Travis Morton
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Seth Jaffee made a game he, and TMG, should be proud of. It is, and is not, a microgame. It has more depth than any other microgame without a book of rules. And it plays in 10 minutes. I would like to honor the excellent design by dissecting the near-perfect balance and view the less talked about micro-strategies.

Game Design:
-The balance of this game comes from a 4×4 Punnett Square.
-There are 4 Warfare, Political, Research, and Colonize card sets.
-Each 'set' has an icon for Research, Capital, Warfare, and Colonize.
-The Colonize iconed cards score for Planets, Warfare for Spoils, Research for Tech, and the Capital each score for a different Planet Type.
-The 'Black' planets are Prestige, and do not have a scoring type.
**Both are Colonization Cost 3
-The 2 Survey cards that do not fit the Punnett Square count Capital icons, yet have no point reference by other cards.

Colonization:
This is an early aggressive play. The 0 Cost planets (4 of them) can be gotten immediately with the first Colonization action. This makes it tempting to settle early on this route.

Later plays requiring 2 or 3 icons mean there usually is a turn of interacting with your Discard Pile; be it returning it or Political Science.

There is also only 1 Planet costing 0 that has the appropriate icon. There are 2 more in the 2 cost section.

With all the Colonization Action Cards scoring planet count, being greedy on both constant play and acquisition can tip the scales quickly.

Survey card are acceptable in this strategy. As long as you can keep the cards straight, finding the 'Wild' planet (all 4 types) in the stack of 3 Cost may strengthen the other cards you took during game. Another 3 cost Planet acts like Mobilization and gives a +1 Defense, however it is a Prestige and will not count for the Planet Type scoring. Each Survey card lets you interact with the end goal. One lets you peek, then act again (possibly Colonizing); the other allows you to reclaim a needed card, or take away a valuable one. If you do option 2 and steal a card they needed, well then they need to waste a turn using the same Survey to do the same, effectively giving you 10 turns to their 8; because they lost a turn to undo a normal turn.

Political Science gives a card back to hand. You can both reclaim an icon in hand, and grab the Colonization Tech; increasing all acquires thereafter.

Political Party is the final card that sticks out. It has an icon (therefore Planet scoring bonus), and it gets another play from the Discard, valuable in most parts of the game to pull ahead in Planet count.

The subtlety of the other Poltical cards lies in their overall impact. Political Power can either make a better 3 card layout, or hide the cards you need till later. You can arrange them as needed, so make sure if you want a card, to line it up for one of your turns. (That can be countered by someone taking a card from the top of the deck, changing the fall of new cards). All the while, Power reinforces you Planets against Warfare.

Political Intrigue interrupts the plans of the opponent, and in Discard it lets you get more information about the better choices each turn for the Draw phase. (Countered by Political Party)

--Research in Colonization--
Grabbing Tech helps. Certain Tech definately helps more. Mobilization helps keep your Planets as yours; Colonization helps you reach the coveted 2 and 3 icons; and Research lets yoh double dip the support.

Research can do many things, and it has its own tree of victory. But for this cause, it disrupts, secures, and adds points. The most valuable is of course the ones with either the Colonization or Research icons.

Once the Tech has been divided, later game Research, especially 2x activated, takes your opponent's advantages from them and allows you to get them. Keeping your icons up and your opponent's down may be the differnce in warding off Warfare.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Re: Microcosm Macro-analysis: in depth observations and considerations (Part 1)
I will just add that your early run at colonization will be met by my early run at warfare.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Re: Microcosm Macro-analysis: in depth observations and considerations (Part 1)
and i'll add that I have won a game with only a single colonize card and no warfare cards. It was glorious.
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Travis Morton
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Re: Microcosm Macro-analysis: in depth observations and considerations (Part 1)
Colonization vs. Warfare:
This is a topic for a later part. But, Colonization has an easier time gaining than Warfare does defeating. If the one with Colonization disrupts, or cuts off icons from Warfare, the battle is stalled I their favor. You can technically go as high as +3 DEF with Tech, Politics, and the 3 Cost Planet. Just +1 is rough, +2 is almost unbeatable.

Mind you this is 2 crazy people dedicating their entire game to a principal. In reality it is all relative to the flux of the game. But Warfare can overcome Colonization if they aren't serious or are caught napping.

This is all Theorycraft, and in the end it is a 9 turn exchange.
 
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Steven Tu
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My experience after day one with the game, and playing it wrong to boot (didn't know the icon on the card played itself counted), was that capitalizing on colonizing power is possibly lopsided - the theory is that a warfare heavy opponent can disrupt by turning colonies into spoils, but the higher defence of colonies once acquired AND various defence bonuses AND the fact that half the warfare icons are on planets (meaning that the colonizing leader will typically have a stronger warfare icon presence) means that... It is super difficult to retaliate against colonizing with warfare.

Hmmm...
 
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