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Subject: Alien Empire Scenarios - sending distress signal! rss

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Gator Skin
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Recently I have been learning and playing SE4X and have found it extremely fun and easy to learn, including all of the optional rules and up through the solo Doomsday Machine scenarios.

That all came screeching to a halt with the Alien Empire scenarios. I simply don't understand the Alien Player turns. I'm not even close to understanding it. I've read through old threads but could only find specific answers to things I'm not to the point of understanding yet. Clearly, the fault is mine--plenty of others are playing with no problem. But I'm stymied with so many questions I don't know where to begin.

So I'm throwing myself on the mercy of the BGG fans. Rather than ask 100 questions, is there simply a place/way to learn this better? Something that would stand in for a tutorial or extended example of play?

Lost in space,
GS.
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Ed T
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I'm not sure there are any other examples of play or tutorials floating around for the AP scenarios, but starting from the beginning, what are the issues you are having?
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Rahul Chandra
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I can try to give a paraphrased sequence of play with a little example for now, hopefully this will help clarify so you can get to more specific questions.

Setup: photocopy the Alien Econ Sheet (back page of scenario book) to record their CP/Fleets, it also tells you what their Econ rolls do. Each alien just gets a homeworld, no other planets.

On the aliens' economic turns, assuming easier difficulty settings:
Roll a d10 for each "Econ" value they have (starts as 1). Depending on the die rolls, give them 5 CP in the appropriate categories of Fleet/Tech/Def. This chart changes turn-by-turn and is on the Econ Sheet. If they roll Econ (early turns only) then three turns later they will get extra Econ (for the rest of the game). If they roll Def, give them 10 per roll instead of 5. Then roll to see if a fleet is launched, also on the Econ Sheet (on turn 2-3 it always is, on turn 4 it is on 1-5 on a d10, etc). If they have at least 6 CP in "Fleet" and you made the die roll, put a ship counter down and assign it all of the Fleet CP but do not find out what the fleet has in it. So if they have 10 Fleet CP I might take a Miner counter, and on the sheet I will write "Miner - 10" or just put 2 "5" counters under the Miner.

On the aliens' movement turns (always after the human, and I go from left to right but not sure it's specified):
Each fleet moves towards the human homeworld, via other human planets and possibly ships. The movement rules can be a bit weird but if you just keep them moving towards you and hitting your undefended stuff while avoiding fleets that will generally cover it.

When their fleet meets one of yours, or attacks a planet, they spend their Tech CP on Technologies and the saved Fleet CP (so 10 in the above example, no matter how many Fleet CP have been added since then) to make a fleet. Left over CP (say they built a DD for 9, 1 will be left over) get returned to the Fleet column for future fleets. So now I could replace that Miner counter with a DD and a "1".

When you attack their homeworld they spend the Def points on mines and bases, and the fleet points on a fleet. If they survive that fleet will then come for you as well.
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Gator Skin
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Evanston
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OK, I suppose I can start with my very first questions.

The first Econ Phase has various oddities, so let's pretend it's the second Econ Phase. The human player (me) finishes the phase. Now it is the Alien Player (AP) turn.

- It makes an Econ Roll. It rolls within 4-10, which means "Tech." I'm playing the Easy game, so that's 5 pts into the Tech column.

- Next the AP does a Fleet Launch Roll. The rules read, "If the Fleet Launch die roll is unsuccessful, the AP is done for the Economic Phase." I take this at face value: no purchasing technology, no building fleets, no putting any other CPs into any other columns, nada -- proceed on to turn 3, correct?

- However, the Fleet Launch range is 1-10, so the roll is an automatic success. But the rules state "A fleet will never launch if there is less than 6 CPs in the fleet column" and there are 0 CPs in the fleet column. So I guess this counts as a failure? Skip buying technology and proceed to turn 3?

Plenty more questions, but let's start there. Thanks!
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Rahul Chandra
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Correct on both, it will just save those Tech CP for later. Fleets aren't built nor tech purchased, until the AP needs them. Movement is the only tech purchased outside of combat, and that at fleet launch.
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Ed T
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Until they launch a fleet (and they have to meet those very specific conditions that you are correctly noting Gator Skin), just think of the AP player as banking up CPs until a valid launch occurs, then imagine that AP "fleet" as carrying those CPs and not spending them on new ships / non movement technology until you encounter them. AP turns should actually go pretty fast most of the time once you get a hang of it conceptually.
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Niko
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Something that helped me immensely were the flowcharts published in the Close Encounters scenario book. The more visual representation was much easier to wrap my head around than the written paragraphs.

If you are just playing with the base game rules they might be slightly confusing since they include branches for the rules and slightly modified scenario introduced in CE, so your mileage on how helpful they are may vary.
The scenario book is available here in the file section of BGG so you should definitely take a look and see if that makes it easier to understand for you.
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/84322/scenario-book
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Rahul Chandra
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A flowchart has been made for the base game as well, with some typos but still usable:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/69353/alien-player-ai-flo...
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Gator Skin
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All right, team. With your help, I've stumbled through a few battles. I think it's going well, but a few questions have come up.

1. Are extra Alien Econ rolls cumulative? Example: If it's turn 5, which demands 2 Econ rolls, but on turn 4, there was an *extra* Econ roll I had to add, do I then have to roll 3 Econs on turn 5? (In other words, if I roll poorly throughout, by turn 20 I could be rolling 10 Econ rolls or whatever.)

2. Once the Alien fleet is revealed, the battle just proceeds like a normal battle, correct?

3. Does the Alien start with 0 Tactics? I assume so, but I don't see it stated.

4. I'm also assuming the Alien pays the same price for all technologies and ships that the human player does?

At ease, troops.
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Ed T
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gatorskin wrote:
All right, team. With your help, I've stumbled through a few battles. I think it's going well, but a few questions have come up.

1. Are extra Alien Econ rolls cumulative? Example: If it's turn 5, which demands 2 Econ rolls, but on turn 4, there was an *extra* Econ roll I had to add, do I then have to roll 3 Econs on turn 5? (In other words, if I roll poorly throughout, by turn 20 I could be rolling 10 Econ rolls or whatever.)

2. Once the Alien fleet is revealed, the battle just proceeds like a normal battle, correct?

3. Does the Alien start with 0 Tactics? I assume so, but I don't see it stated.

4. I'm also assuming the Alien pays the same price for all technologies and ships that the human player does?

At ease, troops.


1. Yep.

2. Yep, except they never screen ships.

3. Correct.

4. Yes.
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Gator Skin
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We are getting closer! I have attacked an enemy fleet. The Aliens had Ship Size tech 2 and the fleet had 25 CPs. It rolled Largest Ship, then Largest Ship again, and thus bought 2 DDs at 20 CP total. That left 5 CPs. The only thing you can buy for 5 CPs is a Mine, so do I forgo another roll and just buy a Mine?

(Same question if I had only 6 CPs left--would I automatically buy a Scout? It's unclear how hard I should be trying to use every last CP.)

Colm--I started to download that Java app and my computer was so adamant about it being an "untrustworthy source" that I bailed out, worrying that the app might have become infected!
 
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Rahul Chandra
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It only makes one roll, but also it starts with building a "flagship" (largest ship, not to be mistaken for the expansion Flagships).

So: Build a DD. 16 remain. Roll: largest ships. Build a DD, 7 CP remain. Build a SC as nothing else fits. Return 1 CP to the Fleet column.

Same situation, starting with 50 CP: Build a DD, leaving 41. Roll largest ships, build 4 more DD leaving 5 for the Fleet colum.

They won't build mines in a fleet, only with the Defence CPs at the homeworlds.

e: Also, DD cost 9 not 10.
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