Here comes the results!
It turned out to be a challenge more interesting than I have expected. The competitive entries took advantage of all 10 kingdom cards (and still felt not enough)! Hks
submitted the first entry. He took a straight forward approach, get rid of the Non-VP cards first, use harems as the only resource and try to end the game. The game ended in 22 turns with 36 points, and a score of +18.4. Fate
both realized that Silk Road is the big VP here. Kirian went for Nobles to draw to facilitate the trashing afterwards. He finished in 24 turns with 112 points, scoring +12.8. Fate used KC-Scheme-bridge to score big then hide those VPs on the island to avoid stalling in the trashing stage. He finished in 22 turns with 127 points, scoring +9.3.
Combining their approaches, O
uses an additional Contraband to finish in 20 turns with 199 points. The score is +0.1. He could have scored well into the negatives if he remembered to use Colonies, though.
As an aside, myself
took an entirely different approach. I tried to end the game as soon as possible with some points from island, silk road and great hall. Mining Villages are used to buy the last Farmland as well as to provide +actions midway. I finished in 15 turns with 76 points, and a score of +7.4.
Now, the third place:Mazwa
did not use scheme or bridge. Instead he took quarries and Grand Markets but used them pretty efficiently. He finished in 24 turns with 282 points. The score is -4.2. (I imagine O's strategy can score similarly had he included the Colonies.)
The second place goes to jonts26
. The overall strategy is similar, but instead of using Scheme to improve on KC-Bridge, he went for something I don't quite understand: Ironworks+Farming Village. Somehow this makes his strategy that much faster, and he finished in a lightening fast 18 turns with 266 points. Maybe the key is not to get too many Harems? The score is a formidable -8.6.
And finally, our champion: qmech
He realized that to accumulate more points, the Island is becoming the bottleneck. The draw of Nobles is pretty lackluster with themselves and would have been too weak to clear out the remaining actions in the deck, if one went for more VP cards. Incidentally both cards also only give 2 points each.
He replaced the Island with the Native Village, which can store an unlimited number of cards. The problem is that you cannot control what you put on the NV mat. The solution? Workshop! (Can you find another instance where Workshop is more useful than Ironworks, disregarding the cost?) He used highways both to lower the cost and to draw the deck, combining with KC. With unlimited space, he squeezed Gardens and Dukes into the kingdom and almost got them all. In the end he finished in 30 turns, with 406 points, and a score of -10.6.
The only downside of his strategy is that if he draws the workshops and native villages too early, that turn is just lost. Had he tried for better luck he could have finished with the same points in 24 turns!
Thanks everyone for playing, and hope you have enjoyed the challenge!