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Subject: Preparing for the Galactic War rss

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Matt Smith
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I realize the game isn't in backers hands just yet, but I've been reading the rulebook and pondering the whole debate around the impact of the Galactic War (GW), and the decision to have the Sentinels fight with 8 instead of 5 cubes in the GW. Based on the card and token appendices, there are 6 Military Science (MS) cubes available, plus 8 MS from the planets, for a total of 14 MS. In a 4-player game, that equates to a player having 6-7 cubes on average, assuming all of the cards/tokens that grant cubes come into play and are taken equally by the players. If non of these cards/tokens enters play, only the 8 MS on the planets can be claimed, putting the average player at 5 MS.

Using the non-random variant table thread from BGG user
Robert F-C
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, a player with 5 MS should expect to have 2/3/5/6 losses (each loss = 1 trooper/hero or 2 other figures) against 1/2/3/4 sentinels. The conclusion here is if you have majority control of a planet with 3 or more sentinels on it, don't expect to still have majority control after the GW unless you have many more figures than the second-place player.

A player with 7 MS should expect to have 1/2/3/5 losses against 1/2/3/4 sentinels. Against 3+ Sentinels, even with two more MS, unless you have at least 4 more figures than the second-place player and 3 of those are trooper/hero figures, you should expect to lose majority control.

So, based on this rough analysis, the way to give yourself a chance to retain majority control on a planet after the GW is do all of the following:
- Ensure there are 2 or fewer Sentinels on the planet at the start of the GW
- Have at least 7 MS cubes
- Have at least 2 trooper/hero figures on the planet
- Have at least 3 more figures than the second-place player

Obviously, trying to defend a first-place position isn't the only way to prepare for the GW. If you see another player controlling a planet that hasn't prepared for the GW as described above, that planet becomes a target for you to be the second-place player, assuming you can prepare to clean up any remaining Sentinels. You can't just dump a few rebels there, have no extra MS cubes and expect to outlast the Sentinels. But if you have 2 troopers/heroes and a couple of rebels, plus 5 MS cubes, you can expect to take out 1 Sentinel, maybe 2 if you have a bit of luck. Assuming the first-place player whittled the Sentinels down to 1 or 2, you should be able to survive.

I don't know if this analysis was helpful to anyone, but it has helped me to look at the GW as something I can definitely prepare to benefit from (if I'm not in first place on a planet), or at least survive (if I am in first place on a planet). It also reinforces the decision to have stronger Sentinels in the GW, as it forces players to make many tough decisions regarding how they influence the planets, and how they approach using their specialists. The straightforward strategy in Empires: Age of Discovery of "place guys in the colonies so that I have 1st or 2nd majority" doesn't work here. You have to also take into consideration how many Sentinels and what types of specialists are on the planet, how many MS cubes each player on the planet has, and how many turns are left to manipulate those factors. To me, that's a huge benefit of having the GW in the game.
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Robert F-C
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Interesting thoughts Matt. I too am hoping that the key to Galactic War is how you look at it (and correspondingly how you present it to the other players when teaching the game) rather than just trying to survive and retain the majority being the only tactic. That tactic is obviously very difficult/inefficient if there are more than 1 Sentinel present on a planet.

However, I couldn't see anywhere in the rulebook where it says that Heroes count as two Workers when taking losses due to combat (only when defending due to the Warfare event box).
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Matt Smith
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WhereAreTheBlackDice wrote:
However, I couldn't see anywhere in the rulebook where it says that Heroes count as two Workers when taking losses due to combat (only when defending due to the Warfare event box).

In the rulebook section "V. Galactic War", it says:

"Galactic Warfare is handled exactly the same as regular Warfare."

The Warfare section says:

"Defending with a Hero or a Trooper means that the most that player can lose is just that Worker."

So the way I read it, this also applies to the Galactic War. When preparing for the GW, choose your defenders wisely.
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Glenn Drover
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During playtest we had a couple of people who were shocked at how devastating the galactic war could be...the first time they played the game. Once they knew that it could be deadly, they mitigated the risk far better during the next game...or at least were not surprised when things went off the rails at the end if they didn't.

I'm wondering if I should offer an optional rule for Galactic Warfare for those who don't like the current rules. Perhaps something as simple as: each Sentinel eliminates one rebel belonging to the leading player (troopers count as 2). This misses the investment in military tech, but is quick and simple.


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Matt Smith
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Budley wrote:
During playtest we had a couple of people who were shocked at how devastating the galactic war could be...the first time they played the game. Once they knew that it could be deadly, they mitigated the risk far better during the next game...or at least were not surprised when things went off the rails at the end if they didn't.

I'm wondering if I should offer an optional rule for Galactic Warfare for those who don't like the current rules. Perhaps something as simple as: each Sentinel eliminates one rebel belonging to the leading player (troopers count as 2). This misses the investment in military tech, but is quick and simple.

Personally, I'd hate to see the impact of military tech removed from the Galactic War, as that would drastically change the value of scientists, early planetary influence actions, and some of the CM cards and Technologies.

Instead, it may be enough to have a variant where the Sentinels attack with 5 cubes in the GW. That way the threat is lessened, but still there. Military tech is still important, and should have a bigger positive affect in the GW. The impact of the GW will be less dramatic, but still uncertain.

If you want to offer a "no luck, fast resolution" variant to the current GW, then your suggestion to "eliminate 1 rebel per Sentinel from the leading player" could work just fine. Prior to the GW, players can still take actions to affect the outcome of the GW by adding/removing/moving Sentinels, use of trooper/hero specialists for better defense, etc.
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Glenn Drover
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It would just be an optional rule for those who, even after learning the game and optimizing their strategy, still don't like it.

I'd hate to have people walk away from the game over just that. Tom Vasel said in his review that until that point he considered the game an 8 or a 9.

I honestly believe that if he played it again knowing what to expect, that the problems that he experienced would not exist. But just in case... ;-)

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Lawrence Myers
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Agreed, the GW can seem pretty brutal to new players and an experienced player might be able to take advantage of this.

Just to throw in my opinion again, how able after the 1st Epoch there is a simulated Galactic war of 1 Sentinel on each planet with no losses so that players can see what's gonna happen at the end of the game.
 
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Dave

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I am assuming the GW attack would not alternate to the second ranking player after the leading one is reduced below the second highest, correct?
So if that is true, wouldn't it be better to just position yourself as second in a number of places hoping 1 goes to first and getting some cheap second place points in the others?

It seems a huge burden to take the entire initial attack and then still have more than the second place guy.
 
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