Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 19, 2008

Participants: Nadine, Gili, David K

Still a small group of good friends.


Jon 21, Gili 17, David 16, Nadine 15

We spent some time looking at the new games, wondering which one to learn on the fly, before I remembered that I kind of learned the rules to this already. Also, it would be a quick game. Or, it should be a quick game.

Trias is a lovely little game of drifting tiles and migrating dinosaur herds. There is nearly no luck, but a small level of chaos, as the other players will make moves that derail your plans.

The drifting tile mechanism is simply awesome. Islands are created, reconnect, split, and so on in lovely patterns, in ways that give fantastic opportunities for tactical play. Elegant. There is also ample room for strategy, as you have to decide whether to form your own areas or infringe on others. Proper first placement is critical for this.

Like Dvonn, on first play the beginning of the game seems very random. As the game went on, and I "got it", I can see now how little randomness there really is. Unfortunately, my fellow game players either didn't "get it", or didn't find it very interesting. They complained throughout the game and were happy to see it end.

I thought it was excellent, as you can tell.

David started spreading out before everyone else, which made me realize how limited my areas of control were. So, rather than reproducing like everyone else was, I spread out. As a result, I had babies left in my supply for most of the game, while the others ran out. That's when we realized the tactical opportunities to kill off your babies, so you have more to place. But only one player actually managed to do that.

We had an amazingly large island at one point, but it eventually split. Even so, I won the game by controlling a land mass of 10 hexes.

The game may be even more fun if you add special genes like the ones in Evo and Primordial Soup.

Year of the Dragon

Nadine 103, Gili 102, David 102, Jon 82

I would like to say that YotD is kind of a dull game once you realize that you have no chance of winning, which was the fact in my case. However, Nadine and Gili also thought they had no chance of winning, as David took strong books and jumped over 20 points ahead by the last round. We were all resigned to his victory.

In particular, I knew I had no chance of catching up, as I had taken a similar strategy of "books", but David was always going before me, and, though I could pay to take books once in a while, I couldn't catch up.

The board layout didn't help with this, as the plague was the second to last event, so I had to keep the stupid medicine men the whole game. And the tax collection was last, so using my last bit of money for books meant sacrificing people; I did it anyway, netting a few more points than I lost.

But Nadine and Gili played different strategies, ending the game with 18 people points and 15 buddha points in Gili's case, and twenty people points and 12 buddha points in Nadine's case. David ended with only a single person.

The tallies were then David at 102, Gili and Nadine at 100. Then Nadine and Gili cashed in their final chips and money, and Nadine eked out the victory. A rousing finish for them. But not for me.

Race for the Galaxy

David 41, Nadine 40, Jon 38

This game somewhat annoyed me with its ability to run out with quick building by one player. I decided to simply let that be and play with that, anyway. Once I accepted it, the game was a little more enjoyable, because I wasn't playing against the nature of the game, but with it.

As a result, I didn't score too badly. I had 3 6-cost buildings out, although they each only gave me around 4 points. David was able to consume twice for 10 points each time. Nadine was close behind. Luckily, she didn't get her "Brown strategy" going.

All of us are still convinced that the Military strategy can't really compete.


Greg W said...

Military can be hard to pull off because once you establish your engine (in this case your support) you're still dependent on your card flow. A produce consume strategy, once established, doesn't necessarily need more cards.

Military has good synergy in the base game with the Terraforming Robots if you come across them early as you can Settle free military worlds and get a two card rebate.

Black Market World and the Trade League can also help with this since they will feed you cards by consuming goods (as a Trade) when competing against a player in a produce and consume cycle.

Also don't discount the power of the contact specials especially when combined with Replicant Robots (-2 discount to settle) or Colony Ship (Settle a non-military non-yellow world for free - Contact Specialist converts the world to non-military).

You also have to keep in mind that there are many different ways you can make Military viable. You don't have to climb out to 7 support and plop down all the big point rebel worlds.

A bunch of 2 defense military worlds are viable if you can couple them with galactic survey (since it gives 1 bonus point for each world - even grey) or another card like the green 6 development that gives you 2 points per green (of which most are military) or 1 point for military worlds.

The Imperium 6 development also gives 2 per rebel world or 1 per other military world. Also an Alien strategy can couple nicely with military since many of them are military and provide nice increases in military support.

There are more cards that make Military more viable in the expansion including a 6 development that gives you cards on produce for each military world in your tableau, a development that gives you temporary military bonuses for discarded cards and a development that will let you settle two planets in a single settle phase.

There are goals that can play to the Military players strengths in the expansion as well. Keep in mind that new elements of may hinder your learning and growth with the possibilities of the base game.

agent easy said...

With the Gathering Storm expansion, I just pulled a massive win with an Alien/ military strategy (I had more than a 20 point lead). Apparently, one of the goals of that expansion was to make certain weaker strategies more viable... looks like it worked.