Archive For The “After-Action Reports” Category
Michael Eckenfels, 13 May 2019
When last we met, dear reader, you’d followed along as BanzaiCorp continued its explorations of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The most recent was Titan, a moon of Saturn, where we found yet another Alien Artifact. One brought us surprise, alarm, concern, fascination, fear, excitement, and curiosity, all balled up into one solid dense ball of purpose and hope. Hope, more than anything; as our scientists try to decipher and age the structures here on Titan, and try to tie the two together, the best they can come up with is, the facilities are similar in scope, though the one on Titan is easily three times larger. But, like its little sibling on Ceres, it is empty; no ‘human’-like facilities are found – no quarters, cafeteria, offices, labs, and the like. Just structures, which we think are antennas or some kind of advanced listening/observation devices. Again, it is so alien, we have really no idea what we’re looking at. Nor do we know how old it truly is, though its similarity to the one on Ceres speaks volumes about it being the same group that created it.
Spying on Earth? Observing us? Isn’t it what WE would do in such a case, were we to come across an alien civilization living on a planet, somewhere? Unlike most science fiction that speaks of alien invasions, conquest, exploitation, and in some cases, harvesting of people for food, they don’t seem hostile. Unless this was a precursor for such a thing…
The questions this raises far outweighs the previous question – “are we alone out here?” – and means endless discussions on social media, the news, over coffee, by the water cooler, and just about everywhere else.
Meanwhile, we have the Competition to look at…
Michael Eckenfels, 6 May 2019
When we last left off, I was doing more infrastructure upgradin’ – not exactly exciting, but necessary to succeed. I want to maneuver BanzaiCorp so that they can have several choices and not just one to make each turn.
The Competition sends a team all the way to Oberon, a moon of Uranus.
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. (more…)
Michael Eckenfels, 25 April 2019
When we left off in Part 6, it was the Competition’s turn, so let’s get right into it.
Looks like they’re sending a team to the only open Asteroid Site. Funny how the card play has led things to this; it makes it more tense, I think, now that there’s so many possibilities for them.
Hygiea is near the bottom; I put a purple team marker there. Remember, colors of Competition teams do not matter…they’re all ‘the enemy!’
Which means, I need to mobilize my Space Marines and bring a few mega-beam heavy weapons and fortify Ceres, add a fighter wing, an…oh, sorry. Wrong game.
Ahem. Anyway, as I said before, the Asteroid Belt is starting to get a mite busy. I already have one Base here; if I can build three more, that’s 5 Profit I’d earn.
I’m thinking that I might leave one team in the Asteroid Belt, to go around and plop down Bases to try to fulfill that Contract. The other team, I’ll send out and explore. There’s SO many opportunities to earn VPs in this game, it’s silly.
I’ve already seen an issue with my HQ board. I wish I could move one of my Move infrastructure cards over to that Move 1 slot, but the game won’t allow that; I can only play cards to the HQ board directly from my hand, and cards can only be removed from the HQ board if they are replaced with another Infra card. I wanted to put my Grown Mesh (Build 2 or Shielded Build 1, Infra) down on my HQ, but I can’t do that unless I want to replace the Move 1 space. The Research 2 space on the HQ Board can never be replaced, so there’s that, too.
There’s a lot of opportunity out around Jupiter and Saturn; there’s tons of moons with ‘e3’ notations, meaning some lucrative exploration opportunities.
Since most opportunities revolve around, you know, actually being able to get a team from Point A to Point B, I am going to take a Research Action and grab a couple of Offers cards. Specifically, I’m taking the Survey Drones card (Explore 2, Infra) and the Closed Gas Core Nuclear Booster card (Move 4, Infra).
BanzaiCorp continues on its path of R&D, exploiting new technologies to develop some serious next-gen nuclear drives to explore the Outer Solar System.
The replacement cards are two Grown Mesh cards (Build 2 or Shielded Build 1), both Infra cards.
Crap, that’s not great.
This one’s a two-parter: “Two discoveries” means two of the four Sites currently occupied by Competition teams get to reveal a Discovery. While my efforts are driven towards better rockets, theirs is driven to exploring the asteroids they occupy.
The rules say that the highest-numbered Sites get selected first, but each of the four Sites they occupy are all ‘e1’ Sites. It doesn’t specify what to do in case of a tie, so I’m guessing I get to make the choice for them.
For wont of any better idea, and hoping it doesn’t bite me, I’m choosing Vesta and Hygiea, the two closest asteroid Sites to the Inner Solar System.
I’m cringing as I reveal them…
Well. That could have been much worse.
The only ‘bad’ thing about this is the Exotic Elements site on Vesta. That gives the Competition an immediate 1 Profit, upping their score to 5; I’m still in the lead with 7, but that’s not much of a margin.
Both of these Discoveries are ‘claimed’ by the Competition teams. This now means that if I want to pursue that ‘4 asteroid Bases’ Contract worth 5 Profit, the Competition is going to get 2 Profit compensation for each Base I build on one of their claims. (This works both ways, though; I’d earn 2 Profit if the Competition built a Base (any kind of base) on one of my claims.)
The other part to the Competition’s action is, ‘Contract 6.’ I have to place a Competition team on Contract 6; if they get another card specifying that, they’ll get to claim that Contract and will earn 5 Profit.
The problem with them putting a team on Contract 6 is, that’s a difficult one for me to claim. To claim it, I’d have to build four Bases on Sites that contain water or life, which means a lot more moving and exploring and base-building. Odds are, the Competition is going to plop another team on that Contract before I get a chance to claim it.
I might put that Contract for four bases in asteroids off to the side for the time being, and start focusing on the outer planets. I could pursue the Contract that gives 5 Profit for building three Bases in one region; both Jupiter and Saturn count as their own ‘region.’
I’m also tempted to replace that permanent Move 1 on my HQ board with my Survey Drones card (Explore 2, Infra). When I start going out to those moons, it would be nice to have the tools already in place before I do so, and not have to spend cards to do Explore or Build Actions. My other Move points are sufficient to get me to either Jupiter or Saturn and their moons. The real transit costs come when trying to go from there to the outer planets.
I’m going to go ahead and continue BC’s commitment to building infrastructure, and play those Survey Drones to my Move 1 slot on my HQ board. Not only do I get that as a permanent Explore 2 Action, but that now gives me four cards in hand, so I get to draw another one, which is a Science Booster (Move 4 or Explore 1).
While I’m sitting there tinkering with stuff, the Competition is movin’ on up.
I’d hoped to be the first to get out there, but looks like they’ve beat me to it.
See, this is the kind of tension we missed in the Mariners era; I feel like they’re one or two steps ahead of me, and I’m always playing catch-up, though it’s not quite out of reach for my side. That’s a GREAT balance to strike in any board game.
And with that little note, we’ll call it a day on this episode. Tune in next time to see if we manage to score some sweet Buck Rogers rockets! Thanks for reading.
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…
Michael Eckenfels, 18 April 2019
We’re rapidly closing on the end of the Mariners Era, which will be interesting for me as I’ve played through this game’s Mariners era several times but haven’t played past it. We’ll probably get through the end of this Era during this episode!