Michael Eckenfels, 11 April 2019
When we last let off, the Competition has been chasing my tail since the start of the game, but we’re still tied at zero profit points (VPs), which is somewhat unusual. I have a card with a Produce 1 action that would give me one profit point/VP, as well as reward me a Contract with the ‘first Produce action,’ paying another two profit…hmm.
In any case, it’s the Competition’s turn, so here we go…
Offers 2 and 3, with a crescent moon symbol (the symbol of the Mariners era). This means the cards in the Offers 2 and 3 spaces go away, and the Competition gets one Profit for each card that’s an upgrade. Unfortunately, the Offers 2 card (Chemical Drive) is an upgrade card, so it gets yoinked and the Competition gets on the board first with 1 Profit (VP).
Not the greatest of events, but not terribly threatening, either. I need to replenish both Offers spots before I move on…
The first one is a Salvage card, but it has an Edge on it, which means it does something favorable for the Competition. This Edge means the Competition gets 1 Profit and then gets to discard all other Start cards. There’s only one Start card, in the Offer 1 spot, so that goes away. That leaves three Offer spaces to fill, now.
Well, that kind of stinks. The Competition now has two Profit to my zero, and I have to draw three Offers cards. That might not be bad, but the odds of drawing another Edge card are fairly decent.
The first is a Heavy Lifter (Move 2 or Build 2), which is nice, but the next is another friggin’ Edge card (Sabotage).
The Sabotage Edge card can be particularly nasty; it means I have to move one of my teams from a Site with no Base to a Site with a Base. Luckily, my first Team is on Luna, where I just built a Refinery Base, and my second Team is on Earth. Nothing happens. But you can see how this would suck if I just landed on Mars and hadn’t had a chance to build a Base there yet…we’d have to move them immediately. Whew.
The last Offer card is a Core Driller (Produce 1 or Explore 2). No more Edge cards means I finally get a turn.
Speaking of moving to Mars…I spend my seven Move points (one permanent in my HQ board and six more in cards)…and boom, my first team is on the Martian surface.
Whether North Mars or South Mars, it doesn’t matter; Mars is made up of two Sites. But now that we’re here, we’ll have to build a Base fairly quickly. There’s a Contract that will pay 3 Profit for building the first one!
REUTERS (AP), DECEMBER 23, 2034 – The Endeavor Five – named as the fifth-generation heavy lifter – launched from BanzaiCorp’s Luna base many months ago, but today at approximately 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the first humans set foot on the Martian surface. While a huge coup for mankind, it is an even bigger boon to BanzaiCorp, whom will immediately seek to support their landing with a complex of facilities as soon as possible. “This is but the first step,” said the CEO of BanzaiCorp. “Today Mars, tomorrow the Asteroid Belt!”
The Competition draws Offers 124, with a beaker symbol, meaning if any of those Offers are Research cards, they get 1 Profit. Unfortunately, Offer 4 is that Genome Accelerator (Research 2 or Genetics 1), so I have to discard it as well as Offer 2 and 1, and give the Competition yet another Profit point.
They’re now well ahead of me with three Profit, and me with zero.
Now I get to replenish the three missing cards. I’m just going to hope there’s no Edges in them…
Thankfully, there are not. There’s a Build Module (Build 1, Infra); as it has an Infra notation it can be permanently added to my HQ board. There’s also a Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive card (Move 3, Infra), which is REALLY sweet. The third is a Processors card (Produce 1 or Build 2). No Edge cards, thank goodness.
This just gives me more to think about. Since I have no Explore cards right now, I can’t search the North Mars site. I have no Moves (except my permanent Move 1 in my HQ), which will get me nowhere with either of my teams. I need that Move 3 card and the Core Driller is nice too, as it has an Explore 2 on it that I can use to explore the Martian surface there in North Mars.
I take a Research action, worth 2, so I draw two cards – the Reusable Solid Nuclear Drive and the Core Driller.
I have four cards in my hand, so I get to draw another one (I’d drawn one at the end of my previous turn, but I just didn’t mention it – it was another Processors card). It’s a Poach card (Explore 2 or Edge). The Edge part of this card means, after the Competition plays an Offers action (meaning they discard Offers), I can immediately play this and gain two of the discarded cards. Not too bad a deal. I already have another Explore 2 card, so discarding that wouldn’t hurt too much.
I don’t get to use my Edge card, at least not yet.
They don’t, fortunately, get to capitalize on the Discovery action as they do not have a team on a Site with no Discovery (thank goodness). They do, however, get to add a team to Contract 5, which is the one that pays out if a Genetics cube advances two spaces. Not too big a deal as I’m not clamoring for that, but it’s another 2 Profit if they get that.
Could have been worse.
I think my two biggest choices right now are spending an Explore 2 card to explore Mars’ surface, or spending a Produce 1 card to get 1 Profit plus the two Profit from the Contract, which would then tie me with the Competition for VPs.
Tough choice, and I’m torn. But I’m damned curious to see what’s on Mars. Will we find water? Maybe even life? I won’t know until I try, so I spend my Core Driller card with its Explore 2 to meet the ‘e2’ cost of exploring North Mars, and we find…
Exotic Elements! What a great find. The ‘2T’ symbol in the lower left corner means I immediately get 2 Profit, so BanzaiCorp really gets to finally cash in! This means we’re currently looking at a 3-2 ball game, with the Competition just barely ahead.
The ‘P1’ notation is, as mentioned when I built the refinery on Luna, a Production reference. It means if I build a base here, I will get at least 1 Profit out of it if I do a Produce Action. The only downer here is the ‘Base +1’ notation, which means we’d need to pay seven (!) Build points instead of six to construct a Base here. I only have four Build points immediately available, so I’m going to need to work on that.
BanzaiCorp dodges a bullet here as the Competition draws ‘Offers 123’ with a Research symbol. None of these Offer cards have Research on it, so they go away with nothing valuable given to them.
The three replacement cards are Survey Pod (Explore 1, Infra), Excavators (Explore 1 or Build 2), and Heavy Lifer (Move 2 or Build 2). The remaining card, Processors, has Produce 1 or Build 2 on it. I have several options for grabbing some Build cards here and putting a proper BC base on North Mars!
That’s it for today’s episode, but tune in next time. Thanks for reading!