Enchanted Land Strategy Guide

Foreword

The guide assumes you know the basic rules and strategy for Cities and Knights. As with all strategy guides, the aim is to provide a few hints and tips but you will need to adjust your strategy according to the opposition, the dice and the progress cards.

What is Different?

There are two ways to win in Enchanted Land - either by reaching 18 VP or by being the first player to collect six treasures from the enchanted island. While it is not impossible to win on VP alone, it is very rare, especially in the 3-player version which plays to 21 points. Furthermore, each treasure you collect is, in itself, worth 1 VP, so it is important to get ahead of the pack in terms of collecting treasures.

Rescuing Treasures

In order to recover treasures you need to get a knight onto the enchanted island. You cannot place a knight directly on the island, it must be built either on the mainland or on your shipping line from the mainland, and then moved to the island. You can only have one knight on the island and that knight must be at least equal to the strength of the dragon protecting the treasure in order to succeed in recovering the treasure. Knights which have reached the enchanted island no longer count towards your strength points in terms of protecting your cities on the mainland.

Knight Movement and Displacement

When reaching the island, the knight must first land on the island before it can move to attempt to recover one of the treasures. Thereafter a knight can move up to two spaces within the island. The knights do not require roads in order to move.

As with normal CK, knights can be displaced on the island by a larger knight (although they cannot be moved by an intrigue card). If displaced, a knight must return to the coast and it will take at least two turns for you to move it back onto a treasure (provided one is within reach), activate it and then rescue a treasure. In a race to obtain six treasures, having a knight displaced on the island can prove absolutely fatal.

Building on the Enchanted Island

You can only build settlements (no cities) and ships (no roads) on the enchanted island. I would only consider spending resources building on the enchanted land if it will produce a strong income of a key resource (ie additional wheat for knight activation, ore or wool for knight upgrade or, less importantly, a resource for which you already hold the port.) As the robber cannot be placed on the island, it would be worthwhile building on a wheat hex, if within easy reach. There is an advantage in building a settlement on the island before you move your knight, as it means your knight will jump straight onto a treasure spot without having to be placed on the coast first.

Placement

In Enchanted Land you place settlement, city, settlement. At least one must be on the west coast with a ship route.

  • Since you need to reactivate your knight each time you move it and each time you attempt to recover a treasure, a strong wheat income is absolutely essential. Ideally, you should try to ensure you have more than one wheat producing hex to make it more difficult for your opponent to cut your wheat supply.
  • It is impossible to win Enchanted Land without having a Mighty Knight on the Island. Therefore, a strong ore city and/or a strong ore producer which can be quickly upgraded to a city is highly recommended.
  • It is also worth trying to get an aquaduct at some stage, through a strong wood city, although if you have to choose between the two, this is the one game in which I would recommend ore over wood.
  • But you also need to ensure that you can reach the island quickly, so you will need to have a good supply of wood and wool to build up to four ships.
  • And of course, you will need ore, wool and wheat for that first knight to protect you city. While losing your city later in the game is not a problem, losing it early will be make it difficult for you to get the key upgrades (Mighty Knights and/or aquaduct) which you will need to stand a chance of winning.

If you get an early pick and there is strong wood and ore together, you should take it for a settlement and hope for an early ugprade. Leaving such a spot open for one of your opponent's cities is almost paramount to conceding the game.

Key Development Cards

In Enchanted Land, focus tends to be on coin development, so you are likely to see a lot of blue development cards. Holding on to blue cards for too long will make you a sure fire target for a spy.

The value of most cards speak for themselves, but there are some cards worth particular mention:

  • Diplomat - Don't waste a diplomat on the mainland, unless doing so will prevent your opponent building a key settlement (eg on a second wheat hex or a strong port). If you get diplomats early in the game (ie before your opponents have reached the island) use them to cut their ship route and delay them being able to move their knight).
  • Intrigue - The intrigue will not displace a knight on the island. However, you should use intrigues on the mainland whenever this will result in your opponents losing a knight, since most players will not move their knight to the island unless they either have at least one knight to protect them on the mainland, or they have already obtained mighty knights and/or the aquaduct and are prepared to sacrifice their city in order to get a jump on the mainland.
  • Deserter - you cannot desert a knight from the island. It is probably best to use your deserters to stop your opponents reaching the island or to take down their city before they can get to Mighty Knights.
  • Trade Monopoly - unless you know that you are going to pull in what you need for an aquaduct or to obtain a metro, generally the best use of the trade monopoly is on coin, not just because it will help you reach Mighty Knights faster, but also because it will deny much needed coin to your opponents.
  • Resource Monopoly - unless there is another more obvious resource (ie depending on what has rolled), the obvious choice for a resource monopoly is wheat. Besides mighty knights, the key to winning this game is to ensure that you have an abundant wheat supply, while trying to squeeze the supply of your opponents.

Important Tips

Because it is a race to six treasures, having a single turn where you are unable to activate your knight in order to move it or recover treasure could lose you the game. Try to ensure that you never, ever enter a turn with no wheat.

The faster you get to the island the better, so build ships early and try to ensure that your opponents cannot cut off your route to the island.

You need to try to ensure that you are the first player to reach the island with a Mighty Knight. Ensure that your early commodity development is focussed on coins. This will also provide you with blue progress cards which can be key in this game.

Always ensure that you have at least one other knight on the mainland. In the early stages of the game you need to protect your city to get the developments you need for mighty knights and the aquaduct. You cannot have your knight deserted from the island, but if can be deserted while it is on route.

Always look beyond the points! Obviously you will need to pay attention if somebody is building up so many points on the mainland that they are in danger of reaching 18 points before one player recovers 6 treasures. But when despatching the robber, focus more on the players who have or are close to attaining mighty knights and/or the aquaduct. Always attack any player who is leading the treasure count, irrespective of their point tally.

Use the Robber wisely Obviously you want to avoid putting the robber next to an active knight. But wherever possible, you should use the robber to cut your opponents' coin supply in the early stages and their wheat supply in the later stages of the game. You should also ensure that your own knight(s) is/are protecting your own coin and wheat, wherever possible.

Be prepared to sacrifice your city! Whilst it is essential to maintain your city in the early stages so as to get the right development, if you have mighty knights (and ideally the aquaduct) you should be prepared to sacrifice your city on the mainland in order to collect treasures on the island. If you are the first player to collect 6 treasures you will win irrespective of how many points you accumulate. It is a bad move to activate your knight to protect your city on the mainland if it comes at the cost of being able to activate your knight on the island.

Counter Strategy

Apart from the obvious in terms of using a robber to attack a player who gets ahead in treasures, there are a couple key things you can attempt to try to slow them down:

  • Cut their wheat supply - Do everything possible to deny them wheat, whether by blocking their income, or pulling monopolies. If you have an alchemist, you might even consider using it to roll a number which will give them a useless resource in order to deny them the opportunity to select wheat from the aquaduct. A single turn without wheat could delay them enough to enable you to catch them in treasures.
  • Displace their knight - If you have an opponent who is ahead of you in treasures but does not have a mighty knight, you must be absolutely ruthless in terms of displacing them from the island in order to give you a chance to catch up.
  • Manoeuvre your knight Unless your knight can be displaced by theirs (n which case, stay as far away from them as possible), try to manoeuvre your knight into positions which block theirs from reaching another treasure. Remember knights can only jump two spaces so there is potential to put them in a position where they need two moves to reach the next treasure.
  • Don't displace lower threats - If you have a bigger knight than an opponent, it is always tempting to displace them from the island. But, unless you are winning, this is not worth doing if they are less of a threat (ie if they have less treasures than you do). Having a third or fourth knight on the island could prove helpful as they will also be trying to manouevre the leader out of position to collect the winning treasures. If, however, you are in first place, it is worth displacing all your opponents' knights to leave more room for you to work.

GOOD LUCK!

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