Recommend
27 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

Löwenherz» Forums » Strategy

Subject: More Lowenhertz Strategy than you really wanted... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How can I make such a claim? Cuz no else has written anything here. I'm so bold. I'm separating my very long strategy article here into multiple posts. Not for the faint of heart, but rather for the lion hearted. Enjoy!

edit: The title always bugged me. So now that no one's looking, I'm changing it.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Lowenhertz: Strategies
It is difficult to write a strategy article for Lowenhertz, because the game behaves quite differently in the 2, 3, and 4 player versions. Each version has slightly different mechanics, and therefore each has subtly different strategies. To further complicate matters, there’s the variable construction variation. After playing the game a few times, players will definitely want to explore the variable construction game (VCG), which is quite a bit different from the base game (BG). I happen to prefer the VCG because it more fully develops the available master strategies (see below). I will attempt to explain some of the generic strategies, and then I will further refine them to the various game types (2p, 3p, 4p, BG, and VCG).
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Master Strategies
There are three master strategies in the Lowenhertz. They correspond to three of the four actions available to players: Get Gold, Build Walls, and Place Knight/Expand Territory. A successful game strategy will employ all three of these master strategies to varying degrees.

It’s important to keep your strategy fluid, and follow path of least resistance. It’s also important to note that you are limited to a certain number of actions in the game. Actions are your most valuable resource. You will never know exactly how many actions you have, but you have a good idea that the game will end soon once you hit the “D” deck. Also, you only have 15 Knights. This is your second most important resource. Try not to waste them.

Following is a description of each of the three master strategies, and how to maximize their potential. Because I have too much time on my hands, I came up with silly names for them.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Plutocrat
The first strategy is my personal favorite. The idea is to grab up gold (ducats) early in the game in order to completely dominate the end game. Obviously you don’t just grab the gold exclusively, but you definitely take it when the other players pass it up.

Most players new to the game will pass on gold. They will prefer to grab knights and walls. During your turn, go after knights or walls, especially if you can lay two decision cards (one can be for the gold).

On the other players’ turns, get the gold if no one else has laid claim to it. While it’s true that gold does you no good at the end of the game, this strategy is a good way to make use of your limited number of actions.

Duels in the early game can be wasteful if you win, and cost you an action if you lose. If you find yourself in a duel in the earlier stages of the game, make an offer for the other player to buy you off. It is usually pretty easy to talk another player into giving up some gold in order to ensure they get the action they want.

If you win a Political Card action, take treasures first. Keep in mind that once you build a large reserve of cash, Alliance Cards can be fun (you’ll be the only player in the position of being able to cancel them at will). An Uber-Plutocrat will also attempt to keep running totals of the other players’ gold counts.

So you build when you can, and place knights and expand when you can. You can explore the option of putting knights in forests to protect against rebellion cards. Try to keep scoring so that you’re no more than 10 points off the lead. It’s not only ok, but also recommended to lag the other players when utilizing this strategy. Get as many silver mines as you can, and let the other players fight it out over cities. Use alliance cards to protect an especially juicy region, if you have one. Since you’re trailing, the other players won’t go out of their way to ream you. They’ll just feel sorry for the guy who keeps getting stuck w/ the gold. Heh, heh…

When the endgame approaches, woe to your enemies. Now you have your pick of the action litter. Other players will avoid dueling with you, because they remember turn after turn of your gold grabbing. When they start to get desperate and do enter duels, you can crush them mercilessly. In a 2p game, this is devastating as you can often force your opponent to do nothing for the last several turns while you slice and dice their regions. In multiplayer games, this strategy should be tempered with competitive play to keep your score w/in striking distance.

Of course the big question is when do you switch from meek gold grabber to iron-fisted dictator? This depends on a lot of things. In general, you can push it until the beginning to middle of the “D” phase. If you fall too far back in scoring, then start in the late “C” phase.

How it works in various games

As mentioned before this strategy can shut the other player down in 2p. It’s pretty mean, and will psychologically take the other player out of the game. In 4p this strategy allows the other players to fight each other for longer. Hopefully, that will flush out the rebellion cards before you make your move. In 3p, you have the added bonus that you can lay 2 cards on your turn. Now you can have your cake and eat the other players’ cake too (as in 2p, but twice the fun!). With 3p & 4p games, however, you can’t utterly dominate in the same way, so it’s very important to stay competitive, even if that means some duels earlier on. This game works well in both the BG and the VCG.

An additional pro is that you can let the other players develop their strategies. You will have the benefit of seeing where everyone else has committed their strength. If you play it well, you will have very few wasted turns. Remember, actions are the most important resource in the game! The biggest con is the timing. If you move too early, you may be the one with no gold left to win duels at the end. If you move too late, you may not be able to get enough accomplished to overtake the other players. You never know when the game will end exactly, but try to gain a slight lead just as the first “E” card is flipped, while still having enough steam to defend the lead or build on it if the game continues for much longer.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Architect
This is the toughest strategy to employ. My previous advice would have been to avoid build wall actions: let others build the walls for you. However, if you commit yourself to this strategy, you can build a nearly impregnable region. The object is to place walls in such a way as to pull of a large, easily defended region. Then you can shift gears in the endgame to attack out of this region.

Grab walls only when you can get them freely, i.e. when they are unclaimed by previous players. Don’t get into duels over walls until later when you REALLY need them to finish your big region.

As with the Plutocrat, the key is timing. If you can finish your big region by the beginning of the “D” phase, then you should be able to finish the other players off. If you are still trying to complete it in the “D” phase, it gets really tough. Other players will be very resistant to letting you get the build wall action if you’re close and the game is nearing its end. The “B” & “C” phases are rich with walls, so that’s when you should be working on your masterpiece.

If you take a Political Card, the rebellion card works really well for this strategy. It is also important not to waste too many knights on your other regions. It’s ok to be trailing the other players here. Hopefully, they’ll feel sorry for you and leave you alone. Fools!

An ideal big region is blockish (as opposed to long and thin). This makes it hard for other players to cut it in half. Also, you’ll want to make sure that there’s plenty of open space next to your castle to place knights in. During the endgame, it’s all about bringing the other players down.

This strategy usually works best as a contrarian strategy. It is most effective against more experience players who disdain walls in favor of gold (been burned by the Plutocrat) and the very versatile knights. The bottom line is, if you have to duel more than twice to pull this one off (as in to build that big region), you will probably lose. This is a risky strategy: you can use the General to pull off the same stunt with less anxiety.

How it works in various games

The more players, the fewer walls you’ll actually need to place. That said, it is not really much easier in multiplayer games because your finished big region will tend to be more anemic in a game where others are busy expanding and such. This is a risky play no matter how many players there are. The big difference is that you can accomplish your goal with fewer plays in multiplayer. This means you can work other angles and keep your master strategy under the radar. The builder is a MUCH stronger play in VCG than BG. This is because there are more build wall actions available, and there will be more desirable regions upon which the other players will focus. It’s almost a side quest in BG. In VCG it can be a subtle affair. The trick is to veil your intentions. Don’t work one wall turn after turn, growing it towards an obvious goal. Instead, break up your wall plays even w/in a single turn. If you win a build 3 walls action, place hither, thither, and yon. An astute opponent will still be able to connect the dots, but most people will be too wrapped up in what they’re doing to notice or care. A good strategy to disguise what you’re doing is to make it seem that you are working on completing a smaller region. When you complete the big region, you can act surprised, “Oh look, I guess this is a region now too. Hmmm, that’s pretty big! Wow, golly gee Wilbur, how’d all those knights end up in there?” Well maybe don’t ham it up that much.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The General
What could be more fun than winning by constantly dominating the other players with military force? A surprise win with one of the above two strategies, but this is close. This strategy is seemingly the easiest, but can require a great deal of foresight to maximize the effect.

The key is to manage the limited resource of knights (15). You don’t want to overplay one region when another one has more point and/or strategic value. Most experienced players are hesitant to take knights early on in VCG when they do not have any regions. On the flip side, most players at any level of experience will crave knights in the mid game. The basic idea here is to take the knights early when they’re less valuable, then you can concentrate on finishing your regions while the other players duel over knights. Meanwhile, you still make a grab for them when you’re first player. However, you should be in a position to expand into other players’ regions while they’re trying to place knights for defense.

The obvious disadvantage is that you are committing your forces first. However, if you make a strong play (say 3 knights) in a region early on, you may cause the other players to psychologically check out of their neighboring regions.

The major concern is that an arms race develops that saps you of your two most precious resources (actions and knights). Key strategic regions are sandwiched between two of an opponent’s regions so that they must commit twice as many knights in defense as you do to attack. If an opponent holds one of these key regions between two of yours, then crush it early.

A strategy that tempts many players to their demise is to crush other players’ regions. This means you completely encircle them such that they cannot expand any more. Only do this if it kills a strategic region. Otherwise, the time and knights you use to do this will probably cost you the game. I fall into this trap more often than I’d care to admit.
Another temptation to avoid, especially if you’re going for the General approach, is to play out all of your knights too early. If you do, you will not be able to counter the other master strategies.

The General can win in two ways. One way is a reverse architect play, where you grow a big region w/ lots of expansion. The second way is to build a couple of well-defended regions of decent point values, and score silver mines as much as possible.

The General prefers to expand territories in order to build walls for others. This will lead to fragile territories, but the General is unafraid. Only rebellion scares the General. The General likes to place knights and castles in ways that screen off valuable cities from neighboring region.

The General is straight forward, and will win if played with efficiency. This is not an elegant strategy, but it is probably the most used.

How it works in various games

It is harder to have pure military domination in a game w/ 3 or 4 players. Sometimes, though, it is easier to scare the other players out of an area with a strong initial play. In this way, a small region can be grown into the type that the Architect wishes he could build. In VCG this strategy requires foresight in order to commit to the proper regions.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Reiterated Strategy Tips
*Time is the most valuable resource. If you accomplish nothing during a turn, you put yourself in danger. Try to limit yourself to 3 or fewer such turns. This means losing a duel. If you get bought off, then it’s as good as grabbing gold (better).
*Go with the flow. Take what’s offered freely (if you can) and adapt your strategy as necessary.
*Don’t waste knights in an arms race unless that particular region is crucial.
*Dueling is wasteful, even if you win (except in the end game). See my notes below.
*The knight action is very versatile. Expansion should be preferred to placing. You only have so many placements. With expansion, you can build new regions, cut up opponents’ regions, and grow your current regions. The corollary is that you should get a region ASAP in the VCG. Otherwise you’ll get smoked.
*Silver mines are key. Regional/City points can be taken away. It’s even possible to lose more points from a region than that region gave you when you created it. Silver mine points are yours to keep.
*Castles that are sandwiched between opponents castles have the most strategic value. One such region may be worth growing w/ the General into the Architect’s big region.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Additional Strategy Tips
*Bribing is nearly twice as bad as dueling. For every 1g you bribe, you lose a 2g stake in gold control against that opponent. Make sure the action is worth it. In the end game, bribing is better, but you’re opponent will probably be less willing to negotiate.
*Similarly, it is better to steal points from an opponent than to claim more points by expanding into a non-region.
*When placing your castle during VCG, be aware of how many clear spaces you’ll have to place knights. Don’t be afraid to drop your castle in right next to an opponent’s castle. You may effectively kill their region before it can begin.
*Castles near the corners and edges are easy plays for early regions. It’s the middle where the game is won however. Make sure you have presence in both areas.
*You can win w/o ever getting a political card. They can make things a lot easier for you though…
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dueling
Your dueling strategy is crucial to the game, especially in 3p & 4p games where there will be at least one dispute per turn. In 2p, it’s quite easy to avoid conflict, as I’ve warned to do. In multiplayer Lowenhertz, you’re going to have to duel.

First, offer a buyout, “I could let it go for as few as 4g.” If you can’t get the other player to buy you out, then offer to buy them off. Many players skip this part and go right to the dueling, but they miss out on an important aspect of the game.

Use the negotiation phase to learn how badly the other player wants this action. Also, use the negotiation phase to influence the other player’s guess. E.G. You offer to give up for 3g. This implants the value of 3g in the other player’s brain. They may come in w/ 4, thinking that you’ll just throw 3. It’s funny how often this is the case.

Sometimes you find yourself dueling when you don’t care that much about winning the action. In this case, rather than throwing a token 1, try 2 or 3 in case the other player is thinking the same thing. Don’t let them win w/o spending at least 3g.

3g tends to win early contests. Later ones will get to 10 or 12 or even higher. Call it inflation, but money becomes worth less as the game goes on. That said, avoid the temptation to go all in. It’s a hollow feeling when you have to go the rest of the game w/o any gold. It really sucks. Sometimes the game will take longer, then you’re stuck not being able to win duels, place knights in forests, play rebellion on a knight in a forest, or cancel inconvenient alliances. If you run out of money in the early or mid game, it’s not as bad, but you can stall out.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here’s my take on the Political Cards:
*Alliance: this card can be crucial to all three strategies when used properly, but they seldom are. Never forget that it can be cancelled at any time. Don’t forget to cancel them when they become inconvenient. Players will routinely pass these cards up, so don’t feel a need to grab them unless you can use them soon.
*Parchment: hey, I’ve always liked free points. They’re just as good late in the game as they are early on. Often, these are passed up.
*Rebellion: these go pretty fast. They are useful for a lot of approaches to the game. When used against you, they sometimes do you the favor of returning the knight to your supply. If you’re really worried about this card, make use of the forests. A long chain of knights terminating w/ one in a forest will force the user to pay 5g. Sometimes your opponent won’t have 5g to spend. Especially great play if you’re the Plutocrat.
*Treasure: I love dueling with Treasure. I will grab the 15 and the 12 before anything else. Rebellion is great, but Treasure will almost guarantee you a won duel. It also messes with opponents who are good at tracking everyone’s gold count.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whew!
At over 3000 words, I think we’re done here. How many people will even bother reading it, I wonder… If you made it to the end, brave friend, then you must be quite the Lowenhertz fan. Or maybe you like Domain. Thank you either way. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, you’ve earned it!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David
New Zealand
Wellington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
This is extraordinary. I would like to congratulate you on such a remarkable and informative article. I just picked up Lowenherz but I haven't played it yet, so I read to about halfway and then decided to stop reading so as to not spoil the honeymoon, however of what I read I was very impressed.

Thank you for writing this!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cameron Iwan
United States
Douglas
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
Very well done. Excellent piece that is highly informative. I just started playing Lowenherz last week, with two 2p games and two 3p games. I was really curious what "other people" tend to pay in duels in both the early and late game, along with lots of other questions and basic strategies. Your article is phenomenal and a great help. I feel it is even something to share with the rest of my group, so I don't automatically blow them away (hopefully!) Thank you for a strategy guide worthy of spending twenty minutes to read. . .
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stefan Alexander
Canada
Waterloo
ON
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
Wow, great article! I played it once and wasn't overly impressed, but I'm going to have to get it out again after reading this.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David
New Zealand
Wellington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
I've played it a few times and it gets better once you start to appreciate the value of territory, silver mines, towns, forests, etc. A good game IMO.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Shaffer
United States
San Francisco
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
Nice article.

However, this surprised me:

discoking7 wrote:
First, offer a buyout, “I could let it go for as few as 4g.” If you can’t get the other player to buy you out, then offer to buy them off. Many players skip this part and go right to the dueling, but they miss out on an important aspect of the game.


I've never seen anyone skip the bartering step as a general course of action. The only time we skip bartering is 1) near the end of the game; or 2) know the other player has little or no money. Skipping the barter step is amazingly bad strategy and I expected this to be self-evident to most gamers.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
You're right, it is poor strategy to skip the negotiation phase. What should be self-evident, is not always so, however. Some players tend to get ahead of themselves a bit. They get too caught up in wanting the action, and they don't exercise this very important phase to its fullest.

Thank you all for taking the time to read (and respond to) this lengthy post.

Please feel free to ask questions and demand clarifications. At some point, I'll probably have to overhaul the whole thing. My wife is already demanding that re-write the architect section. "But honey, it's already too long," I plead. But she has more knights than me...

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Susan Cook
United States
Santa Barbara/Goleta
California
flag msg tools
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
I must say that while I agree with the majority of your definitive strategy guide to Lowenhertz, I am surprised by your inclusion of the Architect strategy--particularly since I have never seen YOU play this strategy by itself without some of the others thrown in to supplement. By itself, the Architect does not work--you need knights to help you retain your regions. Also, I am more and more a fan of letting others build your walls for you. My more recent thinking is that the sooner you finish regions, the sooner others will start to hack into them. This is, of course, a tricky thing, because by waiting too long to build regions you of course run the risk of not finishing them at all. But better to do most of your building as late as you possibly can.
zombie
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randy Brown
United States
Manchester
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
Woman Wife,

That time that I beat you by lapping you twice was an example of The Architect in all his glory. I wrote this article shortly after trying to win by selecting predominately walls (since you had seen the wisdom of letting others do the dirty work of building walls for you). What I had discovered was so interesting (to me anyway) that it motivated me to write the article.

The important thing is that these strategies do not exist in a vacuum and will not work on their own. They must be blended effectively while following the path of least resistance (ie when your woman won't let you get the knights, go for the walls).

I had started another article that addressed this in a less clunky manner, but I realized that most geeks have something against strategy articles. I wouldn't want to work that hard on something that is neither read nor respected.

Anyway, there are enough holes in my (ahem) "definitive" strategy guide to keep ppl on their toes.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Susan Cook
United States
Santa Barbara/Goleta
California
flag msg tools
Re: The Definitive Series of Lowenhertz Strategy...
I read and respect your strategies. kiss
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Larry Welborn
United States
Anderson
South Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Clemson Tigers #1
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's taken me over 10 years to get around to reading this but nice strategy article.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.