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Subject: Making use of Animal and Microbe cards... rss

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made-uP Club blondE
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I have only played TM four times, but the game seems to accelerate too quickly for anyone in my gaming group to make extensive use of Animal and Microbe cards. It seems so much easier to find more efficient feedback loops and income earlier in the game that by the time most of the Animal/Microbe cards become playable, the game is a turn or two away from ending.

To those who have played this dozens of times: How frequently would you say these cards receive play in your game groups?
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Jeff Noel
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Pretty often. I don't think I've seen people do well focusing heavily on microbes, but I think it's possible. As for animals, I've seen Pets score nearly ten points on a few occasions. And the late-game point-per-generation animals (Livestock, Fish, and Birds) are pretty efficient even if you only get a couple points out of them. And much more so if you couple them with an event that adds animals.
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Lorry Moller
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Microbes seem to be popular in my group, but nothing particularly broken or game-changing. The corp that can shift o2/temp/ocean requirements up or down can get animals down early enough to squeeze more points out of them.

Generally there aren't enough of them in the game to make an engine out of, but if your group plays with drafting it will help get enough synergies going to make a small microbe/animal engine.

You may want to save your space events that add cubes to other cards for later in the game; those cubes are worth more points as later-in-the-game-fish than they are as early-in-the-game-fungus
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Matthieu Fontaines
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There is always someone playing some animals or microbes during a game. But that's not the main reason they win the game. Pets and tardigrade are really the favorite, when played early, tardigrades may earn 4 or 5 points, while I've seen pets score 8 points (with the good events, and due to the fact they are immune to attacks)
Herbivores may also be quite earning, especially for a player with heavy plant prod.

All in all, not really game changing, but they may provide just the sufficient points to win the game
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Florian Ruckeisen
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GoddessInTriptych wrote:
To those who have played this dozens of times: How frequently would you say these cards receive play in your game groups?

Like, all the time. cool

Are you playing with or without Corporate Era, btw? Many of the microbe cards can be played very early and will thus benefit from the increased playing time of CE.
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Ian Noble
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Snapshot wrote:
GoddessInTriptych wrote:
To those who have played this dozens of times: How frequently would you say these cards receive play in your game groups?

Like, all the time. cool

Are you playing with or without Corporate Era, btw? Many of the microbe cards can be played very early and will thus benefit from the increased playing time of CE.


This! When we played without CE cards there weren't enough round and enough cards to boost the microbes or animals. But last night we added the CE cards and 2 of the 4 players made good use of microbes and animals. Neither of this had a corporation that helped this, which would make it even better.
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Steve
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It also varies by player count. With fewer players the game runs longer. If you're playing with 4-5 each time, I wouldn't expect to see those cards be as valuable as with lower player counts.
 
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Steve Cohn
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Same here, fairly often, nearly every game someone has animals or microbes or both in play. Pets comes out fairly often, especially since it scores regardless of who is placing cities.
 
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Vergililus De Kat
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I don't really see people build an "engine" around them, but animals can give you extra points or microbes help you with terraforming (and give you points that way).
jeff0 wrote:
...I've seen Pets score nearly ten points on a few occasions. And the late-game point-per-generation animals (Livestock, Fish, and Birds) are pretty efficient even if you only get a couple points out of them...
Oh yeah, in one of our last games a player put down pets on generation 1!
Thank god each puppy is only 1/2 VP
For me, animals are nice bonus points. Just add VP's every generation whistle
LorryMoller wrote:
...The corp that can shift o2/temp/ocean requirements up or down can get animals down early enough to squeeze more points out of them...
I used Inventrix to put down both Small Animals and Livestock down early, and it paid off cool
Duinhir wrote:
...All in all, not really game changing, but they may provide just the sufficient points to win the game
Yup, and I've lost games by a few points (once by 1 point cry).
So every point you can gain, just by using an action is welcome.
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Early pets is always good. Other than that, the late game point-per-animal cards are very good if paired with late events that let you pile cubes on them.
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Paweł Zubrycki
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Yesterday I was very lucky with all the pets/microbes cards. Received 3 different cards in my opening hand. I decided to risk it and keep them all as my corp was giving me -2 oxygen/temp. requirement so I hoped to put them in play very early. That whats happened. Throughout the game i was buying every card with pets microbes I could find. that gave me like roughly 25 points at the end of the game from microbes/pets alone. Would be more if not the fact that one of the opponents played the card to steal one microbe from me every turn.

I think this was a very lucky play for me and with different corporation would not give me so many points.

Wanted to add it was with only standard cards without corporate era.
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slashing wrote:
It also varies by player count. With fewer players the game runs longer. If you're playing with 4-5 each time, I wouldn't expect to see those cards be as valuable as with lower player counts.


Also, with fewer players you have a better chance of obtaining multiple animal/microbe cards which can play off one another.
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TerrapinStation wrote:
slashing wrote:
It also varies by player count. With fewer players the game runs longer. If you're playing with 4-5 each time, I wouldn't expect to see those cards be as valuable as with lower player counts.


Also, with fewer players you have a better chance of obtaining multiple animal/microbe cards which can play off one another.

You still get the same number of new cards per generation - fewer if you draft. The reason that you get more cards is precisely that there are more generation to draw cards.
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I've played the game only twice, but I've seen O2 requirement on many of the cards. Our group mostly plays 5 player games, or rather "as many as we can fit in any given game".

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems it's the O2 requirement that's the problem. The game is not very well balanced, I mean it's not Race for the Galaxy. Heat and oceans are the first to max. I've seen many ocean placing cards becoming completely useless!

How can we boost O2 generation ? Greeneries are the second most expensive standard project. Placing them yourself is very expensive, can we perhaps trick others to do it for us ?? How about an opening gambit with 1-2 oceans ? Collect 4 plants. Oceans are discounts on a stick and encourage others to place greeneries around. And if they don't, you start collecting those plant tokens and +2 MC per tile.

The other way is to directly generate O2, I think. Steelworks, the-other-works (I don't know the english name for it). But that would mean a succesful fauna strategy needs:
- microbes
- animals
- oxygen generation (needs energy?)

Quite a complex strategy.

Inventrix has been mentioned.

Ecoline might be an option too.
-------------

The bottom line: is there any combination of cards/corporations that can make Oxygen the first gauge to fill completely ??
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Sam Carroll
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b0rsuk wrote:
I've played the game only twice, but I've seen O2 requirement on many of the cards. Our group mostly plays 5 player games, or rather "as many as we can fit in any given game".

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems it's the O2 requirement that's the problem. The game is not very well balanced, I mean it's not Race for the Galaxy. Heat and oceans are the first to max. I've seen many ocean placing cards becoming completely useless!

How can we boost O2 generation ? Greeneries are the second most expensive standard project. Placing them yourself is very expensive, can we perhaps trick others to do it for us ?? How about an opening gambit with 1-2 oceans ? Collect 4 plants. Oceans are discounts on a stick and encourage others to place greeneries around. And if they don't, you start collecting those plant tokens and +2 MC per tile.

The other way is to directly generate O2, I think. Steelworks, the-other-works (I don't know the english name for it). But that would mean a succesful fauna strategy needs:
- microbes
- animals
- oxygen generation (needs energy?)

Quite a complex strategy.

Inventrix has been mentioned.

Ecoline might be an option too.
-------------

The bottom line: is there any combination of cards/corporations that can make Oxygen the first gauge to fill completely ??


One corp: Ecoline
One card: Protected Habitats

Well, they need some other plant-generating cards, too, but once they're safe from asteroids, they can just go nuts placing greeneries.
 
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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In our games, the oxygen track is often the first one to max. So there are definitely plenty of ways. It all depends on what personal strategies players are following, sometimes a particular thing will get maxxed out quickly and the next game it won't.
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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b0rsuk wrote:
I've played the game only twice... The game is not very well balanced
I'd play it a few more times at least before making that call cool
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Karlsen wrote:
b0rsuk wrote:
I've played the game only twice... The game is not very well balanced
I'd play it a few more times at least before making that call cool


I would not. I have played many board games and TM has very few, if any, new mechanics. But I appreciate the personal attack.

TM is like 7 wonders without the ages, so you can get any card at any time. For example you can - and often do - get resource production at the end of the game. It's just bad luck that thwarts you at that point. In 7 Wonders, cards are tied to eras, and you don't get pitiful early cards when you're hoping for many VPs. You also don't get a card requiring 0*C to be placed at start.

The problem is magnified when you're playing without draft or with Beginner Corporation. It wouldn't be a big deal if cards were as finely balanced as in Race for the Galaxy. Also, 3MC compensation for a card you have no use for is pathetic in late game when most players are swimming in money.

I will continue collecting data and refining my judgement over time, but these things are already certain at this point. TM has more in common with Innovation (wild swings of luck, poor card balance) than Race.

Also, the game scales poorly with number of players. Game ends when resources are depleted, essentially. Dominion handles this by adding extra cards to Province pile when there are more players. Now granted, TM tries to be scientifically accurate and possibly raising temperature 5*C more or oxygen to 20% might have unforeseen global consequences. But why not at least add extra oceans to place in higher player counts ?
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Örjan Almén
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b0rsuk wrote:
Karlsen wrote:
b0rsuk wrote:
I've played the game only twice... The game is not very well balanced
I'd play it a few more times at least before making that call cool


I would not. I have played many board games and TM has very few, if any, new mechanics. But I appreciate the personal attack.

TM is like 7 wonders without the ages, so you can get any card at any time. For example you can - and often do - get resource production at the end of the game. It's just bad luck that thwarts you at that point. In 7 Wonders, cards are tied to eras, and you don't get pitiful early cards when you're hoping for many VPs. You also don't get a card requiring 0*C to be placed at start.

The problem is magnified when you're playing without draft or with Beginner Corporation. It wouldn't be a big deal if cards were as finely balanced as in Race for the Galaxy. Also, 3MC compensation for a card you have no use for is pathetic in late game when most players are swimming in money.

I will continue collecting data and refining my judgement over time, but these things are already certain at this point. TM has more in common with Innovation (wild swings of luck, poor card balance) than Race.

Also, the game scales poorly with number of players. Game ends when resources are depleted, essentially. Dominion handles this by adding extra cards to Province pile when there are more players. Now granted, TM tries to be scientifically accurate and possibly raising temperature 5*C more or oxygen to 20% might have unforeseen global consequences. But why not at least add extra oceans to place in higher player counts ?


Personal attack? Well, that would be your own judgement, but I see nothing here doing a personal attack, but I can throw some more to you here and now.

You say you are an advanced board game and you know the mechanics used in the games, and therefore you're mastering the game after two plays, so you can tell the catastrophic build of this game? So thousands of plays to balance the game is worth nothing compared to your two plays where you haven't even found out most of the game strategies?

Yes, TM is without ages. This is because there are quite few cards that go worthless during the game. With the research mechanics, it enables you to keep cards, unlike 7 wonders. This game works quite differently than 7 wonders as it actually opens up possibilities for planning your cards forward. 7 Wonders is all about playing the given hand at each time, not much of planning ahead, just try to enable eventually coming cards. In TM you can actually have the card you plan in hand while enabling it with other cards.

Production cards are not worthless the last generation either as you do a final production phase and after that score your awards for your resources. That extra steel production added as a last card played can give you a winning award. With the map expansion, there are other awards with other resources instead of the heat and metal awards.

There is no 3 M€ compensation, it's 1 M€, (see, you don't even know the rules?) but you didn't ever had to buy the card in the first place. I hear many people say they are most happy with a round with cards they don't need, as they can spend their money on the earlier kept cards. Keeping a card from the setup research and play it as the last card in the final generation can be the best thing you've done in the game, which you also have planned for the whole game.

Swimming in money? Sure, that is how the engine builders work, you get more and more resources for each round unless you chose to spend your production values. It's still down to that very last M€ if you can play the most effective actions as you can see. Often, you realize you lack a few M€ and need to do the second best strategy for the end game, where a few cards to sell can be most valuable.

Game ending when resources are depleted? Which game have you been playing? Yes, each generation ends when people have used their resources, but the game ends when player(s) have completed the three tasks of the global parameters, even if you could have gotten a huge pile of resources again next generation. you also said you were swimming in money in the end, how could it then end when the resources are depleted. this is a contradiction in your opinion.

regarding game scaling, it doesn't scale, which is liberate, but does it need to? Why can't the game have a fixed goal? Sure, you build more engine with fewer players as there needs more money to finish the total terraforming. But this whole game is about adapting to the circumstances, so why not adapt to the expected length?
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orjanalmen wrote:

Personal attack? Well, that would be your own judgement, but I see nothing here doing a personal attack, but I can throw some more to you here and now.


Not responding to actual points made but instead posting about the person playing it is, yes, a personal attack. And playing a game many times is not a great indication of how much you know about it. Yesterday I corrected the most experienced player in our group, who had played 12 games before. He argued that greeneries can only be put next to greeneries - not any tile you own. In this way playing more games without questioning anything and saying "Trust me, I've played 12 games" warps your experience. It's like bragging about being in 3rd class for 4 years.

Quote:

You say you are an advanced board game and you know the mechanics used in the games, and therefore you're mastering the game after two plays, so you can tell the catastrophic build of this game?


If you want to know what I say, actually read my post above instead of misrepresenting it for easier refutal. Mastering, catastrophic, etc are your words, not those I used. Yes, I know quite a lot about the game, relatively speaking. For one, most people I've seen playing this game haven't read the game manual. I have - it's available online, which allowed me to correct a few rules.

Quote:
So thousands of plays to balance the game is worth nothing compared to your two plays where you haven't even found out most of the game strategies?

Surprise, I can benefit from those thousands of games played too. I read statistics and forum posts on BGG, and they don't contradict what I say.

Quote:

Yes, TM is without ages. This is because there are quite few cards that go worthless during the game.

You put the cart in front of the horse. The cards easily go worthless because there are no ages. As a result, people often get cards which are inappropriate for the state of the game. Either locked behind high requirements, or won't have time to contribute. Unlike in RftG, you can't use cards as money to pay for something with them. Also in RftG, almost all cards have VP value, so they are never completely uninteresting. And 6 cost development cards very commonly score for having X cards with certain property (green resources, blue resources, resource consuming, Alien tag, military planets, cards with Explore bonus...). Both in 7 Wonders and in RftG I'm less likely to get a hand that's not useful for me. Cards are tiered in Innovation too.

Quote:

Production cards are not worthless the last generation either as you do a final production phase and after that score your awards for your resources.


"Always worth something" in RftG versus "might make a difference" in a 5 player game of TM. And awards, in ideal situation, are a 3 point swing. I call a situation ideal when you're directly behind the first player.

Quote:

There is no 3 M€ compensation, it's 1 M€, (see, you don't even know the rules?) but you didn't ever had to buy the card in the first place.

I'm referring to the price of buying patents, it's 3 MC. It's compensation for receiving a bad draw in Research phase.
Quote:

Game ending when resources are depleted? Which game have you been playing?


I'm talking about Terraforming Mars. I called temperature, oxygen and oceans "resources", I meant the common pool. It's the same size no matter the number of players. The result is there are fewer turns in higher player counts. Some cards, particularly high requirement fauna cards and other activated actions (once per generation), give more benefit in longer games. But they are still nominally there, even though they're generally bad play unless Inventrix gets them.

The difference is Dominions realized common pool exhaustion as game ending scenario affects card balance adversely. So Dominion base rules adjust the size of common pool based on player count, to reduce the impact.
Quote:

regarding game scaling, it doesn't scale, which is liberate, but does it need to? Why can't the game have a fixed goal? Sure, you build more engine with fewer players as there needs more money to finish the total terraforming. But this whole game is about adapting to the circumstances, so why not adapt to the expected length?


Because players receive more dud cards that way. There's only so much you can adapt to cards that have no use. There are a couple of ocean placing cards which can't be played early, but later they often can't be either. Players have large incomes, temperature may be maxed so they no longer spend money on it. The window of opportunity is too small.
 
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b0rsuk wrote:
I'm referring to the price of buying patents, it's 3 MC. It's compensation for receiving a bad draw in Research phase.

How is paying 3 MC for cards you don't want compensation for a bad draw? It sounds like you still don't understand the rules. Or are you saying that not having to pay 3 MC is effectively a bonus?

From time to time we get self-styled master gamers who think they have solved the game after a couple plays. Usually they bring out some of the same "arguments" that experienced players know are wrong (cards with high requirements early are bad, for instance).
 
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b0rsuk wrote:


Quote:

You say you are an advanced board game and you know the mechanics used in the games, and therefore you're mastering the game after two plays, so you can tell the catastrophic build of this game?


If you want to know what I say, actually read my post above instead of misrepresenting it for easier refutal. Mastering, catastrophic, etc are your words, not those I used. Yes, I know quite a lot about the game, relatively speaking. For one, most people I've seen playing this game haven't read the game manual. I have - it's available online, which allowed me to correct a few rules.

Sure you can see some rules and some players misinterpret or doesn't care, so no, it's not a good meter of actually knowing the game, only a meter of not knowing the game. But you still can't say you have experience into the many strategies and abilities of the game after two plays.


b0rsuk wrote:

Quote:
So thousands of plays to balance the game is worth nothing compared to your two plays where you haven't even found out most of the game strategies?

Surprise, I can benefit from those thousands of games played too. I read statistics and forum posts on BGG, and they don't contradict what I say.

The thousands of plays for the designers balancing is not part of that statistics of course. They were all before that.

b0rsuk wrote:

Quote:

Yes, TM is without ages. This is because there are quite few cards that go worthless during the game.

You put the cart in front of the horse. The cards easily go worthless because there are no ages. As a result, people often get cards which are inappropriate for the state of the game. Either locked behind high requirements, or won't have time to contribute. Unlike in RftG, you can't use cards as money to pay for something with them. Also in RftG, almost all cards have VP value, so they are never completely uninteresting. And 6 cost development cards very commonly score for having X cards with certain property (green resources, blue resources, resource consuming, Alien tag, military planets, cards with Explore bonus...). Both in 7 Wonders and in RftG I'm less likely to get a hand that's not useful for me. Cards are tiered in Innovation too.


All cards are worthless unless you actually play them. But having a card playable above 0 degrees in the setup hand can be worth a lot if you play for using it. It's not worthless because of a high requirement, but you need to make a plan for it, and can be worth a lot to keep.

b0rsuk wrote:

Quote:

Production cards are not worthless the last generation either as you do a final production phase and after that score your awards for your resources.


"Always worth something" in RftG versus "might make a difference" in a 5 player game of TM. And awards, in ideal situation, are a 3 point swing. I call a situation ideal when you're directly behind the first player.

Yes, it's different games where you use different mechanics to win and play.
b0rsuk wrote:

Quote:

There is no 3 M€ compensation, it's 1 M€, (see, you don't even know the rules?) but you didn't ever had to buy the card in the first place.

I'm referring to the price of buying patents, it's 3 MC. It's compensation for receiving a bad draw in Research phase.

What? So only the cards given in setup research is worth anything? Cards in later generations is merely a compensation? I haven't seen a game where 10 cards is enough. And it's still not a compensation, as you (besides beginner corporation) pay those 3 for all cards you choose to keep, so if you get a card in a later generation instead of in the start, you would pay the same 3 M€ anyways.
b0rsuk wrote:

Quote:

Game ending when resources are depleted? Which game have you been playing?


I'm talking about Terraforming Mars. I called temperature, oxygen and oceans "resources", I meant the common pool. It's the same size no matter the number of players. The result is there are fewer turns in higher player counts. Some cards, particularly high requirement fauna cards and other activated actions (once per generation), give more benefit in longer games. But they are still nominally there, even though they're generally bad play unless Inventrix gets them.

The difference is Dominions realized common pool exhaustion as game ending scenario affects card balance adversely. So Dominion base rules adjust the size of common pool based on player count, to reduce the impact.
Quote:

regarding game scaling, it doesn't scale, which is liberate, but does it need to? Why can't the game have a fixed goal? Sure, you build more engine with fewer players as there needs more money to finish the total terraforming. But this whole game is about adapting to the circumstances, so why not adapt to the expected length?


Because players receive more dud cards that way. There's only so much you can adapt to cards that have no use. There are a couple of ocean placing cards which can't be played early, but later they often can't be either. Players have large incomes, temperature may be maxed so they no longer spend money on it. The window of opportunity is too small.


Well, it's not that big difference actually as you suggest. Usually it's about one or two points more or less. The once per generation rule for the blue cards is there of a reason. Most games last at about 8-12 generations with a normal of about 10. You could even have players trying to rush the game to prevent animals to get more generations. And it's equal for everyone. No one gets more generations than the others in the same game.

Everything is situational, some games the animals requiring high oxygen can be played early as the players has risen the oxygen prior to temperature or oceans. I've played many games with all different evolution. Sometimes had all oceans out before any oxygen rise, sometimes the oxygen is maxed out long before any ocean is played. The game is open to the players to make different evolutions. Want to get the animals out fast, then focus to rise the oxygen. It's a lot of psychology here too, if someone seem to race one track, that track might get more focus so that player won't get it all, or someone do the opposite and try to race another track to seize the moment of.
 
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b0rsuk wrote:
Quote:

There is no 3 M€ compensation, it's 1 M€, (see, you don't even know the rules?) but you didn't ever had to buy the card in the first place.

I'm referring to the price of buying patents, it's 3 MC. It's compensation for receiving a bad draw in Research phase.


This makes no sense. You pay 3 M€ in the actual research phase to buy the patent. There's no buying patents outside of the Research phase (unless allowed by a card ability).
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