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Author Topic: Figures in the Sand: Age 1  (Read 1988 times)

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Darthcaboose

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Figures in the Sand: Age 1
« on: July 23, 2013, 06:50:51 pm »
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… and so it begins. You're off to a good start with the initial meld and it looks like you can share something fairly harmless (like Bangle from Echoes) with your opponent. You draw one of the Age 1 Figures and... well... How good can they be? Some can be awesome, but most of them are fairly “meh”. Honestly, it depends on the type of game being played. A Base + Echoes + Figures game has a much more important focus on building a nice big, splayed board with tons of bonuses and echo effects to get the most out of your limited actions. A Base + Figures game is more likely concerned with scoring quick to snag the numbered achievements. Some of the Age 1 Figures just don't work well with these efforts, and some can even throw your hand state or board state into chaos!

One very important point to note with Age 1 Figures is that there are 15 of them versus 10 for each of the other ages. Thus, trying to find a particular Figure in this age is going to be a little more difficult than in other Ages. Additionally, some games may have you and your opponent tearing through the Age 1 cards, basically rendering them moot.

Let's get to it; I'll refer you to http://innovation.boardgamestrategy.net/figures-card-list/ so you all can follow along.

Sunsho Ao (Yellow):

Aside from providing a single Castle symbol and a bonus of 1, Sunsho Ao's Inspire ability is not bad if you have empty piles; you can basically think of it as equivalent to Domestication in this case. You can use it to get unwanted Echoes cards out of your hand (and tucking Echoes cards is never a bad idea).

Sunsho Ao's Karma effect is a little... odd. Being able to run yellow card effects by yourself is nice, but the fact that you aren't actually tucking the yellow card does not contribute to your board building efforts. Additionally, many of the yellow Age 1 and even the Age 2 cards benefit from staying out on your board while you execute the multiple times (Agriculture, Domestication, Fermenting, Noodles, and Toothbrush, to name a few). In later ages, a lot of important Demand effects come in yellow cards, and tucking them won't allow you to benefit from them.

Shennong (Yellow):

Foreshadowing 2s is somewhat weaksauce early on, but doing an Inspire action with Shennong is certainly superior to just doing a Draw action! Try and get Echoes cards foreshadowed, as they are a bit more powerful than the Base cards (Fermenting aside). Its Karma effect may be problematic if you're trying to fight your opponent for the Destiny achievement from Echoes. That said, it is a reliable but slow scorer.

Try and combo this with Echo cards that allow you to reliably foreshadow, like Bell or Bangle. Ice Skates can be quite nice when used with Shennong if you can Foreshadow a bunch of 3s quickly into your score pile.

Sneferu (Yellow):

An excellent karma effect and inspire effect. Drawing and tucking cards early on is great when you still have empty piles, but the fact that you have a potentially repeating effect is quite great too. From a statistics perspective, 5/10 Base cards in Age 2 feature a Castle symbol, while only 4/10 Echoes cards in Age 2. If the Age 2 pile is empty, then only 4/10 Base cards in Age 3 feature a Castle symbol, and only 2/10 Echoes cards in Age 3. Keep in mind the empty colors on your board and what you might expect to come up if you ran this Inspire effect. The two Age 2 red Echoes cards feature good bonuses as well as Castle symbols, and could be used to snag a numbered achievement!   

Finally, the Karma effect is quite great in competing for an important symbol early on and later in the mid-game. Be mindful of an opponent sharing Ice Skates, which may have you returning those nice Age 2 cards you've been tucking from Sneferu's Inspire effect (all while giving him Figures for the 'share').

Finally, being able to issue an Expansion decree with two figures is always nice, but perhaps not so awesome in the early-game. Your piles are still at risk at being knocked down to a single card, eliminating your up-splay. That said, if you have a solid tucking mechanism, go for it!

Hatshepsut (Green):

What could be a problematic card. The bonus of 1 is nice, and the 'The Wheel'-like Inspire effect is always good for when you need to draw cards. However, be very mindful of its Karma effect, which could get you in loads of trouble if you have a large hand full of other precious Figures cards. If your opponent melds Hatshepsut, look for ways to mess with his hand and knock out his Figures (Archery comes to mind!)

That said, Hatshepsut might be great when the Age 1 pile empties and your opponent still has no teching mechanism; you can trigger Hatshepsut's ability and return all those cards back for your opponent to slog through!
 
Fu Xi (Green):

Issuing a Trade Decree with any 2 Figures is always good stuff. That said, foreshadowing three Age 2 Base cards might not necessarily be the best thing to do. Doing the Decree when you have an Age 2 card on your board would allow you to foreshadow Age 3 cards, potentially putting powerful weapons of mass destruction (read: Machinery) in reach, or at the very least, away from your opponent!

Fu Xi's a great way of joining in on any lightbulb action thanks to his Karma effect (such as an opponent running away with Mathematics). However, be mindful that many of the early Age lightbulb effects are fairly innocuous, and your opponent will be glad to share them with you for the purpose of drawing more Figures cards! Be sure to anticipate this when using Fu Xi.

Drawing and scoring a 2 is nice, but is perhaps a little too slow to do early in the game; where board building and left-splaying with Echoes is a little more critical.

Sargon of Akkad (Green):

The Inspire effect is excellent; Mysticism without the chance of it failing. Excellent thing to do when the piles clear out! Sargon of Akkad's Karma effect is fantastic for board-building purposes, and is a great way of taking care of troublesome Echoes cards that you can't get rid of. Also a great counter against demands that would have you melding lower age junk over your top cards!

Can also work well if you tuck it with Code of Laws for a left-splay in green!

Hammurabi (Red):
A lightbulb in Red? Always a good thing to see, particularly when trying to pull off getting Supremacy with Novel. A bonus of 2 makes it nice for trying to quickly claim the early age achievements quickly (before your opponent rises to higher tech levels for higher leveled Figures). The Inspire effect is essentially like Domestication; try and meld Echoes cards (I know I sound like a broken record player, but this is really important in Echoes games!).

The effectiveness of the Karma effect really depends on the Demand effect in question. It can neutralize Demands that transfer equal things over (Navigation is essentially a waste, unless your opponent does not have any 2s or 3s in their score pile), while some can still end up still hurting you (Machinery is still pretty devastating, and leaves you with the highest cards that were originally in YOUR hand). Definitely worth melding if your opponent brings out a dangerous card with a Demand!

Bonus points if you tuck Hammurabi with Code of Laws... Just because it historically makes sense.

Gilgamesh (Red):

Gilgamesh's Karma effect just makes me want to question some of the new systems that Carl added to the game. Really? Bonuses provide more Castle power to top cards without bonuses? Eh?

Gilgamesh rewards the player who lays down tons of Echo cards with bonuses, and yet rewards those who have top cards without bonuses. At the end of the day, he can be crucial for when your opponent techs themselves up to Age 3 and gets their hand on dangerous cards like Engineering or Katana.

His Inspire effect is nice and jives well with his 'bonus' Karma effect for the purpose of snatching up some early numbered achievements (preferably BEFORE your opponent gets access to more powerful higher age figures!). That said, the Inspire effect location only appears on right-splays later on in the game. That just ain't right!

Tigernmas (Red):

Tigernmas is a very, very, very good card. Let me count the ways?

1. It is a red card with leaves. LEAVES!!! There's only so many red cards in Innovation that feature this icon type. The next red Figures card to feature leaves is Robert E. Lee from Age 7.
2. You can issue a War decree with any two figures. In Age 1, this can be extremely damningly powerful if your opponent is stuck in Age 1. I've been reduced to having nothing on my board when Tigernmas came out!
3. Its Inspire effect is like 'The Wheel', never a bad thing.
4. Its Karma effect gives you points for items in your hand. This is great for snagging the numbered achievements. The Inspire effect on Tigernmas essentially gives you two more points in an action, while putting two more cards in your hand. Excellent!
5. Irish king legend of awesomeness? 'nuff said. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigernmas)

Ptahhotep (Purple):

Another take on the 'demand defense' Karma effects that Hammurabi features, Ptahotep's is not quite as dramatic, but can be enough of a disincentive to cause your opponent to consider doing something else. Of course, it's not very effective if your opponent has nothing in their score pile, or their score is predominantly bonus-based. Ptahhotep's Inspire effect is very situational. Cannibalizing your own board for score points so early on in the game may be unwise for board-building purposes in an Echoes game, but the ability to reveal other cards you may have tucked can be great for providing more flexibility!

Be very, very careful of an opponent with Mapmaking. Ptahhotep's Karma effect can cause a lot of harm with an opponent who can hit you with Mapmaking while he has a 1 in his score pile. Fortunately, Ptahhotep can Inspire himself off of your board if such insanity could occur!

Sinuhe (Purple):

An excellent source of Leaves in the early game. Its Dogma effect is perhaps a little too slow to do by itself in the early game. Look for ways to splay your purple cards left, which if you have been tucking some good purple Echoes cards, can really turn Sinuhe into a power-house card of splaying, scoring, and foreshadowing!
Being able to issue the Rivalry decree early on can be good if your opponent's found a strong Figure (read: Tigernmas), or if they are leading in score.

The Karma effect on Sinuhe doesn't lend well to the symbols on Sinuhe, but can be nice if you have other cards featuring the symbol. Certainly not the strongest Karma out there.

Homer (Purple):

A two bonus is always nice to see!

Homer's Inspire effect is a slightly less powerful version of Sneferu's, but is still pretty great if you still have empty piles. Homer's Karma effect is very, very situational. It can be good against dangerous Dogma demands from your opponent (Flute comes to mind as one). I am not sure if 'exchange' or 'transfer' effects triggers the Karma shown on Homer (probably not).

Perhaps one of the best things to do with Homer's Karma effect is to issue a Decree; as the 'removed' Figure cards would then be immediately tucked. Unfortunately, as Homer doesn't assist in Decrees, you'll need to get a Figure in Ages 1, 2, and 3 before you can pull it off. D'oh!

Daedalus (Blue):

Drawing and Forecasting 4s? IN AGE 1? I never asked for this... But still, is good!

Granted, doing a single action to forecast a card isn't the strongest of plays in the early game. That said, Daedalus works really well with early scorers, particularly those that also forecast cards (Bell is one good example). However, it is a fairly slow combo, and one that your opponent might be able to counter by looking for Engineering, Katana, Kobukson, or Gunpowder! As strong a strategy as it could be, don't end up building something only to see it crashing back down to Earth.

Imhotep (Blue):

Imhotep's Echo effect is very nice early on, but may not be something you want to share with an opponent. Additionally, Imhotep's Karma effect is of questionable value. If you end up drawing a strong card (like Mathematics or Fermenting) you might not be able to meld it without triggering Imhotep's ability. Try and find other ways to splay your cards, or meld cards you won't mind returning! Once your piles are splayed, Imhotep's Echo effect is a more easily-shared form of Sailing!

Huang Di (Blue):

Huang Di's Echo effect is but another form of Writing, and is innocuous enough to share with your opponent for the purpose of drawing Figures. Huang Di lends itself well for getting enough Figures to do its Advancement decree.

You will certainly want to meld one of the 2s you draw to Advance yourself up to Age 4... Much more effective than drawing a 3. If you don't have a strong castle lead, you'll want to hold off on doing an Advancement decree until you can do it on your first turn, for risk of it being stolen (via Archery or Construction).
Huang Di's Karma effect is humdrum, lightbulbs also providing leaves is okay, but you'll probably only get a few more since most lightbulbs in the early game appear in just Blue and Red.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 06:27:39 pm by Darthcaboose »
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first

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Re: Figures in the Sand: Age 1
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 03:44:44 am »
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Nice write-up! First of all, to make this article complete, I suggest you mention Gilgamesh.  :P

I agree with everything you say. Tigernmas is the best Age 1 figure, and definitely the one you have to watch out or your whole board would disappear (which happened to me once...) Most cards do basic things, but there's two outstanding figures that open up new combo possibility.

Sunsho Ao - This is one of the two cards (the other is Mikhail Kalashnikov from Age 9) that allows you to play the same card several times in one action. Use Reformation to tuck Toothbrush from your hand five times to splay left all five colors! Or if you want something broken, tuck Soap, and use Soap to tuck the same yellow card over and over again for infinite actions! (need rule confirmation)

Hatshepsut - We all know math is great, but she knows a better trick. Pair her up with Agriculture and you can tech up while scoring! And you don't have to worry about your cards being melded over since everything goes to your hand and score pile. Hmm? Her Karma requires you to have a 1 in your hand? Use her Inspire effect!
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Darthcaboose

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Re: Figures in the Sand: Age 1
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 06:33:33 pm »
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Nice write-up! First of all, to make this article complete, I suggest you mention Gilgamesh.  :P

I agree with everything you say. Tigernmas is the best Age 1 figure, and definitely the one you have to watch out or your whole board would disappear (which happened to me once...) Most cards do basic things, but there's two outstanding figures that open up new combo possibility.

Sunsho Ao - This is one of the two cards (the other is Mikhail Kalashnikov from Age 9) that allows you to play the same card several times in one action. Use Reformation to tuck Toothbrush from your hand five times to splay left all five colors! Or if you want something broken, tuck Soap, and use Soap to tuck the same yellow card over and over again for infinite actions! (need rule confirmation)

Hatshepsut - We all know math is great, but she knows a better trick. Pair her up with Agriculture and you can tech up while scoring! And you don't have to worry about your cards being melded over since everything goes to your hand and score pile. Hmm? Her Karma requires you to have a 1 in your hand? Use her Inspire effect!

Thanks! I can't believe I skipped over Gilgamesh. But well, I've added him there now!

Very nice addition there with Sunsho Ao. It is quite possible to tuck the same card multiple times and get some great benefit from it. I guess that could be one of those few times where you have some sort of super-turn where you just meld a whole bunch of cards / draw a bunch of cards with Domestication, score a bunch of cards with Agriculture, and the like.

That said, a lot of the cards that can get you to tuck a ton of stuff from your hand are either yellow (e.g. Soap) or purple (Reformation), and the Purple ones only appear later on (Code of Laws isn't a very fast tucker). Yellow is unfortunate, as Sunsho Ao is also a yellow Figure card!
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cchudyk

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Re: Figures in the Sand: Age 1
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 07:50:17 am »
+1

About Sunshu Ao:  the ruling on him had to change because of ugliness that could occur from chaining, and to stay consistent with rulings on other cards.  See here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/916947/instead-karmas-and-if-you-do-dogmas

When performing the Reformation dogma effect or another similar effect, you are not allowed to choose to tuck the same card repeatedly.  You choose all your cards to be tucked first, then proceed to tuck each chosen card (or perform another effect 'instead' for that card) only once.
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first

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Re: Figures in the Sand: Age 1
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 07:48:35 pm »
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When performing the Reformation dogma effect or another similar effect, you are not allowed to choose to tuck the same card repeatedly.  You choose all your cards to be tucked first, then proceed to tuck each chosen card (or perform another effect 'instead' for that card) only once.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. But still, being able to hold multiple yellow cards in hand and use them all in one action is nice.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 07:53:07 pm by first »
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