The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Homesteaders — How many trade tokens is enough?

Some thoughts on my latest two games

My prior two games cast me in the role of instructor,er teaching opponents who had never played a single game between them. In one game, I doubled everyone’s score.; the other, dead last.

In both games I won the first turn Auction #1 (Residential or Commercial building).  I varied between the farm and market. I spent a bit more in the game I lost, but it was a much higher-debt game overall.

In the game I won, I followed the farm with the foundry next turn. In the game I lost, I don’t recall exactly (its been two weeks), but I duplicated the farm’s food production fairly quickly. In both games I also won the “Worker + RR” auction in pile two during the settlement phase. In both games I got a ranch as my “Quality Resource” item around turn 6-7. Both games saw me getting a copper when I dropped out of auctions around turn 8. I played a similar strategy.

I think the foundry made the difference. Both games provided me a steady supply of 1 Trade token a turn (starting on turn 2) + a bonus token from the ranch, but no other trade tokens. In the game I lost, I felt constantly hampered by a lack of trade tokens … I had a stunningly inflexible position in the last few turns. When I won, I had the exact same number of trade tokens….but I could produce all the basic goods. I couldn’t produce steel in my loss (and took a few extra turns before I produced food, although I think I actually started producing food within a turn). If I transformed a wood to a food (via the market ability); that exacerbated my trade shortage.

Now, other things mattered … in my win I managed to pick up the rodeo on turn 6 (at which point I was in a dominating position), but I realize that my diversified economy allowed me to save up my trade tokens for the endgame. I could have used more (I had excess cash, thanks to the Rodeo), and I seriously considered getting the Railworkers House (or some other building that produced a trade) on turn 8, but that wouldn’t have been terribly efficient.

So, my tactical tip “de jour” is that if you are short of steel then ~10 trade tokens may not be enough, and certainly won’t be comfortable.  Interesting Note – All the buildings that produce steel leave the game in the two phase!


Written by taogaming

January 13, 2010 at 6:11 pm

4 Responses

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  1. “How may trade tokens is enough” is definitely one of the key strategy questions. (I wont give away the answer) 🙂

    The answer is not fixed, but rather depends on one’s strategy within the game. (The answer is very different, for example, between positions that started from Farm vs Foundry on turn 1).

    I have seen both new players who get destroyed because they have no trades and have an inflexible position, and also the new players who just pile up trades and feel that they have no use for them.

    Reaching a middle ground is important, and that middle ground is different for certain strategies.

    As another note: It takes a lot of experience to learn how to play each different strategy. One might have success with a certain strategy, say, starting with foundry, because they happen to do things pretty well for that strategy. Then the next game they might play with Farm and do poorly. Maybe they are making the same kind of moves that worked well in the foundry strategy, but they dont work anymore. They need to instead learn what work best with the farm.

    This player might then think that Foundry is just ‘better’. Another group might hit upon playing a certain way which works a lot better with Farm and think it is better.

    Eventually players will learn how to play each strategy well. At that point, seeing a player who starts with Farm playing a farm strategy well, versus a player who starts with Foundry playing a foundry strategy well, will be pretty interesting. 🙂


    January 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm

  2. Also by forge making the difference, I think you mean foundry?


    January 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    • Yes, foundry. I had it as foundry in most places, but not all.


      January 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm

  3. […] worked well, like I thought. Ignore steel at your own risk (the River Port was really just icing on the cake, although you do […]

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