Final Countdown for Period 4 - March 2012

With the final barbarian attack over, we are entering the last 30 days of the current season with a very slender lead in the race for Capital. We can expect a hard push from our rivals, so it is important that we maximize our spending potential to create as many culture points as possible in these last 30 days. The following tips are aimed to help you do that.

Maximize Culture Points

At this stage of the season it is all about getting as many culture points with the least amount of resources. The most efficient way to do this is by maxing your garden and buying clothes and a pet. While housing is important earlier in this season, at this stage it provides a much lower return for your resources and should be put on the back burner.

Currently individual culture points among active citizens range from 8.14 to just 0.19. Since the city's final tally is an average of all active citizens, having actives with low CPs is likely to damage our chances to take the title. I would encourage everybody to have a look at your personal contribution to culture and aim to push it up beyond 3 by planting trees and pushing your clothing up as fast as possible. If you don't think that you will be able to do this, then the biggest contribution you could make to the city right now would be to spend what you have immediately in city donations and then do nothing in the final period so that your status goes inactive.

If in doubt about the best use of resources, please contact me directly and I would be happy to advise.

Maximize Coins

You will need lots of coins in this period, especially for gardens and pets. Please remember to visit the coin trader each day and try to trade the maximum three resources at premium. Trade with citizens and at market and swap gold for the right resources where necessary.

The deals offering resources for 5 or 6 coins at market is a good way to make a small coin profit but bear in mind that you will lose coin capacity in having to trade again. If you are struggling to get enough coins this may not be the best avenue to take during this final period.

Maximize your Resources

Try to make sure you collect all your bonus resources each week, by playing at least 4 games and trying to win 5. If you are pushed for time, a good way to do this is to get in some quick games is to play Rivals Intro or basic in the free tavern.

Plan your Spend

You need to plan your spend carefully to ensure that you have the right combination of coins and resources. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the final day of the season and finding you have enough resources but not enough coins or vice versa.

Get to Market Regularly

Paying regular visits to market can really pay off to pick up gold (which you can trade for whatever is premium at the bank). It is also a good way to meet other citizens and make personal trades for the resources you need.

Make Sensible Choices

It is important to think about your objectives when spending, particularly on gardens and pets. You only have 30 garden spots so it is better to fill them with trees (worth 12 CPs) than flowers (worth 6). Likewise, you can only have one pet, so it is best to take the monkey as it provides maximum CP value. Other pets might be a good option though if you wait until the end and see how many coins you have left.

Also think about your profession - if you are hoping to push your clothing up, then you might want to consider changing your profession to shepherd or miller as you will need lots of wool and wheat.

Use the Bath House

While we focus on personal building, we are relying on the bath house to continue to develop the city. Please try to gamble five resources daily in the bath house. When you win you will increase your own spending power and when you lose you will be donating to the city. Statistically you should break even, while helping to build the city. Our main rivals for Capital have not built their bath house, so this is probably the biggest single advantage we could have in this final period.

Play Dice and Desert Sons Solo

It is really important that you continue to play your daily dice and desert sons solo games. We really need to try to capitalize on this final month of free city buildings from the Park and Assembly Hall and to do this we need to be up in the top spots in those games. Moreover, we are currently first overall in dice and second in desert sons, so we want to try to make sure we cement those positions in order to bring home their respective statues.

Play your Tournament Games

There is one final tournament of the season on the weekend of 24-25 March. We need a really strong performance both to cement our position in the top three spots for champions (we are currently second overall) and to maximize our gold prize. The game is Oceania CK so most people should be able to participate. Most importantly, please ensure that you play all three games. In a number of tournaments recently, we have had a handful of players play only one or two of their games and our city score would have improved had they played all three.

Visit the Park

If you want added incentive for any of the above, take a look at the statue in the Park which we won earlier this month for the Rivals marathon. I don't know about anybody else, but it has certainly whetted my appetite to fill the Park with more. Potentially we could win as many as four more statues if we can make this last 30 days really tell. More than anything, bear in mind that you have an opportunity to be part of Catan history if we can pull off the big prize and become the first non-German city to take the title of Capital (albeit with a handful of very welcome German players).

Have Fun

This is really the key. The final period of the season is when we get to reap the rewards of all the work we have put in all season and enjoy spending without fear of attack. Wherever we finish on April 11th, this has been one hell of a season so make sure you enjoy this last month. This is, after all, a game!

Vixter

Play Often, Play Well, Have Fun!

P.S… a note about efficient building in the last period and why it is important

by Fleet

It will come at little surprise that math plays a role in ensuring victory for KB at this point in the season. We hold a very narrow margin over the 2nd place city, and rest assured, they will be using math to their advantage (EDIT: the other City is now in 1st after an early period push off)! Here is what you need to know to ensure we can keep our advantage:

Not all Culture Points are equal

How you spend your resources to earn Culture Points (CP's for short) can be more or less efficient depending on what you buy. With out getting into the mind-numbing details, we express it as a CP-to_Resource ratio. We can assign a ratio to everything you can buy and the higher this number, the better it is for the City.

Right now, the items that earn the highest ratio are Trees and building the church. PLEASE NOTE that KB does not need city donations to build the church and you should NOT make city donations. We will complete our church through playing the Bathhouse and doing well at Desert Sons solo game (in the park) and the dice game (in the Assembly hall). This leaves building Trees as your best choice. At 24 coins each, and with the bank giving a max of 24 coins for exchanging 3 resources at 8 coins each, even a player with little or no garden can fill many slots in this last 30 days.

Clothing is the second best choice for growing our CPs. You should not choose to build an increase in clothing over building trees because it takes more resources to get less CP's than if you used those coins and traded in the resources for more coins and bought trees instead. Since the city in 2nd place has more slots open for building trees, and they have more levels of church to build than we do here, they can (and will!) be very efficient in how they exchange their resources for CP's

Some exceptions

While the above strategy is a good for the casual player, those of you who can put more thought into your final weeks of the season may discover that you will have left over resources that cannot be spent effectively. E.G., you build trees but then are left with a bunch of resources and no coins. It may be a better use in that case to build that one last level of clothing and be left with a missing tree, but have spent almost everything.

Buying pets are also efficient CP earners, but since you can only buy one, it is good advice to leave this to the end and get the best one you can afford, once you have finished your garden. Trees are still very slightly more advantageous than most pets. The only exception is the dog. However, I would only recommend a dog if you cannot finish your garden… and even then, the advantage is so slight, it is not a big deal to stick to trees if it makes your life simple.

What NOT to spend on

In the past, we often suggest building houses at level 12 up to level 13 so that you can start the next season with a level 5 house instead of a level 4. In such a tight race to win the metagame, I would highly urge people not to do this. Housing is the most inefficient exchange of resources for CP's. The value in housing comes from the ability to earn more daily resources which makes it the best value in the early going.

With only 30 days left, there is no housing level you can build that would make the cost worth it. If you want to know by how much, you can read the "math" section below.

Some late game tips

Since the race is so tight, one way to ensure you have the flexibility to empty your lockers in the final days is to hold on to gold. So instead of converting all your gold early and going on a building spree, consider holding on to 10 or 12 gold. Then in the last 5 or 6 days, you will easily be able to trade your couple of earned resources at the market - and exchange a few gold - into what you need to get the right coin/resource combinations.

To ensure you can get the most coins each day, start with what you earn in daily resources and weekly bonuses an use the market to trade for the resource with the best coin exchange rate (or for gold). Only after you have made it to as many markets as you can, then should you tap your gold reserves to get the 3 resources you need to earn 24 coins.

As has been pointed out, and is worth repeating, it is no longer a good plan to buy resources at the market for coins. Your coin buying is limited each day, and this practice will now reduce how many coins you can make available to yourself by the end of the season.

As for the beggar, I personally feel the math does not support that gamble. While there is an argument to be made for getting 15 coins for one resource, there is a low individual chance of hitting that. There is a much higher chance that you will hit either the "you get nothing", "City donation" (which may have value, but unlikely) or "guard donation" which is of no help. The rest are break even propositions. So as a collective city, for every one person hitting the 15 coin jackpot, we will have more than one person losing, which means we lose as a city unless we are just flat out lucky. As a "math guy", my advice is to avoid the beggar until the very end if you are going to have a resource or two left over.

So, to sum up…

  • Coins are king! Try to trade 3 resources every day to get the maximum 24 coins a day. Trading for coin at the lower exchange rates makes the value of trees less!
  • Trees are your 1st priority builds. Avoid flowers unless you still have a spot in the garden and you are short on coins.
  • Do not focus on clothing until your garden is full of trees. The only exception in near the end of the game, where you may need to buy clothing to empty your locker (if you have any questions on this, feel free to email Fleet, Vixter, Pediatron or Ron for advice).
  • Do not build housing at all.
  • Our current advantage is our Level 3 Bathhouse. Use it every day in the early going. You might need to slow done in the final days to ensure you keep the right resources for final purchases.
  • If you do not already have a pet, save it as a purchase at the end so that you can buy the best one you can afford without delaying your tree building.
  • Try to save some gold for the last few days. Do this by going to as many markets as you can to trade for the right resources so you don't have to tap your gold supply as often.
  • Don't gamble with the Beggar.

Good work everyone! It has been an incredible and historic season.

… and for those who want to know the math:

CP-to-Resource ration is a calculation of how many CP's you get for every resource spent. For example, when exchanging resources at the bank to get coins, your best trade is 3 x 8 = 24 coin. One tree cost 24 coins and gets you 10 CP's. So the ratio is 10CP-to-3resources, or 10/3 = 3.33. Omitting pets (as you can only buy one), the next best thing to buy is clothing. It comes in at around 2.6, plus or minus a few tenths depending on the level. So while you may get big CP's for high level clothing, it is also costing you big coin and resources to buy it.

So simply put, if you instead used those coins and exchanged the resources at maximum exchange and built all trees with it, you would be earning more for the city. Of course, there are only 30 spaces in a player's garden, so some though has to be put in towards the end. For example, if you buy a tree at the end of the game to fill your garden, but then can't get enough to get that next level of clothing (say level 6 clothing at a cost of 3 wool, 3 wheat and 17 coins earning 73 CP's). You would be way better off losing an efficient 10CP for a slightly less efficient 73 cp's in this one case.

So, to put this in to perspective, lets take any two given cities. If each active citizen in each city were to spend 10 resources in personal building over the span of a few days, and city X bought trees and city Y bought clothing, City X would increase their overall CP total by 33.3 where city Y increases by 26. So over the course of those few days, city Y falls behind over 7 CPs. Take this over the time span of the last period, and there is potential to fall way behind a city spending efficiently.

This is why housing will KILL us in this final period. Housing's ratio is a pathetic 1.36 and should be avoided at all costs!

Our leading competitor has more garden space and more church levels to build. This means they have lots of places to be spending at 3.33 ratios. They also rank well in Desert Sons solo game and dice, so we cannot expect to pull ahead much there (unless we really REALLY do our best). We must use as much of our 3.33 purchases before we are forced to resort to 2.6. At this point, we are going to start to start losing ground. Since we ended the last period with the lead and a huge reserve of gold in town hall (and it is speculated that our competition has little reserves and a lower level bathhouse), it will be this extra resources that are going to keep us in the hunt… but only if every KBer uses their resources as efficiently as possible!

The COW game uses an equation that in essence makes cities with different Active Citizen counts about equal when they make personal purchases. Thus, our increased citizen count gives us no advantage. Our advantages come from:

  • Ensuring each of our citizens spend efficiently.
  • Using the bathhouse every day for all 5 rolls if possible (it will build our Church for free and when that is done, build "cultural buildings" which amount to more free CPs. Our Bathhouse can build twice as fast as the other city can.
  • Using our large Town Hall gold reserve to get citizens that come up short to get those extra clothing levels or build those final trees. I am sure there will be a message detailing this plan in the coming days.
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