Michael Eckenfels, 29 April 2019
Last time in Part the VII, we saw the Competition steadily expanding outward from the Inner Solar System, and BanzaiCorp (BC) has been building up their support and R&D.
Now we’re finally going to do something other than build up. I’m moving my team on Ceres to Io, which costs four Move points (one to lift off, one to cross the boundary, one to land, and +1 because of Io’s gravity).
Io is one of the larger moons of Jupiter, but when compared to the behemoth itself, it looks quite tiny.
Let’s see where they move next!
Here’s something they haven’t done in a while – take Offer Cards away. In this case, 2 and 3 go bye-bye, which kind of stinks as those are the two Grown Mesh cards (Build 2 or Shielded Build 1). Not a huge loss, as I have a few Build cards available, but it’s never good to see cards disappear!
In this era, with that Planeteers icon (the Saturn-looking icon) on the Offers card, they would actually lose one Profit for each Genetics card removed, but would get one Profit for each Revelation card removed.
I replace them both now, and draw some really nice ones – Fusion Drive (Move 8 or Explore 3) and Micro Mesh (Explore 2 or Build 3, Infra). That Fusion Drive is awesome; too bad it’s not an Infra card. I think I’ve spent too much ‘build up’ time though, so…
…I’m going to go ahead and ignore those for now (though Fusion Drive is sorely tempting). I want to explore Io, which has a cost of e2. I can easily pay that with my HQ Infra card, Survey Drones (Explore 2).
And I draw…
Wow, this is nice! This Exotic Elements/Natural Wonder combo immediately pays me 3 Profit, which pushes me up to 10 (compared to the Competition’s 5). It also has a P0 value, which isn’t the greatest but means I could put a Refinery there, which would give the P rating a +1. I could also build an Attraction there, which adds a P1 value to the tile, also. Lots of options.
I did place my team cube on the tile; I kept it out of the way in the screenshot so you could behold this particularly nice Discovery.
Now for the “other guys…”
This means the Competition places a Base on Vesta. Since Ceres, the first listed Site, has a BC base, they ignore that and go to Vesta, where they have a team in place. The team is removed, and a Base randomly drawn and placed there.
The nice thing in the solo game is, the Competition does not have access to ALL the Bases for each color; only one is used (in this case, I chose yellow).
And the random Base draw is a hit-or-miss opportunity for the Competition. If the Base I draw is ‘in line’ with the Discovery tile there, they get a bonus, but if it is not in line, the Competition gets nothing – though the Base remains.
In the case of the Attraction I drew, the Discovery Site would have to have a Natural Wonder, Alien Artifact, or an Anomaly. If it had any one of those, the Competition would have gained one Profit.
In game terms, it seems the Competition has become extremely jealous of my ‘One Flag Over Io’ park on that moon of Jupiter’s, and have created their own el cheapo version of it on Vesta. Fat lot of good it did them, ha.
The next, somewhat obvious, move is for me to build a Base there on Io. There are two issues with that – one is, it has a b6 cost (six Build points); the other, it’s in the Radiation zone, which means I can only build with shielded Build points. Right now I have two cards that total four shielded Build points, which isn’t enough to put a Base on Io.
If that’s my goal, there’s the Micro Mesh card (Explore 2 or Build 3), which is an Infra card that I could use to replace the Survey Drones (Explore 2) card on my HQ. That’s two turns’ worth of action, though – one to play a Research Action to get the card and another to play it to my HQ.
I don’t have much choice BUT to do that Research action, so I grab both the Micro Mesh and Fusion Drive cards.
The replacement Offer cards are rather interesting – Open Gas Core Nuclear Drive (Move 6, Infra) and Antimatter Patent (Build 5 or Gain 2 Profit). So many choices…
I have more than four cards in my hand, so I can’t draw another card. And so, we move on to the…
This one’s a doozy.
The “A/LB” means they remove the top Low Body Mass Adaptation card. This is worth one Profit, which pushes them up to a score of 6.
It also means I can’t collect one Profit if I get that Adaptation (which can be had by moving my brown Genetics cube one full rotation – three spaces – on my HQ board).
It also means they yank Offer 1 and Offer 4, which are both Closed Gas Core Nuclear Booster cards (Move 4, Infra). Not a huge loss, but still, they’re gone from the game for good now. At least, they don’t get any Profit, as neither card has the icons indicated on them.
I now replenish the two cards, and draw Deep Space Probe (Explore 3 or Free Discovery tile), and Open Gas Core Nuclear Drive (Move 6, Infra).
I’m somewhat stuck. The only shielded Build card I have is in my hand (Grown Mesh – Build 2 or Shielded Build 1). It’s also an Infrastructure card, but the problem is, I need to replace something on my HQ to gain its benefit. If I play it to my HQ, I’ll have that Shielded Build 1 benefit automatically moving throughout the rest of the era, so any builds outside of the Asteroid Belt will be good (as long as I have enough Build points, of course!).
I hate to take an Upgrade action, but I have to, I think. I need Bases, which means I need Shielded Builds, which means without any other Shielded Build cards in the Offer pile and who knows how long before more will appear, I’ll go ahead and play the Grown Mesh card to my HQ, and remove the Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive card (Move 3). I want to keep the Closed Gas Core Nuclear Drive card to my HQ board because it allows Shielded Movement.
This should make me more versatile for coming turns. I hope!
We’ll pick up next time with the Competition’s turn. As always, thank you for reading!