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Subject: The Final Countdown - a thought rss

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david landes
United States
oak hill
Virginia
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As everyone plays more games and the level of expertise evens out a little within a group, most people will have grasped the basic concepts that resources and money are king, the circumstances to use the various strategies and prestige tracks, that going last the whole game means getting last, etc, etc, etc. A key step beyond this is when the individual players not only look for best support of their own strategy, but where critically blocking an opponent is also crucial.

But as this all begins to balance, I have noticed that the final turn, is a really easy place to make a major mistake that costs those few points that make the difference in the game. Typically, on the last turn, players are jockeying for a number of different things that are more or less crucial to their overall strategy. The prestige building players are jockeying for those final resources they need for their building, and even for the opportunity to get that build (via a residence or a 5th spot use of the prestige track. Players may be jockeying for turn order AFTER the last turn.. in order to get an earlier cut at the prestige building selection. Prestige point track players are looking to top off a couple last 5 point trips to the track. Depending on what was built, players may be looking to get 5 PP for four gold, 6 PP for 3 cloth, a trade up of money or resources for gold, building a wood/stone building, even a few extra deneirs or resources to eke out those last couple points.

Different players will need different items with different levels of intensity as the final turn opens. The trick is maximizing your own limited choices while denying others their key choices. As play evens, it is often the 4th/5th/6th workers in the final round that may decide the game. Nobody likes analysis paralysis, but it is very easy to go for that 1 or 2 extra PP and ignore the 4-5 PP a key competitor receives.. and lose by a couple PP. Avoiding that is winning/losing. While knowing how the other players are doing (and even likely to act) throughout the game is key to decision making, it all gets magnified in the last turn as the number of options dwindles and players lock into their final possibilities. Here are a couple thoughts on considerations, by no means complete:

- For prestige buildings, know who is competing for which.. counting on one that someone else takes first... and the order of the players AFTER the last turn, as 3rd section favors are handed out, can be key
- Know who needs which resources, PPs nearly equal, deny them those that they need or are positioned to take advantage of
- Saving money becomes almost irrelevant.. a player (or couple players) that doesn't need to set up for the next round, could back the provost to disrupt downhill buildings.. look to see if that disruptor should be you
- There are a lot of PPs lying about the board the last turn once future 'deterrent/opportunity' resources cease being an issue. Look for what you can get the most out of, but also look to see what others will be best able to employ..
- The last turn may come sooner than you think, particularly when a couple players have piled up resources for the castle, watch out for the castle rush that finishes the wsection and sucks away that favor you needed. The last turn may get delayed a round... oops, wrong position as everyone else grabs those critical layaround resources while you blew your money/resources a turn to early.

I am sure there are many more... but I find I tend to blow it on the final turn..choke.
 
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Fung him
Hong Kong
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agreeing on most of your point : )
Things become much more interesting when someone is sitting on the provost's move and the bailiff is two square away from the finishing line
 
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