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.