The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Master Solvers #3

Two robots, two soldiers, and two goods specialists walk into a bar…

You are Old Earth in a four player game (no Epsilon Eridani). You get:

  • Mining Robots
  • Terraforming Robots
  • Expedition Force
  • New Military Tactics
  • Free Trade Association
  • Pan Galactic League

As usual, discard and play to turn 1.

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Written by taogaming

March 4, 2008 at 12:24 am

12 Responses

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  1. I’d hate to see a whole hand of developments unless any of them are dev discounts, which these aren’t. Although some of these have synergy, it’s not enough to commit without seeing some of the worlds you have the chance to play. I’d keep my options very open with this hand, so ditch the two 6s, Explore +5 and see what the cards and your opponents’ roles say.

    If develop was picked, then hopefully you’ll see a decent cost 3 or less military world. A cheap brown is in second place.

    If settle is picked with no develop, then just take the best world you can play from your 7 cards and forget your starting hand.

    If neither, then keep the same card as if develop were picked, and develop next turn.

    Kester Jarvis

    March 4, 2008 at 8:03 am

  2. I’d pitch the robots, they’re kind of specialized. (So are the sixes but the potential benefits are much higher.)

    Then choose Develop and build the Expedition Force. If I haven’t come up with anything useful after that round, either Develop the Tactics (2/3) and hope for an Explore and a military world, or Explore+5 (1/3) next round.

    Of course, my first round develop is subject to change to Tactics IF: A) someone else’s Explore nets me a military green or yellow windfall, B) someone chose Settle, and C) Alpha Centauri had a momentary lapse of sanity and didn’t Trade.

    Tucker

    March 4, 2008 at 8:32 am

  3. I dump Terraforming Robots and Pan Galactic League. I’m just not a big fan of keeping speculative 6 devs at the beginning.

    I think you pick Explore +1/+1 and hope for some kind of world so you can Settle when someone else calls it. Developing any of those cards in your hand won’t necessarily help you at all; you’ve got to find at least some world before you know if you need even Expedition Force.

    Matt Crawford

    March 4, 2008 at 11:38 am

  4. First of all this hand sucks.

    I’d discard Mining Robots and Terraforming Robots because they both suck except in certain circumstances, of which I dont have the cards here (no brown worlds, for example).

    I now have two military cards plus Pan-Galactic League, and FTA which tends to go well with old earth. So thats pieces of two possible strategies.

    We badly need to explore, as we have no worlds!
    I could see either explore +1 or +5 as both reasonable, but I’m going to say Explore +5 is better here. We cant afford to not get a windfall or production world. A big explore gives us a strong chance of finding some good 2-3 defense military windfall world, which we can then build wit hthe tactics.

    A 1 defense military world or a non-military world (windfall or production) is the backup plan.

    The explore +1 plan would give better options on affording a normal world, but I think going for the chance of a military windfall is best, so explore +5.

    You dont have to get it out turn 1 for it to be good (AC is trading probably anyway), so your goal is to get it turn 2 when there isnt a trade. There is a good chance that either turn 1 develop will happen (build tactics if explore works for you), or that if you explore turn 2, someone would settle.

    If on turn 1 people played a settle but no develop, then in your explore+5 you could pick a good non-military world that was there and build it.

    Alexfrog

    March 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm

  5. Ouch. This hand feels like the penalty for something…

    I toss Mining Robots and FTA, and explore +1/+1, _particularly_ if I’m in a group that’s likely to call develop. (There’s a group of folks I play with at work with whom I’d call develop, because I _know_ none of them will.) But what I’m going to do is completely up in the air; I’m hoping my explore gives me a path, and I want the extra card for flexibility on the path. I’d like to be going down a military/genes path, I suppose, but none of these cards is safe from being used for cash…

    Joe Huber

    March 4, 2008 at 3:43 pm

  6. As others have said, yuck. I’d toss Mining Robots and FTA and Explore +5. Best chance is to get lucky with a genes/low military strategy. The best card you can draw on the explore is Rebel Warrior Race (but you’ve only got an 8% chance). I count a total of 8 decent miltary windfall (but they’d require a develop) and 5 more 1 or 2 cost non-military windfalls. That’s 13 cards for a 67% chance of drawing. Not bad, but not great.

    Of course, if your opponents call Dev/Set/C:T, you are going to be way behind, trapped by the 1VP consume. In that case I may go for an investment credits, or better an interstellar bank, and just figure I’ll call explore for the next turn or two hunting for military while dribbling down my one cost developments for free.

    Lou

    March 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm

  7. Yeah, I agree doing an obvious hand isnt helpful 😉

    Its interestng to do a discussion about a sucky hand. (And sucky hands lead to more chance of exploring generally, while a good hand would be more inclined to do something.

    Alexfrog

    March 4, 2008 at 7:30 pm

  8. For what it’s worth (I’ve only played about 20 odd games), I’d probably ditch FTA and Mining Robots, and then Explore +1/+1. Hopefully I’d find a decent military world, or something like interstellar bank. If develop and no settle, I’d put down expedition force and then explore +1/+1 again. If there is a settle, it would depend on what cards came up in the explore.

    Luthrin

    March 4, 2008 at 9:48 pm

  9. I guess I would drop Mining Robots (too specialized, doesn’t have good synergy with anything else in the hand) and Free Trade Association (I don’t need consume powers as Old Earth, and it doesn’t synergize well either). Then call Explore +5 in hopes of finding something good to settle or develop (assuming one of them was called). I wouldn’t worry too much about throwing my whole hand for a world or development, since none of these cards are all that helpful together (although the almost-available military strategy is tempting). If nothing comes up, I’d develop Expeditionary Force if there’s a develop. Not too revolutionary, I know.

    Phil

    March 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm

  10. I’m ditching both Robots and going Explore +1/+1.

    Mining Robots aren’t looking helpful with this hand at all. I really, really, really dislike holding onto the PGL early, especially if I don’t have Contact Specialist, something Upliftish, or a the makings of a stable military to start out, but, I think I’m keeping that over the T-bots on the off-chance that the Explore points me a little more in that direction. It’s a tough call, though, because T-Bots support military as well.

    Expedition Force / Military Tactics: inexpensive and generally useful

    FTA: I’m willing to keep open the possibility for Big Blue, at least for a few seconds.

    Explore +1/+1: tough call over the +5, but I do not want to give up the extra cash. Sure, I’d love to find some pirates to take over for $6/trade or something of the like, but for this hand I think I want the added flexibility of the $1 over the view of 4 additional cards. There’s a decent amount of the deck that I won’t hate to have, and the cherries won’t make my ice cream sweet enough to spend money hunting for them.

    Anthony Rubbo

    March 6, 2008 at 11:43 am

  11. Curse a bit, discard the two 6s, and play Develop on turn 1. Maybe consider Explore… let’s say Develop 90%, Explore +1 8%, Explore +5 2%.

    There are plenty of 6s in the game; holding onto 6s that doesn’t work with anything else you have is the same as saying “Hey, I don’t plan to play any cards today.”

    The complete lack of any worlds or development with development powers is highly annoying (and the reason for the curse). On the plus side, it does mean that I can probably change course to handle any world I find on the explore (that I’m hypothesizing will happen from some other player).

    I could still get bupkis on the explore, but it’s unlikely enough that I’m having a hard time thinking of a good example. Maybe Galactic Renaissance plus Alien Tech Institute?

    Why not play Explore myself? Because if there’s a Settle and the Explore turns up a military world of defense 3 or less, I’ll be kicking myself. So no, Develop has to be chosen in defense, even though I don’t have any great developments either.

    If there’s no Explore, I might very well choose a card at random and develop that. They’re all about equal.

    Wei-Hwa

    March 7, 2008 at 3:40 am

  12. Yup, this hand is crap. I don’t like Robots much, so I’ll toss them both on GP and explore +1. Two more cards, pretty much no matter what the are, will improve the hand and may give me some idea about a plan for the future. That’s my general approach to a bad hand: discard the generally least valuable two cards, get two new cards, and hope something interesting happens.

    I think Explore +5 is the wrong thing to do with a bad hand. Explore +5 is there to reduce variance. You want more variance when you are behind, and this hand is very likely to start in a bit of a hole.

    If you get more crap with the three explore cards, just grab cards until you have something worth building.

    JeffG

    March 13, 2008 at 1:48 pm


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