#6 Goldilocks and the Three Scouts
The Advanced Scouts research is not exactly what the game tells us it is. Hovering over the treasure chest that locks us out of each chapter, it tells us: “With this technology you can reduce your scouting costs significantly”. The game does not tell us that when we research advanced scouts at the beginning of each chapter, it not only reduces scouting costs, it also reduces the enemy squad size for encounters of provinces you have not scouted to become in line with the research you have unlocked and it decreases negotiation costs. This means that if you scout provinces beyond the number needed to unlock the treasure chest at the beginning of each chapter you will run the risk of not being able to win encounters through fighting. It is referred to in the forums as the “Goldilocks Zone”.
We obviously want to complete more and more provinces to unlock city expansions, but we will be punished for going beyond each chapters “province locks”. Leaving the Goldilocks Zone (which many of us may be well beyond and irreversibly affected by) basically makes researching squad size upgrades and other military technology useless since you can’t win a battle to save your life.
To be more specific, the exact Goldilocks Zone is the difference in provinces needed to unlock the chapter you are in and the amount needed to get to the next chapter. So if you are in Chapter One, the Goldilocks Zone is 10 provinces. The Goldilocks Zone, then, for Chapter Two is 20 provinces: 30 needed to unlock the next chapter minus the 10 already used up from Chapter One. Those provinces also need to be in rings around your city. If you unlock provinces in a straight line the costs and squad sizes will go up much faster.
The exact number of provinces that we can safely scout and complete for each chapter are:
Chapter One: 10 Provinces
Chapter Two: 20 Provinces
Chapter Three: 20 Provinces
Chapter Four: 20 Provinces
Chapter Five: 30 Provinces
Chapter Six: 30 Provinces
Chapter Seven: 30 Provinces
Chapter Eight: 30 Provinces
Remember that Advanced Scouts research only reduces the various costs for provinces that have not yet been scouted. It will not affect any provinces that you have scouted but not yet completed.
Knowing all of this, we have two routes to take: stay within the confines of the Goldilocks Zone or completely ignore it and rely on negotiating to complete encounters.
Negotiating can become expensive. For example, a sample Marble Province that is 11 rings away from the city has a total cost of: (Taken from Tincture’s World Map on Khelonaar)
Needing to finish 8 or 9 of these negotiations to get a City Expansion is very costly compared to using Supplies and Time to train Troops and using them to gain the same thing. We would need to use Boosted Goods, Time, Supplies and Coins to make Goods, and the Trader to gain non-boosted Goods for each negotiation.
Since you are ahead of the Goldilocks Zone on provinces you will get to a point where you need Orcs to continue negotiating but won’t be able to make them ’til you unlock Orc Style Armories. This seems to be a safeguard that has been put into place to maintain a players speed when using only negotiations.
These are just a few of the negative aspects of ignoring the Goldilocks Zone and unlocking City Expansions too quickly, but you will have more space in your city which is very valuable and so the choice is yours.