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Eminent Domain» Forums » Strategy

Subject: A framework for basic strategy rss

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Alex Brown
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Understanding a game is understanding how to win. Strategy games tend two ways: games with objectives and games about efficiency. The difference is that in the latter the winner doesn't need to trigger the end-of-game. Eminent Domain is an efficiency game. You don't win Eminent Domain by settling the most planets or by having the most influence tokens. You win by having accumulated the most influence when the game ends.

Planets are your primary source of influence. Gaining influence through Research or Trading is dependent on your planets. The individual benefits offered by a planet to its owner will enhance particular roles and suggest biases. The early game is the contest around the Survey role and the choice to Colonize or wage Warfare. Politics and Research are key actions for focusing your deck.

Exploration and expansion lead to exploitation. Improved technologies make hands more efficient with powerful actions and dual symbols for strong boosting and following. Research is the key role in the middle game, framed by opportunities to Survey, Colonize or Warfare with meek response. Improved actions start to dominate, with Survey, Colonize and Warfare offering support.

Influence becomes king. Players have defined pathways and must weigh each other's chances in flipping planets, researching advanced technologies and trading. Produce/Trade as a role becomes pivotal to breaking open even games; unprepared decks and tableaux cannot recover against a player snowballing Produce/Trade until the Influence tokens are depleted. Improved technologies are now the weakest acceptable actions; powerful five-cost technologies dominate the action phases and provide strong follows. The endgame is defined by supremacy in a key role, allowing only weak follows while threatening reprisal on other turns.

The advent of each phase of the game depends on how roles are shared. When multiple players are playing a role, the game threatens to end more quickly. Still, if supremacy is established, the dominant player might be forced to close that role on their own as players change gears looking for roles where they can nurture an advantage.

For a highly derivative game Eminent Domain's combination of mechanisms create a diverse endgame that encourages flexibility right to the end. Whereas most efficiency games reward dominance with an accelerated endgame, Eminent Domain forces players to do things others aren't doing while still trying to keep options open on other player's turns. The game won't end without players taking role cards (you won't deplete the Influence tokens without Trading a lot) but it takes too long to try to end a single pile by yourself. Control over the tempo and strategic phases of the game is a balancing act.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Nice beginning point for thinking strategy in EmDo. The only nitpick I have is

Quote:
planets are your primary source of influence


which is not quite accurate all the time. Depending on the game you might very well have more influence in produce/trade, though I can't say the same for research (it's possible but just not likely).

I would state it as "Planets provide your first focus towards how you will gain influence" since mid-game the Techs I get combined with my role choice might play a much larger impact than which planets I continue to draw (if any).
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Alex Brown
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Primary as in first.

I wanted to emphasise that even if you end up with more influence from trading or research it's your planets that set the platform.

Further to this, I wanted to infer that in efficiency games it's limiting to say 'I went Research'; rather it's more observant to say 'given the tempo of the game and my opponent's position, Produce/Trade was the best way to score influence'.

Control over the endgame dictates the viability of the multiple pathways to influence.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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For sure. I usually tell new players that there are 3 ways to gain influence and in any given game there is a good chance you get a some from each path.
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Alex Brown
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kvenosdel wrote:
For sure. I usually tell new players that there are 3 ways to gain influence and in any given game there is a good chance you get a some from each path.


The more I play the more I think this is necessary for good play. I've played a lot of 2er over the last few weeks and by far the biggest difference has been my opponent's not wanting to Trade enough.

Typically they go all-in Researching or Surveying without keeping the threat of Trading open.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Alex Brown wrote:
kvenosdel wrote:
For sure. I usually tell new players that there are 3 ways to gain influence and in any given game there is a good chance you get a some from each path.


The more I play the more I think this is necessary for good play. I've played a lot of 2er over the last few weeks and by far the biggest difference has been my opponent's not wanting to Trade enough.

Typically they go all-in Researching or Surveying without keeping the threat of Trading open.


I agree, especially considering controlling the end game like you say. In a 30 - 50 point game (fairly typical scores in 3 or 2 player games respectively) 3 or 4 points from trading might not be a huge part of your score, but if it results in the trading player getting one less huge trade turn (its not uncommon to get nine points on a trade turn versus the typical 2-5 for planets or research) it can be the difference in whether you win or not.
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