Capitals

Capitals are one of the unique features of LangGrab and add a very interesting element to the game. This section outlines some best practices to use when playing in games with Capitals. 

A point of clarification:  many people use the term "capital" and "capitol" interchangeably. Clearly this is not a big deal. The actual distinction is pretty simple: A capitol is the building that houses the government seat. The capital is the city/region where the capitol exists. The Merriam-Webster online site has more details. 

Most of the data presented here is based on a long forum post by alcohol.

Capital games are quite complex. To succeed at a Capital Game, there are some basic principles that, if considered, will give you a better opportunity to win. What follows is a synopsis of 7 principles of Capital Games.

Basic facts on caps

1) When a capital is conquered, that player has lost the game. The person who conquers it gets all one’s cards, territories and a randomly selected percentage of ones armies, usually going from 50 to 90 %.
2) The huge advantage in a capital game: a capital can only be attacked by 2 dice. To conquer a capital when both players either have or do not have leaders it will take 1.5 to 2 times the armies on the capital.

The seven principles:

Principle 1:  Do Not Ever place the capitol before the 3rd round.

Two reasons for this:  one, once you place it it cannot be moved and two, it tips your hand. LandGrab rules require you to place your capital no later than your third turn. Take advantage of the delay.

Possible Exceptions: First, if you own all of something with one border (like Australia on the EarthLG map) before round 3 you may consider placing your capital. Even then it’s a risk. The first player to attack it might not make it, but the second probably will. 

Secondly, placing a capital might make a statement, and convince someone to look elsewhere. For instance, if  you and someone else are both going for South America you can possibly make a statement by dropping a heavily fortified capital on one of the border countries (it has 2).  This makes is extremely hard for them to conquer the state. Most people at this time will leave. Some will not, and that is the risk of placing a capital early.

Principle 2:  Be careful of placing your capital in a continent with another capital. 

You will immediately get into a battle with the opposing force to the exclusion of the rest of the game. Neither of you will win in this situation. You will both be in trouble pretty fast.  If, due to some quirk in the game, you heavily outnumber the other opponent, you may risk it, but you may get burned pretty quickly as well.

Principle 3: Always place the capitol on a border.

Remember that capitals get a defense bonus because they can only be attacked by 2 dice. Placing a capital on a border is like getting to pick where one wants a fort placed. Secondly, it is highly recommended to have a very large % of one’s men on one’s capital at all times.  If one’s capital is inside a content (somewhere behind the "front line"), one will have to pull a large number of men off the front line to protect it. This will make one’s front line weak and easier to break.

Principle 4: Always place a leader on the capital.

Subtle, but huge. A capital already gives a defender a significant advantage. The fact that an attacker can only roll 2 dice has the effect of taking away what could be the highest die roll. Adding a leader gives it another plus 1. An attacker, even an attacker with a leader, will be at a severe disadvantage. 

One other strategy that works. If your map has a fortress directly in front of a place for a capital, you may chose to put a leader in the fortress. It gives the defense a plus 2 effect, but has the added advantage of forcing an attacker to go through this country and then face a capital that still has a die roll advantage. This only works if the fortress protects the only avenue to your capital. If the attacker can go around, you will lose a tremendous advantage.

Principle 5: Do not attack a territory directly in front of the Capital. 

Following the principles above usually results in a large number of armies with a leader on a capital. If you leave a "buffer" of territories around the capital in the hands of its owner, then the large army with a leader cannot attack out and head for your capital. So, unless you are planning to attack their capital on this turn, try to stay away from the spaces around a capital. 

Principle 5a:  Make sure you can get back.

If someone violated Principle 5 against you, it offers you an opportunity to attack out with a large force with a leader.  If you choose to take advantage of that, make sure you keep the fortification rules for your game in mind when making attack decisions.  You will always want to fortify your capital with a leader and a large force. Also, some maps have such subtleties as one way borders.  There is always a temptation to go for the throat as you get near an opponent's capital. It does you no good if you leave yourself too weak to defend your own capital.

Principle 6: Do not place your capitol on a fort.

This is never a good idea. The rules of LandGrab state that a capitol placed in a fortress territory negates the effect of the fortress. There is absolutely no benefit to this. 

Principle 7:  Keep the majority of your armies on your capital.

The presence of a large force with a leader is always a deterrent. Combine that with the plus 1 advantage, and a capital becomes much less of a potential target. It is hard to take out and an opponent will lose a lot of armies trying to do so. 

There are many arguments contrary to this. Obviously, sooner or later someone is going to come after your capital, and when they do they will, no doubt, have a large army with a leader. If your capital placement is ideal, you may find that defense in depth (large forces on choke points with leaders and/or fortresses) is a better strategy.  The play style of your opponents may dictate different strategies. 

Good luck in your capital games!!!