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Subject: House of the Brotherhood/Cloister strategy - can it work? rss

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Ulrik Bøe
Norway
Oslo
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In my last two games I've tried to focus on cloister buildings, going for House of the Brotherhood to score big at the end. I also got Sacristy, turning the points form HotB into wonders (2 wonders each game). Both games I lost, despite being the most experienced player at the table both times (my fifth and sixth game, vs four rookies and two who had played once or twice).

Is it a suboptimal play, or is it possible to make it work if you play better than I did? One problem I ran into is that it's hard to get good settlements with so many cloister buildings due to the strict placement rules (adjacent to existing cloister).
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Eric Soderlund
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Dallas
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I made it work well in my last game, but still only won by one point. I also had a very carefully and well-constructed board that enabled me to surround the cloister church on three sides with settlements. I was also able to get my hilltop village completely surrounded on four sides, and I think those were bigger factors in my victory than having House of the Brotherhood and 10 cloister buildings (giving me 15 points each time I went there in the two-player game). I like HoB and a bunch of cloister buildings, but in addition to the challenges of building an optimal board arrangement for settlements, it is also a challenge to get enough coins to keep going back to it.
 
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Jakub Muranty
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In my last 3-player game I managed a pretty good score with the House and seven (!) other cloister buildings, but it was mostly due to the fact that my opponents, for reasons unknown, decided to largely ignore the yellows. Also, the biggest portion of my score came from Settlements, as I placed the building where you exchange 4 different goods for a bread and seven coins (Marketplace ?) below the Fishing Village and constructed all the other ones in close vicinity (an arrangement which I quite like, by the way).

Basically, my (limited) experience leads me to perceive the House as:

a) a balancing factor (as in the above example, if other players let someone buy many cloister buildings then they're in for a world of pain, in the form of easy Reliquaries/Ornaments, and quite possibly some Miracles too; thus it's a good idea to buy at least a few);

b) a method to quickly manufacture a few missing elements for the Sacristy Miracles, if you're into that sort of thing (in the aforementioned game I made only two of those - at the end of the day they just aren't that profitable).

So yeah, I guess you can win by specializing in Cloister buildings and the House, but this strategy seems to require a bit too much negligence on the part of your fellow players for my tastes; of course I've played only twenty or so games, so I still consider myself a beginner .
 
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Boots
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I've won with it twice, both times in conjunction with wonders, and both times I had a very high settlement score for the table as well. It's not easy; you need to have a LOT of money to make it work. In Ireland, Whiskey is a good way to get there, if you can do one giant whiskey production. The Inn will also help.

My girlfriend tried and tried and tried to get this working, and never managed it - in one 3p game she bought EVERY cloister building and still came second - I beat her with well-placed settlements. As a result, I'd concentrate on your settlement strategies, and only once you've worked them out to some degree would I embark on trying to make this work. After 12 plays, I've won without wonders plenty of times, but never won without settlements. I've also noticed that it's very hard to get more than 2 wonders (as the poster above has also pointed out), though of course it's possible!

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Ulrik Bøe
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Maybe it's bad because you get tempted to buy a building just because it's yellow, and not because it has a great action or is worth a lot of points. Is it a strategy that requires even greater focus (planning to get the juicy cloister buildings immediatly after a settlement phase, hoarding money to use HotB), or maybe it's better as an option to have in mind if you end up with a large cloister?

My next play will focus on settlements instead, I think - enough food production to get at least six, maybe more, including all the high-value ones.
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Will Sanchez
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House of the brother hood is not a terrible option, but it doesn't have a lot of synergy. It is a Goods focused strategy that does not combine well with settlements because of the simple fact that all your cloister buildings must have another cloister adjacent to them. This means that even though they have some of the higher settlement values, the most settlements that can be adjacent to it is 3, and more often it will only be 2. In this case you are losing points from your potential settlement score. even if it's only a reduction of 10% - 20% (and I would think it'd be more, but ymmv), That basically means you're spending 2 actions in the very late game on the Brotherhood just to make up that difference. Even without the brotherhood, it's still feasible to get 2 wonders out of the sacristy by collecting vp goods throughout the rest of the game with strategies that disrupt your settlements less. To be worth it, I think you need to nab as many as 10 (pretty much all) of the cloister buildings, then focus on using it upto 5 times in the last rounds, and forgoing wonders all together.
 
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