Michael Eckenfels, 15 April 2019
When we left off last time, my first team landed on Mars (first manned mission to Mars!), and had discovered Exotic Elements. The Base cost of building on Mars, though is 6 Build points, which is upped by one thanks to the Exotic Elements, for a total of 7 Build points. I only have four in hand, so I can’t do that this turn.
My ultimate objective is that First Beyond marker in the Asteroid Belt, which will grant me a sweet bonus when we move on to the Planeteers era; I only have four Move points though, and need five to get that first team to the Asteroid Belt. But, I don’t want to do that quite yet; I don’t want to leave a Discovery site for the Competition to take advantage of. Besides, first base on Mars gets a nice three Profit, and I’m still behind in that race, 3-2.
I’d also like to play the Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive card (Move 3) that I have, which is an Infra card, to my HQ so it becomes a permanent addition. But that’s not as high a priority as getting that first base on Mars.
So I spend my turn on a Research action (worth 2) to draw two cards. I grab both from the Offers cards – the Heavy Lifter (Move 2 or Build 2) and the Excavators (Explore 1 or Build 2). That gives me eight Build points and quite enough to build a Base on North Mars on my next turn.
They go for Sisyphus. Named for a cruel Greek king whom was punished by eternally pushing a giant boulder up a hill, this is 1866 Sisyphus, a near-Earth object that is nearly seven kilometers in diameter. Interestingly, this asteroid is classified as being about the same size as the Chicxulub object, whose collision with Earth caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
At least they’re not pushing for Mars, though that could easily change here, soon.
Now that I have enough Build Points, I spend all eight of them over four cards to build my Base on Mars. I’m putting a Refinery there, giving me another Production Site.
And of course, that juicy little contract.
I’m now leading 5-3, though that can change in a heartbeat.
I’m also noticing my deck of cards is almost exhausted; if that happens, we move on to the Planeteers era (it’s one of the things that can happen to move to the next era, anyway). And I’m still not at the Asteroid Belt. I need at least one more turn to get more Move cards and then another turn to move my first team there.
The Competition decides to continue to harass my logistics.
This isn’t THAT bad, considering I need those Move cards.
They’re replaced with a Survey Module (Explore 1 or Build 1) and a Build Module (1 Build, Infra). Not great cards.
As mentioned, I need them thar Move cards, so I spend a Research action. The only card in the Offers with Move points is the Heavy Lifter (Move 2 or Build 2), so I’ll take a chance and take my other card from the deck, which turns out decent as it’s another Heavy Lifter. Now, I have enough Move points to spend without having to discard that nice Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive card.
Things are going according to plan, but every card draw for the Competition is tense – this is exactly what I look for in a solo game!
At least until I go to pull a card to replace the Offer 2 empty spot…and it’s an Edge card (Hack).
The Hack card, when executed by the Competition, means I need to discard all Research cards in my hand and in the Offers boxes. Fortunately, though, there’s no Research cards in either, so I can ignore this. The Edge card is discarded, and another is drawn to refill the Offer 2 box, which is a Survey Module card (Explore 1 or Build 1, Infra).
So my Competition attempted to hack into BanzaiCorp’s servers, but my loyal and expert team of IT people managed to stem the tide of electron-based invasion!
The Competition finally hits a nail on the head, forcing me to discard Offer 2 and Offer 3; since Offer 2 is an Infra (Upgrade) card, they get 1 Profit for their efforts. They’re now only one point behind me, 5-4.
The replacement cards for the Offers are a Solid Nuclear Drive (Move 2 or Explore 2, Infra) and a Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive (Move 3).Interesting that the ‘Reusable’ one is not an Infra card, but whatever.
Again, just to be clear – Infra stands for Infrastructure; these are Upgrade cards that I can play to my HQ and become a permanent part of my future plays.
I’m using my five Move points (one in my HQ and four in hand) to move my first team to the Asteroid Belt. That’s 2 to get off of Mars, 2 to get to the Asteroid Belt, and a fifth Move point to ‘land’ there and collect the 1stBeyond token. Woo-hoo!
I’ll talk more later when we move to the Planeteers era, of what that does (gotta save something for the future and hope you read more of these, right?).
I draw another card since I only have two in hand (I might have been remiss on this a few times in this game since I’m writing this as I play). It’s a Survey Pod (Explore 1, Infra). Not too bad.
I’m going to end things here, at least for this installment, on a quick note. This game has played differently. I’ve had several play-throughs of this era and have almost always had the Competition right on my heels or overtaking me, when it comes to exploration. While they are most definitely on my heels in game terms (after all, I’m barely leading right now, 5-4), the card draws have not been repeating themselves, so their four teams out there haven’t had a chance to build any bases. Card draw is, of course, a random generator of events, and some may not like that, but it means your games are always lively and different. One game, you might get your butt kicked, and another, you might be doing the butt-kicking.