As the god of winds, Aeolus is really flexible in dealing with breezes, blocking others in their ways. However, he may handicap himself when doing so. Therefore, how to adapt it into different strategies?
At the end of each turn, if there is no wind, you may orient the wind token to any of the eight directions. Otherwise, you may remove the wind. At any time, a worker cannot move directly into the wind.
The game starts with no wind. The change of wind happens at the end of Aeolus’s turn. If there is no wind, Aeolus can choose a new direction. Otherwise, he may remove the wind.
If Aeolus goes second, he can most of the times use the block built by the opponent to his advantage by blowing the wind in the correct direction. Aeolus does this by getting close to that block and by placing the wind in a direction such that the opponent cannot move up there. When the goal (move up) is achieved, Aeolus should most likely remove the wind so that he can use it again in the next turn.
Another feasible strategy, which works against most gods, e.g. Siren, is to start building in another area of the board (intending to use that area only for Aeolus). If the opponent keeps building in his “zone” (thinking that he has an extra move because he started the game), he will most likely be lost. This is because Aeolus can keep on moving up while defending in a completely distant area of the board. He can slow the opponent by not allowing him to move to a level 2 and later to a level 3. A clever opponent is aware of this and will stay close to Aeolus.
A common strategy to win is just to create a winning threat in the corner. The opponent has only two squares to which he can go in order to defend this threat. If the other Aeolus’ worker is in one of those squares, there is only one available square which the opponent can use so that he can build in the corner. Aeolus can then use the wind to prevent the opponent from using this square and hence win. This is easier to visualize with a simple example (the wind is currently pointed towards East):
Although the example is quite simple, it is evident how strong Aeolus is. If Aeolus moves to D4, build on D5 and remove wind, the opponent may reply two different ways, but Aeolus’ ability is very flexible and allows him to win in both scenarios.
Note that if the B2 worker was in fact in C2, the opponent could temporarily defend the threat by moving c2-d3 (the opponent has two possible directions to reach E4 and Aeolus wind can’t prevent both).
Getting a threat like this is very common and you should be aware of its danger. Moreover, with the presence of some domes, you can make similar threats with Aeolus.
Another common strategy (and I see at some point a similarity with Athena), is to build a level 3 that your opponent cannot use due to the wind. For example, suppose there is no wind in the following position:
Here (probably) finish off the game by moving to E3, build on E4, wind SW. The level 3 is there for the opponent but he cannot use it due to the wind. And if not being able to use it wasn’t bad enough, the opponent can’t even block it!
The two most important tips I can give to Aeolus are:
- Don’t leave the wind in the same way for too long: if you have the wind token on and you need to change the wind, then you will need to wait a turn. What is the solution? Remove the wind token whenever you are not making use of it.
- The wind affects every worker so be careful not to blow in your own face. For example, the following position is a common mistake for Aeolus (there is no wind at the moment)
An ameteur Aeolus could by “mistake” move to D5, build on E5, wind West (the idea being to stop the opponent from defending the E5 threat in D4). By placing the wind in this direction, Aeolus didn’t realize that his D5 worker cannot move to E5, i.e, he is not threatening to win and the opponent can just play with the other worker (luckily, Aeolus will still be able to defend, check it).
Aeolus should be very strong at this stage of the game. There are a lot of threats you can create and most of the time it will be the opponent who has to defend. Furthermore, the presence of domes usually benefits Aeolus in the sense that the wind is even more effective (if there is only a path from A to B, Aeolus might be able to block that path by using the wind).
There is one last strategy that I would like to mention: trapping the opponent. There might be situations where Aeolus can use the wind to trap one of the opponents' workers. For example (there is no wind at the moment),
The idea here is for Aeolus to play e3-d3, build E2(1), wind South and then d3-e3, build E2(2), remove wind. The E1 worker is trapped and Aeolus can still use his wind.
Although Artemis can work around Aeolus’s wind (since most times there are more than one path to reach the same square), Aeolus is still stronger in this matchup. Nevertheless, I don’t disencourage you from trying it.
If you like to attack, this match will be fun for you as both gods are very good at doing it. Aeolus can use the wind from preventing Athena to move up and hence use her power so she must pay attention to this. On the other hand, if Athena moves up many times consecutively, Aeolus should start praying.
An interesting matchup where Aeolus’ wind proves to be very useful. Not only can he do the usual strategies, but he can also prevent Charybdis from moving to the whirlpool by placing the wind in the correct direction. This is another funny matchup you should try.
Domers (e.g. Atlas, Selene, Asteria)
Domes will usually benefit Aeolus so I would say he holds an advantage in all of these matchups.
Double builders (E.g. Terpsichore, Castor & Pollux, Prometheus, Hephaestus, Deméter, Hestia)
Aeolus is also pretty good against double builders. Although these powers can build twice, Aeolus’ wind can be in their way most times. Terpsichore must be careful not to trap one of her workers. Castor & Pollux can build by not moving, which is good, but Aeolus is still very strong in this matchup. Demeter and Hestia won’t have an easy time. Hephaestus and Prometheus can put some resilience and provide a balanced matchup.
Dionysus and Eris
The fact that the wind affects every worker is especially important in this matchup. Aeolus can use the wind so that it prevents his own workers from doing what Dionysus/Eris wants. Aeolus will have a much easier game.
Aeolus can try to use his wind to prevent Eros from getting close. However, this won’t be as easy as it seems and Eros has some serious chances.
Having a lot of workers is good, but not exactly what you need to beat Aeolus. Hydra can hold on for a while, but it is Aeolus who will win the endgame.
Two very strong gods so the match is somehow balanced. It won’t be easy for Aeolus to create threats (but he can use the wind to prevent Limus from getting close) but Limus’s threats will most likely be easily defended.
Aeolus can definitely win this game if Morpheus isn’t careful enough. For example, if Morpheus lets Aeolus control a corner (L-corner strategy), he will probably be lost.
It will take a little more effort than usual, but Poseidon will have a clean win.
This game could go wrong for Aeolus if he doesn’t go right away for the attack. If Aeolus starts defending, this gives time for Siren to create a comfortable position and the fact that she can skip the move phase sometimes might help her even more. Aeolus is superior here, but he must go immediately for the attack. Note that Siren can force workers in the direction opposing the wind.
Just like with Artemis, Aeolus must place the wind carefully (as there may be several ways for Triton to reach the same square) and the most used wind directions will almost certainly be the orthogonal ones.
Aeolus is a very strong god and even the strongest powers will have a very tough time to beat him. As we have seen above, there are a lot of uses for his wind and that’s what makes him so strong. When you play against him, keep in mind that you will most likely need to threaten a win in two squares in order to win, otherwise the wind will always be blowing in your face, preventing you from moving forward.
Tier ranking: A
By Todi Liju, 23 September 2021