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In all of the Loyang I've played, about a dozen games, nobody has reached 20 points. Have you or someone you've played with reached 20 points? If so, what kind of strategy was used?

I've noticed the following traits among game-winning strategies in the 17-19 point range:

  • Always pay 1 Cash to score 1 point at the end of each turn.
  • Selling to high-end casual customers (payouts of 10 or 11) is the easiest way to get 20+ Cash in one turn. You can simply pick them up and hang onto them until you have enough regular customers to get the +2 Cash bonus.
  • Get regular customers in the middle of the game. Regular customers must be acquired on or before Turn 6 to reach their max payout by game end (Turn 9.)
  • Plant all empty private fields each turn to ensure an adequate supply of vegetables.
  • In general, plant the most expensive vegetable each field allows.
  • Buy a cheap two-pack (0 or 1 cash) every turn or have lots of market stalls for exchanging vegetables.
  • In general, only take followers you intend to use immediately with the exception of game-changers like Squire. Stockpiling helpers for possible later use can end up being dead weight that makes those card picks a waste.

Which of these are also applicable to a 20-point strategy? What should be added to or removed from the above?

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I don't think I've ever gotten better than about 18-19 (so far). Uwe Rosenberg games tend to be about developing meticulous efficiency. I bet a perfect Loyang score is possible, but only if you really do do everything perfectly and maybe have a bit of good luck too! As it's basically almost a solo game for each player, I'd expect it would be possible to work out a 20-point strategy "on paper"... unfortunately my copy is in Canada right now, and not joining me in London for quite a few weeks :-/ –  thesunneversets Aug 5 '11 at 15:12
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My first game, I got almost to 19 and the winner got 20; my second game, I scored 20 points (no loans, 15 coins left). It caused a big of a stir on boardgamegeek, since Uwe said nobody beat 19 in testing.

It's been a couple of years, so I can't remember the details, but I see this game as an exercise in efficiency. Use your veggies right so you never have to discard them, always go up two steps early on when it's cheap (although the turn I went 3 steps was 8-9-10), never take loans, keep the 2-packs cheap..

I found this bit I wrote about the game back then, discussing the game on BGG.

I usually had 2-3 regular customers and one fewer casual customer; I skipped delivering to each regular customer 1 time to plant. I believe I bought 2 extra fields. I never sold to the shop (although I considered it once) and I actually used the helper who refills the shop so I could buy more grain. I used two-packs to manage the number of customers so that I always had more regular than casual without letting any regular customer go unsatisfied more than once. Like last game, I started with radishes, although next time I think I want to try starting with grain if possible. The first time I played I concentrated on keeping max{shops, helpers} to 1 for cheap 2-packs; this time I used the helper who makes your 2-packs free regardless (I think I got him twice, once when I had several helpers covering customers I was saving)

It could be my group just isn't that nasty - we didn't really use any of the interaction cards to mess each other up.

Edit: yes, I realize I used the word shop to refer to two different things, but I don't have the rules handy and I think it's fairly obvious what I mean

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Thanks for sharing! It would be great if you could dig up your original BGG discussion link. –  Mr. eX Oct 28 '11 at 3:36
    
"Never take loans" is the bit of advice here that jumps out of me as interesting. Taking a loan is obviously not something to undertake lightly, but are you saying that it is always worse to go into debt, even when that gives you that initial competitive boost? Or just that there may be opening situations where a loan is the right play, but it will be really hard for you to get a high score if you do? I'd certainly like to see more analysis of the "value" of loans, because I always wonder about them when I play... –  thesunneversets Oct 28 '11 at 7:26
    
I've never seen a situation where taking a loan seems like a good move. Since it costs you a point at the end of the game, you have to somehow use that money to both go up an extra step AND get enough benefit to make up for having to pay an extra dollar for each second step you go up for the rest of the game. Early in the game there's too much downside (lots of extra money spent over the rest of the game) and later on it's not enough to go up a step. –  William Dec 5 '11 at 16:41
    
The only situation where I could see it being worthwhile is if it let you go up two extra steps on the first turn, after needing to spend your money because some really good cards game up. –  William Dec 5 '11 at 16:41
    
@thesunneversets Its nearly always bad to take a loan. You might have to take one though, if you have to pay a fine for unsatisfied regular customer and have no coin. –  Nick Jun 15 '12 at 13:36
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