The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Race — Terraforming Robots

Since I haven’t done any race in a while…

Terraforming Robots 3 Cost Development (2 VP).
Settle — Draw a card after you settle/conquer a planet.
Consume — Consume a rare good for 1 VP + 1 Card.

Alexfrog, in his card-by-card guide, says:

Terraforming Robots (3) */*
Until the expansion is out, this is overcosted. You’re basically paying one extra card for the fact that it says ‘Terraforming’. That makes it harder to make use of. However, it can be good, in military or production strategies that want a brown consume power. Or with New Economy, to score. I’m sure its better in the expansion when there are terraforming cards.

I’m not sure exactly how Alex gets overcosted … If you develop this, then you spend 3 cards (including this one) to get this out. If you hit this early enough, then you’ll probably get your money back from settle rebates. Still, with the “time value of money” earning back your income may not be particularly good. Getting double your cards back is better.

First of all, let’s look at the mining worlds. There are 13 brown planets (6 production, 7 Windfall). Of those, exactly one has a consume power — New Earth. Apparently mining planets export, require a destination. Terraforming Robots will be a big interest to Alpha Centauri or anyone going the brown route. The real downside for Terraforming Robots, from Alpha Centauri’s point of view, is that it isn’t the Mining Conglomerate. The conglomerate earns income faster and triggers many more six developments (Mining League, Trade League; both score for New Economy and Galactic Federation). The conglomerate works less well in a diversified economy, whereas Terraforming Robots are fine with a single mining world. It won’t score VP for Mining League, but it does consume efficiently.

The Conglomerate is a “brown pioneer” card. Assuming you have the most mining worlds, you’ll get two extra cards per produce, an extra card per trade, and be able to consume with your spare worlds. The Robots are metallic leeches. If someone else consumes, you get a card + VP. You get an extra card whenever you settle, which lets you leech a military sprinter. Neither leeching role is amazing, but opponents tend to stop calling roles where you can leech for huge draws (unless they have a monstrous setup). How much would you have to be getting to call produce if it triggered someone else’s mining conglomerate?

As Alex notes, A military strategy will happily play this card. Conquer a world, draw two cards. You’ll probably luck into a military world every 3rd turn you do that (or get enough to pay for a six cost development).

Terraforming Robots will improve in the first expansion. I honestly don’t remember what the Terraforming Guild does. You can’t just slap down the Robots, but they work in a reasonable number of situations. If you’ve got any mining planets at all and are short of consumption powers, they’re dandy, you’ll consume an extra good and earn several cards back, not to mention rebate cards. A reasonable middle game card.

Update: I do, however, remember that the expansion contains another development that combines well with this … Improved Logistics. Since the card hasn’t been spoiled (that I’ve seen), let’s just say that it combines well. (I.L. is a game changing card, to be sure).

This thread on BGG mentions what the Terraforming Guild does … 2VP for each Terraforming card or windfall, and an extra rebate after each settle, and produce on a windfall world.


Written by taogaming

June 11, 2008 at 9:51 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Improved Logistics spoiled here:


    June 12, 2008 at 1:24 am

  2. Improved Logistics spoiled here:


    June 12, 2008 at 1:24 am

  3. I still think Terraforming Robots costs too much for what it does, at least in the base game, and thus is a weak card. I expect that it is better in the expansion because the word ‘Terraforming’ does something.

    Compare it to Public Works. Public works gives you a card when you develop and terraforming robots does when you settle, pretty similar. Public works consumes any good (can be bad or good, but really, you shouldnt play it at a time when its going to make you eat a big trade good) but doesnt give you the card. So you pay 2 extra cards in order to get 1 more card per consume. Thats like 4 turns or so to get your money back, which is quite slow.


    June 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm

  4. Good points, although somewhat mitigated by the fact:
    1) In theory, the Terraforming robots can get one additional rebate (the turn they are played) if timed right, which public works can’t.
    2) TR is worth an extra VP.

    Granted, those are minor effects.


    June 16, 2008 at 11:36 pm

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