The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Master Solvers #1 Results

To recap our problem:

You are Earth’s Lost Colony. [3 Players, the opponents are Epsilon Eridini and Old Earth]. Your opening hand is:

1. Alien Tech. Institute
2. Alien Rosetta Stone World
3. Destroyed World
4. Drop Ships
5. Galactic Engineers
6. Spice World

What do you discard and what’s your first turn plan?

Since many respondents feared commitment (by giving multiple answers) I’m simplifying:

  • Several respondents (and some of the voices in Frunk’s head) advocated T1 Produce, T2 trade. The Spice World is the lynch-pin to this … a settle on either turn gives you a four card trade. What to keep besides that varied.
  • Tom also produces, but pitches Destroyed World and Galactic Engineers, just to keep the Alien possibility open. (But they are ‘probably money.’)
  • Several others advocated the Explore +1/+1 (I call that the “Greedy explore”). This lets you possibly play a develop (if called, either Drop Ships if you get a suitable military target, or any development). Again, discards varied. Several people split.
  • One of the Many Faces of Frunk tries to consume/trade.

Surprisingly (to me), nobody advocates Settle. I think that’s mainly the advantage of Earth’s Lost Colony showing … produce is, at worst, gaining you a card a turn unless someone settles for you.

I personally thought that it was obvious to pitch the Alien cards … you can have an excess of riches. To play both of them would require way too many cards, and the sources aren’t obvious. I do think that pitching the Tech Institute (and Galactic Engineers or Drop Ships) is reasonable. The Rosetta Stone provides a discount and produces on a windfall, which may be enough to get a reasonable alien world out and go for a diversified economy (or just a huge trade world). I had really put this out there to see what choice people would make on T1 role.

Incidentally, during the game itself, I settled. I assure you producing or exploring was better. (Because there was an explore on T1, I could drop destroyed world and then Spice World on the next settle, assuming I got no reasonable development, which I didn’t). Still, the other planets that came out were better.

There’s a lot of tension around the first settle, as Frunk’s temptation on Consume/Trade shows … until the production worlds show up, some players have extra options. So I think that those players should be reluctant to Settle, barring an amazingly good play.

Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout for more interesting problems.


Written by taogaming

January 20, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Posted in Race for the Galaxy

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5 Responses

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  1. It’s not entirely a fear of commitment, it depends on my mood and how much I know about my opposition. Some people I know are big fans of Settle on the first turn so I’d more likely go for Consume/Trade. Others tend to Explore first turn, then panic that there wasn’t a Settle first turn and Settle second turn. That reinforces Produce, Consume/Trade.

    Finally, I like to mix things up. If confronted with the same hand and situation multiple times I’d probably play the Produce, Consume the majority of the time, switching occasionally to Explore/+1,+1 or Consume/Trade.


    January 21, 2008 at 7:51 am

  2. Building on Frunk’s point, as a general rule, if I’m playing with smart players, and I have two roughly equal choices, I always try to choose the one that is more unpredictable (or to state that more powerfully, the one whose benefit is driven by cards in hand rather than cards on the board).

    I had a recent game where this was used on me successfully. Mid game, and I produced last turn. I want to C/2x, but need to play an extra consume power to really make it work. However, in hand I have both a Dev and a Planet that I can afford, so as long as my opponent calls either D or S, I’m good. So I play C/2x and Produce.

    My opponent had 6 cards in hand, and only an alien windfall world with good, no production, and two minor consumption powers. Yet he chose C/T and Produce! Even though he had 6 cards, what I didn’t know is that they weren’t that good. Plus he’d need to call C/T or lose the card flow from the Alien world. Plus if I called Produce he wouldn’t lose anything by calling it himself, and he’d avoid the risk of a D or S helping me more than him, while refilling his alien world. Next turn with the extra cards he played a 6 dev, C/T the Alien world again, and ended up winning.


    January 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm

  3. I now have an overpowering desire to write a novel titled “Frunk’s Temptation”!

    Larry Levy

    January 22, 2008 at 7:34 pm

  4. I now have an overpowering desire to write a novel titled “Frunk’s Temptation”!

    Larry Levy

    January 22, 2008 at 7:34 pm

  5. I’ve wanted to comment, but I’ve been resisting so far. Today’s the day I gave in.

    I’m sure you could work that in.


    January 24, 2008 at 6:58 pm

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