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Subject: Advice for new players. rss

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Sean McKenzie
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Playing an online game with a lot of new players. So i wrote this up for them:

Apparently I am the most experienced player here, with 6 solo games, and 1 ongoing online game, plus this game. Also, I am active on the site.

Many of you have played HIS, but the designer of this game recently sounded in on the forum, and said basically this is not really a wargame. You have a military option, but in general non military, including piracy, is the way you will gain most VP.

Generally speaking only use military if:

1) You are close to a victory and that 1-2 keys will do it
2) To prevent someone else from winning
3) To cross the threshold where you gain a card
4) To avoid crossing the threshold where you lose a card

No War Winner VP in this game except for HRE/Ottoman’s versus war cards, and I have never seen these things happen.

Domination Victories (5 vp ahead of anyone else) can not occur prior to T4. If we all do things right this should never happen. The best way to prevent other players’ domination victories is to score VP yourself from Piracy&Patronage, whatever else you may have.

The early results were a lot of French Domination Victories. France did all those marriages and no one really thought about it, and no one did a lot of Piracy and Patronage. So early reports were a lot of French Victories. To prevent this, be more wary of marriages, and do your own Piracy and Patronage etc.

The game will typically end between T3 and T5. By the end of T2-T3 things should be shaping up. Very long term plans are unlikely to come to fruition. Do your Piracy&Patronage now. Patronage awards are limited by the counter mix; by the time Shakespeare arrives there may be no awards left, even if the game is not over. Royals who age from the 1 box get taken out of the game. Generally speaking the other players can/will combine to stop the first guy who threatens to win, but after a while several people are threatening to win, Religious, Military, VP.

Observatory Science Bonus: the scientist who did this goes back in the pool and can be used again. So if you get the first bonus a strong incentive to take it. One of the main reasons not to is for a non HRE player who may get it with an Italian Scientist; that scientist goes back into the pool and you don’t know who will get him in the future. The other is if you get a 2 VP award you’ll have to think seriously about giving up a VP for future die rolls.

Like HIS, cards that give you more cards, you almost always want to play them as events. Rare exceptions. Unless you believe the game is ending you probably don’t use Genoese bankers. Rievers: allows you to place influence in Scotland as a response and if you are going for that you might hold onto it for that. Can’t think of anything else right now.

Like HIS, especially in the beginning, you do want to save cards. You should be working on thinking about a turn when you are going to go for it and setting up for that turn, of course you may end up using the resources you saved to prevent someone else’s win.

To get bang out of your calamities when you are setting up for a big play next turn, play those calamities near the end of the turn, hopefully when the other guy has no cards to respond. When it is that big turn, play the cards that get things out of people’s hands first. I know you loose the surprise element, but there are a lot of cards that cause the loss of cards, and there is piracy. You start off with a great hand but your enemy steals the card that steals cards and then he steals another card.

Look at mutiny. Play it at the beginning of the turn and you get a card out of the guy’s hand, play it at the end and you can destroy his whole army and deny him a key.

Also, fewer events that are causing troops to dessert than in HIS, but Mutiny will kill all your mercs and there is no defense.

In general you are getting more cards than in HIS, and treasures give yet more CP. Also, the average value of a card is somewhat higher in VQ than HIS. So in general you can do more stuff.

Treasures are great. Apart from the extra CP, you can play a card for an event and even with just a 1 CP treasure do your siege. So treasures are great. Also, when you play a card for an event, there are no restrictions on how you can spend the treasure CP. The big thing is, the Protestant can play his home card for conversions, and then also play a treasure for more conversions, and so you need to watch for the Protestant Auto Win. Similar surprise moves can occur with the Spanish Road, Ottoman Tribute, Holy Roman intercession, although I have never seen those tried; Spain plays Spanish Road and his army suddenly appears, with a treasure as well he can then conduct military operations before anyone can react. Similarly, watch for Sultan’s Harem or Gregorian Calendar. As in HIS, don’t really want to be left with no cards in your hand.

Almost insanity not to play the Commissioned from Italy card for the Event unless you are going for a win that turn some other way. Also, if you are non HRE, keeps one away from the HRE. If there are no Italian artists/scientists try to hold it for next turn. Play it before the HRE goes/Pope comes out.

Each player has his own strengths and weaknesses.

Ottoman:

I have never had an Ottoman win. Got close to some domination/military victories, and once close to 25 VP.

You start with a +3 scientist and a +4 artist. You want to do the scientist and try to get either observatory or excavation. If you are going for excavation you might want to hold off on the Suez Canal. Although you can choose your science bonus after you have seen your Suez Roll.

You definitely want the Suez Canal. 2VP’s, an extra card, and you can place colonies. Once you get the Canal it is worth doing new world piracy, but if you are already doing piracy in Europe you may not need it. Colony is chance for treasure and VP. Piracy on new world gets treasures instead of cards.

Argument against doing the +4 artist right away is getting in the lead and then people will attack you, but otherwise very much worth doing. Problems with waiting is the VP markers can come out, and that artists/scientist are chosen randomly, and so when you have more than 1 you may not get the best one. Whether you or anyone, try to use 4 CP when you patronize.

You can do Piracy against people with whom you are not at war.

I would not declare war on Venice.

Instead, see France gaining control of Venice/the Pope as an opportunity, especially if you are not at war with Spain or HRE. If you take these by military force you will not lose them to diplomacy, and Cyprus is worth a VP to you as well. Also, given how many Diplomatic die rolls there are, the chances that France gets one or both of Pope, Venice at some time is quite high.

Standard opening move according to the web site is Piracy versus Spain. I did this in one of my own games and in my one live game the Ottomans did it, and in both cases the Ottoman fleet was blown off the board. The main problem with shooting it out with Spain in the beginning is it keeps you from Patronage/Suez, and of course you may lose the war. Also, sooner or later the HRE will probably attack someone. Both Spain and Ottoman’s make nice targets for an HRE looking for a Military Victory.

Problem with not fighting Spain is it lets him target the Protestants, which may shut them down, which you don’t really want. But if you are at peace with Spain your ability to do piracy with people you are not at war with allows you to pirate France and HRE. Even more so if either controls Pope/Venice. You should be looking to swipe Pope/Venice/Tunis militarily when the opportunity presents itself.

You’re natural friends are England and the Protestants. Unlike HIS you have little reason to like the French, but you don’t especially hate them either, though consider it a good thing if they get Pope/Venice. You can go to war with either of Spain/HRE, or peace with both. War with both and you can win if you roll all 6’s. You want to divert Spanish resources and contain HRE, but without killing yourself.

I don’t recommend any of the sophisticated Ottoman diplomacies, like ceding Buda to HRE. If you think about the dialectic of the situation, all of those things put the HR in the driver’s seat. My one live game the Ottoman’s did some complex stuff with the HRE, and now we are trying to stave off an HRE military victory on T3.

Spain:

Me in this game. Like France in Empires in Arms, as opposed to War and Peace. Spain is only slightly more powerful than any other single power, and will be struggling to maintain that superiority.

Has some vested interest in opposing Ottoman’s, England and Protestants, but can not really fight all three. France is a natural Ally, but does France really want to help you when you are strong, and France could always make a deal with the Protestants. Spain is not really going to attack the HRE. Spain wants HRE as an ally.

It will be tough for Spain to gain any significant advantage without an ally, even against just 1 or two of them.

I have never done an Anti-English strategy with Spain, and my live game I am England and England and Spain are buddies. The one military victory of any kind I had was a Spanish one. Portugal jumped from England to Spain; players cooperated to do this to prevent an English military victory. Spain then conquered Ireland and used the Union of Arras card to reclaim Bruxelles from HRE. You have to watch for these things.

The bones of contention are:

Ottoman: Tunis and European Piracy, and if the Turks take Pope or Venice.

England: The Enterprise of England card, but it does not enter play until T4.

Protestant: The Dutch Revolt Card, which enters play T3.

So Spain is deciding which of those VP he wants to go for and which to give away.

New World Piracy has not been something people go to war over that I have heard. Everyone just lives with that. In general Spain expects to lose at least 1 key to the Protestants in the Netherlands. The Protestants then need a key outside the Netherlands to gain another card. Protestant Religious Victory threatens all other players, and so is not especially a problem between Spain and the Protestants. The Gunpowder Plot, can not be done until T3, and is a threat to all players.

War with Ottomans: If HRE allies with you great. If you can win the Naval battle typically he has no offensive potential against you unless he allies with HRE, and then you are in trouble. Winning the war can easily gain you two keys, Algiers/Tunis, potentially making up for abandoning the Netherlands. Apart from the downside of losing the war, the diversion of your fleets will keep you from doing much to England/Protestant; yes, I have used the Armada primarily against Ottoman’s.

War with England: Should distract him from doing piracy. The gunpowder plot is an automatic victory. Fleets can be used versus either England or Protestants, or for that matter France if the opportunity presents itself. You may be able to pick off Ireland/Scotland easily. Protestant can not do conversions in England, and so turning to England is a way to potentially turn the tide in the Religious Struggle. In fact, in my games, the most common reason why I had Spain pick on England was because of the Religious Struggle. Apart from the downside of losing the war, if you lose the naval battle you can not do much, having England enter the Religious Struggle can backfire, if other players fear the gunpowder plot they will gang up on you, Enterprise of England card does not enter play until T4 and so a very good chance you never gain or lose VP from this.

War with Protestant: Reduce his piracy, reduce the number of cards he has and resources for the Religious Struggle, very good possibility you will have a French ally, Protestants almost always threaten a Religious Autowin at some point, and so you can expect some help from other players, Protestants unlikely to have much of an Army/Navy and if he does it means he must have distracted resources from the religious struggle. Apart from the downside of losing the war, you kind of want the Protestants to hurt the French, by taking Paris, and especially, getting the Catholic League into play, The Dutch Revolt Card enters play T3 and so some chance you never gain or lose VP from this, Protestant rebellions will require that you garrison things that you gain, lots of event cards both good and bad.

If you concede the Netherlands entirely, it takes some of the teeth out of the Protestant Home Card.

How about France, well you kind of want them as an Ally versus the Protestants or England, but Paris is worth VP to you. If the Catholic League forms about half the time I have had Spain go for France, usually because France was so pitifully weak. As Spain I definitely want the Catholic League to form.

How about HRE, I have never seen anyone take an HRE home key. So in general this means after HRE has taken something you are going to try to take it. Actually, the original problem when the game first came out was what to do about France. The current big question is how to deal with the HRE.

Spain too starts with a scientist, but he is a 2, and so will not roll until after Ottomans and England if they do their scientists. In my live game Spain did patronage T1 and got observatory…very good on Spain’s part, bad on Ottoman/England. I was England. Spain has more cards than anyone else, and other things being equal will get to see if Ottomans and England have a scientist before they make their decision. Apart from trying to get observatory like anyone else, drydocks and cryptography, although telescope, forts can also be useful.

Spain has some artists at start and these are worth doing, but in general no rush, since they are low value guys and not likely to get more than 1 VP. Cervantes comes late in the game. It will probably be over by then.

Spain also can use some ASW in the New World, but where to get that from when fighting all those wars.

Spain should probably expect to lose the Pope to Diplomacy at some point, but to get it back as well. Spain hopes for Ireland, Portugal and Venice. Pope especially valuable as the Pope Card gives benefits to whoever wins the Pope dip rolls. Portugal can always be conquered militarily. HRE may want Venice and you want him as an ally. Ireland means war with England in all likelihood.

England

Probably the easiest country to play.

I do not know that this is a widely held view, but someone on the site said England wants to hold up the game, and go for a win T5-T7. I’d say totally wrong, especially since the game will probably not last that long.

England is 3 keys away from military victory, and you do not hold Scotland at game start. As long as you keep control of the sea around England the Irish revolt will not be able to take Dublin. As early as T3 Portugal becomes available, so capture a key in France, Netherlands, ally with someone take Metz…2 diplomacy die rolls and 1 siege is all it takes to win.

The conventional wisdom is stay at war with France hoping to eventually get that key, and do Piracy from T1.

I strongly recommend Patronising Dee on T1. If Ottoman’s fail to patronize or blow their die roll you will get first choice. You will have the tough choice to take observatory or not. Otherwise Cryptography helps versus the gunpowder plot, navigation helps with circumnavigation, my favorite is Plantations for Colonies, Drydock or telescopes will help you with naval battles.

As an alternative to war with France, do the marriage between Mary and Darnley, helps to squeeze Protestants out of Scotland. You’ll have to DOW to go for a military win at a later time, but it also protects you from the French pulling something on you unexpectedly, and could get you some bonus VP.

Scotland, you do not gain a card unless you get 2 keys, and you will have plenty of opportunity to gain control of Scotland diplomatically, but OTOH better the bird in the hand. IF Spain is allied to or at war with either France or Protestants, he can land in Scotland and now you are at war. This can not happen until either Elizabeth is excommunicated or Mary QOS is captured/dead. But the latter is apt to happen by the end of T3. Controlling Edinborough will get you a +1 to your dip roll when Scottish Lords revolt, having it will be one less thing you need to get when you go for the win.

Ireland, if you place some influence there chances are no one will ever even go for it. Revolt in Ireland does not give away Dublin. However, Spanish troops dropping into Ireland has the same issues as Spanish troops in Scotland.

Apart from the Auto win, you have a very good scientist early and 1 artist. You have tons of Sea Captains. Colonies and Piracy. 1 VP per turn for Virgin Queen. By all means send Drake around the world for 2 VP T3, for another on T4. If you get experienced navigator, and/or navigation tech might try doing two circumnavigations at once, save you some CP, but using Hawkins to circumnavigate without some bonus is not likely to work, and you may need Hawkins to fight the Spanish Navy. If you see someone else trying to circumnavigate before you try to stop them. Those 2 VP are rightfully yours.

I would prioritise patronizing Dee before Piracy on T1.

Also, you move before the other powers with colonies so put a colony in Brazil before the other guys take it.

I would do colony and patronize before Piracy.

You are not pro Protestant. If it gets to where you get 3 VP the Protestants are threatening auto win. What you want is stalemate in the Netherland that gives you Spain and Dutch 1 VP, and 2 VP for Religion.

The general advice is to use Walsingham starting T3. Might actually think about marrying Elizabeth off, since the game tends to end before you actually get all 5 Virgin Queen VP. Henri of Navarre would make a good marriage and it keeps him from the French.

Consider self jilting. In general get at least a card draw or 4 mercs, otherwise just self jilt. Try to set up so you have enough CP for Drake to both Circumnavigate and do Piracy on T3. Place influence in Scotland/Ireland. Try to build your fleet before the Spanish attack you. In fact having your fleet ready will tend to discourage attacks against you. There is little chance to hold Portugal unless you are allied to Spain. Once you get Portugal you should be trying to win quickly.

France

Probably the second easiest to play. You’re a lover not a fighter.

France wants to do its marriages, and get the biggest bang he can for the least cost. In general use the home card for the +2, it gets you a card draw anyway. Try to get Charles IX married right away as he could easily die. Basically offer what you need to do those marriages.

After that do as much Piracy and Patronage as possible. Plant colonies. One or more of the French Sea Captains gives you a free colony.

Possibly worth a go at circumnavigation on T1/T2, beat the English to it. You have at least 1 Captain with an N2. Do Patronage but no one especially great for you, so you are not in the same race as some other players, but the extra 1 VP’s help, and you might roll well.

In general you do not want the Catholic League to form.

If Spain is targeting the Protestants it may well be good for you to do the same. Shutting the Protestants down is what will allow you to be a real Military Power, but much of the time just holding Paris is enough.

Making a deal with the Protestants to let him take something in France may be a better alternative than shooting it out with the Protestants, but, the Protestants can not place their Capital if they gain a key in the Diplomacy Phase, and, if you let the Protestant’s take the first key easily, you may just end up fighting them for the second at a disadvantage.

I’ve seen France get 18 permanent VP, and I probably did not do enough Patronage and Piracy.

Spain usually makes a good ally.

Dealing HRE Metz for marriages is generally speaking a good move.

If you get a science bonus, think plantations or navigation for the obvious, but if not, Ravelin. The extra casualties you inflict may make the difference between losing 1 key or 2 or none, when someone decides to attack you.

Holy Roman Empire (Big Bad Rabbit)

It may well be true that it is neither Big nor Bad nor a Rabbit, but the state of play in this game is what to do about HRE.

I have not seen an HRE win, although in my online game the HRE is going for a military auto win right now.

The Turks might decide to go on an all out attack against, and potentially everyone can attack, but in general you are in the driver’s seat.

Assuming a typical you are at peace on T1 you should easily save a card, and patronise both an artist and a scientist, and still have tons of CP left. You might stay at peace for 2 or 3 turns.

You can do some Piracy.

Typically you build up an Army.

Other ideas:

Build your navy, for protection versus piracy and diplomacy.

Flip some minor spaces for diplomacy and to secure passage for your own armies eventually.

Influence points in Pope, Venice.

Influence in Ireland, as long as England maintains control of the sea you can’t really get Dublin unless you have another card, mutiny, treachery…but if you capture a port in the Atlantic someone could lend you a fleet, and if Spain goes for England he would probably be happy to help you.

The problem with the HRE is short of the T1 Ottoman attack, he will most likely have the time to pick and choose when and where he fights. The HRE has substantial capability to buy the ally of his choice:

4 mercs, strategic locations for Spring Deployment/Spanish Road, Home Card option to give another player a card, tons of marriages

I suggest building the navy as yet another bribe you can make, and you might use it yourself.

England can’t do much to HRE as long as HRE is not in Ireland, and of the other 4 players you can almost always bribe at least 1.

HRE can choose total peace, just sit there doing patronage, piracy, marriage, or choose whomever he wants to attack, and probably with whatever ally he wants. Hypothetically he can pull a surprise move with Holy Roman Intercession and other players should be watching for this.

So the thing for the HRE is he is really in control of things. Generally speaking the anti-HRE alliance never forms until the HRE is threatening to win.

So attack:

England: Not really except under unusual circumstances unless you have the Ireland card, and even then you just get Ireland.

Protestant: Bruxelles is the only key in the Netherlands that is not a port and can be lost due to the Union of Arras card. But with an ally or the right cards you can take the ports also. You’ll probably want an ally to go after Protestants in France.

Ottoman: If Spain and Turks fight you can see the result before you intervene.

Spain: If Spain and Turks fight you can see the result before you intervene.

France: You can probably get Metz without war, but since France tends to be puny, a good target for a surprise or non surprise attack to go for the auto win.

Other things for the HRE.

Think about Charles II getting a jilt for 4 mercs.

Will usually take Observatory under any circumstances because Italians tend to come back to him and he has a pile of domestic scientists. Tech to take besides Observatory: Ravelin, Telescope.

Religious preference:

Protestant: I say is the first choice, but remember the Protestant auto win. You want to win while just barely staving off the Protestant auto win. Encourages you to hurt Spain or France, but not necessarily that much, since you don’t want the Protestant auto win.

Neutral: Keep it in the middle and take 4 VP, and so you are not looking for Religion VP to give you an edge, just to keep you even, and then you will win some other way.

Catholic: Throw it in their once in a while to keep people guessing, but the only time I have seen the Protestants substantially shut down was when Ottoman and Spain made nice, and then France and Spain both worked to counter reform and keep Protestants shut down. If you think that’s what will happen then try being Catholic. Encourages you to hurt Protestants, but now you need to worry about a Catholic auto win.

How to prevent it where HRE is in said driver’s seat is what people are thinking about these days. Come up with a good answer to that question and you can get your PHD in VQ.

Protestant:

In my next solo game I am going to try having the Protestants go for Religion all the way and forget all this on board nonsense, but the below is assuming you don’t do that.

In general use your home card for conversions. A 2 CP revolt will get you an undefended key. Also, without the conversions you can not do revolts, spread revolts. You do not want too many spaces in France as it will cause the Catholic League to form.

You only want the Catholic League to form if for some reason you want to strengthen Spain so it can bump off some other player.

You want to get 1 key in Holland and 1 outside. Once you start getting more than that you will be getting so powerful that others may gang up on you.

You can get VP for Paris and so trying to get it is good. If your position is strong you might even allow the Catholic League to form.

Some Piracy and Colony on the first turn is a good idea. Having a treasure can boost your threat of auto win considerably. If you have 42 spaces and still have your home card and can still do 14 conversions go for the auto win. I would try it with less than 42. If you have treasures the threshold is lower, although of course you can provoke attack from others. Also, watch the HRE, as you might end up giving him the game.

Settling for stalemate whereby Eng, Sp and you get 1 VP for the Dutch revolt card is probably good enough.

You have a +3 artist on T1. If you are not pushing Religion you should do him.

You are usually at war with Spain or France, think about Europe Map Piracy.

You are light on scientists, so in general you will take the VP rather than Observatory. Good tech: telescope, Ravelin. Your high value explorer comes late in the game, but you might take navigation for a shot at circumnavigation.

You want Scotland but it is fairly volatile, and the English can always conquer it if they want to. If you are at war with Spain you are giving Spain an easier shot at England. The risk of losing it means you do not really want to count on it as a key outside of Holland.

Piracy and Patronage besides Religion, even in preference to it. If there is a weak France and/or Spain abandons Holland, you might go military. Stab the HRE in the back, play City State Rebels and take Metz.

However, based on what I have seen the main Protestant threat is from Religion, but it is tough to do it if France and Spain both work against you. So I recommend doing more piracy/patronage than I have hitherto seen.

All

It’s not really a wargame. The real strategy is Peace: Peace, Piracy and Patronage. For those who can marriage, Circumnavigation, colonies can generate VP. Get Plantations and you increase the probability of getting VP from colonies. Wars are only likely to move VP counts by a little, and cost a lot.

Virgil Sollozzo said: We’re businessmen, blood is a big expense.
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Joel K
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Quote:
Ottoman:

You start with a +3 scientist and a +4 artist.

The Ottomans begin with a 1-rated scientist (Seydi ali Reis). Their 3-rated scientist (Taqi al-Din) arrives on Turn 2.
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Johan Pettersson
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Thank you Sean for well written and very interesting analysis.
 
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Michael Hopcroft
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War in VQ is not something to be undertaking lightly. I had disastrous results when I tried an early-game war, and don't recommend it to anyone. It's easy for someone with wargame experience to look at the map position and think that shows who is more powerful or ahead in the game. This is a mistake.

Taking the military game out of the equation early forces you to concentrate on other means to get VPs. Fortunately each power has such means. Learning how the power you play can win the game is very useful, both with and without military options.
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Sean McKenzie
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Yes, I made mistake on the scientist for Otts. Also left out Eng should reinforce Ireland.
 
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Steven
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Interesting analysis and thanks for posting your thoughts on the various powers. Its certainly extensive and I would recommend anyone check it out (experienced and novice alike). Also, not to belittle your extensive solo play, but I would be interested to see how your multiplayer game experience might differ from your solo play experience. "Peace, Piracy and Patronage" is a good base strategy for some powers (HRE and France), but for others it is not viable (they are not as efficient earners). War or espionage is important, because it causes other powers to spent resources to counter you. More importantly, gaining keys from other powers can net you more VPs and cards. Without the ability to sue for peace, these generally become keys which are difficult to return which gives some more incentive to attack.

However, that generally does not mean that one should pursue military options all the time. It can fail spectacularly and drag both powers into the abyss. Check out Matt Totonchy’s excellent points in this thread (The more I play it the less I like it). No point in reinstating what was already so eloquently written!
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Thomas Ting
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VQ is not a wargame? I beg to disagree. VQ is more of a wargame than HiS. Its mechanics encourage all-out aggression.

smckenzie wrote:
Many of you have played HIS, but the designer of this game recently sounded in on the forum, and said basically this is not really a wargame. You have a military option, but in general non military, including piracy, is the way you will gain most VP.


No. Piracy is good for getting VP, yes. But ignoring military? If you win militarily, there's a good chance you'll win the game and whoever you defeat will be gone permanently.

Every power can still win automatically if they take enough keys. Every power still gets VP for owning keys. And unlike HiS, you never have to give VPs back. The winner gets stronger while the defeated get weaker. It won't matter if the loser got some patronage VPs - not when their homeland is occupied, they're drawing very few cards to the point of irrelevance, and have no way to get back their lands without fighting more battles against what is now a superior foe.

Quote:
No War Winner VP in this game except for HRE/Ottoman’s versus war cards, and I have never seen these things happen.


This is silly. You actually LOST VP in Here I Stand when you get war winner VP. You get 1 base war winner VP for winning a war, plus one per key. But you lose 2 VP for every key that you have to give back. If you give back 2 keys, you're losing 4 VP while getting only 3 permanent ones back. War Winner only helps in the long run; taking it out does nothing to curb aggression.

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Domination Victories (5 vp ahead of anyone else) can not occur prior to T4. If we all do things right this should never happen. The best way to prevent other players’ domination victories is to score VP yourself from Piracy&Patronage, whatever else you may have.


Winning by VP was very rare for us in HiS, and the first win we had in VQ was an auto-win by conquest. We didn't even make it to Turn 4.

I think you're playing overly unaggressive games.

Quote:
Do your Piracy&Patronage now. Patronage awards are limited by the counter mix; by the time Shakespeare arrives there may be no awards left, even if the game is not over. Royals who age from the 1 box get taken out of the game. Generally speaking the other players can/will combine to stop the first guy who threatens to win, but after a while several people are threatening to win, Religious, Military, VP.


There's no reason not to do early Marriages, since you don't spend cards for them. Patronage is 50-50. The chance of getting 2-3 VPs must be measured against the chance of getting 2 VPs AND more cards by taking keys.

Quote:
Like HIS, especially in the beginning, you do want to save cards. You should be working on thinking about a turn when you are going to go for it and setting up for that turn, of course you may end up using the resources you saved to prevent someone else’s win.


No, definitely no.

Saving cards is vital. If someone saves cards and you don't, then you are screwed militarily. An opponent which has a two-card advantager over you is basically guaranteed to conquer one of your keys unless there are special geographic conditions that will prevent a move-assault. Going all-out with patronages while letting the enemy get a card advantage over you is a surefire way to get obliterated.

I think you are looking way too much at the game's intended design, and completely failing to see that the intent and the reality of the game are actually pretty divorced. VQ is a MUCH more rewarding game for the military power and the warmonger.
 
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Antero Kuusi
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I would disagree with the thoughts on the evaluation of usefulness of peace and war in both original post and Zinegata's analysis as in my opinion both go too far in one direction. A lot of strategy in VQ is the balancing of resources spent on conquest and peaceful pursuits and cannot be distilled into general directions that recommend one over another. Which one to pursue depends on the VP situation, board situation, and relative military strength - and might change quite rapidly.

The non-war VP sources (the three P's) are more efficient VP generators CP-wise than war. However, those VPs are of no use to you if someone else (France and HRE being the usual suspects) is outracing you to 25 VPs. In that case, you must go on war or otherwise slow them down. Conversely, successful war usually takes down the target and gains you VPs - but if someone can just sit around peacefully, they are likely to rack up the VPs much faster than you.

The key balancing act in VQ is how much effort to put on gaining your VPs and how much on inhibiting others. And one difference from HiS worth noting is that also the powers that are not "natural enemies" can do a lot more to inhibit others than in HiS. For example, in HiS, it was difficult for the non-religious powers to do much to influence the contest between in Papacy and Protestants. In VQ, especially when the espionage starts, there's a lot of ways to hinder other powers that should be remembered.

If you are not regularly getting to at least T5 before end, it is likely that your group is playing too "nice" game where each one simply tries to race to 25 VP without paying enough attention to slowing down the best-positioned power. That plays right into hands of France and HRE.

And one thing that is completely wrong: Protestants want Catholic League to form, the sooner the better. Once Catholic League forms, both France and Spain are likely going to be very busy with each other, trying to go for Paris. That means that both powers have less time to go after Protestants. Also, Paris Is Worth a Mass (the second Home Card Protestants get when Catholic League forms) is a likely game winner if the Protestants can trigger it as event.
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Thomas Ting
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The problem with most CP-to-VP conversion ratios is that it fails to account that warfare also takes VP and resources away from your opponent. It may take a minimum of 2 cards to capture a key (march in, then assault), but you're actually "gaining" 4 VP - 2VP is added to your total, 2 VP is taken away from a rival.

On top of that is the chance of taking away a card from your opponent while gaining a card draw yourself, which can result in the crucial two-card advantage. This leads to devastating "the rich get richer" situations.

In the game I played, the game was dominated completely by those who focused on the military. Those who didn't... well here's the breakdown:

French - decided to focus entirely on VP-gaining; with the only "defensive" measures he undertook was to try to convert spaces back to Catholicism. Result? England and the Dutch gang-banged him. He had the most permanent VP in the end, but he was at the bottom of the actual score pile because every single key in France except Marseilles was occupied by the English or Dutch. They were basically worse off than a minor power at the end.

Dutch - aggressive conversion and revolts in Holland and France (he ignored everything else) resulted in the Dutch ending the game one key short of auto-win. And only because he was unlucky with his final revolt.

Spain - decided to focus on patronage and random VP stuff. The Ottomans (me) thus trounced them in the naval war. We took Naples from them and annihilated the Med fleet. The HRE then decided to join the gang-bang, who took away most of the Spanish holdings in Italy and Central Europe. They were finally put out of their misery by the English (!!) who marched on Madrid.

HRE - early focus on patronages (because the Otts made a peace deal with them), but they soon dropped that after seeing how the Spanish were getting trounced. They were 1 key away from auto-win, but Ottoman threats convinced them to return one of their keys. In retrospect, it was a mistake and a bit more aggressiveness would have resulted in an HRE auto-win.

Otts - early naval aggression, culminating in the capture of Naples and the annihilation of the Spanish Med fleet. I was then able to pirate at will, completed the Suez, circumnavigated, and patronaged. I actually ended the game with the required number of VPs for an auto-win, but I was out-raced by...

English - pure aggression from start to finish. They polished off the Scots, then took chunks of France in cooperation with the Dutch. He then capped it off by taking Spain and winning by auto-win.

===

In summary, while it's true that you can get a ton of VP through peaceful means (I did), smart aggression provides an auto-win condition AND weakens your opponent. I certainly wouldn't have been able to race to 25 VP as the Otts with an active Spanish Navy contesting me - as it stood they were so desperately short of cards that we could roam the Med at-will.

Moral of the story: If someone is neglecting their military, smack them and don't stop until they are dead.
 
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Joel K
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Zinegata wrote:
French - decided to focus entirely on VP-gaining; with the only "defensive" measures he undertook was to try to convert spaces back to Catholicism.

This is not an effective defensive measure by itself, which the rebellion procedure ought to make clear.
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Zinegata wrote:

Moral of the story: If someone is neglecting their military, smack them and don't stop until they are dead.


Yes, I agree with this. But again, this is part of adjusting the balance between war and peace. This game sounds like a bit of an outlier because Spain just cannot afford to ignore its military for reasons that are really obvious from that result.

If someone is neglecting their military, one should pounce and hammer them - especially because they are likely using the CPs they are not using for their military to race for VPs. But if you have powers that are keeping an eye out for others and invest sensibly in their forces, you are not likely to get much out of the CPs used to wage war on them. It's all situational and depends on how the other powers are playing.
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Zack S.
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Zinegata wrote:
The problem with most CP-to-VP conversion ratios is that it fails to account that warfare also takes VP and resources away from your opponent. It may take a minimum of 2 cards to capture a key (march in, then assault), but you're actually "gaining" 4 VP - 2VP is added to your total, 2 VP is taken away from a rival.

This is a multiplayer game, unless they're in the lead them losing points has little value. Similarly card advantage doesn't work that way either. You've just put someone behind, not made yourself doubly strong. It's more useful than the VP swing since those cards might have hurt you, but it's still not a double gain.

This game only lasts 3-5 new turns and an average card is somewhere around 3. Even if you gain your extra card right from the start you're looking at ~6-12 CP. That's not a lot of advantage against a third party who's gaining VP in much more efficient ways.

Quote:
In the game I played, the game was dominated completely by those who focused on the military. Those who didn't... well here's the breakdown:

"The" game you played? You think you've figured out the optimal strategy from one game?
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Thomas Ting
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zackss wrote:

This is a multiplayer game, unless they're in the lead them losing points has little value.


This is a completely pointless argument. Yes, it's a multiplayer game. No, it does not change the fact that the CP-to-VP conversion analysis is flawed because it ignores the effect of additional draws and VPs taken from opponents.

Saying "it's multiplayer!" is just as useful as arguing somebody can throw the game.

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Similarly card advantage doesn't work that way either. You've just put someone behind, not made yourself doubly strong. It's more useful than the VP swing since those cards might have hurt you, but it's still not a double gain.


Except card advantage IS victory from a military standpoint. Extra cards allow actions that an opponent cannot react against. Two cards over an opponent means you can siege then assault with impunity (or convert-rebellion for the Dutch, but it's about the same thing).

The only way to stop this is to load up your keys with 3-4 troops apiece, but that's expensive and it is basically automatically surrendering having an actual field army. It is easy to defend your country from an enemy if you have the same number of cards. It is moderately hard to defend your country from two enemies if you all have the same number of cards. You cannot defend your country from ONE country with a two-card lead on you without relying entirely on luck.

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"The" game you played? You think you've figured out the optimal strategy from one game?


It is, in fact, quite possible to see patterns emerge from limited playthroughs.
 
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Zack S.
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Zinegata wrote:
zackss wrote:
This is a multiplayer game, unless they're in the lead them losing points has little value.

This is a completely pointless argument. Yes, it's a multiplayer game. No, it does not change the fact that the CP-to-VP conversion analysis is flawed because it ignores the effect of additional draws and VPs taken from opponents.

A destroyed France will not win Spain the game if the HRE has been blitzing VP. VP given or taken from an opponent are meaningless unless that opponent is going to win the game instead of you. It's why people play the marriage game even though their spouse will benefit equally, why people give VP as a piracy reward, and why almost no one uses the Knights of St. John to reduce Ottoman piracy VP. Unless someone is on the path to victory themselves their VP total has little to no effect on your chances of victory.

Quote:
Quote:
Similarly card advantage doesn't work that way either. You've just put someone behind, not made yourself doubly strong. It's more useful than the VP swing since those cards might have hurt you, but it's still not a double gain.

Except card advantage IS victory from a military standpoint.

It really isn't. Defense is easier than offense in this game, so unless your opponents are incompetent they can defend against an aggressor with fewer cards. This two card move-capture idea you're talking about relies on an opponent who isn't defending at all from a telegraphed attack, not just not packing their keys to 4.

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Quote:
"The" game you played? You think you've figured out the optimal strategy from one game?

It is, in fact, quite possible to see patterns emerge from limited playthroughs.

It's possible to evaluate mechanics from just reading the rulebook, but you're basing your rather strident views on a game where a few of your players just plain played poorly (it's ok, it's their first game) and thinking their opponents struck a master strategy that no one else ever considered.
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zackss wrote:
A destroyed France will not win Spain the game if the HRE has been blitzing VP.


Auto-win has priority over VP. It takes place immediately; not at end of turn. This is a completely wrong argument to make if Spain did in fact take all of France's keys and therefore got enough to win automatically.

In fact, if you look at my example game - _I_ went for a VP blitz. I got to 25 VP. And I still got beaten to it by an auto-win. Heck, our biggest complaint in HiS is that the Prots had such a crummy chance of winning because they couldn't auto-win (while the Pope can)

Quote:
It really isn't. Defense is easier than offense in this game


Defense is easier, but only if you have actual impulses to respond to offensive actions. Two-card advantage is deadly because of the two extra uninterrupted impulses.

France out of cards? Bang, Spain plays a 5-card and ships an army to a French coastal key. Bang, Spain assaults the poorly defended key and takes it. Next turn? France gets 1 card less and Spain gets one card more. Prepare for four uninterrupted impulses of Spain roughshodding over France!

A mere two-card advantage is HUGE. It is NOT about the CP. This is why CP-VP analysis are flawed. It does not take into account future card draws from keys. It does not consider war impulses. It's spreadsheet gaming.

Quote:
It's possible to evaluate mechanics from just reading the rulebook, but you're basing your rather strident views on a game where a few of your players just plain played poorly (it's ok, it's their first game) and thinking their opponents struck a master strategy that no one else ever considered.


Actually, I don't think my opponents struck a "master strategy". We have ALWAYS been playing with the two-card rule in mind in HiS after a few games; and nothing in the warfare mechanic changes the power of a two-card advantage in VQ.

So whining about "poor play" when the math simply remains the same for the uninterrupted move-assault dynamic is really beside the point. Try it out.
 
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Your math is still wrong. People can pass.
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Zack S.
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Zinegata wrote:
Auto-win has priority over VP. It takes place immediately; not at end of turn. This is a completely wrong argument to make if Spain did in fact take all of France's keys and therefore got enough to win automatically.

Destroyed does not equal all keys taken by one power. If you can auto-win, sure, go total war. But if this is the standard winning tactic in your group you guys obviously need to adjust your playstyles.

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Heck, our biggest complaint in HiS is that the Prots had such a crummy chance of winning because they couldn't auto-win (while the Pope can)

Wow, that's the first time I ever heard the Pope considered an easy win and the Prots a hard one.

Quote:
So whining about "poor play" when the math simply remains the same for the uninterrupted move-assault dynamic is really beside the point. Try it out.

Go check the "more I play" thread. I think you may have misunderstood a fundamental part of the game.
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Zinegata wrote:
Heck, our biggest complaint in HiS is that the Prots had such a crummy chance of winning because they couldn't auto-win (while the Pope can)


Oooh, I'd missed this gem the first time around. The Protestants do have an autowin condition in HIS. If you read the rules you might find it.
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Thomas Ting
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turbothy wrote:
Zinegata wrote:
Heck, our biggest complaint in HiS is that the Prots had such a crummy chance of winning because they couldn't auto-win (while the Pope can)


Oooh, I'd missed this gem the first time around. The Protestants do have an autowin condition in HIS. If you read the rules you might find it.


Sorry, but pointing to the Protestant "auto-win" condition to "call out the big meany" and go "look at how smart I am!" doesn't change the fact it's not a viable auto-win condition.

Okay, maybe if the Pope was completely incompetent. Edit: No, scratch that. Maybe if the Pope was actively throwing the game to the Prots.
 
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Jumping in a bit to make sure all these strategy discussions remain as civil as possible.

I do have an advantage having seen dozens and dozens of game reports from both HIS and VQ.

I find it REALLY interesting that Zinegata's HIS group seems to have the majority of its games ended by military victories (at least if I'm reading his posts right). That'd be a phenomenon I'd never seen (though with the right group of highly aggressive players it is certainly theoretically possible).

However I've never before had folks consider the Protestant auto-win in HIS to be inferior to the auto-win chances of the other powers. In my data base of HIS results I have seen more Protestant religious victories than auto wins by any power except the Hapsburg. You see the religious victory path pursued a lot by the Protestant in games where the Hapsburg clamps down on Germany militarily. In that case the Protestant often abandons the military game and just goes for conversions.
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Antero Kuusi
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Zinegata wrote:

Defense is easier, but only if you have actual impulses to respond to offensive actions. Two-card advantage is deadly because of the two extra uninterrupted impulses.

France out of cards? Bang, Spain plays a 5-card and ships an army to a French coastal key. Bang, Spain assaults the poorly defended key and takes it. Next turn? France gets 1 card less and Spain gets one card more. Prepare for four uninterrupted impulses of Spain roughshodding over France!


Exactly why France is out of cards? When in war, NEVER play down to 0 cards unless your opponent is so short on cards/forces that he can't take a key. Pass when you reach the pass threshold and keep on passing unless absolutely necessary to break enemy conquest. Either there had to happen something strange or France was playing very badly for this to happen.
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zackss wrote:

Go check the "more I play" thread. I think you may have misunderstood a fundamental part of the game.


Good lord, Zack, it was you who sent him over?!
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Well just two things for now:

1) Patronage

If you do a 4 CP patronage of a 1 vp artist/scientist, you get at least 1vp on a 7 or better, which is 21/36. You might get a VP and a bonus, you might get 2vp, you might get 2vp and a bonus

So I wonder where the 50/50 on patronage comes from?

A +1 patronage is the worst you can do, a 1 artist with 2cp.

A 4CP patronage on Dee is +5, at least 1 VP on a 5 or better. You can get Observatory and do yet another patronage with yet another +2.

Some day I'll take a look more closely at marriage, but I suspect some funny math in people's marriage calculations.

2) Jane Fonda versus John Wayne

I said: p.e.

"England is 3 keys away from military victory,"

"Try to build your fleet before the Spanish attack you. In fact having your fleet ready will tend to discourage attacks against you."

"You should be looking to swipe Pope/Venice/Tunis militarily when the opportunity presents itself."

So, I'm hardly a peacenik advocating growing your hair long, pot smoking, protesting, listening to punk rock, badmouthing your country, total disrespect for John Wayne.

My last game, France lost, but never lost any of it's home keys!

SO I add in:

"France is 2 keys away from military victory."

Scotland's Diplomacy came out once and French got it.

Every protestant rebellion in France Failed. Between bad rolls for the Prots, French garrisoning everything and keeping keys catholic.

So a great deal of luck, but France is only two key's away. Given the common Eng Strategy to not attack Scotland t1, and common Prot strategy to do conversions late on t1, and small ones. France has considerable opportunity at start for a military win.

I actually said:

"Shutting the Protestants down is what will allow you to be a real Military Power"

My first 3 solo games everyone went John Wayne. 2 French Victories on Marriages, 1 Protestant Auto win on T7. HRE had 24 vp on T6, blew both his patronage die rolls on t6 and Protestants won T7. I believe It was after this I posted ".. is this a wargame.."

Solo play, my players tend to cooperate to keep the game going. Playing with other players it is more difficult to get 5 guys to attack another. Someone doesn't see it that way, someone loses interest in the game. In several other solo games the guy who was winning did eventually win, just a turn or two later.

If all 6 guys go John Wayne all the way, every time, you will always get a John Wayne victory.

If all 6 guys go Jane Fonda all the way, every time, you will always
get a Jane Fonda victory.

In some hypothetical 6 player game where each side is equally strong, and each player equally good, everyone has a 1/6 chance of winning at start, and our strategy is to try to do something to increase that probability....ok a strategy is a sequence of moves...a "good" strategy is one that increases the probability you win.

Those of us accused of being pot smoking protesters...

Once again the math. Somoene else pointed out it is easier to defend than attack.

IF you fight an even battle there is little expectation you will win, win by enough to be able to capitalise on it.

IIRC my first game HRE/Otts fight, both sides with double digit armies, both close to wiped out after the first battle. Both rolled really well.

If you fight a battle 9 to 9 and you get 3 hits and the other guy 2, what's the next step?

It costs 1 CP to move forward, it costs 1 cp to build a merc.

Fight your battles on you opponent's move, so that you can pursue/he can't, but we have all known that since at least 1994.

The argument from us pseudo peaceniks is to increase your probability of winning by going to war, you need some advantage. Well if you have it, well then go to war. Also, unless you win very quickly/suddenly, why aren't other players ganging up on you to keep you from winning?

A friend of mine went to West Point, one of his history books started with, "Wars are frequently started because somebody miscalculates..."

You have some really good hand, but may be your opponent does too, swipes that card from our hand...Spanish Pay Ships, Knights of St. John...even your so called friends will take cards from you...witchcraft...if your winning why don't they target you?

What is the calculus of patronage that it is just 50/50?

What is the calculus of war that it is better than 50/50?


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Zinegata: Don't forget that when we played VQ in our one and only session, we played it wrong. England invaded Spain without so much as a declaration of war. That's why Spain (me) lost. I forgot the DoW rule (or rather, we all did).
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SCUGrad wrote:
Zinegata: Don't forget that when we played VQ in our one and only session, we played it wrong. England invaded Spain without so much as a declaration of war. That's why Spain (me) lost. I forgot the DoW rule (or rather, we all did).


I just read this whole thread and it ended with this!laugh
 
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