The best players know how to impact the pace of a match, as well as the outcome. For example, many players don’t realize the first shake is the most important in the match and has a big influence on the way the rest of the match can go. For experienced players, it’s usually when they can take the lead in a match and distance themselves from inexperienced players, if they play it properly.
This whole philosophy is based on the idea that the more shakes there are in a match, the more likely it is the best player will win. In the first shake, if you’re not setting the Goal, you should always Bonus when it’s your turn because it helps finish the shake quicker and probably makes the Solution easier because there are more cubes in Forbidden and fewer in Resources. If you’re not setting the Goal and you get a 4 or 6 in that shake, consider it a victory, because you’ve neutralized the Goal-Setter’s advantage.
If you’re setting the Goal, you should make it as difficult as possible, as this probably is your best chance to win the shake and influence the match. Typically, a match consists of only about three or four shakes. If you’re setting the Goal first, you could have two chances to set the Goal, which is a huge advantage. You’d want to play to have a fourth shake (where you’re the only player who gets to set the Goal twice) and not have a fifth, unless you’re losing the match and you need it. In a four-shake match, if you win both shakes in which you set the Goal, you have a higher percentage of winning the match.