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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Strategy

Subject: When to use Prestige bonuses rss

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philosophyguy
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I'm just starting to play BoW and trying to wrap my head around the Prestige bonuses. The search option makes a lot of sense, and I understand the value of the Consume x2 -> Consume x3 bonus in the endgame. I'm having a harder time grasping the other Prestige bonuses. I get why they are all useful in absolute terms, but they seem underpowered in relative terms.

So, here are some questions:

1) Do you think the Prestige bonuses are balanced, or are some over/underpowered?

2) Which bonuses do you use most frequently in your games?

3) How do you decide when to use your bonus for the game?
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Serge Levert
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I tend to use the Prestige bonus on non-x3 most of the time. I'm not sure if it's because it's the right play, or because i have an unconscious desire to go against the status quo. Or it might be because i'm always playing Race in an experimental way, to learn how to play edge cases (or maybe just because i'm a fiend for new experiences). "This seems like a good spot to P-I+5, whee let's do itt!"

philosophyguy wrote:
1) Do you think the Prestige bonuses are balanced, or are some over/underpowered?

The only one i think is weak is P-I. Gaining only 1 card for spending your prestige feels a bit weak to me, even if it occurs before the build phases.

philosophyguy wrote:
2) Which bonuses do you use most frequently in your games?

In order, probably something like:
P-II
P-$
P-V
P-IV(x3)
P-III
P-I+5
P-I+1

The only reason P-III is so far down the list, is i have a blind spot for remembering it can be used to play +2 military worlds (or +2 attack/defense in takeovers). It's such a strong move, i just never think of it. Also, it's hard to ever make full use of -3 to settle, there aren't that many good expensive worlds that make it worthwhile.

philosophyguy wrote:
3) How do you decide when to use your bonus for the game?

Generally i'm looking to use my Prestige/Search at the earliest possible moment, because the value of card draw/cost reduction becomes lower and lower as the game progresses. If i don't need to Search on Turn 1 to make my hand playable, i'm looking to spend my first Prestige the turn after i get it. Even if i'm setting up an engine, i'll P-V the first crank if my handsize starts at a low number.

If my handsize won't overflow, i'll P-$ at my first occasion (i don't use the discard for VP power unless i'll overflow or it's late game/etc.)

Occasionally you'll Search for 6-dev or something just before the midgame to give you some direction.

When Military, sometimes you don't know early on whether you'll need +military to play the big military worlds you drew, or whether you'll have plenty of military and need to find a big target. For this reason, with military i will usually Search mid-game. This may be another reason i don't P-III with the +2 military: you're sacrificing a Prestige and the possibility of Searching for a 5+ defense target.

If i forgot to use the P/S action or didn't find a spot for it, i'll use it to X3 by default if i have any sort of engine. Or gamble and try to find a matching 6-dev.

There's so much going on with the P/S card, and i actually think it's been discussed far, far less than it deserves. Also i think it's a huge part of why BoW is the best format of the game (for me). There's enormous complexity, variability and replayability built into that one card. We've only touched the tip of the iceberg. Like, in my life, in 700 plays, i've probably P-III'd at most 5 times. There's tremendous room for improvement there, for me to find optimal spots to use it. That's true for each option.
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Kenneth H
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Nice thread idea. This is the weakest part of my BoW play by far - I so rarely think to use the Prestige/Search card. Of course I can recognize the time for x3 consuming, and I've used it a few times for cards via produce or desperation developing. On the search side, I think I've only used it to try to grab an early military boost, or to sustain a military engine with a 5+ world.

Any tips for expanding perspectives on this card?
 
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Serge Levert
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Flamethrower49 wrote:
Any tips for expanding perspectives on this card?

Just keep the action at the forefront of your mind (and keep the P/S card at the front of your hand of action cards, perhaps?) Every time you're choosing an action, first analyze how P/S could be used in that situation. Basically, make sure you never end the game with the P/S action unused, that's most of the battle right there. You'll find yourself looking for an excuse to use it.

It definitely sounds like you have a lot more room to use the Search action especially. I haven't done any statistics, but i wouldn't be surprised to see that i use Search half the time and the Prestige action half the time.

Every category is useful in some situation. Using the search breakdown of each category can help you visualize (and/or calculate) situations where each can be used effectively.
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Alex Brown
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Overwhelmingly I use the Prestige/Search function these ways:

i) searching for +1/+2 military development if I have a tradeable windfall world.

ii) searching for an Uplift symbol world if I have +2 military available.

iii) holding out for x3 consumption if any possibility of consumption strategy.

iv) searching for a military world of 5+ defence.

v) searching for a 6-cost dev if unable to get prestige by the late game.

vi) occasionally using -3 Settle for settling enormous worlds quickly.

vii) searching for a takeover power if both players go early military.

Only use other powers in corner cases.
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Tom Lehmann
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As the Alien Research Team, if I don't need an early Search to find an Alien world, I find myself using the Settle Prestige bonus to place a 6-9 cost Alien world at -4 cost (with ART). Getting Alien Departure Point down in the early mid-game can be huge.

I've also used Prestige Settle to place Imperium Capital in the early mid-game to grab the Prestige lead by consuming two goods for Prestige.

In general, I think P-Settle at -3 is underused. People focus on P-dev at -2 for a 6-dev and don't consider various lines involving expensive worlds.
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pI+5... if I'm desperate for either a good world or dev, I'll do this. You could super search if you're looking for a specific thing, but this is more of a broadsword type deal as opposed to a "scalpel precision" search. Oh, if you have either card that lets you discard a card to get a PP, this gives you a point while you're at it.

pI+1... similar here, but if I need the extra keep more to better build stuff.

pII to desparately get in a good dev. Imperium Planet Buster at 9-cost is an obvious one. It's worth 9pts. Last round to get a 6-cost dev that's worth mucho points. Use this to build a 6-cost earlier for the Galactic Status 1st goal (6-cost dev with '?'). For good kickstart boost to your engine.

III for either or both. Sometimes, the +2 temp military gets you that military world for mucho points. Even more with 6-cost bonuses. -3 cheaper worlds that score points too, or early on for engines (like Lost Species Ark World, and a incoming III will likely mean it'll pay for itself soon). Combine this with pfmw powers to pay for those high defense worlds. You can even use both... the discount to pay for the military world, while the +2 military bonus either lets you III another world via Improved Logistics, or adds to your TO defense.

pIV$ is good if trading what you have won't fill your hand to your hand limit or up to +2 over. Helpful if you want to better ensure you'll be able to build a 6-cost and a world, or otherwise build as much good and/or as cheap stuff as possible. Just so you don't get stuck with nothing if the game ended up ending (of course, if you trade, you generally want to have another round to use those cards), at least you can IV the remaining goods at x2, an pay up to 2 from hand for VP.

IVx3 is a way to end the game a whole 1 or 2 rounds sooner. Especially sneaky if it's used to get the VP pool to just 0, -1, or something very close. Also deadly in uncommon moments where multiple players use IVx2 and/or IVx3 to REALLY empty the pool out in a single IV phase. I have yet to use this to sprint for Galactic Status Of Living 1st goal (5 VP). I try to use this only if it gets me at least 12 VP, as it's always -1pt since the PP itself used to activate the Prestige power is now gone

pV generally conflicts with IVx3 since using that means your OPG is done. I end up using this moreso when I'm in it for the 3 cards and the game won't end that round. This can be helpful to get the Galactic Riches 1st goal (4 goods on tableau) when you have something like 2 production worlds and 2 windfall worlds. Otherwise, the extra good gets you a single VP as a tertiary bonus. However, all the better if it was something like a brown, green, or yellow good that gets used for something specific (e.g. 1 PP, +2 temp military, II or III discount)
 
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