The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Master Solvers #4

I realize I never answered #3… perhaps later.

You are New Sparta in a 3 player game (against Alpha Centauri and Epsilon Eridani, if you care). The deck hits you over the head with:

  • Alien Tech. Institute (Alien 6-dev)
  • Lost Alien Warship (Defense 5 Windfall, +2 Military)
  • Deserted Alien Colony (5 Cost Alien Windfall)
  • Replicant Robots (-2 Cost for worlds)
  • Blaster Gem Mines (3 Cost Rare Windfall, +1 Military)
  • Spice World (Novelty Production, +2 to trade a novelty).

What do you keep? What do you play on Turn 1?

Update: Fixed the card errors above.

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Written by taogaming

March 24, 2008 at 11:37 pm

18 Responses

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  1. Hold my nose, know that I am making the wrong decision, and ditch Replicant Robots and Blaster Gem Mines and hit up Explore +5.

    On the assumption that AC will Consume/Trade, you have a middling (as NS especially), chance that EE might settle. If you can rip a =<2 defence military world great, if you cant then you have the spice world option. You may have a broader develop option if EE so chooses that.

    zzdroman

    March 25, 2008 at 1:27 am

  2. I’d discard DAC and Spice World (heresy I know), but I’m following the siren song of the military here. If you can get out Blaster Gem Mines and ATI you have enough military to play Lost Alien World. That gets you up to 6 military. DAC is a pie in the sky at this point, and one card too many to try to hold onto if going Alien. Replicant Robots gives you options if there isn’t a first turn Settle and there is a second turn Develop.

    Action: Explore/+1,+1

    If ELC was in play I’d probably keep Spice World over Replicant Robots and pick Settle, figuring to play Spice World if ELC produces or Blaster Gem Mines if they don’t.

    frunk

    March 25, 2008 at 8:17 am

  3. I’d discard DAC and Spice World (heresy I know), but I’m following the siren song of the military here. If you can get out Blaster Gem Mines and ATI you have enough military to play Lost Alien World. That gets you up to 6 military. DAC is a pie in the sky at this point, and one card too many to try to hold onto if going Alien. Replicant Robots gives you options if there isn’t a first turn Settle and there is a second turn Develop.

    Action: Explore/+1,+1

    If ELC was in play I’d probably keep Spice World over Replicant Robots and pick Settle, figuring to play Spice World if ELC produces or Blaster Gem Mines if they don’t.

    frunk

    March 25, 2008 at 8:17 am

  4. Ditch Al. Tech Institute and Deserted Alien Colony. You’re not getting there from here yet.

    Explore +1/+1. There are several cards you can draw that would brighten your situation immensely (Alien Robot Sentry, Space Marines (but not Drop Ships), a military Uplift world), but you’re doing this for the money. You have nice stuff, but can’t play enough of it without grinding to a halt because you ditch everything to pay for the first shiny.

    If Develop is also called, play R. Robots, keeping Spice World. If Settle is called, play Blaster Gen Mines, keeping both the Robots and Spice World. If both are called, play Robots, keeping Gem Mines which you’ll play in the settle.

    Next round you produce if you have Spice World down, otherwise you probably +1/+1 again, or maybe explore +5 looking for a baby windfall that you can slap down for free.

    It’s an interesting, but not terribly easy to play, hand.

    Linnaeus

    March 25, 2008 at 10:04 am

  5. (Note: DAC is Windfall, not Production)
    (Also, I’m not sure if Lost Alien World is suppsed to be the Fleet or the Warship, or if it’s from an expansion)

    If it’s as written, I keep the Lost Alien World and ditch the other 2 Alien cards, going 70% Settle, 30% E+1.

    I’m not counting on EE to Settle for me, as he’s probably (correctly) figuring me for a decent chance of Settle, so if I want to drop the Spices, Mines, or something I find from EE’s possible Explore, I’ve gotta do it myself (plus, always happy to get the Settle bonus). E+5 puts me rather uncomfortably behind AC for cash on hand.

    Anthony Rubbo

    March 25, 2008 at 10:30 am

  6. 2 of the listed cards are incorrect 😛

    ‘Lost Alien world’ should be either Battle fleet (actually 6 defense) or Warship (only +2 military).

    Deserted Alien Colony is windfall not production.

    Looking at this hand, we have our scoring cards but not our income. Those cards arent going to help without money, but if we had money they’d be amazing.

    The best way to proceed would be to keep the alien stuff, explore and get lucky getting a military world, and then later settle and trade it, then spend the income on getting the alien stuff going (for more big trades).

    I’d throw away blaster gem mines, because it sucks, and replicant robots, because it doesnt combine well with military, and its going to be expensive enough to cost too many cards. Yes its nice for its discount to the alien worlds, but not enough to justify it. Normally I love replicant robots but not here. Spice world is a good backup plan here. If we dont get a military windfall world, we can settle it on a settle, produce and trade for 4, and then we’re off and running.

    So the plan:
    Discard Gem mines, Replicant robots.
    Explore +1/+1.

    The +1/+1 allows two plans: 1) We get military world = settle it and trade it. 2) We get crap = settle spice world and produce/trade it.

    Right now we definitely do not want to play settle because we dont have anything great to play yet, it would likely help at least one opponent more than us. The game doesnt get started fast without settling, so if no one does it then that gives us time to keep exploring and find a military world or enough cards to play our alien windfall world, which would be the best way to start.

    When you start with an expensive hand like this, that is powerful but you need more cards, a slow start without anyone doing much except getting cards is perfect. The thing you’ll eventually do is probably stronger than them, so dont get the game started by settling or developing.

    Alexfrog

    March 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm

  7. One more comment on my plan:
    Doing the explore +1 nets 2 cards. If you dont get a military world and dont settle, then next turn you explore +1/+1 again, giving enough cards to play the Alien windfall world on a settle, while keeping your big alien stuff. If that happens, do it.

    Alexfrog

    March 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  8. One more comment on my plan:
    Doing the explore +1 nets 2 cards. If you dont get a military world and dont settle, then next turn you explore +1/+1 again, giving enough cards to play the Alien windfall world on a settle, while keeping your big alien stuff. If that happens, do it.

    Alexfrog

    March 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  9. Discard Replicant Robots and Blaster Gem Mines, and Explore +1/+1. There are lots of good things that might happen, and if none do I want the two cards so that I can explore _again_ on turn two and settle Deserted Alien Colony, using that to generate the cash for my future alien developments. I don’t mind as much getting a tempo behind with this hand if it comes to that, but I’m also hopeful of finding an Uplift world so that it’s not an issue…

    Joe Huber

    March 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  10. I came up with my plan before reading the comments and it was precisely Alexfrog’s plan (including the detail about 2x +1/+1’s allowing the DAC Settle. Thanks Alex, I shouldn’t have been taking the time to type my answer right now anyhow.

    Instead I’ll note that in a two player game the other day I got, as EE, Alien Survey World, Alien Tech Institute, Alien Rosetta Stone, and Lost Alien Battle Fleet in my opening. I had to try it but lost – in my first two turns of Double Explore I got nothing that gave a lousy +1 to military. ARG!

    Lou

    March 25, 2008 at 9:04 pm

  11. Im pretty sure Explore +5 is better here than +1+1. It gives you more chance to play to your strengths (military) and you still maintain your backup plan in spice world.

    I think if you are going spice world then you forget a large military/alien game unless something strange happens. If anything aliens are the most cumbersome strategy to draw in the opening 6 because everything is so expensive. I think the alien cards are money in this instance. Perhaps, luck willing, you will get one down. ARI is definitely cash though.

    zzdroman

    March 25, 2008 at 11:12 pm

  12. Apologies for the double post, but to clarify the above I think that if you explore and dont draw a satisfactory military option, the next thing to do is settle spice world. If that is the case, then you wont be building a large military, or at least you wont be doing it early game. You almost certainly wont be building a large alien tableau.

    Your production can be quite good, especially if you can pull a nice windfall military world. Spice world is my favourite early production world, it is just so strong.

    zzdroman

    March 25, 2008 at 11:17 pm

  13. Apologies for the double post, but to clarify the above I think that if you explore and dont draw a satisfactory military option, the next thing to do is settle spice world. If that is the case, then you wont be building a large military, or at least you wont be doing it early game. You almost certainly wont be building a large alien tableau.

    Your production can be quite good, especially if you can pull a nice windfall military world. Spice world is my favourite early production world, it is just so strong.

    zzdroman

    March 25, 2008 at 11:17 pm

  14. I like the Explore +1/+1 plan because the real backup plan is the Alien windfall world the next turn 🙂

    Alexfrog

    March 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm

  15. Well, I know Alex hates the Blaster Gem Mines, but I think this is one of the cases where it is quite useful.

    I would discard Spice World and Replicating Robots and call Explore +1,+1. If I get nothing and EE calls T1 Settle, I put down the BGM, spending my explore cards and DAC to do so, so I can sell for 3 cards on T2. If these still aren’t useful, then you can Explore +1 on T3, develop ATI on T4 and be ready to settle LAW from T4 onwards.

    Yup, in this line you had spend DAC to do this, but eggs, omelets; you’re well on track for a military strategy (there’s only the Rebel 6 and 7 you can’t conquer and +2 Military (from Space Marines, Drop Ships, NGO, the Lost Battle Fleet, or either the Rebel 5 or Alien Robot Ship and one more elsewhere will deal with them), you have a ready source of money (LAW’s Alien good), and you saw 9 cards along the way so you can easily modify this plan based on them. What’s not to like?

    If there is no T1 Settle, then the odds of a T2 Settle go way up, so one possibility is to do everyone’s backup plan of Explore +1 again and put down DAC on T2, sell on T3, but then, even though you can afford to put down ATI on T4, you can’t settle DAW yet because you don’t have another +1 Military. I’m not convinced. I would do a second Explore +1, but (assuming both explores crapped out and I didn’t find a defense 1-2 Military windfall) I would still put down BGM over DAC on turn 2, viewing the second Explore as a chance to save DAC and some other long-term card (such as NGO) that I’ve found. For now I’m back on track to either do exactly my original plan (a turn later) or delay it another turn, if I want to save DAC and another long-term card. Depending on how I feel about tableau tempo after turn 3, I’ll decide.

    The point is that NS, with this hand, is looking for three things: a windfall to churn cards/afford ATI, a source of +1 Military (to get LAW down after ATI), and the ability to leverage your opponent’s actions. Sure, an Expedition Force and an Uplift 2 will do this job better than BGM, but you don’t have these cards and BGM does all three things in one, slightly more costly package. Use the tools you have at hand, even if they are slightly less efficient in some ideal efficiency metric.

    Tom_Lehmann

    March 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  16. I’d play the same as Tom does. When the deck speaks to you, listen. I’d also expect to lose the game, possibly badly. I haven’t seen many early alien strategies win, but they are fun to play.

    JeffG

    March 31, 2008 at 11:17 am

  17. I’m going to chime in really late here, and say I would drop Spice World (4 trading is nice, but Blaster Gem Mines give 3 and a military, which is more useful) and Replicant Robots (good card, but not as useful as it could be in this case).

    Explore 1/1, to get cash for BGM if there’s a settle (dropping DAC) and hope to get something better in that explore anyway.

    Phil

    April 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm

  18. I’m going to chime in really late here, and say I would drop Spice World (4 trading is nice, but Blaster Gem Mines give 3 and a military, which is more useful) and Replicant Robots (good card, but not as useful as it could be in this case).

    Explore 1/1, to get cash for BGM if there’s a settle (dropping DAC) and hope to get something better in that explore anyway.

    Phil

    April 5, 2008 at 4:22 pm


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