The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Race Master Solvers #5 Results

Well, a number of responses to Problem #5.

  • Frunk & Phil pitched the Genetics Lab and Investment Credits and (after the obligatory waffle) Developed (the mercenaries).

  • Lou & Joe chucked Galactic Resort and Rebel Miners, and Explore +1’d.

  • Hermit tossed Galactic Resort and Investment Credits and Explored +5’d (looking for military or a great destination).

  • Kester relinquished Rebel Warrior Race and Genetics Lab and settled.

  • David discarded investment credits and genetics lab, and settles, presumably for the galactic resort. [To me, this seems odd. If you are going to do this you may as well keep the investment credits and chuck the rebel miners. That way, if there’s no develop T1, or a develop without explore, you get to drop the credits].

  • Jeff & Buddha discarded credits and the resort and explore’d +1.

Brian at the table — This was one of the hardest choices I’ve seen in ages. I probably spent minutes on this. But I eventually (after writing the hand down) reached the same decision as Frunk/Phil.
So, how’d that work out? — Ancient Race traded (of course), and the other two players settled. So you can drop Space Mercenaries and Rebel Warrior Race (leaving you an empty hand, but a good trade next turn) or escape the Doomed world for the Galactic Resort, and have RWR, Rebel Miners + 1 Card & 1 VP.

I went for the Rebel Warrior Race, which is a questionable call. If there had been an explore, this option would be great .. you could settle the RWR and keep Galactic Resort or Rebel Miners … but there was no explore (as expected).

How would exploring work out? — Tough to say, but there are a number of really good cards you could stumble on. Fleeing to Galactic Resort and consuming it would leave you with your other 3 cards + three more, so even if you hit nothing good now, there are still plenty of decent options (Drop Ships, Several of the sixes, lots of worlds). Exploring also gives the other players (particularly Ancient Race) a shot at a better world.

I’m not sure I like pitching the Galactic Resort and exploring … now you may miss out on the opening settle (which would be unlucky, but not the strangest thing ever). More likely you’ll have the choice of paying for a mediocre world and breaking up your hand anyway, or using the doomed world’s power on something worse the resort. I think that exploring should cater to a bad draw.

The other issue with exploring is that your hand really wants to see those mercs on the board, and you didn’t get lucky.

In short — I don’t like any of the answers. (Perhaps Frunk/Phil would have gone 1b — Mercenaries + flee to the resort].

Grades: I’m giving the Brian/Frunk/Phil option a solid B. I exploring +1 gets an A-. Settling is a B-. Not keeping the Galactic Resort drops you a letter grade, in my book.

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Written by taogaming

November 15, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Race for the Galaxy

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13 Responses

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  1. Really? Can you explain the Galactic Resort to me? I must be missing something, because every time I get that card, I look at it and think, “wow, this card is useless, and costs 3?”

    Either I’m undervaluing the consume power, or it’s just that in this particular hand, you don’t have any other worlds that you like.

    Matt Crawford

    November 18, 2008 at 12:56 pm

  2. Yeah, what’s so great about Galactic Resort? At the beginning of the game, I’d rather have the Doomed World’s explore power. It seems likely that within two turns of exploring drawing 4 cards each time I’ll find something better, possibly substantially better. New Sparta, for example, would be pretty handy right now. Eventually, we’ll stumble across something expensive and worthwhile; what’s the rush in replacing Doomed World?

    JeffG

    November 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm

  3. Galactic Resort has one of the solidly good consume powers in the game. Good for Card + VP. Now, as a windfall, it’s not great, but typically you pay 5 for that kind of consume power. If you get this and some random production world (which normally costs 2) you’ll have a perfectly fine leech and a pretty good consume plus trade. A few one-cost worlds are just fine.

    The rush is that you are likely looking at a dettle only turn, and you’ll be falling behind the curve. Settling next turn (assuming you whiff this turn) means you’ll be at one card in the tabluau to three.

    Even if you get something good (and use it), Galactic Resort is still pretty good. Depending on what you get, you’ll still want a good consume power.

    Brian

    November 18, 2008 at 5:56 pm

  4. I don’t consider GR a rush but I do consider it a handy contingency. I’m developing, planning to play Rebel Warrior Race on a Settle if there is an Explore, keeping Rebel Miners or whatever I get on the Explore if it’s better. If there isn’t an Explore I’ll plop down GR, get a card/vp and Explore the next turn looking for cards to spend on RWR. If there isn’t a Settle I’m still happy to Explore the next turn, ready to play RWR, looking for a development and/or a better world to use on Doomed World.

    frunk

    November 19, 2008 at 9:13 am

  5. I think the Resort is just OK and expect to find something better. I’m not going to need the consume ability in the short run, I expect, so I’m OK with waiting. Also, if my strategy is mostly military, the consume is only of marginal value, though admittedly, consume is then hard to come by. There’ll be others available later, maybe Galactic Trendsetters, which will be substantially better, and may fit my final strategy better. If I have 8 cards to see in the first two turns, I’d be surprised if I don’t find something at least as good.

    The speed issue is a problem. If I do nothing the first turn except get two cards, I’ll be a little behind. It’s somewhat rare, however, that there is only settle and not development done turn 1. Aren’t your players afraid of the consume trade T1 leech? We tend to see more explores and developments than settles T1 for that reason and because without much military, it’s hard to settle a decent world T1. Know thy opponents, I guess. If I were confident that someone would explore, I think I’d develop to make sure something good happens, but the extra card will probably let me get all four starting cards out, which looks like a really nice tableau.

    JeffG

    November 19, 2008 at 11:07 am

  6. There’s Settle fear, but I also like applying pressure on Ancient Race if I have decent first turn cards by picking Develop or Settle. Settle fear works in my favor anyway, as I’m perfectly happy with someone else picking Explore. Second turn Explore is fine if there is no Settle T1, with Ancient Race likely to pick Develop or Settle. With Space Mercs out I’m ready for whatever happens T2.

    frunk

    November 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm

  7. Ancient Race isn’t one of the 11 homewords in my prototype copy, and my published copy of the expansion isn’t here yet, so I’ve not played with them. What do they do?

    If there’s no develop T1 or useful Doomed World replacements in the four cards I draw T1, I’m fine with developing T2. There’s usually a settle T2, so I should be able to leech that and not be significantly behind by the end of T2. That’s worst case, of course; development is very common T1, at least if anyone is trying to go fast and if New Sparta and Alpha Centauri aren’t in the game. (Even if NS is in the game, they often develop T1 to up their military to 3 or 4. Of course, if AC is in the game, settle is very uncommon T1, as any windfall goods will be consumed before they get a chance to trade them. Maybe I’m just used to playing with the standard five homeworlds, which most of the time include AC, so I’m used to seeing very few T1 settles.)

    I’d prefer, of course, to be able to explore both T1 and T2 to make sure it happens and use the other players’ development and settle roles, but if there’s no development T1, forcing it T2 is necessary, since others probably won’t have the cards to do development having spent them all on a world. Which will mean I won’t be all that far behind, if at all, since no one will have more then 3 cards in their tableau by then, and probably few will have even that many. Most likely, if everyone built a world T1, they’ll do explore or consume trade T2, and we’ll all be at two cards. Those who got to sell will be two or three cards in hand ahead of me maybe, but I’ll have cheap useful builds available (plus the totally free settle from Doomed World), so that won’t be a big deal. When I get to sell the genes goods, I should be in pretty good shape.

    All in all, I think Brian was very unlucky to have no development and some settles against him the first turn. It’s not as if the opponents were trying to do that to spite him; it just happened from their hands. Not seeing any cheap useful developments in my hand, there’s no reason to expect it to happen.

    JeffG

    November 20, 2008 at 1:18 pm

  8. Ancient Race isn’t one of the 11 homewords in my prototype copy, and my published copy of the expansion isn’t here yet, so I’ve not played with them. What do they do?

    If there’s no develop T1 or useful Doomed World replacements in the four cards I draw T1, I’m fine with developing T2. There’s usually a settle T2, so I should be able to leech that and not be significantly behind by the end of T2. That’s worst case, of course; development is very common T1, at least if anyone is trying to go fast and if New Sparta and Alpha Centauri aren’t in the game. (Even if NS is in the game, they often develop T1 to up their military to 3 or 4. Of course, if AC is in the game, settle is very uncommon T1, as any windfall goods will be consumed before they get a chance to trade them. Maybe I’m just used to playing with the standard five homeworlds, which most of the time include AC, so I’m used to seeing very few T1 settles.)

    I’d prefer, of course, to be able to explore both T1 and T2 to make sure it happens and use the other players’ development and settle roles, but if there’s no development T1, forcing it T2 is necessary, since others probably won’t have the cards to do development having spent them all on a world. Which will mean I won’t be all that far behind, if at all, since no one will have more then 3 cards in their tableau by then, and probably few will have even that many. Most likely, if everyone built a world T1, they’ll do explore or consume trade T2, and we’ll all be at two cards. Those who got to sell will be two or three cards in hand ahead of me maybe, but I’ll have cheap useful builds available (plus the totally free settle from Doomed World), so that won’t be a big deal. When I get to sell the genes goods, I should be in pretty good shape.

    All in all, I think Brian was very unlucky to have no development and some settles against him the first turn. It’s not as if the opponents were trying to do that to spite him; it just happened from their hands. Not seeing any cheap useful developments in my hand, there’s no reason to expect it to happen.

    JeffG

    November 20, 2008 at 1:18 pm

  9. Ancient Race is a 2Cost/1vp Gene Windfall that only keeps three cards in their opening hand instead of four.

    frunk

    November 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  10. I see. So we know they are going to consume trade T1. Which means they are very likely to develop T2 if there’s an explore, maybe even if not, as they’ll have 8-9 cards available.

    The point that you want to call develop or settle T1, because AR won’t have the cards to participate is reasonable. On the flip side, they’ll be calling develop for you T2 most of the time, as they’ll plan to start with a 6-point develop card that they know they can play T2. Sometimes they won’t have one or will have a big alien world instead, but most of the time they will build a 6-point development, right? And yes, it’s better to settle against them than develop, because they might drop Public Works, Investment Banks, etc. T1 and use it T2 for their big develop card.

    JeffG

    November 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

  11. I think Brian was very unlucky to have no development and some settles against him the first turn

    Well, I think given this homeworld mix, we expect Ancient Race to trade. ELC won’t settle unless it’s great. I do expect EE to settle (since AR/ELC can already call produce). So unless you develop, I don’t expect to see one. It could happen (depends on the draws) but it’s not a huge surprise.

    I don’t actually expect Le Ancien Regime to drop a six dev on T2 (except maybe Terraforming Guild) … They could easily have a good leech for either develop or settle on turn 1. To me, the only real consideration is that they are likely to trade on T1 and may very well produce on T2 and just leech develop/settles. After all, 4 cards every two turns is pretty reasonable.

    Given that, if I’m EE (with my consume for 1+1), I consider there some pressure to get out a world to leech that.

    Ditto for Doomed World, I think that aiming for the Resort/Rebel Miners combo as a leeching is a pretty reasonable backup. YOu can do that with exploring, or you can get a much better one. But pitching the resort means you can get screwed another way.

    Brian

    November 20, 2008 at 5:50 pm

  12. EE has two turns to leech the produce; it doesn’t have to be turn 1. Getting out an Expedition Force T1, for example, increases their ability to get that world out in time, or just make it a better world. T1 is also pretty much the best time to put out a Colony Ship, if they have one. In general, most strategies benefit from early cheap developments, and T1 is the most valuable time to play them, so someone usually does, I find. I don’t know if the expansion changes their frequency or that dynamic. Also, I don’t really expect AR to produce T2; they’ll probably get one great card in their sale, and they’ll likely call that to make sure they get it out there. They can greed it out, particularly if it’s a development and someone has dropped a bank, but unless someone has made it pretty obvious what they plan to do, it’s probably right for them to make use of their cards T2.

    Frankly, I’m simply not willing to trade Doomed World for the Resort. I want something better. Doomed World (at least in the prototype) seems like a poor start world unless it turns into something really good, so I’ll go for high variance and shoot for a great replacement. Yeah, it’s normally wrong to go high-risk at the very beginning, but I really don’t think I’m losing much by keeping the explore power, and greed sometimes creates great positions when it works. Speed may be an issue; it usually is for Doomed World, as they start one settle down from everyone else, but getting a very high-value world out there somewhat mitigates the speed loss. I can understand the need for speed, but I pick greed.

    JeffG

    November 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

  13. EE has two turns to leech the produce; it doesn’t have to be turn 1. Getting out an Expedition Force T1, for example, increases their ability to get that world out in time, or just make it a better world. T1 is also pretty much the best time to put out a Colony Ship, if they have one. In general, most strategies benefit from early cheap developments, and T1 is the most valuable time to play them, so someone usually does, I find. I don’t know if the expansion changes their frequency or that dynamic. Also, I don’t really expect AR to produce T2; they’ll probably get one great card in their sale, and they’ll likely call that to make sure they get it out there. They can greed it out, particularly if it’s a development and someone has dropped a bank, but unless someone has made it pretty obvious what they plan to do, it’s probably right for them to make use of their cards T2.

    Frankly, I’m simply not willing to trade Doomed World for the Resort. I want something better. Doomed World (at least in the prototype) seems like a poor start world unless it turns into something really good, so I’ll go for high variance and shoot for a great replacement. Yeah, it’s normally wrong to go high-risk at the very beginning, but I really don’t think I’m losing much by keeping the explore power, and greed sometimes creates great positions when it works. Speed may be an issue; it usually is for Doomed World, as they start one settle down from everyone else, but getting a very high-value world out there somewhat mitigates the speed loss. I can understand the need for speed, but I pick greed.

    JeffG

    November 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm


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