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Author Topic: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy  (Read 2106 times)

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Darthcaboose

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Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« on: July 23, 2013, 05:10:35 pm »
+4

Now that Figures is on Isotropic (huzzah for Dougz), let's talk strategies over here.

Figures adds some additional complexity to Innovation, but it fits a great niche with the dogma sharing and achievement claiming aspects of the game. As such, it provides a bit of a rubber-banding effect where someone leading ahead in score and claiming standard achievements will have to worry about the Figures popping up in their opponent's hands. Managing your own Figures, taking advantage of their Karma effects, as well as dealing with the Figures potentially drawn by your opponents is key to success!

Echoes interacts critically with Figures, as the additional achievements means the strategy of building up a nice board with tons of echo effects and bonuses is still key to doing well, and the drawing rules for Base versus Echoes cards can affect some of the Inspire and Echo effects seen on some key Figures. Likewise, the availability of more effects involving the Forecast mechanic can line you up some pretty important combos during your turn...

Let's get to it, shall we? Much of the below is somewhat taken from the rules, but some of the more esoteric parts of Figures does bear mentioning for strategic purposes!

1. Drawing Figures.

Unlike the rules governing drawing Base or Echoes cards, you only get a Figure card in your hand when one of three things occur:
A. You complete a Dogma action that you have shared with at least one opponent. Instead of getting a free Draw action (with just Base or with Echoes too), you get a Draw action of a Figure card of the appropriate age instead.
B. Your opponent claims a standard (number) achievement USING THE ACHIEVE ACTION.
C. Some special echo effect that says to specifically draw a Figure (the echo effect from Duke Ellington of Age 8 is one example).

That's really it. A big thing to note is that, excluding the very rare cases listed in C, you can only ever draw one Figure per action (either from Dogma-sharing, or your opponent taking a standard achievement). This is critical to remember when considering using Decrees.

Did you catch what I wrote in B regarding the standard achievements? Yes, Figures are only distributed when the ACHIEVE action is used for claiming a standard achievement (on Isotropic, that's when you click the Achieve # button shown at the bottom left of the screen). Now, if a Dogma effect or a Karma effect allows you to claim an achievement as part of the effect, your opponents DO NOT draw a Figure! This is a good thing! Keep on the lookout for when you might be able to claim an achievement without using the Achieve action (though you are not likely guaranteed to find such a thing during a typical game).

If there's one big thing you should keep in mind with Figures, it's that you should be more hesitant to claim standard Achievements. However, it's a bit of a time-bomb since the longer you wait to claim the achievement, the more chances you give to your opponent to teching up, and it's still pretty true that higher level Figures are generally more powerful! Don't be quick to snag them if you can afford to wait, but don't wait too long either!

2. Figures and Karmas

So Figures feature passive effects on them that change the rules for you in some way called Karma effects. They are many and numerous, but know that though most are advantageous, some of them can be... problematic. Hatshepsut of Age 1 could totally wreck your hand if you aren't careful using her appropriately. Likewise, Imhotep of Age 1 might have your returning a critical card just to splay a pile left. Fortunately, it is not common where you'd have to involuntarily meld a Figure card you haven't had at least a chance to look at for an action, so you can at least work out a plan for how to deal with the card (possibly by using it as part of a Decree!).
One of the most common Karma effects you can see on a Figure card is the ability to issue a decree of the card's color using only two Figures. This is quite nice, since Decrees are another achievement for you, but it's a bit more than that. We'll discuss Decrees further below.

Some Karmas can cause you to win once you've met some certain criteria. Be very careful when claiming achievements when your opponent is in a certain age and able to meet those criteria; you might just cause your opponent to win!

3. Inspire and Echo effects on Figures

Many Figures have respectable Echo effects that are usually good enough to run by themselves for one of your precious actions. The Inspire effects (the faded circles as opposed to Echo boxes), however, can range from sexy to run-of-the-mill boring. You should think of Inspire as Draw+. Certainly when considering between taking a Draw action and an Inspire action, the Inspire action will usually be the better choice. However, you should be careful considering the Karma effects of the Figure as well as the state of what type of card you might potentially draw (Base vs Echo).

Remember, Echo effects are part of doing Dogma actions, while Inspire effects are a class on their own. On Isotropic, you'll see the ability to take an Inspire action if you can on the bottom left of the screen; and you will only be able to do so if you can see at least one Inspire effect on your board. Additionally, you can only take the Inspire action once per turn, so you can't chain them back to back. Finally, Inspire actions are not shared with your opponent, which can be great when you're falling behind on symbols, but it also means you aren't sharing to draw more Figures!

Inspire actions are also unique in that you might be able to potentially draw a card of a different age than what you'd do with a Draw action. Suppose you were able to tech out of the Prehistory age to Age 2 or 3, and you're doing well setting up your board. Your opponent, still wallowing in Age 1, plays Noodles and starts to score points. As you're in the higher levels, you can't possibly draw more 1 cards to beat out the Noodles rush... Thankfully, you have good ol' Tigernmas from Age 1 out on your board, and you can use his Inspire effect to both draw a 1 card from the Inspire text and then another 1 card since your top red card is... Tigernmas, which is an Age 1 card. Good deal!

Inspire effects are much like Echo effects in that you can execute multiple Inspire effects in a single stack if you can see them. However, in my opinion, chained Inspire effects aren't quite as sexy as chained Echo + Dogma effects. That said, it does give you more options, which is always a good thing in a chaotic game like Innovation!

4. Decrees

To compensate your opponent getting Figures when you Achieve, the new Decree achievements can help push your board building efforts along quite nicely. There are 5 decrees, one for each color, and the effects of each are quite markedly different.

Claiming decrees can be done in one of two ways. For either of these two ways, you need to Remove your entire hand from the game, so you may want to meld an important card or some other non-needed Figures before doing the Decree action. The first way is, if you have 3 Figures cards in your hand, each of different Age values (e.g. a 1 Figure, a 2 Figure, and a 5 Figure) then you may use one of your actions to take the Decree action. You may only choose a Decree color type equal to one of the types in your hand (for example, if your Figures were Blue, Green, and Yellow, then you would not be able to take War (Red) or Rivalry (Purple)). The second, and much sexier, way is to have a Figure on your board with a Karma effect that allows you to do a Decree action with only two Figures. The great part for this version is that the Figures can be of the same Age value, or even different colors (though you can only do the decree of the color of the Figure giving you that Karma).

Decrees are Achievements+ with the benefit that you could do the decree benefit again even if you already have the achievement, but with the downside that those Decrees can be removed from your achievement pile if an opponent does the same Decree action (keeping in mind that when you Decree an achievement already in an opponent's achievement pile, you don't get to do the stuff that the Decree allows you to do... not sexy).

The following are the five Decrees:

War (Red): War can be downright deadly to fairly mild. If you snag Tigernmas (Age 1 red card) early on, you can Decree War and send all your opponent's Age 1 cards back, a great move to knocking your opponent's momentum back. Also nice for removing any tech advantages or very dangerous cards (I'm looking at you Almanac!) on your opponent's board.

Advancement (Blue): Teching up is always nice. However, dumping your entire hand to do so might be questionable. Likewise, consider the fact that you will always draw a Base card of the level you are teching to (since you draw after removing your entire hand). As such, you'll want to consider the quality of Base cards you are getting into. Going from Age 2 to Age 4 is great, since you can then go hunting for power cards like Gunpowder or Reformation. Going from Age 3 to Age 5 might not be quite as great.

Expansion (Yellow): A free up-splay? Very nice. That said, early on in the game it might not be worth it with so few cards out. Look for opportunities to also get the Echo achievements like Wealth, Supremacy, Heritage, and History while doing the up-splay!

Trade (Green): Like Advancement, this one is a bit situational based on what your top card is. All of the cards you will be foreshadowing will be Base cards. As such, foreshadowing a bunch of 4 cards is quite nice... Not necessarily the same for 5 cards. Try to combo this with other cards that allow you to foreshadow to quickly snag you the Destiny achievement from Echoes.

Rivalry (Purple): Fantastic if your opponent is scoring a few high-valued cards. Not so fantastic if your opponent is mass-scoring with cards like Metalworking or just chaining Pottery. That said, you get to pick the score cards returned, so you will almost always pick their highest ones. Returning all their top figures can also be good against strong combinations that might show up. The mere threat of doing Rivalry can be enough to keep your opponent's figures in their hand.

---

I'm planning on doing a detailed overview of the Figures, age-by-age!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 05:11:42 pm by Darthcaboose »
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Hideyoshi

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 02:55:26 am »
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It's good that Darthcaboose have written the introduction of figures. I've found that I am very weak in playing figures of sand, and I may need to read these guides carefully first. ;)
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WinterSpartan

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 07:33:26 am »
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I wonder if it's worth noting somewhere that the mere presence of Figures changes the value of some other cards? For instance, Almanac. It was amazingly good before; it's even better now, since sharing Almanac no longer slows it down at all. (Yes, the other player gets to score too, so sharing it isn't quite automatic, but it's now certainly possible).
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Kirian

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 09:52:51 am »
+1

Hatshepsut of Age 1 could totally wreck your hand if you aren't careful using him appropriately.

Man, I usually hate to be overly pedantic, but given that Figures does a really good job of incorporating leaders of both genders and multiple cultures, and obviously strove for that, we should at least acknowledge that Hatshepsut was female.
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tyr10n

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 03:35:04 pm »
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I wonder if it's worth noting somewhere that the mere presence of Figures changes the value of some other cards? For instance, Almanac. It was amazingly good before; it's even better now, since sharing Almanac no longer slows it down at all. (Yes, the other player gets to score too, so sharing it isn't quite automatic, but it's now certainly possible).

Cards that are easy to share suddenly become much better. For example, Oars and Writing.
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Darthcaboose

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 05:11:28 pm »
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Hatshepsut of Age 1 could totally wreck your hand if you aren't careful using him appropriately.

Man, I usually hate to be overly pedantic, but given that Figures does a really good job of incorporating leaders of both genders and multiple cultures, and obviously strove for that, we should at least acknowledge that Hatshepsut was female.

Oh dear. Duly noted!
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brokoli

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 03:24:17 pm »
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I really enjoyed my two first games with Figures.
However, since Figures cards and especially Decrees are very powerful, I fear that sharing dogmas is much better now, to the point that the race for majorities is much less important as well as scoring (because standard achievements are weaker). Is that true ?
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WinterSpartan

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 05:45:01 pm »
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Well, yes and no. It's true that you don't mind sharing as much, but demand dogmas are still every bit as nasty as they've always been, so majorities certainly still matter. As far as scoring goes, yes on the one hand there are more achievements available - but on the other you need more to win, so you still want those standard achievements. Particularly for a Figures game without Echoes, I believe scoring is still quite important.
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Darthcaboose

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Re: Figures: An Introduction and some Basic Strategy
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2013, 01:17:35 am »
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Well, yes and no. It's true that you don't mind sharing as much, but demand dogmas are still every bit as nasty as they've always been, so majorities certainly still matter. As far as scoring goes, yes on the one hand there are more achievements available - but on the other you need more to win, so you still want those standard achievements. Particularly for a Figures game without Echoes, I believe scoring is still quite important.

Absolutely right. A Base + Figures game is still a fight over score, since Decrees will only get you a short way towards winning. Base + Echoes + Figures does de-emphasize scoring, but ignore that at your own peril!
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