, Chris!) and got a chance to try it out with my brother that night. Here are some thoughts we had as two newbies trying to figure out how to play with only our wits and the rules. (These comments may be useful if the rules get tweaked before the final version comes out.)

1) The Special Short Game Rules section ought to come earlier. It's embarrassing to admit this, but my brother and I spent entirely too much time looking at the possible board setup options at the top of page 3 trying to figure out why there was even an illustration of a 2-duchy setup when the rules had just stated:
Quote:
Use one [duchy] for each player, and then one additional duchy. (emphasis added)
Obviously, once we read down to the bottom of the page, everything was clear, but we kept trying to figure out if there was some kind of one-player option or something.

2) References to "speed" are counter-intuitive.

Quote:
Each piece's priority number dictates the speed at which it acts in both placement and end game scoring. Lower is faster, and higher usually indicates more powerful pieces. (p.2)

But lower speed isn't faster. And speed doesn't really play a role in the game, anyway. Perhaps it would be clearer to say that each piece's priority number indicates the order of placement (with ties going to the Presumptive Heir)and the order of resolution for end game scoring. Lower-numbered pieces act and score first, but higher-numbered pieces are usually more powerful.

3. Clarify that you can't claim the squares that your pieces occupy. Again, perhaps my brother and I are just dough-heads, but we fought over cities initially by placing our pieces right on top of them. (What better way for a Knight or Agent to claim a city than actually occupy it, right? Nope!)

4) Do Conflict Markers block scoring? The Scoring Example on page 8 doesn't include any Conflict Markers. And the Rule of Nature that Obstacles block everything appears on page 4 as part of the "Placing Pieces -- Restrictions" section. Are they supposed to stay in place during the end of game scoring, or are they removed? The Play Example on page 5 suggests that they remain in place, but the reference is pretty oblique:

Quote:
After placing, Green uses the Knight's special ability to place a Conflict Marker three squares away, further blocking the Baron.


Okay, the Baron is blocked, but is does that mean he is blocked from future movement and scoring?

-----------

Now, I know these are pretty picayune comments, but please understand I'm making 'em 'cause I like the game and would like it to do well. I'm not nit-picking just to be a jerk.

Thanks, Eric 'n' Chris for Fealty: the Game of Medieval Sudoku!


I had the same feedback with the top of page 3 layouts, was unclear at first. With thorough reading it makes more sense, but a lot of folks may glance at it and automatically think '2 player setup = 2 duchies'.
 
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R. Eric Reuss
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Great thoughts!

zenmazster wrote:
-When teaching the game I've found it's easier to 'get' the last round scoring by going through a mock end-game scoring. Really helps to visualize the HUGE impact influence has on the board.

Very, very true. In the many times I've explained the game, whenever I've skipped or glossed over a mock endgame, someone misunderstood how scoring worked. I always include it now.

In those examples, I've found it quite useful to have two pieces with the same number contending over territory; otherwise, players often assume that the placement tiebreaker (Presumptive Heir) also acts as a scoring tiebreaker, which is not the case. (As it would be crazy-good.)

zenmaster wrote:
(5) Try to stay away from mountains, especially with 80-90. I know this is kind of a no duh, but really I see it happen a lot, myself included in first few games. I mean, played next to a mountain, you're guaranteeing yourself you've cut off an entire side.

Indeed, playing adjacent to a mountain is generally a bad idea. Playing diagonally next to one can sometimes be good for a high-range piece - the mountain occupies one of the spaces where blockers would most want to be. A knight's move away from a mountain can also be nice, as the mountain gets in the way of a corner-placed blocker's influence, providing a disincentive for someone to play there.

(All dependent on the larger context of the specific game, obviously.)
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