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The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Strategy Notes for Beginning Players rss

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Justin Baumgartner
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The more I play of this game, the more that I enjoy it. It is, however, one of the more subtle games I've played and so far has a few frustrating elements for new players.

As such, I'd like to accumulate some brief strategy tips that I can give people when I'm teaching the game (and I expect to teach the game fairly often) and I'm hoping the people here can help me do that.

There are three primary areas I'd like to address so far:
1) Managing the UN track. The impact it has seems to be pretty big, but understanding when to dedicate the resources to it vs using them to build their engine isn't intuitive.

2) Buildings. When is it good to specialize, when is it good to go wide and have multiple building types. Is it always good to specialize?

3) End Game. The way the end game works has been the most frustrating part of the game for new players. Sometimes the end game happens and all they get to do is generate. Sometimes a player (or players) will get one less turn than other people (first player will never have this happen to them, last player will have it happen to them the most). Managing that last turn is also unintuitive.

I've got some ideas but need time to flesh them out but I thought I'd kick this out there to start.
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Sean Geraghty
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Micanthropyre wrote:
3) End Game. The way the end game works has been the most frustrating part of the game for new players. Sometimes the end game happens and all they get to do is generate. Sometimes a player (or players) will get one less turn than other people (first player will never have this happen to them, last player will have it happen to them the most). Managing that last turn is also unintuitive.


I'll focus on this as I have been burned so many times by this that I came up with a way to combat it.

ALWAYS save at least 2 tokens (workers/energy - whatever combo) for your generate phase when you get into the last three Global Impact Cards. This will allow you to, at the very least, grab an achievement token. This action will only score from 1-5 points on your last turn of the game, but it's better than scoring nothing (which has happened to many people too many times to count).

If you adopt this strategy, you will get at least 4 achievement tokens (including the one you start with) for a maximum of 20 points. Of course board state will not always allow for this, but it should absolutely be considered when you are on or near the last stack of pollution.
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Ian M
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One 'gotcha' I would make sure to point out is that Achievements max out at 5 points. In our first game, one player just produced and produced resources thinking he'd be able to spend one turn converting them all to plastic for a point each with the commercial board spot, and net like 15 or 20 points from the one achievement...womp womp. Nope.

Also, be *really* clear on the difference between a building that can be used twice for a single worker/energy cost with the split action spaces, and the double cost buildings that can only be used once. That caught up one player too.

I played as the Soviets and won our first game. I chose an early achievement that wanted clean woods, went science production heavy for the UN bumps and cleanup ability, claimed a clean air achievement, was using the Science lab building to get science and peek at the events, trying my best to manage which spaces I was cleaning up for the event points, and ended up with a fully clean board by the end of the game, 3 maxed out achievements (clean air, clean woods, and gov't buildings), and tied for first on the UN track with only three bumps.

I went for the science production, but what I failed to realize was that I wasn't going to be doing many industrial actions, so I didn't have a reliable source of oil production, so I didn't get to do as many UN bumps as I intended. We were also playing with the Missile Crisis card, which locked out UN bumps right when I had the resources to make them.

So, my recommendation for a new player:

1. Managing the UN track: Make sure you get buildings that produce each of the resources you need for your UN bumps. If possible, they should be from the same section (Commercial, Industrial, Government) so that you could do one board action, two building actions, and one UN bump action in a single turn, for optimum action efficiency. Each of the sections seems to have a couple buildings that will produce a resource that section doesn't produce. i.e. as Soviet Union once I got my science production, I should have heavily prioritized the National Resource, as that would have produced oil when needed.

2. That sort of rolls into the Buildings recommendations: If you're going to specialize in a section, I would recommend prioritizing the buildings in that section that produce things that *are NOT* produced by board spaces in that section. So, oil or money production in the government section, cleanup in the industrial section, and...I didn't pay much attention to the commercial buildings, so I'm not sure which resource to point out.

3. End game: This is really just about understanding the timing. You have to watch the pollution tokens and make sure that you generate at least one turn BEFORE the last token is taken. At the end game, either someone is going to be rushing the end, or everyone is going to be delaying it. If everyone is delaying, and not taking things that pollute, then it will trigger as people generate, because you always take at least one token for generating.

Maybe to play it safe as a beginner, make sure you generate when there is one token left per player in the game? That should easily give you enough workers and energy to do two turns, maybe a turn and a generate for an achievement, or two turns and an generate/achievement grab.
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Justin Baumgartner
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Solid points all around. Thank you folks so far!

Ian559 wrote:
I went for the science production, but what I failed to realize was that I wasn't going to be doing many industrial actions, so I didn't have a reliable source of oil production, so I didn't get to do as many UN bumps as I intended. We were also playing with the Missile Crisis card, which locked out UN bumps right when I had the resources to make them.


The game we played last night I made a similar mistake. I took West Germany without any buildings in any area visible that produced the resources I needed for UN and so my first two or three work turns were largely spent durdling along. I think (similar to Terra Mystica) that the starting state of the board, specifically the starting achievements and the buildings available on the markets, are really important when choosing your country.

I was however able to make a strong push (not strong enough, but close) at the end of the game because I was able to utilize Government, which I didn't do often during the game.

In RE: #2 to myself, I find that the double worker planks on the high VP buildings are particularly good to grab in "off color" buildings. If I'm going heavy Industrial for action economy, I still want to have a high VP double plank building in the other two colors for the times that I do take one of those actions. Those buildings should also play partially into my core strategy as well, producing something that I need.
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Jonathan George

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don't forget that you get more money for going last... It may not seem like a big deal, but it is... I'm sure after the community logs more plays the true balance of this game will be narrowed out. Just house rule or wait for the designers Errata...
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Luke Laurie
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Peeking at Global Impact Cards:

Remember that when you peek at global impact cards that you don't need to peek at the next one that's going to occur. You can peek at one that will be occurring in a round or two, to give yourself time to plan and prepare. Peeking at those cards can provide a significant strategic advantage.
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Ian M
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LL Games wrote:
Peeking at Global Impact Cards:

Remember that when you peek at global impact cards that you don't need to peek at the next one that's going to occur. You can peek at one that will be occurring in a round or two, to give yourself time to plan and prepare. Peeking at those cards can provide a significant strategic advantage.


Yeah, I'll chime back in here and say that the peeking ability from the science lab was WAY more useful than I thought it would be. I was only going for the cheap science production, and I'm usually okay just letting unknown stuff like that happen, since it's unknown for everyone. Since I was going with a heavy cleanup strategy, having a focused short term event based direction for that cleanup, followed by a long term achievement based direction for the cleanup was very helpful over the game.
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Jason W.
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I was the one who brought MP:EE to the table with
Ian M
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and others to play. It is an awesome game! Agree with Ian. Was a 4P game and all our first time playing, but we didn't push the UN track till the end. Pushing that more is a huge jump in points. Gets some achievements early on and utilize them. Go for structures that might combo others you own.
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Max Jamelli
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In my first game (which was a 2P) the UN track was pushed hard early. I think it was largely because my opponent drew the achievement token for UN and wanted to max it out - but I've seen games (I've only played 4 times, but all of them have) where there is a race to that 17 spot (which is essentially worth 20).
 
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