LandGrab Beginner’s Strategy Guide

LandGrab Beginner’s Strategy Guide by std

I wrote this to help players as they join LG to serve as a bit of a primer. Any help or ideas to edit it would be great. I would like to provide a basic strategy guide for LG

cards
what are the card rules? when can you trade in? when can you place? how does this impact how i play?

trade-in options
for trade in, there are three options. two of these suck, see if you can guess which one that is.

1. turn start – this means that the only time you can trade in a set is at your turn start. if after your turn, you get the star you need, tough. you better hope that you are alive on the come back so that you can cash in. say you just killed someone who had 5 cards. awesome. you still can’t cash. and now you are a huge target for the next guy. and on it goes.
2. anytime – this is by far the most common method. you can trade in your cards at any time. it can be in the middle of your turn, the middle of an attack, or even someone else’s turn
3. your turn only – this means that you can trade in anytime during your turn, but as soon as your turn is over, you are stuck with your cards. Did you just hit that needed star for a CDS with 3 owned!!! tough. you can’t trade in until the next round. i hope you live and i hope you still own those cards…

set placement options
1. turn start – this is probably the most common army placement rule. for whatever time you cash in your cards, you can only place them at the start of your next turn.
2. immediately – this is the setting that leads to the most aggressive play, and strings of kills. you can cash in any time during your turn and immediately lay down your reos. so if you kill someone and their cards gives you a set, you can trade in and use those reos to rebuild your forces and continue the fight.
there are a couple of different methods used for card trade-ins.

card values
1. based on symbols – this means circles, diamonds and stars. this is the most common. a common acronym for holding one of each is CDS for holding circles is CCC and for having a wild just replace the letter with a W.
2. increasing – there are two types, slow increasing and fast increasing (there is also resetting increasing but that is rarely used). what this means is that the first trade in is worth 4 reos and then each subsequent trade in is increased, either by 1 (slow) or by 2 (fast). in conjunction with this, many times continent bonuses increase with each card trade in. This means that for every turn in, each continent increases in value. this option is not always checked with increasing games.
– increasing continents – so in increasing continent games initial continent values are halved (and then rounded up so a standard 3 continent becomes worth 2 as 1.5 rounds up). Every time that a set is traded in, the value of the continent increases. So after 10 trade ins, that 3 continent is now worth close to 30 reos a turn. this changes your strategy considerably. it becomes more important to bust continents and make sure that you hold your continents. there are numerous strategies and player preferences with this that we may delve into later.
3. flat trade – usually set at 5, this means for every trade-in you get a base of 5 reos.

now this is the first component of card values, the next is just as important –

territory bonuses
Territory bonuses can be integral in determining how aggressive you play. Higher bonuses relative to average army counts per player can really swing the game in the favor of the player that can maximize their bonuses. On the other side, many people get caught up trying to own territories when there is only a standard 2 bonus. If the bonus is small, treat them like a shiny nickel you find in the street. It is nice, but not worth kicking someone’s ass over. Yet all the time i see people killing 5+ armies to get an owned bonus of 2. That math just don’t add up. with territory bonuses there are two key concepts to consider

1. on territory – with this setting, the territory bonuses for the card trade in is placed directly on the territory that the card was for. big tip – not everyone knows this, but it can really benefit you, especially if you have limited fortifications. if the parameters are right (trade anytime and bonus on territory) and you have two card territories that are adjacent to each other then you can grow your single stack with both bonuses. here is how – attack from the first card-owned territory to the adjacent card-owned territory. before you advance your troops – cash in. it adds the bonus armies to the territory you just conquered AND to your advancing stack. So when you go to move your troops into your newly conquered lands, you get the benefit of both owned territory bonuses. if this needs clarifying let me know.
2. not on territory – with this setting, the territory bonus armies are added to the pool of army reos for you to place wherever you like. So if you trade in a CDS worth 10 and own 1 of the territories with a bonus of 10 not on territory, then you get to lay down 20 armies wherever you want. this is preferred for those who like faster games.

max cards – typically this is set at 5. what this means is that when you hit this number, you cannot start your next turn until you get below it. So if you end your turn with 4 cards, and get a card taking you to 5, you must trade in to get less than 5 before you can start your next turn. If you have 4 cards and you conquer another player who has 4 cards, then suddenly you have 8. things can get a little tricky here. you do not have to trade in immediately (if the rules allow it) if you can trade in during your turn, and you do then this takes you down to 5 cards – but due to a bug or oversight, you must trade in AGAIN to get your total cards under 5. this is the only instance in which the max cards does not apply to the standard turn start provision. so in other words, if you get in this situation, make sure that you get everything owned that you can before you trade in as you will have to trade in immediately again.

fortifications – sometimes confusingly shortened to forts
how many forts do i get? what type of forts are they? how will this impact my attack?

fortification – there are a couple of things to keep in mind regarding fortifications as well. First always know how many “forts” you have. nothing is more irritating than thinking that you have two forts, but you only have one. when planning your attacks make sure you have enough fortifications to cover your newly conquered lands. you don’t want to take a continent with 3 chokes, but do to poor planning and only one fort, you can only cover 2 chokes, thus leaving your backdoor open. there are 3 types of fortification
1. path – this is the most common. this means that you can fortify from any territory that you own to another as long as their is an owned path between them. in other words as long as your troops can travel from one point to another by only going through territories that you own.
2. border – with border forts, you can only fortify from one adjacent territory to another. this makes planning for attacks more complicated as you may not be able to use your forts to cover your chokes, unless you really plan. thankfully this is not that common.
3. any – with this setting you can fort from any territory to any other territory that you own. it doesn’t matter where the other territory is.

leaders and fortresses
leaders
leaders are indicated by a little sword in the army box. Game hosts who select this option can choose to enable up to 5 leaders per player in the game. A leader has two duties. He can attack at a +1 and he can defend at a +1. This means that the highest die from your roll is increased by 1. So if you roll a 6, 4, 3 it magically becomes a 7 (6+1), 4, 3. This is a huge advantage. When attacking other leaders, or fortresses (more later) leaders have no advantage, but when attacking territories without leaders, your forces will be dominating. Now as i said earlier, leaders also defend at a plus one. So similarly to the attacking methodology, the highest defensive roll that you have is increased by 1. This makes leaders harder to kill. Additionally, it is important to note that leaders are always the last army killed on a territory. If you have 5L on a territory (5 armies with a leader), then your leader will keep fighting until you get totally defeated.

because of the defensive bonus, many people place leaders at choke points to try and prevent invasions. more than that, it can be important to make sure that your leaders are not “trapped” behind your armies so that you can use the stack to attack. there are some times when you can place a leadered stack off a choke. this is done typically in situations where if anyone busts your continent, then they will free your leader thus giving you the opportunity to strike back. the idea is that your opponents will leave you alone for fear of reprisal.

leader placement – when placing your armies initially, you will first be asked where you want to place your leader. if there are multiple leaders enabled in the game, you need to keep in mind that you can only place 1 leader a round. so AFTER your first first attacking turn, you would be asked where you would like to place your 2nd leader. after the next turn your 3rd leader and so on. however if one of your leaders is killed, then it delays your ability for full leader deployment as only one leader can be placed a turn and that placement is always at the end of your turn unless…. If all your leaders are killed, you will be asked to place a leader at the START of your turn.

fortresses
fortresses are indicated by a castle icon in the army box on the map. fortresses add a +1 defensive bonus to the highest defending die (similar to the bonus leaders provide). fortresses are not mobile and are located in the same spot on the map every time. fortresses are also not killable or destructible. so if a player kills you then they capture your fort and they get the defensive bonus. not all maps have fortress locations defined. some maps have fortresses off of chokes, others have fortresses on chokes.

stalemate avoidance
what the hell is stalemate avoidance (SA)?

stalemate avoidance is an automated mechanism in LG that is designed to break a stalemated game. a stalemate occurs when for what ever reason, players lack the motivation to attack each other. this can happen for a variety of reasons. one of the most common is that the number of armies on the board make card trades or territory bonuses largely irrelevant. if you have 200 armies guarding australia and you are only getting 2+ reos from it….well I ain’t going to waste the armies to bust it. It would take 100 turns to equivocate that attack. additionally, if the other players have stacks of 200 and a CDS is worth only 10, then I have no motivation to attack someone and try to kill them for cards, because it is likely that the cards will not provide nearly enough armies to replace my attacking force. all of the sudden no one wants to attack because they don’t want to fall behind the players in armies and/or reos and the motivator has diminished.

so enter in SA. stalemate avoidance is an option. however games are automatically opted in to this option and must de-select it to turn it off. with SA on, there is a maximum number of armies that are allowed on the map. this number is 20x the number of territories. so for EarthLG, the maximum total number of armies for all players can not exceed 840 (20×42). if the SA threshold is exceeded during a turn, then on the next turn all armies are reduced to 10% of their previous value. so if you had 200 armies on siam, that suddenly drops to 20. a key consideration is this – army counts are rounded up and all singles (territories with 1 army on them) remain the same. so if you had 15 armies in china, then that is reduced to 2 as 1.5 rounds up. if you had 14 armies on china, then that is reduced to 1. there is a progress bar in the black rules area above the map that appears when SA is close to being activated. it can also be displayed by clicking on the words stalemate avoidance in the rules area above the map. this will let you know that SA is coming and give you a chance to either prevent it (by attacking players) or to prepare for it by putting the appropriate number of armies on each territory. additionally another wise strategy is to spread out and take as many territories as you can. those extra reos that you receive for owning all the territories will come in handy once those armies are reduced.

if you are playing a game with increasing cards and continents and SA is activated, then the card values are set back to 4 and the continent values are taken back to their beginning values.

stalemate crusher
so are there strategies for stalemate crusher or is it all luck?

stalemate crusher (SC) is an option that is available to vote on once there are only 3 players left in a the game and after a certain amount of rounds (10 maybe – i need to check). the purpose of this is to allow the players a chance to vote as to whether or not they feel the game is stalemated and needs a little goose. games with only 3 players tend to stalemate more easily as if one player attacks another, then they both are weakened relative to the third. so what is SC? if all three remaining players decide to activate it, then a SC bonus is added to each card trade-in. the amount of the SC bonus added for card trade-ins is based upon a fibonacci series. a fibonacci series is this – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 etc. after starting with 0 and 1, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. as you can see this number escalates rapidly. the sole purpose of SC is to end games very quickly.

there is a lot of strategy as to when to trade in with SC enabled. it is a delicate balance to make sure that you aren’t holding cards inappropriately. depending on the card rules – it may be beneficial to not hold cards if at all possible. honestly though there is a little skill involved, once SC is invoked, it turns into a lottery. So knowing this, should you vote to enable SC? if you are solidly in the lead – absolutely not. If you are losing – absolutely. if the game is truly stalemated and the remaining players are all pretty much equal…well that is a tough call.

bridges and walls
what are these? what do they do? what do they mean? when should i build them?
basics
bridges are a feature where you can build links between territories that normally do not border. this may be beneficial for creating pathways to travel long distances and escape a messy situation due to placement. or to create an fortification path from a distant land back to your home reo base.

walls are a feature that when enabled allow you to “block off” or “wall off” an area by destroying links between territories. as an example, if you were to build a wall between brazil and north africa, then all of the sudden south america only needs to be defended at 1 choke rather than 2 as players would no longer be able to attack brazil from north africa thanks to the wall. sounds great, right? it can be. but there are a lot of implications for building walls.

rather than re-invent the wheel – here is the primer on building walls and bridges as written by our dear leader – Desau

Bridges and Walls

Please note: This is a beta feature and may undergo many tweaks and fixes before it’s finished.

When enabled, the “Bridges and Walls” option allows players to change borders during the game by constructing bridges to link two territories, and walls to block a border between two territories. You can find this option in the advanced options section of the game rules step when creating a new game:

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In games where bridges and walls are enabled, you’ll see a “Bridges And Walls…” button in the left panel during your attack phase:

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Clicking that button will show your the bridges and walls control panel:

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This panel allows you to begin construction on a bridge or wall, start dismantling a bridge or wall, or attack construction.

Here’s how this all works:

Constructing or Dismantling a Bridge or Wall
To construct or dismantle a bridge or wall, you need to own the territories on both sides (with one exception: dismantling a wall — you only need to own a territory on one side). After you define the two endpoint territories, you’ll be able to assign a certain number of your armies (from either of the two endpoints) to become engineers to work on the construction effort. The more number of armies you devote to the project, the shorter time it’ll take to construct. The shortest time period required to build (or dismantle) a bridge or wall is one full round, so that all other players can see and react to the construction effort. If the required time passes with at least one engineer surviving, the construction (or dismantle) effort will be successful. After the construction is finished, any remaining engineers are given back to you for placement at the start of your next turn. You cannot assign additional engineers to the project after it has started (although you can move more armies in place to guard). If some engineers are killed, the construction time is not slowed down.

Attacking Construction
While a player is constructing or dismantling a bridge or wall, any other player can attack that construction effort to cancel it. To completely destroy the construction effort, you need to first kill all guarding armies on one of the endpoint territories, then kill all the engineers. Since the soldiers need to put down their weapons to become engineers, they become much more vulnerable. As such, ties between attackers and defenders always go to the attacker. If the attacking army rolls three sixes, and the defending engineers roll 2 sixes, both engineers will be defeated. It is, therefore, very important to leave an ample number of troops guarding the engineers on both sides of construction.

For both construction and dismantling, you’ll see a small progress meter over the bridge or wall denoting how many turns are left before the construction effort is complete. You can right-click any bridge or wall to see the full details of ownership and construction progress.

Here are some screenshots of what this looks like:

This is a completed bridge. Bridges are drawn with a curved green line connecting the two endpoints. After construction is finished, the bridge icon is displayed in the center, as shown here:
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This is a bridge under construction. Notice the small progress meter about the engineer count (there are 3 engineers working on this bridge):
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Walls are very similar in look. Instead of a green line, it’s a red line. Here is a wall under construction with 4 engineers:
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Here’s what a completed wall looks like:
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Note that if you find the icons / engineer counts get in the way, there’s a checkbox on the left side of the board to hide the bridge & wall icons:
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now what implications does this have? what are the tips and tricks? (These notes were supplied by Grog. Thanks man!)

Building a Bridge/Wall
1. Must own both territories
2. Add engineers to build (taken away from your troops stack).
3. Engineers can be used from either territory (or both territories to complete it faster).
4. Number of engineers needed to build seems to be related to the number of troops for that player, or all players.
5. Distance was not a factor in building time.
6. Bs vs. Ws took the same amount of engineers/time.
7. Anyone can attack the engineers building the B/W (all ties go to Attacker).
8. When B/W is completed, all surviving (if there was an attack) engineers are returned as placement Reos on your next turn.

Who can move across a Bridge/Wall
1. All players can cross a bridge regardless of who built it.
2. No player may cross a wall (even the builder).
3. Bridges show as links with the “Show Borders” greasemonkey script. That’s cool.
4. Bridges can negate 1-way borders. We tested this on Pirate Island (the one that looks like a skull’s face).

Destroying a completed Bridge/Wall
1. Deconstructing a B/W is the same as building it.
2. Engineers are taken from your troops and set to destroy. The more engineers, the quicker they destroy.
3. Destroying a Wall can be done by owning either territory.
4. Destroying a Bridge can only be done by owning both territories.
3. Anyone can attack the engineers destroying the B/W (all ties go to Attacker).

Destroying a Active Construction
1. While the B/W is building, anyone can attack the engineers (all ties go to Attacker)
2. If someone has assigned engineers to destroy a B/W, anyone can attack the engineers to stop the destruction (all ties go to Attacker).

capitals
what are capitals? what risks do they have? what benefits do they provide? where should i place them?

just what are capitals?
the implementation of capitals in landgrab is similar to the concept of capture the flag. if your flag is captured…you lose. similarly in landgrab, if your capital is captured, then you lose all your territories and are defeated. you can place your capital in games in which they are enabled any time during the first three rounds of the game. but you have to place them on your 4th turn if you haven’t already. as this territory literally means the game for you, it is wise to make sure that you defend your capital as much as you can so that you are not killed prematurely. additionally, if it is in the first couple of rounds in a game and you delay placing your cap, you cannot change your mind and decide to place it until the next player has started their turn (by entering the fortification stage of their turn). your capital is then denoted by the addition of a flag icon to the army count box of the territory.

risks?
as mentioned above, if you lose your capital, you lose your game. it then becomes a delicate balance of defending your cap as much as you can while still providing yourself with the ability to attack and potentially take other players capitals. to do this you must ensure that either your capital stack has an attack path (i.e. is not trapped behind your own territories) or develop a secondary stack. however, this is somewhat complicated by the fact that when your capital is taken, a random percentage of your armies “converts” to the side of the person who conquered you. this percentage varies but can be anywhere from below 50% to over 90%. this means that you do not want to create a secondary stack big enough to entice another player to try and kill you with them counting on the conversion from your secondary stacks to rebuild their troop totals. in order to manage this properly one must be aware of rules such as the number of fortifications. if there is only one fortification, then you can use this to your advantage by creating smaller stacks to hold territory. this is because the would be attacker knows that they will likely not be able to use your armies to add to their cap.

benefits
the primary benefit of capitals is that the attacker can only roll 2 dice instead of the usual 3. and you as the defender still have the advantage of the tie. in other words, the attackers advantage completely goes out the window. it is for this reason that many players choose to place their capitals at key choke points as those are territories that they would spend armies protecting anyway. with the capitals defensive advantage, this is a sound strategy. everyone has their own rule of thumb as to how many armies it takes to conquer a capital. typically it is between 1.75x and 2.0x the number of armies on the cap. so you can see that taking a capital is an expensive investment. it is your job to make sure that there is no payoff to the attacker.

other considerations
if you are playing a game with leaders, then it is imperative that you place a leader on your cap. this gives your highest defensive dice roll a +1. this makes it even harder to take a capital. of course this is nullified if the other player is attacking with a leader, but imagine how much damage they could do to you if your leaders are not on your cap? in fact the defensive bonus goes away completely and you are much easier to kill. when placing your cap, if you attempt to put it on a fortress, then the fortress goes away. you cannot have a capital on a fortress. so unless, you absolutely have to, try to avoid doing this.

capital games tend to go pretty fast in the beginning when army counts are not high and the normalization of rolls may not occur. in other words, when army counts are low, a lucky streak can occur much more readily to take you out. additionally, the number of reinforcements and trade in reos are typically proportionally higher when compared to what players have on their capitals. the converse of this is that end games with capitals can be very long. once troop numbers get high, capital games can stalemate rather easily. the number of troops needed to take a capital are just too much when considering having to defend your cap and the maximum reward that can be gained through conquered territories and armies as well as cards.

suicides and suicide protection

suicides
what are suicides? why do they happen? how can i avoid them? what do i do when i see one? can you suicide in team games?

suicides, oh suicides. i wish that you didn’t exist. but in LG, what is a suicide? well i am glad you asked. a suicide is a massive attack that one player makes against another player that virtually ensures that neither player will have a chance to win the game, or even survive a few rounds. sounds like a retarded thing to do right? that is why they piss people off and why REPEATED suicides are cause for banning by the site admins. so an example…in a standard earth game, johnrobca places his stack in eastern australia and meat places his stack in western australia. so meat decides that johnrobca is unlikely to move and that he HAS to have australia, so he attacks 35 vs. 32 armies. and meat wins!!! with 3 armies left over. surely a pyrrhic victory as on the next turn austinip swoops down and kills them both. even if austinip was unable to finish off meat, well meat has 10 armies when everyone else has 40. those extra 2 reos a turn were really worth it, huh? yet people do shit like this all the time.

players suicide for a variety of reasons. the most common are impatience, anger and ignorance. none of those are good reasons. so don’t fucking do it. but by knowing what a suicide is and why people do it, you can really try to avoid it. how do you do this?

1. placement – if you look at the board when deciding where to place your armies, and you think that where you place will block someone in… don’t place there. a cornered dog is much more likely to attack.
2. game message board – if you make threats or act like an ass on the game message board, you are more likely to be suicided. saying something like “I ain’t leaving Australia, so you better” is basically just tempting the other player to suicide you.
3. don’t play real time (RT) games – by far the vast majority of suicides are in RT games. for the most part, the players that play long (standard timer) games are more patient and less likely to suicide. This is primarily due to the fact that most RT players are not premium and can only play in a limited amount of games. so they tend to act rashly.
4. don’t play on EarthLG – it would not surprise me if 80% of all suicides happened on this map. I know that it is the most played map, but still suicides are over represented on that map. particularly in australia, or when a player gets trapped in south america.
5. check the forums – many of the players that suicide get reported in the cheating/abuse section of the forums. just be aware of who they are and you can avoid them.

suicide protection
so what the hell is suicide protection (SP)?

suicide protection is an automated mechanism built into landgrab that serves to not only deter suicides, but to restore the target of the suicide back to their previous state. in the previous example where meat suicided into johnrobca, johnrobca as the target of the attack would have all of his armies restored to where they were prior to the suicide attack, while meat would stay the same. So johnrobca would go back to having 32 armies on his stack while meat would still be left with 3. Meat would however still get a card if he earned one. so what are the triggers that enable SP?

1. must occur in the first 4 rounds of the game
2. the attacker and defender must be reduced to less than half of the next highest army total.
3. attacks against borgs do not count
4. there is no SP in 1v1 games
5. there is no SP in team games

where SP gets dicey is when the card rules favor aggressive play. If you are on a small map and have 3 cards and 35 armies on a stack. trade in is only 4, but the bonuses are 10 not on territory and you have 2 already owned. tomato is sitting right next to you with 30 armies on his only territory – also with three cards. this could be a bonanza for you! with average rolls you should conquer tomato with 8 armies left over! you would be guaranteed at least one set with 2 owned worth 24 which would pretty much completely restore the armies that you lost. plus!!! you still have 3 cards with which you might have an additional trade. now that is a sound strategy. but with SP you might have to rethink that. if your rolls go south, and tomato is NOT killed, well he gets all his armies back and you? well you are screwed. but now if we wait 2 more turns, and the exact situation happens…you can go forward with impunity. and it is not considered a suicide. so keep that in mind when playing in games that favor aggression.

also be wary of players that know the SP rule and know how to exploit it. they may try and tempt players to attacking them when they know that they will get their armies back. since SP is not patently obvious when it occurs, many players are completely unaware of its existence and do not understand why their attack just got completely nullified. and they may not learn about it until they have been killed.

teams
here is a short guide to learning how to play team games
the importance of knowing the rules – the most important thing to do before the game starts is to look at the rules for the game. this will inform every decision that you make as a team. know what they mean and their implications are to the game. do the rules lend themselves to a fast game with blitzkrieg kills, or does it lend itself to a slower war of attrition? make sure that all team game rules are turned on. make sure that you can flip territories, trade cards, donate armies and fortify through. if any of these options are turned off, make sure that your teammates know. and this brings us to the next key tip…

communication – never place your armies until you have talked to your teammates. good initial placement can make you the favorite to win before a turn has even taken place. especially as you start playing team games, it is smart to post before you take your turn, so that you can discuss strategy with your teammates. it is truly amazing how people can see different scenarios play out. discuss them with at least one teammate before you move. then after your move, post what you did and any relevant information, i.e. what the card status is, if someone needs to leave you an attack lane, if someone needs to trade cards, etc. it cannot be stressed enough – good communication is the key to winning team games. sometimes you may think that your move is obvious, but you may be missing something. you have teammates. use them. when you see that your turn is up. post that you are up, how many reos you are getting, any cards that you need and your initial assessment. then wait for others to chime in. while it is not a rule, a good rule of thumb is to gain at least one assessment that mirrors your own before you move.

if you plan out a large overall strategy, make sure that it is detailed and make sure that it doesn’t get buried under 15 other messages and that your teammates don’t see it. keep it clean, easy to understand and make sure that your teammates know what they are supposed to do.

one odd thing about team games…when you send a private message to your team, a copy of the message is sent to everyone on your team and each copy will show up in your message box. and they will say that the message is the same as above. DO NOT DELETE THESE. you think that you can, but as each message is addressed to a single player, if you delete one, that player will not see your message. it is done this way so that you can see who has read your message as each copy lists the players name that it was sent to and either “read” or “unread.”

territory flipping – in the vast majority of games you can flip territories. the official name is “change ownership” but it is colloquially known as territory flipping or flips. this means that player a can flip territories to any teammates. the only caveat is that the territory must have only 1 army on it in order for it to be flipped. the number of flips per turn is determined by the game creator and can be from 1-5. you do not always have to flip territories, but is is often a good idea. this is probably the most important concept in team games. mastering this part will greatly increase your chances of winning. here are the key concepts to territory flipping:
1. to complete continents – if you have east australia and your teammate owns the other three territories, then you can lip him the last territory for the continent bonus. additionally, if you have a stack on siam and can flip at least 4 territories, you can flip your partner the whole continent for the extra armies, and then on their turn they flip it back to you. free armies for all.
2. to hide continents – many players are in too many games and do not look at the board too closely. if you flip your partners some territories inside a continent that you hold, other players may miss that you truly own the continent and not bother to bust it. good players may notice, but hey if it gives you any edge and you have the extra flips to do it why not? Good communication is crucial here to make sure your teammate will flip the territories back to you before your turn. (and just to avoid confusion – only players can “own” continents and get the bonuses – teams do not)
3. protect teammates – if you have a partner that is hurting, flip them a territory inside your defenses, preferably in an area where they can attack one of your territories to get a card if necessary. this is crucial. players will be looking for kills however they can get them. so another way to protect a teammate is to pass them territories that are spread out. if you can make an attacker really have to travel to get a kill, it may discourage them. as we all know it is easier to kill 35 armies on one territory than 35 armies on 20.
4. for card bonuses – this one is pretty self-explanatory. if you do not have a trade, but think that your partner will in a couple of turns and that you can hold it, pass them the territory for the card-bonus on the trade in.
5. to continue attacks – say you are attacking deadpool. it’s fun. i suggest everyone do it. and your teammate goes before he does. flip your teammate a territory in the middle of his lands for them to drop their reos and continue the attack. it is fun for ages 5 to 95.
6. to get your teammates territories up – as you probably know the standard reos you get is the total number of territories you own divided by 3, with a minimum reo count of 3. so if you own 11 territories you get 3 reos, if you own 12 then you get 4, 15 nets you 5 and so on. if your teammate has 11 territories and their is no strategic reason to flip them anything, at least flip them 2 to get them past 12 for the extra army. i always try to go over just in case they lose a territory.
7. fortification – possibly the most important concept for fortification in team games is whether or not “fortification through” = yes. what this means is that you can treat your teammates territories as if they were your own. as you can imagine there is a lot of strategic importance to this. if you have a stack buried behind your front lines, just have a teammate “flip” you a territory on the front for you to fortify your stack through to. on the flip side, if you see that another team is in that situation, take away the territory so that they cannot bring their armies to the front.

army donations – one of the great things about team games is that in most team games you can donate armies to your teammates. the chance for this occurs on your turn during the reinforcement phase. there are two options for this selection criteria
1. turn start (donee) – if this is the option, then on your turn you will see your teammates name in a box on the left-hand side of the screen with a 0 beside it. you click on their name to add armies. however, these armies go in reserve and cannot be placed until that person’s turn when the reserve troops are added to their standard reos. it is a great way to add a little extra oomph to a teammates attack. there is one really cool thing that you can do with this – it is called building a bomb. building a bomb is easy and can be devastatingly effective, it just requires great communication, a little patience and a little luck. here is how it works. every team member on their turn donates a portion of their reos to the next player to go after them. the number must always be increasing. when a player turns in cards, it is expected that a significant amount of reos is added to the stash. after a few rounds, it can be surprising how big the bomb gets. you find a target and finally the player with the best chance to get the kill, lays down the bomb and takes them out taking everyone by surprise. army donations are listed in the logs, but few people actually look at them. the only real threat on the bomb is that you can’t have a weak player holding the bomb. if they are killed the bomb goes with them and you are basically screwed.
2. immediately (donor) – if this is the option, then you just treat your teammates territories as if they were your own. you just click on them to add armies. it is a nice way to prepare a teammate for an attack on their turn, or build up some weakened defenses.

protection – this was touched on a little earlier in the territory flipping section, but it is vital to keep your teammates alive. not only do we always strive for perfect games, but no matter how weak a teammate is, they can always provide you with either donated armies or cards and in many games that can be the difference between winning and losing. the easiest ways to keep a teammate alive is to flip them territories behind your lines or to flip them territories in far flung places to really discourage someone from taking them out. surprisingly enough, this is not practiced nearly as much as it should be which leads to easy kills. let’s not be easy kills. if they are going to get us, they are going to have to earn it and feel some pain.

attacking through – for some reason this baffles some players. in team games you typically have an amazing advantage. you get to flip territories to your teammates to keep your stacks from getting trapped. there is no reason to have a trapped stack. you pass the territory to your partner and attack through it. you can attack your teammates. often it is just good strategy. are you hurt and being protected behind your teammates defense? attack them and get the card for them. there are times when opposing teams will not think that you will attack a teammate to get to them. use these times to your advantage. you don’t want to do “friendly fire” too often, but sometimes it is not only necessary it is smart

kills – kills for team games are a little different. in many games you want to target teams that have a weak link so that you can deprive them of those additional cards. if every team is missing a player but yours, you have a significant advantage. and another thing to consider is this: if you have a protected territory behind your teammates lines, then you can be more aggressive in searching for kills as you know you cannot be killed regardless of how your attack goes. this leads to a controversial tactic…

dive-bombs – in team games these are called dive-bombs, in melee games you know them as suicides. if your partner can protect you, then it can often be a good strategy to dive-bomb someone. this means using all of your forces in an attempt to take them out. if you are successful then great. if you aren’t well you are still protected, and you probably weakened the other player enough that another team will think them a nice target. either way the goal is for one team to be less one player. i call this tt’ing someone after our friend tt lago.

teamwork – team games are different. you win when the team wins. you cannot be selfish. some of the most satisfying team games are those where all you do is set up your teammates to go kick ass.

commandeering
whut?

commandeering
it used to be a problem in team games that a teammate would borg. then the other players on the team lose a player that theoretically would have played better than a borg will. it was even worse when borgs were set to neutral and wouldn’t even attack to get your team cards. and since borgs don’t flip cards or act rationally, the team with a borg would be at a serious disadvantage. recently the ability to commandeer a borged teammate was implemented. after a teammate borgs, they have 2 rounds to rejoin the game (during which time they are basically neutral). after the borged player can no longer rejoin, the next player on that team has the option to commandeer the borg.

what does this mean? every borged army and territory become the part of the players who commandeered the borg. all of his stuff becomes your stuff. cards, armies, everything. additionally, when the commandeer takes a turn, they get 2 cards per attack rather than the standard 1. this can make the commandeer very powerful very quickly. the first turn after a player commandeers a borg can be a game-changer. so if you are on the other side of that, you need to prepare.

if another team has a borged teammate, it may be in your best interests to try and kill that borg before he can become commandeered. where in the past you would leave the borg alone, in this case, that may not be wise. a commandeer can simply be too powerful to overcome. particularly when the commandeering first takes place. be aware and be prepared.

Maps
does the map matter? what to look for? where to start?

maps
one of the greatest things about landgrab is the sheer variety of the maps that are available to play on. there are hundreds of maps that emphasize many different types of play. many of the maps are even good. but the fact is that most people start on the earth map that they are accustomed to. and there are definite strategies on that map. and some definite pitfalls as well. we will use that map to illustrate some of both as this map is the most familiar to everyone. many players feel that taking australia is the only way to win on this map. so there are often times when 2-4 players will place there. this is a mistake. this map has been played thousands of times and people have won from literally every starting spot. you can too. look for areas where you think others will place and don’t. it sounds simple, but it is much harder to win without a continent and it is much harder to win when a player tries to kill you to get you out of *their* continent. additionally, a good rule of thumb, is if you run, you die. this is because you have to waste resources to leave that no one else does, putting you at a numerical disadvantage. so why is australia desired so? because it is worth 2 reos and defends with only one choke. when assessing a map that you are playing on, look for areas such as this. look for places where you can maximize your reos with limited chokes. be aware that others are looking for them too, so if possible place deep where you can force any players that might infringe on the continent out of there. for example, don’t place in new guinea or siam if you want australia. if someone else places in australia, the chances of you taking it are slim.

another thing to consider is your ability to expand. a key problem with australia is that there are no real expansion options. you can go into asia, but it is tough to grow organically from. so consider south america. it defends at 2 chokes. however, it is possible to expand into north america and hold both continents with only 3 chokes. on all maps you should look for similar opportunities. they are there, the players that can identify them have a much better chance to win.

another thing to consider is your turn order. it is important when looking at a map and trying to decide where to place that you know when your turn is and when the others that may place near you go. if you go last, then it is likely that you don’t want to place somewhere that might provoke a player that goes before you.

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