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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Common Flaws in BGO Play (high * rated games) rss

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Tristan Brightman
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Preamble:

I play on BGO a fair amount, sometimes with a small group of friends, but also in the wild. I try to join only 3 or 4 star (games are ranked from 1 to 4 stars) games.

I have noticed a number of common themes in mistakes in what is the most easily accessible "high level" of play, and so I decided to write a sort of overview of the most common themes in these mistakes. I'm generally trying to spot mistakes of a strategic nature rather than hints about mechanics like "Extra Yellow Tokens are great"

There is obviously a problem here that the star ratings do not preclude anyone from joining, so it is by no means guaranteed that you will always get 4 star players in a 4 star game. Nevertheless, I thought it might be interesting to talk about some of these common flaws.

Set up

Dangerous Obsession
Players will only consider which wonder/leader they prefer, not taking in to account later choices
Age A leaders and wonders are cool. Some of them are really great. some players focus on the leader/wonder that they (presumably) rank highest, even at the cost of leaving a miracle-start for the players after them.


Early Game:

The Spurned Knight
Knight is undervalued among Age 1 tech cards.
There seems to be a general understanding that Iron, Irrigation, Alchemy, are key cards to watch out for in Age 1. It's unusual to pick one of these up for 1CA. I think Knight gives you such a boost to military potential right through to the end of Age 2 that it should also be included. It opens Medieval Army and Phalanx, increasing your odds of a good tactic in Age 1, and it works in Age 2 tactics saving you from waiting/paying for Cavalrymen. At the moment, I see some games where Knight is refused for 1CA, and I think that's usually wrong.

The "No Iron" Trap
Players don't react to missing out on an early rock upgrade
It's okay to miss out on Iron. It's not good to do this, but it's not the end of the world. I see some people resign themselves to being on 3 minerals until Coal. That's a game loss right there almost every time. If you are missing Iron, grab the yellow cards, be stingy, and get a fourth Bronze down. Do something - you won't prosper on 3 rock/turn.

Living in Interesting Times
The danger of Age 1 events to low military players is underestimated
Once the Age A cards are exhausted, you need to be aware that there is nastiness waiting in the event deck. One sign of a good player is the duels where neither of us will play an event to the deck while behind, each passing the political action and edging just ahead in military. I think the risk of a negative event is not worth the benefits of seeding a card anywhere near as many times as people think it is.

Future Blindness
Players allow threatening situations to develop unchecked
I won a game recently because of a perfect example of this. I had a good col bonus, grabbed an early territory, and Columbus'ed another. One player among the other three was trying quite hard at this point to prevent me taking more territories, but my bonus and good military worked against him. I ended the game with around 8 territories, he had taken 2 from me. The other two players were ecstatic to see us bidding against each other, and calmly developed infrastructure. Infrastructure that could not come close to Cook in generating an insurmountable pile of culture. If they'd all played like the first guy, it would have been a good game, instead it was a wash. You need to watch for people setting up situations that can lead to huge swings in military or culture production.


The Mid Game

Wonder Envy
Players take on crippling rock commitments via wonders
The early game is great - minerals tumble from the Age A events and allow you to complete that early wonder without much problem. It's not so easy after that. I often see a tasty age 1/early 2 wonder snapped up by someone struggling for rock - this only makes them struggle more.

Goldfishitus
Players are not quick enough to react to opponent's board positions
You can do a lot of damage to an opponent indirectly by having a strong awareness of his or her board position. If someone is struggling for rock, often a military push can force them to choose either to eat your aggressions or to spend rock they can't really afford keeping up. These opportunities are often missed.

Ruthlessnessness
Players don't calculate the benefits of defending aggressions
If you choose to run a low military (and see below) you are accepting a certain risk of losses due to attacks. Those losses will generally be in colony chances, resources from raided and plundered buildings. In one game a player ceded a raid, which destroyed about 16 resources and 2CA of buildings, and then defended my plunder, which would have taken 5, at a cost of 6 rock and 8 food worth of units. If you aren't doing those sums when you are working out whether to sacrifice, you should be.

Military Stagnation
An appropriate Age 1 military is too often unupgraded in Age 2
Most players at this level build appropriate military in Age 1. Often though, this military kind of stagnates. I think the mindset is "we're all around 10-15, this is okay, I'll build my lovely little town". The problem is that 10 (can raise to 15 with some effort) and 10 (about to leap to 28) are very different and if the first player doesn't realise this and ensure they can jump (or are already higher) they can be caught out. This is the cause of several dramatic losses, because the game punishes significant deficiency in military really hard.

Food Stall
Two guys in Irrigation is kept until the end of the game as someone's only food source
Two guys in irrigation is a common situation after Age 1. It makes sense then, but slowly starts becoming inadequate as that yellow bank empties. Some players don't ever upgrade beyond those two guys though, limiting their useful population. Short of building Ocean Liners, I think two guys in Irrigation is insufficient food production over the whole game.


Late Game

There is only one example here, because the errors I see at this stage are mostly in military calculations about who/when to war, and I am never certain about what is correct play myself. Part of this is because of the varying interpretation of when to quit - it might be correct to just harvest culture from a lame duck in one game, when in another they'll just quit, and you should have gone after your rival for victory.

Mr Almost
Players accept a second rate culture engine, instead of switching to military to try for the win
some players accept a situation where they will not manage to match the culture engine of the leader by continuing to build that engine. This doesn't make sense - if you realise you aren't going to catch through culture production, you have to switch to hard military. Of course, there are situations where you can see military won't help either, but there are also situations where players fritter away their last hope for victory because they are locked in to second rate culture engines.

That's it!

Have fun (as soon as the damn site comes back up *twitch*)
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Brian Schroth
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Two guys in irrigation is plenty if you get a good number of yellow tokens from colonization/uncertain borders/war on territory. An early Fertile Territory I combined with an early upgrade to 2 irrigation can do the trick. Especially if you end up with efficient military tactics (i.e. you got Classic Army rather than 2xConquistadors).

I've won a great deal of games with 2xIrrigation, and hardly ever use Ocean Liner Service. Sometimes it isn't enough, but it's not the type of thing you can just declare as insufficient across the board.

I'd also add that I'd love to play opponents who leave Knights at 1CA. Are they crazy? Knights seems to be the most valuable Age I tech out there. Willfully skipping knights is insanity unless you've got Swordsmen & the Great Wall and even then you still want Knights, even if it's just to block.
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Shane Larsen
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I often take Knights for 2CAs. It would have to be a very rare situation in the which I didn't take Knights for 1CA. That one's a no-brainer.
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Chris Dunbar
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I agree with everything you mentioned. Great, short strategy article...nice work, Tristan!

Note* I've played a couple of dozen games on BGO, almost all were 2-player, as that is the sweet-spot for this game for me. I'm HenryFatass on there as well.

I also agree with Brian regarding 2 guys on irrigation. It can work, and I've won many games with that level of food production, but it is very situational (and almost all of those wins were over the same opponent so there was probably a bit of group-think going on). With more experience though, I now almost always increase my food production past that level as the extra breathing room really helps, I think.

My only issue I've had with this game lately is how devastating inequality in military can be. There are no technologies you can ignore (except maybe Temples), but ignoring or not keeping up on military seems to punish a player far more than being behind on any other technology. There have been several games where I've stayed toe-to-toe militarily with my opponent through Age I while also taking a huge culture lead. However, if I let military go in those games and focus on culture, I can easily have a 100+ point lead wiped out with a single War over Culture. That puts a sour taste in my mouth. I hate having to keep up militarily just for the sake of keeping up militarily. While thematically it is perfect, from a game play stand point, it just feels artificial. Pumping up food production is great to increase population. Pumping up resource production is great to build better buildings and wonders. Pumping up science production is great to learn new technologies. Pumping up military production is great to....keep your markers close together on the military track? Believe me, I understand the strategy of it, and, again, thematically it is spot-on, but it just feels like spinning tires while the other technologies feel like forward progress.

From a military standpoint though, I do agree about Knights - do NOT ignore them! Infantry/Cavalry tactics cards are the best and it is always easy to throw in an Artillery tech later in the game to make an Age II or III tactics card work.
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Tim Seitz
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It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.
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Chris Dunbar
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out4blood wrote:
It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.


I agree, I think I put more value in Alchemy than I do in Knights. My priority of Age I technologies:

Alchemy
Knights
Iron
Irrigation
...
...
...
...
Theology
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Jimmy Okolica
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Funny, at this point I usually completely pass on Alchemy in favor of Printing Press (and possibly da Vinci) and a hope of an early Scientific Method/Journalism. My Age 1 techs are:

Iron
Knights
Irrigation
Printing Press
Bread & Circuses (I always struggle with happy faces)
....
 
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Brian Schroth
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HenryFatass wrote:
My only issue I've had with this game lately is how devastating inequality in military can be. There are no technologies you can ignore (except maybe Temples), but ignoring or not keeping up on military seems to punish a player far more than being behind on any other technology.


This seems so weird. To me, the military struggle is what makes this game so exciting. It is the source of almost all of the tension in the game. Why should all the different things be equally important? That's boring. It makes sense to have one thing be very important. It creates conflict that makes the game exciting.

Playing TTA where you don't have to care about military would be like playing Agricola where you don't have to care about feeding your people. You can ignore any category (grain, vegetables, sheep, cattle, whatever) and still win. But if you ignore feeding your people, you lose!
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Brian Schroth
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Funny, at this point I usually completely pass on Alchemy in favor of Printing Press (and possibly da Vinci) and a hope of an early Scientific Method/Journalism.


It's a pretty rare game where I have an extra 1-2 workers that I could put into Printing Presses without getting trounced by aggressions and events because I didn't put those workers into military. And if I were in that situation, I'd rather have Alchemy anyway because then I can still put the workers into military and be even stronger!
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Chris Dunbar
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BagelManB wrote:
HenryFatass wrote:
My only issue I've had with this game lately is how devastating inequality in military can be. There are no technologies you can ignore (except maybe Temples), but ignoring or not keeping up on military seems to punish a player far more than being behind on any other technology.


Playing TTA where you don't have to care about military would be like playing Agricola where you don't have to care about feeding your people. You can ignore any category (grain, vegetables, sheep, cattle, whatever) and still win. But if you ignore feeding your people, you lose!


Hmmm...that is an interesting analogy. Looking at it from that perspective, it does seem a bit more palatable. Thanks!
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James Ridgway
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HenryFatass wrote:
out4blood wrote:
It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.


I agree, I think I put more value in Alchemy than I do in Knights. My priority of Age I technologies:

Alchemy
Knights
Iron
Irrigation
...
...
...
...
Theology


I can't agree with dissing Theology that hard. It's not a must have, but the more I play, the more I find that grabbing it for one CA ends up making it a lot easier to build Multimedia or a strong military in Age III.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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Vetinari wrote:
HenryFatass wrote:
out4blood wrote:
It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.


I agree, I think I put more value in Alchemy than I do in Knights. My priority of Age I technologies:

Alchemy
Knights
Iron
Irrigation
...
...
...
...
Theology


I can't agree with dissing Theology that hard. It's not a must have, but the more I play, the more I find that grabbing it for one CA ends up making it a lot easier to build Multimedia or a strong military in Age III.
For me the decision over Theology is often whether I want to spend the CA SP and Rock to gain happiness and allow me to use the workers that I've paid good Food for, or whether I want to spend the Food on additional Unhappy/unproductive workers and risk Events that punish Unhappy Workers. Of course if I can be Happy via a more "productive" route then fine, but sometimes Theology can be very productive as well as releasing worker to be productive.
 
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Jimmy Okolica
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BagelManB wrote:
Butterfly0038 wrote:
Funny, at this point I usually completely pass on Alchemy in favor of Printing Press (and possibly da Vinci) and a hope of an early Scientific Method/Journalism.


It's a pretty rare game where I have an extra 1-2 workers that I could put into Printing Presses without getting trounced by aggressions and events because I didn't put those workers into military. And if I were in that situation, I'd rather have Alchemy anyway because then I can still put the workers into military and be even stronger!


That's why I try to get Irrigation with 3 workers going as early as possible.
 
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Brian Schroth
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mccrispy wrote:
Vetinari wrote:
HenryFatass wrote:
out4blood wrote:
It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.


I agree, I think I put more value in Alchemy than I do in Knights. My priority of Age I technologies:

Alchemy
Knights
Iron
Irrigation
...
...
...
...
Theology


I can't agree with dissing Theology that hard. It's not a must have, but the more I play, the more I find that grabbing it for one CA ends up making it a lot easier to build Multimedia or a strong military in Age III.
For me the decision over Theology is often whether I want to spend the CA SP and Rock to gain happiness and allow me to use the workers that I've paid good Food for, or whether I want to spend the Food on additional Unhappy/unproductive workers and risk Events that punish Unhappy Workers. Of course if I can be Happy via a more "productive" route then fine, but sometimes Theology can be very productive as well as releasing worker to be productive.


IMO Theology's main use is when you get Development of Religion. Then it's only 2 rock to upgrade and get an extra worker + safety from Rebellion.

Bread & Circuses is basically better, but if you've already spent a worker on a temple you either have to disband it to get the worker back once you build B&C, or you aren't getting an extra worker until much later.

Still, if I missed B&C and Theology presents itself for 1CA I'll want to take it, even without a Development of Religion event.
 
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M.C.Crispy
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Quite. So once more we come around to the summary of all discussions on TtA strategy: there are some general priniciples, but everything can be situational. Which is, of course, what makes it such a fascinating game
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Tristan Brightman
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BagelManB wrote:
Two guys in irrigation is plenty if you get a good number of yellow tokens from colonization/uncertain borders/war on territory. An early Fertile Territory I combined with an early upgrade to 2 irrigation can do the trick. Especially if you end up with efficient military tactics (i.e. you got Classic Army rather than 2xConquistadors).

I've won a great deal of games with 2xIrrigation, and hardly ever use Ocean Liner Service. Sometimes it isn't enough, but it's not the type of thing you can just declare as insufficient across the board.

I'd also add that I'd love to play opponents who leave Knights at 1CA. Are they crazy? Knights seems to be the most valuable Age I tech out there. Willfully skipping knights is insanity unless you've got Swordsmen & the Great Wall and even then you still want Knights, even if it's just to block.


I used to play a lot of games with 2 guys in irrigation, especially if I could get lots of yellow tokens. I've come to believe that it's usually sub optimal. You can win - it isn't as terrible as ignoring military, for instance - but you will generally have more success if you up that food a little bit.

As well as freeing up men in case you need more soldiers (or are forced into a less than perfect tactics card and have to compensate), it also gives you more freedom with sacrifice in wars and aggressions so you can really dictate terms to more manpower-constrained players.

I think there is another effect at play here - Yellow tokens are really good. "I won when I did X and had lots of extra yellow" is not terribly surprising for almost any X :-D
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Tristan Brightman
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HenryFatass wrote:
I agree with everything you mentioned. Great, short strategy article...nice work, Tristan!

Note* I've played a couple of dozen games on BGO, almost all were 2-player, as that is the sweet-spot for this game for me. I'm HenryFatass on there as well.

I also agree with Brian regarding 2 guys on irrigation. It can work, and I've won many games with that level of food production, but it is very situational (and almost all of those wins were over the same opponent so there was probably a bit of group-think going on). With more experience though, I now almost always increase my food production past that level as the extra breathing room really helps, I think.

My only issue I've had with this game lately is how devastating inequality in military can be. There are no technologies you can ignore (except maybe Temples), but ignoring or not keeping up on military seems to punish a player far more than being behind on any other technology. There have been several games where I've stayed toe-to-toe militarily with my opponent through Age I while also taking a huge culture lead. However, if I let military go in those games and focus on culture, I can easily have a 100+ point lead wiped out with a single War over Culture. That puts a sour taste in my mouth. I hate having to keep up militarily just for the sake of keeping up militarily. While thematically it is perfect, from a game play stand point, it just feels artificial. Pumping up food production is great to increase population. Pumping up resource production is great to build better buildings and wonders. Pumping up science production is great to learn new technologies. Pumping up military production is great to....keep your markers close together on the military track? Believe me, I understand the strategy of it, and, again, thematically it is spot-on, but it just feels like spinning tires while the other technologies feel like forward progress.

From a military standpoint though, I do agree about Knights - do NOT ignore them! Infantry/Cavalry tactics cards are the best and it is always easy to throw in an Artillery tech later in the game to make an Age II or III tactics card work.


The military to me feels like the more interesting one of two linked direct battles with the other players. The rest of my civilisation is a support mechanism (a complex and exciting support mechanism) for 1) Getting ahead and staying ahead in military. 2) Pushing culture production so I'll come out ahead in a race.

It's where the most deviation from a fishbowl comes in as well - sure, I'd love to upgrade my second Iron on turn X, then ad Journalism on X+1 etc etc. The most fun games are where an opponent uses the military arena to say "Look, your infrastructure is starting to look good. But can you fend me off for long enough, and how much do you sacrifice to do so?"
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Timothy Pride
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Great strategy! I agree with everything except:

supertris wrote:

The "No Iron" Trap
Players don't react to missing out on an early rock upgrade
It's okay to miss out on Iron. It's not good to do this, but it's not the end of the world. I see some people resign themselves to being on 3 minerals until Coal. That's a game loss right there almost every time. If you are missing Iron, grab the yellow cards, be stingy, and get a fourth Bronze down. Do something - you won't prosper on 3 rock/turn.


I never put 4th bronze when I missed Iron, and still usually win (when I lost, it's not because of Iron, but miscalculation on other part).

I do however, make sure that I would get Coal (jumping to Oil is almost sure way to lose), and valuing yellow cards with minerals (Efficient Upgrade, Engineering Genius, Mineral Deposit, Ideal Building Site) higher than usual.

The things that people usually miss is that, sometimes getting an Iron is a disadvantage, since usually you need to burn CA more than you need, wait couple of turns for the research point since you haven't alchemy yet, and then wasting other couple of turn just to upgrade it, delaying your military and wonders benefit.

When I don't get Iron (and sometimes it's by my choice), I make sure that I propel forward during times when my opponents trying to make Iron work. I've been in situations when my opponents finish upgraded his 3rd iron, I already finished my wonder, had 2 alchemy, and phalanx activated. And it's not unusual to upgrade to Coal easier than Iron because my other infrastructures have been running and I already saved couple of yellow cards.
 
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Darkmot wrote:
Great strategy! I agree with everything except:

supertris wrote:

The "No Iron" Trap
Players don't react to missing out on an early rock upgrade
It's okay to miss out on Iron. It's not good to do this, but it's not the end of the world. I see some people resign themselves to being on 3 minerals until Coal. That's a game loss right there almost every time. If you are missing Iron, grab the yellow cards, be stingy, and get a fourth Bronze down. Do something - you won't prosper on 3 rock/turn.


I never put 4th bronze when I missed Iron, and still usually win (when I lost, it's not because of Iron, but miscalculation on other part).

I do however, make sure that I would get Coal (jumping to Oil is almost sure way to lose), and valuing yellow cards with minerals (Efficient Upgrade, Engineering Genius, Mineral Deposit, Ideal Building Site) higher than usual.

The things that people usually miss is that, sometimes getting an Iron is a disadvantage, since usually you need to burn CA more than you need, wait couple of turns for the research point since you haven't alchemy yet, and then wasting other couple of turn just to upgrade it, delaying your military and wonders benefit.

When I don't get Iron (and sometimes it's by my choice), I make sure that I propel forward during times when my opponents trying to make Iron work. I've been in situations when my opponents finish upgraded his 3rd iron, I already finished my wonder, had 2 alchemy, and phalanx activated. And it's not unusual to upgrade to Coal easier than Iron because my other infrastructures have been running and I already saved couple of yellow cards.


I'm going to take this a bit further and say that 3 bronze is enough to win. Honestly I feel rocks are the least important of all the upgrades. You spend a lot of time upgrading and most upgrades are 3-4 rocks. On top of that there are more yellow cards for rocks than anything else. In fact I've won a game because the other two players spent 3/4 of a turn denying me coal rather than doing better moves (yes this was a 4 star game too).

I'm not saying to pass on Iron if it's for 1, but you can easily survive with bronze with some practice.

With that said I disagree with the op point on wonders as well. Plenty of times I've taken a wonder (Eiffel tower is a good example) with 3 bronze. However with yellow cards, (a lot of people don't take eng genius) they aren't hard to get at all.
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Eric Phillips
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Three Bronze is occasionally enough to win, but if you miss Iron, Coal becomes a dangerously high priority. Late Coal, or early Coal that gets snatched by someone who hasn't played Iron yet, can really hurt. Yellow cards are great, but unless you have a good CA advantage, they aren't going to bail you out of that hole.
 
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Tristan Brightman
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Faray wrote:
Darkmot wrote:
Great strategy! I agree with everything except:

supertris wrote:

The "No Iron" Trap
Players don't react to missing out on an early rock upgrade
It's okay to miss out on Iron. It's not good to do this, but it's not the end of the world. I see some people resign themselves to being on 3 minerals until Coal. That's a game loss right there almost every time. If you are missing Iron, grab the yellow cards, be stingy, and get a fourth Bronze down. Do something - you won't prosper on 3 rock/turn.


I never put 4th bronze when I missed Iron, and still usually win (when I lost, it's not because of Iron, but miscalculation on other part).

I do however, make sure that I would get Coal (jumping to Oil is almost sure way to lose), and valuing yellow cards with minerals (Efficient Upgrade, Engineering Genius, Mineral Deposit, Ideal Building Site) higher than usual.

The things that people usually miss is that, sometimes getting an Iron is a disadvantage, since usually you need to burn CA more than you need, wait couple of turns for the research point since you haven't alchemy yet, and then wasting other couple of turn just to upgrade it, delaying your military and wonders benefit.

When I don't get Iron (and sometimes it's by my choice), I make sure that I propel forward during times when my opponents trying to make Iron work. I've been in situations when my opponents finish upgraded his 3rd iron, I already finished my wonder, had 2 alchemy, and phalanx activated. And it's not unusual to upgrade to Coal easier than Iron because my other infrastructures have been running and I already saved couple of yellow cards.


I'm going to take this a bit further and say that 3 bronze is enough to win. Honestly I feel rocks are the least important of all the upgrades. You spend a lot of time upgrading and most upgrades are 3-4 rocks. On top of that there are more yellow cards for rocks than anything else. In fact I've won a game because the other two players spent 3/4 of a turn denying me coal rather than doing better moves (yes this was a 4 star game too).

I'm not saying to pass on Iron if it's for 1, but you can easily survive with bronze with some practice.

With that said I disagree with the op point on wonders as well. Plenty of times I've taken a wonder (Eiffel tower is a good example) with 3 bronze. However with yellow cards, (a lot of people don't take eng genius) they aren't hard to get at all.


Re Iron: I feel pretty strongly that a fourth bronze is good play. It synergises well with your situation in general - without a high rock income you won't be desperate for more guys to spend rock on - and although you are absolutely right focussing on yellow cards and early Coal, if your opponents are good, you'll find these drying up pretty quick.

It's certainly true though that you can get by on three bronze until coal and still win, it's just usually an unnecessary risk that is likely to get punished if your opponents are sharp.

Re Wonders: I really disagree here. Eiffel tower with 3 bronze is just over 4 turns of income. And you can be *certain* that a good opponent will see your self inflicted poverty. Eng Genius will be expensive in CAs, or someone with rock to spare will push military hard and you'll have to choose between a big pointy tower or enough big pointy sticks to defend.

If your opponents are asleep, you certainly could get away with it, but that's one of those "two wrongs make a right" situations :-). You are trusting your opponents to let you off the hook.
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supertris wrote:

Re Iron: I feel pretty strongly that a fourth bronze is good play. It synergises well with your situation in general - without a high rock income you won't be desperate for more guys to spend rock on - and although you are absolutely right focussing on yellow cards and early Coal, if your opponents are good, you'll find these drying up pretty quick.

It's certainly true though that you can get by on three bronze until coal and still win, it's just usually an unnecessary risk that is likely to get punished if your opponents are sharp.

Re Wonders: I really disagree here. Eiffel tower with 3 bronze is just over 4 turns of income. And you can be *certain* that a good opponent will see your self inflicted poverty. Eng Genius will be expensive in CAs, or someone with rock to spare will push military hard and you'll have to choose between a big pointy tower or enough big pointy sticks to defend.

If your opponents are asleep, you certainly could get away with it, but that's one of those "two wrongs make a right" situations :-). You are trusting your opponents to let you off the hook.



Well, we just have too agree disagree then (or just different playstyles). I still win quite plenty eventhough Coal shows up later, not earlier. For me, the yellow token better spent on other things than 4th bronze, and that usually help me for not needing earlier happiness or food building.

And the opponents cannot take the yellow cards (if they do, they'll be more inefficient), since they need to make their iron working. On that time, it depends on me how to value yellow cards. Granted, sometimes there are no yellows during opponents setback, but I too had survived (win) that.

I don't know about Eiffel, since it's quite situational (depends on other players infrastructures and card row), but here's how I value cards: If Pyramid and Engineering Genius in 1CA, and this is the first turn and me as the first player, 90% of the time I take Engineering Genius. (The other 10% is just when I feel playful)
 
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Tristan Brightman
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Darkmot wrote:


Well, we just have too agree disagree then (or just different playstyles). I still win quite plenty eventhough Coal shows up later, not earlier. For me, the yellow token better spent on other things than 4th bronze, and that usually help me for not needing earlier happiness or food building.

And the opponents cannot take the yellow cards (if they do, they'll be more inefficient), since they need to make their iron working. On that time, it depends on me how to value yellow cards. Granted, sometimes there are no yellows during opponents setback, but I too had survived (win) that.

I don't know about Eiffel, since it's quite situational (depends on other players infrastructures and card row), but here's how I value cards: If Pyramid and Engineering Genius in 1CA, and this is the first turn and me as the first player, 90% of the time I take Engineering Genius. (The other 10% is just when I feel playful)


Taking Iron gives you the option to upgrade your rock production as necessary - not the obligation to do it immediately. I don't think it's always correct to immediately upgrade all of your bronze - sometimes you can use yellow cards to both focus on other things first (upgrading to iron when you need it) and hurt the person who is relying on 3 Bronze until Coal comes out.

I think it's very dangerous arguing that "My opponent's CAN'T do the thing that will wreck my game, because it isn't ideal for them". You can delay your Iron upgrades because you have yellow cards, and you can take Coal even with no intent to invent it, leaving someone stuck on 3 bronze into Age III, with Oil their only upgrade (which is, as you point out, an almost sure way to lose)

I do agree with you in part - if the other players are not allowed to take yellow cards or coal in response to you staying on 3 rock for much of the game, you will find it much easier than if they do.

In the interest of honesty, I have to admit I have been in a game where the winner finished with only bronzes. I don't think he should have won - I think the other players dropped the ball in not pressurising his limited resources - but while I'm telling you it's a bad strategy, I have also seen someone win with it.
 
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If you upgrade bronze to iron and spend most of your actions denying yellow cards from the players who are still in bronze, you won't be able to get much else done.

Also, if you upgrade to 3 iron mines early, it's not uncommon to end up in a situation where you lose 2 rocks to corruption every turn because you simply don't have enough actions or science to use it all.

In my opinion iron works well in two cases:

1. You're the only player with iron (or in 4p games at most 2 players have iron).
2. You manage to play down iron as your first tech and upgrade 2 iron quickly without falling too much behind in military.

Especially in 2 player games 3 bronze mines is the standard way to go for the whole game for me. In 2p games disbanding your miners for military units is a common thing to do and disbanding iron mines just seems more questionable than disbanding bronze mines. That's one reason why I usually prefer to stick with bronze.

I've seen bronze only strategy work in 3-4 player games too and I actually use that strategy quite much myself. I consider it a perfectly valid strategy and in my opinion it's often (but not always) OK to not pick up iron even if it would only cost 1 action. I also think that 4th bronze miner is a move that you should keep in mind, but usually there are not enough workers for that. If you have food production, 4th bronze mine gives you corruption problems. If you don't have food production, you won't have enough workers to do it.
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out4blood wrote:
It's never a question of "Should I take knights?" It's a question of "Should I take knights instead of _____." As an example, I'll leave knights on the table at 1 CA if taking it means I miss out on the last Alchemy card.

But isn't the last Alchemy card the least valuable one (assuming that the previous ones have been picked and not fallen off the track)?

If your opponents have Alchemy already, they are not very interested in Scientific Method and you'll probably be able to get it with 1-2 actions. Also if it's the last Alchemy card, you'll be late in age 2 before you have both alchemies up and running and at that point the alchemies don't have time to accumulate enough science output to make them very good.

If Alchemy comes very late in age 1, I often skip it completely. Knights, on the other hand, don't lose so much value if they come late in age 1, unless you've already picked up Great Wall and built 4-6 infantry units. That's the only case where I would consider not taking Knights for 1 civil action.
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