Axes and Acres

Axes and Acres

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Strategy Guide for high rank (100+)
By Allan
This is the strategy I used to get to rank 100. Building a castle and upgrading to royalty.
This guide aims to explain the strategy I have been using which took me over rank 100. I have been using it or variations on it since patch 1.05 where the castle was reworked.
The basic outline of the strategy is to spend the first phase reproducing, killing spawners, and getting 2-3 marketplace cards.

In the second phase build a builders' hall if you didn't get one in the first phase, then get 2 builders' hall cards and build lots of roads. Then build a castle and upgrade as many dice to royalty as you can.

The third phase should be easy with the royalty you already have. The only thing to watch out for is if the end of phase two event was destroying all your roads, in this case just rebuild some roads before upgrading more dice in to royalty.
To survive phase one you need to get 18VPs on Round 12. The first thing to do on Round one is workout how you can get to 18VPs. Things that can help out on top of the objectives:
  • You get 1VP for taking out a spawner.
  • You can send a builder to the marketplace to get 1VP at a cost of 1 stone.
  • If you have a hunter's hut, then you get 1VP for hunting a rabbit.
Be as efficient as you can.
  • Try to use all three cards each Round.
  • Don't save up stored moves, if using them can get you an extra action this Round.
  • Look out for opportunities to "double gather"
Double gathering
This takes a little set up, but can act like a free gather action. First you work a tree or rabbit or stone pit and leave the resource on the ground. Next you build a building on the resource. Then one die can activate a gatherer action on the building AND gather the resource.
You can do this fairly often by building farms and guardposts on tiles where you chopped down a tree.

Cycle cards
To start with, the reroll and build cards are the most useful ones. If you don't need to reroll any dice for your top priority it is worth saving the reroll card until next Round. If you have the build card, but don't have 2 build dice, it is usually worth saving the build card until next Round. Once you get marketplace cards into your deck however it is generally not worth saving your build or reroll cards.
How to use this guide
The game has enough randomness that you can't plan your strategy precisely. So for each Round I will list your priorities in order.

You may need to adjust when you switch from one set of priorities to the next. For example, if your objectives are very difficult, then you may want to reduce priority on reproducing earlier and switch to going for points as much as possible.
Build Order
These are the buildings that make the strategy work, and the order to get them in. When the highest priority action you can take is to follow the build order, then build the next one in this list.
  • Guardhouse
  • Marketplace
  • Marketplace Card
  • Marketplace Card
  • Marketplace Card
  • Builders' Hall
  • Castle
Always on Priorities
These are always top priorities. Only getting enough VP to survive the phase on Rounds 12 and 22 comes higher.

Don't run out of food
Firstly don't run out of food partway through your Round, but also avoid at all costs ending your Round on zero food, with no way to get food on the next Round. If you have food on the board waiting to be gathered from working a farm or rabbit, then its okay to end the Round with zero food. Once you have marketplace cards it is okay to end a Round with zero food if you know you will draw a marketplace card. It is also okay to end a Round on zero food if you have spare stone you can trade for food at the marketplace. At the start of the game, if there are no rabbits nearby, build a farm.

Kill a barbarian which is next to your building
If you don't they may destroy your buildings.
Rounds 1-4
For the first few Rounds your main goal should be to reproduce, as long as it doesn't leave you with no food, and no way to get food next Round.
  • Plan how to get 18VPs.
  • Reproduce.
  • Follow Build Order.
  • Enable reproduction next Round.
  • Destroy spawner.
  • Increase food.
  • Gain VPs.
Plan how to get 18VPs
This is only for Round 1. The first thing to do is add up how you are going to get the 18VPs you need to survive phase one.

Put two reproduce dice on the same house and use two dice to activate them. If you don't have two reproduce dice, use the reroll card if you have it and try to get two reproduce dice.

Follow Build Order
If you have the resources, then build the next card in the build order. You should usually wait until you can use the build 3 action on the build card. If you are building the marketplace next, you can do a regular build action without the card, and use the card to finish it off.

Enable reproduction next Round
Build a house if not having one could stop you reproducing next Round. Get enough food that you can reproduce next Round without worrying about food - you want to end the Round on at least 3 food, increase this to 5 if you have 8 dice already. (In case you get the option to reproduce twice next Round.)

Destroy spawner
If you have a guardpost and can reach a spawner with a crusade, then take it out.

Increase food
Work farms or rabbits. Gather food. Build farms. Stop at around 15 food if VPs are also available.

Gain VPs
Work towards getting the 18VP you need for phase one. Besides actually getting points, this includes things like gathering extra resources or building a hunter's hut if you get points for having hunters.
Rounds 5-7
Our main focus is still reproducing, but spawners are about to spawn barbarians, so now is the ideal time to take them out.
  • Reproduce.
  • Destroy spawner.
  • Follow Build Order.
  • Increase food.
  • Gain VPs.
Destroy spawner
If the spawner is very far away it may not be worth raising the priority on this action so high, if the spawner is much more than 7 moves from your guardpost stick with the priority order for Rounds 1-4.

Follow Build Order
If you still don't have a guardpost by Round 5, then get one even if you don't have the build card.
You really want the marketplace up by Round 7. After Round 6, if you get the build card, but cant use it on the marketplace, save it until you can. Make sure to put the marketplace adjacent to the guardpost or that they are connected by roads.

Increase food
Again stop at 15 food and get some VPs
Rounds 8-10
Round 8 is as late as you want to leave getting your marketplace cards, reproducing is a good option, but you also need to think about VPs.
  • Follow Build Order.
  • Reproduce and Gain VPs.
  • Destroy spawner.
  • Increase food.
Follow Build Order
Getting Marketplace cards much later than this will cause problems in phase two. If you have your marketplace cards already and have the opportunity to get the builders' hall then go ahead, you should see your build card again if you need the VPS from a quarry, church, or fountain objective.

Reproduce and Gain VPs
Back on Round 1 you should have worked out how you were going to get to 18VPs. Whether you should prioritise reproducing or gaining VPs really comes down to how much you have left to do to get 18VPs.
Rounds 11-12
This is where we do whatever it takes to get to 18VPs
  • Gain VPs.
  • Prepare for end of phase event.
Gain VPs
Getting to 18VPs by Round 12 is our top priority. Once you have your 18VPs, follow priorities for Rounds 12-14.

Prepare for end of phase event
Be aware of the event and try to minimise the damage. If water is disappearing make sure you have 4 houses, and maybe get a farm or two. If you are losing your food have dice deployed ready to gather food when you get to 18VPs. If you are losing stone, start building a builders' hall if you don't have one and convert what stone you can into food at the marketplace.
Rounds 12-14
Congratulations on making it to phase two! Priority shifts back to reproducing.
  • Build Builders' Hall.
  • Reproduce.
  • Build Road.
  • Increase food.
  • Gain VPs.
Build Builders' Hall
You should have a guardpost, a marketplace and 2-3 marketplace cards by now. As soon as the build card shows up, get a builders' hall.

Once you get to 11 dice, get your fourth house.

Build Road
You need many roads to power the royalty that you are going to use to generate points. A VP face on a royalty die gives 1VP for every 5 buildings you own.

Gain VPs
Don't go out of our way to gain VPs from objectives in this phase, however look for ways to get VPs for free. For example if you are building roads, but have spare wood and a builders' hall, you can build a bridge as easily as a road, and it gives you a free VP. Only do this if the wood is spare, it's not worth gathering resources to do this.
Round 15
This is around when you want to get some Builder's Hall cards to make building the castle a few Rounds from now easier.
  • Get two Builders' Hall cards.
  • Reproduce.
  • Build Road.
  • Increase food.
Get two Builders' Hall cards
Before getting two copies of this card you want to have 3 wood and 3 stone, so that you have enough resources to build the castle when you draw these cards. If you are short on wood send gathers to the marketplace over the next couple of Rounds. If you are short on stone you can upgrade a couple of dice to masons. If you are more than a little short you can delay getting these cards until Round 16. Conversely, if you find yourself with 3 wood and 3 stone earlier, go ahead and get the builders' hall cards earlier.
Rounds 16-18
Now we are just waiting to build the castle!
  • Build Castle.
  • Reproduce.
  • Build Road.
  • Increase food.
Build Castle
As soon as you get enough resources and a build card start building it! Make sure your castle is connected to your guardpost by roads.

Try to max out at 16 dice.

Build Road
Keep building those roads!
Rounds 19-22
Start upgrading to royalty.
  • Build Castle.
  • Build Roads.
  • Upgrade to royalty.
  • Get a church.
  • Gain VPs
Build Castle
Finish building the castle if you still need to.

Build Roads
Count up your total number of buildings. Keep getting more roads until you have at least 20 total buildings. If you have over 22, keep getting roads until you have 25 total buildings. Then stop getting roads. (Your royalty dice VP face will give you 4VP each at 20 total buildings or 5VP each at 25 total buildings.)

Upgrade to royalty
Send your dice to the guardpost to turn into crusades, then to the castle to be upgraded into royalty. This can take a lot of moves, so use your marketplace cards for the move 7, unless you need the resources.

Get a church
If on one Round you find yourself with enough resources to build a church and a build 3 card, it maybe be worth building a church. With a church you can send a royalty with a crusade face to the church and activate it to set two of your royalty to wild, which you can then take as VPS.

Gains VPs
If Round 22 is close, remember you can activate a builder at the castle for 2VPs.
Rounds 23+
Phase three should be straightforward.

The only potential problem would have been losing all your roads as the end of phase two event. If that happened just spend 3-4 Rounds building roads, and don't upgrade any more royalty until you have at least 20 buildings again.
Example Game
Here is a game I played at rank 115.

How it differed from the guide
  • I got my marketplace cards on Round 8 which was a little late and I only got two. It goes a lot smoother with three, but can work with two if you get masons.
  • I got the builders' hall on Round 11 which is earlier than usual. Often at that stage would need to use the build 3 and stone for a 5+ VP objective like a fountain or quarry.
  • I had 12 dice on Round 12 which is fairly typical, am usually in the 10-13 range.
  • I got the builders' hall cards on Round 13. This is very early and resulted in an early castle on Round 16.

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Allan  [author] Jan 12 @ 10:31am 
I spent some time making the builders hall first when there was a nearby stone pit on the previous patch. It can work but there are several drawbacks which outweigh the advantages.

The first problem is it delays the guardpost, you are less likely to destroy any spawners before they spawn barbarians.

The second problem is you are using masons for stone, while this is great later, it is terrible to start with. Masons do not have a reproduce face, substantially lowering your chances of being able to reproduce with low a number of dice. Additionally getting stone from mason is random, getting it from marketplace cards is predictable.
Inventarius Jan 12 @ 4:05am 
Thank you for your answer, Allan.
I had allready won one game the way you described, but was curious, if it sometimes might be necessary to change the build order. I had expected your answer, though.
A have posted a much more difficult question in the game forum and will be interested, what you say there.
Allan  [author] Jan 11 @ 11:06am 
@ Inventarius You can use the same build order if you need two masons in the first phase. Don't worry about stone pits, just make sure you get your marketplace cards as soon as you can. Ideally get your markplace cards on round 6 or 7, then use the stone from them to get your builders' hall.
Getting two masons is one of my favourite objectives, as it makes the 2nd round a lot easier.
Inventarius Jan 11 @ 2:24am 
This is a great guide.
What do you do, if you have the two masons objective in the first chapter?
Do you try to be fast enough to get to the builder´s hall or will you channge your build order ?
If the stone pits are far away, that seems to be impossible, anyway.
Ezechiah Winterspoon Jun 8, 2017 @ 11:44pm 
Outstanding. Thank you!
Kenbutsu Jun 3, 2017 @ 9:44am 
There's some really great stuff here. I like how you laid out the priorities and the flexibility needed to win consistently. It's amazing how parabolic the score ends up being, since you have to place a huge focus on economy early to maximize score later. Your screenshot showing 44/134 points with 4 rounds to go looks pretty bleak on the surface :)