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!
The Competition plays Offers 123 with a Produce icon, meaning if any of the Offer 1, 2, or 3 cards has a Produce action, the Competition gets 1 Profit for it. Fortunately, none of them do, but speaking of ending an era, this might very well clear out the remainder of my deck…
And in fact, it does. Three open card slots, three cards left in my deck. None are Edge cards, fortunately, so no more untoward effects for me. Since my draw pile is expired, it must be the year 2069, so we’re going to move on to the Planeteers era. However, before we do, since a draw deck was emptied, I get one more turn without the Competition getting to go themselves. Free turn!
One of the things that happens when I go up an Era is, I have to clear out all my cards in hand, but the ones in my HQ Infrastructure stay. So, it’s probably a good idea for me to play that Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive card (Move 3) to my HQ for my free turn. Seeing how there’s no other real beneficial action I can take – at least, not with an immediate one-turn benefit – this is exactly what I’ll do.
I also get to choose one of my P bases (a base with a P# value) as a ‘Legacy Production.’ This means I get to carry its benefits forward to the next Era, another helpful little boost. I decide to select the Refinery Base I have on Mars with the Exotic Elements site – worth P2 in total.
The big benefit of me getting the 1stBeyond marker is I get to put a team on Ceres, the asteroid.
If the Competition had grabbed it instead, they’d get THREE turns in a row to start off the Planeteers era.
However, that’s not all – we also get a Discovery tile for free here on Ceres, and claim it just as we normally would had we paid for an Explore Action. I reveal the first Planeteers e1 Discovery and…
…it’s a Special Discovery. Something big has happened, here. Our team has stumbled across something major. To find out what this is, I draw an e2 Discovery tile…
Oh, wow. An Alien Artifact. Our team finds something on Ceres not of Earth and obviously built by an alien intelligence. This raises all kinds of questions, and it’s not long before the press gets wind of it. How can we not let them know, having just made the biggest discovery in human history?
REUTERS (AP) – JUNE 12, 2071 The Ceres asteroid – some label it as a ‘dwarf planet’ as it is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter – has long thought to be just another dead hunk of rock in space. Mankind’s eternal question – “are we alone in the universe?” – has just been answered. Ceres is home to an alien construct of some kind, too organized and symmetrical, and made of foreign elements not before discovered, to be a simple ‘rock formation.’ The first team and scientists worldwide speculate that we might have been watched from this vantage point for centuries, if not eons, although the first team has reportedly found no evidence of habitation or use recently.
That’s pretty cool. I mean, there’s frikkin’ ALIENS out there, and they may have been spying on us. Maybe they took off for parts unknown when they saw us clawing our way to the Asteroid Belt and feared being discovered? Maybe this Artifact has been sitting here for centuries? Who knows. Maybe we’ll run into them in the future…and hopefully, they’re friendly…
This Discovery immediately gives us 2 Profit; we’re now leading 7-4, though we’ll see how long that lasts.
I wasn’t sure about what to do with my Revelation marker being one space ahead; the set-up for the Planeteers era doesn’t say anything about the Revelation marker, though it does mention the Genetics marker and getting a reward if it has advanced. In this case I’ll just leave my Revelation marker where it is. This, as well as Genetics, begins to take a big part of the game, as there’s a new side board coming in to play that has all kinds of awesome upgrades on it.
Note the Adaptation and Breakthrough cards; one of the former can be selected if I move my Genetics marker one full loop (three spaces), while one of the latter can be selected if the Revelations marker makes a full loop. In the solo game, there are two cards for each, with the top one granting a 1 Profit reward for the first player to claim it. The benefits are the same whether I get the first card or not; the only difference is that 1 Profit point (recall that each Profit point is equal to one Victory point).
Before I go too far ahead, there’s an overview of what we’re looking at. This game will play much the same as the Mariners era did; we have a lot more Sites, though, to explore and exploit (let’s be honest, we ARE a for-profit enterprise!). Note the 1st Beyond marker appearing in the Oort Cloud at upper right; the first player to get that gets a benefit in the next era (Starfarers). I’m not sure right now what that is, but if it is to my advantage to get it first!
There’s a closer view of the Oort Cloud and Pluto. Note the Move requirements between region has amped up quite a bit, as have the Build costs (Pluto costs 12 Build points to build a Base there!).
Here’s a look at my Offers 1 through 4 cards. Most are pretty good – all Move, which I’ll definitely need first in order to spread through the Outer Solar System before my opponent does. The Competition gets to go first this era, though, just like they did in the last one.
And finally, there’s a look at my HQ board as well as my two starting cards. Depending on what the Competition does, I might take an Upgrade Action first to play that Closed Gas Core Nuclear Drive to my HQ and therefore gain a permanent Move 7.
The ‘Shielded’ notation is important. Note a few screenshots back, the one with the full Outer Solar System, there’s a “Radiation” notation. All movement and building OUTSIDE of that area (basically from Ceres outward) must have at least one ‘Shielded’ version. So, if I played that Closed Gas Core Nuclear Drive card to my HQ, that would give me either seven unshielded Move points, or six shielded Move points. Again, only one played card has to have a ‘Shielded’ notation in order to consider all such points played to be shielded. We can’t have our brave astronauts being flash-fried in outer space, can we?
That’s it for this chapter. Join us next time to see how these first turns of the Planeteers era plays out!