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Mare Nostrum: Mythology Expansion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Strategic advice rss

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Philip Thomas
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Mythology Strategy Guide (The guide assumes Hermes cannot be used to collect taxes). It is envisaged as having several parts.

Commodities on the game map.

2 Gems (European border inland and African border inland). 2 Ceramics (Island border coastal and European interior coastal). 2 Papyrus (African interior coastal x2). 2 Perfume (Asian border inland and African interior coastal) 2 Gold (African border coastal and Asian border coastal) 3 Fruit (European interior coastal and African interior coastal x2) 3 Olive Oil (African border coastal, European Interior coastal and Asian interior coastal) 4 Metal (Island border coastal, Central interior coastal, Island interior coastal x2) 4 Livestock (European border coastal, African border coastal, Asian border inland and African interior coastal) 4 Wine (European interior coastal x3, Asian interior coastal). 5 Fish (African interior coastal, European interior coastal x2, Asian interior coastal x2) 6 Grain (African border coastal, European interior coastal x2, European border coastal x2, Asian border coastal). 6 Slaves (African border coastal x2, African interior coastal x2, Asian border coastal, Asian interior coastal) 45 Resources in total.

18 Taxes (Island border coastal, 3 Island interior coastal, Europe border coastal, Europe interior coastal x4, Asia interior coastalx3, Asia border inland, Africa border coastal x5)

The key feature of Mare Nostrum is its asymmetry. Each country is very different and so a general strategy is not possible except in very broad terms. I may look at each country in turn later on.

The Commerce Phase: In general you want to manage matters so that you have at least a couple of sets of 3, and 2 Taxes to save. Of course there are turns where you are trying for a set of 6, 9 or even 13. As Commerce Director you should exchange the minimum number of cards required for your goal. There are 2 reasons you shouldn’t exchange more- firstly it is just wasting game time (at best), and secondly it makes it more difficult for others to make their goals. Sometimes your goal includes breaking up someone else’s set of 9 or 13 Taxes- normally Egypt. Breaking a set of 9 or 13 Commodities is quite difficult.

Isis should be used to give you a commodity you don’t have and other people extra in a commodity they have and (ideally) you don’t. Hermes should be used for extra resources in a commodity others don’t have, except where this could grant them a set of 9 or 13. (Specific reasons for buying Isis and Hemes are discussed under the Offerings to the Gods phase).

When selecting cards for trading, trade commodities you have duplicates of first. Do not select Taxes unless forced to or as part of a play for a 9 or 13 set, as they keep. When selecting commodities you don’t have in duplicate, trade ones others have already, as you are more likely to pick these up. In actual trade everything is straight forward- pick up the rarest commodities you can find, and taxes if helpful. There are advanced strategies for boycotting particular players, but we will pass over these for now.

The Offering to the Gods Phase
The High Priest will generally want to give the first few chances to others (friends before enemies), except where he needs a particular God. That way he can buy Ishtar if someone buys a destruction God. In general Gods are best if you have plenty of resources and there are no buildings left. Early in the game it is nearly always best to buy caravans or cities rather than Gods (The case of Egypt buying Hermes will be discussed in a future essay).

Baal is an excellent way of hurting Egypt or Greece. Such an excellent way that whoever goes first in this phase out of Egypt or Greece in the later game should probably buy Baal, just to prevent its use against them. It is also a way of threatening those who might attack you.

Vulcan is also highly effective, as even Egypt needs commodities to shield it from trading away taxes. Obviously best if you have a spare place for a caravan. Highly effective as a threat as well.

Poseidon is rather less effective. It does offer a method of preventing a sea landing, if the enemy has only 1 trireme at some point in the chain. It could be used to defeat the Greek blockade if Greece were foolish enough to blockade with only 1 trireme. But the purchase of Ishtar is most effective against Poseidon (because often the player who bought Poseidon only wants to use it against 1 person). It could well just make your target buy more triremes, when you want him to be concentrating on land forces.

Mars is the last of the Destruction Gods. The power he gives is considerable, and its deterrent effect may save you more than one battle. Obviously in combination with automatic rolls of 4+ he is even better.

Ishtar is a defensive purchase. Often the best response to the purchase of one of the Gods above, it not only deflects that God from your civilisation but may well land it in someone else’s, creating enmity between two of your fellow-players and benefiting you in relative terms. Of course, Ishtar is only good against 1 destruction god if a concerted effort is being made. But most players won’t waste their god just to let someone else’s have a chance. Adonis can make it worth their while though.

Isis is at first sight an unrewarding purchase. 3 commodities for 1 commodity a turn later, plus everyone else gets 1 as well? Of course, Isis is very useful if you are currently making 8 or 12 different commodities. Be prepared to be attacked or at least struck by Vulcan, however.

Hermes also seems unrewarding- the 3 commodities are all the same and you already have 1 of them. He can be used in trade, but the best use is as a shield against loss of taxes- the bigger the trade the Director of Commerce is forced to name to draw out your taxes, the more likely someone else will trade taxes too. However, taking Hermes for this reason is also likely to lead to your being attacked, or struck by Baal.


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Philip Thomas
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Production Phase

To prevent Kingmaking by the Political Director, anyone who is going to win the game with his set declares before the PD says who will build. If two or more people declare, the one with most cities and temples wins (then markets and caravans, finally military units, and if that is tied then there is a draw). Use of Baal, Vulcan, Poseidon and Ishtar is permitted at this stage.

The Political Director will generally want to let his opponents build first so he can respond. Opponents for this purpose are anyone within striking range. The exception is of course where he needs to buy something in limited supply- like Heroes. For example, in the first turn Egypt may well let Carthage go first, forcing him to show his hand and respond to possible Atlantis and Rome builds. In the second turn, if Egypt has a set of 9, he will go first to make sure he gets first pick of the heroes.
Negotiation over turn order is a good idea. Even if they don’t keep their promises, they are shown up as dishonest…

What to build? Well, if you can spare resources to build buildings, they are often the best choice, providing a steady stream of revenue. Influence markers allow you to secure new caravan and city sites. However, if you are faced by a military challenger, buildings and Influence markers can be a waste of resources, to the point of handing revenue to your opponent on a plate. The best defensive unit is the fortress. Its mere precsence deters small raids. Even if you are at war with Carthage, your fortresses mean he has to deploy Behemoths at that battle, who may be needed elsewhere.
Two Legions are better than one Mythical Creature, just considering the Mythical Creature’s ability to roll a 6, not its special features. 2d6 averages higher than 6 anyway and you can take one more ‘hit’ with the legions. Plus they can occupy more. The special features may tip the balance, but we will discuss them as we deal with each country. Triremes have a number of functions. They are spreaders of influence to other shores. This is crucial for Greece, but everyone can benefit from a well placed trireme. They are carriers of troops, should you want to attack overseas. And finally they can be used against other triremes (we consider the Greek Blockade together with Greece). The last use is not the best, as it wastes resources.

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