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Subject: Animal Strategy rss

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g colhoun
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Hi All

Ive played the game around five times now, always with the basic/standard board.

Each time, it seems that the player who fills the big field with a matching herd wins.

Now, of course, all players can attempt to do this, thus negating the bonus. Is this a must? I have seen people attempting to grab the animals others are after to block the play, but this seemed difficult.

It also is worth saying that I play with three. Is this a problem, in that all tiles are not in play, thus adding a luck element? I note that the game is recommended with 3 though.

Would love to hear the views of experienced/advanced/expert players on this.

Godfrey
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Roel van M.
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Most of the time I don't have this problem. Or my opponents are bad players or the animal strategy isn't that good. Usually knowledge tiles that give you bonuspoints are worth the investment.

I don't think there's a standard way to play the game and win. You should see what's the best to do at a certain point in the game. I don't think it's a scripted game and that makes it a good game in my opinion.

However good things to look for are small area's that you can fill in the first or second round, so you get a lot of bonus points. And try to look for some nice combo's. Efficiency is very important in this game.

I hope this helps you a bit. I'm an expert by far. Good luck.
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David Jones
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genoan wrote:
Hi All
Ive played the game around five times now, always with the basic/standard board. Each time, it seems that the player who fills the big field with a matching herd wins.


I can't say this with any certainty, but this may be part of the issue. Our group moved on to the variable boards after the second play and we see a variety of different strategies win. Herding is certainly valuable, but it doesn't break the game. Burgundy is really a game about optimizing your moves. I've seen some situations where, by using the special abilties of tiles, you can sqeeze six or seven actions out of two dice. Animals don't really allow you to do this.

Quote:
It also is worth saying that I play with three. Is this a problem, in that all tiles are not in play...


I think I've only played with three once. It does seem like in a four player game somebody is likely to cut into your animal type as there are fewer tiles to select from.

Quote:
Usually knowledge tiles that give you bonus points are worth the investment.


This. Well planned tech tiles can score 12-20 points in a game. Three tech tiles coming in at even at just 36 points blow away anything you can do with three animal tiles.
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Gadi Oron
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Hi

davypi wrote:

I can't say this with any certainty, but this may be part of the issue. Our group moved on to the variable boards after the second play and we see a variety of different strategies win. Herding is certainly valuable, but it doesn't break the game. Burgundy is really a game about optimizing your moves. I've seen some situations where, by using the special abilties of tiles, you can sqeeze six or seven actions out of two dice. Animals don't really allow you to do this.


Can you give an example?
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Robert Manore
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genoan wrote:
Each time, it seems that the player who fills the big field with a matching herd wins.


It takes more than just filling up regions to win. It also involves counter-strategy played against your opponents. Normally, my gaming group has low scores because we also pay attention to what everyone else is doing and try to take tiles that they need before they have a chance to get them.

If someone has bought one sheep tile and a second sheep tile comes out, I will buy the second tile so my opponent cannot get it. Obviously I won't have the ability to do that every phase, but I always try and am usually successful about 60% of the time. But I also try to remain the start player, which helps a lot in this case.

genoan wrote:
It also is worth saying that I play with three. Is this a problem, in that all tiles are not in play, thus adding a luck element? I note that the game is recommended with 3 though.


Even though more tiles are revealed on the depots as you have more players, I don't feel it adds or takes away from the game in terms of luck. The game is challenging with 2, 3 or 4 players. Luck doesn't affect much of scoring in regards to tiles IMO (YMMV). Luck plays a larger factor in the dice rolling.

For example, being the starting player is more important in this game. There are normally plenty of ship tiles for depot placement, which are not really dependent upon luck itself. However, the need for your die roll to match the space on your board in order to place the ship on your estate requires a fair amount of luck (especially if you have no workers/modifying knowledge tile).

The largest disparity I see with more players is the amount of time lost until it is your turn. And I don't mean downtime caused by AP. In a 2p game, I only have to wait for 1 turn so my chances of getting the tile I want is higher compared to a 3 or 4p game. If I lose the position of starting player to the opponent to my left, then I'm going last and the likelihood that a tile I want is still available during my next turn is reduced greatly.
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David Jones
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regex wrote:

Can you give an example?


Suppose you already have a Church, Castle, Carpenter, and one silverling on your player board. You play the Church (1 action) which allows you to play the Carpenter (2 actions) which allows you to pick up a Warehouse from the board (3 actions). With your second die, place the Castle (4 actions) which allows you to place the Warehouse (5 actions) which allows you to sell goods (6 actions) and use the resulting money to purchase a tile from the black market (7 actions).

Granted, this isn't common and requires a bit of setup, but it does happen. What is really important is to note how playing these tiles reduces the amount of dice you need. I can use a market to pick up an animal, but I can't use an animal to pick up... anything. You should be using an animal strategy in your game, but its more efficient to use special abilities of other tiles to feed that strategy than it is to go after it directly.
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g colhoun
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Robert,

That is really interesting. I wondered if it was possible to adopt a counter-strategy in an effective fashion; your comments clearly suggest that it is.

I also find your comments on luck enlightening.

Tell me, do you feel the game is best played with the variable board set up? Or is it just as good using the standard boards?
 
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Robert Manore
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genoan wrote:
Robert,

That is really interesting. I wondered if it was possible to adopt a counter-strategy in an effective fashion; your comments clearly suggest that it is.

I also find your comments on luck enlightening.

Tell me, do you feel the game is best played with the variable board set up? Or is it just as good using the standard boards?


Blocking or taking opponent's presumed tiles is tricky but possible. You really have to stay up front in player order by collecting and playing ships, and you should save your workers for gaining tile(s) before your opponent.

I only use the #1 boards to teach a new player the game. I use boards #2-10 with the base game advanced rules when playing with folks that have played the game before. I use only the #10 boards with their advanced rules when playing against either one of two specific friends who are very good opponents.

I use boards #2-10 with the base game advanced rules the most. First, it allows players to choose what strategy they want to follow, and none of these boards are alike. So you're not competing for the same tiles at the same time. However, this comes with a warning label: don't allow yourself to assume that even though your focus is not the same as your opponent's focus that you can somewhat ignore him/her. This leads to multiplayer solitaire, which is not for me.

I personally like the idea of the "take that" moments. Especially when they think that I wasn't paying attention to them.

Blocking/taking tiles that opponents may need does take some analysis. For example, your opponent has the knowledge tile that gives him 4 VP at the end of game for every Church on his/her estate. Two churhes appear during the start of a phase (#3 depot and the black market). I notice that my opponent only has 1 silverling and hasn't been selling goods. So I use workers to take the church at the #3 depot and pay two silverlings to buy the other from the bpack market.

This really corals my opponent, but helps me in the process with the church bonus once I play them in my estate. Getting ships as rewards for estate placement helps keep me as the start player.
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Mik Svellov
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davypi wrote:
Suppose you already have a Church, Castle, Carpenter, and one silverling on your player board.
That's already 3 used actions right there.

Suppose there is something absolutely vital for you in the new depots?
Suppose your die rolls doesn't go your way?

Your way of playing is just way too risky for me...
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David Jones
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Great Dane wrote:
That's already 3 used actions right there.


So lets along with that, it comes out to ten actions created from five dice. Again, the point is about creating efficiency. I would never deliberately create a setup like this specifically to make a seven action play, but it does happen. If the same ten actions happen in a different order, you are equally efficient.

Quote:
Suppose there is something absolutely vital for you in the new depots?


Using the same setup, use one die to play the castle, use the castle to pick up a boat. Use second die to place the Carpenter which you can use to place the boat. Pickup whatever goods you're worried about.

Quote:
Suppose your die rolls doesn't go your way? Your way of playing is just way too risky for me...


You face the risk of bad die rolls every turn. The only "risk" I've really taken is having all three tile spots on my board filled up. Going back to your example with the depots, its the exact same risk. You still need the "right" die rolls to pick up and place a boat. On most maps, its generally easier to place building tiles than it is to place boats, so I might even argue that the Carpenter actually reduces your risk. (Castles, I readily admit, are often tricker to place.)

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Robin Zigmond
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Robman wrote:
If I lose the position of starting player to the opponent to my left, then I'm going last...


This comment (and the fact that no-one else has yet picked up on it) makes me wonder if we've been playing wrong. We've always taken the ship track as giving the player order for all players - so the player who has played most ships (before that turn) plays first, then the one who has played second-most, and so on (with ties broken by being on top, ie. having played the most recent ship). The poster, on the other hand, appears to be choosing just the start player based on the ship track, and then going clockwise from there. Are we playing wrong?

(I could go downstairs, find the game and check the rulebook, I suppose, but asking on here will lead to more fun, as well as save me leaving the sofa )

Good strategy discussion, by the way. I usually do terribly at this game, but managed to win last night's 4-player game, and as I get better I find myself agreeing with those saying that finding ways to get several actions in 1 turn is the way to go. (But ultimately probably the player who fills more of their board than the others will win - it's finding the most efficient way to do this that is the challenge.)
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I thought the one-herd animal strategy on board 1 was going to be necessary, but then just last night a player beat it without using animals on the large section. Getting good knowledge tiles that award bonus points at the end and playing to those tiles can definitely make up for animals.
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Robert Manore
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You are correct Robin. Sorry, but all my plays are 2p except one play.

Turn order is based on the track from right to left then top to bottom.
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Werner Bär
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genoan wrote:
Ive played the game around five times now, always with the basic/standard board.

Which contributes a lot to your problem. Everybody has a field of size 5.

When you play with other boards, there usually will be players which have several small fields. They might take the animals that the player with the big field is collecting. You will rarely have 5 animals of a kind in these games, unless you heavily invest in ships (and always keep a good worker reserve)

5 or 6 animals of the same kind in a big field is great. 4 or even 3 is much less usefull. Asume that a player with a size 5 field has only 4 of one kind, plus another single animal tile. That's about (calculating with the average of 3 animals per tile) 3 +6 +9 +12 +3 (other type) + 15 (area bonus) +2 (phase E) = 50 points for 10 dice actions. That's good, but not gamebreaking; a dice action is usually worth about 4 points.

Yellow tiles often give about 12 points for 2 actions; most city tiles don't give bonus points, but grant you an extra action, so the actually eat up only one die.
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g colhoun
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Werner,

Yes, I wondered if part of the issue was that the big area on the starting board is the animal one.

However, as Robert earlier suggested, does the use of different boards lead to less interaction/competition for resources, as each player follows through on the individual strengths of his/her board? Robert comments that this is not the style of game he likes; how do you find it?

Godfrey.
 
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g colhoun
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DoomTurtle wrote:
I thought the one-herd animal strategy on board 1 was going to be necessary, but then just last night a player beat it without using animals on the large section. Getting good knowledge tiles that award bonus points at the end and playing to those tiles can definitely make up for animals.


Interesting!

Was this with 3 or 4? How many of the other players went heavily into herding? Did they compete for similar animals? Which knowledge tiles did you acquire? (So many questions!)
 
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Scott Kovatch
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davypi wrote:

Suppose you already have a Church, Castle, Carpenter, and one silverling on your player board. You play the Church (1 action) which allows you to play the Carpenter (2 actions) which allows you to pick up a Warehouse from the board (3 actions). With your second die, place the Castle (4 actions) which allows you to place the Warehouse (5 actions) which allows you to sell goods (6 actions) and use the resulting money to purchase a tile from the black market (7 actions).


I really like this, but I think you meant "City Hall" instead of "Church" here. A Church lets you pick up a knowledge, mine, or castle, whereas a City Hall lets you play one more tile to your estate. That's the only combo I can think of that makes this work.
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