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My Game Guide, Take 2

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Deacon
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My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Deacon on Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:59 am

Based on feedback, I edited and expanded my guide a bit.

If you find it valuable, feel free to sticky it.



Deaconís Guide to The Glory of Kings

Welcome to the Glory of Kings. This is a rich game, with great detail. But it can be challenging for new players.

First steps:
1) Figure out your character or positionís goals. Who are you? What do you want to be when you grow up? If the Glory Fairy Godmother came down and let you have anything in-game you wanted, what would it be? If you donít have an idea of who you are, and what youíd like to accomplish in game, youíll probably tread water and end up bored. Kingmaker talks about 5-year plans and I think something like that is a good idea. You can very seldom do everything, so it helps to have a goal to shoot towards. You may not know what you want immediately, but setting goals and directions are important, particularly since very little is accomplished easily in the 18th century world of Glory of Kings. So if you donít stick to a plan, you can just end up frustrated. These can be simple (have a court full of artists and musicians) or complex (conquer a big neighbor). I find it often helps to have short-term goals and long-term goals. So I can gain a sense of accomplishment for moving forward even as I work on the longer-term projects. Larger positions have a lot more to work with, so can have more and grander goals. For smaller positions, you are often quite resource constrained, so it helps to plan accordingly.

2) Figure out your friends and your enemies. Write letters and talk to people. The conversations may go nowhere, but you can find surprising common ground sometimes. If nothing else, you might figure out what their in-game goals are, and maybe you can trade help.


3) Figure out your assets. What do you have a lot of, what donít you have a lot of? What can you do with the resources at your disposal? This plays into your goals since it helps to have the resources you need to accomplish that goal. Some nations with colonies, for instance, have access to rather unique investment opportunities.
Glory of Kings is not that much different from many type of Ďcivilizationí games. Itís a balance of resource management/development and resource use.
So letís talk about resources. I view that the game has two kinds of resources, recruits and currency(of which there are two kinds).
Recruits are often the hardest to get your hands on, so think carefully about how you use yours. My view is it is almost never best to use them in investments. An investment with recruits is invested at full value, without recruits at half value. One recruit and 10 pounds is 10 pounds of investment. 10 pounds of investment is 5 pounds of investment. So simple algebra tells you that this values a recruit at 10 pounds. Really large positions can get 100,000 recruits which at this rate are worth maybe 1M pounds, but they can get 10s of millions of pounds of income. This makes recruits the rare resource compared to cash, so use appropriately. The only way to build military forces as well as accomplish certain position upgrades is with recruits.
The one time you will need to spend recruits on an investment is when youíre starting an entirely new crop or investment. Then you must spend at least 1,000 recruits to jumpstart the investment. If you donít have recruits on hand you will go negative recruits, and that will damage your EH quite a bit. (ask me how I know!). This fact could be useful if youíre up against the wall militarily, but Iíd be hard pressed to think that going negative is ever a good idea (maybe necessary, but not good!)
Save your recruits for your military adventures, or if you really donít have a use, you can probably sell them to a neighbor. Along those lines, most nations forbid recruiting by foreign powers on their turf. This _will_ negatively impact your economy somewhat, but given the value of recruits, most players view it as necessary.
The game has two kinds of currency: honour and what your mint produces. Take care of both. Some donít view Honour as a currency, but I think it is better to think about it that way so that you can better manage the ups and downs that honour has in the game.
While honour is often frustrating, it is mostly a reflection of your inert nobles. Part of the fun of the game is the period it is set in. Honour is the GM enforcement/reward mechanism to make sure you toe the line and act in period. Yes, the military tactic of burning your enemyís cities to the ground may be effective, but most with think you a monster and a barbarian for doing it! (Unless your culture has a history of such things!)
You build up honour by doing things your nobles (mostly) and your people like, such as opening churches, holding banquets, lowering their taxes, not taking away their privileges, etc. You spend it when you actually want to effect a change in your nation that your nobles (and people) are not going to like. For instance, in my case, trying to get rid of the inquisition. If you want to turn your democracy into an absolute monarchy or vice versa, youíre going to Ďspendí a lot of honour! This also is Richardís way of slowing you down. Societies donít change overnight and even absolute monarchs must occasionally bend before the combined resistance of their subjects. If you build up to the change, rather than just doing it, you can probably get by with less of an honour hit. The slow pace of the game can frustrate, but things took a while to accomplish back in the 1700s, so donít expect it to happen faster in game just because you order it so. That said, what an interesting challenge to say engineer the French revolution some decades early?
Note that some positions do gain honour in a different way. Pirates gain it for being notorious and wicked. The Chinese positions typically give gifts to the emperor and gain honour depending upon how well the gift is received. The key point to remember is that if youíre acting historically, youíre on the right track. If youíre not, you arenít.
I also think you get a bit more honour when you write things for the paper to take the load off Richard. If youíre hosting a banquet, or opening an opera house, you might as well write up the description of the event as if youíre reporting on it. Richard may well change it, but I often find he takes it just as is and I get the advantage of describing my own actions and character. I think there is a base Ďrewardí for just doing the action, (hosting a banquet, opening a church, giving alms, etc.), but you can get bonus honour on top of that for describing it well and making it properly period. It is your chance to bring your individual characters alive. While honour, like Economic Health(EH), is displayed in whole numbers, I think most of these actions are fractions of honour points, and you only realize what youíve gotten when you tick up.
Purely speculation on my part, but in Scramble for Empire that are subtle benefits to having a higher honour. Some of this may translate into Glory as well. Even if it doesnít, it is nice to have a good stockpile of honour so that if you feel you must act like a despicable wretch, you will survive. If you allow honour to dip too low, you may well find yourself subject to revolts and the like.
The other kind of currency, cash, leads me to the 3 development challenges of the game: Economic, Military, and Scientific



Economic:
This is the foundation of the rest. If you donít generate enough income, you canít pay your military and you canít invest in research advances. Unless youíre a large and rich position, be careful about investing too much in military and scientific work until you have the revenue to pay for those and still have money to put back into your economy. They are a double drag, in that you spend money on them that you could have invested, and they also require upkeep every year and so consume more of your cash flow into the future.
How you divide your investments probably depends on your strategy, but I think for a long-term outlook, you want to keep adding significant new investment every year. Some small positions may have a neighbor that they can gobble up, making military investment a better early choice.
My understanding of the economy is that EH reflects how well your tax base grows, and probably domestic trade. More general trade, I believe, is more a function of the average EH of the region. So your economy could be in the tank, but your overseas trade investments do well or vice versa.
On regional/interntional trade, the rules suggest trade missions help. I would beg to differ. They donít help, theyíre vital. My experience is that not having trade missions is just a bad, bad thing. You need to balance the cost of the missions against the income, but do make use of them.
I also believe that your trade is impacted by what others are doing and that there are natural market limits. So if you and somebody else both invest a lot in a particular commodity, youíre probably producing more than the market needs and are competing with each other, so you both probably get poor returns. I notice that for honour income you are only allowed to invest back as much as you make a year and that any more would be Ďwastedí. This leads me to believe that you can do the same thing in economic investing and that over-investing can lead to wasted investing. So even if somebody else isnít investing in something, your own overinvestment may end up wasted if you pour too much into one thing. This is speculation on my part, so you follow it at your own peril!
So taking these two things together, my view is that diversification of economic investment is a good thing. Even if you can mine gold or silver, if you do too much of it, you will likely cause inflation and damage your economy over the long-term. I try to pick 5 to 10 markets or products to invest in to make sure my investments are spread around and Iím not as affected if one market or economy craters. It can be good to dominate a section of trade, but if you put all your investment into one egg, you better hope nothing happens to that basket!
The economic part of the game is perhaps one of the most opaque aspects, so take my advice, and anyone elseís, as just that. None of us really know how this part of the game works, which is by design.
There are a number of ways that you can improve your Economic Health, and I think these are usually worth doing as soon as feasible. Get a good minister of trade and ask for advice if you want tips on this. There are also suggestions in the rulebook.

Military:
This depends mostly upon your goals, but is probably the second most important development goal to think through. I have some opinions here, but not much experience, so Iíll defer to others. My general view is that in most cases you want to solidify your defenses before you start building an offense. Exceptions would be small nations that want to rush to swallow a neighbor. Also, what you want to build depends a lot on what your military objective is and who you are. Different nations have different military strengths. Military research and advances can help shore up your weaknesses and make you stronger, but youíll likely do best if you exploit the natural historic strengths your position had.
Research:
I view research as a force multiplier. When you research water wheels in game, they tell you 10% more power, or maybe 20% more power. Exactly how that translates into your mills functioning only Richard knows, but if you think about it as a multiplier youíll start to see the advantage.
If youíve invested millions in a particular area, then getting that investment to perform 10% better can really add up. So if youíre doing mining, itís probably worth investing in an academy of mining to work on those advances and so forth. On the other hand, if youíre a small nation, with a small income that has diversified, a 10% boost probably will cost more to run the academy than youíd get in benefit from the advance, so perhaps better to wait some years before focusing on that. For a smaller nation, research academies can quickly eat up a lot of money!
Similarly, many of the military advantages play out the same way, I believe. Each one makes one part of your military better in some way.
That said, I donít believe all the research advantages are the same, and some may not do much, if anything. I think Richard isnít adverse to dead-end research or investments that really return you nothing, or that are useful only in uncommon circumstances. All of which is another reason not to get too committed to any one idea, investment, or research project.
Research academies are more efficient the more specific they are. So if you really just want to invent one thing, then you can make an academy for that. The ďacademy of left-handed smoke shiftersĒ will do the best job of inventing a left-handed smoke shifter. The downside is that once thatís invented, you might as well close the academy, since it isnít going to be successful researching anything else. So strike your own balance on what you think is the right level of specificity.
Also, academies can train people for professions and that is necessary for a number of the social advances you may want to implement. But if your only interest is in training people, you can open training academies. These can train 2,000 recruits a year instead of the normal academyís 1,000. The downside is that they canít do any research at all.

Final Tips:
Richard has a number of add-on rule books for the game. They are worth investing in. They include new troop types, possible research and social advances, and other ideas on how to improve your nation.
Feel free to research your nation in period and propose new ideas to Richard. A number of the advances listed in previous rulebooks came from other players doing exactly that, so the fact that it isnít in a rulebook already doesnít mean it canít be done. It can be a bit of a feather in your cap to see a new rulebook issued and recognize one of your contributions in it.
Expect failure. Richard is a tough GM, if things come to easily, the game overall would be unbalanced. Richard has also implied that the bigger you are, the harder it will be to expand. So while small nations may be able to gobble up a neighbor, larger ones are going to have to work a long time to accomplish that kind of goal.
Your advisors will sometimes give you bad advice. Donít take everything they say as truth. Theyíre fallible too.
When writing orders, I have found simple works better. When I started, I liked writing long-winded pieces from my ruler. I have since found that I have better results when I keep the orders simple, and out-of-character. I save the in-character writing for things that really require it. I also think it helps to group orders when possible. Iím sure everyone develops their own process, but when I get back my turn, I write all the orders Iíd like to do. After Iíve done that, I go back and figure out which ones arenít that important to me right now, and I move them into another file which I label for the next game month. Orders that will take more money than I can afford this year, I move into a file for January of the next game year. The following month then, I can open up the Ďnext monthí file and repeat the process. If Iíve moved an order forward for several months, I will typically decide it isnít that important and just delete.
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Kingmaker
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Kingmaker on Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:42 am

Not bad but as I always say do not forget or underestimate spy's.

Not all enemies come knocking on your door with 30,000 men, some just send 1 or 2 and they can be just as effective.

Also Town watches with dogs are also good investments around your capital to stop break ins and grills to the windows.


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Deacon
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Deacon on Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:23 pm


I'm not sharing all my secrets! Very Happy
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Kingmaker on Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:17 pm

its not secrets its how fiendish you are with your imagination in using them...


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Nexus06
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Nexus06 on Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:15 pm

Deacon you wrote a fantastic guide for newbie player, as i am. But i do think that the main issue a new player face in taking a position is planning. I mean, an experienced player can easily imagine strength and weaknesses of a position, an according to that plan a short or medium term strategy to achieve success. But for a new one, everything is quite new and i think a period of evaluation and testing is necessary, unless you could fix some basic checkpoints you should be able to achieve (or work in order to) during the first period of gaming.

Kingmaker, spies are really a powerful device. Armies are easier to play as they require less strategy, but in my opinion (and it is a strictly theorical one) spies well used are extremely powerful and funny to play.
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Ardagor on Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:54 pm

Every unit should have some drill before going into action, excellent if possible. If you can train the cavalry in horse obedience as well they should be good.

The army regulations should be sensible and simple to implement, take something that was used in the period. Ask Your Generals if in doubt and test the regulations in practice in an excercise. Things will go horribly wrong if the regulations are to complicated for the troops to use. It is better when this happens on a practice field than in a battle.

Elite units will be better at fighting and their morale will be better but they cost more to raise and in upkeep. Also, turning them inactive remove their elite status, so a core of elite troops that is always active and can be reinforced by standard troops that is inactive until needed. The inactive troops will of course need as much drill as possible to be effective when needed. Add trained officers to units and extra NCO`s to infantry (to improve fire discipline). Give them cobbled boots, rigid backpacks and specialist equipment as necessary. Form battalions/squadrons into regiments and brigades. Add support units as required (army headquarters, logistics corps, mobile hospitals etc), militirised artillery (more expensive upkeep but faster) and military transport units (more expensive but faster). You get the idea, the army move at the speed of the slowest unit so anything that make it more mobile and able to react faster is good.

Do not move around outside in Winter in Northern Europe unless absolutely necessary, give them greatcoats and enough grain at least. An army caught in a Winter storm without grain is heading for the graveyard.
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Deacon
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Deacon on Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:52 am


Great stuff Ardador.

For Strengths of positions, I can give some examples.


England: Trade. You have a natural benefit here, and colonies all over.
Spanish/Portuguese: a bit like England (though their trade benefit is higher I think), but you can usually find gold or silver in your colonies so you can get lots of cash that way.
Prussians: Soldier. You start with some of the research advances and you just like attacking people.
Russia: recruits I've heard. Lots of bodies to work with.
Indian/Chinese positions also have lots of bodies and I'd say that is their biggest asset.
Papal States. You're the pope. The great catholic powers of Spain, France, and Austria all should want to keep you happy since you can talk them up or down and affect their honour. Like all such things you do it too often and you'll end up losing influence.

Realms with Colonies often have products that they can invest in or develop that aren't as common, so likely more profitable than other choices.

etc, etc.

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Jason
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Jason on Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:56 pm

An excellent guide Deacon Smile

On regards strengths, with Chinese positions I would add some nifty technologies that can be useful in trained hands (kites, rockets, repeating crossbows, paddle wheeled ships).

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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by jamesbond007 on Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:55 pm

Yes, good guides lads. I think Russia needs more of a mention. They also have access to gold and silver. A lot going for Russia in the right hands.
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Re: My Game Guide, Take 2

Post by Ardagor on Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:10 pm

Thank you Deacon.

I would say that the advantages of China is in no particular order

- Lots of recruits
- The internal trade potential is big.
- You gain honour by impressing the Emperor with your extravagant gifts. You are set if you have lots of money and a great imagination.


Moghul India (the only Indian position I have played)
- Very large population, which does not necessarily give a lot of recruits. This can be an advantage or disadvantage of course.
- Many smaller, weaker neighbours that can be convinced of your superiority.
- Have a potential for being a powerful trading nation.

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