When you have just learned a shiny new board game, especially one which is a bit longer and more complex than others, it’s nice to have some strategic direction. That’s what I aim to provide with my series Three Basic Tips – strategy advice for beginner and intermediate players that is easy to remember and yet gets you places.
Today’s game is Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games). With its 56-page rulebook and a playtime of 50-100 hours for a full campaign, the game can look a little daunting. Worry not! It’s a surprisingly beginner-friendly system – in fact, it was the first classic hex-and-counter game I ever played, and I turned out just fine. (My mother had me tested!) Follow the recommended learning path of playing the four tutorial scenarios (along with the rules reading each requires), and you’ll be all set up.
While this article is about improving your chances to win, remember that winning is not everything – particularly not in a game that can take this long. In my current two-player game (online via boardgamearena.com), a combination of suboptimal play and bad luck on my part made it clear early on that I was unlikely to win the game. Nonetheless, it’s been a fun experience, and I always look forward to the weekly meeting with my opponent. Remember what the designer himself states as the objective of the game: “Have fun playing” (rule 1.1.1).
When you have just learned a shiny new board game, especially one which is a bit longer and more complex than others, it’s nice to have some strategic direction. That’s what I aim to provide with my series Three Basic Tips – strategy advice for beginner and intermediate players that is easy to remember and yet gets you places. That goes for cooperative as well as competitive games, and so today you’ll find the first ever Three Basic Tips for a co-op game!
Earlier this year, I’ve written two strategy posts for Here I Stand (Ed Beach, GMT Games) – one on the Hapsburgs, one on the Papacy. You liked them and seemed to be craving more, and as ever, I was most anxious to oblige my esteemed readers. However, I haven’t won with all Here I Stand factions yet, and you’d rightfully demand that someone who tells you how to do things has done them themselves already. This is where Naty comes in. Normally, she writes about literature over at her blog natysbookshelf.wordpress.com (check it out, it’s amazing), but she’s also an accomplished Here I Stand player who’s run roughshod over everyone else at the table in her last game when she played England. Over to you, Naty!
Two years ago, I wrote a little post called Three Basic Tips for Twilight Struggle. I hope it helped a few new or intermediate players of Twilight Struggle (Ananda Gupta/Jason Matthews, GMT Games) to improve their strategy. Intricate strategy advice can be overwhelming for a beginner, but everyone can remember and apply three tips! As the post was quite well-received, I’ll make an (irregular) series out of it – „Three Basic Tips“.
I have borrowed the idea from someone else: My friend F. and I did not only play board games, but also pick-up soccer. In one game we were up against a much better team and had conceded ten goals in the first half already. F. rallied us during half-time saying, „Guys, it’s just three simple things“ – and when we stuck to the three things he then told us, our performance improved markedly (conceding only two more goals).
Today, the game which I will try to help you win is Friedrich (Richard Sivél, Histogame). This euro-wargame hybrid set in the Seven Years‘ War is one of my overall most-played games, and I especially like it for its seamless blend of strategic, operational, and tactical decisions. Therefore, the three tips will refer to your strategic posture, its operational implementation, and the tactical restraint needed to prevail. As Friedrich is a strongly asymmetric game, this post will only deal with one of the four roles – that of Friedrich’s Prussia. For new players that might be the biggest challenge to face off against three opponents at once, but it’s also the most fun and rewarding to pull it off successfully. Continue reading →
So, you know Twilight Struggle. The game has a certain fame to it – it was the best-ranked game on boardgamegeek.com for five years, after all. That’s even more impressive when you consider that a game of Twilight Struggle can easily take two hours, seats exactly two players and is a bit more daunting than most of the eurogames that tend to do well on BGG. Now, while it is not too hard to get into playing Twilight Struggle – the rules are elegant and not too complex – mastering the game is a whole different matter. There are 400+ threads on BGG’s Twilight Struggle strategy subforum. There is an entire website dedicated to brilliant little strategy essays on every single card in Twilight Struggle. When you play against an experienced player online, not only do they know every single card in the deck, they also seem to know which cards have been played already and which are still to come at any given moment of the game. So, is Twilight Struggle only for the select few, for the initiated who have dedicated their lives to the study of the game? By no means! The strategic basics are quickly taken in. See your fortunes in the Cold War improve by following these three tips.