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Subject: Lets Talk About... Dragonlords (A Strategy Discussion Series) rss

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Steve Haas
United States
Mountain View
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In this seventh installment of the series, we're discussing Dragonlords. Some questions to shape the discussion:

* Under what game circumstances are Dragonlords good/bad? When do you look to play them? When should you avoid them?
* What sorts of strategies/approaches do you find effective when playing Dragonlords? What problems have you had that you haven't figured out how to solve?
* What things should one be aware of when playing *against* Dragonlords? How does their presence/absence affect what other decisions you might make?
* What other questions do you have about Dragonlords? Is there anything you'd like to see more experienced players discuss about them?

Linking to (completed!) games where Dragonlords did notably well (or poorly) for purposes of discussion is encouraged, as is referring to any existing threads/posts/other strategy resources you may have found useful or interesting with regards to playing Dragonlords.

Previous Installments:
* Acolytes
* Alchemists
* Auren
* Chaos Magicians
* Cultists
* Darklings
 
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Robert
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How to play Dragonlords: try to be a pain in the a** for the other players by taking their hexes (usually not the hexes in their home color, but those one spade away which only cost you one power token and which they need to expand/form a town) early, but distribute your aggression evenly

How to play against Dragonlords: avoid their neighborhood, and if that can't be done, revise your strategy to take key hexes early, resp. prepare to have them blocked


[Edit: clarified the term "their hexes"]

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Robin Zigmond
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I'm certainly not an expert Dragonlords player (or expert player of any faction!) - but I always feel that DL are only worth taking with R1 D scoring. If there's Edge scoring as well, then the chances are I'll take them given the chance.
 
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Anthony Heitzinger
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DocCool wrote:
How to play Dragonlords: try to be a pain in the a** for the other players by taking their hexes early, but distribute your aggression evenly

How to play against Dragonlords: avoid their neighborhood, and if that can't be done, revise your strategy to take key hexes early, resp. prepare to have them blocked



Interesting. I tend to completely avoid the terrains of my opponents due to them costing double the power.
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Robert
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Rachelisapoopy wrote:
DocCool wrote:
How to play Dragonlords: try to be a pain in the a** for the other players by taking their hexes early, but distribute your aggression evenly

How to play against Dragonlords: avoid their neighborhood, and if that can't be done, revise your strategy to take key hexes early, resp. prepare to have them blocked



Interesting. I tend to completely avoid the terrains of my opponents due to them costing double the power.
Clarification: "their hexes" does not refer to hexes in their color, but to those one spade away which they'll need for expansion/formation of towns. I agree that as Dragonlords, you want to avoid spending two tokens for volcanization of an opponent's home terrain, and if you do, it should be because YOU need that hex, not just to deny it to the opponent.
 
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V Vendetta
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It is not their terrain that is interesting. It is a 1 dig away terrain that wasn't taken yet by other factions that is interesting. They also like F&I factions in the game a bit more for that reason.

For Dragonlords spade bonuses from cults are better than for Acolytes (arguably better than for most factions since you get a power token AND you get to choose WHEN to dig instead of having to dig when the cult spades arrive). Also timing the SH is useful to replenish power (not in the opener, tho, since their SH openers are usually an economic disaster, and BON6 would be nicer to avoid having more specific setups) while not a must. Usually the "loads a Ds" (6+Ds) approach is better, so R1 with D scoring is a favorite, but I think TE+(3+D)s works too (as a neat little fact, if I'm not mistaken, TE+6D games happened twice). Having many Ds avoids the "not enough workers" issue you might run into.

I don't like cluster scoring for them, but they can perform well in all of the extra scoring.
 
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Greg W
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VeteranVandal wrote:
It is not their terrain that is interesting. It is a 1 dig away terrain that wasn't taken yet by other factions that is interesting. They also like F&I factions in the game a bit more for that reason.


Just be forwarned: this is only true for 3 of the other 4 F&I factions - shapeshifters can really mess with you, because they do actually have their home color protected from dragonlords, meaning in the late game they can switch up which terrains are hard for you to build on. I lived through this once and can attest that it is quite annoying .

Agree with the others about an early D start, and obviously fire bonuses are important (especially that worker fire bonus, because DLs can get worker limited as soon as they start building up). Some other things I look for:
- Round 4 SA/SH bonus (or round 3 or 5 in a pinch) - that's about when I usually end up wanting to get a second dose of power tokens to keep expanding. Bonus points if the SA/SH bonus is the fire worker bonus - and triple points if it's immediately followed up by a D bonus round
- scoring tiles: I like bon6, bon9 (of course), but not bon7 or bon10, because they struggle to advance shipping early, and hate having too many TPs on the board (all that excess power generation).
- Other bonus tiles: I really like Bon1, for the spades it gives. And either bon4 or bon5 are awesome in round 1 because they help cycle your power to maybe get the (always amazing) round 1 act4.
- early-to-mid round TP scoring rounds are just generally uninspiring, unless maybe following a SA/SH round (for the extra power tokens you get to help with cycling)
- General point on round bonuses: spades quite helpful, in any color but especially brown or blue because you can work for them while still getting fav11/fav10. Can help stave off getting the SH, and/or guarantee you largest network (assuming you connect, which you really should).

I'm really curious what others say about playing strategy beyond when to pick them - the early D build out is always a classic/obvious strategy, and one should always plan builds to correspond to round bonuses, etc., but my experience playing dragonlords has always been that I felt like my moves were dictated for me more than I have experienced with other factions. I've done reasonably well with them, but I think because the power game is so regimented, they have always felt strategically...almost empty (basically the opposite of their color sibling, the acolytes). Not that there is no strategy of course, but when you stop competing as much for power actions, the game gets a lot simpler.
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Robert
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Two more things which come to my mind:

1) Power token management is important: When are you willing to go below 4 power tokens and thus make it impossible to take certain power actions? And when do you build your much-needed SH for the extra tokens (which you need if you want to be competitive in network), and can you manage to gain a spade or two extra from round bonus/BON1?

2) It's not only workers which DLs lack once they build up - it's also coins. The SH (which DLs need IMO) is expensive (as is the SA, both 4w+8c), so money will be an issue. Moreso once the DLs go below 3 power tokens and therefore have no chance for ACT4 (cf. 1). OTOH with few power tokens, the pw-to-coin conversion becomes the only way to use leeched power, which somewhat helps the money shortage.

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Space Trucker
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Extra workers are definitly useful at the start, as they help to start with something like TE+5D - which compensates for the bad worker income.
Example: https://terra.snellman.net/game/WTC16QF2GER1vEEvGAMvUSUKonB1...

I think an early good board position is crucial for a good result.

BON6 is very useful for dragonlords.
Early shipping should be avoided, as it is expensive and they should be ale to expand without.
A very early town (like round 2) is often doable for Dragonlords.
A very strong final scoring tile would be clusters, as it's easier than for other factions (except Acolytes) to find cheap to dig individual clusters.
 
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George Sprockitz
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SpaceTrucker wrote:

A very strong final scoring tile would be clusters, as it's easier than for other factions (except Acolytes) to find cheap to dig individual clusters.


I actually dislike clusters for either volcano faction because they have to dig every spot they build. Base factions have an easier time finding the 'cheap' individual clusters because they don't have to dig at all. The volcano faction advantage is in easier town formation, they should be getting 3 towns, which works against cluster scoring. Distance and edge work really well as they can build almost anywhere.
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V Vendetta
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gmg159 wrote:
Distance and edge work really well as they can build almost anywhere.


As confirmed by the statistics, by the way. Later I might edit this message to put the stats on it.
 
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