Having difficulty with the demo

Conquer the island
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weeble
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:45 pm

Having difficulty with the demo

Post by weeble » Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:35 pm

Hi! I just downloaded the Slay demo the other day, and I enjoyed playing it on the default "very stupid". But I thought to myself, "I'm not very stupid", so after winning a few times on that setting, I switched up to "clever". Unfortunately, I can't understand how to do well at all. I seem to be entirely at the mercy of the computer players that start in much stronger positions. The only times I've survived meaningfully beyond the first few turns it seems to have been entirely luck.

What should my first moves be? I can link up my two territories just left of centre on my first turn, but the dark green player next to me then tends to join up his two territories and can kill my men or villages with spearmen at his leisure, and if I'm lucky enough that he lets me cut him off and starve him, the dark beige player behind him has generally consolidated into a strong position. If I don't link them off, I'm even worse off, because I have very few moves open to me with only one man to a territory. My other men seem to be write-offs - the man at the far left and the man at the far right can only hold tiny patches of territory and are hemmed in by villages they can't assault or sneak by. They are eventually picked off by spearmen. The man right of centre is sometimes lucky enough that the enemy will let him connect up to the territory left of centre, but that doesn't seem to happen often.

So, any advice? Is it possible to win every time, or will there always be an element of luck in it?

collier
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 7:02 pm
Location: Boulder, Colorado

Post by collier » Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:34 pm

Which island are you playing?

weeble
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:45 pm

Post by weeble » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:05 pm

There's only one in the demo, isn't there? I can't see a way to play any others.

collier
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 7:02 pm
Location: Boulder, Colorado

Post by collier » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:17 pm

Oh, I just figured out that the current demo only has one island that you can play. So, now I know which island you are playing: Island #1. (The old demo used to have three islands.)

Island #1 is a little tricky, but I can assure you it is quite winnable. You should be able to keep all your initial territories alive and eventually join them up.

Assuming that a territory is big enough to support a spearman, once you create a spearman, the adjacent computer players will generally not attack you unless: 1) they are big enough to support a knight, or 2) they have no other choice. (The same thing applies in the later stages of a game with knights.)

I just played this island again to refresh my memory of it. Once you join all three of your major starting territories (middle, left, and right), you are basically unstoppable because you have a very large, strong and safe territory with your back to the ocean in the west.

Here's my strategy:

Day 1

Join the territories just NW of center. In the far left, take the brown hex. In the far right, take the yellow hex to block the dark green player from joining his lands. In the territory that's just right of center, take the yellow hex. End turn.

Day 2

In the far left, take the light brown hex. In the territory just left of center, make a spearman and cut the dark green territory just north of his northernmost peasant. You'll be temporarily exposing yourself to possible attack, but in fact everyone else will be afraid of you and stay away. (This approach wouldn't work in a game against other humans.) In the far right, move your peasant back from the brink (so he won't be killed when light green eventually has enough money to make a spearman). End turn.

Day 3

In the middle, use your spearman to smash brown's hut. To the right of center, use your peasant to take one undefended brown hex. Oddly, brown will be more motivated to join his lands than to defend himself. End turn.

Day 4

In my opinion, this is the crux move where you win or lose the game. Near the middle, move your spearman down one hex and your nearby peasant up one hex, joining the two middle territories. Now, you will have enough money to create another peasant. Use that peasant to kill brown where he has left himself undefended. In far left, take light green's undefended hex. End turn.

Day 5

Use your spearman to take dark green's hut. Move your two peasants SW one hex each, taking undefended singleton brown hexes. End turn.

Day 6

From here on out, you can have a field day in the middle, pretty much cleaning up everyone else. Be sure to create a knight as soon as you can afford it because you'll need that to take out castles and spearman and keep the AI afraid of you. As soon as you can, you'll want to join up with the territory in the far right.

In the far left, on day six, hope seems lost. However, on faith, go ahead and make a spearman and use him to take light green's undefended NE hex, the one with the tree. He's going to die and you'll be able to clean up there soon, too.

You should start receiving offers of surrender around day 17 and you should be able to win outright around day 20, though I'm sure Darrel will chime in to tell me you can win 5-10 days earlier than that. :-)

I have mixed feelings about this island. For one thing, victory relies on clever moves taken at just the right time to take advantage of quirks in the AI's strategy. On the other hand, it's a good one to use when learning some of the ins and outs of Slay because it's not completely straightforward and does tend to reward those who understand the "rules".

Anyway, why don't you try the strategy I've outlined and let me know how it works for you. I'm sure there are other ways to win.

weeble
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:45 pm

Post by weeble » Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:14 pm

Wow, thanks for all the help. I've managed to win once on clever, I'll try again a few times to see if it was a fluke, and maybe have a go on very clever. It seems to be a few turns of sheer frustration, then a period of being very engaging, before the game is to all intents and purposes won.

I'm thinking of buying the full version - do other maps play out quite differently? Does it get even harder?

I thought I should probably try the other games before buying to see if I wanted the full pack, but a quick go of The General and Mother of all Battles didn't really impress. If I like Slay, are there any others that people would particularly recommend? Are those two worth another look?

collier
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 7:02 pm
Location: Boulder, Colorado

Post by collier » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:58 am

Wow, thanks for all the help. I've managed to win once on clever, I'll try again a few times to see if it was a fluke, and maybe have a go on very clever. It seems to be a few turns of sheer frustration, then a period of being very engaging, before the game is to all intents and purposes won.


The steps I posted, by the way, were based the "clever" level, though I believe they will also work (with maybe a few minor adjustments) at the "very clever" level.

I'm thinking of buying the full version - do other maps play out quite differently? Does it get even harder?


A lot of the maps are easier than Island #1, but some of them are harder. (Island #64 is known to us informally as the Babymaker because it's so difficult, and is probably the hardest.) One of the cool things about Slay, though, is that once you learn to beat the computer players on a particular island, you can improve your play by trying to minimize the number of days it takes you to win. In other words, you can keep playing the same islands again and again to see if you can truly master them.

Another cool thing is that you can go online and play against other humans. Playing against humans is MUCH harder than playing against the AI.

Slay is amazingly addicting and I can't recommend it highly enough. I've played it more than any other game for the last five years or so, and I never seem to tire of it. Sometimes I play it so much that I see pictures of the islands and men and castles in my sleep. In my opinion, it's well worth the money and I don't think you can go wrong if you buy the full version. There are thousands of islands (both random islands and islands designed by other players, e.g. shaped like countries, chinese characters, airports, etc.).

I thought I should probably try the other games before buying to see if I wanted the full pack, but a quick go of The General and Mother of all Battles didn't really impress. If I like Slay, are there any others that people would particularly recommend? Are those two worth another look?


I've been a Risk fan since I was a kid, so I like Conquest a lot. The General is an adaptation of the board game Stratego. I like it pretty well, but sometimes it feels (to me) as if there's not very much I can do to influence the outcome of the game. Instead, I often feel that I'm sort of just "along for the ride" to see how the game turns out. That may be because I'm not a very good player (yet). End of Atlantis feels the same way in spades. A lot of it depends on luck and there's not much you can do to influence the outcome of the game, as far as I can tell. It actually sometimes feels kind of frustrating in the sense that I might do all the right things and still get clobbered. I love Sean's newest game, Niggle, and I love Rats. Never tried the others (Critical Mass, MOAB, Firefight, and Football-o-saurus).

Greatgraddage
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 1:40 pm

Post by Greatgraddage » Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:24 pm

Firefight and Critical mass are well worth a download to try them at least. Firefight is a superb game.
Firefight... Those were the days.....

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