Friday, September 17, 2010

Yspahan Caraven Strategy - What I've Been Getting Wrong!

In my last post, I described how difficult it was to pull of the Caraven strategy in Yspahan if your opponents aren't contributing to the caraven as well. Well, I realized the problem in my recent play laid with the fact that I've been playing one of the rules wrong. The caraven doesn't score only when it is completely filled. In fact, it scores at the end of each week! It makes it not only a viable strategy to pursue solo but rather, it makes it so powerful that it's impossible for others to ignore it. Well considering how I taught the rule wrongly, it makes it no wonder why everyone has been ignoring the caraven.

Interestingly, in my recent 4-player game in which I discovered my mistake, I scored an obscene number of points by pursuing the strategy alone (since I only realized the mistake halfway, I decided that we should continue with it for consistency). I leveraged on the 2 spots on the supervisor's track which allowed me to send 2 goods to the caraven simultaneously. No one challenged me for the buildings linked to those spots since they were generally unattractive in terms of building points and there was just a general disinterest in the caraven and hence supervisor movement. So despite only scoring the caraven once when it filled, I had all the camels filled with my tokens except for one by the mid of the final week. By the time my opponents were on to my strategy, they were more or less helpless to stop me.

With the proper rule in play however, I except much keener competition for the caraven slots which is a boon since it not only opens another viable path to victory but also an area which requires your attention even if you are not going to major on it. Without enough attention from all players, I can see how a player who pursues the Caraven strategy will simply run away with the whole game, especially when coupled with the building power that allows you to draw a card each time you send a cube of yours to the caraven. If the stars line up and you have control of the buildings which flank the same spot on the supervisor's path, you get to send 2 cubes and draw 2 cards - all in a single turn! Ouch :D

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