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When a player is constructing a wonder phase, what strategy is used to pick the card, and is the value of the card used for anything?

I'm assuming that:

  1. The value of the card serves no purpose once being used to construct a wonder phase
  2. The action of constructing a wonder is similar to discarding, except:
    a. the player receives the benefits of the wonder phase instead of 3 coins, and
    b. the card does not have the possibility of being reused later vs. those in the discard pile
  3. Due to 2b, the player should pick a card that they don't want to and/or can't use themselves, and also don't want other players to be able to benefit from (I believe the instructions state something to this effect).

Are these assumptions correct, and/or are there other considerations I'm leaving out?

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I only consider 2b is probably the most important. One thing is that in the 3rd age I always use the Guild cards (if I can't build/benefit from the Guild) so that there's no chance at all it will be used by anyone. –  riv_rec Jan 6 at 20:14
    
Yes, card denial is a major factor. If it would be dangerous in your neighbor's hands and you can't use it for its primary purpose, using it for your wonder is ideal. –  Monica Cellio Jan 8 at 19:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Picking the right card often is an important strategic choice, and I think you've got a decent feel for the main part of that - use a card that you don't want yourself, and that you don't want your opponents getting. In particular, I would tend to look at the next couple of players that the hand will be passed to, and see if I can spot a card that is key to their strategy that I can deny them. Alternatively, if nothing stands out, I'll see if any of the cards I have is a duplicate of one they already have, and bury a different card, thus reducing their options.

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If you see that your neighbour could only afford to build one of your cards, and you can’t or don’t want to play this card yourself, it can make sense to bury it, although you’d like to play another card. However, only consider this if your neighbour is a strong player resp. (currently) better than you. Keep in mind that your next but one neighbour gets this hand after.

If your next but one neighbour could need one of your cards badly (e.g., the last Science symbol that would complete a set), consider not to bury it. Hand it over to your neighbour and let him/her do the (often disadvantageous) action of burying a card. However, this might only work if your neighbour is an attentive player.

Many tactics depend on the number of players.

A 3p (and 7p, but this doesn’t work so well with many players) game has the fewest brown resources per player. By burying specific resource cards, it’s often possible to make it impossible for one of your enemies to complete his/her Wonder, especially for those Wonders that need 3/4 resources of the same kind. Keep the Caravansery and Alexandria in mind.

A 4p game has the fewest gray resources per player. Depending on the Wonders in play, it can make sense to bury both gray cards of the same type (resp. build one and bury one). Keep the Forum and Alexandria in mind.

3p (and 4p, but works better with 3p) games have one military card per player per Age. If you build military yourself, burying a military card ensures that you win against (at least) one neighbour. However, this is probably only worth it if you need the specific Wonder stage and/or you can’t build the military card yourself.

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Yes. Unless you need a wonder effect at a specific point in time, you're almost always looking to bury cards that are way better for your opponents than they are for you. For example:

  • You might bury a Loom if you're Halikarnassos and your neighbors are buying cloth from you
  • You might bury a military card near the end of an age to keep someone from suddenly having enough shields to beat you
  • You might bury science cards if you're not really building science but someone's threatening to win with it
  • Thanks to the "no duplicates" rule you might bury a great card that you already have one of

Of course, if you do need the wonder effects, you have to balance these considerations against how badly you need your wonder.

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