Recommend
47 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

San Juan» Forums » Strategy

Subject: What and When to Build in San Juan rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: Strategy [+] card [+] san [+] juan [+] analysis [+] [View All]
Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Buildings of San Juan

Archive (cost 1, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Archive allows you to discard from your hand instead of from the cards drawn during the Councilor phase. The net effect is that you might get to improve the quality of one or more of the cards in your hand. In the best case you might improve the second best card in your hand, otherwise it might improve one of the other cards in your hand, or it might not do anything at all.

The problem is that the second best card in your hand probably isn’t that important. And the third or fourth best cards are meaningless. This is because you will use most if not all of these cards to buy the best card in your hand.

To make matters worse, this card is mostly made obsolete by the Prefecture (which is a very good card). The Prefecture allows you to keep both cards when someone else picks the Councilor role so the Archive will only have an effect if YOU choose the Councilor role. Even then it still only improves the third/fourth best cards in your hand at best.

Most other cards in the game have effects that give you additional cards or victory points. This card delivers very little.

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio.

Cons:
It’s only worth one vp. The least useful function of any card in the game.

When to build it:

For most building strategies this card has only one good use: if you have one building space left and you’re ahead and you can’t afford anything else – build it to win.

If you’re playing the speed build strategy it’s okay to build this if you don’t have better options. It gets you closer to 12 buildings and it’s worth a vp.

It might also be okay to build this if you already have the Crane. That way you can build over it later (hopefully with the Prefecture).

I can’t think of any other situation where the Archive is a good build.


Gold Mine (cost 1, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Gold Mine gives you a chance to get an extra card during the Prospector phase. You draw 4 cards from the deck and if all 4 of them have different costs you get to keep one of them.

This doesn’t happen very often (about 25% depending on the circumstances) but when it does you get to pick one of 4 cards. One of those cards will almost certainly help your hand. This building gives you quality as well as quantity.

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio. It can give you good cards during a phase where you ordinarily wouldn’t get anything at all.

Cons:
It works randomly. It doesn’t work very often. It only gives you one vp.

When to build it:
For most strategies, build this early or don’t bother. If you make it your first build you might get 3 or 4 cards out of it. If you wait until mid-game you’ll probably only get 1 or 2. Don’t build it if you have better choices unless you know you’ll be able to build twice in a row.

This fits in well with purple and speed building strategies, but isn’t quite so good for the Production/Guild Hall strategy. If you’re lucky it might get you your Guild Hall, but just as often it’s just a small purple card.


Indigo Plant (cost 1, 1 vp):
What it does:
During the producer phase it produces 1 Indigo. During the trader phase 1 Indigo sells for 1 card.

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio. You get one for free. It can give you an extra card during trading or building under the right circumstances.

Cons:
It only give you one vp. Everyone else gets one for free. Buying a second one will only get you a card if you take both producer and trader (or buy other cards to help you produce/trade/build).

When to build it:
The purple player probably should never build this card (unless it clinches a win).

The production player should only build this if they already have a helper (Black Market, Trading Post, Aqueduct) or the Guild Hall. Even then they should only build it if they can’t build a better building.

Indigo is great for the speed player. The speed player often accumulates 2 cost helper cards that turn the Indigo into reliable income.

Smithy (cost 1, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Smithy reduces the cost of building any production building (Indigo, Sugar, Tobacco, Coffee, or Silver) by 1.

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio. It can save you lots of cards if you’re using a Production/Guild Hall strategy. It might make it possible to build a large card later that you otherwise might not be able to afford.

Cons:
It only gives you one vp. It’s a purple card that mostly helps a Production/Guild Hall strategy. You won’t get your investment back if you don’t build at least 2 production buildings.

When to build it:
This is another card that generally only makes sense to build early. Don’t build this instead of building a production building (Tobacco or bigger). The production building will pay off sooner. Don’t build this if you’re playing purple unless you just don’t have anything else to build, even then it might be better to skip a build.

This is not a very good card for the purple player. It is purple, but it provides no other benefit. Consider it only if it is the only card you can afford to build and you fear getting to far behind. If possible, build your second production building instead.

This is one of the best early cards for the speed build strategy. It will get you those Indigos for free and Sugars for 1. It can also be good for Production/Guild Hall, but you are making a gamble you’ll draw the Guild Hall later if you go this way. Great if it works, but bad news if it doesn’t. Late in the game the Smithy just isn’t worth the building space, no matter what strategy you’re using.


Black Market (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
Allows you to use one or two produced goods during the builder phase. This can be a great benefit in the right circumstances. If for example you have an Indigo Plant and a Tobacco Shed and choose producer, you can use the Indigo you produced in the builder phase and still be able to sell the Tobacco in the trader phase. Sometimes you can even use both of them in the builder phase and produce AGAIN when everybody else gets no production.

This can really help late in the game when you’re pushing up against the seven card limit.

Pros:
Fairly Cheap. Converts your otherwise fairly useless Indigo into reliable income. Gives you extra building income in some circumstances.

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth one vp. It’s only useful if you already have two production buildings. It requires you to take the producer phase or buy an Aqueduct to get any value out of it.

When to build it:
Not a very good card for the Production/Guild Hall strategy – you will have better uses for your production.

Not bad for the purple player if you buy it fairly early (after your second production building) but don’t build it if there are better choices (Carpenter, Quarry, etc.)

This is a good card for the speed builder. You will often have plenty of Indigo/Sugar to take advantage of the Black Market.

The Black Market combos well with the Aqueduct either for purple or for speed.


Crane (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Crane allows you to build over one of your existing buildings, reducing the price of the build by the cost of the original building.

This is not very efficient. Every time you use it you lose the card you built over. Not only do you lose the special functions of the card but you lose the card itself in effect raising the cost of the overall purchase by 1. You also lose the victory points of the card replaced. An Indigo plant costs 1 card and gives you 1 vp. If you build a Tobacco Shed over the top of it the net cost is 1 (for the Indigo in the first place) + 1 (for the Indigo card itself) + 2 (for the Tobacco Shed). That’s 4 cards for 2 vps. Not a very good deal. And it puts you no closer to ending the game.

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. Can allow you to catch up with someone who has more points than you do.

Cons:
It has a low cost to vp ratio. It’s only worth one vp. It’s expensive to use. It doesn’t give you any extra cards or vps.

When to build it:
In general this is not a good Building. There is one case where everyone recognizes you should try it. If you only have two building spaces left and you are behind, you probably better build it. It’s a long shot, but it may allow you to catch up. This is most likely to happen if you play the speed strategy (in which case, you might already have it!)

For speed this isn’t a bad card. It’s cheap and it might allow you to buy a Prefecture, Aqueduct, or Quarry you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Don’t overuse it tho. Once or twice is probably all you can afford, or your quality-building opponents may catch up and build their big buildings.


Market Stand (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
If you trade two goods the Market Stand gives you an extra card.

Unlike the Well, Black Market, and Trading Post this card is very hard to take advantage of. To use it you need to have at least two production buildings, take the producer (or buy an Aqueduct), and then take the trader (or buy a Trading Post). Without buying the extra cards this will probably only happen 2 or 3 times before the game is over.

If you do buy the extra cards you have created “The Newbie Combo”. You have something like: Indigo, Tobacco (Sugar for a true Newbie), Market Stand, Aqueduct, and Trading Post. That’s a total of 5 (out of only 12) buildings for only 7 victory points. What’s worse is that the other players see this and will make efforts to deny you any advantage from it as many turns as they can. (The “Super Newbie Combo” would also include the Well and Sugar instead of Tobacco. 6 cards for 7 vps.)

In case you missed my point, 7 vps for 5 cards is very poor. It will be very hard to make up for this lack of points in your other 7 cards. So even if you’re churning out tons of extra cards at that point it’s probably too late, you’ve created a vp deficit you can’t overcome.

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. It can help out a speed strategy a little bit.

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth one vp. It requires luck and either an expensive combo or constant producing/trading to get any value from it.

When to build it:
The Market Stand really only fits into a speed strategy. In that case you are trying to build fast, if you get the Newbie Combo that’s just gravy, if not, you built another cheap building.

Purple and Production/Guild Hall players should avoid this card (unless it wins them the game).


Poor House (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
If you have 1 or 0 cards left after building, the Poor House lets you draw a card.

This is probably the best of the 2 cost buildings. Early in the game you are very short of cards and the Poor House will often give you an extra card with every build. If you buy this early it will probably get you 3-4 extra cards or better.

The Poor House doesn’t combine well with Carpenter so it rarely makes sense to buy both.

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. It gets you cards when you need them most (when you’re poor).

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth one vp. It doesn’t combine well with Carpenter or Tower. After your income takes off it might not do much.

When to build it:
Build the Poor House early or never. It’s one of the better first card builds for purple. But purple may hold out a turn for Carpenter instead. Poor House is usually better early, but Carpenter is better late.

Production/Guild Hall should take this instead of Carpenter if they intend to use either. In most cases they can find something better to build.

This is a crucial card for speed. It’s almost impossible to keep building without it. I almost never play speed unless I have this in my opening hand.

Poor House doesn’t combing well with Tower. Avoid this by not buying the Tower.


Sugar Mill (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
During the producer phase it produces 1 Sugar. During the trader phase 1 Sugar sells for 1 or 2 cards. (Two 2s and Three 1s for a 1.4 average).

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. It produces 40% more income than your Indigo Plant.

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth 1 vp. It usually doesn’t give you any more income than your initial Indigo plant.

When to build it:
The purple player should avoid the Sugar Mill. (Except, of course, to win.)

The production player should build it only after they already have the Guild Hall or if they have nothing better to build (better Sugar than a Market Stand for example).

For speed this isn’t bad. Not as good as Indigo, but still pretty cheap. If they have the Smithy they might get this for free. Combines reasonably well with Black Market, Well, or Trading Post.


Trading Post (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Trading Post allows you to sell an additional good during the trader phase.

This is way better than the Market Stand, but not quite as good as the Well. You will either need to buy the Aqueduct or choose the producer to make this work for you.

The Trading Post with the Aqueduct is a pretty good combination, but stop there. Don’t try to add Market Stand or Well – you’re sacrificing too many vps for income. (Unless you’re playing speed, in which case vps be damned.)

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. It will give you extra income nearly every time you can take the producer (delayed a bit).

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth 1 vp. It forces you to take the producer or buy the Aqueduct. It’s useless without a second production building. It’s mostly useless if you are forced to pick the trader role yourself.

When to build it:
No point in building the Trading Post before you have a second production building. It’s also not worth building late.

The production player will usually find something more useful to build.

This is fairly good for the speed player. Multiple small production buildings and helpers like the Market Stand or Aqueduct add to the Trading Post’s value.


Well (cost 2, 1 vp):
What it does:
The Well gives you an extra card every time you produce two goods.

This is the only card that gives you cards in the production phase. If your opponents are doing a lot of production/trading this can be a great neutralizer.

The Well works okay by itself, but really shines when combined with the Aqueduct. It may require a third production building to be fully reliable, but you wanted to build that Silver Smelter anyway right?

Getting your card during the producer phase gives you a tempo advantage over the traders, allowing you to build with an extra card before they trade.

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. It gives you cards in the producer phase.

Cons:
It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth 1 vp. Requires the Aqueduct or for you to take producer to gain the advantage. May require a third production building.

When to build it:
You need to have your second production building before you can use the Well. It may not be worth building if you don’t have it yet. At the same time, you need to build this fairly early in order to get your investment back.

It’s not a great card for the producer but an okay build in early to mid game if nothing better is available.

This is not bad for purple especially if they can get the Aqueduct up with it.

The Well is a solid build for the speed strategy. It helps keep the cards coming. It’s okay to build it before your second production building if you have to.


Aqueduct (cost 3, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Aqueduct allows you to produce and extra good during the production phase. Altho this is a great card for combinations, it is good all by itself. While its effect occurs in the production phase its benefit is in the trader phase.

To take advantage you will need to take the trader or to buy one of the combo cards. The Black Market will allow you to use your improved production in the builder phase. Well will give you an extra card in the producer phase. Trading Post will allow you to sell your extra production in the trader phase even without the privilege. Market Stand is also a possibility here, but I don’t like it nearly as much since you will still be force to choose trader to get the advantage.

The important point is to pick ONE of those cards for a combo and stop there. If you’re playing speed you can buy as many as you like, but remember that speed isn’t trying to make combos, just build every turn. If you play any other strategy than more than one 2 cost card is a waste of building space.

Remember that Black Market doesn’t work well with Trading Post or Market Stand and not even that well with the Well. Trading Post and Well work together nicely but they just don’t give you enough vps.

Pros:
It has a fairly high vp to cost ratio. It gives you extra goods, allowing you to skip the producer. It makes great combinations. It has fairly good vps.

Cons:
It requires purple and production elements to work well. You have to take the trader, or buy another card to use it (tho fortunately, there are a lot of those cards to choose from). It’s not a good early card.

When to build it:
The Aqueduct not a good buy unless you already have a good second production building. It’s not as good early as Carpenter, Poor House, or Prefecture so this is often delayed until mid game. It’s not so great late either since you won’t have time to use its income benefits.

It works well in a purple strategy and nearly as well in production/Guild Hall.

This is also a good card for speed IF you can afford it. The speed player will have to build a few 3 cost buildings and this is a very good choice. But make sure you’ll be able to keep building after you buy it.


Carpenter (cost 3, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Carpenter gives you an extra card after you build a purple building. Not as good as the Quarry, but it is cheaper. Extra cards are a good thing. And the builder phase happens almost every turn.

This is not as general as the Poor House. But unless you’re playing production/Guild Hall, you will be building purple buildings. Better than the Poor House late in the game, not quite as good early in the game.

Pros:
It has a fairly high vp to cost ratio. It has fairly good vps. It gives you extra cards after the builder phase.

Cons:
Only works for purple cards. Gives you a rebate rather than a discount.

When to build it:
The Carpenter is best built early, but generally you will want to build it after cards that give you income like a second production building, Gold Mine, or Prefecture.

This card is not good for the production/Guild Hall player, but it’s a very important card for the purple player. It also works for speed, but Poor House is probably better in that case.

The purple player or the speed player might find it wise to buy the Poor House early and the Carpenter a little later. The two cards don’t work that well together, but there are cases where they don’t overlap. Carpenter is a little expensive for speed, but if you can safely afford it, it will be a big help later in the game when the cheaper cards are all built.


Chapel (cost 3, 2 vp):
What it does:
During the governor phase a player with the Chapel is allowed to put one card from their hand under the Chapel to gain 1 vp.

This is a hard card to use well. For the beginner, I might recommend that they skip it all together. But it does two good things: 1) It gives you vps at a 1 vp for 1 card ratio that’s a better ratio than anything but a 6er. 2) It allows you to eliminate cards from the deck that might be helpful to your opponents.

If you use it once it’s as good as buying a Victory Column. If you use it twice it’s a Hero.

The problem with the Chapel is that it eats up cards that you need to buy other Buildings. And doing that slows down your progress to 12 buildings. You might have a lead and be unable to win because you don’t have your buildings built out. You might not be able to afford a big building when everyone else can.

Pros:
An excellent way to generate vps with a high vp to cost ratio. A great way to kill your opponent’s strategy by burying their cards (Guild Hall being the prime candidate).

Cons:
If you buy it too soon it eats up all your income, if you buy it too late you won’t get your money’s worth out of it.

When to build it:
This card really doesn’t work for the production/Guild Hall player. Consider it only if you have a great income, already have your Guild Hall, and can’t build any production buildings.

For the purple player it is important to build this as your fourth to seventh (maybe eighth) building. If you buy it before your income producers are set up it’s useless. If you buy it too late it won’t do you much good. Make sure to dump those Guild Halls and any excess Palaces, Silver Smelters, and Monuments under your Chapel.

The Chapel is somewhat counter-productive with the speed strategy. The cards you need to build with are being spent on vps. Don’t let the option of dumping cards draw you away from your goal of finishing early. In general the other 3ers are probably a better value for you.


Prefecture (cost 3, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Prefecture allows you to keep two cards during the Councilor phase. The Councilor is one of three phases that gives you cards, but ordinarily it gives your opponents the same number of cards so it provides only a quality advantage. The Prefecture gives its owner an additional card no matter who chooses the role.

If purchased early in the game, the Prefecture will probably give you 5 or 6 additional cards. In the early game those cards often mean the difference between being able to buy a building or not.

It’s often better to let other players take the Councilor if you have this card so that you can benefit from other income such as the Prospector while still collecting the extra card when Councilor comes around.

Before the Prefecture is built in a game, Councilor will probably not be chosen that often, but once someone has it, Councilor will become a more common choice. Then you probably want to build your own just to neutralize your opponent’s advantage.

Pros:
It has a fairly high vp to cost ratio. It gives you extra cards in the Councilor phase.

Cons:
As other players build this card, your advantage will be lost.

When to build it:
This is one of the best first turn builds, especially for purple. But this is a good early build even for the production/Guild Hall Player.

Best if you build this early, but it has value in the late game too since people will be hunting for big buildings with the Councilor.

The Prefecture is a good card for the speed builder too. If you have the Archive and the Crane, you might want to build this on top of the Archive.


Statue (cost 3, 3 vp):
What it does:
Nothing but the extra vp.

Pros:
The cheapest way to get 3 vps unless you already have a big building.

Cons:
Doesn’t do anything else. Once you have Guild Hall, Indigo and Sugar are cheaper.

When to build it:
The Statue is a late game build. It fits into any strategy, but really works best for purple. Combined with City Hall, Triumphal Arch, and/or Palace the monuments give a lot of vp bang for the buck.

The production/Guild Hall player will be better off building production buildings but if those run out, this is a good late game choice.

This may be the only monument the speed player can afford.


Tobacco Storage(cost 3, 2 vp):
What it does:
During the producer phase it produces 1 Tobacco. During the trader phase 1 Tobacco sells for 1 or 2 cards. (One 1 and Four 2s for a 1.8 average).

Pros:
A fairly high vp to cost ratio. Almost double the income of your starting Indigo Plant.

Cons:
Only the first one of these you build will likely give you any income.

When to build it:
Build the Tobacco Storage early. This is probably the best first card build available. If you don’t have one of these in your starting hand you might take the Prospector or even Councilor to try and get one before you build.

Once you have Tobacco, Coffee, or Silver it probably doesn’t make sense to build this unless you already have the Guild Hall or have no better choices.

This card works with any strategy. It might be the only production building a purple player ever builds. It probably will be the largest production building a speed player can afford.


Coffee Roaster (cost 4, 2 vp):
What it does:
During the producer phase it produces 1 Coffee. During the trader phase 1 Coffee sells for 2 or 3 cards. (One 3 and Four 2s for a 2.2 average).

Pros:
You can always sell Coffee for at least 2 cards. A solid income producer.

Cons:
A fairly low vp to cost ratio. Not much better than Tobacco, but more expensive. Not as good as Silver. Fairly expensive.

When to build it:
Build the Coffee Roaster when you need a second production building, but don’t have or can’t afford Tobacco or Silver.

Coffee is not as efficient as Tobacco or Silver, but it does the job. Better Coffee than Indigo (or Sugar)!

Probably doesn’t make any sense for the speed player to build this.

After the Guild Hall is up, this is a fairly decent investment if Silver or Tobacco aren’t available. (Just about as good as a Victory Column).


Market Hall (cost 4, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Market Hall gives you and extra card any time you trade at least one good.

This seems to be a poor deal when compared with the Tobacco Storage. It only give you slightly more income. But the good news is that even if you are able to later get a Silver Mine your additional income from the Market Hall still comes in.

The Market Hall is substantially better than the Market Stand even tho they sound similar in function. I might occasionally buy a Market Stand if it only cost 1 but I would buy a Market Hall every time if it only cost 3.

Pros:
Good reliable income.

Cons:
Fairly expensive. It has a fairly low vp to cost ratio.

When to build it:
The Market Hall really only makes sense for the purple player. The production/Guild Hall player would be better off building bigger production buildings or maybe an Aqueduct.

The purple player should try to build this fairly early if they can afford it.

The speed player probably can’t afford this.


Quarry (cost 4, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Quarry reduces the cost of building any purple building by 1 card.

This is the best friend of the purple player. Combine this with Carpenter and Library and a City Hall only costs 3 cards while giving you a 1 card rebate! Even without any of the others, Quarry allows you to build 1 or 2 cost cards for “free” (the cost of the card itself).

Pros:
Gives you a very powerful building advantage for purple cards.

Cons:
It’s fairly expensive. It has a fairly low vp to cost ratio. No benefit for production buildings.

When to build it:
The Quarry is probably too expensive for a first turn build. It provides best advantage if built fairly early, but is worthwhile even fairly late for the purple player.

The production player really has no incentive to build this. It’s expensive and provides no advantage for production building.

The speed player might risk building this about mid-game if it won’t cost more than one build.


Victory Column (cost 4, 4 vp):
What it does:
Nothing but the extra vp.

Pros:
It’s one of the cheapest ways to get 4 vps.

Cons:
It doesn’t do anything else. It’s fairly expensive.

When to build it:
Any strategy can benefit from building this late in the game. But the speed player probably can’t afford it unless they have both Carpenter and Quarry. The purple player really needs to build these Monuments.


Hero (cost 5, 5 vp):
What it does:
Nothing but the extra vp.

Pros:
It’s the cheapest way to get 5 vps.

Cons:
It doesn’t do anything else. It’s very expensive.

When to build it:
Build it any time after the mid-point if you can afford it and it doesn’t prevent building a more valuable big building. Speed can’t afford this. Purple can’t afford not to have it.


Library (cost 5, 3 vp):
What it does:
The Library doubles the privilege of any role you choose. So Prospector gives you two cards, Builder reduces your cost by 2, Producer lets you produce 3 goods (or 4 with Aqueduct), Trader lets you sell 3 goods (4 with Trading Post), Councilor lets you draw 8 cards.

In two player, this is an extremely powerful card since you will nearly always be able to use it with either Builder or Prospector. In four player, it’s not nearly so good. The double privilege of Trader is very dubious in value and double Producer/Councilor privileges are fairly situational. Three player falls somewhere in between.

Some say the Library is broken in two player. I think that’s a bit strong. That said, in two player I almost always try to build this card.

Pros:
Double Builder and Prospector privileges are awesome. A fairly high vp to cost ratio.
Three vps.

Cons:
Double Producer/Trader/Councilor? Ho Hum. It’s very expensive.

When to build it:
The Library is too expensive to be built very early. In two player try to get it up fairly early tho. In four player this can wait until fairly late.

In four player the production/Guild Hall player shouldn’t bother with this but in two player they probably would benefit from building it some time in the mid game.

The speed player can’t afford this. This is probably why speed doesn’t work very well in two player.


Silver Smelter (cost 5, 3 vp):
What it does:
During the producer phase it produces 1 Silver. During the trader phase 1 Silver sells for 2 or 3 cards. (Three 3 and Two 2s for a 2.6 average).

Pros:
Three-card trading is huge. It has a fairly high vp to cost ratio. It’s worth 3 vps.

Cons:
It’s very expensive. Multiple production buildings don’t always return their full value.

When to build it:
The production/Guild Hall player wants to get a Silver Smelter up in the early mid-game if possible and build as many of these as they can afford after they get the Guild Hall.

The purple player would do well to choose this as their second production card. It’s a great equalizer. They may not be able to wait that long tho.

It’s too expensive for the speed player.


City Hall (cost 6, ? vp):
What it does:
The City Hall adds one victory point for every purple building you have down (including itself!)

This is the most important big card for the purple player.

Pros:
Combines well with other big buildings. Can be bought fairly cheaply if one has a few of the good purple building-helper cards. Can give you as many as 11 vps.

Cons:
It’s very expensive. You may be better off building monuments if you have less than 6 purple cards.

When to build it:
The City Hall is THE big building of choice for the purple player (tho Triumphal Arch can be big too). You probably can’t afford to build this before your sixth build.

A production/Guild Hall player might build one of these if they already have their Guild Hall, just to mess with any purple opponents.

The speed player just can’t afford this. In fact the speed player is playing fast to prevent ANYONE from building these big buildings.


Guild Hall (cost 6, ? vp):
What it does:
The Guild Hall adds two victory points for every production building you have down.

This is the most important big card for the production/Guild Hall player.

This card is much more powerful in 4 player than in 2 player. In 2 player the purple player will force the production/Guild Hall player to do almost all of the Production/Trading cycle. In 4 player the Production/Trading is split among two or three players at least.

Pros:
It can be worth as much as 22 points (and 12-14 is common). For those who don’t know the game very well, this is a LOT of points.

Cons:
It’s very expensive. It’s hard to build if you don’t have many purple cards, yet purple cards don’t help this card. It’s comparatively weak in two player. (But even there it’s still pretty strong).

When to build it:
The production player wants to build Guild Hall any time after about the fifth build. If they build it too early, they may never be able to build enough production buildings to catch up. If they wait too long they might not get it.

The whole problem with the production strategy is that you just might not get the Guild Hall. If you get it, great! If not, you’re probably sunk. In four player you probably have no more than a 50% chance of getting one.

The purple player might want to build this to keep it out of their opponents’ hands. If they have more than 2 production buildings it’s good for points too. But given the choice, purple will probably build City Hall first.

Speed can’t afford this one either.


Palace (cost 6, ? vp):
What it does:
The Palace gives you an extra vp for every 4 vps you have (rounded down).

Unless you already have one of the other big buildings this won’t be worth as much as they are. But if you already have one or more big buildings this might be the most valuable building you’ve got.

Pros:
Can make an already large score a runaway, or a fairly mediocre score competitive.

Cons:
Not much good if you don’t already have a fairly good score. It’s very expensive.

When to build it:
When you already have one of the other big buildings or if it’s late in the game and you’re desperate.

The production player needs to consider if they won’t be better off building another production building.

This really makes no sense for the speed player.


Triumphal Arch (cost 6, ? vp):
What it does:
The Triumphal Arch is worth 4 points if you have 1 Monument, 6 if you have 2 Monuments, and 8 if you have all three Monuments.

This is another good big building for purple. Combined with the City Hall and Palace this can lead to outrageous scores.

Pros:
This is a further reward for building Monuments. Combines well with City Hall and Palace.

Cons:
If you don’t already have at least two Monuments this won’t help too much. Very Expensive. Worst maximum reward for a big building.

When to build it:
Generally you don’t want to build the Triumphal Arch unless you already have 2 Monuments built. In most cases purple will want to choose City Hall over this.

Production probably won’t bother with this.

Makes no sense for the speed player.
19 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yehuda Berlinger
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Exhaustive.

Just a quick note: a 1 cost building costs 2 cards, the building being built and the card being tossed, for a 2 to 1 benefit. A 3 cost building costs 4 cards, and a 5 cost building 6 cards. In any of these cases, the benefit is 2 to 1, unless you are receiving a bonus from builder or another building.

Yehuda
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So any of the cards with a face cost of 1, 3 or 5 have a vp to cost ratio of 1:2. (Except Monuments and Chapel).
This is a pretty good ratio.

Cards with a face cost of 2 have a vp to cost ratio of 1:3. These are the least efficient in vp terms.
Cards with a face cost of 4 have a vp to cost ratio of 2:5. Not great, but better than the 2s.

Statue has 3:4.
Victory Column has 4:5.
Hero has 5:6.
All very good.

Chapel has 2+x:4+x where x is the number of cards you throw under it. (Most likely best case would be something like 16:18, theorectically it could be even higher, but 6:8 is more realistic).

The 6 face cost cards are too variable to have a set ratio, but, if used correctly, have the best ratios in the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Forrest
Canada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Overall, good analysis!

gilesclone wrote:
Trading Post and Well work together nicely but they just don’t give you enough vps.

A good rule of thumb is that whenever you build a 2 or 4 point building, you're giving up 1/2 of a victory point versus building a 1, 3, or 5 building.

So building these two together means you've lost 1 VP. But if they can generate even 2 cards extra income, they'll recover this. Still, I don't think I'd choose them as my prefered combo...


gilesclone wrote:
The 6 face cost cards are too variable to have a set ratio, but, if used correctly, have the best ratios in the game.

Another thing to watch for is that adding a Quarry, Carpenter, Smithy or Poor House makes the cost/point ratios shift for other buildings as well.

Or, if you want to really analyze things deeply, there's the whole issue of "opportunity cost"/point ratios, which are far more difficult to calculate, vary wildly, but are probably much more meaningful.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gabrio Secco
Italy
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Very nice post.. Just a question: why did you say that Carpenter and Poor House are not good togheter? If after building you have 0 cards, you draw a card for the Carpenter, and then (the rules say "if you have less than 2 cards") you draw a card for the Poor House
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yehuda Berlinger
Israel
Jerusalem
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mugnaio wrote:
Very nice post.. Just a question: why did you say that Carpenter and Poor House are not good togheter? If after building you have 0 cards, you draw a card for the Carpenter, and then (the rules say "if you have less than 2 cards") you draw a card for the Poor House


Yes, but the value of Poor House is halved, because now you only get a card when you end up with 0 cards after building, whereas before you used to get one also if you ended up with 1 card after building.

Yehuda
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Werner Bär
Germany
Karlsruhe
Baden
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Shade_Jon wrote:
Yes, but the value of Poor House is halved, because now you only get a card when you end up with 0 cards after building, ...


Or with 1 card after building a production building.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Bankler
United States
San Antonio
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"Keep Summer Safe!"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A good article, although I think you underestimate the black market.

It turns the producer into card advantage, which helps your flexibility. If other people aren't pushing trader, you can often produce and give everyone else nothing. Plus, it increases the value of a spare indigo and turns some mediocre cards (aquadukt, well) into a monstrous combo. It combines with a guild hall strategy, since you'll be dropping extra indigos anyway.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Actually I kind of like the Black Market. After the Poor House and the Well I think it's the best of the 2ers.

But I still find it rather weak for the Guild Hall strategy. By mid-game you have at least two Tobacco or more likely a Tobacco and a Silver. At that point if you use Black Market you're potentially throwing away cards. (Since the Tobacco might have got you 2 vs the 1 you get from BM). And what's worse, it isn't a production building so you're throwing away victory points too. I might consider it, but I sure wouldn't combine it with Aqueduct and Well or you've lost too many VPs.

A good early card for speed, a pretty good one for purple, but somewhat weak for Guild Hall.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mugnaio wrote:
Very nice post.. Just a question: why did you say that Carpenter and Poor House are not good togheter? If after building you have 0 cards, you draw a card for the Carpenter, and then (the rules say "if you have less than 2 cards") you draw a card for the Poor House


I wouldn't say never buy both, but usually once you have one of them you'd probably get more benefit out of some other build. For a speed builder having both isn't bad at all since you're always low on cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Bourrillion
United States
Mountain View
CA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very awesome.

gilesclone wrote:

Gold Mine (cost 1, 1 vp):

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio. It can give you good cards during a phase where you ordinarily wouldn’t get anything at all.


I'd point out that, while it doesn't always "hit", when it does hit it's probably going to be more likely to feature a nice Library or Hero or 6-er than your average Councillor draw would be.

Quote:
For most strategies, build this early or don’t bother. If you make it your first build you might get 3 or 4 cards out of it. If you wait until mid-game you’ll probably only get 1 or 2.


And this effect is further intensified by the fact that Prospector is a much more popular pick in the early game than the late. By your 4th build the window's already closing for this building.

Quote:
Indigo Plant (cost 1, 1 vp):

Pros:
It’s cheap. It has a high vp to cost ratio. You get one for free. It can give you an extra card during trading or building under the right circumstances.


Don't forget, that when you've drawn a Guild Hall (or are betting the farm on doing so), Indigo's vp-to-cost ratio is as good as it gets! If you've got a Smithy it's 3-to-1! I love building a row of these after the GH.

Quote:

Crane (cost 2, 1 vp):

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. Can allow you to catch up with someone who has more points than you do.


I doubt it. While you're overbuilding something they're adding on to their barrio and getting closer to ending the game. The Crane is wack.

Quote:

Sugar Mill (cost 2, 1 vp):

It has a low vp to cost ratio. It’s only worth 1 vp. It usually doesn’t give you any more income than your initial Indigo plant.


Yeah, I think sugar is one of the most dreadful cards in the deck.

Quote:

Well (cost 2, 1 vp):

The Well works okay by itself, but really shines when combined with the Aqueduct. It may require a third production building to be fully reliable, but you wanted to build that Silver Smelter anyway right?


Even with the aqueduct you still have the problem that you need to _clear_ those goods in time to use your well again. A simple defense against the Well is to take Trader often, so the Well player with full production only gets to trade one good, and can therefore only produce one good.

Quote:
Chapel (cost 3, 2 vp):
Pros:
An excellent way to generate vps with a high vp to cost ratio. A great way to kill your opponent’s strategy by burying their cards (Guild Hall being the prime candidate).


I think Chapel goes well when you're card-rich: you have Silver, Market Hall, Well, but you lack cards that provide discounts on building (Quarry, Carpenter, Poor House, Smithy). In this case turning cards into building points is less efficient than it is for your opponents; and all those card bonuses make you more likely to go over your 7-card limit, giving you the chapel bonus for free. But yes this is a hard one to time well!

Quote:
Prefecture (cost 3, 2 vp):
Pros:
It has a fairly high vp to cost ratio. It gives you extra cards in the Councilor phase.


I think of Prefecture a little differently. It isn't just the one extra card that is its true benefit. You can get that one extra card by taking Builder or Prospector or from a variety of other purple cards. To me, what the Prefecture does is it allows me to choose Councillor more often than I would otherwise, without being *penalized* the 1-card bonus I expect to be able to garner from my role choice. So it helps me improve the *quality* of my hand.

I think you skipped over the Tower.


Quote:
Quarry (cost 4, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Quarry reduces the cost of building any purple building by 1 card.


Another strategy guide here recommends the Carpenter over the Quarry. I think the Quarry is *very* much stronger. Most people realize the advantage of the Quarry when you are one short on cards -- you can build, where with the carpenter you could not. But it also has an advantage when you are not short on cards. Think of it this way: the card the Carpenter gives you is just a random card. But the card the Quarry saves you is actually the _best_ card of all the cards you were about to spend. You probably often end up building that card next turn.

Again, thanks, this was great.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Wilbur III
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kevinb9n wrote:

I'd point out that, while it doesn't always "hit", when it does hit it's probably going to be more likely to feature a nice Library or Hero or 6-er than your average Councillor draw would be.

Better than that. It gives you good, buildable cards at all stages of the game.
Quote:

Quote:

Crane (cost 2, 1 vp):

Pros:
It’s fairly cheap. Can allow you to catch up with someone who has more points than you do.


I doubt it. While you're overbuilding something they're adding on to their barrio and getting closer to ending the game. The Crane is wack.

I admit this is more theoretical than practical. Overbuilding is expensive.
Quote:

Quote:

Well (cost 2, 1 vp):

The Well works okay by itself, but really shines when combined with the Aqueduct. It may require a third production building to be fully reliable, but you wanted to build that Silver Smelter anyway right?


Even with the aqueduct you still have the problem that you need to _clear_ those goods in time to use your well again. A simple defense against the Well is to take Trader often, so the Well player with full production only gets to trade one good, and can therefore only produce one good.

[/q]
The Well is not a killer card, but it gives you a benefit out of phase, and is a fair defence against the production/trading cycle.
Quote:

Quote:

Chapel (cost 3, 2 vp):
Pros:
An excellent way to generate vps with a high vp to cost ratio. A great way to kill your opponent’s strategy by burying their cards (Guild Hall being the prime candidate).


I think Chapel goes well when you're card-rich: you have Silver, Market Hall, Well, but you lack cards that provide discounts on building (Quarry, Carpenter, Poor House, Smithy). In this case turning cards into building points is less efficient than it is for your opponents; and all those card bonuses make you more likely to go over your 7-card limit, giving you the chapel bonus for free. But yes this is a hard one to time well!

[/q]
I have definitely seen this card win games, but if I was a advising a new player, I'd say don't build it. It's very tricky.

Quote:

I think you skipped over the Tower.

I think I did.

Tower (cost 3, 2 vp):
The Tower increases your maximum hand size to 12 cards.

pros: If you're extremely rich it lets you keep some extra cards.

cons: Its advantage only happens if you have a reliable source of big income and reliable quality cards to build. It doesn't give you any more cards in any phase except the governor.

When to build it: If you're extremely rich and have nothing useful at all to build (when does that happen?)

This is right up there with the Crane and Aqueduct. I almost never build this.
Quote:

Quote:

Quarry (cost 4, 2 vp):
What it does:
The Quarry reduces the cost of building any purple building by 1 card.

Another strategy guide here recommends the Carpenter over the Quarry. I think the Quarry is *very* much stronger. Most people realize the advantage of the Quarry when you are one short on cards -- you can build, where with the carpenter you could not. But it also has an advantage when you are not short on cards. Think of it this way: the card the Carpenter gives you is just a random card. But the card the Quarry saves you is actually the _best_ card of all the cards you were about to spend. You probably often end up building that card next turn.

Again, thanks, this was great.

[/q]
The Quarry is a powerful card. Just don't ruin your game to build it.

Thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad you rediscovered (and enjoyed) my post.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.