I will be teaching you how to play and win Sigmar's Garden by solving an example puzzle.
The game's instructions are very simple.
Pretty simple and it teaches you how to play, however it does not teach you how to win and that is what I will be teaching you.
The strategy is to work backwards from the metals to prioritize which parts of the board to unlock by matching tiles and transmuting metals until the board is clear.
There are some tactics you need to use in order for you win this game:
- Unlock priority
- Salt priority
- Space management
These will be discussed more in the tactics section.
After you learn these tactics I will walk you through a real game demonstration.
Soft versus hard locked tiles:
Soft locked tiles are locked because they have less than 3 adjacent free tiles.
Some tiles will be locked behind tiles that they themselves need to unlock. An example would be Vitae the up arrow adjacent to Mors the down arrow. The only way to unlock these two together would be to clear the space around each which can be difficult if not impossible. Another area of the board containing Mors or Vitae whichever is easier to access would be necessary to unlock.
This is called a hard locked tile.
(Below) Copper is hard locked by quicksilver because they are directly adjacent to each other and need each other to be cleared from the board.
Soft lock is concrete and hard lock is a conept. All hard locked tiles are soft locked.
Strategy and Tactics
Strategy and tactics go hand in hand. Strategy is the goal you are trying to achieve and tactics are the methods you are going to use to achieve that goal.
Here is your strategy: The strategy is to work backwards from the metals to prioritize which parts of the board to unlock by matching tiles and transmuting metals until the board is clear.
Here are your tactics:
- Unlock priority
- Salt priority
- Space management
Unlock priority is the core tactic which the rest derive from. It's pretty simple but requires careful in depth planning because one mistake can cost you the game.
The importance of tiles can be ranked:
- Strategy tiles: these tiles play directly into your strategy some may be soft locked, some unlocked, and others may hard locked.
- Hard locked strategic tiles are the most important because they risk losing you the game.
- Soft locked strategic are second because they are the next tiles in line for you to match and you will need to make sure they will have matching tiles to be cleared and access parts of the board.
- Emtpy or free tiles are necessary to unlock tiles. Make sure that tiles you are matching will free up enough space to unlock more tiles.
- Cluttered available tiles are surrounded by many soft locked tiles and are very important because they can free up key parts of the board essentially dividing and conquering the board making it extremely easy to unlock soft or hard locked tiles.
- Vitae and Mors can only be matched with each other therefore correct removal of them is important.
- Salt tiles can match with any of the 4 core tiles which can help you out when you're stuck with no matches or for some unconventional access to locked tiles.
- Available tiles are in fact the least important even though they are the only tiles you have direct access to. They are simply a means of access to an end of hard locked tiles.
Use of salt tiles can either single-handedly win or lose you the game and while that situation is rare, it's still important to learn how to use this tool when the time comes.
Salt priority is very simple, again everything revolves around unlocking the board backwards therefore you will pair salt with the core tile that grants you access to your strategy. If silver is trapped by locked air tiles and you have fire, earth, quicksilver, and salt available, then choose to pair salt with what will be able to remove the air tiles or in a more complicated situation choose to pair salt with a tile that can remove another tile that can remove air.
Another situation is using salt just to access more matching core tiles. Simply count how many empty tiles you will gain from pairing salt with each tile and count which tiles will be freed up and see if you can match those with current or other freed up tiles.
One last situation is to pair salt with itself. Do this when you are confident you will not need to sacrifice a core tile to pair with salt because you will gain an odd number of that core tile when pairing it.
Space management is very simple: prioritize cluttered tiles. Doing this is a powerful way to divide the board into pockets of soft or hard locked tiles which are extremely easy to clear.
I see lead is locked by a few core tiles and now I look for the next tier of metal and I see there is a quicksilver very close to it so I can't rely on that quicksilver to transmute that metal, instead I will plan to access some vitae tiles which are up arrows that way I can unlock the area around tin for future transmutation. My plan is displayed in the picture: Clear fire to unlock an air tile to clear air etc working backwards from the highlighted order tile to find out which tiles I need to clear.
I ran into a road block; there are no matching tiles. However I do have a salt and I must choose wisely. You can only pair salt with 4 tiles and I check each available tile to see what I would unlock by using salt. I decided I wanted to transmute the lead and I choose to pair air with salt to unlock earth and start clearing the board around lead.
My next plan is to unlock the board around tin to transmute it. I circled the other air and salt tiles I removed but forgot to screenshot.
I have to remove the mors tile and I see that most vitae tiles are locked right next to mors tiles and this is not good as I need 3 consecutive free tiles in order to unlock a locked tile. I choose to match the circled vitae and mors tiles.
I will begin to unclutter the board and transmute the remaining metals. There is a quicksilver near copper which is not good and I will be using it to transmute the tin. The fire tile is blocked by iron and I will need to transmute to access it. I match the two air tiles and transmute tin.
At this point I begin uncluttering the board. Prioritizing tiles that are cluttered to maximize the amount of tiles unlocked.