How it works...

Cards
During gameplay you will periodically receive cards.  After you have accumulated a number of cards, you can trade the cards in to receive additional armies. 

You receive cards in three ways:
You are given a card at the end of your turn if during that turn you have conquered at least one territory.
When you eliminate another player from the game you get their cards.
In team games your partners may transfer cards they own to you.
The settings of each particular game govern the maximum number of cards you can hold, what those cards are worth, and when you are allowed to turn them in.  You should always be aware of these settings and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Card Symbols

Each normal (non-wild) card's face shows a symbol (a circle, diamond, or star).  Wild cards contain all three symbols and may be used as any one of those symbols at any time.  A player that accumulates three cards with the same symbol, or one of each of the three symbols, may then turn those three cards in as a set in order to receive additional armies.  How many armies you receive for each different type of set may be different in each game, and is determined by the game creator.  Whether these armies may be placed on the map immediately or held in reserve until the beginning of your next turn is also governed by the settings of the game.

Card Territories

Normal cards contain not only a symbol, but also the name of a territory that corresponds to a territory on the map (wild cards do not correspond to any territory).  When you turn in a set you may receive additional armies if you own one or more of the territories shown on the cards being turned in.  These additional armies will either be automatically placed on their corresponding territory or added to the number of armies you received for turning in the set, depending on the game settings.

Card Maximum

The maximum number of cards you may hold at any one time is dictated by the settings of each particular game.  If you accrue more than the maximum number you may be forced to trade in a set (or several sets) to reduce the number of cards you hold before you are allowed to take any further action.  If you are playing a team game you have the additional option of passing some cards to one of your team mates in order to reduce the number of cards you hold.

More detail on Cards can be found in the Cards Subpage.




Reinforcements

Reinforcements refer to the number of armies you are given to place at the beginning of your turn.  You receive a certain number of armies based on how many territories you own - specifically, one army for each three territories (rounded down; so owning 12 territories will earn you 4 armies but you will not earn a 5th unless you own at least 15 territories).  The minimum number of this type of reinforcements you will earn is 3.  You will receive 3 even if you only own a single territory. 

Beyond your territory reinforcements you will receive additional armies depending on the settings of the game. 

Continent Reinforcements

If the game includes continent-based reinforcements you will receive additional armies based on the value of the continents you control at the beginning of your turn.  You control a continent by owning every territory within that continent.  The value of a continent is set by the creator of the particular map you are playing, and is listed (along with who owns a particular continent) in a table near the bottom of the game screen. 

In some games, when card set values gradually increase, the value of continents may gradually increase as well.

Area Reinforcements

If the game includes area-based reinforcements, you will receive additional armies based on how much territory you control.  At the beginning of the game, the game creator will choose a number of armies that represents the total controllable area on the map.  At the beginning of each turn you will receive a proportion of that number based on the proportion of the land you control.  So if the total number of area armies in a particular game is set to 80 and you control 25% of the area of a map, you will receive an additional 20 armies.

Capitals

Capitals represent your center of power. If another player conqueres your capitol, your armies become leaderless and change alliegance. When your capital is conquered, you are removed from the game. Because of this, you will want to defend your capitol at all costs. In many cases, it is even a good idea to leave a leader with the defending army.
When a player's capital is conquered, the remaining territories and armies are assimilated into the conqueror’s dominion. However, there is some cost. Since tyranny is never pretty, there will be a "conversion ratio" (a number from 1 - 100, chosen at random) that is applied to tell how many armies remain after the capital is conquered.
For example, if Player A's capitol is conquered by Player B, all of Player A's territories will convert to Player B. The conversion ratio is chosen at random, and for this example, we'll say it's 73%. If Player A has a territory with 10 armies, that territory will become Player B's with a remaining force of 7 armies. Partial armies are always rounded down, with a minimum of 1 army to hold the territory.

Rules for a Capital Game

Capitals are placed once, at the beginning of the game, and cannot be moved.
Capitals placed on a fortress remove the defensive bonus of the fortress while the capital exists.
You can use a maximum of two dice when attacking a capital.
One (1) leader can aid the defense of the capital.
A conquered capital becomes a regular territory after it’s assimilated. If the territory contained a for­tress before the capital was placed, the fortress returns.

There is a detailed explanation of the complex topic of Capitals in a subpage under the Hints and Tips Section.

Fortifications

Fortifications allow you to move troops around the board after you've finished the attack phase of your turn.  Once you have made a fortification you may not make additional attacks during that turn.  A fortification is a movement of one group of troops from a single territory to another single territory.  The number of fortifications you are allowed to make per turn is determined by the settings of the game.  There are three basic types of fortifications:
  • Border: This type of fortification restricts a player to moving troops from one territory to an adjacent territory, but no further.
  • Path: This type of fortification allows a player to move troops from one territory to any other territory (no matter how far away), as long as there is an unbroken chain of your own territory that connects them.
  • Any:  If fortifications are set to "any" a player is free to move troops from one territory to any other territory they own with no restrictions.
Fortifications are explained in more detail on the Fortifications Subpage.

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 advantages. 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.  When a territory is conquered a leader automatically advances into the conquered territory along with the minimum number of troops.  You control how many additional troops advance into that territory, but the leader advances no matter what.  If one of your leaders is eliminated by an attacking opponent, you will be given a chance to replace the lost leader at the beginning of your next turn. 

There is also a Leaders Subpage to explain Leaders in more detail.

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). The number and location of fortresses is determined by the map designer and does not change from game to game.  Not all maps have fortress locations defined, so games on these (somewhat rare) maps will not contain fortresses even if the fortress option for that game is turned on.  If a territory that contains a fortress is conquered the fortress itself is not destroyed, so the new owner of that territory will immediately receive the defensive bonus.

Stalemate Avoidance

What on earth 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 a 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 SA. Stalemate avoidance is an option. However this option is turned on by default when creating a game and must be deselected to be turned 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 (20x42). 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) will always be available to vote on once there are only 3 players left in a the game and after 10 rounds. 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: 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 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.

How do I know the Stalemate Crusher has been enabled? One can easily tell by the letters SC in the CARD SETS area right above the map:

Alternatively, go to the CARDS tab:

Here you will see the next Stalemate Crusher bonus trade-in:

Bridges and walls

What are these? What do they do? What do they mean? When should I build them?

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 a 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 a 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.

For more details, see the subpage on Bridges and Walls with an explanation created by desau when he introduced the concept.