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Subject: On Opening Variants for Countries rss

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Matthew Calhoun
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I have been thinking a bit about the importance of the sequence of moves initially made by a country at the beginning of the game(what I call an "opening sequence" or simply an "opening"). I have been thinking about the pros and cons of certain gambit style openings. I was wondering if I could get some feedback on some of them.



Manuever after Investor Gambit

Investor -> Maneuver -> Production -> Investor

This opening is mathematically the fastest way to go investor twice with a full payout, without paying money to move on the rondel. It's ideal for a 2 player game to be used with the country that I control both the 9 and 4 bonds of, hence giving me a total of 16 dollars from this country alone after 4 moves, which I can use to rapidly buy a 16-bond in one of my opponents 9/4 starting countries, taking this country away even if he also purchases the 2-bond beforehand.



Pass Investor Gambit

Factory -> Production -> Import(3) -> Maneuver -> Factory

This opening will leave a country in a strong position, with a powerful maneuver on turn 4 that can apply a lot of pressure, and leaving it with 2 factories on turn 5.


Fast Expand

Import -> Maneuver -> Production -> Maneuver -> Investor -> Maneuver -> Tax

The idea behind this opening is to quickly put a lot of pressure on neighboring countries, and try and gain tax chips and trade troops to set up a very strong turn 7 tax. This can possibly involve destroying an enemy factory on turn 6, which can be devastating to that countries development.
 
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Carsten Loehn
Germany
Kleinostheim
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Well, it is not important at all. What really matters is what players gain from country movement. If you build a strong country most likely it will be taken by another player. If you payout a country twice you will keep a very weak country. You gain extra money by double payout, but you miss taxation bonus instead.

Your Manuever after Investment Gambit might be strong but only if it lets you buy a country that will tax soon providing a good bonus.

Your Pass Investor Gambit usually ruins your game. You make a country strong but most likely soneone else wil take it before taxation. The same is true with your Fast Expand.

To be honest, all of your moves are not good. The best are Invest-Import-Maneuver-Tax and Fabric-Invest-Production-Maneuver-Tax. The last one is only good in special situations, most likely with Germany or Russia.

The most important thing in the beginning is getting money from Investor and one or two tax boni.
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Eric Flood
United States
San Francisco
California
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calhoun137 wrote:
Investor -> Maneuver -> Production -> Investor

This opening is mathematically the fastest way to go investor twice with a full payout, without paying money to move on the rondel. It's ideal for a 2 player game to be used with the country that I control both the 9 and 4 bonds of, hence giving me a total of 16 dollars from this country alone after 4 moves, which I can use to rapidly buy a 16-bond in one of my opponents 9/4 starting countries, taking this country away even if he also purchases the 2-bond beforehand.


Sorry to be rude, but I'm not convinced you are playing correctly.

The $9 cost bond pays out $4 from Investor. The $4 cost bond pays out $2. You would earn $6.

The rest of the analysis is similarly suspect and missing long-term problems.
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Benoît Delcorps
Belgium
Bruxelles
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blueatheart wrote:
calhoun137 wrote:
Investor -> Maneuver -> Production -> Investor

This opening is mathematically the fastest way to go investor twice with a full payout, without paying money to move on the rondel. It's ideal for a 2 player game to be used with the country that I control both the 9 and 4 bonds of, hence giving me a total of 16 dollars from this country alone after 4 moves, which I can use to rapidly buy a 16-bond in one of my opponents 9/4 starting countries, taking this country away even if he also purchases the 2-bond beforehand.


Sorry to be rude, but I'm not convinced you are playing correctly.

The $9 cost bond pays out $4 from Investor. The $4 cost bond pays out $2. You would earn $6.

The rest of the analysis is similarly suspect and missing long-term problems.


So he gets $12 if he invests twice + possibly $4 from the investor card bonus (depending on other investments actions), which makes $16...

I quite agree with tyl though... Depending on the number of players, gambit scenario 2 and 3 develop the countries to a point where they become a target to other players investments before taxation.
Gambit scenario 1 leaves the treasure of the country empty and the country in very bad position... it's unlikely someone will invest in it thereafter, so the probability the country will score decent points at the end of game is low, wich means your initial investment in it is probably lost.
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Kit Gunning

Waltham
Massachusetts
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This strategy also doesn't look like it will work as you envision. You are thinking in a vacuum perhaps.
If you invest twice with two countries, everyone else is taking turns as well, so there's no guarantee that you will have the Investor card when you magically get to $16. You might have it early, say when you have only $6, so are you really going to pass and by no bond at that point, thereby passing up any future payout?
Also, you're passing up any chance to make your countries more valuable by Production/Maneuver/Taxation, so you may be cutting your nose off, etc.
 
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Greg Jones
United States
Washington
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calhoun137 wrote:
Manuever after Investor Gambit

Investor -> Maneuver -> Production -> Investor


I call this a "spin". Nice that you get investment money twice, but I consider that the real purpose of this move is to get your the investor card an additional time, if you are playing that variant. Then you aim to buy another country before it taxes. You can do that if they do my opening "Standard" described below, or even if they do "Spin Defense" if they move after you.

Contrary to what you've stated, I would avoid doing a "spin" with a country you own the $9mil. and $4mil. in. It leaves it in a very weak position militarily, relative to other countries. It gives it poor prospects in the long term.

Then again you mentioned 2-player, which I don't really play, so I can't say if what you say makes sense there.

calhoun137 wrote:
Pass Investor Gambit

Factory -> Production -> Import(3) -> Maneuver -> Factory


Skipping investor with a country you control is usually a very bad idea. The rich get richer in this game. If you are rich and intentionally pass on getting richer, you will be less rich than your opponents, and you will get less richer. It might seem like you're only passing up on $4mil., and only a difference of $1-$3mil. vs. your opponents, but doing it early will have a net impact over the course of the game of double-digit millions.

calhoun137 wrote:
Fast Expand

Import -> Maneuver -> Production -> Maneuver -> Investor -> Maneuver -> Tax


The trick is you can't expect to control the country for that whole sequence. Seeing that your country will get a quick investor payout and a very big tax bonus, someone else will take it away from you.

These are the openings I consider:

Standard

Investor -> Import -> Production -> Maneuver -> Taxation

Biggest gains you can get out of the country in the first half-round.

Spin

Investor -> Production -> Factory -> Investor

... but you don't actually buy a Factory in most cases. That would leave you with insufficient money to pay the investors. This has exactly the same effect as calhoun's spin opening above, if you follow it to its completion. However you have the option to abort it and tax in the first round for a small bonus, based on what other players are doing.

I do use calhoun's spin opening sometimes, because it can be changed at the last minute to go to Import instead of Investor. That works if you just want the investor card, but already have enough money to buy the bond you want, and it gets the country you "spun" back in the game militarily.

Spin-Defense

Investor -> Import -> Maneuver -> Taxation

If your country went before the "spinner", then this opening beats the spin - it gets to Taxation before anyone can invest again and take your tax bonus.

It's also sometimes used tactically if Maneuvering before an opponent is critical. For example if Germany has a fleet in Hamburg, England might want to maneuver its fleet they imported in Edinburgh first, so they can take the North Sea and convoy an army to Norway. Going to Production will not result in any more tax markers, possibly fewer, and probably more for the Germans.

Factory

Factory -> Investor -> Import -> Maneuver -> Taxation

Building an initial factory is dangerous. It makes your country very tasty and likely to be taken away from you. The person who does that also gets an immediate return on their investment since Investor is just ahead. But it can be done if you own a large share of the country and don't expect anyone to be able to take it away from you. It can also be done if it's the only country you control. Then at least if it's taken away, you get $1mil.

There are a lot of variations of this. I prefer it to use Import rather than Production, even though both will produce three units. The reason is that it's a chance to produce fleets where you normally won't, or in the case of England, some armies. It's possible to use right-side Production instead of either Import or left-side Production; it depends when you want an investment turn to happen. I would not suggest hitting multiple production spots, since it will be too slow. Other countries might be coming around to investor for the second time, giving more money and additional opportunities to buy your country.

Delayed Investor

Right-side Production -> Investor -> Import -> Maneuver -> Taxation

The effect is the same as Standard; the difference is in the timing of the Investor. You might want to do this if, for example, you control England and Germany. If you start England on Investor, an opponent might buy Germany, and not do what you want with it. If you start England on right-side Production, then Germany can pay out before they have a chance to buy. They can still buy Germany, but they will not get their immediate rebate on it, and at least can't overrule it going to Investor this first time. They could perhaps buy England, but perhaps you expect they can't based on your stronger share-lead in England. If they do buy England, they must at least pass Investor, and usually will land on it.

Also to control the timing of investment turns, you can skip Investor in any of these openings that start with it. It costs you some payout money, which I have warned against, but sometimes it's better than giving one player control of three or four countries, which might be the predictable result of giving them an investment turn. In any case, a quicker opening might mean that country gets to Investor faster in the second round, and might still give you your payout in time for when you need it. Also, it leaves more money in the country's coffers, meaning it can likely afford a Factory in the second round, and still have enough money to pay the investors.
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