There are many secrets to winning games of Lux. Focus your mind and study the great players and you too will become a LuxMaster.
New players should first read the Basics of Lux.
It's very important to understand the different Lux Settings and how they effect the game. Different settings require different strategies.
Dominators Advice is a good read about what the Classic map can teach you.
SecondTermMistake's guide is geared towards winning Classic online games with 4,6,8,10,15,... cards and 0% continent increase.
ClassicMapTutorial -- Written by Pars. This is a comprehensive tutorial for the Classic map with 4,6,8,10,15... cards and 0% continent increase.
Roman Empire II Strategy Guide -- Tips to not only win at the Roman Empire II map, but to do it while avoiding a marathon game. Taken from thoughts proposed by Soundboy.
Ehsan Honary maintains a comprehensive risk strategy guide.
Random Placement Strategy - Most internet games of Lux start with random countries and army placement. These games start slower. You cannot waste armies at the very beginning. Pick a region and slowly build up your troops in that area. Wasting armies at the beginning is a common newbie mistake.
Think Strategic - In general, whenever a strategic move is not possible, take the easiest win. This can also help when you have a broken border. E.G., you might take an empty country but not confront the larger force even though you lose the income---maybe they pull out or try to take more countries and spread themselves too thin. Someone else might divert their attention while you slowly build up the necessary force or cards to either pressure them out or take them and still have a reserve left over.
Line Them Up - If you're in a game where the cards increase a lot, you should be watching for people who might get stuck with cards but no cash. Organize your armies beforehand to be in position to take them out, and if they get stuck with no set you can obtain 4 or 5 cards on the cheap.
Stay Focused - Attacking more than one person at a time can be too debilitating and confusing. Try to determine who you can pressure best and focus on them.
Farm - Sit still except for taking over 1 empty country on your turn to get your card (you 'Farm' that country). You may then retreat out so someone else can farm it or stay and find another country to farm next turn. It is very important when you have South America to have armies in another area (probably in Asia) as, when North America and Africa are full, you want to have somewhere to farm an easy win for cards without being forced into someone else's continent.
Shaft - basically farming, copying the general strategy of the Shaft AI, good strategy for when you're really in a bind and have lost your continent, or never gained one. Just Farm, sit in one place. Grow your army, until you are large enough to be a contender, waiting for an opening, when someone's defenses are low, you can swoop in, commonly used against Oz, but effective in almost any continent situation. Great comeback move.
AI study - Some computer AIs always follow the same behavior, such as always attacking their weakest neighbor. If you know an AI's pattern then you can deflect it against your enemies. (See AgentProfiles)
Timing Blitzkrieg - Use a low turn time to dismay slow-witted opponents. Plan your actions before your turn starts and then focus your 30 seconds of destruction to full effect.
The Vulture (a.k.a. The Bottom Feeder) - If it looks like 2 people are going to kill each other fighting for a continent (usually Australia) you can quietly gather your forces close by. After they finish a big battle the numbers may be in your favor to rush in and take control.
Do Some Counting - Four armies is the minimum to guarantee a win over a country with no armies in it. If you are attacking to get through a lot of countries or to make sure you can eliminate someone, do some math. If you provide for at least two armies for each country, add one more for every country that has some armies in it, and then add on top the number of enemy armies, you still need to allow for how many you need left over to secure the borders or keep yourself from getting eliminated. Additionally, keep an eye on the total number of armies everyone has in the Player Info Window---how even things are and if someone is getting way ahead (or behind---as they might be the next person taken if cards transfer). However, it's not all about the total number of armies. (see below) -tn
Cards - Keep an eye on the card count---everyone's. You might want to wait to attack someone if they may get a set of cards right after, as they would then have the armies to come right back at you. If everyone only has one or two cards then you can attack more boldly, as they will only have their income to retaliate.
Also keep track of the current card-set value (if that increases). If you want to ensure a defense, you need to think of the income they will get and add the next card value to that. And, if you get a card set when you only have three cards, you may not want to turn it in, especially if you are in a stable or superior position, as you can get ahead in the card count while others are attacking someone else or fortifying their positions, so that when you cash at five cards, you will have three the next round and the next card-set possibly, or one turn after (allowing two quick bursts of armies). Additionally, if the value increases and it is, say, early in the game, if you hold off and someone else (non-threatening) cashes their cards, you may have the benefit of the higher value.
Finally, a lot of people miss the fact that when you cash cards you get two extra armies if you have conquered the country for which you have the corresponding card. Something to think about if that country is empty and just nearby. -tn
The Zero Card Gambit aka Turtling- It takes a lot of effort to completely destroy a well-defended opponent. Often the "risk" is only taken because the payoff is a cash of cards at the end of the run. If the opponent has no cards, though, the attacker must completely wipe out the zero-card holder, and then hold the taken continent against the other players-- or at least have enough "back home" to survive another round, with no profit gained because the continent is lost and no cards were gained. This is what is done if you are in a relatively strong position but cardlocked or trapped by treaty from attacking. Try to get to zero cards, then just stop fighting and let the other players duke it out. Surprisingly, in many situations, especially in Deux or other games with many countries, you can have almost enough income if you never have to attack even though you don't cash cards. This is especially true when the continent values are set to 20% or higher and eventually the continents are worth more than the card cash payout. For more details see Suicidal Turtle's Curse of the Turtle™ explained.
The Veiled Threat - When taking a continent next to a human, leave the borders empty and put a mass of armies one space away from every attackable border - this puts the would be aggressor in fear of an impending strike from your massive 6 armies vs a border of 2's... more of a psychological trick - works really well in europe (classic risk) - does not work with bots-- also good on Hex.
Buffer - If someone (say Black) has massed a lot of armies in one country (say, the "Veiled Threat", above) and there is another Black country (empty) between your country and Black's mega-armed country, it can be a good idea not to take the country in between (the "Buffer"). That way, the mass of armies will need to be moved during fortification before they can reach to attack you. This can allow you to temporarily even maybe keep less armies on that border but also robs Black of the ability to Farm the buffer back from you on their next turn for a win and a card (if that is an issue).
Keep this especially in mind if you, say, punch a hole in a continent to lower someone's income---you can do that without connecting a path to another set of concentrated armies by leaving a buffer. They might give up the continent because they can't retaliate immediately, or at least cool down enough not to retaliate beyond taking the country back, especially because you have had extra time to amass more defenses on that border. -tn
Card Lock - If you have more armies then someone at a border connection it may be possible to block them from taking any countries. If that player cannot take any easy countries anywhere then he will be card locked: unable to obtain a card on the turn. (It's Risky to try this when they might have a cashable set, since they could then smash your blocking armies).
Conceding - The corollary of the above is that if you have a neighbor who is being card locked but you do not outnumber them (by much) on your borders it might be good to back your border out and let them take an easy win. You may lose income, but you may not lose the armies as you might when they are forced to attack you for a win and a card. You could possibly come back with cards the next turn (if you get a win somewhere else) or they may just back right out again (if they have business elsewhere). -tn
De-Militarization - If you have a large number of armies at two borders, and one border gets creamed, BUT the other border is with someone else who also just got creamed, you might lessen the number of armies at the second border to reinforce the first, hoping that the other person at the second border will get the idea and do the same, especially if you are both weaker than other players (you can talk about it, but I prefer playing with no discussion of the game---I got the ethic from Risk International "Championship" Rules (link)---but this leaves you at the other player's mercy and understanding). Keep in mind that as soon as your or the second player's other threat is neutralized, you'll have to worry about each other again as well. -tn
The Blanket - You can use some free armies to run around and take over a lot of undefended countries (if, say, Asia is still unclaimed, or if you are playing Hex) in an attempt to gather up over 12 countries. At this point you receive one more army of income even if they do not make an entire continent. You usually have to take more then 12 because some will get retaken before your next turn rolls around. (The rule is every three countries after nine gives you one more army of income)
This works especially well (though not viable long term) with tentative other players or one-country farmers, and especially during the end of the game. Even though you may exhaust your armies or leave your borders undefended, if you can get enough countries (and the other person can't or doesn't reclaim them), you'll get enough armies next turn through the added income to finish the job or shore up your borders. -tn
It's Not Always About Continents - Some people focus too much on getting, or holding on to income from, continents---especially very early in the game, if there are a large number of amassed armies nearby or if you would thin yourself too much; and at a certain point later in the game, if someone crushes your border overwhelmingly or especially if the card value increases and cards become predominantly more valuable then continents.
During "the endgame", it usually happens that players will amass large armies, either internally independent of borders that are roughly at parity or through "the veiled threat" (see above). At some point it will become impossible to keep up on all fronts with the threat of a broken border (and, sometimes more importantly the loss of smaller satellite groups of armies guarding borders) from such a large force, and all the players will need to consolidate their armies. -tn
It's Not Always about Numbers - A large threat may have forced everyone to consolidate their armies, but just because someone has more armies doesn't mean there is nothing to do. The person attacking rolls one more die than the defender, and thus... usually... has a statistical advantage (insert dice-joke here). Our advice is that if you have a small group of armies (20) and you attack the grouped force of someone (say, 200), you may do a lot more damage than the 20 armies you lose. The corollary being that if you have 200 armies, and someone has not consolidated their armies, you can take out smaller groups (1-30 or more) with sometimes very little loss.
One important feature is that you can set Lux to Attack Until Dead or Attack Once Each Click, or Attack Until "x" Number are Lost. If you set Lux to the last option (say, to 10), then if you are going to do a massive attack, you have better control of stopping when the dice don't go your way. This is especially helpful if you want to just "Chip Away" at an enemy's group of armies with your group that only has a slightly larger number (especially strategic if they are the two largest groups). You can attack and see if you get lucky and get an advantage, and you can also stop at a point before you weaken yourself more than a third-party. -tn
At the Heart of Lux, and, "The Balance of Power Theory" - See Luxiquette
The Bots-First Doctrine deserves mention on this page, since it definitely affects play of the game. More info can be seen inside the BotsFirst page.
Holding Oz, without it Holding You. Many times in a game, Oz (Australia) is a good continent to have (1 border to defend); however, one can be trapped in Oz. Try keeping most of your armies in China. There is no better jumping off point in Asia than China. It touches the most countries, and you can usually farm its neighbors, without keeping yourself from being able to make a card grab is someone half kills, or simply does not have cash adn gets to 4 or 5 cards. -By Mike
Avoid making everyone your enemy at the same time in an online game i.e. don't be too aggressive. People are bound to get annoyed and kill you in an all Vs you match scenario. Also avoid pushing too far at the start to get income. When there are four or more players, they won't appreciate you holding 2 continents with big income.
If you are weak, or without a continent, don't wait to cash in last, because that chances are that people will kill you for cards. Cash in as soon as you can.
FaringdonRiskDoc is a guide that "rip" wrote. Note that this guide is a 'lesson's learned' doc for data collected during seven years of Risk games I played with in Oxon, UK. While not Lux, it is still valid. Pay particular note of the "benefits of cashing cards".
This page is part of the Lux Guide.
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(last edited November 2, 2010)
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