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Subject: Strategy questions after a few plays rss

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Gar Per
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3 plays in and I've been loving the game, but I'm either noticing a flaw or I'm not seeing a way around it. 

If you look at every bishopric 1 activity and every civilian 3 structure, they all pair at least well if not downright devastatingly. Augment your yellow die production with a bishopric 1, convert that into solid points with civilian 3.  every game so far has been won by someone utilizing this combo. My problem is, you know that this combo will be there from the second you set up the game. 

Are there ways to combat these combos or are there equally consistent combos elsewhere?  So far I've noted none. There are other combos of activity cards, but none I've seen as guaranteed as this.  Other combos may or may not show up, so if you try to start them early, you are taking a chance that they won't be there. So either it is imbalanced, or we are missing things or otherwise group-thinking around the issue. Is there an effective way to counter this or similar combinations we are overlooking?
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Einmal ist keinmal
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Haven't looked at the cards in question this morning, but will do so when I get a chance.

However, what about buying the yellow dice away from that player? And/or kick his workers out of the City Hall, and use the yellow dice as your first action (so he doesn't buy them away from you).
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brian
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nate_lockhart wrote:
3 plays in and I've been loving the game, but I'm either noticing a flaw or I'm not seeing a way around it. 

If you look at every bishopric 1 activity and every civilian 3 structure, they all pair at least well if not downright devastatingly. Augment your yellow die production with a bishopric 1, convert that into solid points with civilian 3.  every game so far has been won by someone utilizing this combo. My problem is, you know that this combo will be there from the second you set up the game. 

Are there ways to combat these combos or are there equally consistent combos elsewhere?  So far I've noted none. There are other combos of activity cards, but none I've seen as guaranteed as this.  Other combos may or may not show up, so if you try to start them early, you are taking a chance that they won't be there. So either it is imbalanced, or we are missing things or otherwise group-thinking around the issue. Is there an effective way to counter this or similar combinations we are overlooking?

I don't see the issue. The combo is available for all to take advantage of. So if more than 1 take advantage of it, they can't all be the single winner.

You also have Level II White that affect Red and any colors in similar patterns to the Level I Whites. All Level III's give you VPs in some manner.

Make sure on the Monk you are taking exactly ONE white die as well. Some in our group tend to be grabby thinking they can take more than one white die and coming up with more than 3 yellow dice.
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Jack Francisco
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I've always found that using someone's dice puts a crimp in their plan.
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Gar Per
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I don't think the combo being available for all makes it any better. So every game every player puts a worker on bishopric 1 and Civ 3 and we see who can do it best? Maybe "imbalanced" was a bad term. If that is really the case, then how about "not fun".

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Philip Thomas
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nate_lockhart wrote:
I don't think the combo being available for all makes it any better. So every game every player puts a worker on bishopric 1 and Civ 3 and we see who can do it best? Maybe "imbalanced" was a bad term. If that is really the case, then how about "not fun".



There are 3 main strategies as I see it. Your strategy is one, flooding the Cathedral with Cubes is one, and heavily fighting the events is one. None of these strategies are intrinsically better, it depends what cards come up.

Your strategy works best with the Sculptor, and the Money secret character. Journey man (turn money into points) is not good news for this strategy.
Cathedral strategy works best with Glassblower and the Cathedral/Influence secret characters.
Events strategy works best with Archer and the Event Cards/Influence secret characters.

Edit: In a four player game, if three players are playing one of the strategies the player who is playing the other strategy will very likely win- less competition for the dice and slots he wants....
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Gar Per
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senorcoo wrote:
I've always found that using someone's dice puts a crimp in their plan.


These are the sorts of answers I expected really. But this method is not realistic, and this advice you should expect is not useful for anyone above the age of 6. As in any game with more than 2 players, making a move to harpoon someone else that doesn't happen to also be your optimal (or close to optimal) move is just setting up the remaining players. Clearly if you can also make a strong play for yourself that boogers someone else, you do it. But you can't use all the dice, and you can't make a sub-optimal play just to spite another person and expect to win. Some dice you can do little productive with regardless of how you've set up. If the player you are trying to counter has a white 1 sitting in front of them and are about to use monk by flipping the die, you have only one realistic option to use that die, for at best 3 VPs. (If you happen to not be in that level of the cathedral). At worst, you pay 2 denier for 1 VP.
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Nate S
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Were you unsatisfied with Philip's answer?

I have not found the strategy you describe to be always-dominant in my games. It's certainly one possible path to victory, but: I have had great success flooding the Cathedral. I have had great success focusing heavily on events. I have had great success getting VPs off the level 3 white activity card (often in combination with an earlier strategy of flooding the Cathedral). I do not tend to focus on red-based strategies, but that's just my playstyle in this game (not an indication that red is a bad color).

If someone is threatening a big L1 white/L3 yellow combo, buy the dice they need away from them at a critical moment. If nobody is in a position where this is a good move, and it really is a situation like you describe of one player being forced to fall on a grenade or let the white/yellow player win, then the other players have not been paying attention and the white/yellow player absolutely deserves to win. Certainly, if only one player is set up to make use of a particular color of dice, while the other players are crowding each other on the other two colors, the former player is likely to win. That's the reality of good multiplayer Euro games: you want your strategy to be heterogeneous with the other players'. If several players are following a white/yellow strategy while one player is fighting events, the fighter definitely has the upper hand!

When you say there is always a good combo there, well, that's not true either. Goldsmith will be bad news if Thibaut II is not in play, and if he is in play Journeyman will be bad news. Sculptor is somewhere in between, depending on how much money you have during the endgame.
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Gar Per
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ghorsche wrote:
Were you unsatisfied with Philip's answer?

I have not found the strategy you describe to be always-dominant in my games. It's certainly one possible path to victory, but: I have had great success flooding the Cathedral. I have had great success focusing heavily on events. I have had great success getting VPs off the level 3 white activity card (often in combination with an earlier strategy of flooding the Cathedral). I do not tend to focus on red-based strategies, but that's just my playstyle in this game (not an indication that red is a bad color).

If someone is threatening a big L1 white/L3 yellow combo, buy the dice they need away from them at a critical moment. If nobody is in a position where this is a good move, and it really is a situation like you describe of one player being forced to fall on a grenade or let the white/yellow player win, then the other players have not been paying attention and the white/yellow player absolutely deserves to win. Certainly, if only one player is set up to make use of a particular color of dice, while the other players are crowding each other on the other two colors, the former player is likely to win. That's the reality of good multiplayer Euro games: you want your strategy to be heterogeneous with the other players'. If several players are following a white/yellow strategy while one player is fighting events, the fighter definitely has the upper hand!

When you say there is always a good combo there, well, that's not true either. Goldsmith will be bad news if Thibaut II is not in play, and if he is in play Journeyman will be bad news. Sculptor is somewhere in between, depending on how much money you have during the endgame.


No, Phillips answer was quite good. It did enlighten me on a few things.

I am still seeing issues but haven't had the time to think through them yet. The main issue I see with the alternate strategies having not tried to execute them is that they all require the same color dice to both "set the base" and to take advantage of the scoring card.

Glassblower - load cath with WHITE dice, activate point card with WHITE dice. Not a huge problem, but clearly you have to load the cath early so white dice are available to activate glassblower later. If you wait until turn 3 to start loading the cath, you won't have enough turns to really take advantage of glassblower. There are no cards that "create" or steal white dice as monk/tithing do with yellow.

Countering event cards - primarily you will use RED dice to counter events, and RED dice to activate the scoring. (Militia being an exception but feels like a marginal card - it gives you the option to steal peoples yellows and turn them into reds, but you aren't going to typically want a stable of yellows yourself to do this - just get the reds directly from the palace rather than getting yellows from City Hall and then converting them) My limited experience shows this not to work. By the time people counter black dice, the red pool drops to 3 or 4 typically. When attempting this, it has seemed that by the time you are set up to use the scoring card, all the red dice are gone (Captain) or you can't get joust for more than one activation. It just seems hard for the conditions to line up for scoring.

Cath 1/Civ 3 combos - you will be using WHITE dice to charge the level 1 cath cards, and YELLOW dice to activate the scoring cards. These yellow dice are stolen for "free" or pop out of thin air 66% of the time without you needing to dedicate meeples to city hall, freeing the actions to maintain them for other things. You know that you can begin this from the very first round as the round 3 card you need WILL be there in some form to a greater or lesser extent. It makes the other strategies feel on the face like either a "set up and hope for the card" scenario, or a "wait and be two turns behind" kind of scenario.

I don't place too much stake in the belief that character cards affect this combo much. If the Civ3 card is Journeyman, I MAY lose a few points if the money character is in play, but our play group seems to always have crazy sums of money by the end of the game, so many times you will be able to use it and still get the highest tier of bonus. Sculptor and Goldsmith are virtually equivalent - Goldsmith is SLIGHTLY worse if the money character is not in play, but you are still getting the point at a slightly worse conversion rate and more money can't hurt even if you aren't getting points for it. Money you can turn into tradesmen, in fact. And one of the two characters is highly likely to be present in a 4p game.
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Nate S
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When I spend a lot of dice fighting events it is often white or yellow dice. If you typically see only 3 or 4 red dice left after fighting black dice, then golly, how about somebody uses some red dice to fight off black dice events before the situation becomes so dire? I much more typically find there are 5ish red dice left.

More and more it sounds like your playgroup simply underutilizes yellow dice so that somebody can count on them being freely available when needed, and more generally folks are being much less vigilant than they should about watching for good opportunities to buy needed dice away from the people who most need them.
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Gar Per
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ghorsche wrote:
When I spend a lot of dice fighting events it is often white or yellow dice. If you typically see only 3 or 4 red dice left after fighting black dice, then golly, how about somebody uses some red dice to fight off black dice events before the situation becomes so dire? I much more typically find there are 5ish red dice left.

More and more it sounds like your playgroup simply underutilizes yellow dice so that somebody can count on them being freely available when needed, and more generally folks are being much less vigilant than they should about watching for good opportunities to buy needed dice away from the people who most need them.


Perhaps. One of the things I am trying to determine is if it is groupthink, and if so, somehow break free with a different strat to open things up a bit and make the games more interesting.

Our countering of events seems totally random based upon how the cards come out. It basically works in a few ways, either someone does not like the card's effect and wants to get rid of it, someone sees a combination of dice that will allow them to grab an unbeatable majority in one fell swoop, or someone acts to snag a cheap second place and prevent a sweep of the card.

All the factors work against each other. Use red dice to clear events? Then there are less dice in play to activate your captain/joust/etc. Don't clear events and have fewer reds in play due to black dice and again have trouble activating red powers. Three or so black dice in play seems typical even when events are being actively countered. It might be groupthink, but most people will use a red 2 to counter that 4 black rather than using a 4 yellow/white. This is especially true if they aren't using a "red" strategy. And people will let black dice go through just to take a chunk out of the next guy.

And I agree yellow dice are underutilized in our games, though we are having trouble figuring out how best to score with them. If tithing is out, I'm not putting citizens in City Hall - I'll just take them from you. If Monk is out, I'll just convert one white to the yellows I need. Why dedicate the workers there myself or pay out deniers to take other people's? It has seemed much more efficient to create or steal them using white dice, and with the amounts of money flowing around, there seems no need to have them until the third round, or at earliest the second. I will say I don't think I've seen Priest in a game yet, and I imagine that would drive up the demand for yellows.

I don't think it is that people are not vigilant to watch to grab key dice from other people. Monk (and tithing in a different way) seems incredibly hard to trim down though. If there is a white 4,5 or 6 (even 3 and with sculptor maybe 2) on the board, OR the person using the strategy has a white 1 or 2 and sufficient influence OR there are high yellows on the board, the player doing this strategy is going to get multiple activations of the scoring card. Alternately, if you are using Joust someone can easily burn 3 reds, perhaps depleting yours, and leaving only 1 or 2 on the board. Clearly there are cards that can mitigate this some - but again, there is no guarantee they will be present.
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Nate S
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nate_lockhart wrote:
Three or so black dice in play seems typical even when events are being actively countered.

This is a totally alien experience to mine. I've probably seen 3 red dice used to combat black dice at least once before, but if so I literally don't remember it. 1 is the most typical number with 2 being less common and essentially always enough to dispatch every black die. Are you aware that you can combat several black dice with one die (and that after the first, biggest black die you can combat them in any order)? Are you aware that you can use influence to modify your dice when combating black dice? If you roll a red 1 or 2 as first player, you can flip (along with other dice you might want to use for your first action) or re-roll to a 5 or 6 and probably knock out 3 or 4 black dice (if there are even that many to fight) while gaining back a bunch of influence in the process.

As far as opportunistically using white or yellow dice to combat events, I can assure you this is a strong way to score points even when you can't wipe out a whole card at once. Try it some time.
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Gar Per
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ghorsche wrote:
nate_lockhart wrote:
Three or so black dice in play seems typical even when events are being actively countered.

This is a totally alien experience to mine. I've probably seen 3 red dice used to combat black dice at least once before, but if so I literally don't remember it. 1 is the most typical number with 2 being less common and essentially always enough to dispatch every black die. Are you aware that you can combat several black dice with one die (and that after the first, biggest black die you can combat them in any order)? Are you aware that you can use influence to re-roll your dice when combating black dice?


Yes. We are playing correctly in that regard. Reds are double but use any color, counter the highest then any others you wish, one die can counter multiple black dice, influence may be used but dice may not be purchased. People are executing a white/yellow strat quite often, so they use reds to counter (typically). Other things happen, but this is common.

I don't see why three black dice in play would atypical. If no previous events are left at the end of a round, then 63% of the time there will be two black dice (marauding and a 1-die event), 25% of the time there will be three (Marauding and a 2-die event) and 12% of the time there will be one (marauding and Succession Conflict). Again, that is if the previous events have been fully countered.
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nate_lockhart wrote:
Countering event cards - primarily you will use RED dice to counter events, and RED dice to activate the scoring.


You make some good points, but I don't understand this part. Why would you *primarily* use red? Half the events are red, and half are white/yellow, and they all use their own colour when you combat them. Since they always come out in red/non-red pairs, it's perfectly possible to just fight the non-red ones, if that's your strategy.
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Nate S
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I misread your comment. 3 black dice is fairly common given average effort to combat events (not any especially concerted or coordinated effort). I thought you were saying 3 red dice used to fight them was common. If you're seeing 3 black dice but using 2 or more red dice to fight them more often than 1 red die (and possibly another non-red die or two that are not immediately useful), I would suggest, uh... to put it bluntly, ur doin it wrong. First player facing a pile of black dice is one of the absolute best times to use influence to modify dice, since the return on the influence investment is immediate and typically large. Another angle: if you're not counting on yellow dice yourself, but somebody else is, might it not be a good idea to use your own yellow die to fight black dice? If you have some other valuable use for red dice might it be a good idea to consider using other colors to fight black dice sometimes?

If literally every player is going white/yellow, then I guarantee you a white/yellow player will win. That would be the very definition of groupthink. If there is a player who clearly has the best aptitude for this game at the table, and they always go white/yellow, they may win an outsized proportion of the time just on general skillfulness, even if sharing the strategy with some but not all of the other players. Believe me though that among players of similar skill levels there is no strongest strategy for every game. If this strategy is making the game less fun for you, perhaps it will be more fun trying to win with other strategies even if it is not obvious to you that they will be competitive. I think you will be surprised at how strong some of the other options can be.
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Gar Per
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
nate_lockhart wrote:
Countering event cards - primarily you will use RED dice to counter events, and RED dice to activate the scoring.


You make some good points, but I don't understand this part. Why would you *primarily* use red? Half the events are red, and half are white/yellow, and they all use their own colour when you combat them. Since they always come out in red/non-red pairs, it's perfectly possible to just fight the non-red ones, if that's your strategy.


A bit of a broad statement I suppose. My thinking is that 50% of the event cards are red, but also that the stage 1 cards that augment your ability to counter events (Archer/diplomat/chivalry) require red dice. Perhaps you should not try to use captain/troubadour in conjunction with the stage 1 cards and that is part of the problem I'm having, I don't know.
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Nate S
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Some very obvious questions (and I imagine you're playing these rules correctly already): You're aware that every time you place a cube on an event card you get an influence? You're aware that placing cubes in the Cathedral gives influence? (1 influence per cube for 1/2/3, 2 per cube for 4/5/6).

Before players learned to skillfully execute other strategies my group had actually found the event-heavy strategy to be overwhelmingly powerful, even without Henry I in play. We fell into a different groupthink hole before climbing out. Now I have a slight tendency toward play white-heavy early, getting in the Cathedral early and/or getting some cubes on L1 white, opportunistically fighting events and getting on other activity cards even if I only plan to use them once, and then seeing if any of the L3 activities seem to offer a good return on investment. Often one of them does (and I would say L3 white is at least as commonly the best choice as L3 yellow when I follow this general path), but often I end up mainly cramming more cubes in the Cathedral or fighting more events while optimizing for the endgame scoring cards I suspect are in play. If I'm banging on the same L3 card over and over (which is not common if the other players are paying any attention at all - one big action that nets ~6 points followed by not much else is more common) it's almost certainly L3 white, and it's probably L3 red as often as L3 yellow.
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Gar Per
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ghorsche wrote:
I misread your comment. 3 black dice is fairly common given average effort to combat events (not any especially concerted or coordinated effort). I thought you were saying 3 red dice used to fight them was common. If you're seeing 3 black dice but using 2 or more red dice to fight them more often than 1 red die (and possibly another non-red die or two that are not immediately useful), I would suggest, uh... to put it bluntly, ur doin it wrong. First player facing a pile of black dice is one of the absolute best times to use influence to modify dice, since the return on the influence investment is immediate and typically large.


I'm not sure we are on the same page yet. It isn't that one player is using multiple red dice. Often (not always) a player may counter the highest and lowest dice in a black group using a red. He may even take more, but if they see that the group of dice is going to cause the next guy(s) some problems, they'll let them go by, even if their one die had enough pips to counter another (i.e. they give up one influence to screw the next guy or two out of a die and perhaps some influence). Most frequently though, people will only use 1 die to get as many black dice as they feel appropriate, and using influence to keep it to one die. I don't believe I have ever seen someone use 2 dice to counter black dice.

What happens is, Player 1 uses a red die to kill the highest and lowest. Player two then uses a red to kill what he can, perhaps letting one go by just to screw player 3. Player 3 uses a red die to counter. This isn't always how it goes, people aren't mindless automatons, they switch it up when they see advantage to using a white/yellow, but most often it is red.


ghorsche wrote:
Another angle: if you're not counting on yellow dice yourself, but somebody else is, might it not be a good idea to use your own yellow die to fight black dice? If you have some other valuable use for red dice might it be a good idea to consider using other colors to fight black dice sometimes?


Believe me, this happens and I have done it. But the simple fact is that for the most part, mostly only players with a stake in red will do this, and even if you have a stake in red it sometimes just makes more sense to use a red die. If one guy is preserving red, and three guys are burning it down to counter black dice, guess who is going to come out ahead? You can't do much to preserve a color all on your own. If 50% are going white/yellow and burning red against events, it is pretty hard to keep reds in play very long. Especially due to the fact people will also opportunistically grab them to get a majority in an event, etc. If you get more than one productive red activation and you aren't first player, you've really done something.

ghorsche wrote:
If literally every player is going white/yellow, then I guarantee you a white/yellow player will win. That would be the very definition of groupthink. If there is a player who clearly has the best aptitude for this game at the table, and they always go white/yellow, they may win an outsized proportion of the time just on general skillfulness, even if sharing the strategy with some but not all of the other players. Believe me though that among players of similar skill levels there is no strongest strategy for every game. If this strategy is making the game less fun for you, perhaps it will be more fun trying to win with other strategies even if it is not obvious to you that they will be competitive. I think you will be surprised at how strong some of the other options can be.


Clearly every player is not going white/yellow, but it will often be 2 going that way with even a third maybe bandwagon jumping later, burning red dice like candy to counter black dice. And the game really supports this many in this area if Monk is out. Suddenly there are the equivalent of 24 yellow dice in play with monk. Clearly each augments the white/yellow with some other options, but the heart of it is the same. And the normal rule "do what others aren't doing" seems to not work because of this burndown of red dice countering the black dice and the effective number of yellow dice. I plan to try out some alternate strats, but I like to have a general plan going in and not just "I'll place on card 2 and card 37 and see what happens!" I'm seeing that concentrating on the cathedral might be something to try, but utilizing red dice heavily seems infeasible. My two initial forays into red were quite unsuccessful (not that that is enough to tell completely, but I am either not getting it yet or it may not be there without some hefty luck)
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Nate S
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Let me add that unless you are confident you are in a position to get on one of the VP-granting spaces of the L3 yellow activity card, white/yellow will be a spectacularly bad idea. The only scenario where you win against competent opposition despite being the 3rd player on L3 yellow (if your games are dominated by several people taking L3 yellow) is when Thibaut II is out of play and the card is Journeyman. Indeed it will likely go badly for you in most scenarios unless you are the first white/yellow player to place a tradesman on L3 yellow. Why play for 2nd place duplicating the strategy of a player in a stronger seating position? Try something else instead.
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nate_lockhart wrote:
I'm not sure we are on the same page yet. It isn't that one player is using multiple red dice. Often (not always) a player may counter the highest and lowest dice in a black group using a red. He may even take more, but if they see that the group of dice is going to cause the next guy(s) some problems, they'll let them go by, even if their one die had enough pips to counter another (i.e. they give up one influence to screw the next guy or two out of a die and perhaps some influence). Most frequently though, people will only use 1 die to get as many black dice as they feel appropriate, and using influence to keep it to one die. I don't believe I have ever seen someone use 2 dice to counter black dice.

Here's another groupthink problem. You're describing highly suboptimal play. Influence is very precious, and forgoing a point of influence to screw P2 out of a die (especially when they might burn a die you would have bought from them for your first action!) is simply not good play the vast majority of the time. I will happily screw players out of dice that I don't plan to buy from them by fighting a black 1 instead of a black 2 with my last 2 pips (for example), but situations where it's genuinely strong to let through more dice than you could comfortably kill will be exceptionally rare.

If P3 is getting one or more black dice often (and you simply do not see this in experienced play except in the rare case of a sustained avalanche of 5+ black dice) and finding that red is usually the preferred method of fighting, we're hardly even playing the same game. If a 1-pip (or even 2-pip) die dribbles down to P3, there's (little or) no reason to prefer red for fighting it. The scenario you describe where P3 frequently needs to use a red die to fight black dice is incomprehensible to me. --- late edit: The most common scenario I see is that P1 uses a (possibly modified) red die to kill 2 or 3 black dice, and if there's anything left P2 uses one die to kill it. P1 kills all the black dice a healthy portion of the time - do remember you can flip other dice and be guaranteed to use them for your first action! - and if needed, P2's one die is red more often than it's white or yellow, but it's probably not red even 50% of the time. It also seems likely that your group has not figured out how to effectively make use of red dice for activities and events. In a balanced game L3 red is probably the hardest thing to set up well, but if I'm playing with a group I know will ignore the red activity cards it's likely to be quite easy to get crazy points off of L3 red. The VP return on pips for those cards is insane when you can pull them off, and it will be much easier to pull them off if other players are ignoring red. One good Joust could be 11+ VPs for $5 plus dice and a Tradesman!

Here's one example: if Archer is on the board and nobody is investing in red, then somebody is missing a massive opportunity to score obscene points off events. You can win a game almost on Archer alone if nobody else is investing in events.

nate_lockhart wrote:
"I'll place on card 2 and card 37 and see what happens!"

I didn't say I was haphazard about it. Do consider the possibility of Le Florentin, and also let me tell you that an early diversified approach almost always creates excellent opportunities for a skilled player who keeps an eye on the entire board to make high-return tactical moves in the endgame. You need not have a monolithic one-button strategy in place from round 1, and indeed Troyes is a game that usually punishes that sort of play. If everybody is approaching it that way, it's possible white/yellow is the best one-button endgame strategy. I don't know. Certainly I think Archer as a one-button strategy will utterly dominate if the rest of the table is all playing white/yellow with an eye toward the L3 yellow activity card. I've not approached Troyes with that mindset in any case; rather I usually treat my early board position as a way to set up tactical options for the endgame.
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Brent Wilson
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ghorsche wrote:
I misread your comment. 3 black dice is fairly common given average effort to combat events (not any especially concerted or coordinated effort). I thought you were saying 3 red dice used to fight them was common. If you're seeing 3 black dice but using 2 or more red dice to fight them more often than 1 red die (and possibly another non-red die or two that are not immediately useful), I would suggest, uh... to put it bluntly, ur doin it wrong. First player facing a pile of black dice is one of the absolute best times to use influence to modify dice, since the return on the influence investment is immediate and typically large. Another angle: if you're not counting on yellow dice yourself, but somebody else is, might it not be a good idea to use your own yellow die to fight black dice? If you have some other valuable use for red dice might it be a good idea to consider using other colors to fight black dice sometimes?

If literally every player is going white/yellow, then I guarantee you a white/yellow player will win. That would be the very definition of groupthink. If there is a player who clearly has the best aptitude for this game at the table, and they always go white/yellow, they may win an outsized proportion of the time just on general skillfulness, even if sharing the strategy with some but not all of the other players. Believe me though that among players of similar skill levels there is no strongest strategy for every game. If this strategy is making the game less fun for you, perhaps it will be more fun trying to win with other strategies even if it is not obvious to you that they will be competitive. I think you will be surprised at how strong some of the other options can be.

I've been in 2 games of Troyes with Nate L.
2 Thoughts:
Two or more red dice do seem to be depleted by combating black dice. Perhaps this is because our players tended to only defeat what they had to and send the rest on to the next victim-- often making intentionally inefficient use of red dice (I might use a red 4 to combat a black 5 and a black 1 but leave a black 3 and 2 for the next guy to deal with.) That would seem like a strong tactical play, but is it weakening a red dice strategy?

Secondly, the last game we played seemed especially broken since "interruption of work" (remove cubes from the cath) sat around for half the game while I had no white dice and nobody else seemed interested in defeating it-- perhaps because I was the one with Urbain IV and they didn't know it was in play. I was trying to use a "new" strategy to buck the trend of "White dice --> Yellow points". I was planning to buy white dice for 2 to put in the cath while I had my citizens in the palace and city hall. I tried using the miller, blacksmith and diplomat to leverage my red/yellow position but it didn't work at all-- I finished with 21 points while 2nd and 3rd place had 26/25.

Perhaps the problem was exacerbated by use of the diplomat keeping influence too low to flip my terribly low red dice to beat high rolling black dice. Is the diplomat a trap?
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Nate S
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I find Diplomat to be the weakest card in the game, to the extent that the cards intrinsically differ in power. It certainly has its uses though, such as cheaply putting cubes on cards with high pip costs and high VP returns, spreading out cubes for Captain or to snipe a bunch of 2nd-place VP rewards, or converting excess red pips into cubes on non-red events. If Interruption of Work is blowing up your Cathedral position, and you have no white dice anymore, and you can't afford to buy others' white dice, why not use Diplomat to kill Interruption of Work?

Also, in the future, do play your game with Interruption of Work in mind rather than putting yourself in that same position again When teaching this game I pretty much hold up a big bright flashing neon sign over Interruption of Work and tell the new players "BE AWARE THAT THIS CARD EXISTS!" while giving only a brief overview of the other event cards.


late edit: I don't know how I missed commenting on this earlier, but 26 VPs for 2nd place is really low. In a 4P game all four players should be able to reach the 30s or at least high 20s, and being in 2nd place with 40+ points isn't out of the question. This suggests either a rules issue or (quite likely) inexperienced and suboptimal play all the way around the table. If most of you are competing for the same strategy, or you're treating the L3 activity card activation effects as the end-all of VP scoring (which they really aren't), that might explain the low scores.

One final rules question: You do know that everybody scores for every secret character card in play? So in a 4P game you score for 4 different character cards. My group played this wrong our first time out and only scored for the card each person was holding.
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Kris Rhodes
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ghorsche wrote:
First player facing a pile of black dice is one of the absolute best times to use influence to modify dice, since the return on the influence investment is immediate and typically large.


I did not know that dice can be dealt with in any order after the first one, so thanks for telling us that. (I play on boardgamearena.com, and the UI automatically orders all of them from largest to smallest, and this contributed to my misunderstanding.)

As for what you said above, maybe I'm under some other rules misapprehension, because it doesn't seem correct to me right now. Say I've got an r1, and there's a typical, average black row of dice in front of me. A typical, average roll will have 3.5*(number of black dice) pips. My r1 can be changed to an r6 for 4 influence. An r6 neutralizes up to 12 pips. Twelve divided by 3.5 is a little less than 3.5. so that's 3.5 influence gained for a cost of 4 influence--a net loss.

Granted, that's on average, and it will be frequent that much better situations come up. But it will be just as frequent that much worse situations come up. And the .5-loss-on-average is the only thing I can imagine should be called (in your words) "typical" (and that's assuming an r1 of course. An r6 would be awesome. More "typical" is an imaginary r3.5....... )

But is there something about the rules (or the math) that I'm doing wrong here?
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brian
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Speusippus wrote:
ghorsche wrote:
First player facing a pile of black dice is one of the absolute best times to use influence to modify dice, since the return on the influence investment is immediate and typically large.


I did not know that dice can be dealt with in any order after the first one, so thanks for telling us that. (I play on boardgamearena.com, and the UI automatically orders all of them from largest to smallest, and this contributed to my misunderstanding.)

You mean per person? Whatever goes to the 2nd player, the largest still needs to be dealt with first.
 
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Kris Rhodes
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I don't mean per person--I mean the black dice are always listed in order of size from largest to smallest. Because of this and uncareful reading of the rules I assumed everyone had to deal with them in order--I didn't htink I could do the largest and the smallest while skipping the middle ones, for example.
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