The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Race — Terraforming Engineers

I always say “Since I haven’t done one of these in a while” and then I always pick a Terraforming card. Terraforming, Changing towards Stability! (Copyright Terraforming, Inc.)

Terraforming Engineers (Development) — Cost 3, 2 VPs

  • Phase 1 — Look at an extra card
  • Phase 3 — Planets cost one less
  • Phase 3 — May replace (at no cost) one (non-military) planet with a 0-3 higher cost (non-military) planet of the same kind to gain one prestige. [This is not a settle action and cannot be combined with settle powers]
  • Phase 4 — Consume a good for a VP

There’s a lot to like here. I’ve warmed on this card as I play numerous games against Keldon’s AI, and I didn’t exactly start off feeling cold. The settle discount isn’t bad in it’s own right, the consumption is sometimes useful (although sometimes not) and looking at extra cards is a nice perk. But the replacement ability, oh the replacement ability. Apart from simply upgrading your worlds to better scoring worlds towards the endgame, look at the tricks:

  • Switching a windfall to a production world (rarely, vice versa, if You have the Guild)
  • Switching out an early game consumption world (like New Vineland) for a late game VP generating world (Galactic Bazaar, or Galactic Studios, or even Alien Tourist Resort).
  • Making a lot of mediocre worlds playable as a discount stepping stone. (Settle, drop expanding colony or Deserted Alien World for free and upgrade another world, then next settle you transform the expanding colony to, oh, Federation Capital or Tourist World and drop another stepping stone). If you actually get some use out of your stepping stone, so much the better.
  • Plague World, Lifeforms Incorporation, or those Uplift Gene Breeders can be swapped out for the Gene Developers in the late game, making early “Economic low VP cards” into powerhouse engines at little cost. Really every color has combinations like these, but the gene worlds have quite a few middle cost, almost no (or negative!) VP worlds.
  • The engineers work towards a fair number of 6-devs and goals (3 explore powers, and it covers 3 phases by itself).

Finally, there’s the prestige.  The engineers, combined with almost any other form of discount or settle rebate let you do a non-military “Settle Rush” (usually via stepping stones, but directly if you have a few discounts). You’ll be a few VP behind a development rush, but you’ll also be generating prestige at a nice clip, which make be enough to get you a few bonus VP/cards.

It’s not quite a strategy in a can, but Terraforming Engineers combine well with most diversified strategies (since you’ll have more targets to upgrade if you are working multiple colors).

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Written by taogaming

October 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It took me a while to figure out how to use it, but I’ve come around on it too. At first I kept getting so focused on the replacement power, I’d forget about the -1 cost, and that alone, with the +1 explore and the consume is not bad at all for 3 cost. That observation got me playing it more, and using the replacement power as a bonus, and that taught me the advantage of the windfall -> production changeover.

    Overall, a great card, but definitely one of the longest learning curves in the game.

    Lou W

    October 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm

  2. I think Terraforming Engineers is almost as powerful as Improved Logistics. Its the Improved Logistics for the nonmilitary strategy! You get to play two worlds, one for free, at the cost of losing an old littler world. And you gain a prestige.

    I find that when I play a terraforming engineer strategy that the hand you keep is significantly different from normal. You hoard a ton of nonmilitary worlds, especially in certain colors, so you can keep upgrading.

    Definitely a powerful card.

    Alexfrog

    November 1, 2010 at 3:36 am


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