Race — More concepts
I’m not sure how important these are, but they are things that I’m noticing more and more as I play. Some of these are listed by Mark as Beginner’s concepts, so I’m slow.
- Classifying cards as “Play or Money” means don’t play cards just because. If you only hold cards that aren’t terribly useful, then save them for cash. (Obvious exceptions: if your plan isn’t clear and a card provides income, or you’ll end up discarding anyway). But in several games last night I thought — “Well, I can play this” quickly squashed by “No rush … if that’s the right card I’ll know it after I trade, and my timing will be fine.”
- Timing trumps discounts. I lost one game (I believe) because I developed some Investment Credits, so that I could discount my crucial development next turn. This cost a turn I couldn’t afford. If you miss a discount for a card or two, but it lets you trade your windfall (or start your produce/consume cycle) a turn earlier, giving up the discount is a minor price. You can always drop it later, if you like.
- Flexibility. One of the nicest feelings is being able to call a phase and have choices based on what phases are coming up. Here’s the most synergistic opening I’ve seen in a while. Investment Credits, Space Marines, Robot Alien Sentry, Avian Uplift Race. You call Develop, and if there’s a settle you drop the Space Marines (I’d personally pay with the Credits, but I’m not entirely convinced). If not, you drop the Credits and then Develop again for Space Marines. If there’s still no Settle, you hit it on Turn 3.
- Some engines are luckier than others. Setting up multiple Alien Worlds and calling Produce/Trade/Trade hoping for the Tech Institute is fragile … you need one card out of the deck for big VPs (although you can also score by getting Research Labs, and a few other cards while you wait). Setting up a consume/trade cycle with one alien world and two novelty goods has you aiming for a few cards. (Consumer Markets, Diversified Economy + a rare/gene world, Free Trade Association, and others). When building your economic engine, build a lucky one (unless you already hold the critical cards). [This requires an idea of what cards are out there, definitely an intermediate concept.]
- Consuming multiple goods (with one) is powerful. You need to get lots of production goods (with maybe a windfall), but they save you a card or two of development. Consumer Markets is a ‘strategy in a card.’ Not just because of the income — it consume 3 worlds. Assuming you trade a rare good, you have a 2 turn cycle of 6 cards income, 3 VPs for 5 cards in your tableau. By my count only 4 cards both produce a good and consume it. Barring multiple consumption 3 VPs with a trade good often requires 7 cards (3 Production worlds, 1 Windfall or Production, 3 consumption powers). (Galactic Trendsetters counts here, since it consumes a single good for 2 VP)
- Tableau size is a restriction. An engine that takes two less cards will take less time to get going. A corollary.
Anyway, Merry XMas. Time to open presents!