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Star Wars: Rebellion» Forums » Strategy

Subject: The 3 Archetypes of Empire Players rss

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David Umstattd
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Well my "3 Archetypes of Rebel players"https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1645114/3-archetypes-rebel-... was so popular that I decided to go about doing a post on my empire research. Given I'm not as good of an empire player and for a lot of the game's history empire strategy was less varied this was more of a challange. But enough research and theory crafting has revealed three empire archetypes.

Oddly enough these three archetypes also are largly defined by three of the starting missions, though not in the same way the rebel missions were. These three styles don't necessarily spam their respective missions as much as they see that mission as more valuable than the other styles do.


First lets talk about what all three styles agree on.

1. Missions tend to be less important than with the rebels (though to the extent that they agree on this varies)

2. You generally don't want to Gather Intel unless the rebels have 8 or more units in their base space when it comes around to your assignment phase.

Ok so first lets start out with the strategy that there have already been a lot of posts about. And a lot of Euro Gamers often say is OP due to it's systematic nature:


R&D (Expand or die)

This is arguably the most popular strategy. This strategy thinks nearly all missions aren't worth it. Expansion is everything. The only mission that you do on a somewhat regular basis is Research and Development and only for the purpose of removing sabotage.

This strategy attacks every single rebel controlled system that you can on the first turn in order to stop rebel production. You almost never Rule by Fear unless necessary to stop a sabotage and only if the sabotaged system is strategic for expansion.

This style wants to snatch up as many systems as soon as possible so that 1. you stop rebel production
2. you search as many places for the base as possible
3. you set yourself up for good opportunities to use Intercept Transmission
4. you do lots of subjugation to gets lots of troops.
5. you find the base as soon as possible.

This strategy makes your fleet production rather limited. However since this style does R&D a fair bit they often use their project cards to supplement their fleets. Sometimes building most of their fleets from the few project cards they have.

Though even so this style generally thinks project cards and missions in general are under powered and not worth it. Expansion is everything.

This style tends to spread itself thin and be weak in the starship department. And sometimes they'll leave corescant poorly defended. Relying on their removal of rebel production to keep their systems safe. The rebels can't attack you if they can't produce much of anything.

This style goes for a quick victory. Find the rebels as soon as possible, take them out before they can get a big force in their base.

Given their mass subjugation they tend to have a hard time keeping the rebels from scoring influence missions and make themselves weak to missions and objectives that target subjugated systems.

This style tends to not like the DS all that much and just sees it as an indestructible transport in the early game and a 2 point liability in the late game. This style rarely uses the Death star to destroy planets since the Death star is used to move troops into planets to search them and why would you want to destroy one of your own planets?




Rule by Fear

I was only recently introduced to this strategy. and I'm excited to give it a try.
This strategy focuses on being aggressive like R&D but instead of going after rebel systems to search them and subjugate them, this strategy goes after rebel INFLUENCE. This style does RBF almost every turn and prioritizes rebel systems in order to neutralize those systems.

The idea here is to make the rebels more and more unable to accomplish influence based objectives (of which there are a lot) while using R&D to counter sabotage so you can deply and expand to rebel systems, allowing you to be able to keep using RBF on rebel systems.

Instead of simply subjugating their systems to keep them from building units. This style goes all the way. This style has less production, but it needs less production as the game will go on much longer since the rebels won't be able to score missions.

While the R&D style pretty much lets the rebels score missions and just goes for their base right away. This style cripples the rebels first, then takes it's time to go for the rebels (which it can do since the rebels won't score as many objectives) and by limiting the amount of rebel systems it makes cards like incite rebellion and public uprising less valuable since there won't be many systems that will actually benefit the rebels after being liberated.

This style is all about objectives. And denying those objectives.

RBF sees the Death Star as quite valuable since it can be used to PERMANENTLY remove a rebel system and then neutralize ANOTHER rebel system in the same turn. You don't put troops in the system with the death star, you put those troops elsewhere and use the Death Star to zap a high value rebel system on turn 2 usually Mon Calamari or Kaysshyk (don't lecture me on spelling. Wookies talk weird.)

If you draw Display of Power, Fear will Keep them In line, or a few Trade Negotiations you can quickly snap up the influence of the systems your fleets can't reach. Sometimes removing ALL rebel influence from the board. However since this doesn't actually help you find the rebel base you'll need to balance this with expansion. But with few rebel objectives you'll have plenty of time.



Capture Style

The capture style is more reliant on card draw than the other sides, however given that there are a large number of powerful and useful capture related cards this happens more often than not.

This style focuses on a combination of gaining a leader advantage over the rebels in order to reduce their effectiveness, and making the rebels lose rep in order to extend the game long enough so that they can draw and execute one or more of the "narrow down base location" missions/action cards towards the end game.

This doesn't mean Capture Players don't move their fleets and subjugate rebel systems. They just focus more on capture and interrogation more than the other styles. Other styles will capture if they have a good interrogation card. This style does the capture first. And if they get an interrogation card that's just gravy. The longer you wait to capture the more likely the rebels will have a rescue mission anyway, so capture early and capture often is the Capture style's mantra.

If you have a leader already captured either keep a high Intel leader in reserve to counter a rescue attempt, or put a leader on a capture mission so that when the current leader is rescued you can capture a more valuable leader.

The capture style player knows it won't draw Lure of the Dark Side, Carbon Freezing, Local Rumors, Interrogation, Interrogation Droid, AND Homing Beacon. But they suspect they'll draw at least two or three of those cards. And they'll sit on them until they think it will be the most useful. Homing Beacon, interrogation droid etc are most helpful in the mid to late game. Though not exactly at the end game as often by then you know the general area of the rebel base and not in the early game as usually the rebels will just RM right after use. Whereas towards the end game the rebel's RMing is less likely and more risky since they'll have less time to build back up their defenses.

This style really likes Planetary Conquest too, as it can use it to hit a rebel base shortly after being narrowed down, or to go for a weak base after the rebels RM after their base is narrowed down due to Homing Beacon, Local Rumors etc.

The Conquest player knows that most of what the rebels do is missions, and so they use capture to reduce the effectiveness of missions. They will target Mon Mothma with a capture mission and then oppose future Build Alliance missions with Palpatine, and since Mothma is the only 3 diplomacy leader the rebels get, the empire will block most Build Alliance missions successfully with Palpatine. Crippling rebel objectives and future unit production.

the rebels have only Chewie, Han, Madine, or Wedge? Send Vader and Fett on a capture mission to capture that character and remove their ability to do good sabotage missions. Or capture Luke or Obi Wan (and hope he doesn't have Nobel Sacrifice) to make the rebels not be able to do a good rescue attempts.

Or if they get carbon freezing the Capture Player may go for Mothma AND Reikan, making RM impossible unless they recruit Lando or Zoidberg. The idea is you look at the rebel leader comp and think about what would ruin them if they lost.

The Capture style is unique in that it focuses on crippling the rebels preimtively. Not attacking rebel systems after they've been taken. But keeping rebel missions and influence from hitting the board in the first place. Often if you wait for the rebels to make their move it's too late. Capture style tries to stop the rebels in their tracts.


The nice thing about capture missions is often the rebels will send two leaders on the rescue mission because only one rebel leader has 3 Intel and few have 2. This means that with just one or two empire leaders you can lock up 3 rebel leaders. And if you roll well this will happen multiple turns. With lure and carbon freezing your can rack this leader advantage up to ridiculous numbers. freeing up enough empire leaders so you can try to block nearly every rebel mission.

This style pays the most attention to what missions the rebels go on and plans to be able to counter the rebels if there's a good chance of success. You can always oppose. But if the mission succeeds in a far away system you might not be able to undo the damage.

This style looks at the rebels and asks "Which heroes are going on what missions? What symbols do these heroes have a lot of. Can I block those symbols if that ends up being what the mission is? Would it be worth it?" mind games for days.

Since this style likes to block lots of rebel missions to can be tricky to manage you fleets and not lock them up. The advantage being by countering lots of rebel missions the rebels will want to try missions in places that will lock up your fleets. Which means lots of capture opportunities.

However by doing this you can have trouble having enough military movement. Eventually you'll get the cards you need to find the base and win. Just be sure to be spread out enough to take advantage of this intel. The question is if you'll be able to block the rebels enough to keep the rebels from getting their objectives and thus buy yourself enough time to make that happen.


EDIT: Weird that I had so much to say about the Capture Style since I rarely ever go that route. I'm much more into the R&D strategy myself.
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J Vomkrieg
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I did capture style in one game, simply through the luck of the draw.

Got to carbonize Dodonna and lure Luke in the first 2 turns.

Brutal opening that my opponent struggled to come back from.

But after those 2 turns, I went back to a Rule by Fear approach
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Joeri Rotthier
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Yup,

The capture style isn't one I would think of playing before starting the game.
But if you draw the cards, and it's in there, I'm going for it. Sometimes I swapped style two turns in because I drew the cards. But never ever did I decide to play that way before the cards were dealt.

On a funny sidenote, did you just call Admiral ackbar "Zoidberg"?
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David Umstattd
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TheGibson wrote:

did you just call Admiral ackbar "Zoidberg"?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11_2SswJs4c
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David Umstattd
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Ithkrall wrote:
I did capture style in one game, simply through the luck of the draw.

Got to carbonize Dodonna and lure Luke in the first 2 turns.

Brutal opening that my opponent struggled to come back from.

But after those 2 turns, I went back to a Rule by Fear approach


To an extent all strategy type choices will depend on card draw. But knowing how to play those various strategies is important.


You can still go capture style without drawing those cards early. Since so many of those cards aren't even all that great until mid to late game.

Capture style isn't just about taking advantage of capture cards. It's also about stopping rebel missions and focusing on taking away their ability to do missions. Preemptive as opposed to reactionary.
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Niall Smyth
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Capture strategy can be very thoughtful.

I had a recent game where I drew some good capture cards, such as Interrogation Droid, very early on. So I went capture-crazy, trying to capture anyone at all (poor Rieekan). I never tried to use any of my freezing etc missions. I just wanted to burn through the Rebellion's rescue missions. I didn't want to waste my best leaders on missions that might not have a target. During this time, the Rebellion built up a sizeable military. They were feeling pretty confident. After all, they kept freeing my captives and foiling my plans :-)

Finally, when the Rebellion couldn't stop me, I could go to work on my captive without fear of interruption, and the Death Star blew up their base soon after.

FUN!
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Jason Sherlock
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My girlfriend is my main Imperial opponent. She uses a strategy that doesn't really fit into these three archetypes. I would call it "take and hold" or resource denial

The closest match to your examples woudl be capture.

Her main objective is to prevent me from being able to effectively use units and leaders. Capture is used sparingly, to keep me guessing, with the objective of letting my guard down so that she can get effective captures to get a numeric leader advantage.

More importantly, is the denial of unit types. She identifies a key unit type (corvettes, structures, speeders) by what her starting position allows, and then takes all planets that produce that unit type. She, subjugates, shifts to Imperial loyalty and leaves a sizable garrison (ground or space) there. This locks me out of generating any of those units throughout the game without me sending a large task force to take the planet back.

Boba Fett or Vader are sent on missions (sometimes capture, sometimes not) again to keep me off of my game. Captures, turn to the dark side, delay give her numerical superiority with leaders. This along with unit denial gives her the edge in production and combat.

It is a very effective strategy and can be tailored to starting board position.
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David Umstattd
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Remember the name of the styles is more descriptive than anything else. It doesn't mean you use that card every turn or even a whole lot. It's not like the rebel archetypes because the empire tends to do fewer missions.
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Jason Sherlock
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David Umstattd wrote:
Remember the name of the styles is more descriptive than anything else. It doesn't mean you use that card every turn or even a whole lot. It's not like the rebel archetypes because the empire tends to do fewer missions.


If this is in response to my post, I was pointing out that her strategy really doesn't fit into any of these archetypes very well. Capture would be the closest.
 
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Saro Gumusyan

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No matter the style the Imperial player has to work with the opportunities that certain missions will present. A good chunk of the deck is related to capture/interrogation and it is no small fact that those missions are the only ones that can buy the Empire time by pushing reputation back.

I can see the counter-argument that focusing on capture wastes opportunities to grow resources and to find the base but it does have an impact on the Rebel player's action economy from the leader deficit to having to undertake rescue missions.

Based on that I would argue Fett is a must recruit almost every game; his lack of tactics values isn't a dealbreaker since he can just oppose missions when he's not on them.

Based on my last game in person I feel the Empire should be prepared to change gears round by round. When you draw Intercept Transmission, why not go on a move binge and then let IT whittle the deck down? Then you can follow up with a diplacy/R&D round.

On the subject of R&D, I feel it should be played a minimum of twice a game since a factory, oversee project or SSD could be the hammers you need to take a big base down with.
 
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Darth Coupon wrote:
No matter the style the Imperial player has to work with the opportunities that certain missions will present. A good chunk of the deck is related to capture/interrogation and it is no small fact that those missions are the only ones that can buy the Empire time by pushing reputation back.

I can see the counter-argument that focusing on capture wastes opportunities to grow resources and to find the base but it does have an impact on the Rebel player's action economy from the leader deficit to having to undertake rescue missions.

Based on that I would argue Fett is a must recruit almost every game; his lack of tactics values isn't a dealbreaker since he can just oppose missions when he's not on them.

Based on my last game in person I feel the Empire should be prepared to change gears round by round. When you draw Intercept Transmission, why not go on a move binge and then let IT whittle the deck down? Then you can follow up with a diplacy/R&D round.

On the subject of R&D, I feel it should be played a minimum of twice a game since a factory, oversee project or SSD could be the hammers you need to take a big base down with.


All good points, well except maybe the Intercept Tranmission ....

I don't think I like this card.
I know it basically ensures that the next probe cards you draw will be useful, and perhaps it is smart to play this card before you play Ozell's mission to draw 4 cards.
But really this card can help the rebels as much as the empire in the later game (early game its not as strong), the rebels now can rapid mobilize to with a better chance to draw an empty system, they also find out about cards the empire does not have without even doing a mission.

I am not sure I have even chosen to spend an action on this card, and its usually one of the first one I discard if I have to discard.
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Doug DeMoss
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I think Intercept is nice in the mid-game, especially if the base has JUST moved and the Rebels may not be planning to move again right away. Otherwise, yeah, you can shoot yourself in the foot if you play it too late.
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Saro Gumusyan

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It's funny you mention Probe Droid Initiative since I did draw that shortly after playing Intercept Transmission. It certainly helped my opponent is not a Rapid Mobilizer and was eventually stuck on his base as I had drawn out the deck before the final round and battle.

You're right that IT is a mission that can only be played during specific circumstances, but it has some value mid-game.

Interrogation is a mission that I feel is only useful late game when the Empire has to know what the Rebel player is going for in order to stop the clock. Otherwise you know the Rebel player will be going for support objectives as well as Crippling Blow/Rebel Assault early in the game.

On the other hand Retrieve the Plans is invaluable, especially for removing a gimme Tier 3 objective.
 
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demoss1 wrote:
I think Intercept is nice in the mid-game, especially if the base has JUST moved and the Rebels may not be planning to move again right away. Otherwise, yeah, you can shoot yourself in the foot if you play it too late.


Unless I am missing something this might be the least useful time to use the card.
If the rebel base has just moved, than you know for a fact that the rebels are not in any system you have a unit in.
And I suspect that he might be moving again, so i want to keep those cards ontop of the deck:

Usually when the rebel player moves I mark which are the possible systems, if I didn't mess up I should be able to attack within a turn or 2 max.
I treat the turn after my rebel opponent has moved as the best time to win the game, hopefully they didn't have 2 mon cals on the build queue and have already deployed it into the system, but otherwise I feel like I should be able to beat them on that turn. I just need to plan and think ahead. General Veers' card should help.
(Obviously I am talking about a late turn RM - like after round 5 or so)
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David Umstattd
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jooice wrote:
Darth Coupon wrote:
No matter the style the Imperial player has to work with the opportunities that certain missions will present. A good chunk of the deck is related to capture/interrogation and it is no small fact that those missions are the only ones that can buy the Empire time by pushing reputation back.

I can see the counter-argument that focusing on capture wastes opportunities to grow resources and to find the base but it does have an impact on the Rebel player's action economy from the leader deficit to having to undertake rescue missions.

Based on that I would argue Fett is a must recruit almost every game; his lack of tactics values isn't a dealbreaker since he can just oppose missions when he's not on them.

Based on my last game in person I feel the Empire should be prepared to change gears round by round. When you draw Intercept Transmission, why not go on a move binge and then let IT whittle the deck down? Then you can follow up with a diplacy/R&D round.

On the subject of R&D, I feel it should be played a minimum of twice a game since a factory, oversee project or SSD could be the hammers you need to take a big base down with.


All good points, well except maybe the Intercept Tranmission ....

I don't think I like this card.
I know it basically ensures that the next probe cards you draw will be useful, and perhaps it is smart to play this card before you play Ozell's mission to draw 4 cards.
But really this card can help the rebels as much as the empire in the later game (early game its not as strong), the rebels now can rapid mobilize to with a better chance to draw an empty system, they also find out about cards the empire does not have without even doing a mission.

I am not sure I have even chosen to spend an action on this card, and its usually one of the first one I discard if I have to discard.


Intercept Transmission is one of the most powerful cards in the game. I once drew 5 probe cards with it. 5! Compare that to gather intel or probe droid initiative. Obviously you don't use it in the late game. But given there are two copies it's highly likely you draw it in time for the mid game.
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David Umstattd
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jooice wrote:
demoss1 wrote:
I think Intercept is nice in the mid-game, especially if the base has JUST moved and the Rebels may not be planning to move again right away. Otherwise, yeah, you can shoot yourself in the foot if you play it too late.


Unless I am missing something this might be the least useful time to use the card.
If the rebel base has just moved, than you know for a fact that the rebels are not in any system you have a unit in.
And I suspect that he might be moving again, so i want to keep those cards ontop of the deck:

Usually when the rebel player moves I mark which are the possible systems, if I didn't mess up I should be able to attack within a turn or 2 max.
I treat the turn after my rebel opponent has moved as the best time to win the game, hopefully they didn't have 2 mon cals on the build queue and have already deployed it into the system, but otherwise I feel like I should be able to beat them on that turn. I just need to plan and think ahead. General Veers' card should help.
(Obviously I am talking about a late turn RM - like after round 5 or so)


I think you're missing something too. Not sure what though. There is almost never a time when the rebel base is in a system where you have imperial units and you don't know where the base is.

The reason it's powerful right after a move is that it is actually counter productive right before a move. Intercept transmission is potentially the most cost effective card when it comes to probe cards for your actions. And certain imperial strategies revolve around drawing mass probe cards.
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Yan P.
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Where is the "Slow and Steady" version? Like #2, except instead of using RBF on rebel systems, use it on imperial systems. Protects you from Crippling Blow, Liberation, maximizes fleet production to reduce odds of Rebel Assault, etc...
 
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Saro Gumusyan

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As an added benefit you can also remove sabotage markers. With all that extra production you will have to sprinkle TIEs everywhere to ensure lone X-wings don't blockade the systems.

If a player is going down this route I imagine Janus Greejatus is a slam dunk recruit since you'll need the Emperor to do other things including moves.
 
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David Umstattd wrote:

The reason it's powerful right after a move is that it is actually counter productive right before a move. Intercept transmission is potentially the most cost effective card when it comes to probe cards for your actions. And certain imperial strategies revolve around drawing mass probe cards.


Yes it can give you the most probe cards but these are cards that do not give you any new information (with the exception of the cases when you have ships in unchecked planets), The best thing about this card is that in the upcoming refresh phase you will most likely draw 2 new info probe cards. for this reason it will also be good right before cards that let you draw probe cards.

However in most of these scenarios i rather go an check a new system then use this.
Quote:
The reason it's powerful right after a move is that it is actually counter productive right before a move.
Especially in this case, i rather go check where they are, not cross off where i know they ain't.

Probe cards have 2 purposes in the game (besides being the mechanism to hide the Rebel base) to help the Empire a little and to limit where the rebels can move to. This card doesn't actually help the empire in either category.
 
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David Umstattd wrote:
Intercept transmission is potentially the most cost effective card when it comes to probe cards for your actions. And certain imperial strategies revolve around drawing mass probe cards.

I think that drawing the entire deck to prevent moves is a sub-optimal strategy compared to board control, and they are a bit mutually exclusive. I have played the card in the past, but each time it was like, "I guess this will be helpful if I get blown out of a system where I'm present and they wanted to move to it?" I no longer play it, ever.
 
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astroglide wrote:
David Umstattd wrote:
Intercept transmission is potentially the most cost effective card when it comes to probe cards for your actions. And certain imperial strategies revolve around drawing mass probe cards.

I think that drawing the entire deck to prevent moves is a sub-optimal strategy compared to board control, and they are a bit mutually exclusive. I have played the card in the past, but each time it was like, "I guess this will be helpful if I get blown out of a system where I'm present and they wanted to move to it?" I no longer play it, ever.


I agree.

 
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Doug DeMoss
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One other thing Intercept Transmission is good for: mucking with a Plant False Leads. It depends on some luck - Empire having somebody assigned to it when PFL is played, so you can't really plan this - but suddenly the Rebels don't have that juicy system they just retrieved from your hand as an option.
 
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True, but incredibly up to chance.
 
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David Umstattd
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Xatham wrote:
Where is the "Slow and Steady" version? Like #2, except instead of using RBF on rebel systems, use it on imperial systems. Protects you from Crippling Blow, Liberation, maximizes fleet production to reduce odds of Rebel Assault, etc...


That sounds most like Style #3 as it focuses on missions more and building lots of high quality ships as opposed to spreading out. Having a quality fleet means you wait a while to find the rebel base but you know you'll have a powerful enough fleet to take them out when you do find it (possibly through capture cards.)

I'm starting to think the naming system for these three styles is misleading. People seem to think that each of the three styles spams that starting mission but that isn't the case. They simply tend to value their respective card differently than the other styles.
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David Umstattd
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astroglide wrote:
David Umstattd wrote:
Intercept transmission is potentially the most cost effective card when it comes to probe cards for your actions. And certain imperial strategies revolve around drawing mass probe cards.

I think that drawing the entire deck to prevent moves is a sub-optimal strategy compared to board control, and they are a bit mutually exclusive. I have played the card in the past, but each time it was like, "I guess this will be helpful if I get blown out of a system where I'm present and they wanted to move to it?" I no longer play it, ever.


Well that's why I created these lists. For people to see how other people play the game and what they value. One thing I've noticed is that players often tend to value totally different things and play the game in very different ways.

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