Michael Eckenfels, 29 July 2019
Let’s recap from last time: the Competition currently has five teams out there, while all three of mine are deployed. Two of the star systems my teams are in are also occupied by Competition teams. Only one star system has been explored thus far (Alpha Centauri, by a BanzaiCorp team thankfully), so there’s no Bases nor Colonies out there…yet.
This era of the game, as you might have seen in the previous installment, ramps up the tension significantly. Whereas in the previous two eras you could move a team right to where you wanted to go (with the right number of Move points, of course), in this era, you are subject to the star tracks in each star system, which means any move you make will quite literally take four of your turns. Fortunately, this move is automatic and happens at the start of your turn, so once a team reaches a system you could maybe take advantage of that, as long as the Competition hasn’t done so in that time you were waiting!
Here’s a picture of the map at it stands now.
BanzaiCorp is up to bat. The first thing I do is move each of my teams in star systems one more space along their tracks. The team I sent to Epsilon Indi is now in that system, thankfully; the team I sent to Luhman 16 is now in the second space on that track.
An Explore action in Epsilon Endi costs 10 Explore points (e10), which I do have – 2 Explore in my HQ and an Explore 3 card in my hand, as well as an Explore x2 multiplier from my Probe Network Breakthrough card. I’m going to do that now, as always because I love the Discovery tiles and in order to stake a claim on them should the Competition draw an Epsilon Endi card for their move in the next turn.
I draw a Primary and two Secondary Discovery tiles, and here’s the result.
An Anomaly worth 2 Profit and 1 Revelation advance, which also causes Base construction to go up four points (at b20, that’s now a b24 meaning 24 Build points).
There’s also Exotic Life, worth another 2 Profit for a total so far of 4 Profit, and 1 Genetics, good for one advancement of that marker as well.
And then there’s a Critical Mission Delay – great. My team there reports problems that delayed their landing in the star system, which is fine (they didn’t go the way of the Prometheus or anything!). I discard this one and draw another Secondary Discovery tile.
This one is an Icy Asteroid field, which is pretty good – a Water source as well as a Production 1 source, and a Colony Point to boot (always welcome).
The Critical Mission Delay knocks my Profit down but I still get 2 Profit fortunately, which bumps me up to tie with the Competition, 37-all. The one Genetics and Revelation advances are nice, too.
I’m now one away for each of them to gaining a Progress Card for each category. Not too bad a turn, overall.
At this point I’m going to stop taking pictures of the cards I draw for the Competition, to save a bit of time and let me churn out a bit more content for each part.
My draw for the Competition is a Time card, of course. Which is awesome as it occurs to me it’s best to illustrate it with a picture…right after I said I’m not going to post any more pics of the Competition’s cards. Ha, great.
It’s also funny because I can’t find any specific rules in the Solo Rulebook that state unequivocally what this does, except for a reference on page 3 when discussing the cards in the game and a reference on page 22 when discussing set-up for the Starfarers era. Though, it’s fairly obvious that this card impacts my turn as the Competition’s Actions are different from mine – they don’t take Move, Build, or Explore actions, per se. This, from what you can read on the card, would be very nice for building a Base, if I have enough Build Points on my upcoming turn.
Anyway, back to the Competition’s action. Tau Ceti is way up at the top of the map.
They’re continuing their apparent strategy of “be everywhere.” So far so good for them, I think.
This Time card would double a Build Action on my part – normally I’d only be able to spend 11 Build points. A Base in Alpha Centauri would cost 12 Build Points though, and Bases in Epsilon Indi would cost 24. My 11 Build points would be doubled to 22 which isn’t enough for Epsilon Indi, but it’s enough for Alpha Centauri (and sure seems like a waste of Build points).
However, after inquiring with the community, it seems this is NOT used in the solo game. Rather, just the bottom text is used, indicating the Competition’s Site Action. I might be making an error here but I’m going with that. I don’t’ want to unbalance the game, so I place this Time card in the Competition’s discard pile and won’t use it for my turn in the future.
Now, I’m going to do a Research action to build my hand up a bit more. I’m first trying from my deck, and manage to pull Evo Accelerators (Genetics 2 or Revelation 1). Convinced I can get a good Build card next, I draw another deck card, and get Clone Forge (Produce 1 or Genetics 1). I’m not feeling my chances now and really want a Build card, so I grab Offer 2, which is Advanced Antimatter Drive (Move x4 or Build 5). That’s only 16 total Build points; still not enough to build in Epsilon Indi. Hopefully the Competition won’t get that star system in their turn.
First, my team in the Luhman 16 star system moves one more space on that track; they are now one space away from ‘landing’ in that system. Next turn!
I draw Groombridge 34 for the Competition, so yet another team of theirs is spreading to yet another unoccupied star system.
That makes seven star systems in which they have teams, two of which have my teams as well. Only a matter of time before they get to build something…
Again, my question for BanzaiCorp is, do I go for another Research action and hope to amass more Build cards (for a Base in Epsilon Indi), or do I go for a Genetics action and draw a Progress Adaptation card? I could still build a Base in Alpha Centauri, but the problem with that is, I’d have to spend 16 Build points for what only costs 12 (I have six HQ Build points and two Build 5 cards).
I can’t really move any teams right now, though I need to get a move on as the Competition is spreading everywhere. The only way really to do some spreading of my own is to build some Bases and then get the heck out of dodge for other parts.
I’ll probably regret this, but I’m taking another Research action. I draw from the deck, getting a Matter Manipulators card (Move x2 or Build 4 – nice). Drawing again from the deck I get a Analytic Excavators card (Produce 2 or Revelation 1). Ugh. Not the best (though I’m set for a Genetics or Revelation Action whenever I choose to do that). I have one more card draw; do I take the Extruders in the Offer 3 space (Build 3), or try another one from the deck? I now have 20 Build points, four short of what I need in Epsilon Indi. The Extruders card would only add 3 more Build points – not enough.
I’m drawing another from the deck – and get Hack (Research 2 or take a card from the Offers when the Competition takes a turn). Another card that’s not going to help me in the short term.
I realize I’m playing to my weaknesses right now; that is, not enough Build points, whereas I need to be taking Actions that are going to move me forward. I can’t help but think “one more card” and I’ll get to take a light-years (pun intended) jump ahead of the Competition. As it stands now, I have eight cards in my hand – a lot of potential, yet nothing I truly want to do!
I draw B/ET & All Offerswith a Produce icon. Let’s take this a step at a time, because this will NOT be a good turn for BanzaiCorp.
First, ‘B’ means Breakthrough. They are going to take one of the Breakthrough cards. ‘ET’ indicates Entangled Transmitter.
That’s a pretty good card, as I could immediately move a team right to a star system with it. It’s also a prerequisite for Jump Drive, which gives you a built-in Move x4 for all Move Actions. Though none of this affects the Competition; all it really does is give them another 2 Profit, giving them the lead in the score race at 39-37. It also means I won’t get 2 Profit should I choose this card later.
The ‘All Offers’ with the Production icon of course means all four Offers cards go bye-bye, and any such cards with a Produce action gives them 1 Profit. There’s one card (the DNA Synthesis one) which has a Production 2 on it, so that gives them yet another Profit and a 40-profit point level now.
I start drawing replacements for all the Offers that are now empty – all four – and first draw Survey Miner (Explore 3 or Produce 1), and then Exo Investigators (Explore 3 or Revelation 1). And then, of course, I draw an Edge card (Incompatible). This is bad news for me, as it means I need to remove one card from the previous era(s) on my HQ, whichever is highest-numbered.
Of course, that’s my Micro Mesh card (Explore 2 or Build 3). A Build card goes away. Wonderful. That card had replaced my intrinsic Move 1 that I had at the very start of the game. At least that’s something, though in Starfarers, Move 1 doesn’t mean squat.
Thanks, Competition. Guess BanzaiCorp had some growing pains to work out and clean some dead weight out.
The remaining two Offer cards I draw are Genome Accelerator (Research 2 or Genetics 1) and Analytic Excavators (Produce 2 or Revelation 1). Great cards (i.e., no, not really, not for my current situation).
Now that BanzaiCorp has been beaten down a bit, tune in next time to see what the next move is. Thank you for reading.