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Subject: Some thoughts on Vinci strategery... rss

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Randy Brown
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Wow, no one's thrown out any strategies. Well, Vinci (Winky) is one of my favorite games, and I would be remiss not to say two (thousand) words.

The most important thing, strategically, in the game is your timing. You have to know how long to push your active Civ, and when to fold it in for a new one. This is especially true for the endgame. You have to hit that last round with your Civ peaking.

At different points in the game, different Civ tiles become attractive. In the very beginning, the expansionistic tiles (Field General, Barbarians, Revolutionaries, Slavery, Astronomy, and other tiles with military--pink--bonuses or with a lot of extra tokens) are best, because you can expand your first Civ quickly and decline in a couple of turns. You want to decline your first Civ quickly so that you can start raking in the double-dip of scoring an active and a declined Civ. A lot of players get too attached to their first Civs, and ride them too long.

This is especially true for players who pay to pass up Civs in the first couple of slots. I rarely pay to pass a Civ, and I almost always gobble up the freebie points that other players will pay to pass a Civ. I've taken a junk Civ with 6 or 8 points on it before, and declined it w/o playing it. Then I would usually get first crack at what's left. When to decline can be just as much about getting the one you want to come to the fore as it is about milking your current Civ.

In the middle game, once you have an active and a passive Civ scoring for you, you want to take Civs that you can develop. This is the only time to take Civs with medecine or fort building. These tiles will lull you into complacency, so get them out of your system before the endgame.

When the end looms near, it's time to take a Civ that will score you a ton of points for two or three turns. Don't look for ones that take any longer to develop. This is where currency is good, and mountaineering (best tile in the game, see below). Heritage can also be good in the end game, especially if your old Civ has any bonuses it keeps through the decline.

Here's my take on the individual Civ tiles:

Agriculture/Livestock Breeding/Port Building: These are essentially the same, except that Port Building gets you an extra token. These are all good for the extra points. Take any yellow tiles w/ broken columns that you can in the early and mid-game. As a rule, I prefer yellow tiles to the others.
Mining: Second best tile in the game. The bonus is monstrous, and you can sometimes get mining w/ the broken column. This tile has won me many games.
Currency: Good for a quick score, but be carefull of the temptation to ride this one too long.
Slavery: Great in the beginning. This one is a lot of fun.
Ship Building: My third favorite. You can go pretty far with this one, especially around the inland seas. I love to combine this with the bonus for attacking from a mountain.
Field General: Not my favorite, but good for a turn and burn.
Militia: For the paranoid and the picked on. 5 tokens though...
Weapons: I'd rather have Ship Building, but this one's fun w/ that central mountain.
Fortifications: I don't like this one. It has potential, sure, but the temptation to beat that dead horse is just too great.
Espionage: You can expand slightly faster w/ this one. Mostly, I just take the four tokens.
Barbarians: This tile is awesome when paired w/ a yellow tile, especially currency. Other than that, I'm not a fan, except towards the end of the game.
Revolutionaries: Bring your hoard in on that central mountain, fan out, and decline. This one is great when paired w/ a yellow tile.
Astronomy: Can be good, but you have to be careful not to kill off your declined empire, or to make it hard to bring in the next one. I like it on the first turn as a way to access central Europe.
Messengers: As with astronomy, be careful about killing off your declined empire, and leave room for your next one. This is a good one when paired w/ a yellow tile.
Heritage: A good way to buffer your declined empire that is scoring a lot of points. Be careful if you take this one too early, it's best in the end-game.
Diplomacy: Why would I take this? Oh, because it got passed over and collected a bunch of free points.
Medecine: This one will put you in a rut.
Specialization: Obviously it depends on what it's paired with. A yellow is cool, but you won't get many tokens to work with. A pink can be fun, but don't get too attached. A blue is usually a total waste (unless there's freebie points to narf).
Rebirth: The ultimate turn & burn. This works well when paired w/ a yellow w/ broken column. Also, this pairs very well w/ field general. Rebirth tile combos are often passed up. They are best when your declined Civ gets wiped out, or isn't scoring much. It's like an insta-decline Civ.

Finally, my favorite tile...Mountaineering! Why is this my favorite? It has the obvious flaw that when you decline a Civ that had mountaineering, you generally won't score much w/ it. That aside, it is like a combination pink and yellow tile. No other tile gives you both an attack bonus and a scoring bonus. You take it and work your way straight down the mountain chain from the northwest corner of the board. Other players will think twice about messing with you, since your strength will be in the mountains.

This tile pairs up well with many others to make game breaking combos of doom. Don't believe me? Look and see for yourself:
Agri/Livestock/Port: Work down the NW chain to the central mountain and fill up on the appropriate color region, or w/ Port work your way through Greece or other western locations.
Currency: 2 pts per mountain per turn, nuff said.
Slavery: Are those mountains occupied? Not anymore...
Weapons: You can take unoccupied mountains for no tokens w/ this combo, and occupied non-mountains for a single token.
Ship Building: One of my favorite combos. Works nearly as well as weapons, with an extra token to boot. This one works so well in the area of Greece, it's scary.
Mining: This is the all time combo. You can score a lot of points for several turns with this one.
Really, the only tile that doesn't pair well with Mountaineering is Rebirth. All the others are ok, but if any of the above come up, take note. Plan your decline decisions accordingly. Be willing to pay a little to get one, but never more than four. Except w/ the mining pairing; that one may be worth six.

Some other general strategy notes:

Don't pay to pass a Civ unless you're getting the perfect one. Always take a Civ that another player has passed on. There's nothing more satisfying than winning the game w/ someone else's points.

Every tile combination has some sort of potential. If you keep your stragegy flexible, you should be able to connect the dots to victory.

Avoid pissing contests. Lay low. You drastically shorten your Civ's lifespan if you get involved in a multi-turn war. If you have good attack/defense bonuses, and must attack, make sure you pick on the strongest player. Also, declined Civs don't fight back.

Sometimes a player's declined empire will score more points than their active one. If you really want to do a job on them, work over their active. That will force them into a really difficult decision. If they decline their eviscerated (active) empire, their high-scoring declined empire will totally go away. This gambit will often force a player into stagnating. It is devestating in the end came.

Make liberal use of mountains. Don't be afraid to abandon them once their purpose has been served.

If you have an extra token, and there aren't any better regions, grab forests. They tend to last well in decline.

I follow the path of least resistance to victory.

Most important of all: do NOT get too attached to your Civ. I can not stress this enough. Most people lose because they hold onto their Civs too long, especially in the end. You should go through four or five Civs in one game. You may go through even more. In my experience, jumping ship too soon is not as bad as going down with the ship.

Whew! That was a lot more typing than I had planned on. I hope other Vinci enthusiasts find this usefull.

edit: Finally got around to changing that stupid title to one more appropriately stupid.
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Randy Brown
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More? You must be kidding...
I wrote the above before delving into other articles posted on the game. After reading over some other players' gripes with the game, I thought I'd make a small (ahem, yeah right) addendum to address these issues. It seems that some people take issue with:

1) Leader Bashing
2) Kingmaking
3) Turn order
4) Civ Tile Distribution
5) Optimal # of Players
6) Length of Play

So, because I love the game so much, here is my take on these issues.

1) This issue is common to many games. An experienced gamer knows how to pace himself. If you score too fast too early, you're asking to be spanked. This is what I mean by, "Lay Low!" I think that this complaint is mostly coming from people who make their move too early, and are unable to hang on to their leads. That someone can vault from last to first in a couple of turns is one of the things that keeps the game exciting. Really, the only time leader bashing is aweful (aside from when you're the leader) is when it makes the game go on forever (like in Risk). I've been bashed many times, but no matter how badly, I've never had to endure it for more than 2 hours in this game. When I get ganged up on, I blame myself for sticking my neck out.
2) This is another issue common to many games. Again, this is where the bloodthirsty player cuts his own throat. If another player is in a kingmaker position between you and someone else, you stand a better chance of winning if you didn't act like a jackamuffin all game. This is what I mean by, "avoid pissing contests." Vinci is somewhat cooperative. Most games are to a degree. It's not just a matter of your strategy on the board, but also how you play the people.
3) I've always liked going last better than going first in this game. This is true even in 5 or 6 player games. I have found, almost as a rule, that the more people who go before you, the more freebie points are left on skipped Civs. Besides, if you pick up a good Civ, go first, and score a lot of points, then you're inviting the leaderbashing. Go last and the path of least resistance is even more obvious. Ofcourse there are plenty of benefits either way.
4) I like the way the rules are. Yes some pairings suck. But they tend to accumulate freebie points. I don't think that there's any reason to try to balance them out (as many people try to do w/ alternate specialization rules). The choosing mechanic acts as the great balancer.
5) I have played this game from every configuration of 1 to 6 players. I don't much care for the solitaire, but I dig that it's a viable option. The two player is kind of silly, but it is still fun to play. Most of the games I own do not allow for 1-2 players, so this game is a treat for me. I really like 6 player games in Vinci. You have to be aggressive at times because there is so much player interaction. In 3 player games, you can avoid eachother, making pink tiles worth much less. 4p and 5p fall somewhere in between. I have not played any other board game that does so well with such a wide range in number of players.
6) I have played between 20-30 games of Vinci. I had a streak of 12 consecutive games with at least one new player. I have taught the game many, many times. Even so, I have found that most games (3-4 players) finishes up right around the hour mark, and 5-6 players games usually take no more than 1.5 hours. I would assume that says something about my gaming group, but this game has travelled all around the country with me, and I've played with several different groups. I was genuinely shocked to read comments from people who said they felt the (6 player) game took around 3 hours. A couple of slow players could do that to you, I guess. Vinci's shortness is the reason why it's my favorite game. If I had regularly played 3 hour versions of it, it would probably stay on my shelf more. If I want to invest more than 2 hours in a game, it had better be Twilight Imperium or something like that.

In conclusion, there are a few strategies that will help you enjoy the game:
1) Take what you're given and wait for your opportunity. Take the first Civ 80% of the time, and 90% if it has points on it (except maybe in the endgame, but even then...).
2) Use mountains every turn. Make liberal use of any attack bonuses you may have.
3) Switch Civs early and often. Do not be too attached. When players gang up on your active Civ to hurt you, they make it that much easier to decline. Most Civs will peak between 3-5 turns. It's ok to decline before the Civ peaks. I've abandoned healthy Civs just because the combo I really wanted finally made it to the top of the list.
4) Don't beat the dead horse. This is a repeat of the previous item. It's that important. Players who cling to a Civ often do so because it scores a lot of points. Others will notice, and they will punish you. Be one step ahead of them.
5) Pace your scoring. This is yet another way of looking at the two items above. It's your last Civ that should make the surge. Keep track of where everyone's at. You should be able to make a good guess about when the point barrier will be breached. You want to pick your last Civ such that it enters a turn or two before the breach. That way it will be peaking at the end of the game. If you come in before that, you'll be peaking, but other players may hurt your Civ so that the last turn is sour. If you misjudge and come in on the last turn itself, hopefully you can grab an expansionist Civ. Don't pay too much for it!
6) Keep changing strategies. When one thing isn't working, try another. You can come from behind in this game. It's more forgiving for the players farther down the VP track than it is for the leaders.
7) Play the other players. Let them get into multi-turn wars. Avoid wars yourself. It's good to move in on another player, but avoid the temptation for retaliation (at least w/ the same Civ; if you REALLY want to retaliate, decline and come back with a nasty Civ; no wait, that's contrary advice). This game is partially a cooperative one.

I think that you'll find this game plays out in a fun and balanced manner when you just go with the flow. I think that too many players come into this game trying to apply strategies from other empire builder games. They get frustrated when their Civ gets beat up on, or loses steam. That's my 2 (thousand) cents.
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Kevin
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Very interesting. I enjoy Vinci too, tho' I haven't played as much as I'd like!
Thanks for the great information.
 
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George Van Voorn
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Quote:
3) Switch Civs early and often. Do not be too attached. When players gang up on your active Civ to hurt you, they make it that much easier to decline. Most Civs will peak between 3-5 turns. It's ok to decline before the Civ peaks. I've abandoned healthy Civs just because the combo I really wanted finally made it to the top of the list.


My experience with groups of smaller number is that it DOES hurt to leave your civ before it peaks. A civ that scores 3 rounds at maximum (usually some 10-15 points) gives you about a quarter or more of the final score!

Quote:
Vinci's shortness is the reason why it's my favorite game.


Indeed, Vinci is playable in an hour and a half, at maximum! Groups that take three hours either spend to much time talking or perhaps they're just not smart enough devil

Quote:
Play the other players. Let them get into multi-turn wars. Avoid wars yourself. It's good to move in on another player, but avoid the temptation for retaliation (at least w/ the same Civ; if you REALLY want to retaliate, decline and come back with a nasty Civ; no wait, that's contrary advice). This game is partially a cooperative one.


Yes, well, that somehow always seems to work against me. Most of the other players fear me after two games, so mostly they just gang up on me to keep me down. That means I score bad and they score better.

Leader bashing (or bashing in general) can be very bad for the bashed person. If everybody conquers a few territories and the bashed player gets to keep only ONE area. He then must declare himself dead, which means he gets one lousy point for that one area! Now that really screws a player.

Quote:
I've been bashed many times, but no matter how badly, I've never had to endure it for more than 2 hours in this game. When I get ganged up on, I blame myself for sticking my neck out.


Well, sometimes you must score with your current empire because the scoring opportunities are better than with other empires. I've done this, letting the others go ahead in points, only to find that I could not catch up because there were no empires that could provide the means to score enough points to do that.

Quote:
I wrote the above before delving into other articles posted on the game. After reading over some other players' gripes with the game, I thought I'd make a small addendum to address these issues. It seems that some people take issue with.


You should make a review out of this. That gives you geekgold at least.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Interesting thoughts, only played Vinci a couple times, seemed pretty dull...maybe I should look at it again...
 
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George Van Voorn
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Philip,

You play History of the World. I think Vinci has many similarities with games like HotW and Britannia. The differences are:

No dice! That means you can calculate your way through the conquests, which means any problems that arise are your own doing
surprise blush

You can skip a bad civ by paying one or two victory points. There will be no Khmer dump happening here.

You can pick your starting location. So, say you can score many points for mines, you start somewhere in the proximity of mines (if you're smart enough).

In my experience this game is short, it's about conquests and it favours the smart, not the bold.
 
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Steve Hope
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
As a strategy point, I think the biggest consideration in deciding when to decline is how your OTHER nation is doing. Once your other nation gets wiped out (or very close), it's usually a good time to decline your active one.

I think the problem with this game from a kingmaking standpoint is the tremendous startup cost to scoring points. There are some games where every player gets close to winning and people try to stop them until someone finally pokes through for the win. That's a pain but tolerable. Vinci is one of these cyclical games where stopping a player from winning passes the victory to the next person standing in line. And that's no fun--I don't want to spend a game constantly trying to manage my position on the victory track so I'll be able to win the "stop him from winning so **I** can win! Sure it's inevitable that I'll win if you stop HIM, but you're obliged to STOP HIM FIRST!" argument.

Bleah.
 
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Randy Brown
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Quote:
My experience with groups of smaller number is that it DOES hurt to leave your civ before it peaks. A civ that scores 3 rounds at maximum (usually some 10-15 points) gives you about a quarter or more of the final score!


Oetan, you are correct. In 3p (and in 4p to a much lesser extent) it's possible and even likely that a Civ will peak for three rounds. In 5p and 6p, the likelihood of that happening is much less. I didn't make much attempt at diffrentiating strategies in each type of game (small or large).

In general, smaller games allow you to be more isolated. They are the ones where you can really maximize the "live and let live" philosophy and stay out of wars (unless you are a slaver...). Larger games are much more cramped, and conflict will happen. The key is not too let it build up too much (i.e. a multi-turn war w/ the same opponent). In all games, your entry position can be chosen defensively. That is, instead of coming in where you can maximize points, come in far away from that aggressive player who keeps picking on you even when you're not the points leader.

Quote:
Yes, well, that somehow always seems to work against me. Most of the other players fear me after two games, so mostly they just gang up on me to keep me down. That means I score bad and they score better.

Leader bashing (or bashing in general) can be very bad for the bashed person. If everybody conquers a few territories and the bashed player gets to keep only ONE area. He then must declare himself dead, which means he gets one lousy point for that one area! Now that really screws a player


Yeah this definitely happens when you have a reputation for winning a particular game. This is a problem with most games, and it speaks to who you play with. If you play with a competitive group, they won't go out of their way to hold you down just b/c you win a game a lot. Sure they'll favor attacking you, but they'll keep their eyes on the prize. Less competitive groups will attack, attack, attack the known threat just to see someone else win.

The best you can do in that case is try to influence their decisions by positioning your civ defensively and pointing out the leader (who is probably the only one who is not going out of his/her way to attack you, and thus is maximizing scoring). In the former case, it's best to take that early lead, and consequently the early hit. That should give you enough time to rebuild before the end while the competitive players start picking on eachother.

The absolute worst case is when one player consistently attacks you for no good (game-related) reason. This is not fun for you, and usually not fun for the other players either. I've won a few where this happened (to someone else obviously) and the victories felt pretty hollow. This can happen in most other games too, so don't knock Vinci for it.

Quote:
Well, sometimes you must score with your current empire because the scoring opportunities are better than with other empires. I've done this, letting the others go ahead in points, only to find that I could not catch up because there were no empires that could provide the means to score enough points to do that.


It's very true that even with perfect pacing, you can come up short when there aren't any appropriate (usually yellow-tile high scoring) civs to come in w/ for your last hurrah. In fact, this very thing happened to me in my last game of Vinci. I had positioned myself perfectly, but the tile draw was pretty crappy. I did not have any bonus-scoring civ choices, so I didn't get the push that I wanted. You might say that it was entirely my fault for not seeing the crappy choices when I declined, but the reality is that my pacing dictated the decline, and that pacing was set much earlier when I had a reasonable expectation of a better civ percolating to the top.

Quote:
You should make a review out of this. That gives you geekgold at least.


I signed up on BGG specifically to write this article. I could not let one of my favorite games go unwritten-on. I had no idea what geekgold was. Besides, there was a fairly recent review at the time I wrote this, and I did earn some tips, so I came out alright.

Quote:
As a strategy point, I think the biggest consideration in deciding when to decline is how your OTHER nation is doing. Once your other nation gets wiped out (or very close), it's usually a good time to decline your active one.


Steve, of course you're right. However, you don't want to hang on too long b/c of a good declined civ. If your active civ gets into a war (i.e. it's losing tokens quickly), you're going to have to decline at some point. And it's gonna hurt! It's better to get it out of the way sooner than later so that you have more time to recover. Entering the end-game w/ no (or a small 1-2pt) declined civ can kill your chances of winning. Always keep in mind that you're declined civ can only wither, it can not score you more points. If you're active is in the same boat (either b/c it peaked or it's involved in a war), you're in a bad situation. This is especially bad if you're hitting the end-game. In such a case, victory is unlikely. I don't think that I've ever limped to a win in this game (though I thought I could a couple of times).

It's also very important to look at what civs are at the top couple of slots (adjusting to the number of players who declined this turn) when you're mulling over declining. I will cheerfully ditch a good declined civ to get first crack at a really goodone.

As for kingmaking, I've already attempted to address it above. I think that most games have this same problem, so it's unfair to single Vinci out for it. Leaderbashing and Kingmaking, as much as it sucks when you're the leader, make the game more interesting for those who aren't doing as well. It is more fun (to me) to play games where most/all of the players feel they have a legitimate chance of winning right up to the end. Since there's very little luck involved in Vinci (dice, etc.), this is the only way to balance things out. Yes it's not fun to lose a game that you dominated 90% of the time, but it's equally not fun to lose a game where another player dominated 90% of the time. Ultimately, Vinci keeps me coming back b/c it's quick and I never have to suffer long (if I'm being singled out).

You make a good point about the cyclical feel some games of Vinci can have. This is especially apparent in competitive groups. To that I can only say that your pacing is critical.

And now I've managed to ramble out another long post. Sorry, faithful reader. This is almost as bad as my Lowenhurtz article. I'm stoked that people have read and responded to what I'd assumed was a dead post. Thanks!
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Jeremy Carlson
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Nice review and debate here. I am actually going to move Vinci into my top ten once the images are back online. Probably at about position 4. Vinci is a great game. Reminds me of Wallenstein in the fact that, I feel like I am playing a war game, without all the crap I hate. I know its not, but that is what I like about it.

Anywhoo...The kingmaker discussion about this game. In my experience (which is limited, since I only get to play it a couple times a year at Origins...so I'm probably at like 15 or so games) there is kingmaking, but not as much as I would expect. The leader in our games usually gets bashed by a player or two, but then those players get beat up by the rest for being easy targets. We usually play with the max amount of players, so this might be different for a game with less people. The person who usually wins is the someone in the middle, usually the player that looks like they are in third. That is because, like the original writer has posted, they keep their civs too long at the end and peeter out just shy of what they need to win. The second player is doing the same trying to catch up, and the third is usually playing it smart.

I totally agree that this game is about smarts, not all out war. The players who pick the strong civs gain a lot of points early, but then get attached to them and won't let them die. This game is all about timing, and has become one of my favorites.
 
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Togu Oppusunggu
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Great strategy article! No need to apologize for its length. I wish there were more articles like this; it's well -reasoned, and I like how you address some of the oft-cited critiques of this game.
 
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George Van Voorn
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Quote:
Anywhoo...The kingmaker discussion about this game. In my experience (which is limited, since I only get to play it a couple times a year at Origins...so I'm probably at like 15 or so games) there is kingmaking, but not as much as I would expect. The leader in our games usually gets bashed by a player or two, but then those players get beat up by the rest for being easy targets. We usually play with the max amount of players, so this might be different for a game with less people.


Well, this is clearly a much-debated point in Vinci. Like I already said, with fewer players this is not so much the case. Mostly all players are competitive, and there is a cruel trick first employed by my girlfriend on, who else, me, that kinda solves the kingmaking issue. She lacked some points and I was ahead so she just picked the civ with the most bashing ability (I think it had a revolution tile and a leader, where you get 7 temporary armies) and started taking over all my territories, but ONE. I scored one lousy point having to decline the next round and she got points for my former territories, catching up pretty quickly. Two birds with one stone (in Dutch it's flies we kill).

Since then, this strategy is employed often in many Vinci games we participate in, but I never play Vinci with the maximum number of players, I must add, so I can imagine this is harder to pull off with six players participating.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
oetan wrote:
She lacked some points and I was ahead so she just picked the civ with the most bashing ability (I think it had a revolution tile and a leader, where you get 7 temporary armies) and started taking over all my territories, but ONE. I scored one lousy point having to decline the next round and she got points for my former territories, catching up pretty quickly. Two birds with one stone (in Dutch it's flies we kill).

Actually, you are allowed (under 2nd Edition rules anyway) to completely knock another player off the board; his turn then consists solely of picking a new civ with which he can enter the board on the turn after that. Therefore there is no need to stop at the last territory if it's points you're after: the relative difference can be decreased by 2 more points at least.

But don't tell your girlfriend I told you, okay?
 
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Randy Brown
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Actually, it's worse than that. If all of your territories are taken during another player's turn, you must come in w/ your remaining tokens as if you were a new civ. You can choose (and you usually will in this case) to decline, but you still have to wait a turn before picking your new civ. This will really harsh your mellow if your declined civ is scoring well, and your active just got picked off, b/c when you decline your no longer existent active civ, you lose your primo declined empire. Definitely don't tell her any of this.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
discoking7 wrote:
Actually, it's worse than that. If all of your territories are taken during another player's turn, you must come in w/ your remaining tokens as if you were a new civ. You can choose (and you usually will in this case) to decline, but you still have to wait a turn before picking your new civ.

Actually, no. When entering into decline, the last thing you do is pick a new civ. You seem to play that you enter into decline on turn 1, pick a new civ on turn 2, and enter the board on turn 3. That's not correct: decline and selection are turn 1, entering the board is turn 2. (It's in all translations here on the Geek, and I'm quite sure it's in the original French rules too.)
 
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George Van Voorn
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Randy, Maarten,

Wait. I'm getting confused here. Did anything change in the rule book of the second edition? The rule book of the first edition is quite crappy, but this is how I play it (provided I've understood it all correctly, because mine is German, but I safely assume I HAVE understood it correctly). You choose a civ and play that civ in turn 1. Unless it has a Renaissance tile you cannot decline the first turn. Starting from turn 2 you can choose to go into decline, but you can only do that as a full turn, so no playing the pieces (unless you have Renaissance again, obviously). Say, I have gone into decline round 2, then only in turn 3 I get to pick a new civ and start playing pieces again.

Now, say someone conquers a territory, the owning player gets back all his tokens but one. If, hypothetically, someone would take all his territories, what would he do with his remaining tokens (if any)? Rules state redeployment of tokens from conquered territories can only be done after the conquerer is done taking over provinces.

Randy answers this with
Quote:
you must come in w/ your remaining tokens as if you were a new civ

Problem is, it's not your turn! So you must wait until it IS your turn, when you obviously go into decline, which means you have to wait ANOTHER turn, correct?!?

I'm going to see what it says in my rule book, but maybe the issue is not properly addressed in there... I may have misunderstood certain things altogether...

There is a rule book here on the Geek in Dutch, oh, geschreven door Maarten, dat heeft geen zin...
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
oetan wrote:
Wait. I'm getting confused here. Did anything change in the rule book of the second edition?

There is a document (Vinci_errata.doc, IIRC) in the file section outlining the differences, but as far as I can remember, what I am about to write is not in there---so this part of the game hasn't changed.

Quote:
The rule book of the first edition is quite crappy, but this is how I play it (provided I've understood it all correctly, because mine is German, but I safely assume I HAVE understood it correctly). You choose a civ...

I agree with crappy german translations---reason why I now attempt to get the original french editions if I buy a game from Descartes Éditeur or Asmodée. If you can read french, and don't mind the higher cost of the game (€10 easily soblue ), I can recommend it. Back to Vinci. Choosing a civ is done for all players first. So player 1 chooses a civ, player 2 chooses a civ, and so forth. Then turn 1 begins. (Just to clarify.)

George wrote:
... and play that civ in turn 1. Unless it has a Renaissance tile you cannot decline the first turn.

No, you can decide to enter into decline straight away, because you always have two options: either expand---which in this case is a bit special as you don't have any of your tokens on the board and must begin from the edge of the board, unless you have Astronomy---or decline, which always ends with the selection of a new civ. Renaissance just gives you the right to enter into decline right after expansion, without awaiting your next turn.

George wrote:
Starting from turn 2 you can choose to go into decline, but you can only do that as a full turn, so no playing the pieces (unless you have Renaissance again, obviously). Say, I have gone into decline round 2, then only in turn 3 I get to pick a new civ and start playing pieces again.

No. My rulebook states on page 3:
Quote:
... Que ce soit en début de partie ou après un déclin, un joueur choisit un nouveau peuple parmi les six disponibles sur le plateau du jeu.
... À chaque tour il faut choisir entre deux options: soit poursuivre l'expansion de son peuple, soit le mettre en déclin et en choisir un nouveau pour le tour suivant.
... Un tour de déclin se déroule comme suit: [points 1 to 4] 5. Compter ses points. 6. Choisir un nouveau peuple.
or, translated:
... Whether at the start of a game, or after going into decline, a player selects a new civ from the six available on the game board.
... Every turn one must choose between two options: either continue with expansion of one's civ, or put it into decline and choose a new civ for the following turn.
... A turn of decline is carried out as follows: [points 1 to 4] 5. Count points. 6. Choose a new civ.

Therefore, the choice which civilisation you're going to take is made on the same turn as the decision to put your civ into decline, right after you established how many points you got. It also follows that you can put the civilisation you began the game with immediately into decline, without putting a single token on the board: it is a normal game turn where you must decide to expand or decline!

George wrote:
Now, say someone conquers a territory, the owning player gets back all his tokens but one. If, hypothetically, someone would take all his territories, what would he do with his remaining tokens (if any)? Rules state redeployment of tokens from conquered territories can only be done after the conquerer is done taking over provinces.

If someone conquers a territory, then one token is removed from the board, the others are handed back to be redistributed, correct. If all of your territories are taken, then you cannot 'redistribute' the tokens straight away; you have to await your turn and decide whether you expand---meaning that you enter the board from the edge once more, as if you had chosen a fresh, new civ---or decline, in which you follow the normal rules, with of course the choice of a new civilisation right at the end of your turn. This is more or less the 'cas particulier' in my rulebook, on page 5:
Quote:
Cas particulier: il peut arriver que, suite à des attaques adverses, un peuple actif n'aie plus aucun pion. Il peut être conservé tel quel (par exemple pour profiter d'un peuple en déclin encore étendu) ou déclaré en déclin. Cela prend, comme d'habitude, un tour complet. Si le joueur possédait un peuple en déclin antérieur, il est vidé de ses pions dès la mise en déclin du peuple actif qui n'a plus de pion. Pendant un tour, le joueur est totalement absent du plateau.
which means: 'Special case: it can happen that, because of enemy attacks, an active civilization is left without any token. It may be conserved in that state (for example to profit from a declining but still extensive civ), or can be put into decline. As usual, that takes one turn. If the player posesses and older declining civ, it has its tokens removed right after the active civ without any tokens is put into decline. During one turn, the player is completely absent from the board.'

George wrote:
Randy answers this with
Quote:
you must come in w/ your remaining tokens as if you were a new civ

Problem is, it's not your turn! So you must wait until it IS your turn, when you obviously go into decline, which means you have to wait ANOTHER turn, correct?!?

Yes, you have to wait until it's your turn, and yes, if you enter into decline, you have to wait another turn before you can enter the board anew with a fresh civ. But I was under the impression that Randy thought you had to wait for yet a THIRD turn, and from the above, so did you.

Quote:
There is a rule book here on the Geek in Dutch, oh, geschreven door Maarten, dat heeft geen zin...

Danku, danku---het heeft me bloed, zweet en tranen gekost. Maar even serieus: ik heb mijn uiterste best gedaan om een zo goed mogelijke vertaling af te leveren, en zonder valse bescheidenheid kan ik zeggen dat de kwaliteit ervan stukken beter is dan het gemiddelde nederlandse document op de Geek. Ik heb hier en daar een kleine verduidelijking toegevoegd, en ben zo vrij geweest om Cohesie onder Reorganisatie i.p.v. Expansie te plaatsen, maar verder is de tekst echt in orde .

I apologise for the brief intermission in Dutch. Standard English will now resume. I hope you found this rules lawyery explanation useful . Of course, you are welcome to play the game as you see fit.
 
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Maarten,

The German rule book, I conclude, is crap indeed. As far as I see the French rules quoted by you I agree with the translation, WHICH OBVIOUSLY is lacking in my rule book !!! (although perhaps there are French out there that can prove us wrong) One of the guys on the Dutch site "bordspel.com" already mentioned it, but I must have played dozens of games by the wrong rules (I'm the one teaching it all the time --> I'm wrong --> every game wrong soblue cry angry ). Though, I think in many cases it doesn't really matter that much if the selection of a civ is before the start of a new turn or after the decline of the old empire... Apparently even the strategic consequences have been limited thus far. And the game is fun anyhow!

Quote:
Quote:
George wrote:
... and play that civ in turn 1. Unless it has a Renaissance tile you cannot decline the first turn.


No, you can decide to enter into decline straight away, because you always have two options: either expand---which in this case is a bit special as you don't have any of your tokens on the board and must begin from the edge of the board, unless you have Astronomy---or decline, which always ends with the selection of a new civ. Renaissance just gives you the right to enter into decline right after expansion, without awaiting your next turn.


Well, this is obviously the result of not knowing you can decline right away, but wait, why on earth would you do that? To phase yourself out of the flow of the game, perhaps? Might be smart, but then again, just taking a good civ is better I think.

For Maarten:
bedankt voor de informatie, en ik ga me schamen in een hoekje (ach, wat kan ik er eigenlijk aan doen?)

Quote:
en zonder valse bescheidenheid kan ik zeggen dat de kwaliteit ervan stukken beter is dan het gemiddelde nederlandse document op de Geek


Zijn er zoveel dan? Nee, serieus, je doet jezelf te weinig eer aan. Het moet zijn "beter dan het gemiddelde document (NLs of niet) op BGG".

Oh, en het is stiekum George, niet Gerard.
 
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
oetan wrote:
The German rule book, I conclude, is crap indeed. As far as I see the French rules quoted by you I agree with the translation, WHICH OBVIOUSLY is lacking in my rule book !!! (although perhaps there are French out there that can prove us wrong) One of the guys on the Dutch site "bordspel.com" already mentioned it, but I must have played dozens of games by the wrong rules (I'm the one teaching it all the time --> I'm wrong --> every game wrong soblue cry angry ). Though, I think in many cases it doesn't really matter that much if the selection of a civ is before the start of a new turn or after the decline of the old empire... Apparently even the strategic consequences have been limited thus far. And the game is fun anyhow!

I 'got wise' after seeing what happened to the german rules of Mare Nostrum, which contain additions which ruin the game. And in the Mare Nostrum Expansion, the english translation is a bit sloppy, causing terrible confusion over the abilities of some of the gods and heroes. (But this is also caused by the criminally economic use of words in that rulebook, tripping up native french-speakers too, so it's not solely the translator's fault.) After that, I decided that enough was enough, and got the original french editions. Mission: Planète Rouge will be no exception, despite costing me over €15 more. (I will get a circular board, though .)

With Vinci, I get the impression that the first edition was simply botched. The second edition really is much more clear, although some dirty tricks could have been spelled out a bit better.

Quote:
Quote:
No, you can decide to enter into decline straight away, because you always have two options: either expand---which in this case is a bit special as you don't have any of your tokens on the board and must begin from the edge of the board, unless you have Astronomy---or decline, which always ends with the selection of a new civ. Renaissance just gives you the right to enter into decline right after expansion, without awaiting your next turn.

Well, this is obviously the result of not knowing you can decline right away, but wait, why on earth would you do that? To phase yourself out of the flow of the game, perhaps? Might be smart, but then again, just taking a good civ is better I think.

You would do this if there is a civ lying open which is Really Good, and much better than what you currently have. The downside is of course that you will face much stiffer competition to gain a foothold on land. It's not a common occurrence by any standard, but it is allowed if you want to do it.

Voor George:
Bedankt voor het compliment, dat doet me plezier . Wat betreft je naam: ik schaam mij diep. Ik zat met 'ge' in mijn hoofd, en je denkt dan niet meteen aan 'George'---zodra dit bericht geschreven is, verbeter ik het origineel; niets zo lullig als een verkeerd geciteerde voornaam .
 
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
I have always played in the manner described by Oetan above. I did not say that you needed to wait a third turn. The post I responded to above implied that in the case where you are knocked off the board, you could immediately come in with a new civ, thereby forgoing the turn spent declining. I apologize for the confusion.

It makes very little difference if you choose your civ after declining (in the same turn) or on the turn immediately following the decline (just before entering). Either way, it is a two turn process. The only difference in picking the civ tiles the turn before is that you may get "buyer's remorse" by the time you can enter the board due to a shift in things. Also, other players get a preview of what's to come. I think that choosing just before entering retains more game flavor; i.e. you represent a new civilization invading, and the existing civs know nothing about you until you come a conquering. I will continue to play this way.

Since this is a strategy thread, and not a rules discussion, this is not the place for this to be debated. For those who feel cheated by my strategy article for not taking into account your version of the rules, I will add a few lines on what difference playing in the correct manner. As I pointed out above, there are two key differences:

1) You must choose based on the board layout in turn d (the turn in which you declined). This means that you could end up choosing a civ that scores a bonus (say mining for instance) in a bunch of currently unoccupied provinces (easy eh?). Then, in turn d + 1 (when you come in) you might find those provinces (with the mines or whatever) occupied (not so easy).

2) The other players know exactly what to expect in turn d, allowing them a complete turn to make things difficult for you if such is their wish. Hence in the above example, where you take the mining civ, your opponents could seize some of the mines, making your life that much harder.

Does this change things really? I don't think so. Playing in the manner described by Oetan, your opponents can probably guess which civ you will come in with anyway. It's not very good strategy in Vinci to position yourself into a war with another civ (especially a new one that is young and vital). It's also not a good strategy to position your civ such that it only blocks points (and scores you nothing, or plays against your bonuses). The exception to this sort of territorial blocking might be a civ w/ Militia. However, if you've read the above strategy article, you know my biases against that tile, and this strategy in general.

Obviously, there is a stronger case for this type of play in the end-game, but I am not convinced that this strategy can win. In my experience, such a strategy can king-make, but does not work out so well for one who employs it. I hope that I'm making sense...
 
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Quote:
Does this change things really? I don't think so. Playing in the manner described by Oetan, your opponents can probably guess which civ you will come in with anyway.


Well, indeed I don't think it changes the game structurally. But thinking of it, maybe it's even a more smooth mechanism. You select a civ based on the current situation, not based on the situation one turn ago. Anyway, the game has always played nicely the way I/we did, and that is key, I guess.

About the mentioned situation on what to do when someone kicks you off the board, my German rules say this (I'm home now, so I can finally check it):
Quote:
Sonderfall: Es kann geschehen, dass ein aktives Reich durch Ausdehnung der Gegner seinen letzte Provinz verliert. Der Spieler erklart den automatischen Niedergang des Reichs. Der betroffene Spieler setzt eine ganze Runde aus, bevor er mit einer neuen Zivilisation wieder ins Spielgeschehen eingreift. Wenn er bereits ein niedergehendes Reich hat, werden dessen Steine allesamt vom Spielbrett entfernt, da dieses durch das nun neu niedergehende Reich ersetzt wird, das eben seinen letzte Provinz verloren hat.


The translation, given I do it correctly, is:
Exception: It can happen that an active empire loses its last province through expansion by an opponent. That player must now automatically go into decline. The player waits an entire round before he participates again in play with a new empire. (Question: selected when? This is not clear in these rules.) When he already has an inactive empire, all these tokens are removed from the board, since these are replaced by the newly declining empire, that has just lost his last province.

This doesn't mean these are the rules as meant by Philippe Kayaerts, and since his name is French I take it he's Belgian or French, and that German is not his native tongue (although this assumption is basically flawed; my name is George and I'm surely not British, and Van Halen is not Dutch).

Oetan
 
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Re: I can't believe no one's written anything in here...
Hmmmm...

That's interesting. I'll have to check my copy. I'm pretty sure that my rule book said that you have to come back in w/ your remaining tokens as if you were a new civ, or you could choose to decline. Since others have posted similar results above, I'm guessing that there is a translational or version difference here.

As far as the game goes, it would make sense for a player knocked off the board to be forced into decline. It may also improve gameplay by keeping a battered player in the hunt by allowing what is essentially a rebirth (depending on how you answer Oetan's question).
 
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