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Subject: A card by card analysis of techniques rss

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Scott Mikula
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Getting the right technique early on can make all the difference in a game of Spyrium. In this article I look at each technique and analyze how it can be best utilized.

Automation
Benefit: Mines don't need workers
Points: 1 VP / spyrium

In a typical game you'll probably only need one mine, in which case the benefit of this technique is roughly equivalent to an extra worker. (There are a variety of situations where this isn't the case, but it provides a basis for comparison.) It costs roughly the same as a Working-Class Neighborhood, but does not take a building slot, so if you have a mine it's a decent alternative to boosting your worker count.

It can give up to 7 points for spyrium at the end of the game, but you'll always be better off converting that spyrium via a Factory or the Engineer if you have the workers available, so the point value shouldn't be a huge consideration.

Where does Automation shine? When you have multiple mines. Then you're getting the benefit of multiple extra workers, plus you're probably producing more spyrium than you can convert, so you'll have enough to get the endgame points from it. This feels like a pretty narrow strategy to me -- 7 points isn't going to make the game for you so you'll still need to get most of your points from spyrium conversion -- but I haven't tried it so I can't say how effective it is.

Capitalization
Benefit: +£2 every time you gain money with a worker
Points: 1 VP / £2

Before you buy Capitalization, consider how long it will take to earn out. At £6 it's probably worth it, but if there's heavy competition it may take far too many income actions just to pay for itself. And, similar to Automation, you need to be wary of it's point value. You're likely going to get a better return by spending your money on one of the high-point buildings available on the last turn.

That's not to say Capitalization isn't valuable, just that you need a realistic understanding of what you're paying for. It can be particularly effective if you're going for lots of extra workers that can keep collecting income even when your opponents have cleared the market. (Just make sure not to get stuck between two bought-out spaces!)

Engineering
Benefit: +1 VP for each worker used on a card with a factory symbol
Points: 1 VP / card with a factory symbol

Engineering can net a factory player some decent points over the course of the game. Maybe just as importantly, it is useful early on to help reach those vital first 8 points.

Just remember, though, that using your actions efficiently is important. It's great to get a lot of +1 VPs for a lot of little factories, but if you don't watch out you'll get beaten by the guy who is netting 15 VPs at a time. Also, it's rare that you'll need more than two, maybe three factories, so it's not going to be worth a lot at the endgame.

Lobbying
Benefit: Activate a card without paying extra for workers around it
Points: 1 VP / position on the residence track

This technique is great for anyone, allowing you to snag a highly contested action at its base price. In particular, it is a must have for a residence track strat, since you'll get the max endgame points for it. (Not to mention competition can be steep for cheap residence actions.) The main thing to keep in mind is that this will be considerably more useful in games with more players, since there will be a lot more workers on the market.

Crane
Benefit: -£3 to cost of building space
Points: 1 VP / building

This is another technique that is strong regardless of your strat. It's sure to pay for itself, letting you pick up extra workers, residences, or whatever buildings you need at bargain prices. Its benefit synergizes well with its endgame points, and, unlike other techniques, you don't have to get it right away to maximize your benefit from it. The discount doesn't matter for your first building or two, so you can get it on turn three and still make good use of it.

Taylorism
Benefit: Reuse a building during your turn
Points: 1 VP / worker

Taylorism is very strong in a factory strat, since you can pump more spyrium out of your mines early on and then reuse your big factories for lots of points later. Obviously you'll need to make sure you have enough workers to make use of it, but, on the bright side, those workers are also earning you points for the end of the game. As long as you have a mine that doesn't require a worker, you can make sure to get some use out of it every turn.

Commerce
Benefit: Choose the value of a token
Points: 1 VP / token collected

This is certainly the most situational technique. It can be useful in any strat, but how useful is unpredictable since it depends what tokens turn up on what cards. It will be more valuable in games with more players since since there are more likely to be unattractive tokens left near the end of a turn.

Still, cards with tokens tend to be supplemental to a strat rather than a strat unto themselves, so don't fall into the trap of chasing tokens at the cost of missing out on actions you really need. It's worth noting that, unlike other techniques, with Commerce the points it's worth at the end of the game depend on when you buy it, so it's doubly important to get it early.
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Mike K
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I've heard the Crane is the 'best' Technique, and it is powerful to be sure, but I love getting Automation and two good mines, later grabbing a factory to churn points out and still have leftovers for the endgame bonus.
 
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Pierre Beri
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HandEyeProtege wrote:
Lobbying
Benefit: Activate a card without paying extra for workers around it
Points: 1 VP / position on the residence track

The main thing to keep in mind is that this will be considerably more useful in games with more players, since there will be a lot more workers on the market.
Not only, because the great thing is lobbying self-balances pretty well. With less players, you get less money from withdrawing a worker (and you save less money by using lobbying), so the best way to get comfortably wealthy is by reaching a high spot on the residence track. That's where lobbying proves to be profitable with 2-3 players.

2-3 players: weaker effect, great VPs at game end.
4-5 players: great effect, likely weaker on game end VPs.
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Jordan Booth
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I like the Engineering technique best. I've found that if you use it consistently from turn one you can outpace players using the large laboratories in the final turns. You are right about not having lots of end game points. Last week I was a single coin away from getting three factories. I also like how the factory strat keeps you out of the market and you grab the one card you need while other players are still placing workers.
 
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James Keith
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"Watch, but do not govern; stop war, but do not wage it; protect, but do not control; and first, survive!" - Cordwainer Smith
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I believe Automation is that Mines need one less worker rather than that they don't need any workers, but I don't have the rulebook handy...
 
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Pete Goch
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It's a moot point. There aren't any mines requiring more than one worker to use.
 
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James Keith
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True! I must have been thinking of Factories.
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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HandEyeProtege wrote:
Automation
Benefit: Mines don't need workers
Points: 1 VP / spyrium
Early Automation can be insane. You'll get so many Spyrium that the heavy factories will be a no brainer.
Beware a combination with Taylorism.

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Capitalization
Benefit: +£2 every time you gain money with a worker
Points: 1 VP / £2
Very hard to use efficiently.
Cries for as many workers as possible, as you're guaranteed to get a huge amount of money even if you start phase II later than other players. Put your workers next to characters.

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Engineering
Benefit: +1 VP for each worker used on a card with a factory symbol
Points: 1 VP / card with a factory symbol
Very interesting technique.
As you pointed out, great early to reach the 8 VPs / 20 VPs quickly.
Over the course of the game, can give a huge number of VPs. I think my personal best is at 18 VPs, including the 7 from the factories.
I sense a rule mistake in what you said : you score again the VPs of your factories, not 1 VP per factory you have. 2 factories are enough to max it out (or come close).

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Lobbying
Benefit: Activate a card without paying extra for workers around it
Points: 1 VP / position on the residence track
Yep, great technique, always good.
High potential of screwage, as you can buy very early a card with a huge number of workers around.

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Crane
Benefit: -£3 to cost of building space
Points: 1 VP / building
Very hard to use efficiently.
It's a late technology, as the bonus really only really kicks in from the 3rd spot. Look for cheap buildings. You'll need a lot of workers to buy at the very least 1 building per turn and get the necessary money to do so while still grabbing other interesting opportunities. In other words, look for the worker buildings.

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Taylorism
Benefit: Reuse a building during your turn
Points: 1 VP / worker
Yep, insane with factories.
Pile up the Spyrium in the early game, and unleash the 20-30 VPs per turn for the last 2 turns. You really need to plan ahead and get many workers, minimum 6. This is where the mid-heavy factory shines (1W+2S for 6 VPs / 2W+3S for 10 VPs) : maximum flexibility in the twice-usage of the factory.
The big university can be a nice option too if you don't have much Spyrium.

HandEyeProtege wrote:
Commerce
Benefit: Choose the value of a token
Points: 1 VP / token collected
Very strong technique. I have to disagree, it is not situational at all. Much less than many others.
Very, very strong with the character that gives you Spyrium based on a token. Pile up Spyrium and use it on big factories at the end of the game. Can get you some safe cheap moves (like the character that gives VPs based on a token) and a tempo advantage (you can wait before grabbing a token as you can change the value).
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Pierre Beri
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I've never seen a player winning without any techniques and I've read this is very rare.

What about making techniques cost £7? Probably wouldn't make them unattractive, while opening another path to victory and playing with the magic number in Spyrium: 7.
 
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George I.
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beri2 wrote:
I've never seen a player winning without any techniques and I've read this is very rare.

What about making techniques cost £7? Probably wouldn't make them unattractive, while opening another path to victory and playing with the magic number in Spyrium: 7.
£6 is already very expensive. A player won't likely get more than 2 in the entire game; usually, I only buy 1 technique.
 
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Pierre Beri
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Picon wrote:
£6 is already very expensive. A player won't likely get more than 2 in the entire game; usually, I only buy 1 technique.
I guess you would buy 1 for £7. Spyrium is a game with extreme winning strategies: no mine, no factory, no residence, no additional workers, but there is no no-technique strategy (or once in 50 games). Meaning techniques are not very expensive.
 
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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beri2 wrote:
I've never seen a player winning without any techniques and I've read this is very rare.
I've noticed that the more experienced I am, the less techniques I use. I think that I average at roughly 0.8 techniques per game lately. I very rarely use 2.
You can win without techniques. Even more with good players at the table.
 
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