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…
The Competition moves to Titania, another moon of Uranus.
Side note: for anyone looking for a joke about Uranus, what joke could possibly be made, that hasn’t been made a trillion times before? I mean, it’s not like Uranus is being visited by a Competition spacecraft named ‘Uruncle’ or anything.
The outer planets are starting to get quite populated, too. The Competition only has three teams left, and now I’m wondering what happens if they run out of teams to mark, if this keeps up!
I’m going to do a boring turn and do an Upgrade Action. I’m replacing my Survey Drones (Explore 2) card on my HQ with my Micro Mesh card (Explore 2 or Build 3). This will help me a lot in exploring and building moving forward.
The Survey Drones card returns to my hand. I have five in my hand, so no new draw for me.
Continuing the depletion of the Competition’s teams, they get to place one on Ariel, another Uranus moon.
I’m now wondering what the heck I’m going to do if I run out of Competition teams. Sure didn’t have this issue in the last era. Maybe the situation will work itself out before I have to address this…we shall see.
I’d like to build a Base on either Titan or Io; both are ‘b6’ and I have just enough in hand and in my HQ to build one Base in either locale. There are more than a few choices I can make here, but I’m putting a Refinery on Io. This gives me a +1 to its Production, which is zero (P0).
I’ve yet to take a Production action, but I’ve yet to actually SEE a Production card make an appearance.
Since I discarded a card in hand, that drops me down to four, so I draw another one. And speak of the devil, it’s a Survey Miner (Explore 3 or Produce 1). Ask and ye shall receive and all that.
Not that it counts, now; in the previous era, being the first to take a Produce Action means a Contract reward, but no such Contract exists now. Doing this Action would let me produce from a number of Sites equal to the number, so if I played this Produce 1 card, I’d get to Produce at one Site (which would have to be a Site with a P-number). I’d get a number of Profit equal to the P-number.
The Competition moves to Dione, a moon of Saturn.
Okay, now there’s ONE Competition team left in their holding box. I asked the friendly folks on the BGG forums for this very game what to do, and they pointed out I missed a rule on page 6, which says you just simply do not place a Competition team. So we’re good if we need to move forward. Whew.
I’m going to move my team from Io to Ganymede, for a cost of four Move points. I have to discard a card in hand to help pay this cost, but that’s fine because it puts me down to four and I’ll get to draw another one.
It’s a short jaunt, thankfully, and will give me a chance to work at building more Bases in the Jupiter Region.
My card draw is…
Clone Forge (Produce 1 or Genetics 1). The Genetics card is the first such card I’ve been able to get into my hand. If I play it, I can move my Genetics marker along the circular track. Moving it three spaces allows me to draw a Genetics-related Progress Card, which I’ve not had a chance to get yet. This is a nice card, but I’ll need two more Genetics points to have a shot at a Progress card.
Let’s call it a day there, for now! Join us next time as we watch the Competition spread across the Outer Solar System like a plague, though BanzaiCorp is making some smart moves and staying ahead in the points race. As always, thank you for reading!