Filipe Cunha
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
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I suck at the game. I just, plainly, flat-out suck.
I lost while explaining Brink of War to a friend that never played even Rebel vs Imperium.

I would love some help in the process of decision making in the game, no matter how many times I play it, I just don't seem to improve.
I'm yet to beat the Keldon AI (I usually come to a 2nd place, but it's not always).

So, here it goes...


The setup [all expansions + takeovers enabled, 4P]:

GOALS:
- System Diversity [1 world of each type, windfall or not]
- Innovation Leader [1 power on each phase]
- Galactic Status [1st to develop a 6pt Development]
- Peace/War Leader [having negative military power + any 2 worlds / first takeover power + first 2 military worlds]

- Propaganda Edge [most rebel planets]
- Galactic Prestige [most prestige points]

SETUP & STARTING HAND:


MY CHOICE:
I would go with Rebel Freedom Fighters
1: it's a good step towards innovation leader
2: it goes well with peace leader (just need another imperium world and you're set)
3: the prestige gains are really good for both the prestige leader bonus and the Galactic Prestige goal

As for my hand, I think Investment Credits and/or Trading Outpost is a good bet since I'll need some power to look for the imperium cards and/or get discounts for those rebel developments.

What would you do?
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Buz
United States
Oklahoma
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Freedom Fighters isn't terrible and does go with the goals, but your strategy space is restricted right off the bat. You HAVE to find Rebel cards or you're hosed.

Another, more flexible, opening would be to toss Drop Ships and the 6-dev, look to trade from Alpha Centauri on the first turn and develop Galactic Advertisers if someone calls Dev. Consider even calling it yourself for that card--it's powerful!

Say you leech the Dev for Advertisers and trade, you have a world down, a strong Dev that helps every consume phase, and five new cards to see what synergizes from there.

Probably the most important skill to get better at in Race is in benefitting from your opponent's phase calls and making sure that they don't benefit from yours. That's why a turn one trade can be good--often nobody benefits from it but you. It's riskier to wait until someone calls Dev to build, but then nobody can leech your phase.

I'm by no means an expert, mind you, but this is another way of looking at the hand.
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Edward
United States
New York City
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You don't have any cards in hand to support such ambitious plans. Your primary goal in the early game is to establish a source of cardflow. I would therefore pick Alpha Centauri instead. If you had a good military windfall to work with immediately on RFF, then I would have gone with that, but your cards aren't good enough.

I would pick AC, discarding Dropships and FTA. Trade, first turn, obviously, but you have an advantage in that you can leech off of both Develop -- Investment Credits or Advertisers, probably Credits -- as well as Settle -- Trading Outpost. You don't want to actually call Settle to put down a gray world most of the time, since someone else will gain much more benefit by putting down a colored windfall or production world. But it is a fine early game settle when someone else calls the role.
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rain
Canada
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AC is always a strong starting world, and its initial trade could potentially be boosted here by either Trading Outpost or Galactic Advertisers. Cards that just straight up give you points and/or cards are great in Race, since they don't impact your flexibility, unlike cards that only help in specific situations. This is the reason that Galactic Developers or AC are a solid choice for starting world even if you are planning to follow a military path.

However, I'd be very tempted to choose RFF here. RFF is a house: it can produce PP at a ridiculous rate if you play it right and aren't unlucky. You have IC and DS here to get a starting bump on military power. All you need is a good military windfall to get you conquering started. That makes your first phase call interesting: Search to make sure you get a windfall, explore to get more cards in hand, or develop to ensure IC gets down quickly.

RFF also ties very nicely into both 5pt goals. Don't worry too much about goals though, especially in a 4p game. This is especially true of 3 point goals. They aren't worth going much out of your way to get. A strong board is almost always better than a weak board that fits the goals. In 2p, you are only competing against one other player for them, so you can put more emphasis on goals, but I'd always hesitate shooting myself in the foot just to get one goal, such as you suggest for the Peace Leader goal. Going to -1 military with a red starting world weakens your main advantage--not worth it for a measly three points. I would only do that if I had a specific reason to go peaceful, such as Contact Specialists and either Universal Peace Institute or Imperium Capital in hand.
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Andy Holt
England
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I would also ditch the Rebels and go for AC.
Why?
Because RFF means going for a military strategy and you don't have any military worlds in hand. While a well started mil strat is one of the easiest ways of beating the AI, you really need some luck to pull it off and starting by pushing your luck is unlikely to be successful. Note that the AI very rarely goes military - that in itself should give a hint.
Firt thing is to get your hand size up so choose AC and consider trading first turn - you don't absolutely have to because you haven't any consume powers so it is safe to defer (and play either the outpost or the advertisers).
Discard the drop ships (because you aren't going military) and the FTA because you have no blue in sight.

I normally play the AI 3-player ... the 4p environment could well be different.
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Serge
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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I would start Alpha Centauri and toss Free Trade Association and Drop Ships. It's close between Drop Ships and Colony Ship, but i slightly prefer Colony Ship with Alpha Centauri (to play a big engine-type production world), to keeping the military door open. There are better cost-benefit military devs than Drop Ships anyway.

I would then Consume-Trade.
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BT Carpenter
United States
Reston
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If you had any rebel anything in your hand to work with Rebel Freedom Fighters, then yes, it's a great starting card with two or three of the goals. Needing only items in IV and V is a really powerful start towards the three points from Innovation leader, and the player with the most Prestige gets a bonus 5 points as well at the end of the game.

But... you don't.

If you go with RFF, you absolutely, positively have to either EXPLORE or SEARCH to get a Rebel something in your hand so you can quickly establish your first Prestige point and get Prestige Leader, and then do everything in your power to keep it.

Otherwise, the recommendations to start with Alpha Centauri are spot on.

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Matt N

Pennsylvania
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Get cards. A slow start can cost you a lot more than ten points, and you're nowhere near guaranteed those points anyway. The best way to get cards in this case is Alpha Centauri, so cross-apply what other people have said.

Be selfish. If you can keep doing $/V without someone strongly leeching, keep doing it. You can use those cards to pay for build phases that someone else will inevitably call. Very few people are capable of the implicit collusion needed to screw over the person doing $/V in a 3p+ game, and the AI probably isn't one of those people. (My experience with the AI is limited however.)
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Buz
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This thread is making me wax nostalgic for the halcyon days of the Play by Forum.

I hope that everyone recovers emotionally in order to start a new series up here pretty soon!
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buzhannon wrote:
This thread is making me wax nostalgic for the halcyon days of the Play by Forum.

I hope that everyone recovers emotionally in order to start a new series up here pretty soon!


We are play testing a 3p draft right now to see how doable it is in terms of a PBF
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lizard
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I'd go here with AC as well. You have the Trading Outpost and Galactic Advertisers, so if either Develop or Settle is called, you'll get extra buck for your Rare good. It's a 4p game, so I would go straight for the Consume/Trade. With 2 players I would probably have Explored first.

BTW, is this thread only to discuss the opening, or are we going to play through this?
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Filipe Cunha
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First of all, thanks to all the replys! It's been of great help.

radicalizard wrote:
I'd go here with AC as well. You have the Trading Outpost and Galactic Advertisers, so if either Develop or Settle is called, you'll get extra buck for your Rare good. It's a 4p game, so I would go straight for the Consume/Trade. With 2 players I would probably have Explored first.

BTW, is this thread only to discuss the opening, or are we going to play through this?

My plan is to play through the entire game. Not only me, but I think a lot of people have difficulty with coherent strategies and how to actually play them out. Getting a grasp for the rules is easy, but getting a grasp for the game's intricacies isn't.
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entranced wrote:
I would start Alpha Centauri and toss Free Trade Association and Drop Ships. It's close between Drop Ships and Colony Ship, but i slightly prefer Colony Ship with Alpha Centauri (to play a big engine-type production world), to keeping the military door open. There are better cost-benefit military devs than Drop Ships anyway.

I would then Consume-Trade.


Agreed. I'd most probably end up using the Colony Ship as cash, but the main part of this hand is 1) pick Alpha Centauri as a starting world, and 2) ditch the 6 development.

Take the Trade action, odds are you'll get to play either the world or the development that boost your sales. It's a pretty great opening hand.

EDIT: synergy with the goals in nice and all, but getting a good start is much more important. Alpha Centauri does that, while choosing the rebel world amounts to hedging a bet with quite bad odds.
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Alex Brown
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It's not even really about the cards.

You aren't considering the right things. As posted above, value card flow early. Until you know you are going to have 8+cards every turn, build towards that. Forget the goals or 'strategy'.

There are exceptions around tempo, but this game is so much about tradeable goods and who has the most cards I ended up getting bored with it (admittedly after over a thousand plays).
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Tom Lehmann
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Palo Alto
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Alex Brown wrote:
value card flow early [...] this game is so much about tradeable goods and who has the most cards I ended up getting bored with it (admittedly after over a thousand plays).

I feel glad that it held up so long. ;-)

Card flow *is* king; but there are different sources of "effective" card flow besides trading goods, such as discounts, settle bonuses, produce bonuses, etc.

I've won plenty of games without ever trading a good (though, this is more likely when playing with the expansions than when playing just the base game).
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Daniel Kearns
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Bloomington
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If you feel you aren't very good, you might want to back off of some of the complexity and learn some basic skills.

Consider cutting back to the base deck or at most Base+Gathering Storm.
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Alex Brown
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Tom Lehmann wrote:

I feel glad that it held up so long. ;-)


I certainly felt like I got value from the game .
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