Michael Eckenfels, 22 April 2019
One interesting thing about moving to the Planeteers era when only one of seven Contracts was claimed in the Mariners era: that any Contract claimed now will earn the Profit points for both that era and the era(s) before. In the Planeteers era, the Contracts are:
- Gain 2 Progress cards (pays 3 Profit, but gets another +2 since Contract 1 wasn’t claimed in the Mariners era, for a total of 5 Profit)
- Have 4 asteroid bases (pays 2 Profit + 3 unclaimed from Mariners = 5 Profit)
- Bases in 3 regions beyond Jupiter (pays 3 Profit + 2 unclaimed = 5 Profit)
- 2 bases beyond Uranus (heh heh) (pays 3 Profit; no bonus as this Contract was claimed by me in the previous era)
- 3 bases in one region (3 + 2 = 5 Profit)
- Non-Start Planeteers cards in 3 Infra spots (2 + 2 = 4 Profit) – this one means if I put three Upgrade cards into my HQ, all of which are Planeteers era and NOT Start cards, I’d get 4 Profit)
- Bases on 4 sites containing water or life (3 + 2 = 5 Profit)
There’s a LOT of lucrative contracts waiting to be picked up. I didn’t really focus on these in the last era, but this time I think I should do that. The 1st Beyond marker is a definite must-have, but these Contracts are far too fat to give up to the Competition.
So, the Competition starts off this era, like last time. Let’s see what they do…
Guess they follow me to Ceres, the right bastards.
Potentially, if I draw another Ceres card for them, they could build a Base there. If they did, I’d get some compensation (I believe it’s 2 Profit), but they’d have the base. I’d rather that NOT happen, but my options are somewhat limited.
I don’t have much choice this Turn but to play the Closed Gas Core Nuclear Drive Infra card to my HQ. I could place it over the intrinsic Move 1 slot, but that would remove the Move 1 capability. Instead I’ll just play it in my one empty Infrastructure slot.
This gives me an intrinsic, base Move of 7 (6 with shielded movement). Not a bad start but consider that the distance from the Inner Solar System to the Oort Cloud is 29! I’ve got a ways to go before BanzaiCorp’s spacecraft are robust enough to go all the way out there.
Since I have less than four cards (something I am certain I’ve failed to recognize more than a few times during the Mariners era), I draw a card and get Grown Mesh (Build 2 or Shielded Build 1).
Interamnia. Never heard of it, but this game obviously has. I had to look it up; it’s officially called 704 Interamnia, and is about 326 kilometers long. Our Competition has apparently found something worth investigating there, though.
Note that this is kind of what I was expecting from the game’s ‘bot’ – spread itself around, eventually building up Bases, and crowding me out. I was lucky with my card draws in the last era, which made the bot rather tame. It’s not normally that ‘soft’ though, but made for a good AAR so far (I think, anyway).
I could build a Base on Ceres, which would cost 3 Build points. I have an Engineers card (Explore 2 or Build 3) that fits that perfectly. I’m tempted to move my team in the Inner Solar System out with my intrinsic Move points – even the 6 shielded Move points could get them as far as a few of Saturn’s moons. That would be a heck of a coup for the Space Race! At least, a coup when thinking about space exploration, not in terms of how this game actually plays.
There are no Build cards in the Offers spots, which means even if I do some more ‘sploring here in the Asteroid playground, I won’t be able to build any Bases for a few turns.
In any case, that one Competition team on Ceres bugs me, so I think I’ll just go ahead and plop a Base there. I’m limited by what I can build there, though; my only real choice is a Research Base. Doing this does grant me a benefit, in that I can choose one of the Offers cards. The Science Booster offers Move 4 or Explore 1, so I’m taking that. It’s replacement is Survey Drones (Explore 2, Infra).
I also get another card since I only have two in hand; it’s another Engineers card (Explore 2 or Build 3). Not too bad.
They’re going to Vesta. The Asteroid Belt is starting to get a mite crowded.
It’s only a matter of time before they start drawing repeat cards of these locations and start throwing up Bases. I gotta get my teams moving and try to beat them to those lucrative Contracts.
I move my second team from the Inner Solar System to Pallas. Any location with a Competition team might beat me to the punch, so if I’m at a site first, I might be the puncher instead. Hopefully.
The usual sequence, as you might have seen, is Move > Explore > Build…at least, for the solo player. The bot system can actually move their guys anywhere within the board, with no card point restrictions. It can mean a very easy game or a very tough one; it just depends on the card play.
Join us again next time for BC’s reach for the stars!
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