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Author Topic: Compilation of tips from several people  (Read 1305 times)
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Posts: 749

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« on: January 09, 2011, 07:15:30 AM »

You will disagree with a lot of tips here. Try them out before you discard them. You should run into at least 90% of these situations if you play ~50 games and observe.

Usage explanation -- Consider means it's usually better to follow this tip. -- Probably is similar to Consider with less conviction.

Be nice to people. If you can't be nice, don't be rude. There are only two trophies - team clan war trophy and the general ranking trophy. Decide what you play for - for fun, for one of the trophies or just an arbitrary score. You will enjoy more if you win.

Luck is a huge factor.

Consider where you'd place your city and build the next two towns and the next city. As part of this thinking process, you have to decide where your opponents would place. In some cases, taking slightly inferior placement, in order to make opponents’ placement substantially worse may be the best course of action.

On an average, you have around 14 rolls for barbs to hit since start which means you well get ~5 turns. You have to get the three cards to build and activate a knight. Keep that in mind when you place. Consider trading to mutually benefit for that common goal. If you are interested in trading, do it before the other person does.

Close by initial placements could help in getting Longest Road. In some cases, knights could protect common spots.

Placement of the road for the town should be done keeping in mind better expansion spot. Placement of the road for the city should be done protecting the better numbers. People tend to hit that 8 wood city spot.

Don't get into the blocking game if you don't have to. Negative play usually does not pay off.

Change your strategy based on the map. Bridges, for instance, is a great map for slowplaying. Balderics/Wonder Ports/Fifth Element are great for quick expansion and dominating. Decide which strategy you want to employ at placement time.

At placement time, consider how you are going to expand. If going third, you have a choice between 6 ore, 4 ore, 3 wheat and 8 sheep, 5 wood, 4 sheep, taking the ore/wheat for city is a better option. If three rolls before the Barbs hit you have cards for quick second city. If three does not roll before the Barbs hit, it's likely that you will save city. If you do take the city on 854, the chances of you getting the progress cards (monopoly, irrigation, mining, master merchant, merchant, fleet) to save city is low in the 12 or less remaining rolls before the Barbs hit.

Similar thinking for reversing to take city on gold (with ore and/or wheat) rather than 8 9 5 sheep/ore/wood.

There is no most important resource. It depends on the map layout, ports, development cards etc. You should however have a strategy for building the first active knight. All things being equal brick is the least important resource.

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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 07:16:06 AM »

Don't take lead in points unless you are actually leading. Most people don't pay attention to the actual position. Explore other choices instead of taking that point. Build a knight, a wall, a road, activate that knight. Do NOT ever take the longest road in early/mid game unless you have exhausted other possibilities.

Always be prepared to explain your moves. Opponents appreciate that. In some cases, it may increase your chances of winning. For instance, in a 17 point game, you hit the guy with 10 points rather than 14 because he has a roadbuilding + 2 island landings + merchant and the guy complains, explaining your move will make the 14 point guy aware of the other threat. You with 13 points, a merchant and no clear source of points will be now be (correctly) perceived as not a threat by both opponents.

Reevaluate your strategy and which opponent is better every chance you have to make a decision. Pay attention to the position after an inventor has been played.

Don't hold cards for too long. Usually use them as soon as you can. You do not want to lose them to 7 or opponents’ Monopolies or Master Merchants.

Bouncing the robber should be done only if you have lots of wheat or warlord. Ask yourself what you get when you bounce. On a map like Bridges for instance, bouncing may not make much sense in the beginning of the game. Do not do it blindly, keep an eye on the Barb before bouncing.

You should also consider bouncing (even if it fetches no cards) or moving a knight to make the leader lose his city rather than take a development card or a defender point. This may not be the best strategy if your production is very weak and you are scrambling to make points. Making the non-leader lose a city using the same tactic rather than take a progress card is a bad idea unless the leader would get that precious merchant. It may be an ok idea if it prevents the leader from taking a point and moving closer to victory.

Remember that you may move one ship per turn. It helps you expose hidden cards on maps like Wonder Ports, Search etc. Theoretically, one may move 3 ships - 1 with regular movement and two more with Diplomats.

Island landings give a bonus point. When evaluating opponents’ position or forming your sprint-to-finish keep that in mind.

You need cooperation of the 2nd or 3rd player to win. Do not go for the same goal i.e. metro, longest road. You do not want to be in a situation where the guy hits you instead of the leader for threatening his metro.

Keep track of opponents’ cards that you want.

When you are losing and your opponent has an insurmountable lead on a number or two, avoid building on them. You are going to need luck to win - so play to get lucky. Build on numbers the opponent does not have. If they roll, you may be able to mount a comeback. Conversely, if you are winning, build on the opponent's numbers when possible to reduce their chance of a lucky come back.

Know how much each point costs and what the future return on that point is. A town costs 6 or 8 resources (4 to build the town and 1 or 2 roads), a city costs 5 resources and defender points cost 2-6 wheat. Usually cities have the best return since you are doubling on your best numbers as well as contributing to metros. Towns may help in getting more numbers and resources you may not have. Island landings cost a minimum of 8 cards and give 2 points but less production.

When selecting your aquaduct resource, consider your resources in hand AND your settlement/city placements. For example, if you get 2 ore and 2 wheat on 4, try to keep one rock in your hand. When that 4 rolls, you will have a city in hand.

Walls are crucial to winning. Build one in the initial part of the game i.e. when you are less than 5 points. Build another in midgame i.e. less than 10 points. Every time I have second guessed that and built a road, I have lost cards to 7 in the next two rolls. A scenario that is often seen is two cities, aquaduct and no brick production. The best course of action here it to build two walls before doing anything else related to building.

When the Barbs hit, consider which progress card you want to most. A mining for instance could help you build a city but the chances of getting that are 2/17. On the other hand, if you could trade 2 cards of something to achieve the same result, taking cloth makes more sense since the chances are (6 + 2) /18. You should consider the side effects of that merchant. Will you get hit now because you are with 2 cities and merchant when they would not hit you w/o the merchant?

In the end-game, if you need a merchant, cloth progress card is the best option to take when tied for knights.

Taking cloth is usually the safest bet on first Barb hit. Paper is close second with the added danger of getting a point card. On subsequent Barb hits, consider what progress cards have already been dealt. That may change the probabilities significantly.

An alternate strategy is to pick a progress card is to pick what you would not get on regular rolls. Having tried that over several years, I believe this is an inferior one.

Once you get aquaduct, build cities. Don't build more towns, thereby expanding your numbers. This hurts you on maps like search or balderics.
Don't land on islands unless you are done building on the mainland, especially in the beginning.

Blocking the sole high number (6, 8 5, 9) on a settlement for the guy with aquaduct gives him gold on that number. Don't do that. With cities it gets trickier. It's better to block 4 sheep city if the opponent has a city and a settlement on 4 rather than block the solo 6 brick city.

Trade. Even 1:1 trade is on other guy's turn is ok if it helps you get ahead. Consider what he gets before you trade. If he gets that super city, don't trade. Most people of this site trade for 2:1. If someone wants three cards, best not to trade with them.

Ports are important and help in quick expansion. Take a port if you taking a port does not significantly improve opponents placement.

Be aware of number synergies. The most powerful is wheat and ore on the same number. You will build cities much faster. The other powerful synergies are wood/brick (road) and wood/sheep (ships). Ore/sheep is useful for an arms buildup.

Protect the end of a shipping lane with a knight. A knight belongs on the end of an unconnected shipping lane. This is especially true for the 1st ship. Otherwise an attack by pirates followed by the diplomat will cost you a card AND more importantly, stop development of the shipping lane.

If it's close to the end game, go for that metro rather than doing something else like building two towns. If it's midgame, consider the effects of taking that metro. It is better to allow someone to take the metro and chase it if there is no quick finish in sight.

Always protect metros if anyone else is at level 3. Exceptions are when someone can win by taking other metros or longest road OR if you can win by taking something else.

There are a total of 19 cards of each resource and 12 cards of each commodity. Let's say the opponents hold 5 wheat and you hold 10 wheat. You are holding an irrigation, a merchant on wheat and 5 wheat spots. You decide to take opponent's cloth metro by upgrading yours from level 3 to level 5. You cannot play irrigation first because it will only give you 4 cards. First trade away 10 wheat to get 5 cloth. This step also ensures that the bank has 5 cloth cards to trade. If not, the next step will fail. Then you play irrigation, get 10 wheat and upgrade to level 5 cloth.

In a perfectly random distribution, future rolls are independent of past rolls. However, we don't have a perfectly random distribution. We get a somewhat expected curve which means 7 should roll once out of 6 rolls i.e. 2 turns for you. Keep track of last 7 and plan accordingly. This is the simplest way to remember w/o slowing the game down. You may also look at the histogram but that takes too much time. This also helps in deciding which knight to activate at times - if the robber was placed on a spot 5 rolls back it's likely it won't be there on your next turn. Note that this tip assumes a somewhat expected bell curve distribution and is invalid when the rolls generation algorithm is random.

You don’t have to build or activate your knight right away in the first round if you have blue card development and the opponents do not have cloth. Hold on to that precious wheat if there is no immediate danger of losing cards to 7.

An early merchant could help you get to that quick aquaduct if you are almost there or if sitting on lots of wheat/brick. Keep this in mind when you take the progress card when the barbarians hit.

Dice stats in the beginning help a lot to figure out if opponents are holding any cards that you care about. They help with Trade Monopoly, Resource Monopoly or Master Merchant.

You don't have to play that progress card unless you are going to lose it. It's ok to hold that Spy/Saboteur/Diplomat/Deserter/Master Merchant/Bishop/Warlord till you can use it on the leader or more effectively. Consider holding Weddings till both opponents are ahead of you. This is especially true if opponents do not have coin development.

To upgrade a metro to level 4 you need a city that is not saboteur'd. This is true even if someone else holds the metro with level 4 or level 5 at that moment.

Level 3 paper is overrated. It's very good but not as good to blindly hit the guy with level three paper. Evaluate the other guy’s position before hitting the guy with aquaduct. (0, 0, 3 paper) is not significantly better than (2 cloth, 2 coin, 1 paper). Consider other factors i.e. cards in hand, expansion possibilities.

Balanced metro development is important. If you have a city on wood and sheep, use that crane to develop coin rather than get to level 2 cloth. When trading cards to develop level 1 of a metro, develop the one that you do not get because of your city. If you don't have any (city on brick and wheat), start with cloth, followed by paper and then coin. You may develop coin second if opponents do not have coin.

When you take a metro, upgrade the city that you consider the most valuable so that you are not slowed down by a saboteur. "Most valuable" depends on the situation. It depends on the situation. If someone else is going to compete for the same metro, upgrade the city that gives you the most of the commodity cards for that metro. On the other hand, if it's the longest road you are after, protect brick.

On the same note as above, walls should be built taking into account “the most valuable city” idea.

Be creative. It's not necessary to use that irrigation (or mining) right away. You might need to take that intermediate step in order to settle on a spot that has two more wheat so that you can get 4 extra wheat (or ore) when you play the card.

Don't take the road unless there is a reason for it. Possible valid reasons are - everyone knows you are the leader and you are proceeding to build on the best spot for you OR you are making sure that the leader does not grab it to win OR you are holding lots of cards in hand and there is no better use. Boats are interesting here because placing them appropriately can help you build and yet not take the road even though you have it OR moving them can give it to someone else thereby allowing you to use Master Merchant or Wedding more effectively.

Protect cards against resource monopoly or 7s. Let's say you have aquaduct or are on gold and are trying to build that second city with no other source of ore or wheat. Alternate taking ore and wheat so that someone does not monopoly you.

In a similar situation, let's say you are playing a map with a scarce ore or wheat. You have aquaduct and don't have either resource. Take the resource that is easily available to the other two first. And then the one that is scarce on the map itself.

You should have a plan to win at the time you place your town. Plans change as the situation changes. Consider seriously thinking about it when you are within 7 points of win.

Over time you will develop a gut feeling for when to start seriously thinking about the closing plan. And then you will realize that it's not important to develop that 2 coin or get back that saboteur'd city or build that wall or go for that road or chase a metro and developing the level 2 to level 3 cloth is more important.

While it is important to develop metros, it should not happen at the expense of a greater cost. Let's say your only source of wheat is your city on 4 wheat, 6 wood and 3 cloth. Other resources are balanced. Your town has good ore production. The first 3 rolls are 6 4 4 3. Do not feel compelled to build a coin. Hold on to the wheat knowing that you will likely lose cards to 7 in 3 more rolls. Build that city rather than develop a coin.

Similar concept for aquaduct. Let's say you are at level 2 paper. You have a choice to get to level three paper by trading away 4 wheat, 4 ore and 4 brick. Or build that city on 2 nice wood spots and build two walls. Skip the level three aquaduct. City on wood will help you get there. And Walls in this game are fantastic.

Envision what end situation when you finish your turn. Let’s say you have a merchant and merchant fleet. You need to trade wood (your most abundant resource) to achieve some goal. If it does not put you into the lead and other people do not hold yellow cards, it’s ok to play the merchant. On the other hand, if you had to trade two sheep (not your most abundant resource) and you don’t need to take away the merchant from someone else, play the merchant fleet. Save the merchant when you are ready to trade the resource which you would have more than you need.

Let’s try another example. Let’s say you have lots of sheep and wood (your most abundant resource) and two merchants. You must play both merchants to get the aquaduct and a city. Play the merchant on sheep first followed by the merchant on wood. The final position of the merchant should be where you want it to be when the turn is over. So, pay attention to the order.

Gold is more powerful than it appears on a map with islands and less powerful in a 17 point game if opponents have much better metro and knights development.

When deciding on who the leader is (to do destructive stuff to him), ask yourself the question - "whose position would I rather be in?". Try to figure out how each person would get the next four points (or finish if you are close to the end game), which metros each person would get and which points (road, metro, merchant) they would lose to you or the other person. Let's say the leader has level 4 metro you will take this turn, which will put him on par with the other person but the second person is closer to other metros, it makes sense to use master merchant on the second person considering the position each person will be in AFTER you steal the metro from the leader.

Look for intermediate steps that may help achieve the end goal. For instance, let's say no one is willing to trade. You hold one sheep, one ore, two wheat, two wood, four brick and you need to develop and activate a knight because the Barbs will hit next turn. Check if there is a brick port you can build your town on, then exchange two bricks for sheep and activate a knight.

Similar thought should be given to promoting cloth. Let's say you have level 2 development on paper/cloth and level 1 on coin, merchant on wood, 6 wood, 2 coin, 1 cloth, 1 paper and you are not the favorite for coin metro. Don't rush into getting that aquaduct. Trade wood to get to level three cloth first and then trade the rest to get aquaduct.

Don't activate the knight so that you can drive away the robber on your next turn if the Barbs are close to attacking. If the Barbs are one step away, the likelihood of the knight still being active is one out of 8 games you play. If the Barbs are 2 away, it is 3 out of 8 games so do it if you feel lucky. If the Barbs are three away, it makes sense since it will work in 7 out of 8 games.

It is not necessary to make your intentions to chase a metro clear to the person currently holding it, especially if he is holding a lot of cards. At times, it's ok not to upgrade to level 4 if you have make trades to get there. Even more true if you have three walls.

Commodity cards (paper, cloth and coin) are usually more important than building. Let's say you have a choice to trade away two paper to build a town on 10 9 3 or develop level two paper. Unless that spot is crucial to winning the game, build level two paper.

Do not take an early knight point if you have a bad source of wheat and opponents have not scored yet but have a better position. The only time it's ok to take an early knight point is when opponents have scored, you are playing with good players and it's clear that the other two are better off. You want to minimize the risk of getting hit.

Play the merchant on the worst number possible, making it appear less of a target when 7 rolls. A merchant on 12 brick settlement is much harder to notice as compared to a merchant on a three city 8 brick. This can help you in equal situations.

You need an active city i.e. not metro and not turned upside down in order to upgrade to level 4 even if an opponent holds the metro with level 4 or level 5. If you want to upgrade two to level 4 and take the third metro, do it in order. Take the metro last, only after upgrading the other two to level 4.

Sometimes it's ok to roll opponents numbers and use monopoly/master/wedding/harbor. As an example, let's say you have a city on 12 wood with paper at level 1, you hold a mining, merchant, trade monopoly and three ore numbers. You have nothing on 6 but opponents have a city each on 6 wood. Roll a 6, use trade monopoly, mining and merchant and upgrade to level 3 paper.

When a 7 rolls and the leader does not have cards, you still should block the leader's best spot. Ask yourself how significantly your chances to win will improve by taking that card from non-leader as opposed to blocking production from the leader.

With boats around, pay special attention to where to place the robber. If the robber is on a spot protected by an active knight when you roll a 7, you have an opportunity to take an extra card by blocking a boat first and then move the robber using the knights if you have a decent source for reactivation.

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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 07:16:25 AM »

Know the distribution of progress cards.
Cloth (Yellow) 6 Merchant 4 Resource mono 2 Trade mono 2 Harbor 2 Fleet 2 Master
Coin (Blue) 2 Wedding 2 Deserter 2 Diplomat 2 Bishop 2 Saboteur 2 Intrigue 3 Spy 2 Warlord 1 VP
Paper (Green) 2 Inventors 2 Medicine 2 Irrigation 2 Crane 2 Mining 2 Alchemist 2 Roadbuilding 2 Smith 2 Walls 1 VP

The initial upgrade to Level 1 is the most beneficial since it gives you progress cards for 2 out of 36 rolls i.e. 1 progress card for every 18 rolls or 6 turns. Keep that in mind when using Trade Monopoly or Master Merchant or Crane. Subsequent level upgrades are only half as beneficial for procuring progress cards.

Resource monopolies could be used in one of the two ways: constructive (to get the resources you need) or destructive (to get the resources that are difficult to get for your opponents). In the early game, if you cannot immediately build something, use in in a destructive way. In the mid-game, favor constructive. In the end-game, if you are the leader, favor constructive else consider destructive against the leader.

When using Alchemist, consider which combination of the dice is most beneficial to you and the least beneficial to opponents. For example, if you have level 2 development on all three and opponents have level 1, roll (3, 1) rather than (1, 3) or (2, 2).

Sometimes it's more beneficial to roll opponents numbers rather than yours if you have Resource/Trade Monopoly, Harbor, Master Merchant.

When using the inventor to give a bad number to an opponent, try not to double up his numbers if it does not make much difference to you.

Progress cards get recycled in an orderly fashion. What that means is if two diplomats were placed in quick succession, you don't have to worry about diplomats for next 16 blue cards. Don't build that knight to protect your road. Use similar argument against building a knight to protect your level three knights from being deserted.

Use inventors considering long term and not who is slightly ahead at the moment. On a quick-expansion map, usually inventor gold.

Order of play is important on your turn. Spy, harbors, monopolies (to take away cards given by harbor at times), weddings and then finally bouncing the robbers. Inventors should be played at the end. Master merchants should usually be played either before or after bouncing the robber. Increase your point count at the end. Irrigation and mining should be played after building new towns which may be placed on ore/wheat. Roadbuilding depends on the situation. If there are hidden cards to be discovered and you can still play weddings and master merchants, it's ok to roadbuilding before. Else play it after.

Try to guess what kind of progress cards your opponents may be holding. Use other clues to deduce what they might be. A green card not used by someone with no city, two single knights, towns on wheat and ore is likely to be crane. A blue card not used by the player with least points is not the card he could have played so it's likely not going to be Wedding, Saboteur, Spy if the other two are holding progress cards, Diplomat if he could have used it etc. People tend to play harbors, master merchants and monopolies early as well.

When using harbor, give that card to the opponent which he would have the least use. Do not provide resources which will help them build something useful.

With multiple blue cards floating around or with blue development by opponents, beware of intrigues followed by deserters. Allow some space for your knights.

In absence of blue development and cards, it may be wise to not play that inventor right away. You could hold on for one more turn if other people are also holding green cards. If you play the inventor, one may be played against you.

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