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Subject: Strategy and Common Pitfalls (Newbie Mistakes) rss

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Allen Wu
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Made an account just to post this.
Love this game, kudos to the game designers.
Very simple game, easy to learn, the intricacies with timing/resource management while under game theory pressure reminds me a lot of Dungeon Pets.
But I'll get to the point.

Common newbie mistakes:

A) Fixation on water:
Water isn't that big a deal. Beginners often enter the day with the mindset "I need at least 1 water"
What you do if you can't efficiently get water is:
1. Get at least your total shelter cost +1 in can/meat
2. Pay the food costs, have 1 can/meat leftover
3. Have 1 survivor die from a room with no immediate use
4. Use the can/meat to recruit and throw him back in there

Basically nothing happened. This ain't Mad Max.

B) Game designer's original intent vs reality:
Intent: Water > can > meat > chip > metal/wood > ammo
Reality: Water = can = meat > ammo > chip > metal/wood
(balance of rooms, mathematically speaking, was based around this)
Keep this in mind when determining which rooms are good.

C) Radioactivity management:
Don't want it over -4 at end-game
If you have people at vent: 1/2/2/2/2/2, you get -2 by endgame
The rest isn't that complicated
Don't overthink it. Unless you really screwed up, never have that 3rd survivor doing ventilation at the end of the night

D) Thinking there is more than 1 correct end-game move:
Short answer: there isn't.
Long:
Construct basic room: -2 materials to build room
Construct a second room for 1 material
Recruit and max those rooms
Best candidate for second room is auto-repair 1 equipment
Because you don't have to pay the food cost and can use the effect immediately
That's like a 5 material discount out of nowhere, while paying none of the upkeep

If anyone has something better, I'm all ears

E) Underestimate ammo:
If there is one truth to this game, it's that ammo is love, ammo is life (AKA the Americans were right all along)
Ammo serves 2 purposes that are both incredibly high skill ceiling, but when done properly make you unstoppable:
1. Ammo lets you optimize metal/wood/chip on hunting tiles
2. Ammo serves as deterrent against pressure

Complete understanding of the implications of 1. and 2. is something like a +/-20 point difference in performance.
I'm not kidding. You base the positioning of your people around this. You base your movement order around this.
You take note of your opponents' movement order to complement this.

This is why you always hunt last if possible. Maximize the use of ammo as deterrent, then after you're safe, burn them to hunt.
This is why +4 ammunition room is absolutely imba. It's gamebreaking. If you don't draft and get 2 for whatever karmic reason, be kind and offer to restart the game.

F) There are two cities and 3 hunting locations, rooms/equipment that give bonuses to those must be good!
Actually no. Rooms/equipment are only 1 use per day. This means that the only probability consideration you should take into account is the odds of the bonus applying once.

G) Canned food is good because you can carry it over to the next day
Not really. This mindset is bad. You don't want to carry anything over to the next day. Your action points are limited, and anything done with action points should grow in value from day to day (example: food -> recruit -> put in room -> room does something that makes your next day better). Having essentials sitting around is bad management.

I'll add more later.
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Allen Wu
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Advanced Rooms Tier List

Tier S
(3) 4 ammo

Explanation:
See it. Keep it. Start with it. Win games. Ammo was intended to be worth less than materials, but in practice it's almost as good as essentials. And you get 4 of them for 3 upkeep, with no activation conditions. Absolutely broken.

Tier A
(2) fixing equipment -2 materials
(2) immunity to any event

Explanation:
Fixing equipment -2 materials at 2 upkeep is MUCH better than fixing equipment without cost at 3 upkeep. You can decide which materials to be deducted, so the actual text of the room is "Fixing equipment - you only need 1 of any material to fix an equipment". This gives you a pain-free way to fix equipment each night.

Immunity to any event is like bringing an umbrella when the weather forecast gives you a 50% chance to rain. If it actually rains, you're damn glad you brought it. If not, you just keep it in your bag. This effect is so unique that you really should pick it if possible, just to give you that option when the events go south.

Tier B
(2) draw 2 equipment tiles
(3) cargo ship +2 canned foods and heroes' space guaranteed
(2) destroy 1 of your equipment and retrieve materials

Beginners oftentimes get the misconception that these equipment effects are best when stacked. That is incorrect. When you invest into stacking them, you lose flexibility. Draw 2 equipment tiles lets you stay away from cities (which are poor return). You then spend more time in hunting areas for a greater harvest. Destroy equipment room lets you take multiple equipment from a city (searching in cities is bad return). Normally you don't want too many broken equipment because they're useless unfixed. If you can destroy 1 a turn for resources, you don't have that problem.

As for the cargo ship +2, the key here is the guaranteed space for your hero. This lets you rotate between your 4 and 5 heroes to pounce on the cargo ship as your last move. Pretty much guaranteed to pressure someone, and you get 4-5 canned food +1 survivor (something like a 5-6 essentials value).

Tier C
(1) 1 hero [3] is immune to pressure
(1) hunting +1 food
(3) auto-repairs 1 equipment
(2) 1 permanent ventilation
(1) cargo ship +1 canned food

All of Tier C is just "it's k, but nothing to write home about". They do things. They're a bit weak or cost a bit too much compared to Tier S-B.

Tier D
(2) city +2 search tiles
(2) empty cupboard +1 +1
(1) secretly consult 1 search pile
(2) decrease radioactivity by 1
(2) 1 permanent water

These city rooms were most likely intended to be used together. Synergy with rooms is bad because you only start with 1. Even if you do somehow make it work, the return is so mediocre that you'd start wondering why you even bothered.

Decrease radioactivity by 1 and 1 permanent water are both useful effects, but 2 upkeep is just way too much.

Tier F
(2) gain 1 survivor each turn in this room
(3) hunting +2 foods
(1) pressure: you choose the stolen resources

If the survivor you gained could hop rooms, this would be Tier D. That's how bad this room is. Sometimes new players think "oh hey that means I can let them die in place of survivors in my other rooms". But then they try it and realize that you HAVE to feed your dudes if you can. That means you can't sacrifice them then recruit fresh peeps elsewhere. Terrible.

Hunting is situational. +2 food, then you upkeep 3. What. Yeah pass on this.

Pressure: you choose the stolen resources. Ah... the newbie killer. If your opponents don't know that ammo is good, get this. Otherwise, this card might as well say "when you pressure your opponent, growl at him".
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Oliver Brettschneider
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Great analysis, thanks for that.

The winners of our last two games both had the ammo+4 room, so I can confirm that observation. I wonder if there's a way to tweak the weak rooms to make them more balanced, thus creating a greater challenge. It kind of sucks to be stuck with less efficient rooms from the beginning...
 
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David Stahle
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Good advice

Regarding ammo value I would say that its value differs depending on player count. And I am sure you are aware but the +4 ammo room can only be activated during the night (phase 5). But still, if populated during round 1 night phase it will yield you 20 usable ammo (and 4 end game tie breaker ammo) for the total upkeep cost of 15 food. An OK ratio compared to other rooms so I agree that is one of the better rooms.

A tip I would add is that rooms are not cost efficient if built early and should be populated as late as possible to maximize benefit.

Equipment on the other hand are a net gain if you build them early in the game but its net benefit decreases for each round you delay the repair.

So regardless of strategy you should repair some equipment in the first couple of rounds and switch to rooms in later ones.
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Allen Wu
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Imagine wrote:
Great analysis, thanks for that.

The winners of our last two games both had the ammo+4 room, so I can confirm that observation. I wonder if there's a way to tweak the weak rooms to make them more balanced, thus creating a greater challenge. It kind of sucks to be stuck with less efficient rooms from the beginning...


After the first game, our group started to draft rooms. Doesn't completely solve the problem, but does make it more fair.

As for balance, here's what I'd do:

Tier S
(3) 3 ammo

Tier A
(2) fixing equipment -2 materials
(2) immunity to any event

Tier B
(2) draw 2 equipment tiles
(3) cargo ship +2 canned foods and heroes' space guaranteed
(2) destroy 1 of your equipment and retrieve materials

Tier C
(1) 1 hero [3] is immune to pressure
(1) hunting +1 food
(3) auto-repairs 1 equipment
(2) 1 permanent ventilation
(1) cargo ship +1 canned food

Tier D
(2) city +3 search tiles
(2) empty cupboard +1 wood/metal (your choice), +1 water
(1) secretly consult 1 search pile, then move 1 tile to top or bottom
(1) decrease radioactivity by 1
(1) 1 permanent water

Tier F
(2) gain 2 survivors each turn in this room (max 9)
(3) hunting +3 foods
(1) pressure: you choose the stolen resources, pressure +1
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Allen Wu
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Steeleback wrote:

A tip I would add is that rooms are not cost efficient if built early and should be populated as late as possible to maximize benefit.

Equipment on the other hand are a net gain if you build them early in the game but its net benefit decreases for each round you delay the repair.

So regardless of strategy you should repair some equipment in the first couple of rounds and switch to rooms in later ones.


My group started drafting after the first game, so "choice of rooms" is a bit more relevant for us. My favorite selection of 4 are:
Ammo +4
Repair equipment -2
Immunity to event
Draw 2 equipment tiles

This build does exactly what you emphasize as good early on: fix equipment fast and early. Ammo +4 and Immunity serve as protection while you stack equipment. However, I would not put cost efficiency of equipment as simply as building early is better. You want to not pay full repair cost as much as possible (in other words, maximize use of repair equipment -2). And Immunity to event can in some situations more than pay for itself, especially in the case of a "everybody's poor" scenario (saaaaaaaandstooooorm). I personally go at a pace of 1-2 equipment fixes per day. I then end up with ~10-12 repaired equipment by endgame, 5-7 rooms filled, 45-60 points (depends on how hard I get blocked at the end).
 
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David Stahle
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I still think that early rooms is a common pitfall and newbie mistake (even if you have listed good ones). The limited resource in the game is action points so lets use that as measure.

Building materials and ammo cost 1 AP each to collect.

Food and survivors cost about average 1,25 AP each to collect

The benefit of the -2 material to repair room is the equivalent of 2 AP. But the cost for the room is 2 food = 2,5 AP. A net loss of 0,5 AP per round.

The benefit of +4 ammo rooms is equivalent to 4 AP and the upkeep of 3 food is = -3,75 AP. A net gain of 0,25 AP, which is why it is a strong room.

Basically the only thing you can do in the game to increase action efficiency or increase your total action points is to repair equipment and the earlier the better. It should be your no 1 priority to get and repair equipment (the better ones) during the first two rounds.
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Allen Wu
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Steeleback wrote:
I still think that early rooms is a common pitfall and newbie mistake (even if you have listed good ones). The limited resource in the game is action points so lets use that as measure.

Building materials and ammo cost 1 AP each to collect.

Food and survivors cost about average 1,25 AP each to collect

The benefit of the -2 material to repair room is the equivalent of 2 AP. But the cost for the room is 2 food = 2,5 AP. A net loss of 0,5 AP per round.

The benefit of +4 ammo rooms is equivalent to 4 AP and the upkeep of 3 food is = -3,75 AP. A net gain of 0,25 AP, which is why it is a strong room.

Basically the only thing you can do in the game to increase action efficiency or increase your total action points is to repair equipment and the earlier the better. It should be your no 1 priority to get and repair equipment (the better ones) during the first two rounds.


On paper, yes, your calculations are correct. However, a number of factors to consider:
1. Your AP cannot be independently distributed (they are in bulks of 5, 4, 3 and 3). This gives value to flexibility, which is really big in the -2 material to repair room. The ideal scenario where you can satisfy randomly flipped equipment pieces with the exact required AP distribution is basically impossible. I have tried equipment rush strategies, and with about the same amount of luck/strength of opponents, my final score was quite a bit less. You more often than not have to float materials, and that dips your pace far more than slight loss in room efficiency.
2. Equipment themselves create inflexibility. The more of them you have, the less likely you would be able to use all of them in one day. Rooms grow at a slower pace, so it's relatively easy to get 1 use per day.
3. Equipment is not a fixed thing (pun noticed but not intended). Sometimes equipment shown is just not applicable to what you're trying to do. Other times your opponents take the good equipment first. Flat calculations of AP efficiency works in a vacuum but map state alters this dramatically.

So to sum up my thoughts, yes, equipment is better than rooms early. But I disagree with how all or zero you're implying (no growth in rooms early game). I generally populate 2 rooms early on (ammo and repair, or ammo and immune if saaaaaaandddstoooorm), then explode day 5 and 6 to a max of 5-7 rooms. Hard to argue further than this as we're not in range to actually play one strat against the other.
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Jethro Hendrickx
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Steeleback wrote:
I still think that early rooms is a common pitfall and newbie mistake (even if you have listed good ones). The limited resource in the game is action points so lets use that as measure.

Building materials and ammo cost 1 AP each to collect.

Food and survivors cost about average 1,25 AP each to collect

The benefit of the -2 material to repair room is the equivalent of 2 AP. But the cost for the room is 2 food = 2,5 AP. A net loss of 0,5 AP per round.

The benefit of +4 ammo rooms is equivalent to 4 AP and the upkeep of 3 food is = -3,75 AP. A net gain of 0,25 AP, which is why it is a strong room.

Basically the only thing you can do in the game to increase action efficiency or increase your total action points is to repair equipment and the earlier the better. It should be your no 1 priority to get and repair equipment (the better ones) during the first two rounds.


I very much agree with this, here's what I wrote in my own strategy article about rooms.

Rooms: I think the most deceptive about those is that they don't improve your economy, but rather reduce it, as the food cost to maintain them is bigger than the advantage they offer. But the points they offer can't be ignored, constructing your last room is by far the most efficient way to gain points. So I think it's best to aim to construct (and staff) all of them, but as late in the game as seems feasable. As such, only your starting room is very important, room 2-3-4-5 less so, and room 6-7 have almost no importance.
Rooms which can be used in phase 5 of the night are generally better, as you can use them 1 more time than rooms which need to be used earlier in the turn.
Rooms you plan to construct later in the game need preferably only 3 survivors to activate, I find the ones that require 4 survivors better in the early game as their maintenance is lower (as long as you can use the advantage).


Overall I find my gameflow to be determined a lot more by my early equipment, then by my rooms. Getting good combo's here is a lot more important than the rooms you get (drawing at least 1-2 good starting rooms is nice though).
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Kolby Reddish
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Quote:
If you don't draft and get 2 for whatever karmic reason, be kind and offer to restart the game.


Pretty sure you cannot have the same room twice.
 
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David Stahle
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Same room is OK and confirmed by designer in another rules thread, two of the same equipment is not.
 
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Kurt R
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I enjoy this game but I've noticed how powerful the +4 ammo room is recently and was going to post a thread asking if others felt the same. Then I came across this thread. OK, so it wasn't sour grapes. It's head and shoulders above the others in terms of value.

Think I'm going to nerf that building.

Oh, and great analysis on the buildings. Very helpful!
 
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