Michael Eckenfels, 20 May 2019
It strikes me as funny that we’re only about a third of the way through the Planeteers era, at least insofar as my card deck is concerned. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the Competitor’s cards, and aren’t anywhere near in danger of claiming six Contracts, so I hope you’re enjoying this era because it might take a bit to get through! With that in mind, I’m going to try to write longer chapters moving forward so that it doesn’t take ten years to get all of this posted!
Well, they’re extending their reach. Again.
They’re going to land a team on Charon, Pluto’s moon.
And that’s about as far out as you can go without getting to the Oort Cloud. All of their teams are now deployed to the board, so any further new Site draws means no teams of theirs are placed. Odds are good, though, they’re going to have some developed Discovery tiles and Bases in the upcoming turns. I need to get a move on. Note that telling yourself “I need to get a move on” is pretty much this game making you feel like a one-legged horse in a donkey-kicking contest.
I’m going to do an Explore Action on Ganymede.
BanzaiCorp makes a startling discovery…oceans on Ganymede. It’s not a huge stretch, by any means, as scientists have long suspected Ganymede does harbor large oceans.
As for the game implications of this discovery, this immediately pays BC 2 Profit, giving us a 15-point total; the Competition is still lagging with 7. I’m not complaining.
Another implication is, this Oceans tile has a Base cost of -3; as Ganymede has a b5 cost, it’ll only be two Build points for me to plop a base down here – something I can do with my Infrastructure in my HQ.
There’s also a P1 value, giving it an intrinsic Production value. Not a bad discovery at all!
Now we move on to the Competition to see what they’re up to…and I cringe as I draw this, fully expecting the worst.
First, I’ve drawn ‘Ceres/Pallas,’ which I’m not going to show as it’s moot; I have Bases on both these Sites, so this card is discarded and a new one drawn.
They take Offer 1 and Offer 2, which are both discarded. Neither of these is a Genetics nor a Revelation card, so nothing further happens.
This is, in fact, how the Mariners era skated by so quickly – so many Offers plays by the Competition, which drained my play deck quickly.
The two replacement cards are Nuclear Mass Driver (Move 5 or Build 3) and Extruders (Build 3 or Shielded Build 2, Infra). That Extruders card might be a good replacement for the Grown Mesh card I currently have on my HQ board (Build 2 or Shielded Build 1).
Regardless of how good that Extruders card is, for upgrading my Building capacity, I’m going to go for the quick win and build a Base on Ganymede to take advantage of that great Base -3 bonus. The best two choices here are either Industrial or Refinery. Refinery would give it a +1 value to the Discovery tile’s P1, for a total Production value of 2. The Industrial Base would allow me to double Production when producing at another Base in the same Region. I’ll go for the Refinery for now, as I’ve no idea if the other two Jovian Sites will have anything allowing me to produce.
If I do a Produce Action there, I’ll get 2 Profit.
Well, the Competition has a huge turn this time around. So much so that I’m just going to say that I drew ‘Iapetus’ for them, a moon of Saturn. Looking there, the Competition already has a base…
…and when that happens, if there is an empty Discovery Site, I draw an e2 Discovery tile…
…Which is of course a Special Discovery, which means I discard that one and draw an e3 Discovery tile…
Further, the Competition gets to remove their team and add a Base. Randomly drawing one, I just happen to grab…
…an Industrial Base, which of course fits the water resource just drawn (wonderful). This means the Competition gets another bonus, in that they can immediately place a team in an empty Site in the same Region. If there are no empty Sites, they’d get 1 Profit. But in this case, Enceladus is empty so their team moves over there.
The Competition once again has no teams left in their holding box, thanks to those lucky draws (lucky for them, anyway).
Continuing with BC’s plan, I’m moving my team on Ganymede to Callisto. This costs 4 Move points, so I have to discard my Closed Gas Core Nuclear Drive card and use my intrinsic Shielded Move 2 card for a total of six Movement to get there. A waste to be sure, but I want to get that third Base up and running quickly.
Since I’m at four cards, I draw another one, and get Survey Cyborgs (Explore 3 or Genetics 1). That’s my second Genetics card; if I choose a Genetics action in the future, I can move my Genetics marker two spaces by playing both these cards.
Vesta already has a Competition Base, so we look to Interamnia, where the Competition (of course) has yet another team. The Site has no Discovery tile, so we draw one and then put a random Base on it. The Competition team goes back to their Holding box, so they now have a team to deploy elsewhere.
Fortunately, the Shield Factory adds no benefit to them, but the Natural Wonder tile does give them another 2 Profit. The score is now 15-11, with me still in the lead.
What to do? Well, I can build a Base on Titan (which would cost six Shielded Build points, which I have exactly). Or, I can Explore on Callisto, for no card cost (I have an Explore 2 card on my HQ, plus the Probe Network Breakthrough card, which multiplies any of my Explore actions by two).
I admit, I enjoy the Discovery tiles, so I’m going to do that. My team on Callisto does some hard work to see what they can come up with.
Our search of Callisto has revealed both Abundant Ores and Water, which is a great tile; the Base cost here is two less and it grants me an immediate 1 Profit (the score is now 16-11). It also has a P2, so it’ll pay out 2 Profit on a Produce action. Not too shabby at all.
I’m admittedly taking my time right now, building Bases so I can grab some Contracts before I make a break for the Oort Cloud. The interesting thing about movement is, if you’re going from Saturn’s moons outward, the Move costs ramp up tremendously due to transit distances; it’s not just straight movement points like you might see on the board. This of course assumes that the outer planets are not just neatly lined up in a row, and might very well be on opposite sides of the Solar System.
Yup, this’ll be a bad turn for BanzaiCorp.
The Competition gets to make two Discoveries, which means they reveal a Discovery tile on two Sites that they have teams upon (two highest-numbered sites, that is). In this case, that’s Charon and Titania, moons of Pluto and Uranus respectively.
The Water and Exotic Elements Discovery tiles immediately grants them three Profit.
But that’s not the really bad part. The really bad part is the ‘Contract 6;’ they already have a team on Contract 6, so this means they fulfill that Contract and earn not just the 3 Profit that’s worth, but also the 2 Profit that was unclaimed from the previous era, for five more Profit.
And just like that, the Competition is well in the lead. Gaining 10 Profit (!) in one turn will do that for you.
The score is now 19-16. Not insurmountable, but being in second place is never good in the solo game!
That’ll do it for now. Tune in next time to see what BanzaiCorp does to pull itself out of this hole (or dig itself deeper…)!