BLOOD DIAMONDS STRATEGY
by Mark Steere
Blood Diamonds was designed specifically for online play and is not intended for offline play. Since it hasn't been programmed yet, I haven't been able to play a full game, and I can't precisely describe the tactics and strategy that will develop over time. However, some basic observations can be made about the balance and basic flow of the game. I will describe those observations in the following paragraphs.
Although driven by dice rolls, Blood Diamonds is essentially a game of skill. The lucky rolls and unlucky rolls will average out throughout the course of the game. The more skilled player will (almost) always win.
Many dice games are one dimensional. You are on a track and you can only go forward or backward on that track. Blood Diamonds is fully two dimensional.
Blood Diamonds gameplay proceeds in stages. First you want to get some farmland, which is easy to do since 12 of the 36 sectors are farmland. You have a 1 in 3 chance of getting farmland on every roll of the dice. You should mark up the price of your farmland right away. How much to mark it up is up to you. It depends on how much farmland you have so far, how close it is to coal field land you own, etc. You don't want to let your opponent cut you off at the river. If he does choose to cut you off, he should have to pay you a high price for the land where he cuts you off.
When you mark up your farmland prices, you increase the tax on that farmland. But the tax is only 2% so it will take a long time for the marked up farmland tax to erode your cash.
When you link your farmland to coal field land you should mark up the linking farmland even more if you get a chance. You need to protect your coal revenue. Your opponent should have to pay you an extra high price for the priviledge of cutting off your coal field land. Your revenue from the coal fields will help offset the high tax on your marked up farmland.
Diamond field parcels are very expensive so you should build up your cash account before you buy too much diamond land. Still you should buy some diamond land early, especially if it's relatively close to farmland that you already own. It may be a while before you get another chance. When you already own diamond land, all you have to do is link it to the river to start earning the high revenue that diamonds generate.
You can reduce your diamond land tax right away by lowering its sale price as soon as you buy it. Don't make it too low though, especially if your opponent has paths nearby, making your diamond land valuable to him as well.
You should try to have more than one path leading to your diamond land. If you get cut off at the river, you're suddenly going to have a lot of land being taxed but not earning revenue. If you have extra paths connecting your diamond land to the river, your diamond revenue will be protected in case one of the paths gets cut off.
Desert land, while earning little revenue, is valuable for maintaining access to your coal field land and diamond field land. Since desert land is cheap, you can buy up a lot of it and maintain access to your more valuable land. You should mark up your desert land which is important for access. For example if one sector of desert land provides access to two or more of your coal field or diamond field claims, you should mark up that desert land a lot.
Buy a lot of land. If you already own part of a coal field, all you have to do is link it to the river to start earning revenue. Likewise when you have an opportunity to buy diamond field land it will be immediately be linked to the river if you already own the linking land. Don't pass up opportunities to buy land that you will likely need later, because it may be a while before you get another chance to buy that needed land.
You can keep your taxes low by lowering the sale prices of some of your unlinked parcels. You'll still earn the same revenue from the marked down parcels (when they become linked to the river), but the taxes will be lower while you're waiting for those parcels to become linked. Lower the sale prices on outlying parcels which are potentially valueable to you but not to your opponent.
Blood Diamonds is a game of balance. If you own a lot of farmland, mark up its price a little. If you only own a little farmland, mark up its price a lot. If you only have one path linking your diamond parcel to the river, mark up the linking land a lot. If you have several paths linking your diamond parcel, you don't need to mark up the linking paths as much.
For every opportunity there is a potential pitfal. For every disadvadvantage there is a potential advantage. Try to own a lot of linked land and avoid owning too much non-linked land. Try to keep your taxes low and your revenue high.