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Should I always take a card?

I am interested in hearing people's opinions on the matter of when (if ever) it is advisable to not take a card. Obviously it is necessary most of the time but is that always the case? I don't play fixed bonus games so I am mostly talking about progressive games where cards are the crucial element. However, I am still open to hearing about fixed bonus. I know of three scenarios where players who could take a card choose not to do so. Scenario 1: Player has four cards and doesn't want to be forced to turn in next turn. Scenario 2: player has zero cards and hopes to avoid elimination by being pointless to kill. Scenario 3: player cannot take a card without fighting a big battle and decides it isn't worth it. Basically I want to know what people think is the best approach to the three situations I describe above. I believe there are pros and cons either way in each situation. What do you think? Did I forget a scenario? Comment below.

I almost exclusively play fixed bonus and as I've become better and advanced through the rankings I have found myself in more situations where I don't take a card. The three you mentioned are definitely those I can think about, however if argue that a card is on average worth 3 troops (probably actually a little less), therefore since you are usually sacrificing at least 1 troop to get that card, at least when the battleground has been reduced to a couple of countries, a card is worth under 2 troops. You'll then occasionally lose more than one troop which lowers that again to almost nothing. (I'd love to actually see the maths behind it) Now with that said, if in a good enough position continent wise and if the game has just turned into an arms race you're not able to personally break (and maybe have a cowardly alliance partner), I've found sitting back, accruing troops while not losing any, and waiting for an inevitable breakdown in the equilibrium to happen can work a treat. Usually, if you can hide your true strength while not looking too weak this breakdown will happen between those players tussleing in the shared battleground.
Yes fixed is quite different from progressive. I don't know much about fixed bonus games but your comment is insightful. In progressive cards are worth more so I find that even in the scenarios I mentioned it is almost always best to take one.
Paul, I mostly play fixed bonus games and while I am no mathematician, your math estimates on the value of a card are the same as mine. SectaOne, you covered almost all the situations where I would choose not to attack. Something I wonder about progressive games with mostly higher ranked players, do you often not take a card sometime within the first 4 moves?
Personally I take a card every turn except in extreme cases. Sometimes players will not take a card at some point in an attempt to get the largest of the first round of sets (e.g. the 20 set for six players). While I understand not wanting to take a low set, I think that is normally a bad tactic. One of the problems with it is that it means players have a chance to turn in two sets before you turn in one. As an example suppose I am in a six player game where everyone has four cards and we are just starting the fifth round. If my turn comes third the players with the first two turns will likely each have five cards before my turn. If I stick at four then next turn I am faced with either turning in from four which defeats the purpose of my unwise strategy and leaves me in a bad situation having only two cards and not many men or taking a fifth card which means I will be everyone's target. At this point players 1 & 2 have three cards and players four, five, and six have five. Three have sets for sure and player 1 & 2 may be able to turn in their second sets of the game before I turn in one. My set will be worth 8 troops which probably won't be enough to eliminate the five carders. Another problem with waiting at four is that the person with the fifteen set may be able to trigger a chain elimination by taking out one of the other players and win the game before I've had my say in the matter. Basically my advice is don't pass on your fifth card unless everyone (and especially you) is strong enough to survive and your turn is first in the round. It's worth noting that you shouldn't stick at four if the four don't make a set and don't pass on a card until you have four. One other time when you can pass on a card is if you have the first turn in the game. I've occasionally wondered what would happen if no one took a card ever but in my experience people tend to take one on their first turn forcing others to follow suit.
Thanks for the detailed answer, your example explained exactly what I was wondering about. I also thought of another situation where I might not attack. If I am at 4 cards and due to the initial setup I am mostly or completely consolidated at one spot and I can see an opportunity for a cascade where I can take out 2 or more players in one run. I recently had a game where the initial setup was so favourable to me that 2 players went to 5 cards and they only had around 10 troops each.the first.player cashed in his cards for only six and he was spread out, so he mostly chipped away at the 2 players with 5 cards. I was able to eliminate all but one player whom I took out the next turn. That wouldn't have happened without a huge helping of luck, but your question reminded me of it as I didn't take a card for 2 rounds.
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