The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

All Factorio All The Time

with 2 comments

And not much boardgaming. I actually took the TaoLing to game night this week and played …. one game of Jump Drive. Just wasn’t in the mood to play much. It happens. On the Factorio front I’m building a mega-ish-base (ish because once 0.15 drops I’ll probably upgrade and restart). An interesting learning experience (quite different from speed runs). Also learning how to deal with big alien bases. (I do hope they do something interesting with Laser Turrets in the new expansion, because there are lots of inferior weapon types, and Laser Turrets.

A large up front cost to build, but no ammo cost (assuming your power is fine).

I’ve actually just been watching a lot of Factorio as well. Watching the TaoLing play, and some youtube channels.

On the actual game front, been playing Sentinels and finally convinced the TaoLing to play Advanced villains, so its a challenge. Also played a few games of Fairy Tale.

Written by taogaming

March 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm

I’m flattered, but ya’ll could have answered the question

instead of just mentioning my name a few times.

But since I was mentioned, I responded to the question “Is Contract Bridge Still Alive?”

 

Written by taogaming

March 9, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Posted in Bridge

A rather surprising Sentinels game (Updated)

Wraith (female Batman), Dark Watch Expatriette (female punisher), Legacy (superman) and Absolute Zero (thermal Iron Man) were battling Citizen Dawn in the Dok’thrath capital. The game looked to be going along swimmingly, Wraith got off to an absolutely stunning start with a few improvised inventions (which really speed up the card flow, as not only do you get to search your deck for a card and play it, you get to play another card) and was quickly able to use two powers a turn, including a large projectile attack and a small projectile attack that reduced damage … and the microtargeting computer (which boosts projectile damage).

On the other hand, Expatriette was as bad as she normally is. Seriously, there needs to be an Expatriette that makes ammo cards good, they are about 1/2 her deck and terrible. I’m not really sure who Citizen Dawn is supposed to be. Somewhere between brainwashing zombie master and … something else. But her schtick is that at some point she becomes invulnerable for a few turns, until there are enough citizens (zombies) in play, at which point she tires out. So you have to either kill her without killing any citizens (so she doesn’t become invulnerable) or kill them, then wait a few turns without killing citizens.

It’s typically not too hard. When she’s invulnerable, she pumps out cards.

Anyway, we quickly trounced enough zombies, she went all starburst-y, and then … just powerful hit/healing cards. We’d finally got a string of citizens, but were then faced with a choice … do nothing to let her revert, but take a huge hit from all the citizens we didn’t kill, or wound them (to reduce their damage) and risk that one faction in the Dok’thrath civil war might finish them off. We wounded them, and then the civil war killed them all.

Alongside with Wraith and Expatriette.

Suddenly down two heroes and meanwhile Citizen Dawn has healed about 20% of her hit points and we still had several turns of invulnerability. And Citizen Dawn wiped the board, destroying all of Absolute Zero’s toys. But the Wraith does have a good ‘dead’ power (either destroying an ongoing card or letting a hero play a card) so she helped Absolute Zero get off his Brett Easton Ellis streak while Expatratiette laid down some covering fire to keep legacy alive (she lets heroes reduce damage a bit. Even dead, she’s not that useful).

And somehow the heroes won.

Probably my closest victory in a few dozen games.

Update — A few hours later we won with a single hit point remaining on all the heroes! The Dreamer (the psychic kid you must avoid killing as her nightmares ravage us) looked to be going down easily, but a sudden burst of projections killed everyone except Tachyon. Still, Tachyon had a large number of defensive constructs protecting her, so she managed to take out a few nightmares in one round. The dreamer almost totalled Tachyon’s defenses and then nearly killed her, but was able to play a card that let her play two cards and draw two (at the cost of going down to a single point of damage) and then killed the final nightmare necessary to win. But we had to survive until the start of the villain turn, and that required a nervous draw of the environment deck. When it turned out to be neutral, we won.

Written by taogaming

March 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Random Thoughts

Power Grid: The Card Game …. is it an exception to my rule that “X: The Card Game” is bad? I guess. It’s fine.

Played Favor of the Pharoah again, which is a nice improvement over To Court The King, but the setup is annoying.

Played another game or two of Magic Realm, but I’m slowing down on that. Still, I’ve played it quite a bit over the last few months. Traded for a copy of Hands in the Sea, so maybe I’ll get to try that shortly. But I’m in no rush.

Mildly burned out, perhaps. I started reading the review for the Colonists, which seems like its up my alley, but after reading a page or two I get distracted. Took me several sessions to read the Hands in the Sea Rules. I’m taking a break from bridge. (I do play an hour or two online every now and again, but I don’t think I’ve got a club game scheduled for two months or so).

Anyway, nothing much going on. Media — I’ve been watching the Youtube channel No Small Parts on character actors. Flash Season 2. Nothing much.

So, I’m stuck in the Winter Doldrums. It’s not so bad. It happens.

Written by taogaming

February 25, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Posted in Ramblings

Do you even optimize, bro?

I’ve been whittling my best Factorio time down, and got a launch just over the nine hour mark (on peaceful). I think with more play I can make the eight hour achievement. I’ve also kept a factory going longer just to tinker … sometimes you want to play the big game. I’ll probably start a game on hard setting just to get more into the military side, and I haven’t even touched trains (except in the scenario and my first game). Then there are mega-factories. Launching one rocket per minute (RPM) is an impressive feat (I’m going for a second rocket in one game and thinking about just building a rocket factory).

Then there’s the guy who built a factory that averaged one RPM over its lifetime (granted, that was a few hundred hours so he could spend time launching multiple RPM to balance out the first).

And then there’s this guy. His factorio is called Grey Goo Mark I, which is an insanely descriptive name in computing.

And I haven’t yet even taught trains to dance.

So, factorio has that elusive “Just one more,” bit. “Oh, I’ll just balance my belt lines.” “Oh, I’ll just expand my belt factory.” “Oh, here I go murdering again.” And suddenly its 1.30 am.

Update — It also has styles of play. Speedrun (I’m speedrunned out, right now). I just finished every research achievement, and built up a base that has launched 7 rockets. Now I’m trying to figure out advanced trains and started a new game with actual enemies and a goal of a decent (non-spaghetti) design. I may be going too slow. And playing Multi-player with the TaoLing ….

Written by taogaming

February 18, 2017 at 11:17 am

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with

Random Initial Strategy Thoughts on Jump Drive

My credentials.

General Thoughts

Jump Drive is a (mini)-game of combos.

Income is good, but since Jump Drive is so short (6-7 turns) it is easy to over-prioritize. This isn’t Puerto Rico (or even Race!) where early throughput dominates early VPs.

The reason early VPs count? Apart from game length early VPs are VP income. (VPs/turn), not one time items.

Income can trump VPs if you can convert them.

Jump Drive is short enough that delaying income (to explore for a big play on the following turn, or by only playing a single card, or by putting down a big VP card) pays off. Delaying income to make a good scoring play is fine. Better than fine if that also gives discounts.

In particular:

  1. Spending everything for early income may work out well. Or the draw may miss you. Saving income for one turn to hold a great card often pays off. I’m surprised how often I drew 14 cards on my last turn and only had plays worth <5 points. (You can win those games if your prior turn was great).
  2. Playing only one card may cost you a point of income but it saves you a card (or rebates one) which balances out for a single turn. If the card you saved combines you’ll ramp up faster than many blind draws.
  3. Exploring nets you 2 cards plus income and digging lets you find/enhance a combo. Ideally you drop a big Dev or some other huge item to start scoring (or catch back up in income while getting points, or overtake income). I haven’t seen a double explore win … yet. I suspect it can happen.
  4. Discounts can be as good/better than income, particularly on a final turns. All the income or military in the world won’t let you play a 9 dev and a world, but investment credits may let you play two cards. A -1 Dev discount is equivalent to 1 card a turn, if you play a dev every turn. But if you don’t have cards lined up to take advantage of the discount, or have low income in general, you’ll run out of cards.

Remember — Jump Drive doesn’t limit you to one for each type of development (or world). In my first few games I automatically discarded duplicates, but you know what? Investment Credits means my next Investment Credits is free, even if I play a world! Cards self-combo!

Jump Drive is a geometric(ish) growth game. I had one game where it was nearly perfect. 1-2-4-8-15-31 .  Naturally, that means that my eyes gravitated towards cards that do not have a fixed VP, but score 1 per something. That means when you slap down a card that triggers it, you get the new card’s VPs and boost your existing cards.

You don’t need to focus on that. Cheap cards score 0-1 (maybe 2) points, mediums score 3-6, and the big devs score 10+. You’ll get a geometric-looking progression with arithmetic cards. Don’t discount dropping some Alien world for 5-7 points a turn ASAP.

The question is “will the game go six or seven turns?” Obviously if you can break 50 on T6 aim for that, but if you can’t or it will take a lucky draw, gauge the other tableau(s). With more players, the odds that someone will go out means you may want to take the higher risk/reward path and hope for a lucky draw.

If you are wrong, well, it’s a fast game.

I had assumed that T6 wins would just scrape fifty, but you can blow past it with a good combo or a bit of luck.  (The few five turn wins I’ve see scrape 50. Turn six scores can be large). It’s not too early to start thinking about VP on turn 2 or 3. After that, score score score!

There’s a time value of VP, since they score per turn.

A card that scores 10 VP a turn on your last turn is roughly the same as 2VP a turn on turn 2. A card that scores 10 VP a turn on your penultimate turn is equivalent to 5 a turn two turns earlier.  As with income, you can delay VP for a good deal. Giving up 5 this turn for 10 next turn is equal if the game ends next turn. If it goes on, well, that’s a no brainer.

The opening

Survey Team isn’t a consolation prize. +1 Military and $1.  Its great, particularly holding a 1-defense world. Survey team effectively saves a card (you still pay a card, but you get that from the game, not from your hand). Discard a weak card, plop down your 1-defense world, keep 3 cards, and draw two more (assuming your world gives 1 income). With two defense 1 worlds in my opening (there are seven in the deck, I think), this is solid.

As I’ve stated, don’t discount an explore. You’d end up with seven cards (from ten) which means you could drop something like Lost Species Ark World (2VP/$4) or a combination like Mining Conglomerate (-1 cost for brown, 1VP/brown world, $1) and a decent brown world. Both respectable starts and if you have a terrible opening (one about every ten games, roughly) its probably better than keeping three directionless cards and hoping you draw your future.

I’ve seen a decent mix of Survey Team openings (typically with a miltary world), single dev, single world, dev + world, and a few explores. (Like you would expect from Tom, all roads are viable).

Look for a combo. Preferably one that either gives you good income or sets up a guaranteed play next turn (ie, you can play a card you kept, only switching out of something better comes along). As I always say of Race “I just do what the cards tell me.”

Opening Cards of Note:

Galactic Advertisers are solid opening, with $2 a turn and a discount for Galactic Trendsetters (which score double the square you have) and a few other bonus’s trigger if you have an advertiser. They will often have a combo in an opening hand and even if you don’t have a combo in hand, you’ll likely draw one, because something like 1 card in twelve has one.

Uplift Researchers — These score $1/chromosome and 1VP/per, and provide a chromosome, and there are three of them in the deck. Typically these are turn 2 card (playing a chromosome world T1) and you are off. Again, there are enough chromosome worlds that even if you don’t have a combo in hand, this provides enough money you hope to get one … and it’s a geometric card. It’s too expensive to play of T1 (unless I have the 0 cost two chromosome world to play on T2). I’ll chuck this if I don’t see how I’ll play it on T2 or T3, but Uplift Researchers shows up in winning tableaus frequently, possibly because this is a fine mid-game card for many random military builds just aiming to drop anything that scores or gives points.

Consumer Markets is a cheaper version of this for novelty worlds, but it isn’t a novelty world. So you can’t just plop down two+ consumer markets and have them buff each other. (Still, the TaoLing’s biggest win was 2x Consumer Markets, Free Trade Association, and blue worlds).

Survey HQ — similar to Uplift Researchers, but instead of chromosome’s its pairs of explore icons. And, what do you know, Survey team gives two. It’s a slower growth, but same idea.

Space Marines — I spend a few dozen games automatically tossing these into the discard. No VP. No Income, just two military, when I can get one military from Survey Team? Well, the road from +1 military to +3 isn’t nearly as easy as I’d hoped, and to get to the big worlds you’ll likely need this or a Drop Ships.

War Propaganda — +1 Military, 3VP & $1 a turn, but it moves to whoever has the biggest military each turn before scoring. Not be scoffed at since it’s cheap. Play this on T1, conquer a +1 Mil world (or the +2 military world, if you have it and a good target next turn). Not much income but with a few more worlds to conquer you can make that up and a huge start on VP. In fact, this card is one reason to keep Space Marines.

Comet Zone — 3 cards a turn income is not to be scoffed as a turn one play (and you’ll get a rebate). If you can play this and keep a mining conglomerate or some brown combo (or just a big VP card that you can play after getting T1 income + Explore + T2 income) that’s fine. Playing it and hoping to draw a combo or target is certainly viable.

Trade Pact — In a 4er game, I’d be tempted to gamble on this hitting and letting you drop a 5 cost card on T2. Or you could play this and a small world. The VP/turn is a nice bonus, which may push you over fifty on T6.

Replicant Robots — No income, so you presumably are planning on using your discount next turn for a world that provides it. Also, 2VP a turn gives you a good shot at hitting T6.

Mid/Endgame

Obviously in the endgame you ignore income considerations entirely. Big cards are key. And they can be be big. Galactic Federation scores 2VP per dev for you and 1 for an opponent. Costs 9 (8 if you don’t play a world, which is typical).  This can average 10-15 pretty easily on the last turn. But a Galactic Salon (6 cost, 5VP a turn, -1 Dev discount) 2-3 turns earlier, that’s the same, and it provides a discount.

Endgame cards can be mid-game cards with an explore to save up. If your opponent plays “Your” development and can score it as well, then that’s probably it. TaoLing dropping Galactic Imperium to score all his 1-2 defense uplift worlds and the worlds my 9 military conquered was ugly.

Written by taogaming

February 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm

Scythe

Meh.

In the game’s defense, my first play took way too long and had the wrong crowd. (I suggest against a five player game with multiple new players). Obviously this game appeals to people — it’s popular.

I guess its capitalizing on the War-euro. (Wareuro? Weuro? I never know how to spell that contraction). It has combinatorics (you combine faction with resource chart). It felt like a point salad game with some clever warish designs to score bombs (win a combat? Get a star! And maybe steal some resources). Fine …. but it didn’t grip me.

If it took 1.5 hours instead of 2.5, that would have helped, but mainly because I could have played something else afterwards. I suspect if I think hard I could better describe my problems with the game, but for now I just say:

Rating — Indifferent, I may try it again and see if I missed something.

Written by taogaming

February 13, 2017 at 10:48 pm

Posted in Reviews