Author Topic: Axes & Acres Tutorial  (Read 1720 times)

Jubal

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Axes & Acres Tutorial
« on: April 25, 2016, 06:37:51 PM »
AXES & ACRES - A PLAYER'S GUIDE

Welcome to my strategy guide for Axes & Acres! I'm not sure I'm qualified to write this, but having got up to 10th level and obtaining most of the achievement badges I thought someone may as well do so. Hopefully this will be helpful to budding village overlords everywhere. If you don't know about A&A, check out my review and the Exilian thread.

Each game in A&A has three phases of win conditions - I'm going to structure the tutorial around those, as they're a neat way to partition your strategies and gameplay.

PHASE ONE

OK, welcome to the game, let's get you started - there are three parts to being able to win this phase, which is probably the hardest. You've got to get the wood econ & defence going, ensure you keep enough food coming in, and

In a normal game you'll start with 2 wood and 1 stone. The best strategy is usually to start by using that wood to build a lumber yard, which will then keep churning out wood for you that's easily gatherable and doesn't require you to walk forever to get, and then use the stone to build a guardhouse. Connect *everything* with roads right from the start, or you'll end up losing too much precious time moving workers and gatherers around.

The third building after that should be the hunters' hut, so you can get woodsmen and the vitally important hunter's hut cards. Don't get too many woodsmen - certainly no more than 2 out of your initial 8 population slots - because woodsmen can't reproduce and you don't want to hamstring your growth later. Woodsmen are however useful to ensure you can keep hunting and gathering fast enough to get the food & wood you need. The guardhouse will let you get crusaders, which are also pretty important - if you have spawners near your base, ideally finish them off first thing before they can spawn (even if you'd get more VPs doing it later, it's almost never worth the damage).

The other thing you need to keep track of and continually work on is food. Don't farm unless you get a nice points payoff for it; firstly it's often awkward to get to water-accessible squares, and you're likely to want them for houses anyway. Secondly, you need to be using that wood for more useful buildings. How will you feed your population? Livestock is the answer! Get 2-3 of the hunters' hut cards over the game (accumulate 1 per phase ideally) and you'll be able to provide yourself a continual stream of bunnies to murder and feed your population.

The last bit you have to do is get points! The hunter's hut is fantastic for this, as it means that your hunting strategy will build you up a nice store of bonus victory points over time. You will also need to pay attention to your special win conditions for this phase though, they're going to be crucial - some sets are easier than others (1pt per building is a nice easy one, ones that focus on farms/fountains are tougher).

As a final note - ideally reproduce at least twice in this phase, you should definitely be up to the 8 worker cap from your initial two houses by the end of it. Any time you have two reproducers (the plus symbol), get on and reproduce at once unless you're too short of food to do so.

PHASE TWO

Generally phase 2 is about two things: finishing off any barbarians, building your population, and building the stone economy.

Getting stone is the last piece of the economic jigsaw puzzle. You need a quarry, and you need a road across the map to get to wherever the quarry is, and building that system is the main point of this phase. How much pressure you're under to do that will depend on your victory point conditions. Once you have that, you can start using your workers and gatherers to accrue stone, and then hopefully start building higher level buildings.

Population growth is vital. If you have 2 woodsmen and 2 HH cards, you should be set OK to keep pumping out and hunting rabbits about fast enough; if you don't, get to that point ASAP. Ideally get at least 1 more house this phase, and get up to 10-12 dice. More than that often outstrips easy food gathering capacity, but 12 or so definitely stands you in good stead, especially if some are specialists.

You definitely do not want any barbarians left after this phase, those spawners should be hunted down and destroyed. Not much else to say about that - the "move 6" card can be really, really useful for rapidly legging it across the board to take out an imminent spawn.

In terms of buildings to get: the church is almost never useful, I'd probably avoid building it unless the VP payoff is fantastic, and I'd definitely avoid getting priests even if the payoff is fantastic. By this point you should have taken out the spawners, you don't want to end up in phase 3 with two of your villagers being useless because they're rolling crusade all the time when you don't even need it. The builders' hall is OK, but I rarely get round to building it; the castle is too expensive for phase 2, and the market probably not useful enough yet though it can be critical in phase 3. Theatres can be nice, and having some actors can be a real get out of jail free card, but I'd tend to say the Town Hall is probably the best building to get here because that extra +1 food per turn, and the 5vp reward, are extremely useful for keeping things running (+2 food/turn means that even if you goof up and run out, you'll have enough when you hit new turn to deploy a worker and a gatherer, meaning you should be able to gather from a rabbit without wasting another precious turn).

As always, keep an eye on your victory criteria, you'll almost certainly need to get at least some points from those to survive to phase three.

PHASE THREE

If you survived 1 and 2, 3 should be the easy bit. You in theory now have no enemies, at least 9 or 10 dice in the pool, and the ability to get wood and stone and food.

So the real question is "how do I efficiently accrue enough points to win"?

You have roughly three strategic options:
  • Keep to your objectives firmly. This often won't quite get you enough points, and some later objectives can be awkward, but they certainly help and that plus a vigorous hunting strategy can be enough.
  • High level buildings. The Castle is the classic one that can on its own push you ever the edge, I've literally never used the castle because I've never built it without it automatically pushing me over the edge to win. The trouble can be that castles are on occasion a little high risk, and actually don't give as much payoff as for example...
  • Get trading. You need two things for this strategy: an active quarry that you can exploit efficiently, and a marketplace, which are lovely and cheap. The third thing that it would be good to have is a theatre so you can be sure to get the dice types you need. Once you have those, it's literally a case of pumping out stone and selling it on the market until you're over the edge. This is vastly more efficient and sustainable than the all-or-nothing castle building strategy, it can be a little more dull but it's probably a more effective way to win.

And there you go! Your game will now, if you've won, "level up" and become harder. Once you're trying to get more than 1vp/turn it gets really quite challenging, but by that point you're at least as qualified as I am to work strategies out for yourself - best of luck!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 06:47:24 PM by Jubal »
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