I finally found a solution to Beyonce (set 2, page 4, map 5) on the hardest setting. (I always play on the hardest setting, and all my posted solutions are playing on the hardest settings, in case that wasn’t obvious.) Screenshots immediately before ending each of my turns:
This one felt like it was right on the edge of being able to solve via smart play, as opposed to needing to just test out different troop placements to try to find one that manipulates the AI players into giving you an opening.
I was really torn about building a castle in my largest starting base on turn 1 or saving up money to build a L2 spearman faster. In this successful variant, I do build the castle on turn 1. I tried both ways several times each, and this is the first solution I’ve found.
I also tried something weird staring on turn 9. I deliberately did not destroy dark green’s town hall, but took some hexes around it instead. I normally destroy the town hall right away, but later, yellow ends up crushing dark green and eventually taking the map. So, it’s possible that leaving dark green his cash reserves helps hold off yellow a bit longer. (Or maybe I just should have tried to connect to my small northern base faster?)
On turn 15, I deliberately left light brown the opportunity to split my main territory, as it would cause no starvation, but he didn’t take the bait. On the same turn I also tried expanding from my lesser, southern territory into yellow, hoping that dark green would starve yellow’s army, but dark green was not that savvy and yellow ended up starving dark green and destroying both of my L1 grunts from the lesser base instead.
Turns 17 and 18 were big gambles. Yellow could have easily upgraded to an L3 knight, taken my castle, possibly starved me and taken the map, but he was apparently not ready to upgrade for some reason so instead he shied away from me and took other territory. (I did save a cash reserve precisely to not let him starve my troops with a single move, so perhaps this helped.). On my turn 19, I sealed the gap in my defenses and he lost his opportunity, and I was starting to be confident I could take the map. I still moved very slowly after that, making sure not to leave an opportunity for him to slip around my vanguard and starve it, even though the AI rarely sees such opportunities. Yellow continued to cede territory until he starved on his turn 28. Light green made a sudden land grab just after that on his turn 28, but it was too little, too late. The AI offered surrender on turn 34 and I took the last hex on turn 39.
Conquer the island
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