Categories
Game Updates

Round 15 – Castle vs Barracks

Two very popular buildings from the original game here, both useful in scoring points.

The appeal of getting 2 points straight away from the Castle is clear, and I often see players in their first game dedicating several turns to gathering resources with the sole intention of taking the Castle. When a late objective depends on building costs, it can take the winning player by surprise as suddenly the owner of the Castle goes from 1 point to 5 or 6 points in just a couple of turns. The Barracks is far more predictable, but used several times over the game represents a much better investment of resources. Particularly combined with the Broker or a Gold Mine it can be consistently used to win the game without fighting over objectives. The Barracks therefore requires a bit more nuance to use most effectively, but doesn’t require the same level of commitment as the Castle.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 14 – Bakuto Den vs Toll Gate

The Tsuyo buildings were very popular amongst you (what a naughty bunch of players), and for several rounds we have two of them facing off. The Bakuto Den and the Toll Gate both grant resources but are useful at different stages of the game.

The Bakuto Den is very cheap (one of the cheapest of the new clan buildings) and is very easy to get early in the game, however it is also not that useful. In fact, until your opponent has scored a point it is effectively useless, and even then 1 Favour isn’t worth getting too excited about. The Toll Gate similarly grants only 1 resource, but equates to a 2 resource swing by depriving your opponent of one of them.

The Bakuto Den is fantastic later in the game, where 3 Favour is huge, whilst the Toll Gate can apply early pressure to slow down your opponent as well as manipulate any resource scoring objectives. If your opponent is moving fast and scoring quickly then you’ll want the Bakuto Den. For a slower, tighter, game take the Toll Gate.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 13 – School vs Guard House

Round 13 is the first round we have of buildings that survived elimination! The building that survives here will move on to the next round, and then after that, the final 3. By now you already know what these buildings do, and some of their merits, so let’s try and make a more direct comparison between the two of them.

Whilst the School is used for scoring points and bringing a game to a conclusion, the Guard House is generally used for delaying the game (at least by 1 turn) to allow you access to a critical position. The School allowing flexibility in its resource usage is most useful to grab the final point or two by dumping whatever resources you have left, but it still benefits from a longer game with more resource generation. The Guard House can typically help secure a two or three point objective at the end, but requires you to be in a good position to do it.

The main consideration between the two then, is how long do you think the game will be?

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 12 – Theatre vs Gardens

With Round 12 we take a look at the final 2 buildings of Loyalty & Deceit! The Theatre and the Gardens.

The Theatre is one of the more interesting Tsuyo buildings in that it is the only one that manipulates the objectives track. The Theatre lets you control the pace of the game by effectively adding a 6th objective (worth 1 or 2 points). Typically you would want to flip an objective that you are expecting to be able to score, but it can also be used when you want to delay the game – leave it unscored whilst you catch up or win generating points from other means. Its high cost makes it a late game pickup, and timing the purchase of it will be key to getting the most value, but it offers a skilled player the chance to swing or lockup an otherwise difficult game.

The Gardens really embody the Shinchoku style – sharing in a victory point gain whilst gaining an even greater personal advantage. It is a mirror of the Statue (effectively a 1 point advantage), and whilst it is a little more challenging to obtain by requiring a Favour, it also contributes more by shortening the game and effectively giving you 1 point out of 6 (rather than 7). As a late game pickup it is even more interesting – as long as you are ahead it can be enough to close out the game and get to 7 (or 9) points. What does it matter if you are giving the opponent 1 point when the game is over?

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 11 – Stables vs Statue

Next up are two very different buildings. The Stables has an ability that can be used whenever the player chooses on their turn, whilst the Statue has just a one-time ability.

The Stables is one of the few ‘movement’ buildings in the game (along with the Guard House). It’s is fairly cheaply costed so it can easily be picked up as soon as your second turn. The cost to use it, even as low as 1 Food, probably prohibits it from being used to gather resources in most cases. The Stables could be used in a pinch to reach that Action or Build space that you really need to use (or block), but I think the Stables has a much more interesting effect. The ‘potential’ for you to use the Stables will factor into your opponents decision making – either further forcing suboptimal defensive play, or perhaps simply giving up on defensive play and allowing you to access certain spaces anyway. Either way, the Stables is subtly providing you an advantage without ever having to use it. I love the extra layer to the game this adds, both when I’m the owner of the Stables or as an opponent trying to counteract it.

The Statue is probably the most straightforward building in the game. Spend resources, and you get a victory point. It’s also not particularly efficient if you just look at the ability – at 6 total resources it’s more costly than the default Donate action that gets you a point for 5 Gold or 5 Food. The Statue’s value in the game is a bit more subtle though, and changes massively depending on the objectives and their ordering. The Statue’s high cost makes it fantastically valuable when Building objectives appear later in the game, and it can potentially swing any of the ‘Building cost’ objectives in your favour since most other buildings cost 2, 3 or 4 resources. In the case where Building objectives are not appearing late, the Statue can instead be considered a 2 point gain for 6 resources, by later sacrificing it using the Build space. For such a simple building, the Statue offers a perceptive player a real opportunity to extract maximum value.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 10 – Pagoda vs Tea House

Two Shinchoku clan buildings face off today, and both of them are concerned with the new Loyalty mechanic.

The Pagoda simply lets you spend an Action for a Loyalty, offering extra flexibility in spaces. It’s a little costly, making it harder to exploit in the early game when those extra Favour tokens to get clan buildings would come in useful. Its at its best in the late game, when spaces are hotly contested to score final objectives or push up the Loyalty tracks. Since Loyalty is needed to progress on a track (and activate the step 5 scoring), reaching the end of a track and using Loyalty and Action spaces together to grab Favour and score points can be a winning strategy.

The Tea House is another simple one, this time in the form of a pure efficiency upgrade. You can gain 2 Favour from a Loyalty space instead of 1. At its most basic level this equates to 2 resources of your choice, but 2 Favour can also give you early access to clan buildings and aim to score both loyalty track objectives and clan building objectives. The limit of 3 Favour tokens might make the Tea House seem hard to use, but since you can spend Favour as either Gold or Food it’s unlikely you’ll miss out on using its ability.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 9 – Gold Mine vs Shrine

Next up are two buildings we’ve already seen in earlier rounds as mirrors of the Rice Paddy and the Barracks.

The Gold Mine, as with the Rice Paddy, offers a way to get 3 resources in 1 turn. One particular thing to note about the Gold Mine however is how it combines with the Guard House in a particular situation. Typically the Guard House requires a whole turn’s worth of Gold to activate, however with the Gold Mine in hand you can block a space with the Guard House and still end up 1 Gold up for the turn. The Gold Mine is expensive, but contributes well towards both building cost objectives, and any Gold objectives.

The Shrine is the mirror of the Barracks, requiring 3 Food for a point. Whilst most of the buildings in the game are mirrored, Food as an activation cost for the Stables comes in slightly cheaper than Gold for the Guard House. More Food available to you means more points from the Shrine!

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 8 – Onsen vs Jail

The Onsen provides the same ability as is already available once you reach step 5 of the Loyalty track, so it might not seem that impressive at first glance. Given that the Shinchoku buildings drive towards a shorter game, you might not reach that high by the time the game is over, and turning those Favour into points early could close out the game. If you pickup the Onsen early then all of those Loyalty spaces can become Favour tokens for you, and if the double Loyalty space is available in the game then this single building can get you a point every couple of turns.

If you thought the Guard House was expensive to use, the Jail is even more so. But the Jail actually has two effects. Firstly, it makes a space available, and having access to almost any space when you need it can be key. Secondly, by replacing the meeple anywhere on the board, you also have some level of control over your opponents next move. Like the Guard House, the Jail is not one you will use often, and at 3 Gold you probably won’t be winning the Banker objective on the turn you use it. However, at the right moment, a single use of the Jail could be a game winning move.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 7 – Barracks vs Market

The Barracks is a direct upgrade of a ‘basic’ available Action, namely Donate which normally allows you to trade in 5 Gold for a point. The first usage of the Barracks isn’t great – you’ve spent 1 turn to buy it, 1 turn to activate it, and 6 Gold for that first point. However each time you can use it after the first represents a marked upgrade on the Donate action. Naturally it combines nicely with the Broker or the Gold Mine, allowing you to funnel that extra Gold into points, and again the earlier you can get it the more use you will get from it. A common strategy is to use the Barracks in combination to grind out 2-3 points over the game, hitting 7 points before the opponent can score a final objective.

The Market is another building that upgrades one of the ‘basic’ available Actions. It doesn’t have a direct impact on resource generation, or scoring, and so its advantage seems somewhat situational. That advantage comes when you consider that it allows you to (almost) treat all of the 6 spaces that grants resources as being any of your choice. It requires a bit of planning to use if you want to rearrange your resources for that building that you want, but for objective scoring it can be crucial. Imagine holding 7 Gold and scoring the Banker objective, only to switch it up to 7 Food and score the Hoarder objective later.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

Categories
Game Updates

Round 6 – Brewery vs Gunsmith

This next pairing pits two Tsuyo buildings against each other.

The Brewery is part of the Tsuyo sub-theme of points manipulation by using points as a spendable resource, sacrificing progress for a short-term gain. If the Brewery lets you win an otherwise losing resource objective, then that point sacrifice more than pays for itself (whilst also denying your opponent the points). The Brewery can also let you cement your control over later objectives. It won’t be useful until you’ve scored at least 1 point, and you might not want to give up a lead later in the game, but the window of opportunity to use it in the early and mid-game can be enough to exert a lot of control and lock up a win.

The Gunsmith started life as the inverse of the Gardens, but evolved to be an inverse of the Shrine. War and Peace. Whilst functionally equivalent, the Gunsmith has a couple of variations. It is more conditional than the Shrine – your opponent must have at least 1 point to be able to use the Gunsmith. However, keeping your opponents point total down makes it much harder for the game to end at 7 points, instead ending on the final objective. As with other Tsuyo buildings, maintaining control and grinding out a victory through a powerful late game shines through with the Gunsmith design.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.