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Subject: A Beginner's Stradegy rss

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Jeremy Carlson
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Wheaton
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I just finished my first game of Wallenstein, which was played on spielbyweb.com. How did it turn out? I freakin won! The scores were 47 (me), 45, 43, and 42. Since I don't know how the scores are in other games, this seems very close. I will definitly (sp) rate this a 10. I'm in the middle of 2 other games online, which all started at the same time. I should note that, although I was a newbie to this game and won, I also read the rules a few times before I played so I knew exactly what was going on. So onto the stradegies that I used.

First I should mention that we used the beginner setup for 4 people.

In the first year of action planning, I made sure that I only battled once per season. Whatever move (A or B) came first is the one I used. I also didn't battle any player for spring or summer. I think this is a good beginning stradegy as, not only do you gain a couple of provinces, you keep the vendetta against you down by not angering another player.

Where ever you have the most of your provinces is where you should try to take control of. This might sound obvious, but I noticed that a couple of the players in a game I played try to stabilize two if not three different areas, which was their downfall. Where you have your second most provinces group is where you should do some building up. If you have a lone province, I suggest abandoning that one to fate, otherwise you will be supplying troops to a lost cause.

You should also build a palace or church right off the bat too. I know some people argue against this, but it gives you more incentive to defend your area you are trying to control. This way, people are reacting to you, instead of you reacting to them. That to me is the best advice for this game. As soon as you are reacting to another player's moves, you are already losing. Building a palace in a weaker province BEHIND your well defended ones is also a good start, and preferably against a edge. That way your opponents have to go through your heavily armed ones before they get to the palace province. This will take them at least two turns. And if they attempt this you can add armies in the next season to the province that is in trouble.

The second group of provinces you have, usually 2-3, you should build up for an attack in the second year. That way they are watching your armies build in another area, and might be afraid of your attack from there, instead of going for your palace province in your first group.

Gold and grain: I found that taking gold from the province that gets the most gold and grain TWICE in the beginning helped me a lot. First, because they were usually ones I had heavily defended and I could servive a revolt. And if its your lone one out in the middle of no where that you have left for dead, all the better. I noticed a trend of people avoiding provinces with a revolt marker or two. Don't collect from the province you have built a palace on. You do not want to jeapordize that province at all. Second, by doing this you will hopefully have enough grain come winter revolts. And the fewer markers you have (done by hitting the same areas for gold and grain) the better for you.

Attacking: You will come to a point in the game when you have opponents next to your control areas where they have 7 or more armies. You should ALWAYS throw a couple of armies against these on one of the attack moves. Why? I had a province next to my control first control area with 11 armies. I had six in two bordering provinces. I threw a couple of armies at it from one province and because of the way the tower works, knocked his armies down to 6. Much less of a threat.

So remember, always throw a couple guys against the big armies to try and knock the other army group down a notch. This is more of a defensive attack because you are not trying to control their province. You are only trying to manage it. Again you aren't reacting to their actions, you are controlling the situation.

Also in Year 2, you should be trying your hardest with your second group of provinces that you built up in year one, to take another person's province with a building, preferably a palace or church. I don't believe you can win the game with controling one section of the board. You will need to have a majority of a building type (palace or church) in at least two areas. While doing this, add buildings of what you don't have to your first group of provinces, and add one to the second group. Having the most Provinces, while good, won't help you if you don't have majority of buildings. That is why I abandoned the weakest area I had in the beginning.

I can't say that this will work every time, as there is luck with the towers, but I think for a beginner, these will help you to gain the knowledge of what will work for you in later games and not get creamed in the first ones that you play.
 
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Nick West
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Colinton
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I have only played a couple of games and don't see too much to argue with in your initial analysis, apart from use of the dice tower.

If you attack your strong adjacient opponent with a couple of armies in the hope of tangling up his cubes in the dice tower you may not be gaining anything. It surely depends on player order? If he is still to play and has the chance to attack before one of his other armies are involved in a battle elsewhere then there is surely an equal chance that they will simply emerge again when he invades. The more cubes that are in the tower the bigger the chance of more falling out than are put in next time.

The cube tower can be used skillfully in several different ways, including trying to transfer large armies across the board much quicker than they could move. Have a large army in the wrong place? Well maybe attack with it and hope to hook some up in the tower before your key attack elsewhere where they will hopefully emerge!
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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That is a good use of the tower stradegy. I think there is a tendency to ignore what is in the tower when you play online. I really only paid attention to what was in the cup. Like I stated, that was my first game, and first impressions on stradegy. Thanks for pointing out that simple fact, because now I will be watching that more closely.

 
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Nick Case
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I eventaully got around to playing my first game of Wallenstein 3 days ago. I came 4th out of 5 but loved the structure of the game and have spent the last few days trying to work out where I went wrong and what I should have done differently. Having read through this beginners, beginners guide, I thought I'd throw my observations into the ring;

1/ The preallocated distribution of territories is an excellent start for a group where most players are beginners. There were only 2 new boys in our game so we used the card draw option to select territories. This generates a less even distribution, and prescribed first moves were not applicable. Groupings of colours forming buffer zones to defend states to the rear did not happen in our game. As a result the previous comment that you have to take note of what the other players are up before deciding your best action is on the money. With this option you have to be flexible with regard to your straTegy.

2/ Early On: Unless you do have a defended zone, building in the Spring of year one can be an early invitation to be attacked. I guess it all comes down to playing styles, but I cannot remember the last time I witnessed a player who lead from the start and held onto that lead throughout the game to eventually win overall. Wallenstein seems to be an ideal candidate for thump the leader. So rather than set the pace and making other players see you as the player to react to, it may be better to keep your head down and build cubes in the Spring & Summer and hold fire on buildings in year one until you have an established defence.

3/ Territory Selection: If you are looking to set up a power base then the periferal territories have a secure back and only 3 bordering states. These are much easier to defend. Central landlocked states have 6-8 borders to defend.

4/ Attacks: Although you may want to only want one attack per year, if you are in the lead and doing well, it is likely that the others will want to knock you down and you may end up throwing cubes in the tower 4 or 5 times to defend your territories. As a result you will have to buy 3 & 5 cubes just to stay in the game. In my general gaming experience its the player who lurks in second or third position through the game but finishes strongly who wins most of the time. Again keep your head down, try to be decisive and don't spread yourself too thin.

5/ Tower: The key to getting an even break with this random factor is keeping tabs on what is seeded or left in the tower. OK this can be tricky but at least remember how many cubes you have in there. The tactic of reducing a stockpile in one territory by making an outnumbered attack won't work if the opponant has 6 cubes stuck in the tower already, so if your memory is up to the job you have given yourself a useful advantage. Also remember it is random, but what goes in must come down (eventually). Your 7 may lose to the other players 2 but those cubes in the tower will come out at some stage.

6/ Grain & Gold: If you hold high yielding states then these must be heavily defended. It is possibly better to build in other territories to avoid increasing the incentive for attack and the drastic effect it will have if this zone is lost. Drawing twice from a high yielding zone not only introduces revolt but deprives the defender of the farmers (green cubes)to assist and gives yet another incentive to be attacked rather than putting enemies off. These cubes would cost >1 gold if bought and therefore it might be better to take a hit of one gold or grain and produce in a zone producing 1 less gold and deter attack as much as possible.

7/ Double Bubble: Buildings built in year one and retained will score twice and offer best value for money. Also the bonus for most numerous buildings in a state can really ramp the score up. An efficient configuration is to develop your territories over the junction of three states rather than just in one. That way you have a stake in three lots of bonus points allocations.

8/ Final Push: Games are won and lost in the last combat round. Dispossessing a strong player of a territory with 3 buildings will gain you at least 7 points and will create a margin of 14 between you and that player. Be prepared to stockpile your cubes to achieve this move and be wary of others doing this to you (it was done to me).

9/ Diplomacy: A factor missed in so many games. You are missing out on so much is you don't form alliances, broker deals, swap territories without unnecessry combat, or suggest moves which influence play. Wallenstein brilliantly lends itself to diplomacy and you should use it to strengthen your hand.

After one play what I like about this game is the depth of possibilities with each move. I guess as time goes on more tactics will become apparent but the points above are what I will try to take into game two.
 
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Nomadic Gamer
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I don't use the tower for "transferring armies"
For every enemy army you attack, the tower may spit BOTH
armies out & you both lose them all.
Gambling the tower will hold your armies is a bad gamble, IMHO.
 
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Nick Case
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davedanger wrote:
I don't use the tower for "transferring armies"
For every enemy army you attack, the tower may spit BOTH
armies out & you both lose them all.
Gambling the tower will hold your armies is a bad gamble, IMHO.


Whilst this is true, you do not employ this strategy where there attacking force is the same size as the defender, you do it where the attacker massively outnumbers the defender. That way if the tower spits BOTH, yes you will both lose cubes but there is a very high chance a decent proportion will stay in the tower ready for the next battle, whilst you still go on to win the territory.

In my experience, the largest number of cubes of one colour to be held in the tower at anyone time has been 7 and that is a useful shot in the arm to suppliment any attack.
 
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