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43

Tactics in a board game usually refer to short-term optimizations to get a better local position in the game. Strategy refers to your long-term plans, for combining the results of many shorter term interactions into a winning game. Some games have only tactical considerations, or an emphasis on them, while some games are more amenable to long-range ...


19

If you are an offensive player, Craig Reade wrote a good strategy page discussing starting in South America, which is a continent I like to start in, if I can. The basic elements of the strategy are: Don't play defensively. You'll get boxed in and die. You don't want to gain the continent, but lose the game because it cost you too much to take it. That ...


18

I'd warn against the common tactic of trying to take Australia. Frequently, its seen as an overly defensible position, leading to an 'early-leader', situation, which itself spawns a coalition effort to break you down or at worst, lock you in Australia. If you're going to shoot for an early continent, I recommend South America or Africa; and don't do it ...


16

According to Kaz Darzinskis' Winning Monopoly: Buy from the bank any property that will give you ownership of two properties in any monopoly group, unless you already own a killer monopoly. (I believe he refers to a killer monopoly as being the New York group and up, though it's been a long time since I read the book and could be wrong.) The ...


13

Strategy is the long term plan. It is how you intend to play your game, such as "the money route", "the resource route", or "the balanced route". It is your plan, its your high level approach to achieving your goal, i.e. winning the game! Tactics are the finer detail. Your tactics are HOW you are going to achieve your strategy. If you are going "the money ...


12

Neither method of castling is superior to the other. They are completely position-dependent. Neither method is advantageous at the beginning of the game relative to each other. One of the major factors in Chess is position, so you have to choose where to castle based on the opening you're using. There are two purposes for castling: Protect the King ...


11

Convince the other players of the power of his tactics and the need to 'break his continent' before he 'runs away with the game'. Lead the coalition against his evil ways. Use this coalition to mask your own strategy, as you set yourself up to emerge most powerful from the ashes. Risk is all about controlling the perceptions of the rest of the table.


10

The great chess grandmaster Savielly Tartakower had the best explanation of the difference that I have ever heard: Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do." I can't improve on that. Not even a little. (posted by robusto on English.SE>)


9

Generally you want to get a Gold before you buy a Province in order to sustain your Province buying. Exceptions include: Situations in which you are using action chains for money (e.g., Minion, possibly Conspirator) because the Gold does not contribute to your chain in a significant manner. When your Treasure Maps hit. If you have 4 Golds from TM, you ...


8

I highly recommend taking a strong area that you intend to make yours, and a number of satellite areas that are either easy to defend by themselves (eg: Australia), or that are relatively proximal to your strong area. For example, starting with South America, grab a few locations in North America, Africa and Europe. This will make it more difficult for your ...


8

Play with the rules variant (which is in the manual in at least some versions of RISK) that tones down the trade-ins for armies. Instead of the trade-ins escalating by 5 in the endgame, they simply go up by two every time (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16...). This makes the other ways of obtaining armies more relatively important and downplays the importance of ...


8

Box him in and attack him elsewhere. If he's boxed in, he can't gain territories around his base except by suffering heavy losses. Now he has to gain his Risk Card Territory elsewhere, where he's vulnerable. Whittle down the number of his territories, and soon he'll have to place some of his new armies outside his base to have a good chance of gaining a ...


8

This graph of winningness by turn for Province and Gold buys is interesting and relevant. On average, before turn 6, buying Golds is better than buying Provinces. Note that the graph is going to overstate the case for buying Provinces (conditioned buying a Province, we know your deck can generate $8, which is not true for all players buying Golds, so on a ...


7

I have always played against the same circle of friends and family in the past, and I normally win. My experience is limited to their playing styles, though. I start in Australia (against popular advice, it seems), and then progress from there conservatively. I will never weaken my front by going for that extra territory at all cost. Breach out to Japan, ...


7

You have two ways of making your sixth trick given this ending. You can find the outstanding hearts divided 3-3, or you can find the spade Queen onside. The beauty is that you can take both chances. First, play the hearts. If they break 3-3 (or somebody has done some lousy discarding in the build up to this end position), you're set for your sixth trick ...


7

Normally I wouldn't like to answer my own question, but I have played a lot of online Agricola since posting this one, with the specific goal of taking as little wood as possible, so I hopefully have some interesting new information to provide by now... Wood is a really hard commodity to ignore in Agricola, just because it's so versatile. You need wood for ...


6

Great question! Normally, you have a few chances to make your contract (like in your example, hearts 3-3 or spade finesse). Combining chances mean timing the play in such an order such that the failure of any chance to materialize still allows you to take the next chance. Even though you might start with a lower chance, it allows you to take another shot ...


6

How long is a piece of string? There are few guarantees in Bridge, but if the opponents have bid up to a contract that you think is over-optimistic, then you weigh up the extra points you'd be giving your opponents if they somehow make against the significant rewards you'll receive if they fail, and act accordingly. I used to play a lot of casual Bridge ...


6

You have answered your own question in the last paragraph. The simple finesse gets nothing because you can only win the Queen if the King is onside, in which case you will come to it in the end anyway, and taking it may consume an entry, lose a tempo, and so forth. In the second case you are, as you state, developing a possible long card, and (provided you ...


6

This answer is specific to Matchpoints. In Matchpoints, playing for top or bottom means that if you succeed, you get a top, otherwise you get a bottom. (Note: I haven't heard of people talking about top/bottom in other forms of duplicate). Any play could potentially be called this way, including safety plays. To give a specific example of where a safety ...


6

No, those three games play completely differently. Learning how to play well in one game will not translate to another. Settlers of Catan is a game where you don't trade VP for advancing your economic engine, it is your economic engine. While goods don't have a value per say, certain goods are better than others. This is especially true in the Knights and ...


6

Your calculation seems off. You seem to have missed an approximately 5% chance of a 4-0 break which the play for drop will catch, but have that implicitly included in the calculations for the drop-finesse. If you include that, the play for drop indeed comes out to be more, but by very little. A possibly simple way to figure this out is to compare the ...


5

Beginners usually concentrate on the continent bonuses, but they're actually not all that important. A few key tactical points to remeber: always make an attack every turn to gain a card. Other than that, you don't want to attack unless there's a good reason always strive to NOT be the strongest player, or the weakest. They're the targets. THE key ...


5

It's a good question - in Bridge we spend a lot of time memorising the precise significance of all sorts of bids and responses in our chosen systems, and then when it comes to the much more uncharted world of defence, we feel lost without strongly prescribed, objective meanings for the plays we make and the responses we receive! I don't have a perfect, ...


5

Sure. There are several reasons you might want to do this. Obviously if there's a monster that will threaten you, and you're worried about it, and your opponent can't kill him on his own, you may want to assist. On a more strategic level, you may want to cooperate, especially if there are more than 2 players. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat ...


4

It can be a bluff or it can be a calculation. If you have QJ and the board shows 10 9 3 then you have 2 overcards to the board and an open ended straight draw. If you have 4 cards to a flush you are probably favored nearly 2 to 1 to an over pair even. If you sense weakness in your opponent you might be able to scare them off of a hand like two 5's, that ...


4

I have really been enjoying this game; we play it a lot at work over lunch. I haven't kept track, but I'm pretty sure the victories are roughly evenly split. You are correct that in a game with fewer than 8 players, the first mission almost always goes to the Resistance because the Spies aren't willing to risk being found out. This isn't an issue with 8+ ...


4

If you're a Resistance member and the first leader, this tactic gives a 1-in-5 chance of directly winning the game: On the first round, send yourself and someone who isn't to your left. If both the player you send and the player to your left are Resistance members, you win! The flow is as follows: You and the selected Resistance member succeed at the ...


4

From my experience, early leads in Alhambra tend to not indicate victories. In most games in my circles I am last after the first scoring round, and then win the game. My strategies: First scoring round is all about walls. These walls if played right will make you points two more times in the game. The color points are meager, and the game will change ...


4

I've been allowed to cook 4 sheep in a 2er before and still lost the game. Badly. I do think in general, your opponents are over-valuing "scattering the woolies" (as one BGGer puts it) if they're just making a knee-jerk response to your First Fireplace. Assuming you keep one, it's theoretically a 2-point move, but only if you don't cook it later and never ...



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