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Subject: The basic strategies as I see them: rss

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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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After playing this a fair amount, it seems like there are five strategy categories that that seem to work best- not to say that everything falls into these categories, it just seemed like a nice basic delineation of strategies encountered:

1. TINY TOWN
Town size: 8-9
Key Resource Tiles: Stone and Wood
Key Non-resource Tiles: Bridge OR Distillery and Tavern
Key Special Tiles: Donan or Cawdor or Armandale or Stalker
Tiles to avoid: Market, Loch Oich, Loch Ness, duplicate resources, villages, Ilona, Morar,Shiel, Duart

My current favourite strategy, it involves keeping a town rather small and just making sure you have a toe dipped in the scoring waters- not enough to really benefit you, but enough to keep people from getting the 5+ bonus. Bridge is key, as if you can activate even once, that stone and wood you've been hoarding will pay off again, not just in the market manipulation you've hopefully been doing (wood and stone should net you a couple coins). Sure, you may look like you're losing, but clever play should see your opponents taking anywhere from 12 to 24 points of penalties at the end. It's incredibly hard to hate draft against, but then again, if everyone else is managing to score consistently above 4 points a tile, you may be hosed. Interestingly enough, It seems to do better against the median village than the big city.
Against every instinct, Lochs Ness and Oich seem to be detrimental here, as you don't have enough turns to make Loch ness shine, and without a lot of resource-churning brown tiles, Oich flounders.

2. BIG CITY
Town size: over 13 at least
Key Resource Tiles: All of them
Key Non-resource Tiles: Market, Butcher
Key Special Tiles: Ilona, Morar, Duart, Ness, and of course, Oich.
Tiles to avoid: Shiel, possibly.

This is an interesting strategy, as it involves taking as many early turns as possible so you're totally free to deny your opponent any key tiles they need. Hopefully you're churning out points every turn with a brown resource converter. However, to suck up the cholesterol of your bloated corpse of a city, you definitely need either Ilona or Morar, and Oich to win. If you can get away with that, you just might pull off the big city win. It's less risky than it seems, because if you're pulling early turns, you'll be in the best position to be the one when it pops ups. If you've got enough of a brown engine, it doesn't really matter too much how much scoring you do- but then again, if you can, do it. This strategy is about gluttony, after all.
If you don't get Ilona or Morar, or even Duart and Oich, you may, however, be hosed. Also, if you see someone else bulking up in a 4 player, cool your jets, switch to four, and specialize in a particular brown combo, or you will be competing for the same key tiles, and probably also be hosed.

3. DRUNK CHIEF TOWN
Town size: 9-12
Key Resource Tiles: Wheat, and to a lesser extent, stone and wood.
Key Non-resource Tiles: Distillery, Tavern, Villages
Key Special Tiles: Ilona, Duart, Mey and sometimes Donan.
Tiles to avoid: Probably Lochy and maybe the Market.

Basically, build up an infrastructure that allows for mass whiskey/chieftain exodus. If you manage to win this game, it's because you have a tight bonus point scoring machine, and you've got at least one 5+- which with savvy opponents, is usually the whiskey, as most players will find a way to get tams or chieftains. The main pitfall to this strategy is you've gotta get at least one 5+, preferably by scoring 2, but you can't get too comfortable a lead, as you have probably bought an unnecessary whiskey at the cost of market coins, or perhaps a chieftain at the cost of placement.

4. MEDIAN DENIAL/TACTICAL RETREAT
Town size: 10-13
Key Resource Tiles: Stone and wood, and whichever resource other people aren't getting.
Key Non-resource Tiles: Markets, Butchers.
Key Special Tiles: Conditional, although Oich and Ilona never really hurt, and you'll probably need Donan, Stalker, Mey or Cawdor.
Tiles to avoid: Lochy

Keep your eye on your bonuses, bleed the market (keeping precious resources that you have at 2 coins is fantastic, as sometimes opponents will have no choice but to basically pay you three, or move up the turn order so far it disrupts their own plans), make sure you don't grow too rapidly, and then steal everything your opponents didn't nail to the ground. This strategy seems to be the dominant one in 2 player, as it's the most tactical. It's harder in 4 as you can't deny all of the people all of the time, and you may just end up making a median sized version of the big city strategy- which is still viable, and in fact is viable without Oich.
This strategy is all about market manipulation and special location swipes- which you should be getting a nice bonus from. Whiskey and Chieftains shouldn't be ignored, but you'll probably be getting a lot of special locations. In reality, if your plans for 1-3 get scuppered, you'll probably be doing a specialized version of this, and what may win you the game is knowing the point at which you should switch- and that's why the game is such an awesome blend of tactics and strategy.

5. BROWN TOWN

Town size: 9-12
Key Resource Tiles: Cattle and Sheep, Stone and Wood
Key Non-resource Tiles: Markets, Butcher, Grocer.
Key Special Tiles: Conditional, although Oich and Morar never really hurt, and you'll probably need Donan, Stalker, Mey or Cawdor.
Tiles to avoid: Conditional

The easiest to do without interruption, and if done well, this can win you the game rather nicely. In a sentence: Build a brown conversion machine. If you get your hands on the sheep/cattle butcher and a nice market or two, you should be doing swimmingly. That's not to say you can ignore special bonuses, but as in 1, just keep your toe in the water and try not to let any 5+ occur. This strategy is elegant enough to let you win, but robust enough to allow for plenty of variation. Of paramount importance, however, is placement. To get a good Brown Town going, you need to make sure that you're always activating at least three tiles, and selling at least- AT LEAST- once every turn and a half once you've got your first brown tile. If you get your hands on the supermarket (5 for 12) or the grocer, shame on your friends, but bully for you!
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Ben Bateson
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My initial gut reaction is that it's a bad idea to plan on having a Key tile in phase 3, because you never get an opportunity to take about half of the phase 3 tiles.

My wife favours a strategy which almost exclusively deals in villages and castles, which can be devastatingly successful.
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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ousgg wrote:
My initial gut reaction is that it's a bad idea to plan on having a Key tile in phase 3, because you never get an opportunity to take about half of the phase 3 tiles.

My wife favours a strategy which almost exclusively deals in villages and castles, which can be devastatingly successful.


Yeah me too, which is why i like my villages small and efficient.

The Duart version of number 3? Good for her!
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David
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I have found that small town was the winner of our first few games but then we got more effective at scoring with larger sets and small town went down.

But I agree if two or more try to be too big then both are likely to suffer - again, being in the place that no one else is in is useful.
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Travis Cooper
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I just don't see where you are getting enough points from in the small city. I have been trying to get this to work myself, but haven't done well at it. You mention not letting people get the 5+ bonus, but that isn't in your control. We have been playing with 5 players, somebody is bound to not have a whiskey. You can't control the point spread since it always goes to the player with the lowest number. Our games see the winner with mid 50s for points. I don't see how your small city will ever score anywhere close to that many points. Best case scenario you will get the bridge and activate it twice giving you 14. You were "dipping" into each scoring category so I'll be generous and offer an additional 16, so now you are at 30. So now you need at least 20 of the total 33 coins in the game to even break 50. I just don't see that happening. Especially relying on a specific tile this gets hard. The issue is you have to jump pretty far ahead each time to keep your tableau small and that means you are out of position to get those few tiles that you really need.

I'm going to keep trying this, but I just don't see relying mostly on market manipulation as being a good strategy.

It seems like a small whiskey oriented city is less risky. Get a distillery, a wheat, place a few tiles around it. Pick up a tavern, two if you're lucky. You still have a small city to punish everybody else, but you're also scoring well in each scoring round as well as picking up those points off the tavern.

I'm curious of a follow up to your analysis that would show how many points you expect to get out of each of the strategies you have listed.
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Frank Conradie
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I can't speak for a 5 player game, but I pulled off the "tiny town" in spectacular fashion last night in a 3 player game. I had 45 points, easily beating my 2 opponents, who took -12 and -9 in tile penalties. My points came mainly from 2 Taverns, the Bridge, and 9 coins. It may well be more difficult to pull off in a 5 player game.
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Travis Cooper
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opticode wrote:
I can't speak for a 5 player game, but I pulled off the "tiny town" in spectacular fashion last night in a 3 player game. I had 45 points, easily beating my 2 opponents, who took -12 and -9 in tile penalties. My points came mainly from 2 Taverns, the Bridge, and 9 coins. It may well be more difficult to pull off in a 5 player game.


How many tiles did you have? There aren't enough turns to get points "mainly" on 2 taverns and a bridge, they come out too late. So what else were you using to score?
 
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Frank Conradie
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I had 10 total tiles

1st scoring: 1 (for whiskey - I had 2 from Distillery)
2nd scoring: 0
3rd scoring: 0

Place 1st Tavern: 3
Place 2nd Tavern (next to 1st): 3 + 3 = 6
Place Bridge (next to 2 Taverns): 7 + 3 + 3 = 13
Place ? to activate Bridge + 1 Tavern: 7 + 3 = 10
Final turn, best I could do was Annual Fair: 3 (2 different goods)

End-game scoring: 9 (from coins)

Total: 45

And you're right, the 2 Taverns and Bridge came out relatively early, which certainly helped.
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Travis Cooper
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I think maybe my problems are coming due to 5 player games. It seems way too random to be able to follow any real strategy. Perhaps I need to try it with 4.
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EXTRA AVOCADO! Sonderegger
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opticode wrote:
I had 10 total tiles

1st scoring: 1 (for whiskey - I had 2 from Distillery)
2nd scoring: 0
3rd scoring: 0

Place 1st Tavern: 3
Place 2nd Tavern (next to 1st): 3 + 3 = 6
Place Bridge (next to 2 Taverns): 7 + 3 + 3 = 13
Place ? to activate Bridge + 1 Tavern: 7 + 3 = 10
Final turn, best I could do was Annual Fair: 3 (2 different goods)

End-game scoring: 9 (from coins)

Total: 45

And you're right, the 2 Taverns and Bridge came out relatively early, which certainly helped.


Yeah, that bridge is pretty key- but even more is controlling the market. It's so luck based, hoping that you maintain a nice monopoly on at least one resource, but if you do it's glorious.
 
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monkeyboy157 wrote:
I
I'm curious of a follow up to your analysis that would show how many points you expect to get out of each of the strategies you have listed.


I would love to see an analysis similar to the points-per-pip breakdown present in stone age, but it's probably not in the cards, seeing all of the interdependent variables.
 
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Dave Martin
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Maybe our group has group-think, but we've played about 20 times, and not once has the player with the least tiles won the game.

Unfortunately, our seemingly most important strategy is to take lots of tiles (and place them where you get lots of activations). I think we saw one where someone took about minus 33 and still won (had about 90 points, minus 33 equals 57).

Are we just not playing well?
 
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David
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The small Scotland player has to be quite efficient in their point scoring or they won't score enough to win. Taverns tend to be popular here.

The Big Scotland player still has to be reasonably efficient but as long as he scores at least 3 points per extra tile he will keep up with his smaller thinking cousin. And as you get better at the game, that becomes easier to achieve.

So I think you guys were clearly playing well from the outset.
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Andrew Bellavie
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I really enjoyed your strategy guide. Excellent job!

Did you ever consider a strategy where you are focussing on resource production and hoarding money?

I played a game recently where one player essentially played the market and ended the game with close to 30 coins.

It seems similar to a mid-village strategy, and I think it can be viable when other players are unable to claim/skip over resource tiles for the special tiles, and have to buy resources.

Anyway, it may be a fluke, and not viable at all but I wanted to put it out there for consideration.

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Chris K
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I can typically grok games fairly easily but Glen More, for it's small size, is deceptively complex. So, thanks for this great strategy guide. I'm excited to try one of these out!

One dumb question though. You mention getting a 5+ bonus but what does this refer to? Are you talking about taking a bridge or making use of the fair or grocer?
 
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Ax Bits
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gidorah wrote:
I can typically grok games fairly easily but Glen More, for it's small size, is deceptively complex. So, thanks for this great strategy guide. I'm excited to try one of these out!

One dumb question though. You mention getting a 5+ bonus but what does this refer to? Are you talking about taking a bridge or making use of the fair or grocer?

They're referring to the 8 point bonus you get at end-of-round scoring for having 5+ more things than the worst player.
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Chris K
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Maxx_Pointy wrote:
gidorah wrote:
I can typically grok games fairly easily but Glen More, for it's small size, is deceptively complex. So, thanks for this great strategy guide. I'm excited to try one of these out!

One dumb question though. You mention getting a 5+ bonus but what does this refer to? Are you talking about taking a bridge or making use of the fair or grocer?

They're referring to the 8 point bonus you get at end-of-round scoring for having 5+ more things than the worst player.


[smacks forehead] Of course! Thanks!
 
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