If you haven’t played the game then these tips may not mean a lot, but they might help you see if this is the type of game that is of interest. Want to know more – take a look at my review. If you are a new player to the game and looking for some tips, then I hope these are helpful.
During the game:
Adventure & Market: Above everything else, these two actions on the board will give you the most points. Working them to your favour is key. For the market that will require green cubes and crafted items. Whether you build them or buy them, have the items that map to the market and have that green cube that let’s you buy one even if someone else triggers the market. For the adventure, either rush round an early player and get 4-5 villages marked before letting the meeple hit the chronicle. Otherwise, get a second generation meeple casually collecting all those towns before the game ends. Make sure you don’t go back on yourself though (left/right, centre, and then around the edge!).
Church & Council: Church is a good end game score, but it’s also a source of in game points – early majorities could persist and earn you an extra 5 points over the game. However, the other key part of the church is to have the wheat at the right point and in the right number to get your priests upgraded. Wheat at the end of the round and in particular 4 wheat late game to shift the monk to that last window! For the council – less a points driver, but the ability to get two cubes of any colour (or first player when it matters for the adventure /market) can be a useful power. The last step of the council is alluring but I have not seen someone make enough money to get enough points from that.
Killing Meeples: I think you want to start killing those meeples earlier than most new players do. There’s a natural resistance to killing your workers, but getting the high points from the chronicle (and the swing of blocking your opponent) is enough of a points driver that you shouldn’t be too afraid to let those meeples pass on. However, ideal play would have you keep the first generation alive for as long as you can whilst you bring in more generations. Once the first one goes, start to race through the time and let them fill up that book!
Crafting: I would say that using a meeple to craft is worthwhile, but only so if you get two or three uses. Teaching a family member is time consuming and unless you are doing it to rush time along (this is a good end game tactic), you will want to get the most from the one or two meeples you will teach in this game. Otherwise, just buy what you need for cubes.
Early Second Generation: Again I think this is another step forward, but an early second generation meeple is useful – it could for example be a priest that will make it to the game end, an adventurer you never kill or a craftsman that you can really get the most from. Get that second generation, and then pick his use! Some second generations will die before the game end, but probably not all of them!
Second Market: The green cube for the market isn’t just protection, getting 10+ points from one market is huge and having a second turn can allow you this. It’s also good to go for two market transactions in one as the goods available will make it relatively obvious who will buy what from the market.
Wishing Well: Don’t forget the wishing well. Sure it’s inefficient, but when you are moving that last traveler along, forcing a market that only you can really benefit from, or getting that key family member – sometimes you just need it! Plus, sometimes it can mean you dodge the black cube that costs you time or even extend the round!
Pay for Priests: You know that note that priests majorities can score a lot of points if started early. Well when you know that you can buy a majority, or you know you can buy a priest and get the majority through upgrading him (wheat needed and opponents wheat is public!) then you should spend the coin(s) to pull them out of the bag. This option is often not worth it for a priest coming out at some point during the game or a priest that is planned to end up in the chronicle; however, for that early second generation priest this can be well worth it.
Harvest: Last one to watch out for – the cow is great in the market but if you can get one early harvest before you sell the cow I think you will generally benefit more than the turn that passed. Using the cow for harvest is just so much more efficient!